Wanderlust

It's kind of like I develop more into a douchebag hipster every day. This week, I've come to the realization that I have a huge case of wanderlust. And that's pretty weird considering how reclusive and socially anxious I was, right about this time two years ago.

I've always smoked wayyy too much weed ever since the first time fifteen year old me paid $25 for some schwag. It was brown and definitely on the short side of an eighth but it was still potent enough to open my eyes to the finest everyday mind altering substance Mother Nature has to offer.

So after I finally saw the light, I became the poster child of a pothead and smoked as much as physically (and financially) possible, whenever possible. It's been about eleven years since then and for the most part, I haven't changed a whole hell of a lot.

I'm getting sidetracked though. What I'm trying to say is this: for most of my adult life so far, I've been a (mostly) asocial stoner who didn't ever do much aside from sitting on the couch getting baked. Asocial in the sense that I didn't like to spend a whole shitload of time in public doing stuff when I could be getting stoned instead. I've always enjoyed a good house party or really any other social gathering that involves drugs and alcohol. But for the most part, I wouldn't have considered myself an outgoing person.

Until the first time I flew out of state. God damn was that an eye opener. As someone who's grown up in the corn-dominated land of Central Ohio my whole life, flying out west and hanging out somewhere like Dallas, Texas was like I was living on another planet.

Every small town has rumors about every other small town and beyond. People from Granville are snobby pricks and everyone from Newark smokes meth and has incurable std's — that kind of shit, ya know?

So it was pretty surprising to me when I went out into a huge ass metropolis expecting to meet completely alien "city folk" who think I'm just some hillbilly from that state somewhere by Kentucky and West Virginia — but they actually turned out to be awesome people. People I'd like to see again, maybe. People who made me feel at home, made me laugh and gave me a fresh perspective on life, if nothing else.

I know it's some pretty simple, basic stuff but the few times I've been across the country and back have instilled in me a passion to travel the world and meet as many different, unique people as I realistically can. I love the backwards ass small town I grew up in but life gets too routine and inevitably begins to plateau.

Flying thousands of miles away and falling into a circle of completely new friends is like walking through a gate into an alternate reality, and the crazy part is that new people are everywhere and usually they're pretty chill.

Here's a relevant song to hopefully brighten up your day. 😋

Perspective

Even though I didn't realize it until all this existential stuff became so trendy, I've always been an empath. When I was a kid in elementary school, I remember the teacher explaining the concept of "taking a walk in someone else's shoes" and being dumbfounded by the fact that she had to explain such a thing to us. I'm not trying to sound like a pretentious douche but I just hadn't realized that some people don't think that way.

It didn't take practice or really any effort at all for that matter; I've just always been super mindful and aware of other people's feelings. In a few less words, it's pretty hard for me to enjoy myself if someone else in the room is having a bad day or being picked on. Or whatever.

That's not to say that I'm never an asshole; I'm only human. But being able to vividly understand — or at least closely relate, to your best ability — how other people are feeling comes with its downsides. Mainly just one. And that's the simple fact that it makes you look like a pushover. People often mistake kindness for weakness and that's really a shame.

Not sure where exactly I'm going with this, but I guess the message of the day is to be kind. The world is rough and stupid sometimes.

Why can we not be sober?

When it comes down to it, most everyone has some kind of vice. Some worse than others, some not so bad.

Some people do the hard shit because they had the balls to try it one day and – surprise  shit like meth and heroin is absurdly addictive because it’s literally the best thing you’ve ever felt. Like… by far. And there’s nothing unpleasant about the shit while you’re on it because your brain is drowning in dopamine. People don’t turn into tweakers immediately after railing some dope. You don’t pick at your face until you have obnoxious bleeding wounds everywhere if you’re only banging a teenth of meth every other weekend.

But then if you’re bangin’ seven gram rocks and finishing ’em for months on end, smoking a bowl of some medical grade Kush probably isn’t going to have the same zing it had before the, uh, crank. 

I’m getting sidetracked. Weed is pretty fucking good in a lot of ways, thus it’s an increasingly acceptable vice — or medication even, because it literally has actual medicinal value with virtually no negative side effects. People are going to think you’re a fuckup if you get out of bed and chief blunts until you pass out at 4am every day, but that guy at least has his shit together enough to have a studio apartment and a ’92 Honda. Unlike the meth guy, who’ll inevitably suck dick for meth somewhere down the line.

What I’m shittily transitioning to with no segway is this: why the fuck is sobriety so dull and unfavorable that everyone has to pump chemicals – be it caffeine or codeine or everything in between – into their bodies to be content with life?

Most people from the developed world are a slave to some kind of mind-altering substance. White trash warehouse workers like myself drink Mountain Dew and Redbull by the gallon and breathe in more cigarette smoke than oxygen on a typical day. Most working class people go to the bar when they get off in the afternoon, or maybe pick up a 12-pack on the way home. There’s always the stoner crowd, no matter where you go. Kids who can’t get their hands on real drugs huff duster or chug robotussin to catch a buzz that would give legit dope a run for its money. The kind of people who are on a salary are the kind of people who can afford a cocaine addiction, and what better to go with some powder than some top-shelf booze?

It’s true that drugs and alcohol aren’t for everyone; there’s people who swear they’ll never touch the stuff — and they actually don’t, and there’ll always be recovered addicts who’ve had enough toxins flow through their veins for one lifetime. But then again there’s a whole shitload more of people who smoke, drink, snort, shoot up and boof all sorts of shit to hit the mute button on all of life’s bullshit, even if it’s only for a few hours at a time… or maybe a few days… or weeks.

We all know how bad it is for you but for most people, self destruction is a fair price to pay for dirty happiness – and that’s really all anyone is looking for right? 

An observation: Addiction, or something like that

I never want anything to be over. Doesn’t matter if it’s a high I’m chasing, romantic relationships, chapters of my life — whatever. I think that’s what defines an addictive personality right?

People often ponder, “what in the hell would ever compel someone to get addicted to hard drugs?” as if you make a conscious decision to become dependant on smack. No one does that; no one sits down and says to themselves, “hmm… I think I’ll go on a meth binge and see where it takes me.” No; you find a new poison, fall in love with the high and before you know it you’re railing percocets off the toilet paper dispenser in the stall at work because it turns eight to ten hour shifts full of bullshit and boredom into time-agnostic nonsense and illegal smiles. Skip ahead a few weeks and you can’t find the will to get out of bed until you get your routine doses of opiates down the hatch.

Or what about chapters of life? Everyone has their phases; I was one of the pot smoking death metal kids in highschool and we had a shitty band. That was awesome and it sucked when we all graduated, drifted apart from one another and started work on our own separate agendas. Then you make new friends; work friends. Then you quit, find a new job and turn the page onto the next chapter of your life.

People are temporary and drugs are bad for you, or something like that.

Lay Back

Ever since I can remember – as far back as middle school – people have been telling me how laid back I am. I’m not sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult, but I’d like to think it’s the former rather than the latter. It’s weird too, because I have crippling social anxiety. I guess I can just pull it off better than other people, and I guess that also means it’s not very crippling after all.

It feels like it at times, but I’ve never been thrown into a situation that’s caused me to spas out and have a panic attack. Or maybe I have; I just dealt with it as silently as possible because what could be worse than a panic attack? People knowing you’re having a panic attack, that’s what.

I have so much anxiety that it cancels itself out in fear that it could become even worse. So it’s pretty much like I’m completely normal and stress free, just really twitchy and awkward at times. It can feel like the smallest things are the end of the world sometimes, even when I know it’s not. Still, my heart and mind tell me I’m in danger for whatever reason so my nervous system acts accordingly, in turn making me act weird as fuck. Or atleast it sure seems like it.

I overthink shit and worry way too much about trivial everyday fuckery, but I can still keep my cool. I don’t know how or why, but I do.

Maybe that’s why I’m always the one out of our group of friends who has to talk to cops or pissed off neighbors when shit hits the fan – even when it’s at someone else’s house, or we’re getting pulled over in someone else’s car and the cop tells me the dumb ass driver “can speak for himself.” Maybe I’m a manipulative sociopath; I have no idea. I’m not a psychiatrist.

However, I’d like to think I’m just Metal as fuck and that’s what keeps my zen in check.

It’s like an existential crisis. We’re just primates on a rock hurtling through space or whatever. So why worry about people judging you? At some point in life you have to wake up and realize that you’re not a special snowflake — and likewise that no one else is either.

Sure, some people have tons of money and that allows them to eat healthier, stay in better shape and sleep in an expensive bed in an expensive house with ten bathrooms. All that means is they were able to push themselves over the edge and put forth the effort and confidence to do something marketable.

The whole “American dream” thing about being anything you want to be might not be entirely correct but confidence is everything, even if you’re stupid.

Just look at Lil Wayne or Adam Sandler. They’re fucking talentless idiots, but they both have pretty awesome lives, all because they weren’t too scared to try.

It’s the simple things.

Tomorrow is my last day off before going back to work from a much needed four day weekend, so I decided to hit the sack early and get a few extra hours of sleep. All I want to do these past few days is sleep my ass off, thanks to the beautiful fact that I finally got a new bed after having been sleeping on a couch for the past three years.

So I lay down about 4am because, for me and my ridiculous second shift centric life, 4am is early. Maybe a little too early. Even though I have this bomb ass bed complete with a duck feather pillow and it feels like I’m sleeping on an actual cloud, 4am is too early for me to possibly pass out under any circumstances.

I turned the TV back on and watched Hank Hill talk about propane for a few minutes before heading outside for a smoke, and what I’m about to say next will shock you!

Alright, not really but there was an adorable stray cat hanging out on the porch. Little bastard was probably spying on me for five minutes before I saw him out of the corner of my eye. Which, naturally, about gave me a heart attack because you normally only see raccoons or the occasional possum out here at night — both of which are fucking terrifying when you’re baked out of your mind and practically blind from staring at an obnoxiously bright LCD screen in the deep darkness of an overcast country night.

So I panicked and rushed to find the flashlight app on my phone, positive that whatever was cautiously inching towards me was foaming at the mouth ready to pass the rabies on to me, but no. It was just a cat.

An awesome, lonely cat.

He did the standard adorable cat routine of bashfully rubbing up against my leg, followed by an overly enthusiastic fist/head bump that almost threw him completely off balance.

I didn’t shoe him off with a broom like some kind of crazy cat hating prick, so it’s probably safe to say he’ll be inviting himself onto my porch as often as he likes from now on. I’ll probably make it even worse and give him something to eat one of these days; who knows. His being there was a pleasant surprise, nonetheless.

I don’t care if you’re rich or poor, Democrat or Republican, black, white — atheist or zealot. Some things in life are bigger than our personas or bank accounts will ever be. It’s the little, simple things like that. Coincidentally bumping into a new furry friend at four in the morning is enough of a reward in itself to make you truly appreciate life and its totally random nature.

Trash

I saw an article on Flipboard about these Adidas shoes made entirely out of discarded plastic fishing nets that litter the seafloor. The catch was that they were cleaning out the ocean — WITH YOUR FEET?!

It just kind of got me thinking.

About how we’re on this awesome, fucking beautiful planet that we’ve been trashing since the day we became civilized. To add insult to injury, we aren’t motivated to do anything unless we’re offered some kind of incentive, so we invented a unified currency to make everything a little more fair.

Without that, nothing would get done because we only do things that work out according to our own agenda — things that make our lives easier and either line our pockets or give our ego and sense of selflessness more points.

So the only way a sneaker company can realistically do anything about our ocean’s trash problem is if you buy a pair of shoes made out of all that raw material they’ve been digging out.

I mean don’t get me wrong. They’re doing a great thing and its a really creative and enticing way to take a crack at reducing our footprint and cleaning up a big mess. I’m all for it.

It’s just kind of a catch 22 in all sorts of directions.

We have all this trash because we found out how to invent some really useful shit, like plastic. But you can’t fill a plastic factory with able bodies for free, so you pay a bunch of people to crank it out by the ton and then they go out and buy stuff with that money. Like a trendy new pair of shoes made from an epidemic, indirectly created by the very thing they do for a living.

It’s downright poetic.

Ruralized

I grew up in the city.  Not a huge metropolitan area, but a decent sized city nonetheless. Neighbors stuck to themselves most of the time, disregarding the inevitable forced interaction of running into each other in the morning while grabbing the mail. Our street had a decent amount of traffic during the day and the occasional drunk asshole flying by after the bars let out at 2am. We had trees but they seemed out of place, almost as if they were forced into their designated spots, peppered throughout the neighborhood for the sake of making urban life a little more bearable. Every day, like clockwork the church down the road played the same obnoxious recording of a church bell, not unlike the public calls to prayer via loudspeaker that a lot of Muslim communities might have droning on. Highschool football games were the soundtrack to Friday nights during the school year and baseball games were the only thing going on at the park down the street in the summer. Maybe that’s why I’ve always hated sports.

Growing up, the meaning behind Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man never made much sense to me. I never understood why anyone would want to be simple, so to speak. I always had this idea of myself growing up to be super successful and busy because that’s what I’d always been told to strive for, even though the word “college” was never a part of my family’s vocabulary. Nowadays, I’m stuck in a factory ten hours a day lifting, twisting and banging myself up working on a clumsy under-maintained machine and that old song suddenly makes perfect sense.

I moved out into the country a few years ago and although it took a minute to get used to, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I never thought I’d hear myself say that, but I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I get home from work at about 4am, so I make it out to the porch to smoke a few cigarettes and toke up right about the time the raccoons are at their maximum level of dumpster-diving shenanigans. The medium sized (teenage?) ones are the best because they haven’t learned that most people don’t want them around. They kind of walk up like “hey, just checking out your trash… No big deal?” and I don’t really care because they’re fucking adorable, right down to their tiny little hands. I’m probably doomed to get rabies but fuck it, what’s life if you can’t hang out with some raccoons every once in a while.

Even when the little bastards aren’t rummaging through my trash being disgusting and hilarious at the same time, living in the middle of nowhere still has its perks. We don’t have police. I mean there’s always sheriffs but they never come out here unless they need to serve a subpoena or someone calls and files a complaint about something. But that doesn’t really matter anyway because it normally takes them a good hour or two to find our little white trash neighborhood in the woods and by that time everything’s probably already over anyway.

The trees are the best though. There’s just something about waking up and smelling that musky woodsy smell; the smell of fresh, slightly less polluted than average air. It’s pretty fucking laid back out here, that’s for sure.

Anxiety and your twenties

Appreciate anxiety. I’ve had social anxiety my whole life, to the point where I was put on 10mg and, shortly after, 20 mg of Paxil just to be okay with going to work every day. 20mg still isn’t quite enough for me to feel comfortable in my own skin, but it’s close enough. Close enough to get me through the day without having a panic attack but still not quite enough to make me act like I’m on a handful of Xanax bars, which I’ve self prescribed the shit out of in the past.

I run on about 70% anxiety and I’m totally cool with it, because anxiety is what drives you to better yourself. I feel like if you have zero anxiety then you damn well better be 100% financially stable, be content with your love life, have a job you love and a bomb ass house you’re excited to come home to each night. Otherwise, you still have room for improvement. And that’s why I don’t get stressed over stress.

It sucks to work ten hour shifts every day for a few bucks over minimum wage and it blows to have $30 for the rest of the week after you pay your bills but what fun is life if you have everything handed to you? It’s like when you get a Gameshark code for Pokemon. You can get infinite rare candies and go from a level five Charmander to a level 70 Charizard in ten minutes but at that point it’s not even fun anymore. You can manipulate the d-pad to make your character navigate a fictional world and carefully crafted algorithms determine when you’ll randomly stumble through the tall grass into the den of a Rattata or Metapod but what’s the point when all you have to do is mash on the A button until you achieve a lopsided victory?

Patience is not a familiar concept to my generation. Like I’ve said before, we can’t sit down for more than five seconds without immersing ourselves in social media and pointless pay-to-win mobile games. So it’s not much of a surprise that many of us can’t hold the same job for more than a few weeks, which ultimately leads to an endless cycle of unemployment and other fuckery.

It doesn’t matter what kind of job it is, because they’re all pretty shitty in your early twenties, but as long as there’s room to move up and keep getting raises every year or so, stick with it for a few years. Because at that point, number one you have experience in something, and number two you’re making a few more bucks on the hour than you were when you started. If there’s no room to move up from there, then it’s finally time to find another new slightly less shitty job that pays slightly more money and sucks a little bit less. 

That’s life in your twenties; working shitty jobs and gaining real world experience while you get completely shitfaced in your downtime. Enjoy it, I know I sure as hell am.