Home > Computers and Internet, Jobs, Work, Career, Life or something like it, Social > Entry 10/14/2010 10:24:10 AM – Mentat 584

Entry 10/14/2010 10:24:10 AM – Mentat 584

10/14/2010

I find myself in a surprisingly good mood this morning. Woke up for the first time in a couple of weeks without the pain associated to sinus pressure, or the threat of a sinus headache because of the rapidly cooling weather outside my door as Autumn is slowly becoming Winter in the Tundras of New England. While I might not like waking up in the morning (or through most of the summer — evening) feeling sticky or sweating — the good thing about that sort of weather is that my sinuses don’t feel like they’re clogged up, or stopped up. Now that it’s getting cooler (and colder), I find my sinuses filling with gelatin, which is instant pain as I tend to pass out and lay only one way for hours at a time. Heh, too much information I know, but you know — our parents don’t always tell us what we should be expecting as we get older — and only seem to remind us after the fact when we finally complain about the various aches and pains. So, consider my babblings on this as fair warning to those under twenty slowly getting over the hump of the big three-oh.

At the homestead, my aunt’s off to Atlantic City with her best friends and godchild to celebrate her god child’s twenty-first birthday for a long holiday of girly-time, and a little gambling in the process. When she told me what hotel she was staying at (Bally’s in Atlantic City), I told her to bring her laptop and make sure to call for Internet support and be as completely stupid about it as possible. Heh, yes I used to support that hotel when I was working — and know precisely who the team working at that time. She didn’t bring her laptop though, said to me the perfectly sensible thing I expect to hear of someone on vacation, “I doubt that I’m going to be in my room that long to need my laptop, Michael. I plan on gambling and seeing the sites of the Boardwalk.”

Thank you for sensibility, I thought to myself.

My aunt and I had a talk about my uncle and what he’s going to be like the four days she’s gone, and she believed that he’d be a homebody and stick around the house eating from the leftovers he’s shoved into the freezer for this trip. I told her I don’t believe that, and countered that he would be out of the house most of the time, and eating out at night. She didn’t believe me saying he wouldn’t do that. Day two here and he’s doing precisely what I said he’d do. Sure, he eats a little of the leftovers for lunch, but he’s only here long enough to eat. He’s been gone each morning, comes home for lunch, takes a nap in the afternoon and has gone out to eat and stayed out until will after ten last night before coming home and crashing. I wager he’s going to do the same thing tonight too, mark my word. Heh, he can’t cook — never had to in the forty-plus years that they’ve been living together. He’s certainly not going to be starting now, and given the way that he squirrels money away, take out is what he’ll be living on the next three days. But I digress.

Cricket’s been doing marvelously since the last journal entry and seems well on the road to recovery. She’s been eating between 3 – 4 of the small Fancy Feast cans of food a day and seems to be more steady on her feet than she was a couple of weeks ago. Even has wandered to various parts of the house when the doors or windows have been opened to get some sunning in. Still won’t sleep under the covers, though it’s not cold enough for her to want that just yet. Right now she’s sleeping at my feet on the throw that I have to keep my legs covered… Heh, not that I need to really — I’m sitting in shorts and short-sleeves still with the windows open and enjoying the brisk chill on the air — I’m doing this more so that she’s not begging to sit in my lap; which makes it a chore to try to type into this journal. She still won’t eat her food unless I’m sitting next to her, reading my e-book. I get the impression it’s because from near the end of July through to the end of September I had been syringe feeding her wet food and water gruel every two hours from the time I woke up ’til the time I went to bed. At least now, I can get her to come to the food instead of having to pick her up and then putting the food in front of her. She at least goes to her bowl where it is at night when she’s hungry. I’ve noticed that when I wake up more of the food’s gone than when I went to bed the night before, and sometimes during the day I see that she’s made her way to it as there are the telltale signs of her licking her food… Though the majority of the time it’s me with her and she’s happily eating (and sometimes even purring) to spend meal time with me nearby. I’m sure it’ll be a chore when I get back to work — until that time though, I don’t mind the off-time with her.

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So the other day I was sitting in a channel in the morning, drinking my coffee — well nursing my coffee and waiting for the Tylenol to kick in and make the sinus headache I had going, go away — and listening to two of them talking about getting various piercings (and tattoos also came to mind, but didn’t during this conversation). One of them was talking about how it was part of his “culture” but his mother (who he still lived at home with), completely didn’t approve whatsoever.

I asked him what his heritage was, and he responded with a rather obscure American Indian tribe that I didn’t recognize the name of and couldn’t find any quick information googling on. After about three minutes, of asking him information on his heritage and culture, he kicked back that he hadn’t a clue about it.

The question that came to mind was, “how can you say it’s part of your culture when you don’t know what your culture is?” Which was followed up with my being rather acerbic about saying in retort, “You can delude yourself into thinking it’s part of your heritage, but don’t try to fool anyone else. This isn’t about your culture or your [ethnic] history. This is about what you think would be cool and what your peers think looks hot.”

Couple this with someone about an hour earlier that had admitted some months prior to being a lesbian saying to me rather randomly, “I don’t think I belong as a lesbian… I don’t know where I fit in…” Couple this with the way I’ve watched these kids waltz through the various chat priv-classes (in chat) of gay, bisexual, pansexual, straight, unsure, asexual. And couple this with their want to various body-modifications: tattoos and piercings… And couple this with the sub-cultures of goth, emo, queer, fag…

And then it struck me like a bolt of lightning.

None of this with twenty-somethings is about self-identity. It’s about belonging to a group. It seems to be done without first working out the entire part of being self-identifying who one is, and where one should try to fit in. It’s done because these twenty-somethings don’t want to be alone or lonely, or outcast.

One’s sexuality should be defined as it is part of the core of the personality for creating relationships — both casual and intimate. Attraction should be defined on what one finds appealing and wants in their life, not whether one will be accepted as part of a group of people or clique. I understand that with some, that sexual attraction is fluid and not rigid as my own is — but that attraction and the want for intimacy should never be defined on the approval of others, nor as a handshake, nor especially because one is lonely and needs that void in one’s heart or one’s bed. In most instances such negative approaches indicate a weak personality (at best) to desperate and craven (at worst).

Don’t get me wrong — adolescence is a great time to experiment and figure it out what one should already have an idea on attraction to the sexes — but seriously by fifteen or sixteen that attraction should already be worked out and practically solidified. That’s not a bad thing either. Heterosexual (straight), Bisexual, Homosexual (gay/lesbian) are not evil titles. They only become bad when one cannot respect another’s attractions to another human being. And worse when in narrow-mindedness, persecute others for their attractions.

For some of you younger folk that read this — you’ll notice I intentionally left out Pansexuality. I don’t honestly believe in Pansexuality as most twenty-somethings do. It is in my not even remotely humble opinion that the use of the word Pansexual to describe one’s attraction to any gender to be nothing more than a politically correct clap-trap because one doesn’t want to suffer from the stigmas of Bisexuality, or being accused of being closed-minded as heterosexuals. Every person that I’ve talked with that has self-identified themselves as “Pansexual” are in fact strongly Heterosexual and even have girl-friends, but don’t want to be called Straight.

Pfft, I say. This is why the group Straight but not Narrow was formed… Support is support for the “community” regardless of being Straight, Gay, or Bi. Stop worrying about what others will think of you. Be clear about your interests. You garner more respect and acceptance for being you than trying to make other people happy and fitting in where you think you belong.

Then there’s this whole tangent of thoughts that I had listening to these kids about inking and piercings. And while I might be sounding like a pensioner with stretch pants up to where one’s nipples used to be, let me impart some wisdom to you kids that think it’s cool and hot to have.

You might think your parents foolish, stupid, or worse when it comes to them forbidding you from having those lobe expanders, snake bites in your lips, monstrous hoops in your nipples, gauges in your tongue and more inking than bare skin; trust me when I say, they do know something you don’t about it. For you see, the 90s wasn’t the time this sort of thing became common place — all of this had been around since the 70s (and longer before in some cases). We of your parents generation had our fair share of piercings besides just in the ears. We had our folk with expanders, and nipple rings… snake bites, tongue piercings, palangs and fourchettes (just to name a few)… Not to mention more than our fair share of inking lovers. All in the name of rebellion to the orthodoxy of conservatism. While it was indeed a small sub-culture in the 60s and 70s, and has grown a little bit more popular — believe me when I say, it’s still a sub-culture. The primary (and therefore most dominant) culture in Western Society is still quite conservative in nature.

You might not know this now as you’re still in your swaddling clothes and taking your first steps into the bigger world, nature is as nature does as my grandparents once said to me. There’s going to come a time when love strikes, and casual commitment turns to something more serious.. Marriage perhaps. Perhaps even children involved. Or avoiding the thought of family and offspring; simply wanting to see the more of the Earth than what you’ve seen in your backyard. Settling down enough to put down some roots, maybe even owning a piece of land, and having more worldly possession than what one can stuff into a couple of suitcases. That’s going to take money quite a lot of it in this ever inflating-economy. It’s one thing when working as a line cook at McDonald’s or somewhere making $10/hour and living three to four in a two bedroom apartment, but more than that — even perhaps living on your own — you’re going to need a far better paying job.

You might think in your ideological mind you’re going to be hired not by what you look like (or even what you stand for), but instead what you know and your competence to do the job. And while this is in fact true for an incredibly small percentage of jobs, you’re going to find that a majority of the jobs you’re applying for that are looking for a more career-oriented work that pays well — it’s more a combination of competence and image. Image strongly geared toward how you present yourself both on behalf of the company you want to work for and the ideals that the company is trying to display to the world. This is just as reinforced now with the Internet and the advent of the Information Age as it was prior when only colleges and companies had computers. The only difference now is that companies are paying more and more attention to what their employees are doing online — particularly if their name is attached in some way to that employee. Thought I’m getting ahead of myself.

The point is, you’re going to find that these companies might not tell you outright what the problem is and why they didn’t hire you because you looked like you escaped a fight with a pincushion and lost — as that would in fact be discrimination — they will instead find someone better suited to the image they want to present rather than hiring you. Yeah, it looks cool with all those tattoos and that earring through your nose in several places while you’re working as that cashier or stock clerk at say Tower Records, Newbury Comics or Hot Topic. But try landing a job as an executive administrative assistant (which in fact makes three times more) and you’re going to find yourself politely being turned down and thanked for your interest in working for Microsoft Corporation, Apple, or Google. Sure, your competence might given them millions in profit though there’s an upside to conservative particularly in a topsy-turvy economy — it allows for profits to continue rolling in from decade to decade, rather than paycheck to paycheck.

This stigmatizing doesn’t end at the job and career either. There’s the whole socializing and integration into a social setting that comes into play as well. You find that having all this inking and steel in you ghettoizes you into a specific living condition. This increases proportionally the more piercings and tattoos the public can readily see. Ever wonder what Rosanne Barr meant when she said in her comedy acts, “I want to be there when they wake up and smell the fucking toast.” This is what she meant by it. That moment of realization, twenty years down the line when your rebellion against conservatism ends with you waking up in something akin to a double-wide, with three kids, working poor, dead end job, friends that have gone nowhere since high school or living the “good ol’ days every weekend”, looking saggy, overweight, tired, and embittered with more ink thank bare skin, enough steel to set off a metal detector at your local airport… and wondering how you ended up where you did.

So in parting I say this: you won’t be twenty-something all your life. And no, contrary to many people’s personal belief of dying young and pretty — a great majority of you will live to forty and older. The older you get, the less elastic your body is, as things begin to sag, and weight begins to get put on where you didn’t think it possible. If you’re going to get tattoos, or piercings — think ahead to what you want to actually do with your life and what it’s going to take to get there. Not all of you are going to be rock stars, or musicians, or any other artistic types. You’re not going to be the next Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs making millions and billions. You’re not going to be the next Neil Gaiman. Stephen King or Stephanie Meyers. The majority of you are going to be middle-class and making fairly good money (or hoping to anyway). Plan ahead, instead of living for the moment. Because too much of the moment, and not enough planning ahead, you’re going to find yourself oddities, not to be respected or admired, but instead ridiculed and derided if you end up looking like Michael Jackson, Elaine Davidson or Lucky Diamond Rich without the money or prestige.

And it won’t hurt me none if you even excuse this as the ramblings of someone getting older, and state that I haven’t a clue as to what’s going on. But that’s all right. All I have to do is sit here and wait until you reach your 40s and older. Then you’ll see what I’m talking about. However, if that doesn’t convince you, let me give you an image that might. Imagine your parents as you see them now with the tattoos and earrings and expanders you think are cool to have. That’s what you’re going to look like in thirty or so years. Didn’t believe that one either, ’til I saw myself in the mirror not too long ago, and realized just how much I looked like both my parents when they were my age.

Heh, still haven’t talked about dating I see… Three entries later and I’m still skirting the issue. I’ll push it off one more time. Until the next time perhaps.

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  1. 10/27/2010 at 1:55 pm

    Lovely sharp post. Never thought that it was this easy. Extolment to you!

    • 10/28/2010 at 9:14 am

      Thank you. Pity it’s never as easy as it sounds; or how I make it sound. Lots of work goes into these thoughts.

      Thank you too for stopping by.

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