I’ve always hated summer. Ask anyone that knows me. “Winter is beautiful,” I’ve always said, “and summer is hell. Summer sucks.”
I’ve always said that fanatics were untrustworthy. Movements consisting entirely of fanatics, doubly so.
I’ve always avoided white collar cubicle jobs actively. Just check my track record, I’ve told everyone I know that I hate them, don’t believe in them. I’ve never held one longer than a few short months.
I’m a city kid. I’ve always said I was a city kid. Every time I’ve ventured out into small-town-ness in years past, I’ve ended up depressed. Everyone knows this about me, myself included.
So what do I do after I get my graduate degree from a top-ten university in one of the world’s great cities, with every door in the world open to me?
I move to the foremost small town of permanent, ugly summer in the nation with a girlfriend who is a self-described cult member and leaves me behind soon afterward anyway. I take on the most middle-management of cubicle jobs, keeping it longer than any other I’ve had. In the midst of it, I move into a tiny place in a bad low-income housing neighborhood that costs me $1200/mo. in utilities and rent, talk to my family less than ever and co-workers more than ever, and somehow manage to consolidate my student loan payments into a single payment higher than they were when added separately. I trade in great camera equipment for poor camera equipment, books I value for books I dislike, abandon my health and sell my possessions on ebay until I own nothing, leaving my laptop behind in favor of a desktop so that I’m tied down that way, too, and finally, gain twenty pounds while surrounded by octogenarians.
I’m the stupidest motherfucker alive. I got my graduate degree from a top-ten university, and every door in the world was open to me, and this is what I did.
I deserve to be fucking shot.
And the real irony of it all is that I don’t even get the company of the girl who brought me here. I’m here alone. What is she doing? Um, working an exciting non-cubicle-job, rent-free, surrounded by young people in that very same one of the world’s great cities that I left behind.
I love irony in books, but in life it tastes like twice-melted tar.
The question is: what now?
Well, in the short term I’ve decided to work lots of overtime to try to shore up the financial situation. Until there are spare dollars, there is literally no decision that you can make in our society.
Beyond that… leave the job at product launch. Travel to…? I dont’ know. I really do love my girlfriend and would love to be with her, but I’m worried that there is a certain lack of emotional parity going on — not safe. And I have to take care of myself because, after 30 years, I have learned (been taught?) very well that no-one else will ever look out for me, even a little, no matter what they say.
My triumphant return to grad school is a very long time away still. I haven’t even applied yet. Asia? Southeast asia? New York? Canada? Suicide? Homicide? I have no idea. Beyond “work overtime, quit job” (an ironically paradoxical combination), I lack the wherewithal, both in terms of knowledge and in terms of emotion, to make any further plans.