4.35 Cats and Dogs
A funny thing happened the other night upon arriving at home. As I closed the door, I noticed for the first time, consciously at least, how empty my place felt. I'm not talking empty of stuff, like in a physical way. I've got more than enough books and other crap laying around. Just how empty it felt. No plants, I hear plants bring a certain amount of life to a house. No pets, I can barely take care of myself let alone a dependent animal. It wasn't even really the emptiness, more the silence. Walked around my place, stopping every once in a while, listening. Nothing. It was a silence you could feel. I sat cross legged on the floor in the middle of the living room. Just sat. Stared at the corner of the wall where a spider had woven a web. The spider also sat frozen, staring back at me. Do you ever get the feeling like you take a few steps forward only to be pushed backwards? That if you actively start changing your life, no matter how much you do actually change, there’s always someone or something that triggers an experience that can instantly put you back a week, a few months, a goddamn year.
Yep, I’m coming up to an anniversary, but not necessarily a happy one or one that I actually want to celebrate. Maybe I should celebrate it, but if I did, it really would be a celebration of failure. It’s almost a year since I got dumped, which I’ve gone on at length and don’t need to bore you with in the gross, too-much-information-kind-of-way of the past. A year of living as a single man - again - and no matter how much time passes or what experiences I have, there is a sense that I don’t know what I’m doing. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.
After a year of being single, I wonder what in the hell’s wrong with me. Seriously, I am going cat shopping tomorrow. Thinking of starting with three cats, three cats should suffice in becoming the male equivalent to an old alone cat lady. Marc Maron has three cats, they seem to offer him some comfort, something that takes the form of love and responsibility without the attachment of having someone in your house that actually has a voice and talks to you and has the potential to hurt you, to cause pain. Or maybe I shouldn't give up and instead get a dog? A dog is more social, you take a dog out for walks. Dogs are welcomed at my office. Has to be cute. Women love cute dogs, right?
I often prided myself by being able to function on my own. Talked about it a lot, write about it perhaps too often. What I have to admit is that I’ve secretly, stealthily become one of those lonely people you see walking in the streets. The guy stepping into his place alone, always alone, never any visitors or people ringing his doorbell, knocking, popping in to say hello. You say hello to him/me if it’s necessary, if it’s unavoidable. Maybe in the close proximity of the elevator where a quick nod suffices. We are ghosts flittering around people who have real connections. Look, I ain’t looking for pity or ‘oh poor me’ sentiments, this is the truth. The honest to goddamn truth.
As you could probably tell, I’m feeling the pressure of this situation at the moment. There are a few things that as a man you're taught not to admit. Asking for directions. Asking for help. Admitting you're wrong. Admitting you need someone else. Even when it makes sense, even when it is warranted. I've never really related or prescribed much to this traditional form of masculinity, even though I hate asking for directions and have tremendous difficulty asking for help.
Let's skim over admitting I'm wrong. Do it all the time, maybe too much. When confronted with a situation of disagreement, my default position is that I'm wrong. Not good debating skills. Which could translate into not good relationship skills. I put myself at a disadvantage from the start, creating an unbalanced situation. I have been asking people for help more and more. At some point my stubbornness of trying to achieve everything I want completely on my own has become not only unrealistic, but exhausting. Maybe I'm just getting older.
What I've come to realize is that I do feel the ping of loneliness and not sure what to do with it. One more thing I should probably not admit. Shows weakness. The thing is, I don't give a shit anymore if I'm saying these kinds of things. Call me whatever you want. I'm not trying to be weak or strong or put on some pretence of something I'm not.
What I’ve come to realize is that actually I do have the desire to share my life with someone. I mean, who doesn’t right? I guess where I’m confused is why has it been so difficult for me to figure this out? I understand it’s not a mathematical equation, not something that really can be figured out, that it happens when it happens. But still, fuck that. Probably another thing I shouldn't admit, this wanting to be with someone. The hypocritical part to all this is that I had some opportunities and screwed things all up under the selfish idea that I preferred a relationship on my terms, and they might've not been exactly what I wanted. At the same time, I can't settle. Through my cynicism, there exists a hope that a certain kind of love exists. Someone that wants to be with me. Someone that wants to actually spend time with me.
All I'm trying to do is sit with these feelings, which is unmanly in both the feelings themselves and in actually not completely negating them to the point that I stuff them deep down. Yes, indeed, very unmanly-like.
So, here we go.
The ride home might've had something to do with noticing the emptiness, the silence, the spider. I'm in the car and I'm listening to Arcade Fire's new album Reflektor and the song 'Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)' comes on. I don't know what it was, the sound of the song, the lyrics I couldn't quite make out. A goddamn mystery. I'm driving and I just started thinking about people I know who have come and gone, friends that I see all the time and friends I've lost contact with, girlfriends of the past who I loved in different ways for different reasons, and I just had these inexplicable feelings of, not sadness exactly, more of a longing for lost things, and this manifested itself as tears that popped out of my eyes and actually streamed down my face and I saw all those people kinda flashing before my eyes all watery and I delved further into this feeling, instead of stopping it or feeling weird or worried that a person in another car might see me cause who cares, so I dived deeper and thought how absurd this all is that I'm driving in this complex shell of a machine that propels me forward or stops by the touch of pedals on the floor, that there is a clock on the dashboard where I instantly understand the concept of time, I'm listening to music that people wrote by exploring their creativity through a device that is shooting invisible rays to satellites in outer space and my mind is housing all these people and places and things and memories and ideas and concepts and it all hit me as it rarely does and I'm fucking balling my eyes out and the song has a bit at the end where they keep repeating Na Naaa Na Na Na, Na Naaaaaaa, and I'm right there with them singing in the goddamn car and it feels good because I haven't sung out loud in forever and the song is over but I want to keep singing.
How unmanly. Maybe I will look into getting that dog.