Status Quo

I often feel stuck in a loop, like my life has reached a certain norm for the past 10 years, and nothing is likely to change for the rest of my life. I suppose part of it is the natural process of adulthood, once the disruptive process of changing schools and classes every 3-4 years settles down as a career begins. I was talking with one of my friends at work about how she'd been there over 20 years, and it had been her only job. I can't fathom that, and it is rare in this day and age. Still, at some point in my career, there will be a place I settle until retirement. And there is something comforting in a routine, not having the unknown to fear. Repetition can make us stale, but it can also make us experts in what we do.

I sometimes find myself a little numb, kind of daydreaming and detaching myself from the events around me. I'm not really human, not really one of you. I'm kind of a ghost, an observer forbidden to interfere in more than a superficial manner. I don't really believe this to be true; it's just how I feel sometimes. After one of my ”hypothetical” situations last week, I did try to break the cycle of self-isolation. I was feeling good last week, and even though I hadn't met this girl or spoken to her on the phone, it was just nice to be talking to someone with overt social intentions where I didn’t need to conceal my attraction. I've been in too many crush situations with various complications, where I get my hopes up and mistake friendship for something more, until she casually mentions she has a date or something that makes me realize I'm nothing more than a buddy or a brother figure. Hell, my ex-girlfriend once told me I was like the brother she never had, while we were dating. Ouch.

In any event, after three days of silence, after this girl had seemed very friendly, telling me about her likes and interests and acting “starstruck” about the company I worked for, I decided to send one more e-mail. My last question about television shows lay unanswered, so I tried to turn the conversation back to her, complementing her on some vacation photos of hers. She responded almost immediately and thanked me, apologizing upon the realization that she hadn't answered my last note. A few minutes later, she sent a follow up complementing me on the humor of some things I had written. I was feeling good again, but I also saw where things were heading. I was on the road to just being the good-natured comic relief, racing toward the friend zone. It's not a terrible place to be, and I honestly didn't know enough about this girl to know if I wanted anything more, only the opinion of a mutual friend who thought we'd be good together. I had to make some kind of move if I was ever going to find out, so after returning the complement, I wrote if I could call her. It took me a while to hit send, as I pondered the ramifications. Was it too soon? Would I know what to say if I called her? Oh my God, if she sent me her number, I actually would have to call! I didn't have a plan. I knew she lived a great distance away, so I would need to research things to do in her area. While doing laundry to stall, I came across a fortune from a Chinese lunch earlier in the week, which read “Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes.” I took it as a sign. I put the last of the laundry in the washing machine, went upstairs, and hit “send”.

It's been two days, and I haven't heard back, and now don't expect to. I get the message. I suppose it's some kind of small victory that I actually took the chance and crawled out of my shell, that I was even willing to overcome some of my lingering driving phobias and go over a bridge to meet her. There's a lot of variables and unknowns, and it was all well outside the range of my status quo. It was a nice fantasy, but now I'm back to reality. I found myself a little irritable at work on Monday as people kept asking me to cover for people who were out of the office. At least one person was a friend who I always cover for, and vice versa. Other people were coming to me saying, “So-and-so said I could go to you” where “so-and-so” was someone who never asked me, only assumed. So I guess the status quo is the little worker drone with no life is the go-to guy for everything.

I was also irritable because, while it's only January, band leaders are already bugging me about jobs. Do I really need to commit myself for Memorial Day already? The son/partner of one band leader tried to book me for a parade I usually play for another guy. “Well I called you first and you're one'a our guys,” he insisted. I gave him a tentative “yes”, telling him that technically the other boss booked me at the end of the last parade, so he booked me first. When that guy called me this weekend about another gig in March, I asked him if he had Memorial Day and he confirmed it. So I had to call the first guy back during my lunch break on Monday and explain that I had an answer, just not the one he wanted to hear. There was stone silence on the other end, and with each awkward pause I had to add another sentence, be it apology or explanation of how it wouldn't be right because I'd been doing that gig with the other guy for so long. They wouldn't like it if I bailed on one of their annual gigs to play with someone else. I even suggested 2 or 3 other musicians who could cover for me, and pointed out that it was January and he had plenty of time. It's absurd that these people depend so much on me. I should be flattered, but they really need to have back-up players, not just if I'm with another band. I know I'm not a complete human being, but maybe someday I will be. What if I can't make a gig because I'm on vacation, or more miraculously getting married? There may be gigs I can't make, and they need to have a contingency. They wouldn't get so upset if they had someone else who could cover the parts. It’s really starting to annoy me that my life revolves around all these people, and I don’t care if that’s selfish. I’m still doing the work.

So, this turned in to a bit of a rant, and I apologize. I don't expect that anyone is even reading this, but thank you if you are. Mostly this is for my benefit, to vent some of the frustration I was feeling with my social life and work and band stuff all swimming around in my brain at once, and the treadmill only helped alleviate some of it. I actually feel somewhat better than when I started typing, so that's good. Everything is back to normal, and normal had been just fine until I briefly had a glimpse of something more. I really was operating on instinct without a plan for a bit there, and it was exciting, scary, and probably a little dangerous. It’s kind of psychopathic that I feel so strongly, so quickly. I'm back from that edge, and like the end of every episode of my life, the status quo is restored.



Blogger Lorna said...

Yay, indeed. Maybe that girl is one of the people whose e-mail can wait while she takes her mother to a movie or has a cold.

1/19/2010 1:29 AM  
Blogger Lyndon said...

Maybe she's more an instant messenger/text message kind of person?

Prior to getting my emails sent to my phone, I would rarely check them!

There's nothing wrong with venting, we all need to do it sometimes. If it makes you feel better, at least you have social life. I think mines stuck in cryo somewhere :D

1/19/2010 2:27 AM  
Blogger MCF said...

Well *I'M* more of an instant messenger/e-mail kind of guy, but every article I read about online dating said that if you like someone, you need to switch to the phone as soon as possible to avoid the friend zone, usually by the 2nd or 3rd e-mail which we were well past. :/ And since she's continued to post actively and interact with other friends on the particular social network on which we were introduced, I know she hasn't been away from her computer.

Honestly, when I consider the scenarios, ignoring me is actually the nicest way to tell me she isn't interested. I should have accepted that last week instead of being annoying and persisting. She has no obligation to reply, and anything she wrote would probably make me feel worse. This way, I can tuck MY "social life" safely back in cryo and get back to focusing on my work, which may not have had my full attention this past week despite some crucial projects that need it.

1/19/2010 7:53 AM  

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