In reading — and editing — some old posts today, I’ve come to see that my style of blogging has changed. From the beginning, it was a semi-personal narrative. SOmething for the world to see, if you will. My own place, centered around me, where I can say things that I might otherwise never have the chance to say.
There are posts on this blog from almost the very beginning of my writings on the internet. Imported from Blogger and other places. I like to read them every once in a while. It’s a sort of self-checkup, or a state of the person measurement. Have I lost touch with anything? Am I radically different in any way? Have I stayed the course?
It’s odd, really.
Three years ago, I had heard the name Noam Chomsky (for instance), but really had no idea what he wrote, or what he believed. I hadn’t encountered that yet. My study of the pysical sciences (albeit an off-and-on flirtation rather than a serious study) hadn’t brought me to the inescable conclusion that the earth at least looks monstrously old.
I probably wouldn’t have used the word “monstrously”.
If I were pressed, I’d have to say that I don’t particularly like looking back. Not, of course, because my history is so completely devoid of merit that I can’t bear the sight of my former self, but because it’s pretty useless. Do you know anyone so enamoured of the past they can’t envision a future that doesn’t resemble it? I’d rather not be that person.
I’ve done very good things. I’ve done very bad things. I am not, however, trapped in the glare of either. By God’s grace, I move forward; but in moving forward I also look back. To guage, or to measure, or to plumb.
Call it what you like. I don’t mind.
In a whole blog comprised of what some might mercilessly call navel-gazing, I reserve this short time to glance over my shoulder and contemplate.
I’ve changed, you see. Not in the way that some of you like I might mean, as if I’m somehow qualified to say, “I’m better!” I don’t know. Sometimes I think that. Sometimes I even want that. Yet, I am different in some way, in some etherial sense I can’t put my finger on.
Maybe you know how this is, one day looking back and seeing that you’re just not that person anymore, not just in ways that can be readily qualified as “good” and “bad”, but in ways much more subtle. In ways that defy symmetry.
Here’s the difference between now and then: I’m not going to tell you how. I’ll let you guess, if you even care, which I really can’t be sure of.
There’s an entire series of posts before this one. I can vouch for their honesty — if that means anything to you — but you’ll have to read them for yourself.
Find some time when you’re bored.
I found this post in my “saved but not posted” section and thought it was interesting. So here goes.
You think to yourself, there is a reason. And yes, you’re right, there is. Or maybe there isn’t and you just don’t realise it yet. That’s the obscenity of the whole thing, isn’t it? Even in these things you need to believe a reason’s out there somewhere, when the simplest and easiest answer is that there’s no answer at all.
If you turn over the coin, people suck, and people do horrible things to eachother, and people aren’t worth it. Then again, you and I aren’t so different in that we do horrible things to other people, are we? We simply do different horrible things. And while this may sound to you like a measure of equivocation, I assure you it is not. It’s the difference between throwing a brick at someone’s head and mortaring bring upon brick until someone is suffocating and must somehow escape.
Different people escape differently. There, that was equivocation. Of course, it’s still true. The truth of it doesn’t make it right, though it’s still true. Remember that. Different people escape differently. You may find yourself in a long line of people scrambling away, if you keep turning that coin over in your fingers.
I think there’s something about yourself that you don’t know. It must be, because in all the years I knew you, there was something about you didn’t know either, and I was as close to knowing you as I think anyone’s ever gotten. Do you remember talking about the distance? Was it me, or was it you? I still don’t know, and in all likelihood never will, though I’ll stop caring in a while.
I still think there’s something about yourself that you don’t know. I hope you find it, and face it. I hope you stop the dichotomy of self-love and self-hate you’ve always seemed to present.
I think to myself, there is a reason. Of course there is. Nothing never come from nothing. Or something always comes from something else. I don’t believe for a moment in things a priori. The simplest and easiest answer here is, of course, that the answer is somewhere you have yet to look.
This morning I happened to walk by Lisa’s desk as she was browsing the blogosphere (a pastime that has apparently grown exponentially while I was growing tired of it) and caught a glimpse of some people I haven’t seen for ages and ages.
What really struck me was how everyone I used to know seems to be having children, and how everybody I know now is either pregnant or shooting for it. I’m 25 and I have no children. I’m not even married. I’m an oddity.
But I don’t feel left out of this child-rearing thing. Maybe that’ll kick in someday, but right now I just don’t feel the desire to father any little ones, blessing though they be. It’s not a problem either. Common sense will tell you not everyone can be called to make a family; and though that sounds like equivocation, I assure you it’s not.
It’s not even a game of oneupmanship. I really don’t care. My sister Lisa is having a kid, and that’s a great thing for her. My mom had eleven, also a great thing. I’m not kicking sand in anyone’s eyes. I’m just saying, “You do your thing, I’ll do mine, and we’ll all be fine.”
But if ever having the cutest kid with the coolest baby clothes and accessories becomes some sort of contest to be won (as, I’ll admit, my family and extended family are very wont to make it into), I’ll have a little laugh I guess. Or maybe a cup of coffee. Growing up a status symbol isn’t fun.
Are you willing to defend your freedom?
Are you willing to die for it?
Are you willing to die for nor only your freedom, but for the freedom of your enemies?
Are you willing to stand up to abuses of power?
Are you willing to be offended by the voices of others?
Are you willing to speak and be the offense?
Are you willing to die so that your Muslim countryman can spread his religion free of governmental interference?
Are you willing to defend your opponent’s right to say what he likes?
Are you willing to lay down your life so that those you believe to be dead wrong can speak?
You’re going to think what we sell you. No, really. You are. If you could avoid it, you already would have. It’s on sale at the corner store. It’s on sale at the big box down the street. It’s on sale at your doctor’s office. It’s on sale in every aisle of your church.
The fact that it doesn’t have a price tag on it doesn’t mean you’re not selling it. It certainly doesn’t mean you’re not buying it. That you simply rebranded yourself different without changing anything speaks to that fact.
Well, you say, this here is different and that there is different and we don’t do this and we don’t do that, so clearly we are not this and are that. But there it is, your shopping cart of isms and isn’tms. It’s gloriously subtle. But there it is.
You’ve got a bit of time to power down, so you decided to read this. Why? You decided to feel threatened because clearly this is for you. Why? You threw up ten reasons. Why?
Because, silly. You’re going to think what we sell you. Simple, easy, pervasive. The irony is it’s not what you think. It’s something else.
You know, where there’s an omnibus post about me because I’m frankly sick and tired of my blog being about other people? I mean, you and your pictures and your quotes and your comments. It’s my blog! Mine, mine, mine! (That was for those of you who who have seen Scrubs.)
This morning I dropped off some tools in Mississauga; I walked through the shipping receiving door, and was greeted by the smiling face of a 70-year-old man in a turban. So he was Sikh. But that’s not what this story is about, so much as how the English Bits of his brain seemed to be malfunctioning: he began gabbing at me (not to me, but at me), making hand motions whilst spewing out words that, while being words that I know and love, weren’t arranged in any particular order and seemed to be chosen quite at random. All of this together isn’t so strange. Old men do sometimes get a little batty, and sometimes their employers continue to issue paycheques through some fluke of the system or some misguided sense of duty. What was strange, however, was when he hopped onto a fork life – that’s right, a fork lift – and drove it Evil Knievel-style across the plant floor. At which point another, younger man called across the shop for me to not “pay any attention to him”. But he’s driving a forklift!
It was my mother’s birthday yesterday, or at least the celebrations thereof. We ended up going to an all-you-can-engorge-buffet where we, true to our genes, engorged all we could. But it was good. Though of course my mother gave herself a birthday present and commanded no alcohol be consumed. We ended up giddy with laughter anyways, between Elyssa and her banana-flavoured natural remedies, me and the five-axis Imperial March, Rebekah with her trademark mix of clueless humour and pop-culture references, and Kristin asking me what she considered “hard questions”.
I like it when people surprise me. Like, when one of you asks me a question I didn’t see coming. Something stunningly out of the ordinary. Something unexpected. Yet for the life of me, I can only think of three times in my life I’ve been knocked on my ass, hard. In the same breath, I only like being surprised after the fact; I like to see things coming.
The Kahvi Collective rules. A netlabel, all electronica, all free. Some of it is repetitive, some of it is boring, some of it is just plain bad, but the majority of tunes on Kahvi are quite listenable. Plus, you can download in both OGG and MP3 if you like.
Do you ever drink from the keg of victory? I have, today. There are a lot of jobs on time: this has a lot to do with the company quoting more realistic time frames to customers, not to mention implementing processes that facilitate streamlining and reveal untapped synergies. Someone, tell me what that means.
You’re surrounded by technology every single day. Do you know how to use it? Why not? I’m not asking if you know how to program in C or write and embedded OS or name for me the top three web application platforms. Just, do you know how to use it?
I wish I could be another person for a day, so I could watch myself. Have you ever felt like you would annoy yourself greatly? I want to find out if I would. Or, if there was some way to videotape myself. But then, I already like watching my videoblogs enough (I know, I’m Narcissus), and I have a feeling I’d be too entranced watching the video of my life to care enough about being annoyed with my foibles. This is not to say that I’m perfect, or don’t annoy anyone; it’s simply to say that I have an ego the size of Kansas.
On that note, I watched Dark Side of the Rainbow, and I seriously don’t get what the fuss is. If anyone sees connections between the song and movie, it’s got to be in their mind. Weird how humans are wired to find patterns where there are none; or perhaps how the universe is wired to create patterns.
The creation vs evolution debate: how important is it to you?
No one’s said anything funny today. It’s a shame. We’ve all been terribly work-oriented and probably just a little bit bloated.
It occurs to me that the photos of people eating cake below are all of my relatives. Rebekah is my sister, Elyssa is my sister, Steve is my cousin by marriage, Stu in my uncle by marriage, and Jerry is my uncle by marriage. The odd thing is that both Steve and Stu were not dating their wives (did they even know them? Someone clear this up.) when they started working here. So, Matthew Reckman, how are you planning to wedge yourself into my family? I wonder.
This calculator comes with a manual the size of small novel. I don’t want to calculate pi to the 1,000th digit guys (I’m not that white and nerdy). I just want to do some basic trig, and some arithmetic.
That’s it. I’m back to work, doing thangs. Please remember that I value and will try to respond to your comments!
Tonight I had a moment that brought me to my knees. Call it awe, call it a left turn, call it a pipebomb, call it anything you like – these words aren’t enough, but I’ll try anyways. Here it is: life changes in the blink of an eye, in a moment you can’t breathe because your most impossible dream is coming true. It’s like reaching for the stars and finding one in your palm. It’s an incredible rush; elation, and freedom, and change, and a glimmer what can be.
I have a story to tell. Not much of a story, mind you, but a few words devoted entirely to me (as this blog is essentially my personal narrative).
Anyhow, I had spent this entire weekend feeling sorry for myself. I admit it. If I’d been a kid, I would have been crying in a corner, holding tight on my blanket, and sucking my thumb. As it was, I was just crying in the corner. Metaphorically, of course. You know how long weekends are fun because they’re, well, longer than normal? And because you have free time to do what you like? I took half of Thursday off, and all of Friday, essentially adding a day and a half to my weekend. The unfortunate thing is that I had the flu. So I spent those days in bed, drinking lots of fluids, and basically sleeping off the sickness (a strategy that, in retrospect, doesn’t seem to have done much good). But even the drugs didn’t help.
By the time Living Worship rolled around on Saturday night, I was grumpy as a bear, a condition you probably won’t be able to perceive unless you know me well, or I’ve just yelled at you for nothing at all and then apologised five minutes later. For some context, by the time I got to Living Worship, I was even grumpier, as I hate traffic, and some gomer had decided to go ahead and smash his car into a transport truck on the 403, making the 403/QEW combination resemble a Wal-Mart parking lot two days before Christmas. Did I mention I hate traffic? I really do.
I had just hopped out of the shower after my convalescent activities of the previous days, having done nothing more than check my email once. I hadn’t been on IM, I hadn’t checked my feeds, I hadn’t talked to anyone for about two and half days. Had I done those things, I might have been aware of the high-level talks going on between various parties the nights I had crawled into The Cave and hibernated. But such as it was, I was clueless and unaware, a lamb being led slowy and inexorably toward my soon-to-be-revealed slaughter.
After Living Worship most of the band plus me and a few other dignitaries went out for good food and some Guinness, during which time I devolved steadily into yet further depths of Oscar the Grouch’s garbage can of self-pity. It didn’t help that my neck had begun to ache again, and with it my head. At the end of the night I simply picked up from the middle of a conversation and left, such was my outlook at that point. I drove to Nick’s house and settled onto the floor of his bedroom where I spend a great deal of the night waking up from the pain in my neck. But through all this I suffered in silence (though you may ask Nick if I screamed in agony much during the night: he was a mere metre or so away from me).
In the morning, feeling better, I gulped down altogether too much coffee, and got into what I can only describe as a bowel movement with four wheels (Gus’s sub-woofer equipped Mazda), travelling with Nick and Gus to The Bridge where I was greeted with just the right sermon based on an extended metaphor about weeding and seeding and several other rhymes. Side note: you may not be much for visuals during sermons, but the picture of a Burdock root is with me still, probably one of the most context-appropriate visual metaphors I’ve ever been priviledged to have grace my eyes. In any case, I also had a chance to comandeer the drum kit for the last set, as the usual drummer had at that point gone AWOL. And you know me, I never give up a chance to play kit.
The day progressed in much the same monotony, with the exception of a game of Reversi which I tied with a first-time player of the game, to my chagrin. Let it be noted, however, that I’ve never tied that game before, and beat Nick and Laura handily later that evening.
We went to the evening service at Living Water, which was complete with a sermon that gave me some things to think about. I also purchased a paintball gun. Not at church, mind you, though that was where the verbal agreement took place.
A few other boring things happened – though the coffee that punctuated those boring this was (in the words of a certain faux-French female) tres delicious – and I had a bomb dropped on my head. Have you had a moment where the completely unexepected happened to you? Blind-sided you, even? Well, in light drizzle, with cigar breath, it happened. In the immortal words of Switchfoot, you finally lit the fuse that’s in my head.
The challenge of unexpected things is they don’t lend to making roadmaps; I’m something like a political analyst working on a politician’s campaign, in that I don’t really like things I can’t measure and understand and hedge and diagram.
I am so screwed. Last night, I didn’t get a wink of sleep. Today, I worked half a day; on top of being exhausted, I was also sick.
So here I am, writing this out, so I can remember it. I forget a lot of things, and I thank God for my brain’s unique seive-like abilities or lack thereof, but I thought it’d be best if my personal narrative included this entry.
You should understand that the language I’ve crouched this post in was conceived by a part of my psyche that like to play things close to the chest. I’m so screwed, yeah, but in a good way. Not that good way. The other good way. I’m excited.
I’ve considered this blog post all morning. Really, I don’t like posting too much about my personal life here for fear that you’ll all get bored. In real life I’m hardly interesting, and I’d like this blog to be me, instead of being about me. Can you get an accurate picture of who I am from this blog, warts and all? I think so.
But it’s time to spill the beans. I’m thinking of moving. Mississauga has been nice. It has been good to me, seeing me through rock, hard place, and everything in between (me). It’s just this basement apartment. Great vishnu, I’m getting tired of it. I want a bedroom proper, and a bed proper, and a view of somewhere, and a balcony.
It’s just that I hate the prospect of actually going anywhere; if I move where I want (much closer to Toronto), I have longer to drive to get to work, and I frankly couldn’t keep going to Living Water. But I also have all those things I love about the city – the convenience, the freedom, the masses of people, the culture, the activities. I guess my point is whether or not I’ll get over the apprehension and do anything about this desire.
If you didn’t already know this about me, every once in a while I go through a terribly rebellious streak. Or not rebellious as much as desperate to change. It makes me wonder what I’ll be like when I’m 40, frankly. That desire has, right now, driven me to start writing a novel, meet new people, get out of myself, and start serving at a homeless shelter in Ontario. So far so good. But I’m also sick of where I am. It was good for a while – but I feel trapped in my environment.
Some of you will never understand what this is like. It’s as if my life suddenly turns on itself. It’s part sober reflection, part spontaneous abandonment. Not that I’m some tortured soul slitting his wrists so he can feel real, but I am at that place where I understand just how staid, boring, normal, and predictable my life has become.
And how lonely. Mississauga hasn’t been good to me in this way. During my time here I have met a total of three people, all in the same place. The only place to really meet people is at church, and by the time I located a church that didn’t suck eggs, I had already joined Living Waters. Or at work, but where I work sees virtually no visitors.
It’s a strange place, my life. It’s a strange time, right now. Sometimes I wonder how I could ask anyone to be a part of it. You’re not going to know me in three, five, seven, eleven, thirteen years. You’re going to find yourself staring at a different person with different goals. Maybe smoother around a few of the edges, but pushing out more edges in the meantime.
It’s why I have no one driving passion, no particular goal in my life. It could be music, it could be literature, it could be career, it could be family, it could be a thousand different things that I’m good at. But no, I’m caught up in one thing, then I turn to another, and then another, and then another.
Ask me sometime if I want this to change. The answer is no. Am I addicted to the adventure of being different, or am I simply scared that if I stop I’ll be just like everyone else, or that’s just the way I’m wired. Maybe I’m representative of an entire generation or something. I just don’t know.
I’ve considered this blog post all morning. It seems as if I’ve written more than I had meant to. You judge.
Maybe it’s because last night I went to bed annoyed. Maybe it’s because this morning I didn’t get enough sleep. Maybe it’s for a thousand reasons escaping me now.
But I can’t seem to shake it – my stomach curls in on itself, in knots, in tangles. As if something bad is about to happen, and there’s no way for me to stop it. No way even to see it coming.
Just when everything was going right; oh but this time I hope I’m wrong.