I have been in a pretty anti-social place lately. I haven’t been feeling in a very poly place. I haven’t been in a very interested place – not interested in quite a lot of things. It’s not like things are going badly. Work is going well. My family is doing very well. I have a lot of fun toys and lots of games and enjoy them (or, at least I use them) often.
I’ve gotten a bunch of things I’ve always wanted and made some material dreams come true. For example, last year, I finally bought a (used) Ducati, an exotic Italian super bike in bright racing red. It is a motorcycle I have wanted since the day the concept photos were released back in 2002 or so. Naturally, it’s too much to actually use and enjoy on the street. It’s too fast to actually use any of it, and it’s frustrating to have to use a very high performance vehicle to commute. It’s just not what it wants to do. There’s a line from the original Jurassic Park movie that sums it up: “T-Rex doesn’t want to be fed. T-Rex wants to hunt.” That’s this motorcycle, all right. It’s a beast. But it’s mine. Anyway, that wasn’t meant to be boastful, just to say that even though I achieved a lifelong dream, it fell short of my expectations because it is only brilliant in its element. It isn’t fun all the time.
The Ducati is a good analogue to living with severe depression. I am capable of so much, but in the environment I’m in, I can only do so much and go so far. I’m capable of more but I can’t actually do it. There isn’t enough time. There isn’t enough money. There isn’t enough support. Whatever the reason, everything feels like it’s holding me back. Remember those sticky black balls in The Incredibles, dragging Mister Incredible down to the ground? Like that. All the time.
To use yet another movie reference, sometimes I really want to go all Forrest Gump and just set off. I don’t have any interest in running. I just want to get on one of the motorcycles and go, And go and go and go and go and go and keep on going. Two weeks ago, I had a day all to myself. That’s a pretty rare thing, so I went out riding. I left reasonably early, did around a hundred miles, gassed up, and hit the road again. After another hundred miles, I gassed up again and decided to go into the gas station for some water. The woman was all cute and cheerful and said, “Thank you, have a nice day!”
I croaked back, “You, too.” It dawned on me that at about 2:30pm, “You, too,” back to a cashier were the first words I had spoken that entire day. It was great. I felt very free, having gone wherever I felt like going, not answering to anybody or justifying myself to anybody or having to manage anybody’s expectations. I hadn’t interacted with another human being for about seven hours. I didn’t answer any texts. I didn’t have any girlfriends wondering why I wasn’t talking to them, or wonder myself why any girlfriends weren’t talking to me. It was just me and my machine and the road. It was all very nomadic and romantic. I didn’t have to worry about anybody.
Sometimes the stress of our commitments does get heavier than the rewards that come out of them. I don’t think I’ve ever really had the urge, the need, to withdraw, to get out by myself and leave it all behind for a while. Me-time, alone-time… These are not things that I am traditionally very good at. I wonder why I need to unplug now. Between home life, family life, love life, work life, somebody always needs me for something. Somebody always has some sort of emergency. Shifting to Men in Black, “There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet…”
Kay: Did he say anything to you?
James Edwards: Yeah, that the world is coming to an end.
Kay: Did he say when?
I don’t like being used to it when the world is coming to an end. The problem is that I really don’t know how to function in it if it isn’t.