Justin's Life...

~ May 2002 ~

May 7, 2002 - Tuesday

I'm still here... going like a madman and nearing a "fuck all this" meltdown. I manage to hide it fairly well, even from myself, but I know if something doesn't change soon, I will break down, if not mentally, then physically.

Last night I was working until 5:30AM. It was the latest I'd been up this past week, but I was working until 4:40AM another night and past 1AM yet another. My eyes still hurt and my clicky finger has a constant ache in it, but I managed to finish the project I was working on. One would think that that would bring a sense of relief... but the next project should've already been started, so I've already got "I've gotta get going. I've gotta get going" anxiety running through my head, even after "finishing."

What's more aggravating is that there's no immediate response when I get through with something. Each project just adds to the collective, so I hardly know if the new effort was even noticed. And the other day, when I had to go to the rental office of my apartment community, I realized just how much I'd like to work with other people for a change... how I'd like to go into an office, see the same faces, even wear a "uniform," and know that we were working for a common goal.

Sure, I know that sounds all idealic, but waking up and spending the day alone, working for myself, trying to do everything, is not just overly exhausting, but I think it makes it a lot harder to keep motivated. Of course, I couldn't tell you for sure... I've never really worked with other people in such a setting: I don't think my three weeks at Copy Cop count.

So, I know that only I can make the changes I need to make, and I know that I will make the changes that I need to make. But "knowing" and "doing" often don't go together like they should.

Anyway, I'm still alive and kicking... but heck, I bought a DVD burner two days ago and it's still in its box. For a gadget freak like me, that speaks volumes.


May 22, 2002 - Wednesday

Lately, but without being down about it, I've been wondering what's the point of it all. I watch "I Love Lucy" and see celebrity guest stars who have long since faded. They enter the scene with much fanfare; the audience clapping so loudly that they must wait for it to subside, but it's beyond ironic that I've never heard of most of them and that Lucy is far more famous than they in the present day. Hedda Hopper, William Holden, Rock Hudson: The names are familiar, but I can only picture one... only because he was gay and hid it.

Even Lucy, Fred, Ethel, and Ricky with their continued fame are now dead... and I wonder what was the point of it all. When I die, will people go on reading about me? Will I soon fade in the information overload? Will I be but a "Full House" or "Facts of Life"... or will I be not even a "Mr. Belvedere"? And in the big scheme of it all, does it matter?

Is Ethel somewhere else now, while a bit of her stays here entertaining us, or is she forever gone out of existence? I believe that there is something beyond what we see here in the present, but I'm not so certain of that fact that I'm comfortable with the idea of dying.

I exist... now... but when I die, will I cease to exist?

It's funny. One level, that really scares me, but on another, I'm sure that in some way, I will continue to be.

I guess what's really been on my mind lately, beyond the passing thoughts of foreverdom, is figuring out what I want to do with the life of which I'm sure I have. I know there's no guarantee I'll be around tomorrow, but I have to function as though I will be, and I have to figure out what I want out of this life. I work and I work and I work, but what's the point?

I mean, I was talking to my mom last night and she was telling me how my half sister was coming down for tacos and french fries. I immediately pictured them being fixed on the stove, and I wondered why I'm here, 2000+ miles away, living in an apartment by myself. There are reasons, of course, but are those reasons really important? Are they getting me any closer to where I want to be? And where do I want to be in virtually every sense of the word?

I think lately I've been so busy working that I haven't had time to think about what I ultimately want... but I know that'll never lead me to a solution. Again, I'm busy for what purpose? Paying off my credit cards? And then what will I have? Will I be happy when I'm debt free? I don't think so.

I mean, I told myself that I was going to figure out everything, or at least start figuring it out, last weekend, but that didn't happen. This weekend it might as Jay'll be out of town, but I guess I really just need to force myself to answer the question "What would I do and where would I be if I had a billion dollars?" Once I figure out the answer to that, at least I'll have the goal.

And having the goal is the first step...


May 25, 2002 - Saturday
12:37AM - Technically May 26, 2002

Tonight, having spent the day by myself and being a bit stircrazy, I decided I'd go out to the bars. I'd thought about going out last night but wasn't in the mood to get all dressed up. Tonight, I still wasn't in the mood to do a lot of preparing, but I had trimmed up my pseudo beard this morning, so I was presentable.

So, anyway, after yinyanging about going a couple times, I left my apartment and arrived at the first bar. Upon paying my three dollar cover, I walked inside to find no familiar faces. Eventually, I did see one of the guys who leads the strip show and recognized him, but just as I'd done before I'd left my apartment, I wondered why I was there. I mean, I knew partly it was because I was just bored, but hoping against hope, I'd wanted to find a kindred spirit. Not necessarily the man of my dreams but someone with whom I could have a decent conversation; a new friend of all things. Instead, I ended up smiling into nothingness, acting as though drinking my rum and coke was the best thing I'd done in days and that I was enthused to be there. And then, I left.

Before leaving, though, I thought to myself, "What do you do when you have the courage to talk to others at a bar, but there are no others to whom you wish to speak?" Overcoming lack of confidence is at least something you can do: How do you overcome lack of worthwhile folks with whom to speak? It was a harsh thought, but I had it.

And so, on to the second bar I headed. Inside, a seven dollar cover charge later, I walked around twice, seeing no one and thinking that going there was even more pointless than the first. At least in the first bar, it was lit well enough that I could see people. In the second, it stank, and I wondered if someone had set off some toxic gas and that was the odor I was smelling. Even more drastically, I wondered if anyone outside of Hillcrest would care. I wondered, "Would the world be a worse off place if terrorists let a toxic gas off here?" I paused at myself for having such an extreme thought, but my disdain let the thought remain.

And then on to the third bar, I headed. I paused at first, thinking I should just get back in my car and head home, but I'd had a rum and coke and wanted it to wear off a bit.

About half way there, I passed a lady, in her mid-thirties I guess, asking if I had any spare change. I said, "No, sorry," in the same automatic response that "How are you?" gets the answer of "Fine." And then, as I continued walking, I felt bad about keeping my money. I'd wasted $15 just to walk around in two bars and have a drink. At least if she had that money, she'd get something worthwhile out of it... so as I continued on to the third bar, I decided on my way back, were she still there, I'd give her something.

At Bar #3, I walked around and saw a few familiar faces. I wondered what kind of lacking lives they had as they were constantly at the bars, and sure, it could've been a coincidence that I was there the same night they were there, again, but I don't believe that for a second. I'd gone hoping to be surprised, but if one goes every night, I couldn't imagine he's hoping for anything other than a hookup. No one's that idealic.

Finally, half an hour or so after I'd arrived, I left and headed back towards my car. In the first block after leaving the bar, I decided that if the lady was still there, I'd give $20. It would mean a lot more to her than it would to me, and I'd blown more than that on nothing.

But the lady who had asked me for change was no longer on the street. A block after where she was standing, though, was a guy who asked for 20 cents as he stood next to a pay phone. I pulled a twenty dollar bill from my pocket and gave to him. He took it, and then it sank in that I'd given him a lot more than 20 cents. I don't recall exactly what he said; he didn't thank me. I think he something about God, but I know he stood there dumbfounded as I continued walking back towards my car. I smiled the hugest grin and kept turning back to see if he'd moved. I got all the way to the next block, and he still hadn't. It was such a great feeling, and I just knew karma was gonna be good my way.

Sure, he was standing in front of a liquor store, and he probably went in and bought something, but sometimes I drink to avoid my problems and I do have a place to live. How could I possibly fault him for the doing the same?

So, it's late. I'm off to bed, but sometimes things turn out right, even when they've seemingly gone wrong and you can't figure out why you're there.

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© 2002 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's