Saturday, September 26, 2015

Two Different Issues...One Big Reason Why: An Addendum

About two months ago, I did a post on driving and relationships, and how, with me, they have a lot in common.  Since then, some thoughts on those same topics have been bouncing around in my head, and it's time I got them out.  I started this while on Facebook hiatus; it has taken me a while to finish it...which may be a good thing.

Since I've already done my opening arguments in the previous post, let's get right to the main points.  First off: It's not that I don't like the thought of driving or being in a relationship; it's actually that I like it a little too much.  If you went to a traditional high school--or even if you didn't--you likely studied Dante's Inferno, an epic poem about a journey through seven circles of hell.  It actually is the first of a trilogy of sorts titled The Divine Comedy; after Dante's trip through hell, he also journeys through purgatory and eventually heaven to be reunited with his one true love.  At my high school, all sophomore honors English students were required to study Inferno, in all its brutality.  The teacher I had was fascinated by it; he said he had read the sequels, and found them to be "very boring".  While nobody had an issue with his treatment of that seriously long poem, another English teacher was notorious for being obsessed with it.  She had other issues as well--she reportedly made the students take notes and tests on the morning and afternoon announcements--but, even on RateMyTeachers.com, a random commentator said, "She's [sic] obsessed with dark, depressing subjects." While it was okay to find something interesting, the problem was that she liked an epic poem all about pain and suffering entirely too much.

Most of you reading this know that I used to be notorious for being obsessed with whatever; everything from shows to comic strips to video games to celebrities to even a real-life crush.  While it was fine that I liked those entities, it disturbed people that I liked them too much, and tended to bandy about the names of my favorite fictional characters or famous people as if they were my best friends.  I've never been obsessed with something as dark as Dante's Inferno--in fact, most of my obsessions have been rather cutesy and happy--but, it bothered people because I just didn't know when to quit.  Even when it came to people I actually knew, I tended to force myself on them; I remember one time a friend in fifth grade asked me to refrain from sitting with him, because I had simply been following him around too much.  Another time, my mom restricted me from going over to my friends' house one day--which was something I did every day--and I was none too happy about it; I begged her to let me go, saying, "I'll do anything!", to which she simply replied, "The only thing you can do is not go."  It took me years to understand that my constant presence at my friends' house was probably driving them and their parents crazy, especially since some others seemed to think that I was only friends with them because of their Nintendo 64.  Whatever the case, the fact that I liked whoever or whatever too much was disturbing to others.

People who have encouraged me to attempt driving and/or dating have mentioned the benefits: having my own transportation with the former, and having companionship and someone to come home to with the latter.  However, the problem there is: If I had those privileges, I would take them entirely too far.  If I had my own car, I'd drive to every single garage sale, used bookstore, fast food joint, thrift shop, library sale, etc., I wanted, and spend too much money, especially when you factor in gas prices and vehicle upkeep.  My parents have enough issues with me spending money like crazy as it is; can you imagine if I could get to my favorite stores and the bank any time I wanted? When it comes to relationships, while most people want someone to love, they don't want someone who is going to smother them and constantly obsess over them; that could be grounds for a breakup, even after marriage.  Most of you reading this are married, and have been for a while...but, is your spouse all you talk about? Didn't think so.

Second off: I have a serious issue with lack of focus...and not just when it comes to the task at hand.  In recent years, much discussion has been made about distracted driving; the "W82TXT" campaign has started in an effort to save lives.  While I agree that texting while driving is a big risk, other things could be just as distracting: the radio, your kid screaming in the backseat because he wants to go to McDonald's, or even a preoccupation over something that happened earlier in the day.  Those can cause accidents even when you're not behind the wheel; a month or two ago, I tripped and fell while walking into the library where I work because I was too focused on getting online when I got inside and not paying attention to where I was going.  I ended up busting the knee of my pants, and had to go home and change clothes; thank goodness I got there early.  As easily distracted as I am--remember, I got distracted by my own thoughts while watching Attack of the Clones...in IMAX!--I just don't belong behind the wheel; who knows what could happen if I lost focus at the wrong moment?

It's a different sort of focus issue when it comes to relationships: For you married folks who are reading this, I'm sure you'd say that your spouse is more important to you than any other human being other than Jesus.  While you have other people whom you care about--and if I'm not one of them, I'm not sure why you're reading this, unless you're a random Internet user--your spouse is simply irreplaceable; there's no one else like him/her, and there never will be...because he/she is yours, and will be for the rest of your life.  My problem is: I can't say something of mine is better just because it's mine.  I never was much for school spirit because I could never see what made my school better than the other schools out there.  During my first year at my second elementary school, it won the "prestigious" Blue Ribbon award...and I was infuriated; that school was no better than my first elementary school! It's the same with friends: I have plenty of them, and some are better than others...but, I don't exactly have a best friend; the last person who I bestowed that title upon couldn't figure why she even deserved it, which proves that I don't even know what makes someone my best friend.  My understanding of relationship rules is: When you're "going steady" with someone, you don't hang out with people of the opposite gender...but, I can't refrain from doing that; most of my best friends are women, and that's probably never going to change.  As weird and wrong as it may sound, I can't stick to just one woman...and that's exactly what marriage would require of me.  If some girl saw me talking to every woman I saw at church, that would likely be a major turn-off.

Third off: Both driving and relationships tend to bring out the worst in people...which is something I can't deal with.  You probably know that I've struggled to get along with numerous people over the years, especially my immediate family members.  It's not really their fault, though; when you're dealing with someone close to you, you're going to see them at their best as well as at their absolute worst.  While I would hope for a mate that would be able to properly handle me during my low points--which happen all the time--I don't know if I could do the same, because others' negative moments tend to stick with me.  For a few days, I've been haunted by something someone said--it's so ugly, I won't repeat it here--all the way back in 2003.  I haven't even seen the guy who said it in ages, which is a good thing; he was no friend of mine.  That likely will pass...and be replaced by something else someone shouldn't have said to me at some point in my life; maybe last week, maybe 1995.  While I'm not going to bash the person online publicly or even privately for what he did, it's still haunting me.  When you live with someone--i.e., a spouse--that's all the more chance that he/she could say something ugly to you, especially if he/she is tired, in a bad mood, or whatever.

It's kind of the same with driving: Most of you reading this are Christians, so, I'd think you wouldn't willingly and knowingly break the law...yet, people get tickets for speeding, running red lights, etc., all the time.  Some people can be total jerks behind the wheel...which plants seeds of rage in normally good people.  I, for one, don't want to deal with other drivers flipping me off or honking at me for no reason; with my memory, it would still be haunting me five years from now.

Fourth off: If I'm not ready for driving or a relationship now--which is definitely the case, as far as I'm concerned--I probably never will be.  All the way back in 1999, my neighborhood friends were all about seeing Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace in theaters.  Those friends moved later that year, and I didn't see it until spring of 2000...on video, no less.  Around Christmas 2002, I was talking with one of those friends on the phone, and telling him about a Star Wars game I had recently gotten for my Super Nintendo...but he didn't want to hear about it.  He told me he and his brothers--who were also my friends--didn't like it anymore; his exact words were, "We grew out of it!" While that may be the case for many kids, it was never that way with me.  Aside from one computer game that had some moral issues, I still view many of my former favorite entertainment entities--even ones that weren't exactly "obsessions," such as Wheel 2000 or Judy Blume's Fudge series--in an at least somewhat positive light.  Some of them I used to say I despised, but, that was usually because of a bad memory associated with it: thinking it was real and being made fun of as a result, a dumb crush on one of the stars who was washed up by that point, etc.  When it comes to the show, game, book, comic, etc., itself, though, I still like it...and, in most cases, I still consume it.  I got into Scooby-Doo just before I finished fourth grade, a whopping seventeen years ago...yet, I've watched several episodes of it just this year alone.  I've also considered checking out or buying DVDs or iTunes volumes of my old-school favorites: Pok√©mon, Lizzie McGuire, etc.  I probably will always enjoy them.

What's my point there? Simply this: Despite some changes in recent years, I'm still largely the same I've always been...which makes driving or a relationship not an option.  Some would say that it could be an option in the future...but, by now, I'm doubting it.  If I'm still largely a kid at the age of twenty-seven, I doubt I will ever be able to be adult in my thinking, no matter how hard I try; you can't force me to act my age any more than you can force an elementary school kid to act like he is my age.

I've talked about "Mrs. Russo," my junior English teacher, before on here.  Here's another part of her story I haven't shared in a while: Despite her impact on my life, she was only a teacher for one year.  Though I'm sure she had more than one reason for leaving that soon, she told our class that she was jumping ship because she didn't like that one thing that comes with being a teacher: When you get home...your job is not done! That's especially true when you're teaching Honors English like Mrs. Russo did; she told us that she started grading our essays on The Great Gatsby at 4:30...only for it to be 10:30, and she still wasn't finished.  I can't say I blame her; one of the things I like about my job is that, when I'm off work, I can do pretty much whatever I want.  Of course, I can't do anything that would besmirch the name of the library system, but, still: I can shop wherever, I can watch whatever, I can eat out if I want...and, I don't have to worry about work until it's time to be there.  Still, that's not the way it works in a relationship.  From my understanding of the way relationships work, you don't have time while in one, especially during the dating phase, for "trivial" matters such as television or reading books.  However, to me, those activities aren't just hobbies; they're very influential, and very important to me.  If anyone--a significant other or anyone else--were to get in the way of them, I would definitely be unhappy; you just don't get between me and my favorite activities, just like you don't get between rabid sports fans and Monday Night Football.

My final point: I'm simply too impatient--or maybe too stubborn--for a relationship or driving to work.  On my first Mac, I had all sorts of fun features--known as extensions and control panels--installed; they did everything from color the menus to make Oscar the Grouch come out every time you emptied the Trash.  Usually, all you had to do to get it to work was copy the file to the right folder and restart; two simple steps that could cause dramatic changes.  Even now, most installations on my Mac don't take that long...but the changes they bring are huge! Unfortunately, you don't go from dating to marriage or novice driver to the next Dale Earnhardt in all of fifteen minutes; with either topic, it takes time for things to progress.  Unfortunately, if I don't see results immediately, I'm tempted to jump ship quickly...because, if nothing happens at first, I begin to doubt anything ever will.

Some years ago, I had an older friend tell me that the quickest end to a relationship she ever had was when a guy proposed to her on the third date.  While many of you would agree that is taking things too quickly, for me, that isn't quick enough.  I've never liked the thought of dating; I had a discussion with a friend earlier today about how I don't like terms such as "boyfriend" and "girlfriend", and she agreed.  (Before you ask: There's nothing going on between us; we're just friends, and we're staying that way.  If you knew her, you'd know why.)  When my mom and my (step)dad were dating, I was hesitant to refer to him as my mom's boyfriend...because the term was repugnant to me.  You might have noticed that, in other posts, I've used terms such as "significant other" or "beau," which has caused me to endure some criticism.  Even one post that I made while positively furious still kept to that rule.  I don't want a girlfriend; I want a wife...and only a wife.  Unfortunately, it seems you just can't have one without the other.