Adjacent to the moment

 Anxiety is a byproduct of being fully present while projecting your current situation forward. I spent most of my life living adjacent to the moment, right now but barely there. I had preferences and tendencies, but not much in the way of goals or expectations. I was rarely proud or disappointed and made a  point of not examining my life too closely. It was a small life, but I rarely felt stress or anxiety.  My needs were so basic that it was difficult to dislodge me from fine. The closest I came to ambition was the stubborn, but largely unchallenged, belief that under the indifference was something extraordinary. 

 I am married to someone with goals and needs who has worked hard to fulfill both. At some point she was swayed by the glimpse of something extraordinary, but it is difficult to grow and plan with someone perpetually adjacent to the moment. It took a long time, and a global pandemic, to properly understand this, but I get it now. I am attempting to change. I read some books on my Attention Deficit Disorder, realized that much of my defiance and oddity were the function of a misfiring brain, and set about having proper goals and expectations. I am just moving past the point where my goal is to have goals.

 But here is the problem. I am not fine. Decades of organizational and motivational debt, that was previously the sort of thing that other people worried about, have become personally problematic. I feel like I quantum leaped into the life of a shittier version of myself and I am denied better circumstances until I resolve an unreasonable amount of back story. The stress and anxiety that was previously, curiously, absent has arrived full force. I do not enjoy them and I am unpracticed at separating cause from effect.

 I dislocated some ribs recently. It’s happened before. I used to snap them back in and continue to workout. This time it rattled me. The recovery was slow, and for the first time there were goals that were disrupted. It wasn’t the pain, it was the opportunity cost. It happened two days before gyms and my muay thai club reopened. Two days before I could go back to things that I had used to prop up my identity, and that loss at the end of a series of losses shook me. I had a panic attack for the first time, and then again whenever my ribs would twinge and remind me of the things I could no longer do. I understood that this was a problem of the moment, but I was stuck in that moment…and if I escaped the old way I worried that I might not find my way back. So I projected, included my sudden frailty into my future plans and obligations, and I realized how useless the well intentioned advice I’d given my anxious friends over the years actually was. 

 I am feeling better. My ribs are still tricky, but I feel an appropriate amount of annoyance and much less panic. I am still planning and goal setting, inexpertly and with some panic, but I am steering into it. I am a better partner. I do more chores. I listen better. I have some perspective on the emotional tax present in most adult activities. I think my life will be richer because of this, but I am not fine. I miss being fine. Growth is painful and I am behind in many ways, but I realize this is the consequence of withdrawing from adversity, so the only way out is to move forward. I am moving forward. I can’t tell if that reads as hopeful or desperate, but whatever gets me there I suppose.


This morning I found a hand written note slipped through my mail slot. There was no business card attached, just a heavily markered, foot long, strip of paper torn from a child’s school project.

 Our house isn’t for sale, so this isn’t an offer, it’s a confession. The all caps red gives the implication of consequences if denied. How long have they wanted it, and what drove them to finally act? I want to do a lot of things, to a lot of people, but I don’t leave hand printed notes in their foyer. There are layers here. Let’s go deeper.

 Observe that it is an I, not a We, so the WANT is singular. Though they do say call “us”, and have a website…******HouseBuyer.***, so there must be other people involved, but just one Buyer. What do the other people do? And why don’t they want my house? They don’t have a printer, photocopier, or third color of marker… so their office setup must be minimal. I guess someone has to answer the phone while the main creep slips notes under doors, but the flyer gives the impression that other, less invested, parties will eventually be involved in the negotiation.

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Tales from my vasectomy, part four: The aftermath

The first day was fine, the novelty of benzos and a Tuesday off had me in a good mood. I spent the afternoon on the couch icing my groin, watching Iron Chef, and musing about how easy the surgery had been. That night I mixed up my anti-inflammatories, with my short burst concentration medicine, and slept quite poorly. A mistake I didn’t catch for a week. I blamed the euphoria of impending sterility for the strange dreams and powered through. I do not believe this impeded my recovery

  The days that followed were difficult. They’d given me a dick bra to keep my junk static, but it constantly rubbed up against the quarter sized disc of hardened glue. It felt like I had accidently affixed a pog to my nuts and decided to just roll with it out of shame. The cats were banned from the bedroom for being serial dick-steppers, so they meowed ceaselessly outside the door. I was barred from lifting more than 10lbs, minced about like a concubine, and dreaded sneezing my guts into my scrotum. I was infirm and petulant but it passed.    

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The reports of my resilience may have been exaggerated

    Even resilient things can lose their shape given sufficient time and pressure. I am built for the sort of crisis that involves barbarians at the gates, not being trapped at a bus station with an old man who repeats the same boring story for months on end. It’s not malicious, but my time is being wasted and my sanity is beginning to fray.

 There are things I could be doing. I could write more. Or some. I could study, something. I still work out and train, when the law allows. I had a client or two during brief periods of lighter lock down. I watch T.V. and play NY times words games with my wife. And that is whole of my life for the past nine months. It doesn’t sound terrible on paper, just insufficient. I don’t feel terrible, just insufficient. And old, less likely to rebound into the sort of dynamic accomplished person that I hoped I would stumble into being.

 For all of the tedium the time away has granted some clarity. Before the plague I was oblivious to opportunity and a lazy friend. The illusion that tomorrow I could start trying and it would be fine has been dispelled. In the absence of change I am who I have been, and I have been forced to study that static image with limited distraction.  There are some things on the horizon. School. Career change. The promise of honest to goodness social interaction. In the short term I am going to try and write more. No grand promises of quality or depth, just more. We’ll see how it goes.

Built For Crisis



I am badly wired, but built for crisis. There is a deficiency in several traits necessary for proper adulting. I have a poor sense of time, a muted threat response, and a formless life that defies structure.  I have learned to cope with this general liability, but there is an upside to existing comfortably within dysfunction. Things collapse frequently, so I am inured to disaster and an expert at rebuilding on the fly. You can rattle a beaver by razing the woods, but a Raccoon will always find an alley. Continue reading

A Gentleman Of Pandemic Leisure

I used to go to a place, touch people, and help them move around…but now those things are mostly crimes. I am a personal trainer in impersonal times. Or I was. I am out of a job, but it is more than that. I have a refined a skill set for a profession that will either move online, or be performed from social distance with due precaution. The idea of poking at my clients with a stick, while mouthing encouragement through the foggy window of a hazmat suit, is deeply unappealing. I may need to recalibrate. Continue reading