Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

B*tch, B*tch, B*tch...What Do You Mean, You're Bored?

A person who shall remain nameless but who is rather dear to me commented the other day, in review of my blog: "You complain a lot." I must have looked wounded, because she quickly revised, "Well--you vent." Which is better, to be sure. But not entirely. The negativity factor 'round these parts is, I admit, strikingly high. A glance at other blogs in my particular genre (overeducated academic types balancing personal and professional needs) shows that my colleagues do seem to have the ability to mention, every so often, something that they enjoy or at least find less than soul-scarringly offensive. Not so much, here. And perhaps that's a bit of a downer. A little vitriol goes a long way, and past a certain point, you just sound like the crusty-haired guy outside Starbucks with spittle in the corner of his mouth and a cardboard sign around his neck that explains that the reason he needs your spare change is that the CIA stole the impulse control portion of his brain and swapped in that of an evil clone. (You should, by the way, make a point of talking to him--he's got stories to tell, that man.)

So I'm trying to figure out A. why I'm so relentlessly bitter, and B. how to lighten things up.

On the A. front, I'm just in a perpetual mood of serious pissed-offed-ness these days. It has much, much to do with personal troubles I choose not to discuss, but in which I feel I was severely and unfairly d*cked over by someone who should have been better than that. And since my life remains in a state of numbed-shock-alternatating-with-grief-and-loneliness as a result, ehhhh...I'm a little tetchy. Not an excuse, just an explanation. Similarly, I've just started with a new shrink, whom I enjoy quite a bit (though I'm not sure I can afford her--damn insurance non-coverage!)--well, not 'enjoy'--but she's very blunt and smart, and she's forcing me to stop "exploring my feelings" and actually put a bridle on the little bastards. After our first session, when I'd explained my thinking about myself in the articulate detail for which I am justly famous, she checked over her notes, nodded as if confirming her diagnosis, then looked me in the eye and calmly said, "Well, I think you should know that, thinking the way you do, having the view of yourself and the world that you do, it is quite literally impossible for you to be happy. At all." Zoinks! O...K...I mean, she's right, but geez, to come right out and say it??? So, I got work to do in the attic, and it's unpleasant. Hence, crankiness.

Plus, I tend towards the comic herein (well, towards attempting the comic--as someone else who shall remain nameless often tells me, I'm not funny--though this is usually after a witticism I've made at her expense, so she's scarcely unbiased), and happiness and cheer do not lend themselves to comedy. The Three Stooges are only funny when they're pissed off and beating the living s*** out of each other. Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny are only funny when they're trying to get each other killed. If these guys just trotted out the tea cart and exchanged compliments over scones, you'd change the channel. Same here. If I have a brilliant moment or two in class where I win both laughs and enlightenment by comparing the Virgilian Underworld to Disneyland (and yes, I did that), who the hell wants to hear about that? "Pat yourself on the back a little more, you smug bastard," you'd think, and rightly so.

Which brings us to B.--how, given these stumbling blocks, do I cheer up things around here? Ideas? Suggestions? 'Cause frankly, I got nothing...


Blogger post-doc said...

I love what you write - it's honest and funny. For what it's worth, I haven't received the impression that you're hopelessly bitter (or bitterly hopeless?), which I think might get difficult to read.

While I'd love to hear your triumphs as well, I think online writing lends itself well to rants and complaints - the stuff nobody really wants to hear in person. So I can read about situations that are upsetting or irritating for you, and feel no obligation to offer advice or aid.

So, no ideas or suggestions from me. I like it here (though I'd still like it if you changed too - I'm pretty easy).

12:36 PM  
Blogger phd me said...

I'm quite comfy in the coffee house, too, so far be it for me to suggest change.

However, you asked, so I'll offer this: friends. You seem to have quite a few. Use them; suck them dry; find your inner leech.

See, I feel like I know from whence you come. I've been accused of having a rather (ahem) cyncial outlook on the world, although I prefer to call it a dry sense of humor. And I recognize that level of anger. Don't feel like discussing it, but I definitely know how it feels.

And, of course, when I'm in that state, I would much rather stay at home, cursing the gods and/or a particular person while watching inane television and stuffing myself with unhealthy food and drink. But if I can make myself get out, spend some time with other, relatively normal people, I can absorb a miniscule amount of happiness.

Not that I'm particularly good company, I'm sure, although I can usually add some spice and laughter to the party. But it lets me turn myself off, sort of work on auto-pilot for a few hours. Then, when I go back into the cave, I have this dim memory of what it's like on the other side. And that makes things a little bit better.

That's me. For what it's worth.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My advice? Give it up, you're just not that funny.


7:12 PM  
Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. said...

I think I'm going to go with the recommendation of 'Anonymous'. When I think about all the productive work I could get done if I just packed this in...oh, right, that's why I started this in the first place: *avoidance* of productivity. All right, then, f*** it. I'll stay, and be surly (and honest--thanks, Post-doc, I *do* try), with, as abd suggests, a little help from my friends.

8:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home