Conflicting Advice

So I read a Buzzfeed/Jezebel/Lifehacker article. It told me that repeating the positive things I wanted to accomplish would help me feel more positive and happy. No wait, it told me that if I focused too often on those things I would end up feeling worse. It told me to not compare myself to other people, to keep things in perspective, to write lists, to not write lists because it would give me anxiety to stare at a heaped up pile of incomplete tasks. Fuck… now I can’t remember what it told me.

Is there such a thing as being over-informed? In the burgeoning days of the internet I developed a reputation with my mother’s colleagues as an oracle. I would know. I could find you the best deal on a printer, the best website for cheap airlines, articles about health. And if I didn’t know I could find it.

Maybe that tenacity for information had backfired.

I consume consume consume information all the time. Technically I’m paid to write it. Sometimes because I work in a smaller business I end up performing the glorious task of back end data entry into other entities online presences. A repetitive cut and paste of information that after four hours makes me wonder how long it will be before I have arthritis in my wrists. They can add their whining voices to the chorus of my knees.

I took a month long vacation from Facebook earlier this year. I’m still struggling to figure out why I can’t bring myself to delete it. And why knowing that I want to delete it I can’t force myself to regulate my interaction with the site. I hate Facebook. I’m sure most of the people who ever spend more than five minutes talking to me have heard me complain about it. Maybe it’s the lingering pain of disappointment that it never shifted into anything cooler than the LiveJournal posse I had a decade ago. At first it seemed better than Myspace, initially I missed the information about music but then suddenly everyone had abandoned Myspace and everyone you’d ever met was on Facebook.

Sometime last week I realized… like a shitty light bulb exploding on a badly wired lamp. Facebook was like a great dive bar, you go there with your friends, sometimes you invite a colleague and you all talk to each other frankly, unedited. It is dark and funny and the drinks are strong and you have interesting meaningful conversations. And then suddenly you look around five years later and you hate the bar and realize it’s devolved into something like a soulless chain restaurant and your whole goddamn family is in the bar and every coworker from the last 8 years and a bunch of people from high school that practically ran to get away from you want to line up to paw over every detail of your mundane life. And you wonder what the fuck you’re doing there at all. That sounds like some sort of deviation from the plot of the World’s End, but you know what I mean.

And it becomes just another distraction. Because it’s not giving you anything meaningful. You’re not connecting or sharing with real people. It’s a cacophony of Buzzfeed links and memes and “What Drink Are You?”, punctuated by people with some pathological desire to thump captive audiences over the head with deliberately inflammatory topics. Some newly evolved form of the drunk guy picking a fight in a bar. A conga line of irate under-informed assholes shouting at each other without any real facts. It’s contagious. I’m sure I’ve been one of those assholes myself at some point.

So I’m fleeing. I posted an entry of a shitty meandering train of thought “thing” I wrote weeks ago when I was still grappling with the mechanics of death. It’s two weeks later and I feel like I’ve been shoved through a threshing machine. I cleaned out a dead man’s apartment, my car’s parking brake failed and it rolled away in a parking lot and hit another car. Then my ceiling exploded with water from another tenants apartment, a situation brought to my attention at 3 a.m. So I made 400 phone calls and then spent most of a Saturday standing around with friends so I could ride roller coasters. And then Halloween came and went and here I am trying to make peace with the infinity of mundane routines that are required for me to live my life in pursuit of eking out every minute of good, positive, happy, interesting, enriching things that I can cram into the non working hours.

Probably the busiest month of my life in years is over. And I have a lot to say about nothing. I’ve learned about the nuances of water mitigation. And that my floor is actually wood. And that creepy old men will say they love your Halloween costume even if they have no fucking idea what it is… no wait… I knew that bit of wisdom already. And that going through a dead relative’s stuff makes you feel like you’re on tv, but only because half the carpet has been cut out and it looks like a post ax murder Law & Order set. And that some of your black humor is actually from your unfailingly upbeat mother.

I’m just writing because I’m restless. It seems like the thing to do, even if no one is listening.

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