March 21, 2007
It's six am and I still haven't slept which sucks because pretty much nothing you think at six am is going to be good, it's not like people are up at six am thinking "Damn, my life sure is going well, I sure am glad to be wide awake and have all these crazy thoughts running through my head keeping me from sleeping here at six am, so that I can be up and just basking in how great I feel about life" and it's not like I really have reason to complain but it's not like anybody needs a reason to complain either sometimes we just feel a ton of stress like those kids who commit suicide when they're 17 and I think oh my god I can't believe I ever thought of killing myself when I was 17 because there was simply no stress I had at that age that really ended up meaning anything I mean christ how bad did I feel about getting crappy grades in college and then it turns out NOBODY EVER asks you in your real life what you go in the honors history of Chinese architecture class you took and you're actually kind of mad because you're like damn I spent a ton of time in that lecture room listening to that guy talk about Chinese architecture and it's really never ever come up in my life except, like, sometimes I tell people what feng-schwei literally translates to ("wind & water", not the pop group from the 70s) but I think most people think of me as kind of a know-it-all anyways so it's not like having another piece of useless trivia is really helping me in the big scheme of things and I feel bad because I found myself yelling about the maids today and I know that sounds pretty horrible but I need to stress it was about, not at, the maids and I was just lost it to my friends because, honestly, I redid my basement like six months ago and the maids still haven't figured out that they have to vacuum down there so there's like six months' worth of detritus on the carpet including shards of broken glass from the various times we've smashed our wine glasses playing Wii down there and I hate living in filth and I know some people are like morally opposed to having maids at all but honestly I think it's the right thing to do because when I was young (and I'd like to note I grew up really poor, like food-stamp poor) my mom said to me as soon as you can afford it hire maids because (a) if you make more per hour than you'd pay maids to do the same work, it's really going to be a net win for you to not do housework yourself and instead put your effort into your career, and (b) it's morally right to hire people who are in positions where they don't have a lot of career options (like, my maid company pretty much hires people who don't speak English yet, so that limits their career choices) because dammit they have to survive and they're trying the best they can and they really don't want your pity they just want a chance to work and build a life and send their kids to a decent school and, you know, achieve the American dream and all that and since that's pretty much what my mom did I had to take her word for it, and if you're still not convinced think of it from an economist's standpoint: if you think maids are being underpaid or taken advantage of, the right thing to do is hire them, bizarrely, because if EVERYONE had maids then there would be a big shortage and suddenly we'd all be competing for a scarce resource and the maids would have a lot of power and could get high wages and swank benefits and all that, much the way garbage men (eg, sanitation engineers) aren't really hurting for money because everyone creates garbage, although I have to admit I also have maids for purely selfish reasons which are that, being obsessive-compulsive AND prone to depression, if my house is filthy I obsess about each individual filth item AND then feel depressed about the fact that I've let things get so bad, but I have a lot of trouble cleaning anything beyond the kitchen myself because I hate doing things where they just get undone in a few weeks, like cleaning toilets, so I let it go for months and months until there are like different-colored colonies of bacteria growing out of different areas of the toilet bowl and I'm all charting the progress each morning like, oh, red's really making strides up the side, there, but it doesn't realize that bluegreen has the whole bowl circumnavigated at the top and if red strikes it will find that is has awoken a sleeping giant and then it's harder than hell to program because I'm like, "Change the world? I can't even keep my toilet bowl clean, how am I going to change the world?" so it's better just to pay people to take care of that and not have it hanging over me, like I'm redoing parts of my house, as I have been basically ever since I got it, and I keep telling the contractors I want any work they do to last a hundred years, partly because I hate the idea of disposable houses because it's such a huge waste of energy and partly because this house and I have been through a lot together and I invest every object in my life with a little personality of its own, and I feel that to harm any of them harms me, and also because I have this idea that I'm going to pass this house to my kids and grandkids and grandkids' kids which makes me wistful because I don't even know if I want kids yet and I'm certainly nowhere near having any since I don't actually, like, even have a girlfriend any more and even though I know it was for the best because eighty-percent of a really good relationship is still eighty-percent really good, it's just not enough for me and I feel like she would have come to hate me for not really being in the relationship enough and I certainly would have hated myself for it, did hate myself for it and do hate myself for it, and I feel like a guy a restaurant who is starving so he orders a 10-oz steak and he gets an 8-oz steak and sends it back to the kitchen instead of just, like, eating it and getting a damn snack later, but in relationships the steak you start with is pretty much all the steak you're going to get, so you want to get it right the first time, unless I'm totally wrong and there's some relationship magic where you work on the steak and it grows over time and such, which I do kind of believe but I also think you have to guess which steaks are magical growing steaks and which ones aren't and pretty much all of us spend all our lives asking ourselves that question about every person we've ever broken up with, "wasn't that enough steak for me?" and "wouldn't it have maybe grown?" but in the end you have to trust yourself because, well, there just isn't any damn science to it but it's nice to have a steak to curl up with sometimes at night and you feel stupid later when your ribs are all poking out being, like, man I was sure clever sending that other steak back, heh heh, boy I hope that waiter comes back soon this totally sucks because the Apple Design Awards deadline for this year is almost exactly a month away and I can't think and the only category I can even enter is for Best Leopard App because they'll accept a beta and the other categories won't and I damn sure am not going to have DL2 out of beta by then because it's not even in beta because contrary to rumors it's not done I just gave the TED guys coupons for a free copy when it is and man I sure wish I were done because it's been a long time coming and it's harder than hell to work all day every day on a program for years on end and not get any kind of positive feedback about the stuff you are doing and reading about how people think it's done is like a painful irony, kind of like reading rumors that you're dating Gabrielle Anwar when in fact you're very damn single thankyouverymuch, and I just wish the sun would come out for a couple days and I could take the top down on my car and let it shine in my eyes and make everything better for just a bit because I feel like I'm totally losing my ability to think or prioritize and every night when I try to sleep everything is racing through my head again and again and again, and I realize that part of the reason I program is just because it is a way to stop all those thoughts, that I force myself to think about the minutia of the little coding problems of the day whenever my head starts to race with crazy crap, but when I'm tired and I'm getting over the flu or food poisoning or whatever it was that had me barfing up water for a day when I can't think logically any more so my whole system of coping is completely destroyed and I'm trapped in my own head which is, like, the last place I ever want to be and I find myself thinking, gee, it's 5pm, can I go to sleep now is that ok or is that weird and if I could get away with it I'd probably do it but I know I'd wake up at like 3am and be extra-bonus miserable so it's worth it to stay awake until like midnight and then discover oh well I can't fall asleep anyway because these sheets are incredibly itchy because I can feel every micrograin of dust on them and Murray tracks in litter from his box and there's always another piece waiting to poke me no matter how much I try to brush it all away and I'm far too hot even with the window open and my neck is absolutely killing me from reading the intertrons in bed and what a complete waste of my precious life it is to be like this, to spend hours reading goats because I can't sleep and can't think, and I know the people I admire didn't get to be where they are be reading goats all night but they probably have more normal seratonin and melatonin and shit, or something, hell, I dunno, maybe this OCD whole thing is just something whiners made up in the last century because we're lazy and we know we can get away with it because you don't really have to work very damn hard in America to not starve if you're able-bodied and shit, I mean not compared to, like, a hundred years ago, when you couldn't just get a minimum-wage job at a Starbucks if all else failed, and you never hear about people from olden times having OCD except those crazy monks who used to whip themselves, they probably had it, but mostly I think people were too busy struggling to survive to spend any time worrying about whether their toilet bowl is clean enough or the refuse from their frantic game-playing sessions had been picked up in a timely manner, so I feel incredibly guilty for having so much wealth and opportunity and basically squandering it by being a giant whiney baby who acts like he has real problems, when there are people who are being killed and tortured all over the world (some of them even NOT by our government), but strangely the guilt approach doesn't actually work against feeling nuts, despite my mom's best efforts - when we were growing up we always joked that my mom attended the "Snap Out of It!" school of psychology, which isn't very far from the truth, like when I'd come home totally in love with some new girl and thinking my life would end if she didn't notice me, she didn't really have the tools to recognize that basically I was expressing early obsessive behavior and needed counseling or shock therapy, so she'd say something like, "Oh, you don't even know what love is," which is, like, surprisingly unhelpful when you're 16 and think the world revolves around Erin Martens, who by the way I saw again at our ten-year reunion ten years ago, and she was _still_ the hottest girl ever, so basically I *WAS* right this entire time, but sadly in high school I wasn't really cool enough to land a girl of her caliber and she actually met the man she'd marry TWO WEEKS before the reunion, which is what I call fucking cruel fate if I ever saw it, and don't bother googling her because her new last name is different so this isn't as creepy as it seems, although honestly I was engaged to a gorgeous woman for my 20s anyways and I'm still crazy as a loon, so it's not like it would have worked out with her, although I will point out that back when I was engaged my mom actually turned to me one day and said, you know, when you were a teenager I used to tell you that having a girlfriend wasn't going to make you happy, but I was actually wrong and this girl does make you happy, and that would be a sadder story except my mom was right the first time; although you can feel happiness being with someone really incredible, in order to be happy you actually have to figure out who you are and what you are trying to do and be comfortable with that, and that sounds like a cliche but only because old people have been trying to tell it to us for years and we ignore them because we have no idea what that actually means, so we assume they're just making old-people noises, which brings me to a conversation I had today where I was talking with a friend and he was all saying how this other friend was doing something so obviously stupid to everyone around that had an obvious solution and yet the other friend couldn't see it himself or fix it, and my friend was all, "Is there something like that with me, where I do something that everyone can see is stupid?" and I got to have one of those movie moments, where I actually responded, "Even if I thought there were, it wouldn't do any good to tell you about it, so why make you worry" because there really are things we have to learn for ourselves, like you can tell someone that sticking their hand in a fire is going to hurt but they never really understand the word 'hurt' until they actually do it, and then they learn it on such a primal level that it changes their whole outlook on life, but there's no words for that kind of thing, like explaining what 'sweet' is to someone with no tongue, or explaining 'white' to a blind man, and even if you could explain what you mean most people are so afraid of change they'll build up a fiction to explain why their life is ok the way it is, oh he doesn't love me and he treats me like crap but that's ok because he has a lot of stress and he's ignoring me because he's very busy at work but one day work will be great and he'll have made enough money and we'll take time off and we'll travel to Argentina together like I've always dreamed and there's nothing you can say to someone who wants to believe in their own life, because hey, maybe you're wrong, maybe this time it will work out, and fundamentally we're hopeful beings, fundamentally we all believe, on some level, that things will get better, so we just grit our teeth at the folly and say, hey, good luck, I hope it works out, I hope you find happiness.