Four Days Into It

And so begins my forth day of Office work. So far, it’s been ok. Actually, I do like it, working in the Office. Back in March 2020, when Covid came upon us and I was sent home, I was ready to get out of the Office. There were so many bad attitudes flowing through my head about some of the people in the Office that I was standing beside myself not knowing what to do.

Although those people are still here and not much has changed in terms of how I feel, the bad attitudes have thankfully faded. Those attitudes are still there but what is different is that I ‘just don’t care’ anymore.

For example, one of the Office Narcissist, a loud talking, opinionated man was promoted. Thankfully he has no influence on my work detail. But I figure if the owners choose to promote him over other worthy candidates then they have their own self interest in mind. Meaning, he is the type of man that pushes buttons just to egg people, as he enjoys inflicting emotional pain on people. There was a slight revolt when the owners promoted him and meetings were called to talk about the issues as most of the Department was threatening to walk out.

For many years he pushed my buttons. And he enjoyed it. I watched him push other peoples’ buttons and he enjoyed it. And admitted that he enjoys ‘playing with people’s emotions’. He doesn’t have emotions so it’s easy for him.

While in Quarantine, I was able to step away from that. Not hearing his talk every work day for fifteen months somehow built my emotional strength as now I listen to him and feel sorry for him. Maybe it’s the Wellbutrin I started to take while in Quarantine that is giving me the edge. Maybe it is the fact that I resigned myself to my economic fate and just don’t care to climb this ladder any longer. Maybe it is the attitude that I have now to “do the job as best as I can and be happy about it” and don’t pour my life into it any longer. That is sad because at one time I did care about climbing the ladder in this place, but all those decades of effort and belief won’t pay off in the way that I expected. I just don’t care anymore.

Practice to Make Progress

I took piano lessons when I was in elementary school. I don’t know why. I don’t know if I expressed a passing interest in piano to my mother and she signed me up. I don’t know if my mother thought I needed a music education and signed me up. All I remember is that I hated ‘practicing’ the piano because I could never get it ‘right’ and there was a lot of criticism and critical comments for what I was doing wrong. And, practice ‘time’ was immediately after school and before dad came home because you can’t practice piano when dad was home.

Ugh.

It was the practicing that did me in. It as laborious, a waste of time. The instruction wasn’t all that great to begin with. Certainly I wasn’t a great piano student. I don’t remember any adult saying “keep at it and sooner or later you’ll get it”. I just heard “you suck – practice harder, longer”.

Maybe that was the way it was done back in the early 70s. No encouragement, just criticism.

I find myself in my late 50s having accomplished nothing of merit. Probably because I didn’t practice hard enough or long enough at anything. I’ve resigned myself to being cast as a worker drone, existing to enrich others. Of course, I earned a living at the same time. But, according to some, that is questionable too.

So, in regards to practicing, I decided to take Sara Tepe’s advice and ‘practice to make progress’. So, I decided to practice digital drawing and painting on that Huion tablet and the new iMac I bought in August 2020 for that very purpose but haven’t done much with it. I will practice digital drawing and painting for 30 minutes a day.

And, I bought another Udemy course on digital art by Rich Graysonn, Digital Painting For the Absolute Beginner.

First attempt at Digital Art, circa August 2020. Created on a Huion tablet with Adobe photoshop on a iMac.
First attempt at Digital Art, circa August 2020. Created on a Huion tablet with Adobe photoshop on a iMac.

Fear of Boredom on Vacation ?

I am watching too many Van Dwelling videos on You Tube. While watching this type of video, I get worked up and excited about van dwelling on my own.

Then I stumbled on this video.

I have done my fair share of camping with a pull behind tent camper. So, I have some experience ‘camping’. Of course, this always included the wives and kids. I don’t know if this compares with ‘van dwelling’ by definition. Probably not.

I have spent a few nights backpacking. Most of those episodes where solo. Backpacking is probably closer to van dwelling as it is minimal in nature whereas the pull-behind-tent-camper is not minimal. It could be but it wasn’t in my experience.

I have this romantic notion of van dwelling, believing it to be free of distress and full of adventure. Most of the van dwelling videos I watch portray that impression. And that’s ok. I want to watch the fun stuff, the exciting stuff, the cute girls, the food, the campfires, the people.

But I can’t imagine van dwelling is all glamour all the time. Certainly there are dull moments, moments that are not fun. Certainly there are moments that are scary.

While watching the number of van dwelling videos that I do, I wonder if these people get bored. I ask, how can you get bored while van dwelling, camping in these wonderful parks and camp grounds, hiking these unique trails and taking awesome photo and video.

I think about driving to North Dakota. I outline all the places I want to see. I imagine all the awesome photos I can take, the fun I can experience. Certainly I can’t be bored on vacation. Yet, the fear of boredom on vacation sort of pulls back my enthusiasm for a North Dakota vacation, even a van dwelling life.

Aspen Trees and a boulder. Fuji photo taken by Dave 0 on June 18, 2015 on the Whitney Lake Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness, near Red Cliff, Colorado.
Aspen Trees and a boulder. Fuji photo taken by Dave 0 on June 18, 2015 on the Whitney Lake Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness, near Red Cliff, Colorado.

It Was a Good Day

Yesterday (May 12, 2021) was a good day. Here’s why I thought it was a good day:

  • I was productive at work, meaning there were some projects that took focus, some creativity, thinking outside of the little box I’m in. I felt I actually accomplished something useful for the Company and maybe I actually earned my keep for the day.
  • I did not take a nap at the end of the work day. For the past several weeks, maybe even the past few months, I’ve laid down at the end of the work day to ‘rest’ and read a book. Usually I drift off to sleep and wake up after 7:00 pm. Then, I say to myself, “what’s the point of doing anything productive now since it is so late in the evening”, so I just go back to bed and wonder through the You Tube wasteland. But last night, I finished a book, Take My With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde and then went to the Comic Book store, to the Auto Parts store and then to Lowes. When back home, I drank a few beers, wrote a few blog posts, scanned some images, started a new book, Hope Is A Verb by Amy Downs, moved a computer workstation to a new location and then laid down to go to bed. So, it was a productive evening. And, I’m thankful for that.

At Lowes, I bought five bags of cement and three pressure treated 2x4x8 for the “yard containment” project.

At the Comic Book store I bought:

  • V.E. Schwab Extra Ordinary #00 (Titan Comics)
  • Batman Detective #2 (DC)
  • Eros/Psyche #3 (Ablaze)
  • Vampirella v Purgatori #3 (Dynamite)

I walked into the Auto Parts store to buy a quart of motor oil for the Honda. While looking at the array of different oils I could not decide on what I needed. Then, I remembered that I have a jug of motor oil at home that I bought (maybe) two years ago when I was excited about changing the oil in the Honda. But, I never changed the oil with the new oil that I bought. Once I remembered that, I walked out. Why buy new oil when there’s oil at the house.

I was thankful for the good day. Good days are hard to find anymore, lately, it seems.

The Honda, at Prestone Monument (Tri Corner of Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, July 30, 2018. Nikon D600 photo by Dave O.
The Honda, at the Prestone Monument (Tri Corner of Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma,
July 30, 2018. Nikon D600 photo by Dave O.

The Bell Jar

I borrowed Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar from the local library. After all, the Indianapolis Public Library is a taxing entity listed on my property tax statement and so I thought I would take advantage of the service since I pay for it anyways.

Before reading this novel, I heard Sylvia Plath was a feminist, angry toward men with hatred of the white man patriarchy and male privilege. I was hesitant of picking up the book to read if it was to bash me for being a white male.

I picked up the novel based on the mental illness aspect of the story and was curious as to how the story played out.

I did not see the ‘angry white feminist’ theme of the story. Maybe she expresses that in her poetry but I didn’t see it in her only novel. Of course, there were criticisms about Buddy, the boyfriend she dumped and a few scenes of bad dates, but there were not harsh denouncements the male gender.

This video points out that Ester Greenwood was overwhelmed by society’s pressure to conform to standard female roles. Since she couldn’t break free from that pressure she turned to suicide. I didn’t see much of that either. Although her mother constantly encouraged her to take shorthand as a means to support herself in the real world. And since Ester did not want to be stuck as a secretary she opted out of the shorthand class her mother offered. But it did not seem to me that Ester was forced to conform to what society expected of her.

In the novel, I read about a frightened female who was lost in society, not pressured by society. The Fig Tree scene is probably the most poignant, where she just can’t choose which way to go, realizing walking down one career path meant sacrificing of other paths.

Maybe I am reading 2021 values into a novel published in 1963.

I took the “Bell Jar” theme to be the what was inside the glass jars Ester saw while touring the laboratory with her soon-to-be-ex boyfriend (if they were boyfriend – girlfriend at all). She saw fetus in various stages of development floating in amber liquid. These undeveloped people seemed to have a profound effect on her as though she didn’t know who she was or what she would development into.

Certainly this story mirrors how most teenage girls (and guys) feel, who haven’t figured out what they want to do in life or who they really are. Even though there are almost sixty years separating the society this book was publish in and today’s 2021 society, I don’t believe Ester’s society held her back from what she wanted to do and be, she just didn’t know what she wanted to do or be.

I’m in my late 50s and I still don’t know what I want to do or who I want to be.

The Bell Jar book, by Sylvia Plath, I borrowed this copy from the Indianapolis Public Library. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O on May 12, 2021.
The Bell Jar book, by Sylvia Plath, I borrowed this copy from the Indianapolis Public Library.
iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O on May 12, 2021.

Climbing

When I worked on the shipping dock I envied the people who worked in the office. Now, I work in the office and envy the guys on the shipping dock.

The office is air conditioned, clean, carpeted. I sit in a comfortable chair. The iMac is large, although older, it supports the current iterations of the Adobe Creative Sweet. I can browse the internet for as long as I like, push through projects that took days and hours years ago to finish in a few minutes.

And now, I envy the guys on the shipping dock.

They work in the heat and cold. The only ventilation in the facility is the open warehouse doors. There is insufficient light. There is the constant drone of machinery and hand tools, guys yelling at each other, insults, ridicule.

They probably put more work in for the Company in a few hours than I do in a few weeks, pushing tangible products into a truck that are then invoiced to keep the cash wheel turning.

When I worked the shipping dock I was sweaty, cold, hot, tired, sore, injured. I went home feeling used and discarded as I thought myself better than the sweat and cold and heat. Now, in the office, most of the work ricochets inside my skull and comes out typing on a keyboard. When I first started the office job I knew very little of publishing, graphic design, software, photoshop but jumped in with solid purpose as it was the ticket off the shipping dock and into the office. I climbed the steep learning curve and produce printed and electronic product that put dollars in someone’s back pocket.

Now, there is no curve left to climb. Not that I know all of design and development but I wonder what the purpose is to climb any curve now.

Climber in the Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on August 3, 2018.
Climber in the Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on August 3, 2018.

Very Sad

I came across this video. It is so sad. Been there a few times. Thankfully, continued to live.

I try to stay current with the Van Dwelling, Van Life, RV, Camping you tube channels, more as a pipe dream, a way to live vicariously through other who have the ability to live as such. Maybe it will become a future reality for me. But, I never came across the Life with Lee channel. My loss.

There is a Go Fund Me page.

Rest in Peace, Lee MacMillan.
Rest in Peace, Lee MacMillan.

Helping Along

I have been ‘neutral’ in the last few days, meaning I have not had any swings into the void of feeling defeated by the family nor have I swung into feelings of confidence like I can take on the world. It is strange. Maybe I have finally walked past the hurt of the recent events. If so, the landscape ahead seems flat.

I started taking the Bupropion HCL SR 150 MG tablet again. After looking at this page it appears Bupripion is a generic of Wellburtin SR. This could be the source of my neutrality.

According to the above page, one of the side effects of Bupropion is “weight loss”. Oh please, bring that on. I seriously need to loose weight. If this helps control my appetite then I will be forever thankful.

I stopped taking the Bupropion a long time ago because I did not feel that I needed it. And, the tablets are light green in color and kind of spooked me.

But, with the recent events I felt I needed a bigger boast than the daily Paroxetine HCL 30 MG tablet was giving me.

Besides the additional medication, I have employed another strategy to help in dealing with recent events. Whenever an obtrusive thought about the “last laugh” enters my head, I simply say, out loud, “STOP IT”. So far, that small action has enabled me to stop obsessing over the hurt and injustice of the Event. At times, I say “stop it” quite often to get the thought out of my head. Sometimes it returns immediately, other times a few hours can pass before it comes back.

Sculpture in Vail, Colorado. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on June 17, 2015.
Sculpture in Vail, Colorado. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on June 17, 2015.

Look Alive

I don’t understand why I get so anxious about ‘work’. It’s not only ‘work for pay’ but ‘work in general’. I don’t believe I work hard enough, long enough, intense enough to earn the salary. I don’t believe I work hard enough, long enough or intense enough here at home and elsewhere for no salary.

I would guess it was the childhood. If, I could blame it on those formative years for the anxiety I feel now. In those years, you were dubbed worthless if you weren’t working at something. Usually, that mean following the Man with the Gold around as he worked on his projects and my brothers and I cleaned up after him. I had an early morning paper route since elementary school and fast food jobs in high school. I don’t believe I was lazy but I always seemed to be on ‘the clock’ and not doing enough. Cutting the yard was the ultimate task, usually done several times a week, fighting with my brothers as to who cut and who bags. I always felt like I got the short end. I worked while they played.

“Look alive” was one of his catch phrases. Usually said when you were not doing the work quick enough for his preference. At one time, he claimed that if a person was sitting down he was worthless, even at social functions. So, my brothers and I stood up a lot during Christmas and other holidays.

As a late 50s grown ass adult I should be over this shit by now. But, I’m not. I get overly anxious if I am not ‘doing something productive’. If I’m sitting at the computer I need to be productive in some way, either coding in Javascript, working on a graphic project, typing an email, just something to avoid watching You Tube. If I’m not sitting at the computer I need to be doing a DIY project, cutting the yard, killing weeds, painting something. Laying in bed watching You Tube isn’t productive by any definition.

Normal people would not feel this way about themself. Ugh.

Time Lapse of Cloud Flow. Looking southeast. Nikon W300 time lapse taken on April 9, 2021 by Dave O.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Joanne Greenberg’s 1964 novel tells the story of Deborah Blau, a teenage girl inflicted with schizophrenia and her stay in a mental hospital. Via therapy she is able to understand the world she created as a defense against the evil reality of this world is not the reality she needs to live with if she wants to overcome she sickness.

Through the pages you come to know Deborah and the world of Yr she created to live in. The people of Yr keep her convinced this reality is better than the Earth world as she has friends in the Yr world and not in the real world. The Earth world only offers her prejudice, physical trauma, friend and family abandonment. Her doctor, Clara Fried, slowly convinces her that Earth reality is really the better reality even with the tribulations and trials that come with living on the Surface. Slowly, Deborah begins to see that.

Deborah takes steps to live outside of the hospital eventually earning a GED. It looks as though she is going to move on from the hospital but the final pages revel the hospital and the sickness will probably stay with her for a while longer.

Near the end of the story, after Deborah earns her GED and the future looks promising and bright, which is most of our experiences after earning a degree, completing a class or succeeding in something difficult for us, her father (probably unintentionally) doesn’t offer the level of praise that would encourage Deborah to further greatness but offers a limp acknowledgement of her achievement that sends Deborah back to the hospital in despair. Isn’t that typical? We strive to earn, expand beyond our comfort zone, climb a hill or ladder that should mean ‘something’ to those who can (should) offer overflowing praise, yet don’t. It is discouraging. They see it as nonconsequential where Deborah sees her achievement as the beginning of something new, something better.

Afterwards, Deborah walks back to the hospital and we leave the story at that point. We see her sitting at a table in the ward. She asks for her school books so she can study as the ward continues in the normal chaos of a mental institution. This gives us hope that she will overcome the parental discouragement and will continue with her education, continue her struggles to improve and overcome her sickness and eventually live on the Surface outside of the hospital for the long term.

Although somewhat depressing, the conclusion of the story is true to reality where sometimes the sickness doesn’t go away immediately but we need to struggle to eventually struggle less.

There is a great resource for the novel here much better than my commentary. I would place this novel on the same level as Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. It is worth a second and third read.

Scan of the copy of Joanne Greenberg’s “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” that I read.

When I read this novel again I will buy a different copy. The copy I read was a normal paperback, probably printed a few years after the initial publication. The copy I bought from Thriftbooks.com was brittle, old, yellow with age and extremely hard to hold open. I don’t regret buying the copy from Thriftbooks.com but my old man hands had a hard time holding this copy. But I struggled and eventually finished.