A lot of time has passed since I wrote anything here, so you may be wondering, "Why now?"
The world has gotten uglier in the 8 years since I last posted. It is a lot easier to be overwhelmed with despair, and so much easier to put people in a box labeled "fuck'em" and cut them out of your sphere of interaction. But that doesn't fix anything, we have to share this spinning water ball with everyone else on it. We have to fight the urge to lock ourselves in our bedrooms, binge Netflix reruns, and shut out everything that is awful about the world. And when I say we, I mean me.
It's a lot easier to use the royal we and make grandiose proclamations about what we as a society should do than it is to talk about what I need as just one individual, but here I am. 2018 has been a pretty good year, but 2017 was not. 2017 was a year of despair, but not the wailing and gnashing of teeth kind, the kind where you come home from work and curl up in the same spot on your bed and sleep. I basically checked out of every part of my life that wasn't work. I spent so much time lying in the exact same spot that I wore a hole into my bedsheet, not like, a giant person sized hole, but a large enough one that when I noticed it I was embarrassed that it had taken me that long.
It felt too hard to try and see the good in people or humanity in general, so I chose not to see anyone.
The story of how I decided to rejoin the waking living world will be for another day, but I will say that no one exists in a vacuum, and I am very grateful to the people who helped pull me out of that place and convince me that there was more to life than work and sleep.
I am starting this blog again because I need a reminder that no matter how I feel about humanity as a whole, there is something to learn and connect to in everyone. So when I just want to disconnect and sleep I have a collection of things to look at and remind me why it's good to leave your house sometimes. If you, dear reader, get the same benefit from these stories, that would be great too. This time there are no rules over what people count, or how many people I need to talk to. This blog is just to collect connections, and see what kind of life you can build with them.
And so I shall leave you, with one of my favorite interactions from this past year with a man who told me 30 seconds after meeting him to call him "Uncle Mike." (Side note guys, if you can believe it I never went to bars during the initial run of this project, even though I could drink, bars are like playing this game on easy mode... kudos to you past Caitlin, you had flaws but you also had guts)
Caitlin sits at the bar in her local favorite place, a man sits diagonal from her, she has seen him before, but they have never spoken. Earlier that evening Caitlin told the bartender how much she hates asking people what they do for a living because, "there are only so many things you can ask about someone's job, and no one has ever given me an adequate answer on what a finance guy does anyway."
So when the time comes after their initial introductions to ask the first question of the conversation, she asks, "What do you love, Mike?"
He thinks long and hard, although, real talk, she can't tell if he is thinking about it at all, or if what she said was just weird enough that he decided to ripcord out of the conversation and pretend she isn't there.
Just as she is about to look away at the television and pretend she didn't try and say anything he speaks up, "I guess I love the McChicken"
"Yeah, I mean, ok it isn't the greatest sandwich, and I know it isn't good for me, but I do a lot of things that aren't good for me," he gestures to his mug, "and like, its reliable, I know I've got the money for it, I know I will like it, feels like home I guess"
"Wow... that's pretty cool ...but I still don't think I want to call you Uncle Mike."
"You will, everyone does, it's just who I am."
We talked for another 20 min, and not just about the items on the McDonald's Dollar Menu. Our conversations are a fairly regular thing nowadays, and it turns out he was right. A few weeks ago I was talking to a woman who was in my bar of choice for the first time and while giving her a brief rundown on fellow patrons, I, without a thought, heard myself say, "And that's Uncle Mike, that's what everyone calls him, it's just who he is."
So that's the first post after my extended hiatus, hope you enjoyed it, regardless, I hope you all find out what your McChicken Love is, and I hope it only cost's $1.07 to acquire it. Be kind to one another.
k, thx, bye