Today I had, what I earlier called, a “mental multi-car pileup”. I was having a rough day. We had lost power the night before due to a storm and because of that my two-year-old was up most of the night which meant I was up most of the night. To my surprise today, when I put him down for a nap it took me two hours. Not to get him down for a nap but to, instead, admit defeat letting him come back down stairs so he could sit on the couch, draw on his doodlepad and give me this smile that says, “you lost, old man.”
I mean, I know that he doesn’t actually fully understand the importance of a nap and I know he’s not actually being vindictive, but when you’re a parent you realize that sometimes, when you’re at your weakest, it’s very difficult to not look at almost everything bad your kids do as a personal attack designed specifically to thwart the very thing you’re attempting to get done.
My wife realized I was having a rough go of it. I felt it too. When I came down stairs I was deep breathing through my nose so hard I felt like a bloody nose and a dizzy spell were racing each other to see who could hit me first.
She asked me if I wanted to go somewhere. Just me. Get out of the house. Hop in the car and just go somewhere and hang out with anyone while she watched both kids for a little bit.
In all honesty, very generous offer.
But I did that thing to the offer that ruined it. That thing I do to everything in life that ruins it. I thought about it.
First off, who would I hang out with. Surely there’s got to be someone. I’ve got about 100 friends on Facebook. About half of them are within 20 minutes. I put out a few feelers, some messages, see who’s biting. No one responded. And I realized that my friendships, for the most part, have all devolved into online only. Hell, I have a kid that’s going to be turning three soon and pretty much all of my friends haven’t even met him yet.
So, I realized that wherever I go, I’m going to be by myself, which honestly sucks. I’m not at a point in my life where I want to be alone with my thoughts anymore. I don’t really have a lot of positivty left. Hell, most of my creativity, at this point, comes from putting up at least one funny gif of failure a day on my Facebook wall with the caption “My Life” which I throw out there almost as a weird trail of breadcrumbs leading anyone interested to a giant flashing billboard that says “WHERE ARE YOU? HELP ME!”
So, then I thought about where I’d go if I just said “hell with it” and left the house anyways.
Where would I go? Arcades are gone. I mean, sure, there’s some bar called 16-Bit near my house that claims to be a bar/arcade (barcade? is that taken?) but I honestly can’t stand those because arcades were always this multigenerational thing to me and it seems like a bunch of hipsters standing around taking selfies around machines I played as a child is the sort of thing that would make me feel like Marty when he plays the video game in Back to the Future 2. Except I’d have a hipster taking a picture of me instead of being teased by a tiny child Elijah Wood. And yes, that was Elijah Wood as a little boy. Look it up.
So after that I thought about bars in general. Why? Go out, have a couple drinks? I’m having a hard time handling my day sober so getting tipsy would not be the way to go. I’m having a hard enough time getting myself together today WITH the confidence that I can walk and carry a baby at the same time.
So eventually my mind came up with three options.
- Sheetz. I’d go to Sheetz with my laptop. Get some garbage food and work on a script a little bit from the weird eating area. A pro is that I like Sheetz food. Sort of. I think it’s brilliant. You go to Sheetz, order a burger using a touch screen, essentially design it yourself and when you get a sweaty pile of garbage that tastes like any other combination of ingredients you can pretend it’s your fault for the combo you selected and not the fact that they’re using low grade ingredients that are way underprepared (seriously, watch them make a burger). A con though is that to use Sheetz’s wifi you have to have their invasive shit on your laptop. When you take your laptop to a Sheetz, you let it sit there and put it’s feelers out. Eventually Sheetz will autorun something on your laptop that brings up a long legal thing complete with an accept button. I only write at Sheetz out of sheer necessity because their legal agreement makes it look like they will straight up claim anything that passes through their network they can make money off of.
- Dunkin Donuts. I’ve never been the most basic of bitches but I murder iced coffees. It’s become my thing for some reason. Which is odd because I clearly have stomach problems and Dunkin Donuts coffee flavored acid bath seems to be just the thing to shut my innards down which is why I try to play it safe and stick to two a work day. I COULD take my laptop there but it’s impossible to get work done there. For some reason you can sit in two sections at any D&D by me. The half of the building by the impossibly loud television playing 24 hour news in a blatant design by the staff to get people out quickly or the annex which is usually populated by some pink hat committee or other elderly group that will descend upon my laptop like pigeons to bread if my screen saver pops up and they see a picture of my kids. Plus, it’s Ohio. If there’s elderly people gabbing in public, it’s usually bigoted.
- Work. Yup. One of my top three places to go would have been work. I’m not even kidding. I’ve gotten to this point where my coworkers are the only people outside of my house I actually socialize with. I mean, I understand it’s a captive audience but still. I’d go there, look at the shit I’m not making enough money to actually afford, blab about stuff, ask how people’s days were going, offer to grab them food from next door, then drive home. That was legitimately in my top three. THAT was a “go anywhere, do anything” option.
So with that, I think it’s safe to say my social life is dead. And I should probably just except it. I was scrolling through some recent messages with various friends of mine and my attempts to get them to hang out are teetering on the edge of begging which is just sad. Bah. How about other parents reading this (of which I know there’s a few). You guys getting hit with this realization as well?