Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Waiting Game

I hate waiting. As many people can attest, patience is just not my strongest suit and I don't do well with situations where I have to wait for unspecified periods of time.

Take for instance my new job. I haven't started it yet, I'm still working at the old company (which I despise beyond words). I have to get a security clearance to start working and that takes time. An unspecified, uncontrollable amount of time. So I have to just wait patiently for them to call me and set a start date, and the waiting is killing me.

The longer I have to wait, the less real the prospect of getting out of this stagnant point in my life becomes. It feels more and more like a fleeting dream of freedom that may or may not ever come to pass and less like a real prospect for things to change in my life. And my life desperately needs to change. This new job, the attendant move to a new town, and the possibility of more or less getting a fresh new start on my life - these are the things that are keeping me going right now.

Everything that I am is in flux right now. There's no stability, no foundation, no control - just chaos. And things can't settle back into place until this wait is over. I know that. There's too much movement in my life right now, even though its not going anywhere. It's frustration of potential, this massive pending upheaval that can't manifest yet, but just keeps building and stirring restlessly.

If things don't resolve soon, it may just drive me completely crazy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Normal... is boring

My life, however, never seems to reach that much vaunted state of normalcy and is very, very rarely boring in that sense.

So I started worrying about money again over the weekend. Having not started my new job yet, things are extremely tight for me financially, plus on top of that, my mother's birthday and anniversary are both this week. I actually worried so much about it that I ended up with a severe migraine on Sunday. Then, lo and behold, there's a check for a little over $600 for me that I wasn't expecting waiting for me in my mail-box monday afternoon. Scary.

So I take the check to the bank, and deposit $500 of it to my checking account to help keep me afloat financially until my new job starts, taking a little more than $100 back to go birthday and anniversary shopping for my mom. A run through a fast-food place to get a soda on my way, and realize that the bank messed up and gave me $100 more cash back then they were supposed to. I double check my deposit slip and the slip has all the numbers right, the teller at the bank just made a big mistake and put the wrong amount of money in the envelope. Scarier.

(I went back to the bank and returned the extra money, but I can't say that I wasn't very tempted to keep it. It ultimately came down to one deciding factor, keeping the money was very likely to hurt the teller, a shortage in that amount would probably result in her losing her job. So, being a good little Wiccan I chose to harm none, and took it back.)

At any rate, I at least don't have to worry about money again for another month or so... And I think I got the universe's message, I'm gonna stop worrying so much ( it'd be a lie if I said I was going to quit worrying altogether ) about things and just trust that everything is going to take care of itself in its own good time.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Further down the rabbit hole...

Okay, my life is getting increasingly eerie at the moment. I'm starting to see patterns and repetitions of events that I never really paid much attention to before and its really kinda starting to make me feel a bit edgy.

I already pointed out the freaky similarities between my situation with K. and how I got together with my ex-wife. Interestingly enough another parallel is developing: a short while before I came to work at my current employer I had a series of problems with my kidney that were attributed to a kidney stone, only no stone ever passed and the problems cleared up on their own after a while. (It's kind of interesting in itself, that the first doctor I saw about the problem saw a kidney stone on the x-ray, but none of the subsequent doctor's could ever find it, but that's beside the point.) Now, I'm preparing to start another job sometime in the next few weeks... and the kidney problems are flaring up again.

There's other odd things going on as well, I'm having feelings of deja vu at least daily now and often several times during the day. And I'm dreaming again, vividly, something that I haven't done in a long time. It's getting to the point where I feel this odd sensation, like everything around me is a dream and I'm beginning to wake up from it...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Surreality

Sometimes life is just flat out twisted, and not in a good way.

Personally, I think I wandered into the twilight zone over the weekend, and I'm still wandering trying to figure out how to get back to my normal, boring, sane life. It all started on the DVD aisle at Walmart, early on Saturday morning.

I was just looking through the selection, seeing if anything interesting had been released recently, when I heard a vaguely familiar female voice say my name. I turned to see who it was and was immediately rewarded with a smile from a woman that seemed familiar, but I couldn't put a name with her face to save my life. So I asked her if I knew her, and when she told me her name it fell into place. Her name was K. and she and I had been really good friends for a few years at the end of elementary school and into junior high, and had gotten reacquainted briefly when we went to the same high school for my sophomore year. In my defense, I hadn't seen or heard from her for 15 years now, and those years had been good to her.

So we talked and chit-chatted a bit, and she invited me out to dinner with her so we could finish catching up. I readily agreed and we decided to meet at Applebee's that evening. Now, not even in my wildest dreams did I ever think this was going to be more than two old friends just getting reacquainted. I mean, I never really crushed on K. even in high school, she was uber smart and good looking to boot even then, so I had always viewed her as just flat out of my league. So, in my book, this was not really a date, per se. But boy was I wrong. It was a date, and it was a really, really good date. We had a lot in common and we had a lot of fun. It turns out that she works in IT management in the DC Metro area and was in visiting family and friends for the weekend. I ended up spending the night with her in her hotel room.

Now, that in itself is really out of character for me. I am generally not the kind of guy that sleeps with a woman on the first date, but it happened. And it was very, very nice, especially seeing as I've been celebate since the end of LAST October. When I woke up on Sunday morning, she'd left, but had left me a note saying that she had plans for breakfast with her sister and was spending the day with family, but that she really enjoyed the night and wanted to see me again before she left on Tuesday morning. Now my thoughts were initially of the "yeah, right" variety. The whole thing smacked of a one-night stand, and I was perfectly okay with that. But, since she asked so nicely, I left her a note and my phone number.

So, surprisingly, she called me at about 3 pm that afternoon and asked if I could have dinner with her again on Monday night. Blew my mind completely, and I told her I'd be happy to if I could arrange someone else to keep my son. So I managed to work something out and we made a plan. She went out with family on Sunday night, but called me when she got back to her hotel room, and we talked, just like old friends, for a couple hours. And then we went out to dinner again on Monday night, and yet again I ended up staying the night with her.

Then the other shoe dropped. She gave me her email addy but she made up a rather lame sounding excuse for not giving me her phone number in DC. Now, she had told me she was single, that her fiance had broken off their engagement a week or two before they were supposed to be married this past June or July (I forget which), but I suddenly started having my doubts. I didn't say anything else though, and I didn't push the issue. She was going to email me when she got back to DC and keep in touch. I was okay with that, cause having an actual relationship over that kind of distance would be daunting anyway.

Then when I got out of work yesterday, she'd left me a voicemail, saying that she'd call me around 9:30 last night. By then, I'd talked with a couple of people about it, and gotten 2 distinctly different opinions of what might be going on, so I tried to relax and keep an open mind. But when she called me, things got really complicated.

See, she's not single really. She and the ex-fiance are living together and trying to work things out (not sure how a weekend fling with me fits into that scheme). But she says that she's not sure that its what she wants anymore, she'd like to see me again at some point, but she's also not ready to break things off with him. Now, I'm thinking great, all of a sudden I'm the other guy...again.

Now this is not a situation that I'm a stranger to by any stretch. I've been the other guy before, in fact that's how I ended up with my ex-wife, and look how well that worked out (yes, that's sarcasm). The eerie-ass similarities don't end there though, no, she goes on to tell me that I know her not-ex. He was my best friend during the times when K. and I were friends. But hey, at least M. and I aren't roommates...cause, gee, wouldn't that have been all sorts of awkward. (For those who missed that, when I met my ex-wife, she was dating my best friend who WAS also my roommate at the time. And she and I slept together a few times before he found out and before she broke up with him.)

So here's the surreal little conundrum I'm left with. I like K. I had a lot of fun, and we really connected. She also apparently felt something, cause she broke down into tears when I told her I needed some time to think and sort things through. I felt bad that she cried, but damnit, she lied to me, used me to cheat on a guy I know, a friend of mine; and all I could think about at the time was how I could get used to being with her... There was no way that I could decide anything about the situation right then, and she understood that.

So, the real question now is: What in the nine Hells do I do now? I mean I like K. I think I could grow to love her if I had the chance. We have loads more in common then me and my ex-wife did. But then there's M. and the whole being the "other guy" thing, and the fact that she lives 5 hours away doesn't help either. Plus, I can't exactly pick up the phone and just call her whenever I want, not without screwing the situation up even worse.

Why can't my life ever be easy?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Downswing

I've come to expect certain things from my life in the past 20 years or so. I expect to end up spending more time alone than I spend with people. I expect that no one will ever fully understand what goes on in my head. And I expect that I'll spend some significant portion of my time worrying and fretting. All of that is just part of my nature, and I've come to accept most of those things... most of the time.

One of the things that I'm increasingly unhappy with about my life though, is being alone. It's kind of funny, one of the guys I work with asked me if I missed being married. I don't miss being married. I can be single in that sense just fine without being upset or bothered by it. I don't miss my marriage especially, because my marriage consisted of me subjugating myself to someone else's wants and needs. I gave up so many things that I personally enjoyed to make my ex-wife happy, while she gave up virtually nothing. That's actually part of the problem too.

I don't have much of a life in the grand scheme of things at this moment in time. I lost or gave up most of my friends during my marriage, allowing them to be gradually replaced by my wife's friends. I gave up many of the hobbies and pasttimes that I really enjoyed to make her happy. For example, I used to love running Roleplaying game campaigns for my friends, however she didn't game; so I quit doing it, and haven't done that since shortly after my son was born...going on 5 years ago. I quit writing and I almost quit reading, except for reading to my son.

I gave up ME in so many different ways that it wasn't funny. And now, the better part of 8 months has passed since I moved back out on my own and a scant 4 months has passed since my divorce was final. I've been finding bits and pieces of the ME I used to be in that time. I started writing again, I started reading for enjoyment, I started trying to get MY life back. It isn't easy and a part of me doesn't think that it should be easy. I sacrificed parts of who I am willingly to please a selfish woman, I should have to pay a price to get those things back. There's a universal sort of rightness to that.

So, no, I don't miss being married. Not if that is what marriage is, and since that's all I've ever known of marriage... well, it'd take something big to change my mind.

What I do miss though, is having someone. I miss the intimacy of being in a relationship, of getting to know someone. I miss having someone to talk to about everything. I miss all of the good things that came with the idea of marriage, I guess. The sharing of your life with someone else. The fact that my marriage didn't really involve an equal sharing so much as a subtle sort of complete dominance, well, that's sort of beside the point I guess.

I'm tired of being alone. I really, really am. The problem is that I don't know how to not be alone right now. I don't think I've re-discovered enough of me to be anything but alone right now. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop me from being lonely.

And that's exactly what I am....

Lonely.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Re-alignment

There's times in everyone's life when they need to take a big step back and make some attempt to put things into real perspective. I think I've reached that point. In the (hopefully very) near future I'm going to be starting a new job, in a new town. Everything that I have built as a foundation for my current life is going to change, drastically.

For one thing, I'll actually have a job where I have real work to do. This will seriously cut-down on my personal time, as I will no longer be able to do the bulk of my homework for grad school during the work day. Admittedly, I shouldn't be doing that as it is, but when you work for a company that treats you like absolute shit... well, let's just say, that I find myself living up to their expectations. They firmly believe that everyone that works for them is out to take the company for a ride, and I do hate to disappoint them.

The realization of just how badly I take advantage of my current job actually bothers me. I hate being that guy and I remember when I started this job. Back when I was eager and dedicated, believing that if I came in here and did a good job, that I'd be recognized, appreciated and rewarded for my efforts. Then reality came crashing down on me. The realization that I was being paid barely 2/3 of what the starting software engineer was getting paid, added to the fact that the company brass was keeping me under a microscope, looking for the slightest faults in anything and everything that I did turned me bitter. When I was hired I was promised a 10-12% raise after 6 months, I got 3% after 9 months instead. Even now, after 3 years and 10 months, I'm still making only 80% of what the average, no experience, fresh-from-college-with-a-Bachelor's-degree software engineer makes. And to make matters more insulting, I'm a scant 5 months or so from completing my MASTER'S degree. This company sickens me.

But that's about to be in the past. Soon, I'll get to start a new job, complete with a 47% pay increase over what I'm making now and much, much better benefits. But it's scary to think about it. I hope that I can go back to being the idealistic, motivated, software engineer that I used to be. That I can recover my good work ethic from the hell that it's been condemned to here. I really do enjoy the work itself, even here a good problem to solve makes my whole better. The difference is, that here I won't actively look for something productive to do. If there's nothing specific that I'm supposed to be working on, I do personal stuff, like this blog, or homework, or reading web-comics, or whatever else strikes my fancy. Hopefully, once I get out of this crappy, dead-end job and into my new position, I can shake that tendency. It'll be refreshing to work somewhere that will actually recognize and reward enthusiasm.

But there's more to this re-alignment then just my job scenario. My entire life should be about to change...but unfortunately, I've come to realize that in order to shake up and disturb my entire life, I would first need to actually have a life. Which I don't, or at least not socially any way. It was fairly disturbing to me, when I realized that the only people I talk to on a regular basis are my 4 year old son, my ex-wife, my best friend who lives 10 hours and a timezone away, and an online buddy of mine who lives in Prague. Outside of them, the only other regular contact I have with people consists of two female friends of mine (Lisa and Kat) that I email back and forth with a lot.

I don't think that I could actually be more alone without actively trying. Which I don't really think I ever was. I guess that this does at least mean that starting over in a new city isn't going to be a big deal, aside from the inevitable difficulties of learning where everything is and figuring out how to get around without getting lost.

Everything has to change sometime though, I know that, I really do. I can't go on like this for ever...can I?