Okay, I’m home. Now what? Jeff and I managed to break away from the rut we were in, and now that we’re back it’s difficult to not fall right back in, because that ditch was pretty deep. Jeff already has both legs hanging over the edge and isn’t trying very hard to keep from sliding in all the way (he’s already back to sleeping late and killing Nazis on his computer). I, on the other hand, am fighting like mad to keep my footing. Unfortunately, he has a death grip on my ankle.
See, Jeff is a product of “today’s economy.” God, I hate that expression. So many people use it as a crutch or excuse to explain their shitty lives, or their desire to stay in victim-mode, but in some cases (like Jeff’s) it’s just a fact, with no emotion. It is what it is and that’s all that it is. There is no work in Florida in Jeff’s field, at least not nearby (we live in the major boondocks). I think the difference is that some use it as a rationalization for their victimhood and refuse to change anything, clinging tightly to the past and insisting that nothing change, and some see it as a sign that it’s time to do things differently. We’re seeing it as a nudge to change our lives.
That was one reason for our recent trip. We were looking around the country to see if either of us could find a job somewhere else. Sure, we were hoping it wouldn’t be up north, because that’s where the snow is, but if that’s where work is, we’d tough it out and go back to scraping ice off of our car windows again.
Well, right before we left, I was asked to co-author a book by someone who lives here in Florida. So unless Jeff found something amazing, we would stay here so I could work on that. Meantime, he still needs to find a job here.
But never mind all that. What I’m having a hard time with, at this moment, now that we’ve spent the last month or so on the road, is creating a new routine. You’d think, after being away for so long, that I wouldn’t even think about playing Petville in the morning. After all, I’ve got mountains of laundry to do! It’s time to shake things up and do them differently!
In fact, I saw all of those initial car problems on our trip as energetic bands of resistance, like evil psychic clutches, that we had to break through in order to get away from bad habits. And the car problems we had in the days before we finally came back to Florida, I saw as resistance to returning home, because we both knew it would be hard to create a whole new life out of what we have to work with. Neither of us wanted to go backward. But what do you replace old habits with?
My daughter Stacy got me hooked on Petville a few months ago, saying it’s a cute game and that it would be a good way for me to connect with and play with my grandsons. Well, as soon as she realized how addictive and insidious it is, she and her whole family stopped playing. But I was already hooked. Plus, the game is designed to guilt trip you in to playing. If you don’t, your pet will get progressively filthier and hungrier, eventually covered with flies and holding its abdomen with hunger pains. Eventually, it runs away to find food and you have to pay a huge fine to get it back from the pound.
In fact, when you first begin playing the game, it starts out with a special delivery package of an animal in a pet taxi. All you can see is two frightened, soulful eyes staring out at you, begging to be released from confinement. However, the only way to release this poor creature is to give Petville your email address. I resisted for days, while the mystery critter pounded and cried to be let out.
Finally, it got to me and I gave Petville my extra, spam-catcher email address. Next thing I knew, my Petville pet had a pet bird that did absolutely nothing to improve the conditions of anyone’s lives. It just followed my pet around and did stupid things, like fly upward and fall back down, injuring itself in the process, complete with stars circling its noggin. I gave up my privacy to save the life of an annoying cartoon bird. That’s how bad this game is.
Right around the time that Stacy quit playing she sent me a YouTube video of a deleted scene from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, where the character “Freakshow” sings a song about addictions:
The devil is everywhere. Hey, Randy!
The devil is everywhere.
I’ve created my own verse:
The devil is everywhere.
But it’s not just Petville, it’s our entire lives. We’ve both fallen into patterns that are hard to break out of, and I’m going to try like mad to keep from slipping back into that rut. It would really bum me out to find ourselves doing exactly the same things we did before we left. It wasn’t like life was so great back then, it was actually pretty boring and I was going insane with ennui.
Boy, that pet sure is cute. And dirty. And covered with flies. Oh, look! It’s looking right at me and waving! It needs my help! I can’t just let it starve and sit in its own filth!
The devil is everywhere …