Work, Commuting, Owning a House

In a big city a good percentage of people spend a significant amount of time traveling to and from work.  It’s not uncommon for someone to spend 1 hour each way whether it be in their car or on public transit.  I’ve always loathed long commutes to or from work especially during peak hours and have pretty much lived my life avoiding it at all costs even if it meant not working at all.

One of the major factors in which real estate prices seem to be calculated by is the distance from the trendier part of the city which also happens to be the part where most of the jobs are or are near by.  Most people want to raise their own family which usually means they want a house, maybe a townhouse but not really an apartment.  If you want to buy a house in Vancouver, you are looking at $600,000 ($544,168.20 USDfor a small, 60 year old house that is a 15 minute drive from the city’s core.  This is the area I live and work in.  Most houses around here though are around $900,000.  I rent a cubbyhole in one of these houses.  Apparently Vancouver is the 2nd least affordable for housing in the world when you factor in the median income of a person living here.

You have to go about 2 suburbs away from the city’s core to see any semi-attractive discount which would put you at about a 45 minute drive during peak hours.  The housing there is still not cheap enough for many people so they have to go 1 or 2 more suburbs away which will make them cross a bridge to get to the city.

Most of the people at work have to spend close to an hour to get to work and some of them a little bit more.  My guess is that they leave their home around 7 am and get home around 6:30 pm, take a shower, spend the rest of the time which is probably like 2 hours with the kids and miscellaneous stuff and then off to bed.  It doesn’t seem to be a very attractive life to sign up for but I can still see the rationalization.

Gas for your car isn’t cheap here either.  A litre of regular gas here is $1.50 ($1.36 cents USD).  A gallon is 3.78 litres which would make the cost of a gallon $5.67 ($5.14 USD).   People probably spend about $400 on gas a month no problem.

A day’s work and the commute is a drag and leaves them with very little time and energy at the end of the day but getting that little time with their kids and wife (assuming they like them) makes it seem worth it.  Even though 90% of the day consists of misery or something close to it, that 1% to 10% of joy or something close to it is enough to keep the whole thing going.

Perhaps that’s just the positive way of looking at it.  Maybe they are able to justify the whole thing because they find satisfaction from everyone else around them who are on the same exact boat.  That’s possibly it cause if I knew that everyone else went home after work and did not much at home by themselves then I would probably feel much better about my life.  It’s no doubt though that I would feel better about my life if I had a little more than an ounce of joy during the end of my days or at least be able to trick myself that I do or have some kind of purpose, to convince myself that it is all worth it. This is probably why I disapprove of the standard working life because I have less reason to justify it.  Plus it just sucks.

 

 

 

Just Say Yes

I don’t even like smoking weed but when a joint comes around, too often I give in and take the offering.  Besides the very first time I smoked and inhaled, I’ve never really enjoyed smoking marijuana.  So why do I keep saying yes?

– It’s sometimes just so boring being in a normal state that I’d rather feel something else even if it’s not very enjoyable

– I tell myself that this time might be a more positive experience

– People keep sticking it in my face and saying no all the time gets tiring

Well, this was more of a thing in the past cause I don’t really see people too often anymore but it still happens once in a while.  Smoking weed is really underrated in the sense that it can be really positive for your life.  I’m not even referring to the physical and mental benefits that people say they experience but in the social sense.  Almost everyone I know who smokes weed, see people on a regular basis.  “Want to meet up and blaze a joint?”

Some of them meet up in groups almost every night just to smoke weed and chat.  I’m jealous.  This one thing is keeping them together and I don’t think they even realize it cause they’ve been smoking weed for the last 20 years together on and off and probably just think they are good friends.

There isn’t really anything else that will bring people together so regularly.  You can’t really go out and get drunk every night without it affecting you negatively.  No one has the time and energy to get together and play sports every night.  People don’t meet up and have cigarettes together cause they don’t last very long and there’s no real enjoyable high afterwards.  But burning a joint together is the perfect combination of having something to do that is enjoyable for a sufficient amount of time.

If you smoke weed and enjoy it there really isn’t any consequences.  You’re able to function like you normally would and there is no hangover in the morning.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be as isolated as I am if I enjoyed smoking weed but all I want to do when I smoke weed is go to sleep.  It works so well for falling asleep that I keep a stash of it in my home just for that purpose.

So I don’t know.  If you’re looking to meet new friends you should try out smoking weed and see if you like it.  You’ll find more than enough ads on Craigslist in the personals section for people who are ‘420 friendly.’  If you meet someone at work who smokes weed you will be friends instantaneously.  If you are a teenager, tell your parents you found this advice on a blog and  get the okay from them first.

 

Life, Living Long is Overrated, Inspiration

I think the general consensus about life is that the most important thing in life is being alive.  The idea that putting your life in any kind of significant risk is not worth all the money in the world.

When I was younger a lot of my decisions were based on longevity.  The attitude was to be able to stretch out a life instead of going balls to the wall and trying to live life to the fullest.  To live life to the fullest you have to put finances, health and fear of failing in the backseat.   I was never willing to do this.  I felt I could be content with just living a long mediocre life as long as I didn’t feel like a total failure.  I could rationalize my sub-par attitude on life as long as if I knew people who were worse off than me.

It’s true that there are people who tried to live life to the fullest without giving a care about the potential future and find themselves in a regretful state.   It’s possible it’s just a case of the grass seeming to be greener on the other side.  There’s not a lot of love for people who are down in the dumps but there will always be enough camaraderie for people who have succeeded on paper.

If you heard of a 30 year old and 50 year old dying any kind of death, they would appear to be losers in life compared to someone who is still alive at 70 no matter what the back story is.  In the world we live in, numbers signify success.  More money, more assets, more friends more years lived.  Emotions and feelings have no measurable scale though, so no one really looks too deeply into that.  It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the untouchable aspects in life but numbers are black and white.

I’m at a stage in my life where the idea of life is not so valuable.  I’m not going to feel like a winner just because I made it to the finish line with a bunch of other geezers.  Geezer is such a funny sounding word.  The high probability that you are going to be alive to see old age is the one thing that stops people from living to the fullest.  You are afraid to live a life of suffering when you are older so you take steps in your younger years to help ensure a more comfortable geezer life.  It’s a valid rationalization.  Chances are you won’t have the balls or the ovaries to ever kill yourself and there’s so much medical intervention that they will be able to keep you alive even against your will.

I used to think that I could be happy riding out this whole life living it in a mediocre fashion.  I guess I could but it would also have to be easy.  I don’t want mediocre and misery especially if I made the conscious decision to do so.  Life was never meant to be lived the way most of us do.  Being able to think that you are going to be alive 30 years from now would be crazy in hunter gatherer days.  I think in those days dying was just a way of life and you just lived it to sacrifice for your tribe if you had to.

I think it all comes back to how you were raised and what your elders instilled in you.  A lot of the Chinese immigrants here who came from a poor upbringing saw success as comfort because they never had it.  Maybe that idea becomes disenchanting after a while but there’s enough people like them to make them feel they did the right thing and there’s acceptance in that.  My uncles and aunts have achieved this level of comfort and security but I’m not the least bit inspired which might be the reason I can’t accept to live life similar to them.  It’s true that we can’t predict the future but you can see where the road potentially ends by looking at the lives of people who followed a certain path.  If you follow the same path you are asking for that result.

To be honest I could never see my life past 30.  Not because I was at high risk of getting murdered but probably because I had no aspirations for ‘growing up.’   It’s difficult to picture yourself being a big kid.  I guess that life of being a grown up never appealed to me.

I’m not sure but I think a lot of life has to do with wanting to care of people.  When you want to take care of people you try and better yourself so that you can take care of people.  Someone took good care of you and it inspired you.  If no one really gave a shit about you then maybe you will never give a shit enough about anyone else.  There’s no one to disappoint but yourself when you don’t care about anyone enough.  I think life has lasted this long because of this instinctual nature of wanting to take care of someone.  Without it I don’t think we would have came very far.

Conversation With An Older Guy

There’s this guy I see everyday on my route.  He signs in all the people who do work at this company I deliver to.  I guess he was kind of bored and decided to chit chat.  He asked me how long I have been with my company for.  When I told him that I have been with my company for 5 years, he thought that was a long time.  Is it?  I hear that a lot but I never thought 5 years was that long.

He told me he was a taxi driver for 9 years but gave it up for this job cause he was convinced sitting in a car all day would ruin his health.  The job he has now allows him to do security patrols every hour.  He was born in Somalia and has been living in Canada for over 20 years.  When he first came to Canada he lived in Toronto and said he hated it cause of the cold and snow.  I don’t blame him.  He went to Ottawa 2 years later and it was even colder.  After asking around, the word on the street was that Vancouver was the least coldest place in Canada so here he came.

If I remember correctly his reasoning for coming here was so that his kids would have a better life than they would in Somalia.  He didn’t really dislike living in Somalia.  He said the working life was easier.  I hear that a lot from immigrants.  A lot of them didn’t mind their home country even though it was a 3rd world nation.  They didn’t really care to come to Canada to start over but I guess the idea had potential.

During our 2 minute conversation he also told me he studied in Italy and would have lived there but they would never offer him citizenship.  He had great things to say about the food, culture and clothing.  I thought it was cool that he could speak the language too.

I told him there’s a lot of people at my company who have been there for over 20 years.  He seemed shocked and thought it was crazy.  “No one should spend that much of their life at one company.”  I was shocked when he told me I should change jobs just for the sake of doing something new. It was refreshing to hear something different though.  I never would have expected an immigrant who is not rich to tell me something like that.  If anyone, I thought I would hear it from a dirty hippie.  “You gotta go man.  Don’t let them suck your spirit.  The Earth is calling you.”

 

Positive Thinking/Desperation

Positive thinking: a way of thinking to motivate you to do something that involves at least some uncertainty or misery.  It can also be used when a less than desirable situation has come your way and you need to find a way to make yourself feel better.

If positive thinking was a publicly traded corporation, its stock would double every year.  We need it way more than we did in the past.  I realize that we’re not living in a real shitty era if you compare it to other times but it’s unique.  We live in an era where it’s easy to survive but difficult to find meaning and contentment.

If you are unsure about when your next meal is going to be you don’t dwell on any of your thoughts and misery.  There’s no time for negative, positive or any other kind of thinking.  There’s just living, dying or doing.

I believe there was a time when being jobless was not an issue.  You could quit and find a job the very next day without having any kind of skilled training and your dollar went far.  Why would you need positive thinking when there is not much to think about?

The job market now is much more competitive, you can save up your whole life and still never own a house, everything is more expensive, more people, more debt and it’s just getting worse.  The only thing that is improving is technology.

What do you do when you’re on the short end of the stick and feel hopeless?  You just hope that it will get better or you look for the silver lining. When it feels hopeless your only hope is positive thinking.  Positive thinking can almost be delusional but sometimes it’s your best option if you can buy into it.  It’s like when someone has a gun to your head and you have no way out that you get so desperate that you start praying to Jesus Christ even though you never have before.

Positive thinking is just like believing in a religion in that it really works if you really believe it.  It’s easy to want to believe in it but to do the things that show that you really do is another story.  When you have to adopt the positive thinking route you are betting on the underdog.  I suppose if you bet on the underdog enough, one day you will be victorious.

It’s difficult to follow through with positive thinking because the odds of winning, sometimes seem so small and involve a good amount of torture.   It’s easier to lay in bed, eat junk food, watch TV, drink booze, surf the internet(I’ve done all of these in the last 2 hours) and feel misery in small doses(that too) than to actively get out of your comfort zone and take the risk to feel a big pounding of disappointment and do it all over again the next day.

To be negative/realistic/cynical towards life can easily be looked upon as logical and truthful but to do so is also betting on a life of more unhappiness than there needs to be.  If I can’t find the strength to actively look for a better life, I hope that I can say ‘whatever’ to the life I have now and to whatever comes my way or just blindly hope that it gets better.

Dear Lord, I am praying to you tonight to bestow upon me the winnings of the national lottery so that I can refrain myself from positive thinking and the torture that comes along with it as well as releasing me from the dreadfulness of having to accept life as the way it is.

 

 

 

Friday Thoughts From a Mentally Unstable Asian

If you walked in on me right now you would almost think that I’m about to kill myself.  I’m sitting in my reclining lawn chair in my living room still wearing my work uniform and there are numerous empty wine bottles everywhere.  If there was a gun sitting beside me it would paint the perfect picture.  The imagery is depressing and funny at the same time.

Solitary confinement in prison is the worst punishment you can give a prisoner.  Well, maybe 2nd worst depending who you ask.  Being alone in a small empty room without any kind of external stimulation is about as bad as it gets without being physically tortured.  I live in a small place and I’m alone but I have various types of stimulation.  I am free to leave this hole but there’s not a lot of motivation to do so.  I suppose if I didn’t have the choice like a prisoner then I would be happy to go anywhere, even to the local 7-11.

I still need to deal with dinner tonight.  I am in the mood for seafood.  Seafood is often seen as a luxurious food.  When you think about going out for lobster you think delicious and expensive.  I guess I like lobster but to be honest it’s just an overpriced glorified giant shrimp.  There was a time when lobsters were considered as low class food.  But if you make it rare and expensive then it becomes a delicacy.  If I was stranded at sea without food for several days I would choose a good hamburger over a lobster.  Even right now I would probably choose a hamburger.

Now that I am buzzed from the alcohol, I should not get in my car and drive somewhere.  I guess I will just starve and let the acidity of the wine burn an ulcer through my empty stomach. If I could smoke anything in here I would.  If I had potato chips here I would be eating them.  Since I cannot then I can only sit here and kill brain cells with quiet sips of legalized poison.  I bought 2 dozen organic, farm raised eggs today.

Would you like to marry me?

 

Daily Prompt: Empty

 

 

One More Day Until Friday!

There’s this Chinese lady at work who takes all of our paperwork when we drive into the building.  When it’s Monday to Thursday she will say, “happy …” and then followed by the day.  On Thursdays she will also say, ” one more day until Friday.”

I guess for most people Friday is a good thing but I think it’s a bit of a scam.  It’s like you get your ass kicked Monday to Thursday and you are supposed to be so happy that there is only 1 more day of ass kicking until you get 2 days off from it just so you can start the whole cycle again and continue it for the rest of your unwrinkly life.  Your unwrinkly life meaning the best years of your life!

In my opinion the joy of Friday gets crushed by the sadness of Sunday.  Friday leads into 2 days of not getting your ass kicked.  Sunday leads into 5 days of misery.  It’s easy to see who is the winner.  The positive way of looking at it is that you get 2 days off so just be happy about it.  There comes a point when positive thinking becomes desperation to not feel like shit.  You have no choice so you just look on the bright side of things. Is someone supposed to be happy about Friday because his cellmate does not rape him on weekends?  I guess so but good luck convincing anyone that is a good way to be living.

Most of the reason why people can find joy from giving 5 and only getting 2 is because they know that the majority of people are on the same boat.  This boat feels like it’s infested with scurvy and everyone is having leather boots for dinner.  I’d like to be really happy about Fridays but how can I when I know Sunday is just around the corner.  Saturday is when the teasing and taunting happens.  Sunday his pants come off. Monday is when your pants come off and you don’t get to put them back on until Friday is over.