A woman who works at the volunteer office and I were having a conversation about vacations. I told her how much it pained me in the past to spend money that I earned from a job I disliked.
“Well, if you’re going to work you should spend the money,” she said.
I agreed and replied, “that’s why I quit.”
At Subway I ordered a small sandwich. I watched the guy make the sandwich and he only used 2 slices of meat. It reminded me of the sandwiches my mother made for me in grade school. Uncle Bill remarked one time that they were, “flimsy sandwiches.” Apparently my flimsy sandwiches were not significant enough to make it as a topic at any of the board meetings. I continued to eat my flimsy sandwiches and accepted it as life. That story was my attempt at comedy and tragedy.
The Asian married couple across the street are customizing a van for travelling and living. At first they planned to quit their jobs, sell their house and travel the continent. More recently they told me they’re going to live in their van within the city while continuing with their employment. Sounds to me like they wussed out. Next time I speak with them they’ll probably amend their plans to live in their van while it’s parked right outside of their house. That’s what happens when you walk the path of conformity for your whole life — you become a comfortable homeowning chicken who can’t bear to quit your job. The thought of drastic change makes your balls shrivel. You have to hope for your parents approval because they gave you that down payment and every other payment.
I know this because I have a special tool that can read minds and I have read theirs. They think I’m a loser with no job who disgraces himself by drinking beer publicly at 2 PM and is a degenerate stock market gambler who is destined to lose all of his money. They will say, “that’s what you get for trying to take the easy way out.” I will curse them for cowards as they’ll have amended their plans again to only watch TV in their van and sleep inside their house. People make ballsy plans when the time of execution is far and unknown. Real heroes put a contract on their own life to be assassinated if they do not follow through with their initial intentions.
At about the age of 30 my despondency was showing to the people I had known all of my life. As usual I was unhappy with my situation in life but what was unusual this time was my inability to tell myself that everything might be okay. The married men made it clear where their priorities laid. Everyone else was snorting cocaine while poorly imitating a life from the show Entourage.
When you’re 20 years old, you and everyone else tells you that you have lots of time. When you’re 25 years old it’s, ‘you’re still young.’ When you’re 30 years old it’s, ‘you still got time.’ After that if you still haven’t found some solid footing in life there’s more pity than there is encouragement.
For once in my life I started to question the probable future and didn’t let my feelings get in the way. Most people will only see what doesn’t make them uncomfortable which is why so many people end up living unsatisfactory lives riddled with failed experiences and regret.
Option #1: Snort cocaine, hang out and see what happens.
Option #2: Completely walk away and see what happens.
The more money you have the more loose and carefree you will likely be with your spending. The same goes for time. In my mind, time was becoming scarce and I could no longer be a degenerate gambler with my life. Option #1 seemed even less attractive than betting it all on the roulette table.
Option #2 was what made Mr. Johnson the greatest unknown blogger you know today. It was also what made him a rational thinker who lives by a philosophy rather than day-to-day emotions. Both options were not appealing but I figured one of them at least carried a possibility of a brighter future. It’s difficult to leave the herd but when you envision a slaughter house future you have to make a move. The thought from some is that I could dabble with the cocaine users and the married people but in my mind there’s nothing of utility for me there so what’s the point. Whether you’re holding on with both arms or just 2 fingers you’re still holding on. I didn’t want to take any chances and have to look back that dabbling might have been the cause of my ruin.
From what I have gathered not much has changed for a lot of my old friends except they’re all 10 years older. Those who were snorting cocaine are still doing it and some of them are hitting it harder apparently. The idea of making a dramatic change outside the confines of accepted practice is too heavy a psychological price for them to handle. It’s a case of the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.
A decision is just a bet — a prediction on the future. Those who make good decisions in life tend to do better. The lesson? Learn how to make good decisions. How? You have to always be EXTREMELY critical towards your thoughts, feelings and actions. There’s this thing called a brain in your head and if you don’t learn to use it then it’s going to use you to make caveman decisions.
As a cheap guy I like deals even when the item for discount isn’t something I want. Once in a while though I’ll stumble across something I do. My piano teacher told me about a used piano for sale from someone she knows. I have been semi-wanting a real piano but as you might know they tend to be on the expensive side. For $300 though you’ll have my attention. Any cheaper it would be free so I had to jump on this one.
She tells me I would have to get a piano mover and then a person to tune the piano. Cost of piano mover, $160. Okay, that’s not so bad. How do I know if this piano is in good working condition? I don’t but I’m reassured by my teacher and her tuner that it should be fine because it’s a Yamaha made in Japan. In 1980 when this piano was made the Japanese were still slicing their stomachs from side to side when they were responsible for poor workmanship. A worker in an English speaking country would just brush it off and have their fellow union co-workers console them by saying, “it’s not your fault. They work us too hard. Let’s go on strike.”
Yesterday the piano arrived. When it came time to pay I was wondering if I should tip. When you have a cheap disorder you’re more than likely to act emotionally in the moment. I didn’t tip him but I offered him and his partner a Coca-Cola which he declined.
On the same day I called the piano tuner to schedule an appointment. He came today and said I will need a double tuning because the piano has not been tuned for a very long time. I don’t know shit about pianos so I accept. Of course double tuning also meant double pay. He could have said it needed a quadruple tuning and an air freshener afterwards and I would have accepted.
He sat their for one hour doing what looked and sounded like some kind of voodoo ceremony with the piano. When it was done he said he could only do a single tuning and would come back another time to do another one. $120 for the tuning. I don’t like the feeling of giving people money away but I had to do this. I want a piano and I’m not getting any younger. I could wait but I’ll be even closer to death’s doorstep by that time with possible early onset arthritis.
I’m not sure if the piano sounds good for what it is because the only other piano I’ve been using is my crappy Costco digital piano and my piano teacher’s $30,000 grand concert piano. It’s obviously somewhere in the middle but that middle is a very large middle. It’s like the gap between a midget and a giant. It probably sounds good for $300 even though it’s going to cost me $700 once everything is said and done.
Life is expensive if you want to live it.
– Mr. Johnson
There’s poverty because you spend all of your money unwisely and then there’s poverty because there’s just not enough money. Having grown up in the latter environment is a form of Western childhood trauma produced by not having much, being scolded for asking for a little more, and having dingy white socks that always had worn out elastics. Pulling my socks up every 10 steps became a part of life. What existed as brand new knee-high socks ended up spending most of its life as ankle socks. They were only considered unusable when there were more holes than sock.
Last week I decided to be adventurous and took public transit to an outlet mall because I had a coupon. The cashier made a processing mistake and my discount was shorted a few dollars which I didn’t realize until after I left. I also spent $13 dollars on a bowl of noodles. My bus on the way home did not arrive because it didn’t feel like it which caused me to have to pay additional fare for the next bus. When I tapped my card on the bus machine it displayed that I had used $10 of stored value for the day which was double of what I thought it would be. Later, I discovered to get to the outlet mall using an alternate train connection there’s a charge of $5 because they feel like it. It’s considered a special train line because it goes to the airport.
It was too much for me. That $13 bowl of noodles used to be $6 in the year 1997. There was no special $5 train fare either in that same year. And I got ripped off using a coupon. All of the overwhelming events triggered my PTCD. In an instant, morphic resonance took over and I was brought back to my roots of communist China where my ancestors crapped in squat toilets and shared one apple between 9 siblings.
Months of paying for overpriced meals and sweatshop-made clothing brought upon a flood of guilt and anxiety. That’s it, I thought — I’m not eating out anymore and will be making soup from almost-expired vegetables on the $1 per bag shelf.
I broke down even further during the week and did the unthinkable — I applied for a job. All things considered, my investment portfolio is doing well but it’s not close enough to my all-time high. Just as in life, it’s not about where you are or where you came from, it’s about the direction of the trend. Bill Gates was more than ecstatic when he first became a billionaire but if he woke up one day and for some reason was down to his last billion he would kill himself by way of hanging using a cat 5 ethernet cable.
For dinner last night I had 2 eggs, an apple and a banana. My face shall soon be gaunt. Strangers will be able to see that I’m a man with many dark tales just from seeing my sad eyes and protruding cheekbones. I’m a first world inhabitant who identifies as a peasant.