Day 7222 | Day 7243 | Day 7284

Put it into first. Let the clutch out slowly. Give it a little gas when it starts to catch.

Last week I was packing up my car with the few possessions I take to college: my computer, my books, my chair, and duffels full of the clothes I've been wearing for the past six years. I was told once that I am like those cartoon characters who open up their closet and have about a dozen copies of the same outfit. For me it's blue jeans, a blue hoodie, and tennis shoes. I'd just learned how to drive stick the week before since my previous car had been annexed by my brother. That left me with the 14 year old stick shift. I tried to ignore the door panels which were rusted through in some spots, revealing the internal workings of the locks and power windows. Though I was fairly confident I knew what I was doing, I drove miles out of my way to avoid the hills between my house and the interstate. Even that did little to settle my nerves. Having a panic attack while driving an unfamiliar car at high speeds is fairly unpleasant.

Driving the car wasn't the cause of my anxiety though: it was the prospect of returning to school. I spent most of my sophomore year in a deep depression but had regained a fair amount of good humor when I left at the end of the semester. Going back brought up all kinds of worries about falling back into the mental grooves I had formed the previous year; worries that are a long way away from being alleviated. On top of that, I was and am having identity issues where I'm unsure of who I am on a basic level that most people take for granted. Though these questions about who I am have been latent since I was in elementary school, they have intensified in the past few months to a point where I may be incapable of ignoring them in the near future.

All of these come at a time when I'm increasingly unable to count on my friends. No one wants to be around a person who constantly complains without taking action against it and two years of my navel-gazing has understandably worn my friends' patience thin. When I attempt to tell my concerns to the few people I confide in, the conversation usually lasts about 10 minutes before a frustrated outburst on their part brings it to an end. The safety net which I had counted on saving me from falling into my old habits seems to have become frayed with overuse and I'm no longer confident in its ability to arrest the emotional momentum of a downward spiral. The fact that I expected this situation to arise eventually does little to blunt the feelings of abandonment.

If it starts to buck, put the clutch back in quick or else you'll stall out.

I expected to grow out of the nervousness of the first day of school at some point. That feeling like all your vital organs are trying to compact themselves into the center of your chest, as far away from the outside world as possible. The ripples of panic (for they aren't large enough to be called waves) as you pretend to nonchalantly walk past the same room a third, fourth, fifth time to make sure it's the right one. All the faces rotating up towards you as you walk through the door and being certain (so certain) that if you pick a seat in the very back and slouch just low enough, you might actually escape the attention of others.

It never works, of course, especially in the smaller seminar classes with the inevitably banal icebreakers: "Hello, my name is RO, I'm an economics major and...uuuuh...I like sleeping." The other students giggle as I return to my seat, that nervous kind of laugh people make to fill empty moments, knowing that soon they'll be the ones being cooked by the eyes of their classmates like a slab of chicken defrosting in a microwave.

Every year I tell myself that it'll be different this time.

Leave it in gear and remember to pull the emergency brake when you park.

The rift which separates me from the rest of my peers continues to grow wider. It mostly stems from my genuine dislike of going places and doing things. It's not a fear exactly, I simply derive very little pleasure from traditional social activities. I have never found the appeal of 'hanging out with friends' or of going to parties. I have no extracurriculars and I do not text. While my normal social anxieties are a factor in this dislike, I believe it runs deeper than simple fear of social situations. Not that it's impossible that it is just fear. It's fairly routine for me to forgo eating for a day or two after running out of food rather than endure the trials of going to the grocery store and dealing with the other customers and cashiers. Every once in a while I forget the magnitude of my discomfort and convince myself that I'm missing out on something by not doing these things. And every once in a while I go out and rediscover that I'm not.

Yet because I eschew the defining social interactions of my generation (perhaps of all generations) I find myself unable to form relationships of any intimacy. When you're alone, you tend not to notice being lonely, it's only when you're surrounded by others that it begins to become apparent. Just as they are unable to provide me with the situations I need to feel comfortable, so am I incapable of providing them theirs. And so I sit on my side and they sit on theirs as the rift slowly spreads between us.

It is currently 3:30 in the morning on my last day in Indiana. At 4:30 my ride will be here to take me to the airport. There were no tearful goodbyes, and it almost feels like I had even less to pack than last time. But this is not why I decided to write a daylog. The unofficial reason is I fear I will pass out on my desk if I don't do something mentally stimulating, but the official reason is something that happened late yesterday afternoon.

It was about 6 in the evening when I decided to go pick up some last minute things for my trip. I went to the store, got my shit, all was well. As I was driving home I saw something that is increasingly common these days. Someone was standing in a median at a stoplight with a sign pleading their case. Usually it's a grizzled old guy with the whole disabled vet motif going on, usually smoking a cigarette, which typically causes the cynical among us to scoff and mutter under their breath that maybe they wouldn't be hungry if they didn't spend their streetside stipend on tobacco.

Whatever. I'm stuck on a sliding scale somewhere between a bleeding-heart liberal and a social conservative so I keep my opinions to myself. However, this does not change the fact that I typically feel uncomfortable when I see these people. Not because I think they might mug or otherwise harm me, but because here I am, my ass sitting here in my air-conditioned car, I'm flying out to Baltimore tomorrow to party for a week, and while I probably deserve none of those things the main reason I feel uncomfortable is because I have no fucking idea what I should say to these people. Hell, I feel I'm condescending to them by even being in a car period, let alone sitting in there with the A/C and stereo cranked up while they bake in the sun and endure stares from the passing cars, possibly speculating on what wise-ass remark the douchebag in the car next to them is muttering to themselves when they see their mouth moving. My biggest concern is how long I'm gonna have to sit around and be bored at the airport. Theirs is more likely along the lines of whether they'll find a safe place to sleep that night. Who knows.

That's not to say there aren't more than a handful of these folks that are strictly con-artists. To pass all of them off as such is short-sighted, but, sadly, so is assuming every situation is legit. That's why what I saw today made me reflect.

The person standing in the median was not a grizzled war vet or even a young guy with the obligatory cigarette. It was a young woman; looked to be around my age, mid to late 20's. Her cardboard sign read simply "Need help. God Bless." with a little smiley face. She wore a plain white t-shirt and jeans and looked to be coated with a light film of road dust, but as dry as it's been here it was no more than a person walking a few blocks would accumulate. Her hair was long and blonde and pulled back in a low ponytail. It looked clean and shiny. She had a beautiful face, I must say. Of course, being the piggish man trapped in a lesbian's body that I am, I thought she was hot. My suspicions as to her motives did not kick in until I saw her interacting with the other motorists stopped at this particularly long-winded traffic light. In the roughly 3 minute period I sat there, behind one other car and with two trucks to my right, the people in every other vehicle spoke to her. I didn't bother to turn down Avenged Sevenfold long enough to hear what she said to them, but the fact remained that she garnered attention almost immediately from them. All men, unsurprisingly.

Now before I am discounted as a dykey sexist cuntmuffin, let me place the qualifier that I have never, not once, seen anyone look twice at any of the men I've seen panhandling on street corners. And I've seen this plenty of times. It's pandemic in downtown Hamilton, at least during the daytime when the hookers are in bed. Yet this chick is waving and saying indeterminate things with a smile on her face every 2 seconds, it seems. She has a charming smile. She rubs her stomach idly with one hand what time she isn't interacting. She wanders down the median and passes by my car, stopping near my window. I smile at her, and she smiles back. My left hand itches to hit the button for the power window and ask her...what, exactly? Can I get you something to eat? What's wrong? What can I do? All lame. All condescending. I'm not comfortable saying this to her. She returns my smile genuinely. The light turns green.

I drove around for twenty minutes after this incident, thinking. Why did I feel the urge to talk to that woman? I have, in the past, stopped for stranded motorists, all women incidentally. I called a tow truck for one who had lost her cell phone. I jump-started an elderly lady's car at the grocery store. That's not to say I don't still get that nagging feeling of guilt whilst driving past the destitute of the male persuasion, and while I have stopped to help them before (I once gave a box of TimBits to a guy sitting on the street in Hamilton) I never feel as compelled to reach out to them as I did just then to that woman. I almost turned back three times.

I suppose I like to think of myself as immune to the sociological phenomena that I discredit. I don't believe that men are better than women or vice versa. But I do know that men are reluctant to accept help from women. Whatever. Go be a macho tough guy in a ditch somewhere. But at the same time would I be doing anything for this so-called "women's lib" if I try to be a hero to a woman in need, despite the fact that I'm a woman myself? And if that woman were truly pulling off a fantastic ruse, wouldn't I do even further harm by abetting it?

In roughly 45 minutes I leave for the airport. I hope I don't get caught up in any bullshit Labour Day travel snags.

I work what I would call grave. The casino I work at calls it swing. 9pm-5am give or take an hour. I no longer wait tables. There is a Hot Black Girl that makes this fact a little sad, but the even sadder reality was that I didn't work with her much when I did wait tables. I don't think anything else makes me sad about not waiting tables. Dealing cards is like pushing pancakes. Maybe when I cure herpes I'll start up a chain of breakfast joint/strip clubs called the International House of Pancake Titties and I'll wait tables every once in a while for fun.

This is all just to explain the whole time thing. It's 3:37am in Vegas, and do you know where your hooker is? This is work time. But I have tonight off. Still, although by my rules it's Thursday, it *IS* technically Friday, and I will daylog as such.

So Thursday was 90210, did you have a party?

Wednesday was 09/01/10. Which doesn't mean anything to most people. To me it meant some girls I now work with sang me Happy Birthday, which I thought was pretty awesome.

I paid a player $1000 on a $1 side bet that night. Yes, I worked on my Birthday. I've only been at this job since 8/16/10 and I'm not about to start requesting days off. The woman that won $1000 reminded me of a childhood friend's mother.

Before work I got bit by a dog. This oldish woman had this little dog with her at the mailboxes in my complex. I went to get my mail because my mother had asked if I had gotten my card. The woman basically warned me. She wanted to get completely clear of the mail alcove before I came in. I started in right as they started to go down the steps just outside of the mailboxes. The dog snapped at me and caught the back of my leg. I was pretty shocked. Beware of little dogs that don't bark when the old woman on the other end of the leash warns you about them. I was afraid it broke the skin. I checked when I got back inside but it only looked bruised and I couldn't detect any blood. Such sharp little teeth.

I was thinking that being bitten by a dog and paying a woman $1000 were good stories, now that I wrote a little about these events I'm not convinced. Still, a woman I know from across the street when I grew up requested stories. Other women were curious enough to ask questions about my little teaser I posted on facebook. Do you see a theme?

Women.

A lot of hot drunk women are in Vegas playing cards right now. Just because I'm not working doesn't mean they aren't out there. Believe me, they are.

Oh yes, I have another story, which will be slightly interesting for those who know me. I went to the store and bought a hot water heater today. This is not behavior anyone who knows me would put me on. This is something my dad would do. I'm usually the guy who just pays too much to have someone bring him what he needs and fix things.

The reality is I was with a guy I was going to pay to install the thing, but I consider the guy kind of a friend. Maybe not I friend, but I'd say I know him, and I'd say I like him.

What is right on par with the shit I do is the fact I took cold showers for a week while I slowly moved toward fixing the problem that I eventually realized was a busted hot water heater. I am cheap. I certainly don't care about a lot of things people think I should care about. But in the end I really love who I am. Normally I can't stand it when people say shit like that, because it usually feels like they are trying to convince themselves of something.

Like tonight I was telling Cheesecake about Prom. Back in High School people said, "Brian Sketchwick is going to Prom???" when they found out. Only they used my real last name, of course. (I was talking to another woman and she was saying she wanted to write on E2 but failed to figure it out...she liked the "relative anonymity" of it. Even linked to facebook, it doesn't seem like I should be using my real last name here...which makes since...the people reading it from facebook know who I am, the people who read it from E2 do not, and can't get to where it's linked on facebook...unless they are leet computer hackers.) Prom was just not an activity people put me on. And it wasn't up my ally. But She was. I did it for her, and in the end we just went to get pictures, and then we went straight to the hotel room I rented. Men, if you think for a second I know anything about women, listen to me now, women love an occasion. Make an occasion for them. Now to be far, I would ask that you women give your men sex for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

So yeah, I don't drink, I don't do drugs (except for the time I was paid to, of course) what do I do? Subtle innuendo aside, I have really, really crazy sex sometimes. The stuff that you make HBO series about. Or Showtime, take your pick.

What about the men in my life? What are they doing? Well a couple have been playing Starcraft II with me and for that I thank them. I really play a ton of SC2. It's kept me entertained. Cheesecake and the Tyrant of Fire took me to breakfast on my Birthday, which I also think is awesome. And I've been spouting off this theory lately, and Cheescake told me a long time ago I should write about it, so here that goes.

I've refined it to basically: you need to have belief to be happy, and to be ecstatic you need to be delusional. Now Cheesecake and I are atheists, the kind that think religion has done harm to our world and all that. So we kind of marvel sometimes at the delusional thinking of religious people. But at some point I realized I was delusional when it came to sex. I think it was when I made the comment that I could suck a dick and it would make a Christian woman watching it wet. "Yeah, I thought homosexuality was an abomination before, but watching Brian in action totally converted me!"

Obviously I frequently go for humor over truth sometimes, but I think it's indicative of a confidence (or arrogance, depending on your point of view) I possess. And even if you believe reality is objective, you can't deny how subjective so many areas of life are. I think I'm good in bed. I think I'm funny. How do we know if I'm delusional? All we can do is ask others for their subjective opinion.

The important part is that belief is not the same thing as just lying to yourself. You can lie to yourself, but if you don't believe it, it's not helping. I can say I'm good in bed, and I can say I'm good at finding jobs. But I only believe one of those statements. Perception is reality. I can talk to Mr. Positive about my relationship with my family and feel just fine about myself. If I talk to Cheesecake about it too much I'll feel like a psychopath.

So am I on to something? You tell me, I'll probably believe you.

I have this little 2ish by 5ish inch piece of purple paper here that has some things written on it. It's time to get random.

Hot Black Girl asked me if I had a "f...f...friend" a long time ago. She meant girlfriend. Most beautiful stutter I've ever heard.

When you serve pancakes to gay men you should totally suggest the Boys n' Berry syrup.

That's actually all that's on that paper that I deam worth writing...on the back of the paper I can see what table 31, 23, and 11 ordered. And now it will be crumpled and tossed, preserved only in the ether of 1's and 0's.

Ah yes, another scrap of paper and this one reminds me to get a confirmation from you: pussy is finger food, right? And on the back? the sudoku answers for Monday, April 30th through Friday, May forth. Of what year I don't know. Nor do I play sudoku, nor do I like tear off a page calendars. Give me the whole month to look at, please.

As always, questions or comments are welcome, whether I know you or not, thanks for reading.

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