RW147 - I don't come back till morning

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to John going out at night, walking and not coming back till morning.

The Skype ringtone just blasted John! It is really loud.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

Dan has moved to a new office (RW147)

Dan is a little echo-y because he is in his new office and he is still setting everything up. Usually he has absurdly many sound panels and now he has none. His room currently just has a desk in the middle of it with a laptop and a microphone and four bare reflective walls with nothing to absorb anything. He sounds like a guitarist in the late 1980s with tons of reverb.

Previously Dan had been in a little office in a fancy office building with marble floors, a lobby, an elevator and fancy things like that he didn't want or care to use. John wonders if Dan wears shoes that go "clop clop clop" on a hard floor, but it depends on the day. Dan frequently wears Red Wing boots and otherwise he is wearing cowboy boots or squishy shoes. Four out of six days he walks across that lobby and goes "clop clop clop".

It was meant to be a temporary space because office before that was almost doubling the rent and it was not even worth what he was paying then, let alone doubling it. He had very little time to leave it and he found a small 150 sqft (14 sqm) room in what used to be a corporate stooge kind of office where everyone had their own office inside of it and at some point they moved out and the people rented out these offices individually instead of just the whole floor to one company. Dan was one of maybe 20 different people in these little rooms. Of course Haddie, his salesperson, producer and Fireside tech support person was in there with him. You could fit the two desks and the two people in there, but it was pretty tight.

They wound up being in there for two years which is about a year and ten months longer than Dan had wanted. But now they finally found a really nice place that is much more the kind of thing that he wanted. You might call it a ”Walk up”: you go upstairs and there is the door and you open the door and you are in. There is no fancy lobby, no snack area, no cafeteria or kitchen, and no copy room. It is Dan’s crap in a much bigger space for almost the same money. Dan moved it all himself with a little help. It has been a long couple days!

The space is shotgun style. There are essentially two rooms, one of them is the front room where they have their regular desks, and the second room is bigger and has a slight divide in the middle of it, which is where Dan is in right now. He has a little recording area and also an area where he at long last is going to be able to film the videos that he has been working on without having to completely take everything apart and push his desk against the wall and a million of other things he used to have to do when he was trying to set up for a video. It would take an hour just to set everything up.

Now he has a place where he can just leave the camera set up and film whenever he needs to. It is amazing! Dan is also not embarrassed to have people in there anymore. Having enough stuff to fill a 500 sqft (47 sqm) office in a 150 sqft office with two people and three desks was horrible, like as a kid when your room is a total mess with piles everywhere and your friend asks if they can I come in ”No, let's go to your house!” John was like that no matter what condition his room was. He didn't want other kids in his room. They are just gross and get their other-kid-energy on everything.

John being in a different place every week (RW147)

John's audio quality is better than last week because he has turned his gain all the way up. This week he is in his child's play room and the question is if it is the playroom of his child or his own personal child's playroom. John should have a child's playroom! His daughter's mother had bought a house with a nice carpeted playroom in the basement and John has been living there in the guest-room for a month. Two weeks of that time he was attempting to podcast from there, but his daughter's mother chose to have the roof torn off and replaced during that period, so he couldn’t record or even be there.

Last week John didn't know that the cleaning people would come during their show. He has really been bouncing around until he finally set up his good microphones and his good system down in his kid's playroom. She doesn't protest because there is just a big table covered with electronic stuff in the middle of her room, like: ”Hm, well, alright!” She is pretty flexible in that sense.

John has sold his house (RW147)

A couple of days ago John agreed to sell his house to someone after a month of back-and-forth. He has mixed feelings because he had thought it would go a different way. Maybe not surprisingly because of the many things about John’s house that are unusual it took a while for some buyers to digest it and then all come at once. Four people eventually wanted to buy it, but it was clear that the neighborhood was pulling the price down.

Seattle is one of the hottest housing markets in the country, but John lives in a humble neighborhood and plenty of houses half the size on much smaller lots in much less interesting neighborhoods were selling for more because they were understandable little packages. The yard wasn't too big, the house wasn't too rambling, and there wasn't for instance a barn or a swimming pool.

The four offers were all fine. None of them were amazing and John settled on some buyers that he liked personally. He didn’t get to meet any of them in person, but they sent him letters to introduce themselves. Usually when four people want a thing they keep offering more until one is the last one standing, like any auction or any market setting the price. But this was a situation where four buyers showed up and basically all offered the same amount of money. They went asked all of them: ”Everybody else is offering that too, what can you do?” - ”Well, that's pretty much all we can do.”

This was ridiculous! This is not how these things go! They had four interested parties! Somebody knock me off the fence here! But nobody could. John chose a couple with a two kids who seemed like nice people and who would bring richness to the neighborhood. He was thinking about his across the street neighbors and how they would interact with these people and how these people would interact with his across the street neighbors, whom he liked, and he felt like their kids would play together. He wanted to leave his house in the hands of people who were going to thrive there, so he chose them and signed all the paperwork.

At the 11th hour another real estate agent called whom none of them liked just for her manner. Her clients, a young couple, had not written John any letter and the presumption was that they were in tech. At the last minute they upped their offer and crucially waived inspection, which is a carrot.

The couple John had been signing the papers for were in a very unusual situation in modern times: They were making an offer contingent on the sale of their own house. Every sale used to be like that because who could afford to buy a house if they hadn't sold their previous house, but it had been three years since John’s real estate agent had accepted an offer contingent on the sale of their house. When John’s mom sold her house the Top 3 bidders were all cash offers and the next two were like 50%, 60% down type of thing. She had a nice house and it sold for a lot of money that was 20% more than the already expensive asking price.

This affected John’s understanding of how the real estate market is going to work. If it happened to her, it should happen for him, too! The bidders whom John liked had this contingent problem and had to sell their house in order to buy John’s, all the real estate agents agreed that their house will be easy to sell, but that is what everybody had said about his house!

They had inspection and normal behaviors, but then this agent came in from left field. John had signed all the papers and they were sitting on the desk, but hadn't been submitted. This agent said they will up the price to basically John’s asking price because everybody else was under-bidding a little bit, they will waive inspection, and will be no contingency. They could tell him the closing date and when the money would come in.

John was exhausted from the last month of just one gotcha after another. Every morning he would wake up and think: ”Well, today is the day!”, there would be an e-mail saying they had a bidder, but by the afternoon they would have backed out. Although John liked this couple and he wanted to choose them and bring their richness into the neighborhood, there would be no more shenanigans the day this new offer was signed. The only way it could fall through was if their financing fell through but none of that seemed like it was going to happen. John knows the guy who was loaning them the money from the bank and although he hates to old-boy-network this, the guy at the bank is not going to be a jerk about it.

It was a no-brainer! They offered the most money and there would be no inspection and no contingencies. Sign it! Since then John has been feeling a little bit of a karmic warble because he doesn’t know who those buyers are. They didn't write him a letter. They could be awful while the couple he liked with the kids could have and an organic farm! John knew they would be good in the neighborhood and they would add a to the neighborhood and be good stewards of the house. John’s agent said that in all of her years she never mourned when one of her clients loses a house because she always feels like they will eventually find the house that is better for them than the one they have lost and John said: ”Namaste!”

They agreed that they wold let him stay until July and now John just waits until the closing date somewhere in June. He could have spent last night at his house and he went over there, he sat on the couch for a long time, and he opened his mail. The house is still super-staged and in order to live there again he would have to un-stage it, get all these fake plates out of there and get some real plates in. He is not going to fill it up with junk, but those aren't his plates and he doesn’t want to use somebody's fake plates.

A few more things have to go, like there is a cow skin rug on the floor. 99% of it is John’s stuff but there are also some other things. For example, when they make a bed for a real estate showing they don't put sheets on it, but they do this weird hospital corners thing with the blanket and pillows. John will definitely use a top sheet because what else would he every night kick to the bottom of the bed and get tangled in his feet?

A long time ago they had a sponsor that sent them some wonderful Irish linen sheets that cost as much as a car, but they were fitted sheets and pillowcases. John needs a top sheet which was another $900, but it was a deal breaker for him. He is not going to put a fitted sheet and pillowcases on a bed and then what? You can't take a top sheet from another set and mix it, that would be like wearing half a suit! In the end they did send him a top sheet. Every once in a while John stands his ground because he is not a monster! He wished they would send those nice sheets again.

At the time John bought his house he had just come back from basically 10 years of touring in a Rock band and although you are not on tour the entire time, you are not really making a nest either. You are just thinking about your next tour, having band practice, and swanning around the town. John was very focused on Rock’n’Roll for 10 years, he lived at his mom's house, his band practiced in the basement, he was gone at least as much as he was around, and when he was around he was not very around.

Buying his house was the culmination of all that youth that had stuck with him until he was 40, because although he was in Rock bands in his 20s he didn't do all that Rock stuff, he didn't tour, but he was living the Generation X version of life, which was: ”Have as little responsibility as you can, spend as little money as you can, which enables you to make as little money as you can!" The richness of life comes from sitting in cafes all day, having fun relationships, reading plays, going to shows and being a generation X urbanite. The band stuff all happened in John’s 30s and at 40 years old he didn't have any adulthood and he hadn't put together any adult patterns.

John grew when he was in the band: He learned how to manage money, he learned how to manage people, but it took him a long time and he is still not very good at it. He wasn't good at it then either, but he was learning it. He learned how to manage the project of keeping all the different things about a band in the air: the touring, the recording, and the management, but he had never put any adulthood together and he never lived with a girl.

John never had his own coffee pot or learned to even use a coffee pot. Six out of ten people he knew worked in cafes. If he needed a cup of coffee he just needed to turn around, walk in the nearest door, and there would be somebody in there saying: ”Hey John, here is a coffee!” When he got his first coffee pot and someone showed him how to make coffee in a coffee pot he found it ridiculously complicated! You get the beans and grind them up and find a filter and put them in and then put the water in and it takes forever! Why don't you just have an espresso machine and a barista?

When John bought his house at 40 years old he cobbled all these patterns together. He got a coffee maker and a coffee grinder. He learned that the Lazy Susans in his house were not good Lazy Susans and he didn't really use them for very much, but he put stuff down there that he never wanted to see again. He didn't like the doors on the cabinets, so he took them off. Most of the houses that he had lived in during his 20s didn't have any doors on the kitchen cabinets because they were all old houses that somebody took the doors off a long time ago and never put them back.

Then John had a kid and he didn't go on tour anymore but became much more home-oriented and domestic. He started podcasting, he had a room in his house where he made music, a room where guests would stay, and it didn't look bad, but a big part of buying a house was that he was very alone and for 5 of the 10 years he lived there he was probably the most depressed he had ever been in his life.

John doesn’t know whether he should connect that depression to the deep aloneness that he had there because in general that is what he had craved for so long, but now that he had it he plummeted into a paralyzed darkness. He thinks about it all the time and cannot know for sure whether they were connected or whether the progression of his depression and his Bipolar would have happened even if he would still be living Downtown in a cool loft surrounded by friends.

Now John sold this house and he is living in an unfurnished spare bedroom that just has a bed in it and a box full of books in the corner because his daughter and her mother haven't really fully moved in there yet. None of the stuff in this house is John’s except his daughter, and yet: Living there does not make him uncomfortable. He sees her morning‚ noon and night!

He has been doing the thing that he had always dreaded, which is sitting and watching TV at the end of the day. John and his daughter's mother sit and watch TV, they watched Game of Thrones, she and John’s little girl watch World of Dance, which is the type of show that John would rather not have a TV in his house than watch it, but he started watching it with them and it is a very positive and fun TV program that brings joy to the people who watch it. World of Dance brings joy to the world because Jennifer Lopez is a national treasure and, as we all do, John loves watching young people give something their all and dance is a creative art form.

John doesn’t mind being there despite not having any privacy and despite not having any of his things, which is unprecedented. He wants to go over to his house and live there for a month, but he would miss his family or the daily mundane interactions that he is having now. When he was living at his house he tried to see his little girl every day, but it is easy for that to get interrupted. If she has a piano lesson and John has to meet somebody for dinner, it is very easy to say ”See you tomorrow, darling!” It is much harder for that to happen at her mother’s house and even if he only puts her to bed, no day goes by where he doesn't see her. Having a day or two days go by without seeing her has been a natural part of her upbringing.

This whole project has been: ”Sell my house, buy a new house, and move into the new house so I can be closer to her!”, but now he moved into a spare bedroom and is close to her than he would be if he bought another house. Living in the playroom in this house now seems like a crazy thing to do, but it doesn't actually seem crazy to Dan. It would be crazy if John had to pay capital gains tax on the sale of his other house, but you only have to pay capital gains over a certain amount of profit and John is right on that number. Either he will or he won't, but it won't be because he is sitting on the cash and he is not reinvesting it. The capital gains laws have changed because all the tax laws are changing all the time because by golly, let's just keep that all up in the air depending on who is in Congress!

The perfect life for John would be owning three houses on an acre (4000 sqm) of land. Sometimes he could go out to his house, which is over there across the grass, and sometimes he could be in this house and sometimes he could be in that house. Various people would live in the various houses and he could have a little village, but there would always be a house he could go to. He may go to his house, or he may come back and stay here.

That is so new! John has never had a pull to make that kind of home with a little family. He had a little family, he had a home, but there were always a couple of houses as part of that home and they were widely spread in this town, which was the uncomfortable part. They were not even walkable by any stretch of the imagination, but at the wrong time of day they were 40 minutes away from one another.

John’s daughter and his mom both like having John around. This house is a big rambler and John’s daughter's mother had never lived in a house by herself. She grew up in a house with people, she moved into college and lived in a dorm, after she left the dorm she moved into a group house with her friends, she went to England and lived in a communal housing, she came back and lived together with a boyfriend in an apartment, she got married and had an apartment, she moved out, got divorced and moved into an apartment. She was by herself in the apartment but there were apartments all around her full of people. And then she had a little girl.

The first night she stayed in her new house Marlo stayed with John and she was in this house by herself and she said later that it was the first night in her life she had ever spent where she was the only person in the building. That is crazy and it is a pretty scary feeling. Since John has been staying here she sleeps better. Feeling like there is somebody there is comforting and she does not say: ”Get out of my house!”

Marlo just likes it better, which is another thing that is affecting John's feelings. What would he say to her? ”Oh, daddy moved back to his house!” - ”Why? You are fine here!” - ”Well, I got to have my alone time” - ”But you are alone all day when I'm at school and Mom is at work!” - ”Well, I need my other alone time!" - ”Mom and I both go to bed at 9pm and then you are alone all night because you don't sleep during the night either.” - ”Well, yes, I do have between 8 and 12 hours alone here, but there is other aloneness I need, the aloneness of true aloneness.” - ”Huh, well!”

John doesn’t feel like at age 50 he should be living in the guest room of someone else's house. Dan says that John should simply call it his room and not the guest room and it will not be weird, but he will be in a room in a house with a bed in it and that is his room and he sleeps in it, there is nothing weird about that! This is all unfolding and Dan is fascinated by it because these are big changes for John. This is a huge thing in a good way and John is having some changes now! For a long time Dan thought that things were just status quo for John. Things were always changing, there were always variations, but variations on a theme.

Dan recommends John to just ride it out and enjoy it. When he was in that little tiny month-to-month office he was just waiting to find something that was so compelling that it was worth it for him to get out of there. John is staying in a home where he is close to people who care about him and whom he cares about, it is super-convenient, he saving money, and he is contributing and when that doesn't make sense anymore he can still go and do something else. It is going to be hard to change it later, especially if his daughter gets really used to having him around all the time. John also could not bring a special lady back there, that would be not possible.

Homebuyer statistics (RW147)

Dan did some research on the anatomy of a first-time homebuyer and reads from a site called Housing Wire that is almost two years old. The average age of a first-time buyer is 32 years with a household income of $75.000, the average home purchased costs $190.000, they usually put a 5% down payment on it and the average amount of student loan debt per home buyer is almost $30.000. Dan bought his first home when he was 23, but he was precocious. 40 years old seems to be much more normal these days than it was especially during the Baby Boom period where you were basically graduating High School and trying to buy a house straight away.

Is John twice as big as Dan? (RW147)

John has a California king and a regular King, depending on his mood. Not pressed up against each other, but one is in one bedroom, the other is in the other room. Dan wonders if John is twice the size of him. John doesn’t think so because Dan is 150 pounds (68 kg) and John doesn’t weigh 300 pounds (136 kg). If you take John’s overall girth, skeletal mass and height and put it all together and put a big coat on him he could come across as twice as big. They are not different enough in size that if you put them next to each other people would say ”Haha, look! These are the same species!” and have it be funny like you put a Chihuahua on a great Dane.

The map of redheads (RW147)

John does appreciate redheads and he does not believe that they are a crime-human. There is a lot of anti-redhead-bias, especially in the UK. They are often teased and belittled. There is a map of Northern Europe called where the redheads live. There is a very narrow swath that cuts across Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Scotland, Ireland, maybe Netherlands and Northern France where the redheads are from. A large proportion of those people are redheaded and in the rest of the world you find a few redheads every once in a while. John knows some Jewish redheads, but they tend to be from the Latvia, Russia, Lithuania side of the Jewish equation. Redheadedness is a mutation that happens even elsewhere once in a great while.

The kind of women John is attracted to (RW147)

When it comes to women John is attracted to, he never consciously checks a single box other than ”Is this girl disagreeable immediately?” If she is disagreeable immediately in some way, shape, or form, if John says ”Hey! Nice to meet you!” and she goes ”Oh, is it?”, or something like that, if she is just a jerk right off the bat, then 98% of the time she is smiling and she is not being a jerk in the sense that she is actually being mean, but she is being comedy-mean. That gets John every time!

Over the years John has dated people of all different sizes, but lately the dynamic has shaken down that he dates small people for whatever reason. That was not the case before! In High School, college and into his late 20s he tended to date all athletic girls who were lacrosse-style players, in his 30s he tended to date saftig girls, but lately it has been small people and John doesn’t know why. Generally he dates the people who approach him.

He doesn’t mean to say ”Girls come to me!”, be he has always been shy, he never had any kind of game, he never ever sidled up to somebody and said ”Let's get out of here!” or ”Nice to meet you!”, even. He just leans against the wall. John is very flirty and if somebody reciprocates flirtation he is fine and they have fun, but as soon as it becomes a serious flirtation, then ”What is next?” and he excuses himself, goes to the bathroom and slips out the window. You have to work hard to get him to understand that it is okay to agree that they like each other. It is a little bit of a journey.

It is easy for John to think that the people he ends up seeing are a random assortment of people who are bold enough to get through all of his tiger traps, but if you look at whom he has dated in the last ten years there is enough of a pattern of petite-ness that he can't just chalk up to ”Well, only petite girls like me, I guess!” John doesn’t understand it because it is not what he would have said. There are guys who like to date Asian girls, but John never had a category like that or thought of people in categories like that. It is always retroactive wisdom. The first five girls John dated from his High School girlfriend on were all redheads, not because he thought ”I love redheads!”, but it just seemed like a coincidence that he noticed later.

John laughed and laughed at i because his cousin Page has five kids that are all as redheaded as you could be, just Ginger and freckles from head to toe! There is no red in John’s beard, but when he was in his 20s he put Henna in his hair. He dated a girl for about a year and one day she looked at him and said: ”Wait a minute! Your hair isn't red, did you dye it?” - ”No, the red was the Henna.” - ”I thought you were a redhead! I've been dating you for a year! I told my folks I had a redheaded boyfriend. You don't have red hair?” - ”No, I just have this ash hair!” She was very disappointed. There were other reasons it didn't last and they are still close.

John loves dancing (RW147)

John loves dancing and a lot of the girls he has dated have been dancers. A lot of the lacrosse-players became dancers of a certain kind when they got into their 20s. There is a school in Seattle called Cornish College of the Arts. Dan remembers he saw a DJ at XOXO who was considered a big get for them. He was going to meet up with John, but John wasn’t there and when he came back it turned out he had been dancing in this huge area where the DJ was playing his set. John had been part of that by doing movements and other things and he told Dan to go out there and spend some time out there because ”the whole thing is very life-affirming!”

The DJ’s name is Dan Deacon, a consummate artist who lived in Baltimore. He is very much about involving the crowd in his performances, but he is an artist and not just somebody who plays DJ music. The whole idea of his shows is that he and the crowd are very engaged with each other and it is participatory in a way that is extremely fun and life-affirming. You feel like you are a part of an art happening! He is not just a wedding DJ. He is the voice in the very popular early viral video Drinking out of Cups with the little lizard who says ”How that chair get here?”, animated by Liam Lynch. He was in character of this person from his neck of the woods changing channels and just riffing on the TV. The first time John saw it he laughed and laughed and laughed.

John loves to dance and he loves that kind of thing. He will absolutely stand on the side and watch it and not get involved if he can, but if he somehow crossed the threshold and went out onto a dance floor and got involved, or get into any dancing situation where he got over it, then he will do it until the sun comes up, because he really likes the experience of moving in that way. John would do it more at home if he had a larger musical component to his life, and maybe as he moves forward he will put music in the house and tries to start using music differently.

Don’t ask where John has been (RW147)

John never wanted his life as it is lived and his comings and goings to be known by other people. He is very revealing, he talks about what is going on with him, he talks about his feelings as best he can, but he doesn’t want to be monitored or surveilled at all. He never wanted anybody to know where he was, including when he was a little kid. He didn't want people to watch him and he went to great efforts to disappear, to go into the woods, to go under the stairs, or to go wherever he could where he couldn't be observed.

John liked to daydream as a kid, like Bran from Game of Thrones. His eyes would roll back into his head and he would go to his dream space. When he was there he didn't like to be observed and he didn't like it revealed that he was there. He didn't like to be watched while his eyes had gone white and there was nothing he wanted less than for people to know how much time he would spend in another world.

This evolved as John grew up and learned that he could go to that other place while he was walking. Nobody has any privacy when you are young because you can't afford it and there are people all around you, but if John went on a walk he could go to wherever he wanted and he could come and go, walking along and be just in a completely other place. When something happens in front of you, a raccoon falls out of a tree or a police incident, your eyes can zip back in and you are in the moment as long as you need to be, but then you can pick up your pace and keep on walking and go back to wherever you wanted to be.

John walked for hours at night. He would leave wherever he was living or leave the bar at 10 pm and he would walk until morning, come home at 8:00am and feel great and exhausted, having worked everything out in his head. It felt like work, he was doing really important things, but he didn't want people to know where he had been. He didn't want people even to know that he had been walking, let alone where he had been walking.

John would share stories of things he had seen if something happened, but for the most part the whole point of those long walks was to be gone. It affected how he travelled. He didn't want to go to Japan for instance because he was afraid of being watched everywhere he went. He really didn't want to be in public places where he was conspicuous in that way.

The whole point of keeping moving is that no-one has time to see you. You walk into the frame stage right, people look at you, thinking: ”There's the person!” and by the time they have formulated an observation, you exit stage left. In Japan it felt like everywhere he went there would be eyes on him constantly, a collective eye, and no matter where he moved there would just be people that were conscious of like a Gaijin.

John confined his early travels to the United States and when he started to go to Europe he confined it to cities and places in Europe where he would be invisible. Only as time went on did he get more and more comfortable. In Spain or in Italy John also looks like a stranger and by the time he first went to those countries in the 1980s, tourism had evolved. Now he regrets not having gone to Japan.

John can't quite square how much he doesn’t like that feeling of being known by being seen and how much he cannot bear it with the fact that he comes on this program and tells all about everything that is going on with him. He wants to interpret what happened before it goes live. With a lot of his stories he is not just telling the story ”and then this happened and then this happened”, but it is all full of interpretation. Every vignette he shares has a point to what happened and the story illustrates a point. It is not just raw dumping of data, but it is all in service of a world view.

Nothing gets John down than walking in the door and having someone ask: ”Where have you been?” and if he says: ”Just around!” - ”No, seriously, where'd you go? Where have you been?”, particularly when that question is loaded with: ”Where have you been?” He can't express how intrusive that feels, how much it starts the feeling of ”I got to get out of here!” Whatever the situation is where somebody can say ”Where have you been?”, he needs to change that situation because it is so intrusive and it feels so personal to wonder where he has been. "None of your business!"

This is very suspicious to a lot of people. When he responds that way they think there is some reason he doesn’t want them to know where he has been. It is a vicious cycle and the more he doesn’t want them to know where he has been, the more they assume that it is because he was doing something bad or he has something to hide. How do you tell somebody: ”Yeah, what I have to hide is my inner life”, but them wondering where he has been, monitoring where he has been or expecting him to reveal where he has been intrudes upon his inner life in a way he can't quite describe.

As John has gotten older and because he has a little girl, that also is kind of tempering, but also kind of not either. It is something permanent in John that he doesn’t know how to interrogate. Maybe if he sat down with a psychiatrist and talked about it for a year they might get to the bottom of it, but he also doesn't know how many people are like him and are content to either sit for hours at a time or go walk for hours at a time, just to be alone with themselves.

There are people like him, but they are also probably hiding that fact. When Keanu Reeves was sitting on that park bench eating that sandwich and looking sad, maybe he got caught and he spent six hours a day doing that, but most people who enjoy their own company are not like John: They do not perform it, they don't want it witnessed, because it feels like: ”Yeah, I'm here alone with my best friend! Stop looking at us!”

All this will come into play now that John was temporarily living at his daughter's mother's house, because as soon as he really settled in and was staying there and this was his room, there is a certain energy! Even during this one month he has been here there has already been a kind of ”Where have you been?” and John doesn’t blame anyone for being that way because like everything in life when you are differently abled: The normal people don't even recognize the existence of that different ability or the difference. That is the whole thing about visibility of mental illness, disability or otherness: You come out because part of the problem is that people are steamrolling you all the time with their normalcy and they are not aware of it. It is not intentional on their part!

A lot of the language around this idea feels angry to the normals. We feel othered by them, or they are ignorant of us, in whatever way John is putting himself in a category of ”us vs. them”, and that is just part of this contemporary shitty tone. They are not ignorant of you, you fuckface, they are completely normal! How would they know what was going on in your life? Ignorance is a dirty word, it is a thing to throw at somebody that makes them feel stupid. They are not stupid! They just can't even see it!

John is struggling to describe it and he doesn’t expect other people, even very close to him, to reckon with a thing that he can't even reckon with and accommodate it. He struggles to explain it and all he can do in the end is ask for an accommodation: ”Can you not do that? I can't really tell you why, I'm just asking for an accommodation here!”

It doesn't work, because you cannot accommodate someone who doesn't want you to ask simple questions like ”Where have you been?” It is a place where John comes up against the wall of his difference. It is a part of his life, it is not their problem, the world is not against him, other people are not against him, it is just his struggle, it is ”Mein Kampf” and that is true of a lot of things when you are an unusual person with unusual needs or an unusual identity.

One thing that annoys John right now it that there is considerably less understanding that this is your burden and not society's burden. We all have burdens! It belongs to you! You are going to suffer! You are not entitled to live without suffering! It is not other people's fault! None of us get to live a life without suffering. Some of us have way more suffering than others, and that is not unfair, it just is. Some people are born to suffer, or their life is constructed in such a way that the componentry of their minds and bodies is going to mean that they suffer from dawn to dusk. Whose fault is that? God! God is the only one to shake your fist at! You cannot expect the world to ever even know, to ever even have an inkling of the suffering that you yourself have.

John knows that as soon as he starts to suffer that way he will become insufferable to others. He cannot keep that suffering out of the room, he cannot help but make other people also sad and hurt. John sees himself in the moment, telling himself: ”You cannot do this! You cannot make it hard on other people!” and the only solution he has ever come up with is to leave. Get up and go! Go out of the house! Go! Go away! Go! That also brings suffering because the people you leave behind will ask: ”Where did he go? Why did he go?” and he will be gone for hours and doesn’t come back till morning, which absolutely suggests the follow-up question: ”Where have you been?”

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