RW201 - Event Horizon

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to John soon moving into his own house, which is an inflection point or an event horizon.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

John always sleeping until 5 minutes before having to record a show (RW201)

This is going to be one of those episodes of the podcast where John has gone directly from a state of totally sleeping and dreaming to recording a show with another live person in the span of just a few minutes. Sometimes that enables him to be in a liminal in-between place where the dreams are still active, but he is also awake. Throughout the whole time that John has been podcasting he has done about 98% of those podcasts within 15 minutes to a half hour of waking up, often actually closer to 5-10 minutes from waking up.

They record in the morning, which seems to be the schedule that everyone prefers, and for many years that meant 10am, sometimes as early as 9am. Given the opportunity with no other reason to get up and have breakfast and prepare, John will sleep right up until the time that he has to wake up. It is in his nature to keep sleeping until he is forced to get up. During the early days of Coronavirus John asked all his podcast friends if they could switch to 11am because nobody has anything to do anymore. Everybody agreed, with Dan he was already recording at 11am because Dan has special needs around his lunch and insists on having lunch at noon and his take for several years has been that it is outrageous to ask him to do anything but begin eating food at 12pm exactly.

Dan denies the allegations but now John is recording at 11am with everybody, which means Dan has won and his victory is across the whole spectrum, which is fine except that John will still sleep right up until the moment he is forced to wake up.

In high school and college, especially once he had a car and was driving himself, Dan had it down so that he would wake up at the absolute last possible second and then there would be this mad dash of putting your hair under the faucet in the tub so it is wet and run out to the car and get in there and button your shirt while you are driving. You get there and you are running, you get to your locker in the 1100 building and you hit class and you are there right as the bell is ringing.

That is still John’s life. On his way downstairs he puts his head under the kitchen sink and turns the water on just to get one half of the sleep out of his eyes, and then he came down and sat down at the computer and away we go! He has transitioned almost completely from a life where his job is making music to a life where his job is talking, and almost every recorded word he has ever said he has said within 10 minutes to an hour after he woke up, and the hour meaning: The end of the show. Is that your peak operating time? No! John’s peak operating time is probably 7-10pm, maybe even 10pm-2am.

If John had been doing these shows all these years starting at 10pm, this would be a completely different catalog of material. All the stories he ever told, all of the dribs and drabs, the meandering voice, the maudlin insight, all that stuff that characterizes the way John talks to people is so different within an hour of waking up to what it is in the middle of the night or in the evening. He can imagine there is an alternate universe set of podcasts that he has done that were recorded on the exact day that these have been recorded, but just at night, and people would think of him as a completely different person.

This is his podcast voice, which is intrinsically a little groggy, and it is astonishing that the universe has chosen to have this be his public persona. All through his 20s and 30s up until the time he started podcasting, which was within a year or two of Twitter, one of John’s strongest desires was to have a platform to talk to the world, and music was what he found. He was glad to have that voice, but he also wanted to just talk to the world. In his 20s he had no venue, no one was listening to his music, he never wrote an article for publication, no-one ever interviewed him, and the only opportunity he had to talk to the world was to his immediate world, which is common for everyone, you can talk to your friends.

In his 30s he developed a career where he could stand on a stage with an amplified mic and talk to the people that came to see him, and that used to be the extent of what a performing person could expect, depending on the size of the crowd from 50 people to 50.000 people: You are on the stage, you are talking to them directly. Then writers could disperse their worth much more widely. But right about the time John turned 40, with Twitter and then the ability to podcast, all of a sudden all of his dreams came true: He had the ability to say exactly what he means.

In his 30s he did interviews all the time and he would talk to somebody from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch or the Baltimore Sun, and he would talk to them for an hour and a half and it would be a great conversation and they would say: ”Great, I am going to write this up. The article should be coming out on Wednesday!” - ”Awesome! This has been a great conversation! Thank you so much!” and then he would arrive in Baltimore and there would be the paper and the article would be the top third of the page and it would have two quotes from John, both of them mis-transcribed, and one of them with the wrong punctuation, and the rest of the article would be this writer poorly interpreting John’s lyrics and missing entirely what The Long Winters were or at least what they were trying to be.

John would be deflated because he would think back to the conversation he had with the writer and he would say: ”Really, those are the pull-quotes you chose? Why did you even write this article? Why didn't you just transcribe the interview? The whole story you are trying to tell was just: Transcribe the interview! You asked good questions! Why is it in your nature, music writers, to take that and then blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!”

John has been podcasting for almost ten years, he has set all the stories down, he has been completely validated by the world, and he is able to tell new stories, just that he told every single one of these stories somewhat half asleep, and he would never have thought: ”Oh yeah, the person that people are going to think you are, the person you want to be is this half-asleep bear!” because at 1pm John is a very animated person. One of the things that establishes his tempo in these conversations with Dan and Merlin and the other guys, there is a slowness to him, searching for words, thinking about until he gets to the point sometimes. If you read a transcript, some of his sentences are belabored or he starts off this way and then he wanders over through the garden and goes up the ladder and across a little Japanese bridge and gets to the end of the sentence and: ”Wow, that was a lot of comma splicing there!” It is very much how he talks when he is half-asleep.

It is not a lesser version of him, but such a different one than the one that he thinks of as his actual self. By the time they are done talking today John will have swept to the last embers of sleep back into the fireplace and… what the hell is he talking about? ”The last embers of sleep?” That is not a phrase! That will all be gone by the end of the show, and maybe that is it: Every show he does is an hour of listening to him wake up and by the end he is who you would expect him to be.

No-one has ever pointed out that there is anything about the first 10 minutes of these podcast that is appreciably different from the last, but the whole framework of at least this show and Roderick on the Line is that there is no topic, but people probably don't appreciate how much he walks in only 3/4 of the way to consciousness. He is a slow waker upper and pads into these conversations as someone who is hoping in the first 10 minutes that no-one will notice that he is still just: ”Hello? Oh, hi Dan!”, like at a campfire when you are trying to get that first pot of coffee going.

John’s day being bookended by coffee and ice cream (RW201)

John drinks 8 cups of coffee a day, but when Dan talks to him he has had two sips of coffee and the caffeine, which is his handmaiden, the only drug he is allowed, … Every time John sees a study with ”caffeine” in the title he always shudders in fear and he picks up those articles and tells himself: ”Please do not tell me that caffeine is a bad drug!” and every one of these articles says: ”Well, we really tried to find something wrong with coffee and we just couldn't do it. It turns out that you can drink coffee and it is not really bad for you and by all accounts it is maybe kind of good for you. Anyway, see you later! Signed: scientists!” and that is all John wants to hear.

Every time one of those studies comes out and he doesn't see it, his mom will see it and forward it to him and go: ”Hurray! Victory! Caffeine and coffee is still fine! We probably shouldn't put milk in it. That is probably the bad thing, but it doesn't matter because because coffee is still fine!” Everybody is mad at John because he doesn't drink good coffee, but he really does love coffee and does appreciate it. It is not that he doesn’t like good coffee or prefers good coffee, but by his nature he is minimalist in his activity and he doesn’t like to waste things and dumping out coffee from yesterday would be wasteful!

John even prefers those $8 cups of coffee that you get in New York City, he has a had a $22 cup of coffee where the beans came out of a civet’s butt. He didn't pay for it, but Jonathan Coulton bought it for him. The whole idea seemed dumb, which was also what Jonathan used to think, but after having one John could see around corners for four hours! It was the greatest! He has even been thinking about getting a De’Longhi Espresso machines, but they are $1000 and that seems crazy, plus they need a lot of maintenance. But the idea of having a chocolaty little Espresso to start the day instead of some witch's brew that has been sitting on the counter?

Coffee and ice cream bookend John’s day. He starts with coffee, he drinks coffee until the last possible moment, and then he switches to ice cream. If he could moderate those things he would be in a state of total equilibrium, but instead of equilibrium it looks like his life is a barbell with one giant weight of coffee on one side and a giant weight of ice cream on the other, which is technically still equilibrium. That picture should be their next T-shirt: Atlas holding up the world, accept the world is a barbell and the barbell is made of coffee and ice cream?

People listening to podcasts to fall asleep (RW201)

John appreciates so much that everyone who listens to these shows is there for it. John hasn’t listened to more podcasts than a couple, but he knows a lot of podcasters, and there are a lot of fast talkers, there are a lot of loud laughers and funny, funny, funny, funny, funny, funny, funnies, and he wonders whether people use these shows to go to sleep at night. Dan has heard that, and people mean it as a compliment. maybe it is the Dr. Johnny Fever principle, the Johnny Fever style of deejaying, which is like: ”Hey, fellow daddies, hey babies!” He is not a morning-DJ, but he is a late night DJ.

Dan will help anyone any way he can and if his voice is somehow helping people sleep, that is a gift that he is happy to give to anyone. If your choice is ”give me a compliment or don't!” Dan will take the compliment, he needs all the compliments he can get, but it is not his favorite compliment to say: ”You put me to sleep when I listen to you!”, but he would rather do that than not be complimented or not help them fall asleep. Maybe he should get a public domain book and record himself reading it in the most relaxed way possible to allow people to enjoy the content of the book and fall asleep and learn by osmosis. He should just go through the Encyclopedia Britannica, start with Aardvark, go to Zebra, and entertain and help the people sleep.

No one is sleeping right now during COVID, everyone’s sleep is absolute crap right now. Dan woke up this morning at 5am, although nothing is going on at 5am! He didn't go to sleep until 12:30am and that is not enough sleep!

Dan might be anxiety-waking, but he is not waking up in a state of anxiety, or from an anxious dream or any dream, but his eyes just open peacefully, he looks at the clock, and it says 5:12am, which means he could sleep two more hours before he needs to be present for his children and his inclination is to try to go back to sleep and some days he can do it and he was on a really good roll for a while, waking up at 5:30am every morning and he just fought it and was able to fall back to sleep a couple of days in a row and it cured it and he was sleeping straight through till 7am. Then yesterday and today the 5am bird is chirping and he wakes up and the mind does not want to go back to sleep. Dan is not feeling anxious or upset or worrying, but he is just awake. Literally everybody that Dan knows is sleeping horribly right now.

Going back to sleep (RW201)

John goes right back to sleep in those situations almost always, but for instance last night the dreams that he woke up from to come do this show were super fun, but they were dreams that basically looked like he was in the world of the Terminator. Murder robots were chasing us through an old Italian town, the walls of the city were crumbling behind us as we ran, but John didn't feel any more or less scared than normal, he felt pretty good, he had the town mapped and he was glad to see the more recent architecture destroyed.

John sets his alarm for 10:55am to do an 11am show and there is no wiggle-room, he can't roll over and go back to sleep for a couple more minutes of this dream, but he has to sit up, put his clothes on, walk past the coffee maker, hopefully someone in this house has made new coffee, if not it is old coffee and he has to stand and stare at the microwave for two minutes, and then he sits down and Dan is always a little bit in a peak that John was six minutes late, but that is the six minutes it took him to walk down the stairs because he has to walk so gingerly because he can't see and a few minutes ago he was in a health scape, a post-apocalyptic robot war, and he is not even anxious about it, but instead he hated to leave his friends in a lurch. ”Fuck, man!” They are still there fighting that war without him, and he had the town mapped.

Remembering / Interpreting your dreams (RW201)

He can go back into his dream if he woke up, looks around, turns over, grabs his pillow, and goes back in, but if he gets up even for a minute, then he can't go back. He used to be able to, he used to live in dreams, he dreamt so deeply and he remembered them and his dream life was so important to him. That still exists, he just doesn't remember them, like those movies you see where something is coming up out of the sea and the camera is pointed straight down into the murky sea and you start to see a shadow and then it becomes a figure and then it is there, but in reverse: John is watching himself come out of sleep and: ”Oh wait! I was in a whole world, I was in a universe!”, and it goes away so fast that he is left standing there dripping wet, like: ”Wow, where was I a second ago?” and it is just images and sense impressions and then it is gone.

John used to be able to stay in the in-between long enough that he could gather together the memories and although it was still a matter of looking back and down into a murk, but he would still be in the sleep so he would get the narrative, and that is what happened today. He came up so fast that he had all these pictures still and could remember the past five minutes. He normally just barely remembers his dreams these days and he misses it.

If Dan remembers a dream once a month, that is pretty frequent, but he used to remember every dream every night. Nightmares were very rare in the past and in his adult life he probably had 10 and they are almost always the same and it is pretty obvious what they symbolize. Usually there is some globally or regionally apocalyptic event that has taken place. The first scenario would be a massive F5 tornado approaching and he can see it and he is perhaps the only one that is aware of it and other people don't seem to be taking it seriously. Or there has already been some apocalyptic event such as a nuclear war, and now we need to make our last stand against the mutants. The very occasional third one is alien invasion, but otherwise the concept is the same.

When he was younger the tornado one would be pretty common, but normally in the dream he would be trying to avoid the tornado in some way or hide from it in some way, but one time he was just going to stay put and see what happens and the tornado came over and he looked up inside of the tornado and he saw all the way up into the clear blue sky inside of the tornado, and then it passed away and he hasn’t had that dream since.

Dan doesn’t ascribe to the philosophy that if you had a zebra in your dream that means you should avoid going somewhere on Saturday, but his take is: ”What do those things mean to you?” 20 years ago Dan’s mom told him about a dream. When she started to go a little gray, she would regularly get her hair dyed, and she had one dream where they were going to dye her hair and she kept saying: ”no dying, no dying, no dying! I don't want dying, no dying!” which of course is symbolic that she didn't want to die.

If you inspect your dream and you think about what it could mean and what those different things in the dream mean to you or how you feel about them, that is where the dream interpretation stuff is fun and makes sense, but just because you dreamt of a cow it doesn't mean that it is going to bring prosperity to your family. Dan has had prophetic dreams before and he doesn’t want them because they have come true and he doesn’t like that at all. The 2-3 prophetic dreams that he had were 100% accurate and involved people dying, and it has been horrible and he hopes he will never have another one of those. He doesn’t want to be warned.

At one point many years ago John realized that there were people in the world that suffered from nightmares on a regular basis, and it really sunk in that there were people whose lives were shadowed by headaches. Some of his friends have headaches as a normal part of their lives. John doesn’t have headaches and when he is going through life and is dealing with stuff, it never occurs to him that he should also be worried about getting a headache or trying to do stuff and cope with a headache. Headaches are terrible for everybody and some people have terrible headaches, and you wouldn't know it by looking at them.

Headaches are just 1 of 500 things that other people might be coping with at any given moment. Some of them are coping with grief, some of them are coping with all-over itching. John’s sister is fond of saying: "Assume that every person that you are interacting with is having the worst day and you will have compassion for everybody!”, but nightmares, to feel like your sleep life is something that you dread or that you aren't getting good sleep because Freddy Krueger is showing up every time you close your eyes, that is not a problem John has. He can’t even count the number of nightmares he had in the last 20 years because it is a negligible amount. Knock on wood!

Sometimes he wakes up with a start, in a state of super cranked-up go to war and will have to calm himself down. He had a couple of dreams where he had a bunch of owls in his room and he was awake and couldn't move, but those dreams were not at all upsetting and maybe a little intriguing. He was intrigued and not afraid. John can't imagine being a grown up and having to reckon with nightmares. His daughter has yet to have a true nightmare. Every once in a while she is in her bed and he hears her fussing and she is obviously tussling with something in her dream, but she doesn't seem in distress.

When John was a kid he had a nightmare or two and they are awful, they are very scary. It is another thing he is grateful for that whatever roll of the dice it was where he was getting made up at the factory, they were like: ”Well, in his 50s he is going to start having problems with his hands, but no headaches and no nightmares. Let's move him on down the assembly line!” - ”Thanks for not including those options!”

John’s world being fluid and always different (RW201)

John loves to sleep, but he doesn’t like going to sleep and he doesn’t like waking up. He wishes he could just figure out where the entrance door was and where the exit door was and keep those things reliably positioned. Every single night he has no idea where the door is to sleep and he will be in the House doing something, monkeying around, and he looks at the clock and realizes he has to go to sleep, but he will rebel and say: ”Oh God, all right, okay, you are right!” It is 5am and he should go to sleep and the door to sleep has got to be close to the bed because that is where he does the sleeping, but it is a moving target although he reaches out for it every night.

Coming out the other side it is the same. For a lot of people the alarm goes off, the door appears, they walk through it, but every time John wakes up he is in a cave, he sees light, but the passage is blocked. He just wishes that it was slightly more regulated where at least he knew where to expect to find those doors. It is almost like he is living like a refugee, but in a house. Even when he has his own house he is a refugee there because there is never any pattern, but he wakes up in the day and travels all day, and when he gets to the end of the day he is always in a different place than where I started.

What you should feel if you are living in a house is that you are in a regular place and in the course of a day you are moving in a big circle and you head back and end up where you started. For John, when you envision the Earth spinning around it and the whole of the solar system is also moving through space really fast, so the whole thing is in motion at a level that we never think to comprehend.

John really feels that in the sense that where he wakes up is so far away from where he goes to sleep, and the line is not a circle, he is always moving through space and time. Even though it is the same bed every night, he feels like he has traveled so far and a lot of it was just falling or it wasn't directed, but it was just motion, palpably, like a traveling motion rather than rocking back and forth. He feels like he is in motion a lot more than his feet are traveling. He feels very much in motion right now and always does.

That is partly why it feels like so many things in life are a moving target. No place is the same as it was when he saw it last and every time he walks out of the house he has no idea what is going to happen. Even things that are patterns, where he has to be the same place on Wednesdays or he is headed out because he is going to a place that he know that he goes to all the time and he is doing a regular thing, he doesn’t really have a clear feeling walking out the door that any of that habitual motion is dependable or that it is mundane.

Every time he sets out it feels like a new world and all the possibilities all exist again. He might make it to his destination and he might not, and when he gets there his destination might be what he expects and it might not. Living in that world John feels pretty relaxed about it because it is just how he perceives the world, but it does make everything feel less consequential. It seems like other people feel like the world is more solid and they travel through it as solid, but for John it feels much more fluid, although not wet.

Being a Highly Sensitive Person (RW201)

John’s mom and sister are people with a lot of theories. They have more theories than most people, and we are living in an era when everybody got a freaking theory about everything all the time. The difference between them and John is that he has a theory every day, but he got nothing to support it, but when he wakes up in the morning, the first thought that he has starts to coalesce into a theory right away. His mom and sister always have a book to back up the theory. Susan lately has been pushing this idea that there is a condition called HSP (Highly sensitive person), Dan is very aware of it, and she says that she thinks that she is an HSP and she thinks that John is an HHSP, a highly highly sensitive person.

There is a website called that has a self-test that you can take, for example:

  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics or sirens nearby? Yes.
  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time? Yes.
  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows? I don't like them.
  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation? Yes.
  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations? No.
  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art? Yes.
  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life? We know that.
  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy? Sensitive, but not shy.

The result is: ”Your trade is normal. It is found in 15-20% of the population, too many to be a disorder, but not enough to be well understood by the majority of those around you.”

They have something called SPS (sensory processing sensitivity), ”a personality trait that involves an increased sensitivity of the central nervous system and a deeper cognitive processing of physical, social and emotional stimuli, which is characterized by a tendency to pause, to check in novel situations, greater sensitivity to subtle stimuli, and the engagement of deeper cognitive processing strategies for employing coping actions, all of which is driven by a heightened emotional reactivity, both positive and negative.”

John knows that he has an unusual sensitivity to stimulus because over the course of his life: Why doesn't he listen to music? It makes no sense! He loves music! He makes music! When music that he loves is playing and when music that he doesn't love is playing he is utterly fascinated by it, he can listen to music really deeply, but he doesn’t want music playing. He doesn't like it when it is playing in the background, he doesn’t want it on when he is cleaning the house, he doesn’t like it in the sense that he doesn’t want to consume it and it is super-invasive, it is distracting and it is irritating. When he is at the supermarket and there is music playing, he sometimes stops and listens to the music, but: ”Stop it!” - ”Why are they playing this music if they don't want you to listen to it?”

The same is true of scents, perfume or oils, he doesn’t want them in houses, on garments, on people, and scents can really turn him off of a of a place, a situation and of a person. If the smells are are wrong then ti is not a place he wants to be and wants to explore. The same is true for Dan. It is the same with lights and all that. That is all true and not it is not arguable, but it is unusual because he has a lot of people in his life that want music playing, and think about all the people that turn on the TV when they get home and they want something going in the background.

Dan never puts the TV or the radio on. He doesn’t drive listening to the radio most of the time and he is not the kind of person who would just have the radio playing unless there is some other distraction that he is trying to block out.

What about a sound machine, a white noise or a rainstorm sound or something like that? When someone initially turns one of those on, John goes: ”You cannot be serious! Why would I want this thing screaming at me?” because it sounds like a hellscream, but then very quickly, if he accepts it, if he doesn’t rebel, then he understands those things because you just recalibrate, that is your new level of background noise, and because John is not meant to be focusing on anything, that is the point, he can accept static. But he doesn’t seek that stuff out, he doesn’t have a white noise machine. He used to turn one on for his little girl, and his sister uses them, but it feels like taking a chemical. He does understand it, though.

When they say ”a disorder” John just rolls his eyes. It feels very natural and he doesn’t understand people that don't have that response. He wouldn't trade it, he wouldn’t want to desire to listen to music more because whatever he is feels like the right thing to be, and whether that extends to this cognitive processing thing? He prefers silence and he prefers to be in a place of no stimulation, but he doesn't feel it as a curse. His internal perception is: ”I am overwhelmed, I got to get out of here!” and he is very confident in it and it feels welcome to be able to do that. Maybe he is lucky to be able to most of the time say: ”That's it! I'm done!” because there are plenty of times in his life where he can't leave, he gets overstimulated and he has to still be there like Rock concerts.

Dan has been to many concerts. Compared to John he hasn’t been to any, but compared to the average person he has probably been to a lot because in college he got a job as an usher at the arena at the university, which is where 50% of the acts that came through Orlando at the time went through. He got to see all the acts that came through there and he always found that to be way-overstimulating. He always wore earplugs if he knew it is going to be really loud, part of that is because he is an audio nerd and he cares about his hearing, but also it was just a lot!

John calibrates to it, like a white balance. When he walks into a club at 5pm because loading his gear in, about to do soundcheck, and he is looking at 8 hours of being in this space, it is going to be a crush of people, and everything is going to be outrageous, the lights, the smells, the volume, the number of people and their attention, it is just all completely off the scale. Being at a Rock concert and performing a Rock concert, the amount of stimulation just pegs the needle, but going into those situations John recalibrates and his new zero is 100.

That is why at the end of the night he does not ever want to go from the venue to a party, he doesn’t ever want to go out into the parking lot and play another show for the fans that are waiting around the tour bus, and there are lots and lots of musicians that after the show they want to go to the party and after the party they want to go to the smaller party. They want to ride it, they want to surf it, they want to keep that party going, and John is absolutely not that, but he calibrates for what he expects to be a an intense burst.

It is not that he goes into those environments and enduring them, but he is happy to be there and he is enjoying himself. The music is immersive. You are in that space and you are absolutely immersed in it and then he can swim out of it. The only trouble he gets into is when he is in a situation like that and then against his plan or through no fault of his own he is then propelled into another immersive situation that he can't escape, that is when he becomes super-sensitive.

Being on tour worked because they would get off the stage, the rest of the guys would get in the back of the van and go to sleep and John would drive them into the night, meaning at the end of the day he would always have 3-4 hours where he was driving and everyone else was asleep, which was very soothing to gradually calibrate back to the hum of the tires on the road and then the headlights on the highway.

Adapting your sleep schedule to your kids (RW201)

Now John spends most of his time calibrated to his daughter, her level of attention, her needs, and her desire for contact and interaction is much higher than John’s would naturally be, but he just calibrates to her. He knows that he is not going to have any dependable piece before 9pm, which is how most people live. They come home and they put the kids to bed and then they have a Scotch and lean back in the chair and watch TV.

That is the frustrating point of Dan’s son who is almost 13. He is not fully independent yet, but he needs just a little stuff around the bedtime routine, not much, but just enough that Dan has to wait for him to be lights out before he can be really begin his evening, but because he is almost 13 he is not going to sleep until like 10pm now, which has actually pushed his bedtime even later because the amount of time that he requires to decompress from the day, which does not and cannot begin until there are no children awake, is just being pushed later and later and later, and he is not going to go to bed till 12am or something and he still has to wake up at 6:30am or 7am.

Dan doesn't want to go to bed, but he is staying up and sometimes he will still be awake an hour and a half later when Dan goes to bed, but the house is Dan’s at 10:30pm and no-one else gets to be awake then. People don't think about this when you have a kid that you have to stay up an hour later than you want to, not because the kid is two years old and has a cold or something, but just because your kid wants to watch TV and play video games.

Even after John had a kid John used to have things calibrated very differently because he works from home. For a lot of people their pain is that they wake up in the morning, their kids have all these needs, the kids go to school and then they go to work and they have to live in that world and then they come home and they only get the night. John used to get his kid off to school and then he had a lot of the day to himself, and then he had her in the evening in another intense burst, but of course with COVID there is no day or night, there is no work or sleep, there are no weekends, but it is like one day stretching out and on and on and on into the into the distance with no end in sight.

John soon moving to his new house (RW201)

Everybody is wondering what it is going to be like when we are done with COVID, but in the midst of all this, one of these days John’s house is going to be finished and he is going to move, and those days get closer and closer. So in the middle of all of this he is going to go from this place where he has been living quite comfortably, but very intensely on top of his family, really very together.

All of a sudden he is going to have a own whole house that he bought at a time when he hadn't shared a house with anybody in a decade, and owning a home and living there by himself seemed like his status quo, something he had worked hard to be able to have, and it seemed like his natural state. It never would have occurred to him to move in with anybody or have anyone move in with him, it felt like he had decided those questions, he had been doing it for a decade, he was 50 years old, he had decided, and things worked and he bought a new house.

Because of conditions he has lived now with his daughter and her mother in this house that is big enough to hold them and he has been working on this house that he bought under the assumptions that he was a man that lived in a house by himself, and one day he will again, but he will move into this house having lived with other people for a year and a half and found it not intolerable. Moving into a house by himself now seems somewhat fraud or even questionable. ”Why do you need a house? You live in a house with these people, you don't need your own house!” - ”No, I do! I need my own house. Are you kidding me? This is established. This is law!”

John doesn’t want to live in this house because there is no room for him there, he is constantly under foot, everyone is constantly under his feet, and the better part of him does want his own place. John is going to move into his house before the quarantine is over and potentially right around Election Day (November 3rd). He hardly ever looks into the future trying to imagine it because it doesn't exist, but now he is hurtling towards an inflection point, toward an event horizon, and it is going to be a trip!

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