I woke up last night – wait . . . scratch that. I woke up this morning with the kind of anxiety reserved for lab rats. You know, lab rats who know they’re part of some elaborate, cruel experiment and they’re just waiting for the hammer to drop. Yeah, that kind of anxiety. I knew I should have taken those meltonin pills. (They help you sleep.) There’s a lot of juggling going on and the balls are all flaming spikes and I’m trying not to drop them . . . okay, too many similes.
Here’s the deal:
THE GOOD NEWS: I was accepted into a program through Columbia College called The Semester in LA. It’s a 5 week course in producing where you take classes 8 hours a day, 5 days a week on a studio lot. Pretty awesome, right. It’s supposedly a great steeping stone from Chicago to the professional entertainment world of Los Angeles. So this will be invaluable to my career progress and just getting out to LA.
THE BAD NEWS: I have to pay for everything. The classes. The lodging. The meals. The flights. The car. The drugs . . . Because of its placement in the year, End of Feb to late March – its placed just right so that I have to come back to Chicago and I may not be able to work up until I leave. My Columbia job was given to another grad student and they’re not sure if I can stay on till I leave. My North Face job is seasonal, so they’re not sure of they can keep me past my 90 days. So, I’m strapped for cash without a lot of options for loosening that strap – it’s like I’m in some horrible S&M Money Themed Prank . . . get it? Strapped. Like bondage . . . forget it. That’s how stressed I am.
THE OTHER BAD NEWS: I can’t seem to find cheap lodging for such a short period of time in LA.
SOME PRETTY GOOD NEWS: Patrick’s letting me use his car and drive it down from San Francisco.
BED NEWS RETURNS: I also need a script for the program (as I mentioned in my last post) and so I have to find the time to get it written but I also have to work as much as I can to afford this.
REALLY BAD NEWS QUADRUPLED: I killed a man . . .
That was for perspective. I didn’t kill a man.
So, the point? There’s one constant that makes me feel better. Megan. See, when I got Married, I knew that I was going to have a partner who would help ease the pain of loss, smooth the anxiety of trouble and celebrate the power of achievement. When I woke up in the morning, earlier than I intended, I went ahead and just moved closer to her in bed. Just the proximity alone was enough to calm my blood pressure. She had no idea I was having an anxiety attack – whe probably thought I was cold or having a crazy dream.
Sometimes I just can’t write what I’m thinking in a really well constructed way. So, let me give you the article that was published right before I got married. It pretty much says it all about how marriage is so awesome because it give you a team mate; it’s you two vs. the world. Robert Brockway’s article, entitled “5 Surprising Upsides to Getting Married, perfectly describes how being maried helps in stressful, shitty situations. . (You can read the full article here.) Usually I would just give you the link, but two of his five points are so appropriate to this post I just copy and pasted them for ease. I encourage you to read the full article though. Robert Borockway is a pretty funny and insightful fellow:
#4. Your Own Buddy Cop Movie
Any time you share your life with another person, there are going to be stressors: The kids will get sick, the house will need repair, you’ll take a nasty spill and be unable to work, get attacked by Russian drug-smugglers, or watch your sailboat tragically explode one goddamn day before retirement. That’s because, much like Lethal Weapon, being married means having a partner that always has to have your back, even if they kind of hate you right now. With Riggs and Murtaugh, it was because they were thrown together by the job; in married life, it’s because you tricked somebody into thinking you were a responsible human being long enough for them to sign up with you.
Life still can and absolutely will shit all over each of you in turn, it’s just that now that you’re married, that shit gets spread out over a whole other person. Sure, that means two people get shit on instead of one, but it’s half as much shit. Marriage is a shit-diffuser. In my experience, by far the worst part of dealing with life’s psychotic streak was that moment when I had exhausted every option I could think of trying to fix whatever was wrong, and was ultimately left just sitting on the couch alone, out of time, out of ideas and stuck in an unproductive mental loop of disbelief at how astoundingly screwed I truly was.
You’re so fucked that the concept of fucked has turned in on itself and formed a fucked paradox that threatens to destroy the very fucked universe.
For me, it was usually cars: I was poor, and bought junkers which — surprise! — usually turned out to be pieces of junk. They would inevitably explode or implode (or, in one bizarre case, replode) at the worst possible time, and I could never pay to have them fixed. This happened again recently (PROTIP: If your car manufacturer’s name also means Killed in Action, it may not be a trustworthy automotive conveyance!), but it was a whole different story now that I was married. This time around, instead of staying up all night extrapolating endless budgets to try and squeeze a new car out of a bank account that scoffed at the idea of Ramen, and still bus four hours to a full work day, every day, there was somebody else around that legally had to be on my team. The sucker volunteered for it! So now the wife got to figure out new and exciting ways to spruce up that Ramen (throw some chives in there! That shit’s gourmet!), research loan stipulations and work on a coherent plan to unfuck the universe while I was working, and vice versa.
In other words, I learned that marriage isn’t just about love, romantic intentions and raising kids. It means playing co-op through life; it means never being pinned down by life’s nonstop hail of bullshit bullets again, because there’s always somebody there to cover you while you sprint up and poetically drop the exploded shell of your sailboat right on life’s goddamn head.
#2. A Forcefield of Empathy
Being single can sometimes feel like treading water in a sea of assholes. Pretty much everything in life is always out to get you, and because you’re alone, and you can’t watch your back every minute of every day, it’s only a matter of time before life slips in behind your peripherals and slits your damn throat. When you’re single and feeling hurt, or depressed, or worried, you might have friends or family to turn to, but the important part is shut the fuck up.
We’re all very impressed that you have a network of caring individuals around you, but some of us burned all of our bridges to see the pretty flames, OK? We don’t need you in here flaunting your precious social circles in everybody’s faces, dick.
YES YOU ARE SO LOVED. KINDLY SHUT ALL OF YOUR FUCKS UP. YOU’VE INADVERTENTLY LEFT THEM OPEN.
At any rate, even with that village of happy, shiny people at your beck and call, you still have to hope they have time for you, or have gone through something similar enough to understand and relate to your situation. Somebody probably will, but there’s no guarantee of that. There’s always that gnawing doubt right before you ask, isn’t there? Being single means having to turn to people in times of need; being married means never having to turn at all. You’re a duality now. Your spouse will always share a core block of experience with you — they’ll vividly remember the time teenagers stole your truck just to drive it a block and ditch it, and how paying to get it out of police impound almost ruined you; they’ll know how shitty it feels being robbed with all of your stuff still a state away; they’ll understand that cheese makes you poop — like, a lot — but goddammit it’s delicious, what are you supposed to do?!
Marriage is like having a permanent buffer of empathy around you at all times. Some gullible chump signed a contract that means they have to care about the stupid stuff you’re going through, and if they don’t like it — tough. A contract is a contract and if you don’t want to sympathize with the cheese-poops then you can talk to my lawyer, Meagan.