But ever since I wrote that, I have been working on trying to write the opposite. Because those were moments that I enjoy that make me feel good inside, so I was hoping to write a list of the moments that I despise which make me feel sick to my stomach. These are the moments when you just want to say:
"Oh, for fuck's sake."
Moments, concepts or activities that I feel like I am just not suited to dealing with, moments that put me out of sorts or make me angry, frustrated, upset or all three.
For a while I was looking up the antonym of the word 'Haven'. But it's not easy, because there's no real direct antonym, so I had to get creative. For a long while I'd settled on 'Hellhole', which made sense to me - Haven is to Heavenly as Hellhole is to Hellishly. But Hellhole is used to describe a place, but I needed something that could describe an ephemeral concept and a feeling, so I believe a closer approximation is 'Pitfall'.
The Word of the Day is: 'PITFALL'
Pitfall /'pitfawl/ n. 1. A hidden pit prepared as a trap for animals or people to fall into. 2. Any trap or danger for the unprepared.
Havens are those moments of safety, whereas a pitfall is unsafe. Havens are a place of ease, pitfalls make your stomach jump into your throat. It makes sense to me, especially because the moments I am about to list are moments that I feel very much unprepared for, as the definition lists, moments where I feel like I'm very much out of my comfort zone. But I still do have a fondness for the word 'hellhole' in this context, since many of these situations feel like I'm in my own personal hell. So, if you wish, you can imagine that this list of 'pitfalls' entail falling into a literal hellhole.
So, in order from least frustrating and/or unsettling to the most, this is:
The Absurd Word Nerd's TOP 10 PERSONAL PITFALLS
Number Ten: Depressed People
How can I talk to these people? There's no logic there. I can't solve a problem. Have you ever spoken to someone who WANTS to be sad? You're like "Hey, cheer up buddy?" and they're like "What's there to be happy about it?" Then you tell them, and then they change tact: "Yeah that's true but did I mention my partner left me?"
At this point I'm like. Dude, Stop moping! I have given you a reason to be happy. Fucking TAKE IT! Don't keep dragging me down into the depths of your despair. Wake up and smile, for fuck's sake . . .
But I don't say that - I can't, because I've been there. I know what it's like to be depressed, you can't just snap at them since it's not their fault. I understand what they're going through, I feel like I should help, but it's just so difficult because I know that as much as I can offer to help, these people need an intrinsic motivation to be happy, and that's not something an external force can offer.
So, when I'm around depressed people, I am stuck in a paradox of obligation and impotence, and all I can do is watch and hope they can help themselves. At least I'm doing what I can and it's good to help those in need, but I can't help but be frustrated by it, so that's why this is on this list.
Number Nine: People Singing over Music
I don't have a problem with people singing. I mean, if they sing well it can even be enjoyable, because is's not singing that really annoys me. I think Karaoke is fun, and I think my girlfriend sounds like a Disney princess when she sings,I love people that love singing. No, what annoys me is when people sing along to music which already has someone singing.
I don't mean when people sing to music, that's a given. I mean people that sing to music that already has a singing component. Now, I understand that I'm in the minority. Hell, you just try to listen to "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen and not sing along to that, most people can't do it. But that just makes it more difficult for me. See, when I listen to a song it's because I want to hear that song. If I wanted to hear you sing, I'd ask you to sing.
I actually listen to the lyrics of songs. So, if you sing over music that I'm listening to, you're hindering my ability to listen to the song that I was listening to. To me that's the same of standing in front of the TV while I'm watching a movie, and going "No, I can act better than those jerks, look at me instead". It's not that you sing poorly, most of the people that sing to music do so because they can sing well but I'm not trying to listen to you sing right now, I'm trying to listen to this song, and you're fucking it up. I recognize that this is just a personal, pet peeve, though, but that's enough to get it on this list.
Number Eight: Capitalism
It may seem like a weird one, but capitalism is something that just pisses me off. I don't mean capitalism as an economic system - I'm not trying to create a political uproar hear, because capitalism does tend to work - rather I mean captitalism as a political system and social mindset.
See, I have found that in every instance when I am walking around, in an urban setting and I see something ridiculous, dangerous or stupid - like bad roads, dumb signs, unintuitive directions or poorly made buildings. Whenever I think: "Why would anyone do something that STUPID!" the answer is always "To save money" or "To make money" or some other bullshit taught by capitalism. Now, I'm not a communist. I'm not any kind of -ist, except maybe a realist. But has anyone considered that this money first, logic later approach is hurting the world? I'm not saying you have to stop making money, but can we add a moment of hesitation before we act out these ideas? Computers stop us to ask before we empty the recycle bin or delete System 32 & our conscience stops us before we punch strangers in the back of the head. So can these people just stop for a second and before they act on their capitalistic tendencies could they ask themselves:
"Am I sure this isn't making the world a worse place to live in?"
Number Seven: Going Home
I don't like missing out on stuff. I never got to see Frozen in the cinema, and I regret that, but it's not a huge issue. It's not my fault that I missed it, I didn't have the money or time to do so, it happens. I missed it, but it couldn't be helped. I don't mind so much if I miss something through no fault of my own
But, that's not always the case, and I hate that.
For me, this usually takes the form of going home, either after going to a party, or to a friend's house or to a family outing. When I go on outings, I like to use them to their full potential, especially when I'm out drinking with my mates, since those outings are so few and far between. But there will come a time in the night (or during the party) when arises the question of whether or not I will be going home, and I won't want to.
I will feel like, if I go home, I've missed out on the night. It's like, "But what if Luke is about to get here" or "what if they put on a movie?"
Missing out is one thing, I'll get over it. But knowing that I missed out because I essentially chose to? That's just unadorned regret, that is, especially if other people were hoping I would stay with them. It's not that I dislike my home, but I spend an awful lot of time at home, home will always be there when I go home, but the opportunity of a party won't be, so I don't want to go home unless where I am is less interesting than going to home to sleep, which is unlikely because . . .
Number Six: Sleep
This may be weird for some of you. A lot of people really like sleep, and there are those that think it is the best part of the day. But not for me. Fuck sleep.
Sleep, to me, is the whiteout of my day. As in, if you were to imagine that my life were a story, and as things happened I wrote them down; every 16 hour or so, it's like someone comes down and just fwipt! blanks out a good third of my day. I like to do things, I plan my life around doing things. I never plan to NOT do something, so it's like I have this huge section of my existence I have to shift my life around to get my required 8 or so hours of doing fuck all. So I have to decide what I do before and after sleep, and figure out if something is worth doing now, or can wait till tomorrow. I hate it.
But worse than that, the mechanics of sleep, to me, are all wrong. Because for some reason, I can't go to sleep. I can fall asleep, just drop unconscious after wearing myself out. But I can't go to sleep. If I try to sleep, I will just end up lying on my mattress being bored, no matter how tired I am.
Because the thing is, sleep happens when you STOP thinking, and there's no way to consciously stop thinking. But you can't think about nothing, because that actually takes concentration. You have to let you mind think on it's own, and that's so goddamned confusing that the only way I can do it is put on some sound in the background, I tend to use Let's Plays, comedy stand-up routines or TV show that I've downloaded, and just zone out to the familair sounds of it. I reckon, if there existed a pill that could make you stay awake 24/7, I would probably kill for it. Fuck sleep. Seriously.
Number Five: Remembering that I have Forgotten Something
I am quite forgetful. The only reason I can be the writer that I am is because I write all of my story ideas down. The only reason I can write long stories is because I organize ideas into notebooks and in computer documents beforehand, because my memory is a fickle thing, and I can't possibly retain all of my ideas in there at one time. Hell, I'm only writing this because I had the idea ages ago and wrote it down.
But I can't write everything down, because until I forget it, I don't know what kind of things I'm going to forget (unless it's numbers, I always have trouble remembering specific numbers).
So I'll often let an idea slip to the back of my mind, but that's okay because usually I'll remember it later. When I do, I'll do it then, unless I can't in which case I won't. I tend not to get upset about the things I cannot possibly change.
But that's the thing, that's reliant upon me remembering what I've forgotten, but that's not always the case. The absolute worst thing that my memory does is when I come across the space in my mind where I was supposed to be storing a memory, but it's blank. The worst case is when the forgotten thing is an activity which I've scheduled, because I'll get to that moment in my schedule and draw a blank; and as is the way with memory, you won't remember the specifics, but you will remember the importance of that memory, and the anxiety associated with it. So on those occasions, I'm left with nothing to do but try to re-remember the thing that I've just remembered that I've forgotten.
And most of the time, either I never recall that forgotten thing or, much worse, I'll remember it, but I'll remember it and have not enough time to actually do anything about it, which sucks because . . .
Number Four: Not Having Enough Time
I don't care much for deadlines. When given a deadline, I usually ignore it, and I'm better for it, since I don't like being rushed. But there are those moments when you can't ignore it, and I find that it's those moments when you're perfectly capable of the task you need to do, but it's time that stops your plans dead. The most common example of this is going to the shops. For some reason, the shops in my area all seem to close at five o'clock. So, it becomes a real pain in the neck when I want to buy something and it's four-thirty, because the shops are thirty minutes away.
I am perfectly capable of driving to the shops, but by the time I get there, the store will be closed. The only way to get there on time is if I somehow shorten the amount of time it takes to prepare to leave, but I can't leave the house without locking up the doors and putting on my shoes. Then if I get there, I'd need to park the car, and I need to have a coin or I can't unlock the trolley bay - there's just not enough time.
As I said before, I have no problem with being late. If I have to be somewhere at six, but the time is six-fifteen, there is literally nothing I can do, and I can accept that, because there's nothing I could possibly do. But when there is time available, but just not enough, I freak out, because there conceivably is something I can do - I can stress myself up to eleven and panic and get somewhere just in the nick of time, but only by skipping steps and rushing through everything.
Or, I can choose to ignore it and pretend that the opportunity has already slipped by, but that rarely works because I feel responsible for every second that I'm not using to do the activity at hand, and by extension, everything I was doing before now becomes another nail in the coffin of guilt; because if only everything that had occurred already had begun just an hour earlier, then I would be happy. But because the series of events started a little later, I can't be happy. Fuck you, time. You ruined my day.
Number Three: Retracing my Steps
This is related to the whole forgetting thing, but although I sometimes retrace my steps to remember stuff, that's not what this item will be focussing on. The thing is, I don't like repeating myself. This isn't something that I consider a pitfall of mine, however, because, when asked to repeat myself, I don't. I either rephrase what I said in a condescending way, or I quote it back to them with the minor adjustment of replacing all of the words with: "Fuck you."
But I am not forced to repeat myself, so I just don't. Unless, of course, I come to a dead end. I like to walk and until very recently that was my main source of transportation, and so sometimes on my little ventures, I get lost. It can be fun, it's how you learn to explore, and sometimes it leads you to new and interesting places. But when I run into a dead end, I just get mad.
What the fuck is the point of this shit? Someone decided that when people get here, that's all they'll want. Sometimes they even put up walls and fences around these little cul-de-sacs to make sure they'll be safe and secure in this new habitat that they've come across. Seriously, why don't more dead ends have footpaths that lead out? Give me an out!
Because otherwise, when I get to a dead end, all I can do is turn around and head back. I just wasted energy getting here, now I have to double my wasted energy to get out. But if you really want to piss me off, you need me to come across what I call the "Dead End Fractal". For some reason, some suburbs like to organise their houses in these little twisted communities, like an expanding snowflake. Where Streets get shorter and shorter before ending in a cul-de-sac. And they never seem to have footpaths out. Fuck you, town planner, I need a way to escape!
Number Two: Absolute Silence
Okay, okay, considering that things like depression and capitalism are on this list, I understand that it might seem weird that something like the absence of noise is so high on this list. Well, if you've read the previous list about my Personal Havens, you will know that I have mild tinnitus, and to quote myself:
" . . . in a seemingly silent room, I will often hear a persistent high-pitched whine, like a bee is screaming in agony."See, a persistent, high-pitched whine is more than just "a little bit annoying", it can be almost deafening in silence and more often than not can give me a headache.
- The Absurd Word Nerd, "Haven Sent"
But more than just the tinnitus, in silence I get lonely. Even when I'm driving in my car at night, the sound of the engine means my tinnitus isn't a problem, but I feel so alone in such a stark, dark silence, so I usually turn on the radio. As I said above, I listen to Let's Plays when I go to sleep so that I don't go to sleep in silence. It's not just the tinnitus, I like background noise.
To me, absolute silence means a headache, inability to think clearly, loneliness and discontent, that's why it's so high on this list.
Number One: Talking to Children
I am a pretty genuine guy. I mean, I don't put on a persona for any of this, these blog posts are my actual opinion. Even in real life I am always honest, and sometimes that pisses people off because I don't play the social games people play and I don't always hold my tongue. My mate Sean says of it that I "don't give a fuck", which is partially true; I don't care if people hate me for who I am, because I would rather that than have them like me for who I'm not.
And for that reason, I have trouble with children.
I don't watch my language, I don't lie, I don't put up with people's bullshit and I don't concede to idiocy and ignorance - but with children I am expected to do all of those things. I mean young children, like 2-6 years old, because you can't always be honest with kids; you can't answer all of their questions and you can't tell them to bugger off when they're being annoying - because they're kids, it's what they do. Children are boring; children are selfish; children are (often) dirty & children can be really annoying.
It's basically that I don't like talking to idiots, and this does apply to idiots and close-minded people as well; but it's worse with kids because I can insult an idiot if they're being a pain in the arse; but it's not a child's fault that they're dumb, they need time to learn, so I can't do anything about it.
But the real reason this is number one on this list is because I don't like dealing with parents. I don't mind children, even though they still have a lot to learn, I would put up with that if it was my kid. I'd love to raise one of my own one day, but only on my (and my Beloved wife's) terms. Yet with other parents, I have to do things on their terms. Hell, even if they're raising their children wrong, I can't do anything about it, I'm expected to raise them their way even if that way will result in the kids growing up to be a massive douchebag. It means that I have to walk on eggshells around other people's kids, because even if the child is a little shit that's misbehaving I can't reprimand it - it's not my child - but I'm still supposed to be on my best behaviour, put on the persona of a patronising television presenter and talk down to them, and I hate it.
I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and to sum things up nicely, I don't like it when people: sing over music; are depressed; put greed before others; tell me to sleep; tell me I've forgotten something; give me a deadline; make me repeat myself; leave me on my own or make me to talk to their children. So if you'd all stop doing that, then that would be lovely.
Until then, I think I might go write a story . . .