Tick Tales of Misery and Occasional Ecstasy

January 30, 2008

I’m Old

Filed under: personal, Social — thetick @ 10:06 am

It has been getting more and more obvious that my physical age far exceeds my mental. There have been subtle clues, but there have been some that are a lot more obvious. A week ago, I was going into the convenience store to get my morning coffee, and there was a very attractive girl in her mid twenties coming in behind me. I held the door for her, and she said “Thank you, sir.”

She called me sir. What once would have been a good opening gambit for me now is just the proper response for some old guy.

I started listening to some newer songs. I had been avoiding that lately since I really wasn’t liking the stuff that was playing on the radio. I was listening to a particular song that I hadn’t heard before, and I thought, “Hey, this isn’t bad! I kinda like this!” Then I realized that it was sampling off of Supertramp, and that was the part I liked. My new car has that radio data thing, you know the one that tells you what station you are on and what song is playing? Yeah, I had programmed in my stations by frequency from the truck, and just found the RDS system. The display showed the station call letters, then the name the station went by, then its format. It said “adult hits.”

Recently, my father-in-law told me that he keeps forgetting that there are 20 years between us.

I was talking with the new girl in the office, helping get set up on her computer, and in the course of the conversation, realized that my oldest son is a year older than her.

I had a bald spot, so I shaved my head.

I get passed on the highway regularly, and hear myself mutter, “Damn kids. What’s the hurry?”

TV shows I watched as a kid are being made into movies. Usually bad ones.

I am really not sure when this happened, in my mind I am still young. I never got past that 18 to 22 year old mentality. I have a lot of interests that are even younger than that. I like Lego’s, I like cartoons, I read comic books, manga and watch anime. So now, I am realizing that not only am I old, but pretty much a dork, too. I make Napoleon Dynamite look pretty hip by comparison. And I just used the word hip. Before long the only time I use the word hip will be to describe what body part is causing my problems to the other fogeys.

Growing up where I did kind of makes me a fish out of water. The values in that remote part of Idaho are about a generation behind the rest of the country. So I don’t really fit in anywhere. I am too young for the people that I have the most in common with, and too old value wise for people my age. And too old mentally and physically for the age group that I still think, oblivious to the obvious, that I should belong to.

Mid-life crisis, here I come.

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January 27, 2008

Perseverance

Filed under: personal, Social — Tags: , , , , — thetick @ 11:17 am

A wise man once said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I am starting to think that it was a wiser man who followed that up with, “If you still fail, give up. No sense being a damn fool about it.”

At what point does perseverance become stubbornness? And when does stubbornness become bullheadedness? At that point, we are pretty much to the point of stupidity. We all have certain sense of what we are willing to tolerate, some people can tolerate more, others blow their top at the smallest things. As you may have guessed from the tag of this post, I am focusing on relationships in this particular topic. It kind of ties in with my earlier posts regarding the nature of love, here and here.

There is a point in a relationship where you care more for the other persons wants and needs than you do for your own. But, as I stated in the earlier posts, we can only give for so long without receiving some compensatory actions. If we don’t, we no longer feel like giving, we feel taken for granted or taken advantage of. Those two feelings are very similar, but there is a line between them. Taken for granted is when the things that you do that you deem to be ‘special’ become expected. Taken advantage of is when the other person starts asking for the special things. In both cases, there is no recompense, or at least nothing of the same magnitude. For example, for your significant others birthday, you take them to a nice dinner, give a thoughtful gift that they ooh and aah over, then do whatever things are a part of relationship, like sex. When your birthday rolls around, you get a bottle of Old Spice aftershave with a ribbon tied around it. That is what I call an imbalanced relationship.

Please don’t misunderstand, this isn’t about material things, its about the thought that goes into them. Keeping with the same example, the nice dinner required a reservation, a month in advance. The gift may have been expensive, so some saving may have been required in order to afford it. The sex was all about the others gratification instead of your own. In return, you receive a gift that screams the sentimental message, “Look! I got you a gift!”

Or in some cases, your birthday gets forgotten. That sends the message “You aren’t even important enough to me to keep track of what day it is.”

Some of you that know me are now getting what you expected out of this blog. I have spent some time talking about my past and some issues that arose, but I haven’t talked about my issues. Now, finally, the person known as Bitter C is coming to visit.

So back on topic. So where does perseverance become stupidity? When can you finally make the decision that you have given enough and you don’t have to try anymore? With some things, this line is very easy to spot as you step across it. Like trying to fly. The line is drawn about 10 feet down the cliff you jumped off of. That’s where you realize that you are going down, and are going to continue to blindly follow the unjust law of gravity. With relationships, especially long term ones, the line isn’t so easy to spot. Especially if you were brought up to have a sense of duty and responsibility.

Once you have that responsibility, then the line becomes defined not so much by what you get out of the relationship, but more about how leaving it will impact the other person. Not just emotionally, but physically, financially, etc.  If it were just emotionally, it would honestly be easier. The hurt I cause the other person is equivalent to the hurt that I have suffered to date. They didn’t care about what I was going through, why should I care? Selfish, I know. But I already said that all love is inherently selfish.

Once you throw in the other things, you have to look at if you can live with yourself after leaving. If the other person doesn’t have sufficient income to survive without you, you are causing more than a emotional crisis, but a financial one as well. So now you have to decide if you are willing to pay not to live with a person. Its like renting a house for someone else.

So now how long can you tolerate things? Do you get out now, and just let them deal with it? Can you live with yourself after that? Or do make decisions based on the uncertain future? Such as starting to put pressure on them to become more financially self sufficient under the guise of we need more money to make ends meet. What kind of a partner are you then? You are using deceit and trickery to get them prepared, without them even knowing.  Then, when you have finished getting them prepared, you make the announcement that you are leaving. And they cant figure out how it happened because things are just now starting to look up, they thought things were getting better, etc. etc. etc. Now you have eliminated the financial crush and increased the emotional one.

Face it, there is no easy solution, so it comes down to the decision that you can live with the easiest. Or you wait until things get so damn bad that all other concerns are no longer so paramount.

January 26, 2008

Ignorant Irony

Filed under: humor, personal — Tags: , , — thetick @ 6:57 am

My Mom called last night, we hadn’t talked in a while and she was making a long drive and decided to ‘check up’ on me. She works in collections for the small town hospital, and related the following story:

A woman called about her bill, and was very upset. During the course of the ‘discussion,’ she asked why the hospital didn’t have free health care, and went on at length stating that the hospital should be providing free health care.

Mom explained that there was no free health care, repeatedly. The woman got even more upset and called my Mom a ‘Socialist Nazi” because there was no free health care.

It made me laugh.

January 25, 2008

Misplaced Outrage

Filed under: Political, ranting, Social — Tags: , , , — thetick @ 10:49 am

I saw a story about this on CNN.

Apparently, from the way the article is written, it is a worse crime to speak badly of a person than it is to kill them.  How did we get to this point? Hate crime is very real, and it always has been. But is it a bigger crime than negligent homicide?

We, as a culture, need to toughen up. We can no longer continue with this attitude that our lives must be free from anything that makes us uncomfortable or hurts our feelings or that we don’t agree with. That woman got drunk and killed someone, but she wasn’t going to get the maximum sentence until she didn’t heartily disagree with with a socially unacceptable comment.

The same ultra-sensitivity is in place for sexual preference, religion and race. Americans are guaranteed certain freedoms by the Constitution. For all the talk about members of the body politic abusing and ignoring the Constitution, the public is more guilty. We are guaranteed freedom OF religion, not freedom from religion. That means that you get to believe what you want to believe, and so do I. You can also not believe in anything if you want. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to hear something you don’t agree with. The most immediate example is a prayer at a high school graduation. If 98% of the class would like a prayer to open the ceremony, the remaining 2% have the power to stop it. In the country where the majority is supposed to rule, the minority has the power. The opposite is also true. If you are very religious, and don’t think that a television show is appropriate, you can turn it off. You don’t have the right to say its inappropriate for everyone else, too.

This brings up another topic. Take a look at this  movie poster:  What was your first thought?
Now look at this magazine cover: Now what was your first thought?

The reason I bring this up is because one is considered to be racially insensitive, the other, probably, is not. Now, I understand how the noose can be considered to be racially insensitive. There were a lot of lynchings done by the KKK way back when. And in the case of the Jena 6, I agree that is was racially motivated. But does that make every single instance of a noose a racial hate crime? CNN was running a story stating that the noose is ‘a symbol of hate.’ They hung pirates, shouldn’t the noose indicate a hate crime against pirates? They tried to hang Marty McFly in Back to the Future 3, is that a hate crime against teenage time travelers? What about old west horse thieves?

The answer is no, it is circumstance specific. But now we have a society where we have to watch our every move, every word, because there are legal ramifications if your actions can be misinterpreted.

People are guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We arent guaranteeing a life free of inconvenience and hurt feelings, you have to deal with those on your own.

January 24, 2008

I Miss My Truck

Filed under: My Past — Tags: , , — thetick @ 10:32 am

I used to have a Nissan X-Terra. I bought it new in October of 2001. I went in shopping for a bigger pick-up truck, and saw this one on the show room floor with brush guard and a few extras installed. I decided that I liked it better, it had more room and I didn’t haul that much stuff anyway.

 My truck was silver, as have been all the vehicles I have had a choice in buying, it was 4 wheel drive. I drove it off the lot and to the stereo installers and put $1500 worth of stereo, speakers, amp and subs in. 

This was the best vehicle I have ever owned. Shortly after I bought it, there was a tropical storm in Houston that did a lot of flooding. The girlfriend was on her way to visit, and had had an uneventful trip until she got within a quarter mile of my apartment. Then she wound up in the water, and her car stalled.  I hopped in the truck and headed out to rescue her. When I left the apartment complex, the security gate swung open and was pushing water. The bottom of it was almost a foot off the ground. When I hit the dip between the driveway and the street, water rolled up the hood almost to the windshield. She never even sputtered. Rescued the girlfriend and went home.

A couple of years and several thousand miles later, I was living in Idaho through the winter. We decided to go for a drive, and found ourselves heading up a mountain road that was never plowed. There was about six inches of packed snow and tire trails, no problem. We got up the canyon a ways and the snow got deeper, and the trail fainter. I put the truck in 4 wheel drive and started looking for a place to turn around. There wasn’t anyplace that wasn’t unpacked snow that I was fairly certain I would get stuck in. I had no choice but to go to the end of the road where I knew a open parking area was and try to turn around without stopping. The snow pack at the end of the road wasn’t as solid as I had hoped, and we had a spooky couple of minutes when I had to rock it back and forth while pushing the top layer of snow with the bumper. But, the X-Terra pulled though and we made it out of the canyon.

A few weeks after that, we were heading up the highway to spend New Years Eve with my family, and there was a nasty snow storm. A wet, sticky snow was falling, and turning to slush on ice on the highway. As we approached a small town that the highway went down the middle of, a car came around a corner headed straight for us, sideways. There was no way to avoid it, we hit. $10,000 worth of damage to my truck, but she survived and kept running. Totalled the other car.

So my truck had been through three feet of water, two feet of snow and one Saturn SL2. And she was still running.

Moved back to Texas, and wound up with a job 50 miles away from home. We didn’t move closer for various reasons, so I was putting 100 miles a day on my truck. The only complaint I had about my truck was the gas mileage. I was budgeting $400 a month in gas, since this all happened post Hurricane Katrina. My truck had over 160,000 miles on it, I had to do something.

I went and found a car that got twice the mileage, and the payment was low enough that with the gas savings, I was only spending about $60 more than I was, and I had a more reliable vehicle. I had just spent $2500 after a busted timing belt, and I could tell the transmission was about to fail as well. So I traded in my truck.

I don’t have the attachment to the new car that I had with my truck. The truck was my truck, the car feels like a rental. Just something to drive because I have to.

I wish I hadn’t traded it in, I could have kept it and still made the payments. I miss my truck.

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