Tag Archives: Facebook

Our Fake Lives

This post is totally not about the Manosphere. You're welcome.

This post is totally not about the Manosphere. You’re welcome.

I don’t know how much of my life is real.

Less than half, maybe.

Sometimes you just have to stop and shut the fuck up for a minute. Just stop. And every ounce of focus and energy you possess is dedicated to being still. Just breathing. For a moment, there is nothing else. Because you’re not thinking about yesterday. You’re not worried about tomorrow. A total investment in that next breath.

In, then out.

The faintest hint of a smile on your face.

And again: In. Through the nose. Hold it. Just a moment. Then, out. Through the mouth.

That’s one of the few times you can know it when no one else is around: This is real. I’m alive.

Different things make people feel alive.

Not everyone would feel it sitting at a Las Vegas poker table the way I do. Check. Bet. Raise. Re-raise. That’s right. Ship those chips, sucka.

Not everyone would feel it sitting at a keyboard. Tap-tap-tapping until things I think and feel morph into words.

But I hope most people feel it when I feel it most. In a crowd of good people, a bunch of friends, laughing, sharing. Connected.

Less than half my life is real.

It’s not real because I spend a lot of time mentally in the past. A place that no longer exists and where pain and sadness sometimes live.

It’s not real because I spend a lot of time dreaming or worrying about the future. A complete fantasy impossible to predict because we have no idea what’s going to happen five minutes from now.

It’s not real because I watch TV and movies more than I should.

It’s not real because of books and video games.

It’s not real because so much interaction with others happens via a digital device or on an internet platform.

I’ve always wanted this to be me. These words right here. But the truth is: They’re not, and can never be. Because however many hundreds or thousands of people ever read this stuff… they don’t (and can’t) see me as I am. They fill in the blanks like all of us do when we read books and stories. Our brains plug the holes with guesses, and we invent something that isn’t real.

I’ve been divorced more than two years now. In that time, I haven’t met or dated even one person locally who could conceivably be a serious girlfriend or potential stepmother for my son. That fact comes up in conversation sometimes.

“Do you want to have more kids?”

The mathematical logistics suggest it’s not happening anyway.

“Women who read your blog love you, Matt!”

I hear that sometimes, too.

I always answer it the same way: “Yeah, but it’s total bullshit. They don’t like the real me. They don’t know me. They like the version of me they invented in their head.”

And then I remind them what I just told you. Even though I’m pretty nice, reasonably funny, semi-attractive, passably competent, gainfully employed, and open to meeting people, the net result of two years of being alive as a single mid-thirties dad is: zero potential girlfriends. I wish I was kidding.

Maybe you should try online dating!’

A bunch of people know this already, but this blog was intended to be a dating blog when I first launched it. I thought it would be hilarious to be this emotionally wrecked, ticking time bomb, cliché, middle-aged divorced guy doing all the things those guys do, and then tell the stories along the way.

Edgy! Hilarious!

And I was trying to online date, but I was shitty at it in large part because I hated myself and wasn’t emotionally ready to be dating anyone, anyway, and was stupid for trying. Instead of owning that, I blamed my height since so many girls who online date only want to date tall guys, even if they’re only 5’1”, themselves.

That always annoyed me. Hence the name, Must Be This Tall To Ride.

Even though my motives for quitting were wrong (pride), I think I was right to not use online dating in an effort to fill the companionship void after my divorce.

It’s another part of this Fake Life problem I feel like so many of us have.

It got me thinking about this Culture of Disconnection we live in, DESPITE living in the most-technically (and technologically) connected time in human history.

It’s almost as if the more fiber-optic lines we lay, and servers we build, and devices we create, and online communities we join, the less-connected we feel in our actual, physical and spiritual, real lives.

The ones that are true and real when we first wake up in the morning.

The ones that are true and real when we’re standing in the shower shaking out the cobwebs or contemplating whatever today’s top concern is.

The ones that are true and real when we’re with all the people who really know us. When all the digital image management programs aren’t running. And it’s just us, live and in color, being a God’s honest human being with other people.

I don’t mean to disparage the Internet or social media. I am a happy and willing participant, particularly in the blogosphere. (Is that still a word?) And it’s a bona fide MIRACLE that grandparents living far away can FaceTime and Skype with their grandchildren, and that we can more easily than ever before stay in touch with people far away who mean so much to us. It’s so much better than no contact at all, and I’m grateful to be alive when these things are possible.

But when I take an honest, no-bullshit look at my own life?

I lean so heavily on you. I do. Like. Comment. Like. Like. Like. Comment. Like. Comment. Like.

I lean so heavily on escapism. A show I’m binge-watching on Netflix, or some new-ish movie on HBO GO.

And my biggest crutch? This phone. But not to speak. Not much.

Many days and nights, I didn’t feel lonely because I had people there, typing back to me in those little gray text bubbles.

And thank God. This is not a BAD thing. It’s not bad that we can stay in touch with people and not feel lonely for a moment.

But it’s a Band-Aid solution, and not even a particularly good one. Like a shitty, generic drugstore-brand band-aid.

Because sometimes our faraway friends get busy.

And even that little gray text bubble isn’t talking back anymore.

We get afraid. I’m not even sure of what.

But if you’re divorced or perpetually single and don’t live by a bunch of friends and family, you don’t need an explanation. You just get it.

And so the Magic Internet Elves invent all these tools for people. Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Where people can paint whatever picture of their lives they want to.

Awesome. Great. Fine. But is it real?

And they invent online dating. Where people can Swipe Right and Swipe Left and send winks and messages to strangers based on a few strategically selected photos and their best sales pitch.

Awesome. Great. Fine. Now it’s really easy for single people to find each other. But is it real?

And they invent mobile devices to keep us “connected.” Where people can do all the Magic Internet Things no matter where they are with other “connected” people no matter where they are. But is that living?

I don’t know.

But I know that none of us have as much time as we’d like. I know that time goes so fast, even when I’m just sitting at home alone. And I know I don’t want to spend my life dead.

I’m not sure what it looks like. The life where I always smile and know I’m all the way alive again, connected and whole.

But I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen watching that movie or liking that Facebook post.

Whenever I find myself unsure of what the next move should be, there’s only one thing left to do.

In, then out.

The faintest hint of a smile on my face.

And again: In. Through the nose. Hold it. Just a moment. Then, out. Through the mouth.

Because it always comes to me.

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Your Penis Looks Bigger When You Don’t Procrastinate

(Photo by The Plain Dealer)

This could have been me! (Photo by The Plain Dealer)

There are two ways to write this post.

There’s the way where I paint myself a victim of circumstance—someone who got totally screwed and didn’t deserve it.

And there’s the honest way.

I am a chronic procrastinator and am grossly irresponsible for a 36-year-old father.

It’s the reason my retirement account isn’t as large as it should be. It’s the reason I don’t have any books published. It’s the reason I don’t have a 28-inch waist. It’s the reason my house isn’t as clean as it should be. It’s the reason my ex-wife gets pissed at me when I overlook or don’t pay attention to some detail related to our son’s school schedule. It’s the reason I let my auto insurance lapse last year.

And it’s the reason I don’t have natural gas service to my house as I sit here typing this.

“What’d you do, Matt? Not pay your bills!?”

No, dick.

I actually have a credit on my account because I pay more every month than I need to, thank you very much.

But what did happen is the gas company kept visiting my house to inspect my gas meter when I wasn’t home. Not the entire company, I don’t think. Probably just one guy. They need to inspect meters (mine’s indoors) to ensure they are gauging gas usage accurately and to regularly check for natural gas leaks.

So, instead of just breaking in or maybe letting my uncle’s ghost show them around, they left a little card on my door knob informing me I needed to schedule an appointment to have my meter inspected.

It seemed important, so I put it in my Jeep to remind me to call on my morning commute instead of calling immediately. I called one time a couple days later, but the offices were closed, and I just sort of never tried again.

I just kept on living because if I just don’t worry about it, it will magically go away!!!

Because I live in Ohio, the temperature can swing 30 degrees in one day. And it did. We had a little cold spell recently, where it was in the 30s and 40s (Fahrenheit) at night, and in the 50s during the day.

Wednesday, I noticed the temperature reading in my house was 59 degrees. Unacceptable. I turned on the furnace and went to bed.

When my alarm clock woke me yesterday, my sinuses were totally clogged and my bedroom was about 55 degrees, as if a little magic ice troll was camped out in my air duct shooting pneumonia sprinkles and fuck-you dust at me all night.

I assumed my furnace was broken since that was the most expensive explanation. Whatever. I’ll fix it later!

I put a space heater in my room last night because I figured possibly setting my house on fire is better than being a tiny bit cold and also because screw that little ice troll.

Everything seemed fine until the part where I got in the shower and screamed obscenities. Because that was hell.

That’s what hell is, folks. An endless cold shower where all the women you find attractive take photos of your shriveled penis and post them to Instagram and Facebook and then tag your grandmother.

“Hahaha! See how funny it looks with the Lo-Fi filter!?”

Like. Like. Share. Like. Share. Like. Like.

No hot water combined with my furnace blowing only cold air told me all I needed to know: Those bastards shut off my gas.

Is that a little harsh? Shutting off gas to a customer who is a couple months AHEAD on his bill paying? Maybe another warning stuck to my door? Might that have been a better way to handle it?

I think so.

If it was winter and they shut off my gas, my reaction would be infinitely less measured. The gas company would have a real problem on their hands. And by that I mean, I would have complained to four or five people who don’t procrastinate all the time, and then do exactly what I’m already doing, which is meeting a gas company person at my house whenever they call me.

(Insert magic time-travel sound effect here)

I have a minor gas leak in my house! Gas company man just left. He was cool.

Now I’m waiting for the plumber to come, install new fittings, then I’ll have to call the gas company back so they can restart service.

I think this is one of those times it’s important to look on the bright side.

Is it fun waiting for a plumbing company to call you back, and then overcharge you for the work they’re going to do?

No.

But is it kind of awesome that I will greatly reduce the risk of dying in a fiery explosion in my own house?

I feel like it probably is.

Maybe you guys would hear about it someday. “News at 11. Procrastinating blogger’s home explodes, killing him, but also saving him from having to power wash his exterior walls and mop the basement floor, so don’t feel too bad.”

Or maybe you wouldn’t hear.

Either way, I’d probably end up in that forever-cold shower, shriveled penis exposed, and going viral on Facebook – Eternal Damnation Edition™.

Like. Like. Share. Like. Share. Like. Like.

But, hell. Since I’m still alive?

I guess I’ve got some things to do.

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