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Friday, August 1, 2008

What I've learned So Far On My Summer Vacation

"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."
- Eric Hoffer

As I sit on the dating sidelines this summer, and have time to myself without the pressures of forced conversations and its evil brother - awkward silences, I've learned some valuable lessons. Firstly, I've learned that Ikea furniture is either really hard to put together, or I'm mentally challenged. (Two hours to put a coffee table together that consists of 5 pieces of wood - and I still needed Shmegs to come over and finish the job for me). Secondly, I've learned that I pay around $120 a month for cable service that provides me with roughly 600 channels of absolutely nothing to watch. And as an extension of my second lesson, I've come to realize that Bravo is the gayest fucking channel on TV.

But perhaps the most valuable lesson I've learned thus far is the necessity to feel gratitude. Three people I know in as many days have inferred to me that they're actually looking forward to death. These were all guys with a bunch of kids who got married really young. Their wives drive them nuts, their kids make them crazy, the bills are piling up, and they want out. They joke that if it would be quick and painless, and their kids would be provided for afterwards, they'd press that imaginary button that could make all the bad go away. They joke that if they had to do it all differently, they would. They tell me I'm lucky. And I am. But their jokes aren't funny. They're just kind of sad - not so much because they'd actually down a bottle of sleeping pills, but because they'll probably continue living the same shitty existences until death really does coming knocking at their doors. And by then, they'll have wasted their entire lives not appreciating what they have.

So I'm thankful for what I have - a $79 Swedish coffee table that looked better online than it does in my living room, 600 channels of nothing to watch except a show about a flaming, bitchy real estate agent who flips houses and plays it up for the camera like he's that "I'm ready for my close up, Mr. Demille" broad, and a life I don't want to escape from.

12 comments:

Jonny English said...

And no doubt now that you've stopped actively dating you will meet someone,get engaged and spend weekends walking around Bloomingdales debating which china to put on your wedding list

samantha said...

I think the single life beats coupledom anyday...

Why do you think these guys "settled" for that life instead of finding partners that want to pursue their dreams with them?
-Sam

CupidsReviews Heidi said...

Good attitude Marc! I think you've become more positive during this dating hiatus. Its good to see that I'm not the only one that is extremely content in my mediocre existence. It ain't great, but hey when the worst thing in your day is some under informed/educated anti-canadian, menopausal blogger lady writing a 10 paragraph letter about how she doesn't appreciate your comments, what can you really complain about! Seems almost flattering really

Marc F. said...

Jonny- I'm not a walking around Bloomingdales with a hand-held scanner kinda guy, nor am I looking for a woman who wants me to be one.

Sam- We live in a world of settlers. Few people have the courage to pursue their dreams, if they have any dreams to begin with - most I know, don't.

Heather said...

Could not have said it better.

Bravo (To YOU, not the channel). Hope the rest of your summer is as productive.

Anonymous said...

"A life I don't want to escape from." This world would be a much happier place if we all could say as much about our lives. Cultural/societal pressures tell us that we NEED to be part of a couple and if we're not, we're less of a person. COUGH*bullshit* COUGH! I rather think that liking ourselves is a much more important goal but what do I know? I'm single.

del said...

Imagine how many books and magazines that $120/month cable bill would buy. Or, you can save the money and find the books in the library . (Or just pay $10-18 to Netflix and watch what you really want). Having a book or celeb gossip from a magazine to talk about also helps avoid awkward silences.

The rest can be put to getting yourself ahead of the treadmill when you have your own wife and rugrats (or save for the inevitable car you will need when you will have to move to the suburbs for your wife and kids).

Dori said...

I got rid of my cable a year ago. I have Netflix, and watch free, commercial-less TV online (you tube and some off episode sharing sites). I very rarely miss the depressing time-suck that is channel surfing.

I wouldn't write off coupledom just because you know some miserable people. There are miserable people in every life category.

Anonymous said...

Mark,
Looking at them makes you feel and look better. Now, let us see, compared to whom or what is your life better? There is always someone in worse shape, with less money, fatter, shorter, less attractive… What does that means? You complain about everything, nothing or anyone is good enough. Every woman is this or that, ENOUGH! Now what? Is being married a curse? Maybe Bravo is not so Bravo after all…
You keep criticizing all around you, as if you knew all the answers. Get real! I bet you won’t post this comment.

Marc F. said...

Anon - Clearly the person who has you tied up in his basement in front of a computer, forcing you to read this blog day after day after day, has allowed enough slack in the ropes to let you type witticisms such as, "Maybe Bravo is not so Bravo after all." My question to you, therefore, is why not use your free hands to untie yourself and escape? You'd never have to read about what a douchebag I am again.

Lori said...

I think about this sometimes. I think this is a weird age to be single, because so many of our friends are newly in love, newly married, newly parents - everything new looks shiny and bright. But I've started noticing the first rounds of resignations, divorces, break-ups that has a few of my friends suddenly sad and scared and not knowing what they have been doing with their lives for the last few years since their plans didn't turn out exactly the way they had expected.

I'd absolutely love to meet someone and have all that shiny newness - and more! - but I GREATLY appreciate the time I have had to myself and the fact that my life is my own. Disposable furniture, disappointing cable channels, and all.

bella said...

Marc, you said: "Few people have the courage to pursue their dreams, if they have any dreams to begin with - most I know, don't."

I found this statement so interesting and surprising. I'm wondering WHY you know so many people who are like this?

Your writing style is hilarious. You have a fantastic blog. I guess I just imagine that someone as creative as you would be drawn to other equally creative, driven people.

It seems the common thread between all these single girls, and the married friends you mention, is that everyone seems so angry and frustrated!

Either you paint them this way for comic relief, or you might want to consider hanging out with more inspired people (regardless of their marital status).

The only drawback to that is you might not get as good material out of them. Which would suck for the rest of us. :-)