Rather a lot of these pieces over the years have expressed a decidedly negative outlook on Life, The Universe, And Everything, though the number of such seems, I think, to be decreasing; I haven't had a really down edition in a month, and that one (mostly) complained about purely physical pain, the sort for which one takes tablets.

This does not, I hasten to add, suggest that I am anything like happy these days. Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure I know what the word means anymore. But there's, let us say, a smidgen less discontent, and more of a willingness to embrace the unfamiliar, and both of these tendencies tend to register on the high side of the emotional spectrum, which presumably brings up the overall average.

Many of the things which cause me grief — the occasional pang of loneliness, the perennial frustrations of work — haven't abated in the slightest. What's changed, I think, is my willingness to dwell on them; my attitude toward corporate inanity, for the most part, is now less "Oh, dear G-d, what will these putzim think of next?" and more of a Cartmanesque "Screw you guys, I'm going home." I don't believe that actually going home will have much of an effect on them, but taking work problems home has never done me the slightest bit of good, and to the extent that I don't do this, my mood simply has to become less unperky.

The loneliness thing will be harder to tackle, though keeping busy (and with a house to tend, I'm quite a bit busier these days) does tend to deflect the pangs slightly. I still don't believe there's anyone for me out there; perhaps the best response is simply not to care about it. There's a potential hazard there — being truly indifferent to one's emotional state, I suspect, makes it easier to succumb to the lure of the one-nighter — but having never actually had a one-nighter (two nights, yes), I may have some hitherto-unsuspected resistance to the idea.

And some of the general mood upgrade, I think, stems from being 50 years old; it's always seemed to me to be the point in life where not giving a particular damn becomes the default position. I don't recall ever actually saying "I'm fifty, and I shouldn't have to put up with this crap," but I am undeniably fifty, and maybe I shouldn't have to put up with this crap. Purveyors of crap, you are on notice.

The Vent

1 June 2004

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