Of Sunsets and Sentimentality

IMG_1874another spectacular sunset for a less than spectacular day

There’s nothing quite like a magnificent sunset to calm a man’s senses and allow him to put things into perspective for a few moments in an otherwise listless and godforsaken day.  We had a remarkable sunset last night in the Ozarks, and again tonight, and I felt like sharing my shitty iPhone pics on this blog.  It rained damn near all day yesterday (a miserable downpour worthy of building an ark), but as the sun began to sink over the horizon, the rain ceased and the sky opened up just enough to put on one hell of a show.  It was a much needed show, too.

Anymore, most of my days are spent mired in despondency and regret to a debilitating degree.  Fortunately, I’ve been busy enough at work as of late to keep my mind off of unpleasant things (idle hands and all that), but as soon as I return home and am left to my own devices, the loneliness becomes too unbearable to ignore.  I keep waiting for circumstances to change and for things to get better, or at the very least to become more palatable, but they never do.  Which is why it’s so important for someone such as myself to take the time to appreciate something as simple and powerful as a beautiful sunset.  Sometimes a sunset makes all the difference.

IMG_1887tonight’s sunset, as seen from a nursing home parking lot

For far too long now I’ve been telling myself that things could always be worse, and I’m tired of using that thought as a crutch.  Speaking of crutches, I visited my mother in the nursing home tonight, and while I was walking down the hallway of the home I witnessed an old man in a wheelchair camped out at the twenty-five cent candy machines with a cup full of quarters as if he were an old lady playing the slots.  Both of his legs were gone, likely long-since lost to diabetes.  And yet there he was, eating fistfulls of Skittles at a time.  One must have priorities, I reckoned, and I suddenly remembered my paternal grandfather, who was diabetic.  For the life of him, despite his diabetes, he couldn’t give up his favorite candy– those cheap gummy orange slices.

orangeslicesmy grandfather’s kryptonite

I loved those crappy candies when I was a kid, and I’ve always associated them with the memory of my grandfather.  He shot himself around this time some thirty years ago, which is crazy to think about.  When I wrote a post about the concept of deathdays a while back, I forgot to include that it was my grandfather who actually introduced that concept to my father.  And the older I get, the more I recognize the significance of this concept.  To every thing (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn) and a time to every purpose under heaven.  [apologies to Pete Seeger and the Byrds]

Valentimes

lovecrystalbridges

*sigh*

Well, here we are again.  February 14th, a date which will live in infamy for most of us lonely hearts.  Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year when those of us who are alone are not allowed to forget that we are utterly alone.  For the last couple of weeks, we singles have been ruthlessly and relentlessly bombarded in person and in the media with constant reminders that we are, in fact, fucking losers.  As if I needed a reminder.  It might as well be cross stitched into a pillow in my living room.

loser pillowSeriously.

I thought I could avoid this “singles shaming” by not leaving the house today, holing up on my couch and binge watching The Walking Dead, but even a show filled with flesh-eating corpses still contains just enough romance to put a damper on the day.  And it really couldn’t have been a more perfect Valentine’s Day.  Cloudy skies and cold rain all day long– not once did the sun come out to shine, not even for a moment.  Ideal weather for suffering the tortures of the memory of a lost love.

Lucy knows what’s up

You’ve gotta give Lucy credit– at least she’s trying, though her pursuit of Schroeder is fruitless and completely misguided.  For god’s sakes, Lucy, leave the man alone– can’t you see he’s immersed in his music, not to mention he’s most likely struggling with his own sexuality?  (Does anyone else think Schroeder is gay?  I’ve always just assumed so.)  But you really do have to give Lucy props for putting her heart out there and taking a chance.  Exactly one year ago on this very blog I wrote a Valentine’s Day post in which I mentioned receiving some sage advice from a pretty girl about the importance of putting oneself out there, but at thirty-six years of age, my options are so severely limited that there’s just no point to any of it anymore.  My best option for meeting people is the bar and club scene, but despite my penchant for drinking, I don’t belong in bars.  These are locales where my misanthropy and agoraphobia can combine to make for an unpleasant cocktail.  I’m far more likely to get into a fist fight with some douchebag in a bar or a dance hall than I am to get a girl’s phone number.

Roxbury douchebagsSaid douchebags: “What is love?  Baby, don’t hurt me…”

[SIDE NOTE:  in high school, my hair and sideburns looked just like Will Ferrell’s in Night at the Roxbury]

What is love, though?  Hell if I know.  There have been a handful of times in my life where I thought I knew– I was certain that I knew– but I was ultimately proven wrong in each instance and left holding my head in my hands wondering what I could have done differently.  But there’s no use in wondering now.  The past is gone, and it’s gone for good– there’s no return to any idyllic garden.  Much like Adam and Eve, I’m no longer in paradise, but at least I’m wiser for it, right?  RIGHT?!?

[crickets chirping]

It’s quite the disturbing thing to be stuck in a perpetual state of despair and apathy.  Both states of mind seem to go hand in hand with one another, and it’s not the good kind of hand holding, either.  There’s no “off to see the Wizard” singing and skipping while holding hands bullshit here– this is the kind of death grip hand holding when someone who can’t swim is drowning, grabbing at anything and anyone they can get their mitts on and pulling them under in sheer panic and desperation.

[cue Debbie Downer music: waaahhhhh waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh]

I’m not really that bitter about the holiday, though.  I sincerely hope as many people as possible are finding happiness right now in the arms of a loved one.  I really do.  As for me, I’m going to polish off the bottle of whiskey I’ve been nursing all day in the dark with Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown running on a loop until I pass out.

One day

And maybe, if you’re lucky, the changing and rearranging will be for the better and you’ll finally find yourself living the life you’ve always dreamed of. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll start changing and rearranging only to realize that you’ve made a terrible mistake and now there’s no going back to the world you once took for granted and second guessed. It’s a coin toss, really– life’s funny that way.

Wonder Of My Worlds

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Free Time

I’ve just started watching the Netflix animated series F is for Family, and while I’m not really sold on it at all yet (tremendous vocal talent, but uneven writing and unsympathetic characters), I did discover this one gem in the second episode.

This is EXACTLY how I feel when I have “free time.”

 

I like cartoons ’cause they’re funny.

Woooo Pig.

libertybowlWOOOOOOO PIG SOOIE!!!

Hooray for my hogs, as they eviscerated Kansas State today in the Liberty Bowl 45-23.  Wooo pig!  But the highlight of today’s game wasn’t our beautifully dreadlocked running back Alex Collins’ 185 yards and three touchdowns– rather, it was the shiny metallic helmets Arkansas sported on the field.  Reminded me a lot of the lone red metallic Christmas ball hanging from my sad Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

chromehelmetthe resemblance is uncanny

Arkansas really should have had a better season this year, but early injuries = early losses, and we got off to a rough start.  Had everyone been healthy this season, I have no doubt that my Arkansas Razorbacks would have competed for an SEC title.  But that’s the story of 2015:  missed opportunities and what-ifs.  That’s just life, I guess.

missedopportunitymostly missed, I reckon

I’ve spent this entire weekend sick out of my head and watching bowl games, and I’m ending the night watching what must be the most sadly-named of all the bowl games:  the “Motel 6 Cactus Bowl.”  The saddest of plants in the saddest of motels really plays at the heart strings of loneliness.  Ah, the poor, lonely cactus… wondering why no one wants to hug him.

 

 

For Auld Lang Syne

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Time to pop open a bottle of bubbly in the company of friends and sing “Auld Lang Syne” out of tune as we reflect on the highs and lows of the last twelve months– the triumphs and heartbreaks, the mistakes made, the dreams unrealized, and the loved ones lost.

auldlangsyne

New Year’s Eve may be a time of celebration for most, but certainly not for all.  There’s no doubt that 2015 was kinder to some of us than others, and it’s for those others that tonight is less of a celebration and more of an evaluation– it becomes a moment in time to take stock of our own personal failures from the prior year and determine what kind of mettle we’re made of and what sort of shape we’re in heading into the coming one.  Many of us will attempt to address our shortcomings from this year with resolutions for the next– optimistic ideals and aspirations which, if history is any indicator, will typically fade or fall apart after a few months (as best intentions are want to do).  But that’s exactly what’s so wonderful about the future– absolutely anything is possible, and there’s no harm in hoping for the best.

newyear

So kiss your sweethearts when the clock strikes twelve and count your blessings if you’ve got ’em.  As for me, I’ll do my best not to be too bitter about tonight and simply say “adios” to last year.  So fuck you, twenty-fifteen– you won’t be missed.  Don’t let the door hit your miserable ass on the way out.