My life is cockeyed.
No, really, I’m being serious here! The RV site Yellowstone gave me is all packed dirt. Well…what happens when massive amounts of snow melt right across all that dirt?
Yep, you guessed it: it’s mud season for me. The sad, unexpected (by me, anyway) outcome of this mud season is the fact that the blocks leveling my trailer are…well, they’re doing their best Titanic impression right now.
Okay, so it’s not the worst problem in the world. It is, in fact, pretty much the very definition of “first world problem,” to be honest. I mean, crap — no one’s shooting at me, I have all the potable water I need, I have heat* and electricity, I have a “pantry” full of food…if the worst problem I have is that shit rolls off my counter from time to time, I’m pretty sure the world ain’t about to end.
*Screw you Big Sky RV, and your cheap lie about filling my propane tanks!!
But it does get you thinking…
Well, it gets me thinking, anyway.
My life has been cockeyed for a very long time. One could argue, I suppose, that all writers’ lives are at least somewhat cockeyed and out-of-kilter. Shit, what insane idiot would choose a life where fulfillment and happiness are driven by words and sentiments that you basically have to prostitute your soul to make a buck with?
I don’t how many others out there share this experience, but for me that lack of balance, that skewed vision, is what makes it all work.
I was balanced and even as a sales monkey. I was locked firmly in the glide-path for the standard, traditional American life: a nice house, a new(ish) car, a comfortable retirement account…
And I was miserable as hell.
I had six weeks of “vacation” every year from my company, and every year I used every single second of that. Partly because — as you know from reading this blog — travel and adventure are the most fulfilling things in the Universe to me, but mostly because I hated that which gave me that vacation time. I hated the drab, tan-and-grey corporate decor … I hated the unending meetings that bred faster than any rabbit could dream of … I hated the pretension and hypocrisy of the company, of many of my coworkers, of many of our clients … I hated, when you get right down to it, every single day that I had to put on a mask and pretend to be someone I was not…
As I wrote once before, a few years ago: the clothes I wore didn’t fit my soul anymore.
In between then and now there is a great deal of water, and quite a few bridges…some of them burning, and some still beckoning to cross back. There is a failed business — and all the problems and heartache and exhaustion that you can imagine that comes with that — there are failed relationships, there are personal problems, financial problems, problems of every stripe…
And then there are my friends.
More specifically, there is the suicide of yet another friend.
I have stood in front of far too many caskets, said goodbye to far too many friends “too young to die” to not be changed by it. One is far too many, and I’m way above that number.
The last of those was after the failed business, after the failed romances.
I asked myself, finally, in front of my friend’s coffin, just what the fuck was I doing?
Why was I putting off — denying — that part of my life, of myself, that lay at the core of everything?
Why was I living someone else’s life, someone else’s dreams? Why was I working so hard to follow the roads so obviously laid out for me?
Why was I keeping the words to myself, the emotions and meanings and realities?
Why was I not being me?
Robert Frost famously wrote about the road less travelled. For me, it is the last two lines of that poem that really says it all:
“I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.”
My life is cockeyed, and I like it that way.
No, that’s not quite right — as hard as it can be for family and friends to understand, I need it that way.