On my former male role model…
If I wasn’t already numb to his tragic failures as a man and parent, I would have been disturbed by his 12-year-old daughter’s updated Facebook profile picture of her arm-in-arm with his new girlfriend, an undergrad studying marketing and advertising. Three divorces in five years is one thing, but his trend in finding younger wives and girlfriends is disturbingly approaching the legal limits.
Fuck them, fine. But don’t bring them around me or your kids. Your teenaged son doesn’t need a 21-year-old in Victoria’s Secret boy shorts traipsing around the McMansion.
“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.”
Mo Money Mo Problems (e.g. The front office at our kids’ Montessori school is terribly disorganized.)
I got a very good raise this week—way more than I was expecting to receive. When I read what my new salary was, I was elated, but also felt pangs of guilt.
I thought back to an afternoon seven years ago when I was waiting in my car with Lauren, a girl I grew up with who had a shotgun wedding the summer prior, while my pregnant fiancée ran inside our apartment to use the restroom before the three of us went back to Lauren’s to hang out after lunch. Our casual conversation (How’s your daughter? Do you two…smoke? What is your husband doing for work?) was subtly comforting. I wouldn’t admit it at the time, but the part of me that was terrified at the prospect of having a son out of wedlock in my junior year of college was assuaged somewhat hearing how Lauren had managed having a daughter at 19. Sex-ed in my parochial high school was little more than a dangerous coupling of disaster scenarios about the potential consequences of sex and Bible verses reminding us we should only do it with our wives and concubines; Lauren’s apparent happiness and well-being helped me see that I could survive just fine as a poor young father with a teenage bride.
The adjustments I made in 2005 to my “5-year-plan” to cope with the changes in my life that year (a son in Q3, a wife in Q4) allowed me to survive and be happy while I juggled boring, manual jobs with fathering (my son in ‘05, a daughter in ‘06) while managing a full course load. And I think it’s the part of me that remembers those conversations with Lauren; the late nights spent finishing Number Theory problem sets in my 600 sq. ft. apartment after a full day of boring, factory work; and cheese bought with WIC coupons that felt a little guilty when the Successful IT Professional me opened the envelope of his pay stub on Wednesday and found out just how large his yearly raise was.
It’s an understatement to say I’ve done well in the last seven years—the good, well-paying job I got right after graduation is now more than twice as good and well-paying. And while the Successful IT Professional justified my pay by my role and results (“You manage $3.3 million worth of uniquely versatile and talented salaried employees, run point on a client that paid millions to license our product, and could make even more as a consultant. Of course you’re worth $XXX,XXX to this company!”), the Holy Shit Your Raise Is More Than Lauren Currently Makes Each Year As A CNA part of me wasn’t sure how to react.
Processing your emotional response to a generous raise is certainly a first-world problem, but it’s been hard for me to see Lauren’s Facebook updates about her current financial problems the same week I’ve gotten such good fortune. Because in 2005, I thought I would be still be living a life like that in 2012.
Overheard in the hall at work
SEAN—24-year-old Project Manager
MATT—29-year-old Project Manager
Matt and Sean are walking in the hall over their lunch break on the way to a meeting. Sean has a SOLO cup full of Mountain Dew in his left hand and Matt is carrying a laptop.
Sean: Jim told me he isn’t going to marry his baby’s momma.
Matt: Why buy the cow…
Sean: Yeah, but he’s getting the milk and will have to pay child support if he doesn’t marry her.
Matt: True, but it’s just child support. You get married, you have more kids, you fuck them up, you get divorced, and then you’re stuck with child support for three kids plus alimony.
Sean: I guess, but he’s exhausted all of his options; he’s already made her get three abortions.
Matt: Yeah, well, what’s one more?
Results vs. Relationships
[TODO: Summarize childhood and adolescent emotional and psychological development here. Maybe include that story about the time you accidentally squished a tiny sparrow beneath your tiny toddler feet at age 4 or when you were expelled from high school for 242 days back in 2000 and virtually quarantined from contact with anyone your age for several months. (Might be a reach to try to connect that to your tendency to emotionally disconnect and withdrawn when stressed, cornered, or otherwise at unease though.)]
With that in mind, I want to talk about what it means to be a High D; INTJ; Level 2 Type 8w7 with Strengths of Competition, Ideation, Intellection, Strategy, and Command. I’ve largely figured out how to taper the negative aspects for most of my “strengths” and defaults; what I haven’t learned to manage is long-term relationships.
Here’s how I imagine most people’s “best-friend” relationships look like:
- A: “Hey, we have similar interests! That is neat.”
- B: “Let’s dance and talk and bare our souls!”
- C: “Best friends forever!”
Here’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a best friend:
- D: “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy…I live down the hall, can I borrow your copy of Grave of the Fireflies?”
- E: “Let’s get an apartment together!”
- F: “Oh, fuck! She’s pregnant; what should I do now?”
- G: He quits Facebook and I move out-of-state
- H-I: He starts medical school and I start my career.
- J: “Thanks for inviting us to your wedding. That was a lot of fun! Best of luck!”
- K (predicted): “Remember Mike? I kinda miss him.”
The shape of that curve is actually very similar to every “romantic” relationship I’ve ever had:
- L: “You’re cute. Want to spend the night?”
- M: “God you’re such an asshole!”
- N: “Remember that guy?*”
I don’t know exactly how I feel about this, but I’m pretty sure you can prove that the 3rd graph is equivalent to the 2nd with advanced topography.
On a July night
A drizzle falls at dusk and we
head to the deck for American Spirits.
I light our smokes;
After a few drags we
chat about our days.
(Sorry about the miscommunication
I thought I
told you about my 7 o’clock.
(She wants to tone down
the fucks but she
doesn’t have the emotional capacity))
I blow my last drag through
My nostrils and I
compare our life to that Atwood story.
It is what it is.
We sigh and I
give her a hug and a kiss.
My Five Time
[Last our narrator tried his hand at writing, he had finished two “true” fictional accounts that were “published” in his university’s undergraduate literary journal. “Name Your Bastard” and “Blow” were the culmination of a 7-year attempt to become a writer—that is, the narrator achieved no monetary success, damaged personal relationships to write better material, and found himself in a shallow pit of solipsistic depression. Following the “success” of these two short stories, our narrator hung (hanged?) up his writing cleats, had his first son, got married, moved out of his home state to live near his in-laws for childcare after he had his first daughter, finished school, got a job, had another daughter, got a promotion, had a son, bought a house, and earned another promotion.
Since our narrator last attempted to write, he has transitioned from emotionally-immature young twentysomething to emotionally-immature older twentysomething who, thanks to his experience in middle management, frequently uses phrases such as “Emotional Intelligence” and “Self-Regulation”.]
Here’s hoping the micro-blogging format allows for the creative release I think I need without forcing myself to uncover some self-truth I don’t want to acknowledge.
As for the title, at work I have to log all of my time against different time codes by the quarter-hour. (There’s a reason, but this is micro-blogging, not Dickens, so I won’t go into it.) Time code 5 is for “Management”. Nearly half of my week goes to 5 time, but only one hour of that is devoted to self-management.
I am hoping that this can be an extension of my 5 Time.