Posted by: GeekHiker | April 2, 2008

Weird State ‘o Mind

I’ve been debating what to write, or even if to write, this particular entry.

I’ve mostly been writing about hikes and little stuff lately, and not so much of the more personal journal entries. This hasn’t entirely been by intent.

Sometimes, you just end up going with the flow. And the flow around here of late has been decidedly business-like.

Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve been stuck in the GOD DAMN SERVER ROOM (yeah, that’s right, all caps) for over a month now at work. The latest story is that the parts & wiring for the electricity in my office are old and management doesn’t want to pay to rip out all the old stuff and replace it with new stuff. Instead, they want to stay cheap and use as much of the old equipment as possible, but this makes parts hard-to-find. Result: big ‘freakin delay.

I haven’t made a lot of ruckus about it because a) it wouldn’t do any damn good (a cheap management is a cheap management) and b) what’s the point of stressing about something over which I have no control?

The upshot of all this? I’ve been listening to this for the past few weeks.

If it doesn’t sound like much, turn the volume up to 11 and sit next to it for the next 8 hours. You’ll get the idea.

One thing about the sound is that it’s white noise. It doesn’t change in either pitch or volume all day, so mentally you can kind of tune it out. It’s still there, though. A ceaseless hum that makes the rest of the world seem positively silent by comparison.

A few weeks ago I spent a couple of days in a thoroughly pissed-off, angry, bitter-about-everything mood. It was so jr.-high-school I just couldn’t bring myself to bother writing about it.

But as suddenly as it began, it stopped, and left behind a feeling and thought pattern very much like what I describe above: unchanging white noise. Actually, a little more like the 60 cycle tone: standard, flat, unchanging, and just a wee bit annoying but not outrageously so.

The net result of all this is that I can’t seem to get very excited (or even un-excited, for that matter) about anything. Not about social activities, or dating, not even traveling. At least not developing the actual wherewithal to pack up and travel somewhere.

It’s all just kind of a mental *shrug* now.

* * *

Last Friday, while waiting out in front of the building at work for a co-worker who was joining me for lunch, I watched a smiling, giggling girl put on a helmet while preparing to get on the back of some leather-jacketed guy’s motorcycle. It took me a minute before I realized that it was, in fact, OPG.

And honestly? I just didn’t care.

(Well, okay, I did have a bit of a mental chuckle as I thought to myself “Oh, she’s at that age,” referring to the period of time pretty much every girl I’ve ever known seems to have gone through where they swoon and fall head-over-heels for a guy on a motorcycle. Sometimes, yes, that guy is “the one”; buuuut 90% of the time he turned out to use her and lose her as only a “bad boy” can.)

Other than that inner chuckle, though, I felt nothing. No regret, or sadness, or anger, or bitterness. Nothing.

Just a mental *shrug*.

* * *

Or take the whole online dating thing (please…). Sure, I’ve continued to write to a few women, without any responses, and not expecting any, really. Not because I’m down on myself or think that I don’t deserve a response (even a nice rejection e-mail); it’s just statistics: out of all the women I’ve written to, only one has responded.

[None of this is helped, I’m sure, by the continued bickering between my neighbors. At least they finally stopped doing it in the overnight hours after I spoke with him (after a night in which I only got four hours of sleep due to the screeching). Still, despite knowing a number of quite successful and happy couples, hearing that next door every day or two has certainly put a damper on my dating mood. After all, it really does make one wonder what the point of pursuing the whole/dating relationship is if it ends up down that path.

And, yes, they’re actually going at it as I write this.]

So I’m not surprised by the lack of responses and empty mailbox. It’s almost a silly exercise at this point, just sending e-mails out into the ether that won’t get responses. And when they don’t respond?

Yep: *shrug*

But I do think I’m finally starting to see why so many guys end up doing formletter e-mails, without really bothering to customize it to the woman’s profile: if the women aren’t going to bother to respond (the thinking goes) even with a quick “not interested,” then why waste the time and effort? And while I haven’t shifted into that camp yet, I can sure feel its powerful draw…

* * *

That’s the way it seems for so many things right now. I’m still doing the social & group activities, always trying to push out that social circle just a little further, but I’m not excited about it. Take this upcoming weekend’s activity: yeah, I’ll go, I’ll have fun, but I can’t say I’m looking forward to it or not looking forward to it. It’s just on the schedule.


And on down the list it goes. Work is just… there. My pittance of a social life is just… there. My unsuccessful attempts at dating are just… there.

But here’s the surprising thing about it (and this ought to throw you all for a loop, as it does me): I’m not down or depressed.

At all. Really. No, really.

I haven’t been mopey or down, or walking around with a cloud over my head, or thrown up my arms to the heavens above and resigned myself that (over dramatic voice) this is the way things are. I’m doing and continuing to do all the things I’ve done before and enjoyed, not walled myself up in the house.

Heck, I’m even happy continuing to do those things, and feeling pretty good in general. So what the hell is up with my head?

I mean, I’m not dancing in the streets singing a song of happiness or anything, but when somebody asks me how I am and I reply “I’m fine.” I find myself meaning exactly that: I’m fine. Not great, not poor, just running right down the middle of the road, at an average speed, in a boring gray rental sedan, through the mental equivalent of a stereotypical Kansas landscape.

So why am I revealing all this personal crap here? Because it’s all new, it’s been on my mind for a while, and I don’t have a clue what to make of it.

Maybe I’m finally starting to learn how not to over-think every damn thing (not likely).

Or maybe I really am depressed and I just don’t know it.

Or maybe sitting in a fluorescent lit room listening to the endless drone white noise of whirring fans is completely warping my mental state.

Whatever the case, and whatever the cause, all I know is this: although I know I’ve been through periods like this before, it’s never lasted this long. Or been this, well, un-intense.

And I find that a bit troubling.



  1. Great post, sorry about the situation.

    Sounds like you are in a plateau, not going up, not going downhill. It’s a pretty good place to be in once in while. Lets you slowly recharge your batteries and then decide just how you are going to keep climbing towards all your goals.

    And please go for those formletter emails. As someone who got over 100 emails in less than a couple of days after joining a dating site, I can honestly say that by the end of that week, about 95% of emails were left UNREAD. Eventually I deleted them. I am sorry, but I just could not find the time to read hundreds of emails AND reply to the people emailing me.

    Know the ones who got a response though? They were the ones who had obviously read my profile enough to know what I was looking for. Getting an email saying “I am Muslim and I know you wanted a Christian man but hear me out….” is just a waste of time for whoever is writing it.

    So yes, I totally encourage you to send out formletter emails. Its really not what is inside the email that matters, trust me 😉


    C a r a

  2. Oops, need to clarify that last paragraph. What I mean is that the email should function first and foremost as a calling card. It should make them want to read your profile.

    Hopefully your profile contains what is relevant to them, i.e. the basic a/s/l info in addition to criterion specified by the dating website.

    So take for example the guy emailing me saying he is Muslim, I won’t even need to read his email as I would just click his profile and find that out, then decide not to bother reading his email as I have many more emails to suss out.


    C a r a

  3. I enjoyed the stereotypical bad-boy motorcyclist cliche. 😉

  4. It’s okay to be fine for awhile. It’s much more restful than being angry and upset.

    Sounds to me like somehow, you’re preparing yourself subconsciously for a change of what you’re not even yet aware.

    Coasting is sometimes good.

    I’d love to be coasting for a bit right now instead of running this treadmill with scumbag landlords.

    I can’t even imagine online dating. Well, that’s not true, I’m a writer, of course I can IMAGINE it. I can’t see myself doing it.

    Whenever I STOP worrying about whether I’m dating or not, I start tripping over dates everywhere. There are lots of fascinating people in the world, when you give them a chance. That doesn’t mean they’re all romance material, but there are still a lot of really good, interesting people out there, and I find when I stop worrying in terms of dating, I can enjoy them as people.

    Management sucks; that’s why I freelance.

    And I was lucky enough to learn at a young age that I’d rather go out and ride my own motorcycle than date a guy for his!

    Thought-provoking post — I wish you the best. May your passion for life re-emerge soon, stronger than ever!

  5. I get you now. I’ve gone through similar times though I defined it as ambivalence; not good, not bad, just there. It started to freak me out after a while too.

    I don’t really have anything to offer in regards to this other than if you need an ear or the like you know where I am.

  6. Cara – Oddly, the batteries don’t feel particularly drained; then again, what do I know? I see what you’re saying regarding the whole formletter thing; though it would be easier if the site didn’t make it just as easy to send a rejection as to delete…

    pneumoniaBoy – I knew you’d see that! That’s why I emphasized that it was only the limited experiences of those I have known…

    devonellington – Thank you for stopping by and thank you for the thoughtful comments. I’m not sure how keen I am on coasting, since it feels less like coasting as not moving at all. But if I start tripping over dates, I’ll be sure to let you know…

    just a girl – So did you exit the ambivalence through some effort, or did it just happen?

  7. Geekhiker, sending a rejection letter hurts the person sending it as well. It’s quite a difficult task.

  8. There’s nothing wrong with being “fine” though, “fine” is ok. Its just where you are at the moment and there are a few things that are going well, a few things going ok and a few things going not so well. It’s just “fine”.
    Although I do hope the status quo changes to good, even great, in the next little while and you are excited about things and not just…there. Suggestion? Make another one of your famous turkey sandwiches.

  9. The Wife and I are not ‘Fine’. Believe me, ‘Fine’ is dandy. We would give anything to be ‘Fine’. ‘Fine’ is infinity better then not ‘Fine’.

  10. awww, sometimes life just feels like that (though i’m sure the server sounds don’t help). people are too quick to diagnose depression, but honestly, there are periods of life that are just non-engaging.

    As great as excitement can be, I do crave routine, and when life is just being life, you’ve got all the routine you can ask for. Enjoy the plateau while you’ve got it, and the excitement will come when it comes 🙂

  11. Ruby – Thanks for the advice, and definitely thanks for the chuckle from the turkey sandwich reference!

    Homer-Dog – I won’t argue your point, but I will remind you of the one bright spot you have: you and The Wife do have each other. No matter the current troubles, don’t dismiss that blessing.

    seine – Nice to see you! I wish I could enjoy the plateau, but the lack of feeling, good or bad, just doesn’t feel natural…

  12. I understand this ALL TO WELL!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  13. Pretty much an intervention after 3 months.

    Fine is a good answer when there is good and bad feeling. When in the midst of the nothing feeling? Fine is not great.

  14. I hope whatever is heading your way to make your “fine” a “spectacular” comes soon. We all have those fine periods in our lives. Things get humdrum, you resign yourself to thinking nothing will change, and at that point, in walks spectacular.

  15. I’m joining the pack and saying that I hope your ‘fine’ turns into something wonderful soon. Though, I think ‘fine’ is okay too. Not for forever, but I think it’s impossible to be ecstatic all the time. And it would be exhausting.

    Also, I’ve never fallen for a guy on a motorbike. Perhaps because I assume guys who ride motorbikes never call their mother or have a savings account.

    But, I could be entirely wrong. I often am.

  16. *kb* – nice to know I have a kindred spirit.

    Just A Girl – Is that a touch of concern I hear?

    backpackermomma – Thanks for the kind thought.

    brandy – It’s not so much that I desire to feel ecstatic, just… well, more…

  17. Wow, it’s like you stepped inside my head when you wrote this post.

    I can relate completely to all that you’ve said.

    If you weren’t all the way on the other side of the country, I’d say we should have coffee.

    Found your blog through Charming…I like your writing; it’s nice to get a man’s perspective on things. I’ll be back!

  18. East Coast Teacher – Heh, sorry, didn’t mean to invade your head! Kidding aside, thank you for stopping by and leaving the lovely comment. It seems a lot of people are feeling the same way…

  19. Always.

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