I remember this feeling, I had just moved to New Mexico with my mom and sister. From California. I did not want to be there. But that’s not the feeling I’m talking about.
We had gotten this new computer and it advertised (this was a new thing at the time,) CD and DVD burning. I thought, by the wording of it, that we would be able to burn all the movies we wanted to. I had already garnered a decent collection of my own movies, but now?! I’d be rolling in them. Burning, for those who are not in the know, means/meant copying. It got popular when Napster…the first big time music downloading/pirating program came out. I’m not a historian, maybe it was immediately that CDs could be copied onto your computer, and then burned onto a new, blank disc. ANYHOW. Burning CDs had already gotten to be all the rage, but burning DVDs…I felt like I had cracked a treasure chest no one knew about.
We went to Hasting’s in Santa Fe. One of the only places in town, along with the Panda Express, my fourteen year old self liked. I had a love for rental places (movie rental that is…another dead industry) as most people did. Hasting’s was only in the midwest, or at least wasn’t in California, and I’d been with my family in Colorado, and it’s combination sales/rentals was epic to me.
So we’re in a town I hate. There’s almost nothing I like at all about my life or the area. I go from being a moderately content kid to only having movies and a few other enjoyments to latch onto in the middle of a sea of young depression. I was pissed at my mom, the only person in the world I had all the way trusted until the move. I didn’t even have a 7-11 around to indulge in my Slurpee escape. But we got. a DVD. burner.
My mom takes us to Hasting’s. She tells us we won’t splurge immediately. We’re going to take this slow. We’ve got a pack of 30 or so blank DVDs at home. We have three movies to pick that we’d like to burn. I can’t remember if it was three each, or three altogether, but I remember I got The Count of Monte Cristo and a movie that had a good nudity or sex scene in it because this was well before I’d gotten into a porn habit or had my own screen.
We get home. And it doesn’t. work.
We read and reread. I call my tech savvy friends, my mom calls hers. We find out that you can only burn movie files already on your computer. Put there by uploading them from your camera that can upload to a computer, or that you buy (I don’t think that even existed yet, purchasing movie files.) You can’t rip a movie from a DVD. Rip means upload.
I. am. struck. down.
I think I immediately skipped over wallowing about the treasure chest disappearing to the underlying depression of being in New Mexico. Everything was brown. The land. The buildings. The people.
I’m from green. I wanted green. I’m from a predominantly white suburb of California. I felt estranged. Forget where I’m from, WHY IS EVERY BUILDING BROWN?!? DO YOU KNOW HOW INSANE THAT UNIFORMITY OF COLOR CAN DRIVE A PERSON> THE LAND IS ALREADY BROWN.
I guess I wanted my movie haven more than ever, a place to ignore where I wasn’t at in my heart for a place I’d known as home since as long as I could remember: cinema.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
And it was all a simple misunderstanding.
It’s not the same thing as having false expectations, or just expectations in general. It’s a brand of expectation that I experience to this day. Literally today I went through similar “oh-no-we-can-burn-but-not-rip” fucking PANIC anxiety, depression, etc. We have the capability to do something with what we already have, but we are failing at extracting what we wish and then turning it into something of our own.
I can’t have what I want, right now, in the way that I want it. I may not get to have it at all. And I thought I could.
I’ve heard a couple times in the last few months about millennials and how “we” are a generation of entitlement. It spiked a little during the election, especially from the winning side, about how the losing side has been whining too much, but it was also just something that people were commenting on via Facebook and the news.
I watched a video made by Adam…something, who does a great series called “Adam Ruins Everything.” He did a lengthier speech, not part of the series, about generations. His beautiful point was this: they don’t exist.
To draw a line somewhere, and somewhere else, and call the in-between a definable group of people is, well, hogwash. And it can be largely seen in the fact that EVERY generation gets talked about being lazy, narcissistic whiners who are driving everything to hell. Why? Because the people doing the defining are the generation before, who are going to talk a lot of shit about young people, because that’s what old people do, speaking in stereotype. “Kids these days.”
Expectation and entitlement are similar, but they are also entirely different.
What I’m talking about here is somewhere in-between and completely neither.
I, and my family, misunderstood what we had, and expected something ipso facto from that wrong understanding.
This OFTEN happens to me with technology. I was getting all kinds of proud of myself the other night for finding instructions on how to change my cell phone’s code to get it to do something the provider wants to make you pay to be able to do. All of the several sites and apps I was looking at made it appear SEAMLESSLY easy. But an hour and a half later I was throwing my hands up and finally starting to watch a movie I’d missed most of and enjoy my time with my temporary roommate. No Monte Cristo for me. “Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.”
BUT I’M ALREADY ON THE BOARD, WHAT’S GOING ON?!?
I’m talking about a feeling of expectation that is more than expectation. It’s thinking you’re all set up and then realizing you’re not.
Sometimes there’s a quick, or lengthy, or multi-layered detour that is the actual path to getting what you want that you now discover you have to take to get it. Sometimes there is no path to getting it. Sometimes you realize the path isn’t worth the payoff. Sometimes you’re happy it didn’t work out. The brick wall in your way makes you realize it was the wrong road anyway, and you’re not going to go around the wall, you’re just going to turn around.
It is strange that I complete a structure of desired objects, outcomes, whatever, in my head before they materialize, pretty much every day of my life. Sometimes every moment of my life. I feel a strict tension in my stomach and chest sometimes, a lesser ability to breath, because of this sense of having to fight life to get it to go my way.
It’s strange because what I’m fighting is my own mind, my own heart, my own thing that says, “IT MUST GO THIS WAY.”
Sometimes I imagine I’m pretty chill. Sometimes I am pretty chill. It’s something people point out about me often.
But, if you really knew me, you’d know I trip the G out. (That G doesn’t actually stand for anything.) Constantly. I’m often in somewhere up in my own grill analyzing, or just aware of, whether or not things are going my way, and how much so.
And other times I completely forget all that.
Something didn’t go my way today. It’s another day.
Something is going to not go my way tomorrow. It’s another day.
Actually, nothing–no going, no way–is ever mine. I didn’t build this place. I only live here.
I can always burn, what I’m able to rip is up to the cosmos. And in that, even what I make isn’t of my own doing.
I don’t know if writing does anything. I sure like it though.