Years ago, a friend (Brett) and I wrote letters to each other on a regular basis. We liked the idea of having a physical copy of who we were at that time years later. We utilized manual typewriters that we still own, but now collect dust. I still have the letters he wrote to me and I’m sure he has mine as well. The practice went on for a couple of years until it finally faded away. Recently, he posed the idea of the two of us writing a blog together and I thought it was a good idea. Below is what I wrote on the blog. To check out the rest of the blog, which is still in its infancy, go here.
Suburban White Dad Trope
I’m right there with you Brett. When people ask me what I’ve been up to I have this deer in the headlights moment before the usual cliché’s come spilling out. I go blank, and normally respond with the usual, “Working and chasing kids.” It’s a fair answer because it’s true. It also makes me wonder, as I’m saying it, what the hell have I been doing. Over the course of conversation other things come to mind as to what happens around me like baseball, dance recitals, and so on. And, while I’m proud of my kids, and what they are able to accomplish, I also think to myself that I’ve partially transformed into this suburban white dad trope.
I know I’m different than most of my neighbors mainly by being one of the few in the area to drink alcohol and not attend church on a regular basis. I have facial hair not as a means to make any sort of statement, but because I hate shaving. I don’t wear shorts unless on vacation or going swimming. I like wearing combat boots because they last longer than the last three pair of sneakers I’ve owned. But, there I am each weekend cutting grass, cleaning out the garage, and busying myself with chores I put off during the week.
More excitement in life is definitely needed from time to time. It would be nice to say something other than the usual. Unlike our earlier days at Enoch’s, we both have more responsibility when it comes to taking care of everything in our lives. We no longer seem to burn our candles at both ends in the attempt to keep us moving and feel like one of those mad people Kerouac describes. I know I felt like one of them at one or more times in my life. Though it’s fun it’s also exhausting. Sometimes you burn your candle out and need to recharge. Back then standing still meant dying in the way the romantic and beat generation writers thought there was nothing worse in the world than sitting still and paying bills. We fought boredom as though it were out there to strangle the life out of us.
Sometimes being bored is what’s needed. I have to remind my kids this from time to time. That it’s OK to not have something to do. That not every moment needs to be consumed by some activity or device. Sometimes, there needs to be time where all you do is sit on the couch with the TV off just to listen to the silence. Or, sitting in a waiting room for whatever and not thumbing through a phone.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like if iphone weren’t around, or if facebook, or even myspace, never came about. What if it was like the nineties or early 2000s?
I’m pretty sure I would be just as busy as I am now, and just as bored with whatever wasn’t there to entertain me. I’d most likely read more since choices on the television would be limited. I’d probably talk to more people since texting on a mobile device would seem weird, and I would most likely have a more diverse interest in what was around me since I wouldn’t be bombarded with information every time I turned the corner.
Being bored is an allowance to daydream, and by doing that the limitations of the world could melt away. It could lead to answering that problem you were having with that thing, or you might come up with something better to do all together for the next whenever.
Sometimes it’s OK to be bored, that’s all I’m saying. Sometimes it’s necessary. But, sometimes you have to light the other end of the candle to make sure you’re alive. I’m sure there are a lot of us out there in need of that.