I have a strange relationship with technology.
I like it.
I sort of don’t care about it, either, and I often just want it to work.
I like the convenience technology offers, sure, but my patience for learning how to properly work it is way too short. This is the tough part, for me. I want to know everything about it but don’t want to take the time to learn.
Why am I writing about this today? I don’t know. As I mentioned in the beginning, this blog is just an opportunity to practice my writing and today it is unfiltered, stream of consciousness type of interaction between my brain, this computer, your eyes, and your brain.
Technology makes it happen.
I appreciate this, too. Don’t get me wrong. I like putting this together and I’m learning to use the web technology a little bit more all the time. I do like it. It just doesn’t always mesh with what I want to do now. The royal “now,” that is, as in the now I have when I should be learning how to use these tools better but have not done so yet. Not yet.
Now vs. Not Yet.
This is a struggle that happens often for me.
“Should I do it now,” I ask myself.
“Well, I actually have time right now, too,” I hear myself saying.
Then the voice comes in and ruins it.
“Not yet. You don’t have to do this yet. You can do something else. You can play another game of Risk on the iPad, you know.”
The “not yet” wins a lot for me. Maybe this is why I am calling that smug motherfucker out right now. Here and now. Let’s get this over with, shall we?
Why not now?
I have mentioned this before in this blog, but I will again now. In 1989 we opened for Fugazi at Time Out of Mind. We, being Religious Skid, got hooked up by my old friend, Paul. I have no idea where Paul is at these days, but I hope he is well.
I met the guys, and they signed a copy of their first EP for me. Ian Mackaye signed it, “Do it now! Ian” and it has always stuck with me.
His words seared themselves into my eyes that night and, therefore, my brain, but I haven’t always listened to him. I'm sorry, Ian. I’m not a “Do it now” type of guy a lot of the time. I’m a “do it, soon, maybe, okay, yes, I’ll do it,” kind of a guy.
I’m tired of it, too. It hasn’t served me well. What serves me well is usually going for it and doing what I need to do. When I do life on those terms, I do better and feel better and probably write better. I know I play music better when I am focused and not worrying about anything else. I’m a better husband and father when I take care of business, too. TCB, as the King, would say.
I’m getting a little better at this each day, too. I will give myself credit for that. I like pleasing people and I’ve put my own “Do It Now” on hold a lot in my life for others. Some people closest to me will argue that I am really good at putting my needs and wants first, and rightfully so, but the inner balancing act that comes with that has been to wrongly put other people’s needs first when I should be focusing on what is closest to home.
What I’m saying is that I can certainly get better at doing this thing called life and I realize, finally, that I have been a “not yet” guy when I needed to be a “Do It Now” guy a lot. I have talked myself into things a lot, too, on the basis that I was doing good for someone else, but in reality, it was more often a way to avoid doing the hard “Do It Now” stuff by doing something less hard for someone who needed (or maybe didn’t really need) my help.
I like people and I like helping them and will continue to do it, but I’m done with putting others before my family. I’m also done with putting other people’s needs, at least those who are not part of my family, before my family’s needs or my own. Doing good for others allows me, at least, to be a “Not yet” guy because it steals the focus away from where it should be.
Years ago, a person that I thought was one of the best friends I would ever have in this life gave me a quote that I kept in my wallet for a long, long time. The quote was this:
“Altruism is for those who cannot endure their own desires.”
It came from the poet, Stephen Dunn, and it impacted my life greatly. As it turns out, the friendship in question turned out to be one of those like Dunn would have written about, I’m guessing, and she is not one of the best friends I would ever have.
I did spend a lot of time being altruistic around her, though, and she benefitted from me being unable as a younger person to endure my own desires in favor of what was most pleasing to her. Neither of us realized, at the time, that I needed to read those words and interpret the true meaning: Run the hell away from this woman.
I don’t know. Maybe she was trying to tell me to stop being so damned nice. Whatever it was, the quote was a gift that keeps on giving.
Dunn also wrote, “I’ve tried to become someone else for a while, only to discover that he, too, was me.”
I have a hope, I think, that technology is altruistic in my life. I have a hope that it will work and does work and continue to work so that I may, not yet, but someday, learn to use it better. I also have a hope that I can continue to practice some good, well-intentioned altruism, but mainly I want to kick some ass and take some names and do things right fucking now.
More than a hope, really. I have expressed this desire here today. No more Mr. Not Yet. I’m Mr. Do It Now. Now. I have been that guy long enough. He is me, and I love him, but I am also a different person now. NOW.
See you tomorrow.
Here is the autograph in question.