Thursday, September 27, 2012

Moving On, or How I Spent My Last Summer in DC

Lately, my life has provided me with an overwhelming amount of blog fodder. In my infinite laziness, I've avoided most serious thinking/writing about my giant life changes, and I'm not totally sure why. Maybe because I'm a lazy asshole. Maybe because I've been mapping out the logistics of moving my life across the country. At any rate, Will Danger is (finally) back and he's got some serious blog-ish (bloggy?) heavy lifting to do.

Both because I am boundlessly self-absorbed and because I have about six readers (on a good day), I'll assume that most people reading this blog already know my giant life news: I quit my job, picked up my life, and am currently moving it to the west coast. This move is exactly as terrifying, irresponsible, and wonderful as it sounds. I'm currently in a small-town coffee shop in Iowa, where I'm beginning to write through my journey up to this point. Pausing to flip the District of Columbia a half-hearted middle finger, I drove away on Tuesday morning and I've been casually making my way through America's heartland ever since.

As a starter, I've compiled a glorified "How I Spent my Summer Vacation" list, detailing a few landmarks of my final months in the District. They're not all good moments, and they're certainly not all significant events, but I think they're all vaguely important in one way or another and they do a pretty good job of mapping out my final months in DC. My hope is that we'll all learn something about the life I'm deciding to run away from and that this will help me sort out the recycling from the garbage. Or maybe this will all just make it clear(er) what a total idiot I am.

It's interesting, and maybe totally unsurprising, that my final month in the District was actually really pleasant. All it took for me to finally feel like I had a life in DC was the decision to leave. For pretty much the first time since moving into the city, I managed to locate some happiness for myself. The overthinkers among you are, of course, joining me in the following questions: What the hell? Did I leave just as DC was getting good? Is the city luring me into a false sense of security before delivering a final kick the teeth?! What if this means that leaving is not a good idea?! After much thinking and panicking, I've decided to consider my pleasant final days in the nation's capital a parting gift, of sorts. At any rate, without further ado:

1. Work a job you hate, realize you don't actually need it as much as you think you do, and finally quit.
I won't belabor this point, because everyone knows how much I hated my DC job. I learned the following lesson while working the job though: Always sing along to something on your way to work, no matter how soul-crushing your job is. The harder it sucks, the louder you have to sing, obviously. Boss gettin' you down? Coworker being a pretentious fuck? Just. Sing. Louder. It's what Whitney would have done.

Quitting my soul-crushing job was a nice exercise in coming to my senses, in realizing that unseemly circumstances are almost never as self-evident as they seem, and in understanding that all problems have a solution, even if that solution ends up taking you some weird fucking places.

2. Locate the most attractive guy in the room and ask him for his phone number.
(Optional: Continue to casually date him for a while.)
Sending yourself on the occasional suicide mission strikes me as a healthy habit. It's probably good for us to push the boundaries of our discomfort every now and again, keeping in mind that getting shot down (in most circumstances) really isn't such a big deal. I'm also thinking that this is probably a good way to remind yourself that a pretty significant chunk of the boundaries we think we're encountering are both completely bogus and also self-imposed. Plus, every now and again, the 800 foot tall bartender will actually give you his number and meet you for coffee.

3. Finally figure out some hobbies.
This number is actually the linchpin of my recent happiness and it's been a long process. I think part of the reason I had such a hard time tracking down proper adult hobbies is that most of my hobbies are neither proper nor adult. They're grossly nerdy habits I picked up in my early adolescence and which contribute absolutely nothing constructive to my life. What I'm really asking you to do, dear readers, is pick up some comics and a trashy teen fantasy novel every now and again. Or play a game of Dungeons and Dragons. People will give you a weird sideways look when you tell them how you spent your weekend, but you'll have a hard time hearing them over the awesome sound of your dice hitting the table. Fuck off, dudes, I'm just trying to fight some imaginary dragons/kobolds, ya know? I'm really hoping I can use this re-discovered nerdiness to make some friends in Seattle and to become exactly the kind of adult my parents were always afraid I'd turn into.

4. Go see a Florence+the Machine show.
Seriously, just go. I don't know why you're still reading this post. Go.

Flo is a fucking goddess.

5. Make a complete ass of yourself in front of an almost total stranger, who it turns out lives around the corner from you. Continue to regularly run into him on the street and relive your shame. 
I'll try to make this embarrassing story as short as possible, though in retrospect it is one of my favorite DC shame stories. I met an attractive dude very briefly in a bar. When I arrived home that night (extremely drunk at 3am), I did a little creative Facebook stalking, to discover that we had a ton of mutual friends, as is common in DC. Because I am both incredibly clumsy and had consumed Olympic amounts of tequila, I accidentally clicked the "add friend" button. Because I'm a dipshit. (Facebook, after all, does not ask you to confirm a friend request before sending it.) In addition to being super suave, I'm also incredibly lucky, because as soon as that happened, this dude sent me a message in real time that pretty much went, "Uhh, do I know you? and why are you so fucking creepy?" This wouldn't have been a big deal (what's another denizen of the District who thinks I'm a total fucking nutjob?) except that once I finally moved into the city, this motherfucker happened to live literally around the corner from me. So I ran into him on the street a ton, and was forced to relive one of my more egregious tequila errors over and over again. Whoops!

Why am I including this event on the list? Because it's a hilarious story, and because I'd like to learn to be more comfortable making a complete ass of myself. Lord knows it happens often enough. There is life after embarrassment, Will.

6. Learn to tell people to fuck off more regularly.
I firmly believe in the medicinal power of being told to fuck off. Everyone is better off for hearing it. Plus, anyone who has spent longer than like 30 seconds talking to me knows what a worrier I can be. I overthink and I fret. Then I overthink and I fret some more. In an effort to let go of some of this anxiety, I've taken to occasionally channeling this Natalie Dee comic. My hope is to eventually settle into a middle ground that involves both empathy and less anxiety, but for now, I'm experimenting with being the kind of asshole that tells people to fuck off. Among other things, being a total asshole in this way is helping me abandon most of my self-induced stress, which will probably cause me to live a little longer. And I'm all for that.

7. Get a little lost.
After nearly a year and a half of it, I think I've finally settled into being lost. What's more, I've discovered that a large part of what I found so frustrating and off-putting about DC is that it's a city of people who, on the whole, have never been lost. They've all wanted to be lawyers/work for the government since they were wee youngin's, and they've followed a connect-the-dots path from womb to congressperson. The next time some fucker in a bar tries to tell me about his Capital Hill job or about how he's going to make partner by 30, I'm gonna puke in his hair and then start crying. And that's gonna be gross for everyone, so let's just cut that shit out. How about we do some wandering together instead? I hear Iowa is lovely this time of year.

Caveat: Continuing to be lost is all fine and dandy, Will Danger, but for fuck's sake, don't stop writing about it! Look for more blogging as my journey continues. Unless I get serial murdered in the mountains of Idaho.