Years ago I read a parody list of community college courses. It included things like “How to make a $5000 dining room table into a toothpick”; backwards versions of popular self- and home-improvement articles. The funniest of all was the psychology workshop called “Guilt Without Sex”.
The last half of the day was rough. I had some bad surprises and never got my equilibrium back. It wasn’t a good brain day generally; concentrating was difficult and I had a crappy time being in conversations or keeping track of social situations. Apologies to anyone I spaced out on.
I had a run-in with one of the local rich teenagers, who was trying to be butch by throwing trash on the ground and throwing his bike on the ground and throwing himself around in a carefree, sociopathic manner. It shouldn’t have mattered that I had to yell at him a little, but I was knocked out of equilibrium for the rest of the evening.
I also realized today that not only do I constantly have some unrequited desire for one or more inappropriate people, but that I have unreasonable feelings of attachment. I get jealous of people I’m not dating, and even better; I get jealous of people I’m so unlikely to get with that it’s like science fiction. Noticing this madness, I realized tonight that I’ve perfected the art of experiencing every discomfort that comes with romantic love (unrequited desire, irrational assessments of others, jealousy, an overdeveloped desire to please, acne, embarrassment, loss, bitterness) without any of the benefits (orgasms, snuggles, frequent dinners out, reliable companionship, long walks on the beach). I have, in fact, perfected Guilt Without Sex.
There’s part of life you can fix with effort, and part of life you can fix with brain chemicals, and then there’s the part of life you just have to suck up. I stumbled over that part again. I felt like apologizing to anyone I get attracted to, as if somehow I was broadcasting loser radiation.
I hope I get to figure out someday why I’m still 12. Since I’m unwanted goods and over 40, it’s purely academic at this point, but I’m an academic at heart.