Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Suburban Frustration

Grr. I can't win. I was finding myself going a bit nuts on recent trips to the city. Because Maple Ridge, where I grew up and now live, has basically no culture - and certainly no counterculture, having (the odd all-ages metal gig aside) no real music scene, no real cinemas, no interesting (non-megacorp) video stores, and certainly nothing like a community of which I feel a part, I've always been a bit of a packrat - because without access in my environs to the media (and the tokens of community) that I care about, I have to surround myself with as much stuff I can that reminds me of who I am, who I want to be, and what I like: identity reinforcement through shopping. Lately, this has meant spending money I don't have on things I don't really need - including records that I've barely listened to since picking them up and movies and books that have just gone onto the shelf. It's patently obvious that MORE STUFF IS NOT THE ANSWER to my problems, but it's doubly hard to resist temptation, in Vancouver, when I know once I get back to Maple Ridge, there'll be no sign of such things: there are no Dayglo Abortions albums to be had in THIS town. No Luis Bunuel DVDs, no hot psych-funk vinyl, no death metal CDs... no old punks that I can see... How can I not rationalize indulgence on trips into town, knowing that I'll be returning to Nowheresville to continue my penance alone?

Anyhow, I made a vow on my last trip into the city: NO MORE. I don't need to spend any more money, don't need DVDs, or LPs, or CDs, or books, or ANYTHING: I have PLENTY e-fuckin'-nough of these items as it is, and what I should do is just USE'm - use my downtime to stay home and WATCH some of these movies, LISTEN to some of these albums. That was a few days before the July 9th Scarebro gig, which I allowed myself to come into the city to see, even then spending too much money on God knows what; ten days later, having divided my time between hanging out with Mom, writing, and reading Michael Connelly's The Lincoln Lawyer (far better than the film!), I am going stir crazy. I am: horny (I have a girlfriend in Victoria, but she's broke too, and she's in Victoria); lonely (I have one friend in town - a decent dude, but not someone I want to spend more than a couple days a week hanging out with); angry (because plans to go to UBC have been somewhat scuttled by bad advice and poor planning); broke; more or less unemployed; depressed (because who gives a shit about my writing anyway?); and frustrated. Mom's off on a casino jaunt again, so I did the "thrift store shuffle" this afternoon, making my way through the stations o' my particular suburban cross: Cythera thrift store (nothing), the Hopsital Auxiliary thrift store (an Alec Guinness bio in pb for 25 cents and a $1 DVD of Young Frankenstein that Mom might be amused by); Rogers Video (rented the new Todd Solondz, plus Rec 2 and Limitless); the Bibles for Mission thrift store (nothing); Zellers (toilet paper - I'm out); the weird little vinyl section at the dance and costume shop on the Lougheed (nothing); and the local pawn shop (James Dean in The Public Enemy for $4 on DVD; I got White Heat there, too, the other week and loved it - suspect someone traded in a Cagney box set). Along the way, I consumed one cinammon roll, one chicken donair, one decaf coffee, and a can of Coke; and have come back home to face the fact that, yep, I'm alone in Maple Ridge in my little suburban box with nothing much to do, once again. Not that I don't have options: I could do my laundry; masturbate; do my dishes; or smoke some pot and watch the Todd Solondz DVD, since of all of them, that's one I can't really share with Mom. Maybe I can combine a few items on the list, even: masturbate in the laundry room. Smoke pot and do my dishes. Somehow, though, these are not the elements of a fulfilling life.

Times like these, I kinda want to smash my head into the wall. But it would hurt.


Anonymous said...

I regularly want to smash my head but don't - still want to though.
My obsession is books and magazines of which I have a ton. I mainly go to the libra but any kind of book sale, I am there. I go to thrift stores - went to one tonight even though I literally have i'd say 50 books to read - and got some more back copies of mags and a book on the creating of Castro in the New York Times. Thank god i don't hoard the books - I held a little sale on Commercial Drive the other week and charged only $1 a book and made about $54. That was great fun. And since you left work and Victoria is away a lot, there's not a lot of people there who so much appreciate my reading material. So screw 'em, i'm gonna sell 'em on the Drive.
It calms me somehow, all this reading material. So I get that. Also, I lived in Medicine hat, Alberta for 3.5 years in the 90s working as a reporter - I also get small town conservativeness. When Calgary started to look good, I knew it was time to head back to Vancouver.
- Karen

David M. said...

Cheer up. Life is beautiful, etc..