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"Self-Less"

This is my little alarm call. Although this 'Box was assigned for the week of September the 13th, it was actually written a few months later, on December 6th. Way back when...wow, that was when the semester had just started. A lot's happened since then.

I'm really not very happy right now. Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year... The ho ho jolly feeling hasn't kicked in yet -- I'm still obsessing and lamenting various shit. Not healthy for me, but few things are, for anyone, these days.

So...it's like this -- here's my thing. I'm a student, which is demanding in itself. But I also do freelance web design in my spare time (what a delusion that is). On top of that, I have my own web site, and I keep up with maybe five or six mailing lists. And I have a lot of people who ask for things via e-mail.

This semester I was just everyone's little work whore. Pimp me out, give me some cash and empty motivation, everyone's happy. Webmastered for a 1000 person class this semester, for example...that was fine and dandy, except a TA bitched me out for not updating fast enough (which was utter bullshit), and some other students had some inane comments. Got a pat on the back for the help, that sort of thing. Also was one of the leaders for a mock business for the same class... Spent a lot of time after class and during the weekend preparing stuff for the group, especially in the last week, this week, in which another leader and some really helpful folks and I pulled our whole business together and won third place out of all the businesses. Got some firm handshakes and whatnot for that one. Went home and slept a lot after that -- a few days with less than 15 hours of sleep is not healthy.

Oh yeah, and I got punted out of the house early during Thanksgiving weekend, so I could go back to Austin...it was most convenient that way, you know. :)

Web design project after web design project flies by, requiring a lot of work from yours truly...yeah, I'm earning money, and everyone says I should concentrate on that, but how much is it worth? I swear...as soon as you work your ass off on one thing, you're being pushed to finish two other things off because it's urgent that they be finished. Where's the time management here?

What happened was that I was made pretty much the go-to guy for graphics and concept design, and I'm the only one there who really does what the boss is looking for. I cannot tell you how much time I've put into that job, staying up until 5 and 6 AM on schoolnights, saving asses and working to better my portfolio. At times, it really sucks. At times it can also be very rewarding. Well, I get an honest thank you and a paycheck, but still...

I took intro. Greek. Now, if you've ever taken an introductory language course, and you actually want to learn from it, you know that it demands a lot of time. Like, homework every night. On top of that? A little psych reading, some business law cases to brief, that sort of thing. Oh, and maybe if I'm lucky, I get to read a little on my own.

I also spend parts of my day talking to my girlfriend, contributing to a gaming clan, contributing messages about web design to the mailing lists, trying to keep up with old friends, answering e-mail so that it doesn't build up so much that I'd never have time to answer it.

I trump myself up as a very antisocial goon who has no interest in communication with his fellow man. Well, that's for the most part a show -- I'm pretty generous, in reality. Am I allowed to say that? Sure. I don't ask for much from others, certainly not much for doing things for them, or I wouldn't be writing this. I love helping people, especially those who are willing to learn and who have the skills necessary to search for information on their own.

I know this won't be any sob story for those of you who read this and think that I have a pretty cool life, for my age. Everyone would rather have their turns to bitch about their lives, true... Hey, not everyone has a job, not everyone gets to go to school...if you want to be a real asshole, you'll mention that not everyone has a place to sleep and has clothes to wear. That's really productive and sensationalist.

Okay, but here's where it turns to shit. Every fucking day, I'm bending over and taking it up the ass for someone. I come home and start doing a favor for someone, getting proverbially shafted like the generous bitch I am. This semester especially, there was rarely ever a moment I wasn't doing something for someone else, with little appreciation for it.

You know what would be nice? It would make me feel SO fucking happy if there were people out there who would just say, "Hey, Ben, I'm satisfied with what you do. I don't need anything from you, and I don't expect anything from you." That would just be the stars and the moon for me.

A slice of apple pie would it be to have people who simply appreciated your presence in your life, instead of expected you to frequently fill their little attention-o-meter with your work and contribution. When I look at people, I don't see people any more very often. What I see are fucking saps who have little gas tank dials on their foreheads. Oh no, the annoying red light is flashing...Ben hasn't spent enough time with this person today! Fuck him over -- lash out at him and complain he's not doing his job! He'll appreciate it!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. I'm so sleep-deprived after this semester that my body is USED to it. I'm fucking inhuman. Once those cyborg implants come out, you know I'll be there. Got to stay up and be productive for everyone who needs it, right?

Long after those little frat/sorority kids have fallen asleep together in their beds of tumescent and alcoholic odors, I'm up doing some mundane task for someone out there, for little more than my own gratification and someone else's life-saver.

Okay, maybe I exaggerate. But I'm pissed.

I have a little something to say to everyone... Fuck you. It's not enough that you ask me for things like I'm some sort of robot, it's also that you don't reciprocate the hard work, and you certainly don't appreciate what I do. Whine whine whine, you think that's what I'm doing, because that's the automatic reflexive response to rants like this. You never give it a thought, you never take it seriously. You just go on living your life like a fucking after-school special, like a Hallmark card, like a non-confrontational, enslaved peon.

I'd like someone to go out of their way, to sacrifice their resources, to do something nice for me.

Hah...fat chance...

Still, words are easy -- they require little effort. But actions... Actions mean quite a lot. I need to remember that, myself.

So, what's my motivation for helping everyone? Good will and philanthropy are nice and all, but not all the time. Not when people begin to expect it from you, not be surprised by it.

Why do I have this site up? Well, I've sort of answered this before, and Lord knows I've been asked dozens of times... Certainly, I've gotten great things out of this site, like my girlfriend and my jobs, but hey, does it give me more or the same as what I put into it? Is it appreciated by others? Why should I share all this information with everyone else? Who cares? Well, maybe a handful of people like this domain -- I certainly need it -- but so what? Slapping password protection on it, only distributing it to a mailing list...that would isolate my viewers to only the people who expressed interest.

All good and well, except those methods go completely against the way of the 'Net. I'm all for free information, and for access to information, so to restrict that would be hypocritic. I can't hide my site (not on these grounds, anyway), and I certainly wouldn't expect people to have to gain access.

So I'm in a bit of a bind. This site will remain where it is -- I'm not moving. But what if I went away? What if I disappeared overnight? What if I cut off every link that I had online? I guarantee you you wouldn't be able to find me. What would happen then? I think about that sometimes. (not in a suicidal way, of course not...long live life) It's very attractive.

Maybe I need to take part in a Dionysian type of ritual some weekend. :P

Here's my alarm call. It's reminding myself that things work on my terms, and what I'm doing is a service for others, not a necessity. Everyone wants something from you, and few are content with just knowing you're around. That's sad, really, but I suppose if you identify that as the problem, you can use it to your advantage.

I'll keep it in mind.

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