I realized today I’ve become a lot more cynical and jaded than I ever was, which is saying quite a bit because I’ve been pretty fucking cynical and jaded for a long time. I started thinking about this earlier on this trip when someone was talking about something, I don’t recall exactly what, but it was in reference to someone who was married and a 3rd party who was interested in one member of the couple, and they said “well in San Francisco you can at least ask ‘how married?'” Point being that to many people being “married” means they are just with that one other person and that is the end of the discussion, where as in San Francisco it could mean that, or it could mean something else entirely. I know people who are married who regularly make out with other people they aren’t married to, and with the consent of their marriage partner. Sometimes it doesn’t end at making out. And sometimes that isn’t the only thing that ends.
I don’t have any first hand experience with that, and honestly don’t want to. My feelings are if you are in a committed relationship you need to be committed to it. If you aren’t, you need to get out of it. One person being more committed than the other is just a bomb waiting to blow things all to hell. Those couples are better off not being a couple, but I refuse to play any hand in it. It’s tricky when that’s out in the open, and even worse when it’s not. There was a time when marriage meant “for as long as you both shall live.” That’s not a cliche, there was a point in history when people did in fact stay together for the rest of their lives when they got married. If people had problems they worked them out because they were stuck with that person for ever. That changed at some point, and as I was explaining to a friend a few months back, the fact that people now have the option to get a divorce and not be a social outcast, or maybe find something better has become a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts. If you have no choice, you find ways to make things work, if you have a choice, that is always on the table somewhere and eventually it’s more appealing than fixing whatever problem is at hand. It’s not shocking that the divorce rate continues to climb, and my guess is that it will keep on keeping on.
Coming to this conclusion is cool on some level because I feel like I have some kind of actual insight about how things work – like I’m not under the same delusion as everyone else, but sucks on some level because I know that some fairy tails don’t come true. It also makes it hard to know how to react to other people who are on the other end of that spectrum, either just married or just getting married. Oddly enough relating to people who have been married for a while is no problem because they know the score already. How do you be happy for someone, while at the same time know that chances are they are building a house that is eventually going to get knocked down. Like I said, a new level of cynical and jaded. Sorry about that.
And then, there’s the other end of it where someone is in a relationship that is over, but not publicly or officially or even maybe they just don’t even know it. In talking to people here and there over the last year I’ve been shocked how many people were going through the same thing I was at the same time, but neither of us knew the other was in that situation. It might have been helpful, or consoling to have someone to talk to who knew exactly what I was in the middle of, but I wasn’t letting on and neither were they. One more awesome thing to chalk up on the ego score card. Stupid ego, always playing damage control. Oh well, the fun things you learn after the fact…
I don’t know why I’m thinking so much about this this week, well actually this week would have been my 9th year wedding anniversary so I guess I know exactly why I’m thinking about it. I just have to remember to keep building new dreams for tomorrow, and not focus on the ones that died yesterday.
What do you want from my life, I ask myself.
Loading my questions like a shotgun.
Walking around in major cities in the middle of the night where there isn’t a soul around is quickly becoming one of my favorite activities. The newer the city to me, the emptier the streets, the quieter the air – the better. Tonight Vienna filled that role. I walked back from the Museumquartier to the place I’m staying which is some number of KM which I didn’t bother to convert to miles but more than one, less than two I think. It was beautiful. Street lights on, store lights out. Not a car in sight. There’s nothing to disappoint on walks like that. It’s you and the city and nothing else. No expectations of your own or someone else’s to live up to. No hopes, no dreams, no fears. Just the sidewalk and the night air. I can’t get enough.
I found a cool irish pub/vegan restaurant tonight which isn’t really that far and I think I might get into the habit of walking over there. I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations recently, and talking to friends about them when the topic finds it’s way into conversation. They are scary things that compound themselves. The ones we set on ourselves, the ones our friends/family/lovers set on us (and we set on them), and the ones we assumed they are setting on us. It’s seems harder and harder to enjoy today when you are focusing on tomorrow. I’ve spent a lot of this year trying not to think about tomorrow, and trying to forget about yesterday. It’s been working to some extent, but of course I drag everyone around me into that as well some not as willingly as others. Some too willingly.
Whitewashing the past is easier than you might think, to some extent anyway. Forgetting the lessons learned isn’t, but probably shouldn’t be so that’s OK. Not looking for something tomorrow is not quite as easy as I’d like it to be. Of course I’m scared of setting myself up for disappointment by betting on something I don’t even believe can happen, but I also don’t want to lose sight of what I have and can do today. Don’t even ask, I confuse myself with these vague circular ramblings so I’m sure I’m confusing everyone else too. The point is that finding something to make you smile today, right now, is the most important thing. It’s worth trying now and again. I think so anyway, I mean really, what’s the worst that can happen?
It’s been less than a week since I left Los Angeles and much less than a week since I got to Vienna but it seems like muck longer than that on both counts. Man, people sure have a bad impressions of LA here, when people ask me where I’m from and I say LA it’s been pretty amazing how many people have negative reactions, almost all of which have never been there but instead have “heard all about it.” Yeah, and I’m sure that is all accurate too. Sorry I haven’t been posting here so much but if you’ve been following me on Twitter or Flickr you know I’ve been keeping those pretty up to date. I’m trying to be a bit more organized with the photos I’m taking so if you want to see photos of things around Vienna check out this set, and if you want Roboxotica photos specifically check out this set.
I was also a guest on monochrom’s Taugshow on Friday night and photos from that are here. I talked about blogs and metroblogging, and how it’s changing the world. When that goes online I’ll link to it for sure. Saturday I gave the opening talk at the English portion of the Roboexotica symposium about this years theme “Ghost in the Machine.” I drew the conclusion that similar to the concept of Koestler’s theory about how primitive man’s mind still lingers within our own modern and evolved minds and drives many of our actions, that online communities were the “ghosts” actually driving the decisions and actions of more modern and evolved websites, sometimes to the benefit of the companies behind them if they are smart enough to know that they aren’t that smart. The overall point I was making was that the companies that think they are smarter than their users are the ones that fail, the ones that accept the fact that their users are smarter than they are early on, and trust them to help lead the way, can only benefit from that insight. That said, many much smarter and more interesting people filled out the talks for the rest of the day.
So far Vienna has been very fun, hectic as hell, but I’ve been enjoying it. I’m looking forward to things calming down a little more so I can explore the city and see what it has to offer. I’ve met a handful of new friends already and I’m excited to hang out with them when we’re not rushing to meet some deadline or to make some event on time. I’m sure I’ll have more stories soon, better ones than this anyway.
If I had a list of things to do before I die, and if on that list was “get kissed by a girl I just met 24 hours after being in a country I’ve never been in before, without ever knowing her name” then tonight I’d be crossing that one off. Of course I don’t have such a list, but now I’m thinking it might not be a bad idea. Anyway as you might guess it’s been a fairly action packed day or so since I got into town. Here’s a bunch of photos I took at the Roboxotica 2007 opening event but a few things I’ve learned so far:
- At some restaurants they will refuse to bring you water unless you order another beverage with a price tag.
- At Starbucks, a large latte comes with only 2 shots
- You can rent bikes on the street from automatic machines.
- Pouring several gallons of Orange Juice and Vodka into a vintage cement mixer and then basically waterboarding someone with it may not be a smart idea, but it’s damn entertaining.
OK, it’s almost 4am here, I need to go to sleep. More news, photos, and even some video coming soon.
UPDATE!!! OK, two videos from roboxotica are now posted after the jump.
SF Weekly interviews Jason D about Metblogs and what’s up in Pakistan. Nice!
First hand account of bloggers and journalists arrested in Karachi.