To make a sort of decent amount of money almost all my energy has to go into work. This means administration, paying attention to detail, trying hard to be on friendly terms with the people I work with, being very flexible, and -in my profession- constantly giving attention to lots of different people and their individual needs.
The result of this is that:
- If you ask me to go and protest against the US involvement in the wars in Syria and Yemen, I will say no. Sorry, too busy sending in the timesheets of all my different classes to make sure I get paid…
- Friends? No time for them. I have to get up at 5 am.
- Flirting? Not in the mood for it. My humanity has mostly been reduced to doing that which leads to money. So no flirting. The last vestige of my humanity is that I try hard to be cheerful while teaching and to put all my students at ease. That’s it. Outside of work I have almost no contact with people. Outside of a classroom I am mostly frozen, stone-faced. If I’m not teaching, I’m preparing material or doing stuff to improve my language skills, like reading.
- I feel like whenever I allow for too much entertainment, I pay the price for it. I fuck up my administration for example. I forget to go to the post office. It seems impossible to be a fun human being AND see your bank account increase substantially at the end of the month
- It also makes me an idiot in the true sense of the word. In ancient Greek ‘idiot’ means somebody who doesn’t care about society, somebody who is not involved in politics. I don’t read newspapers anymore, just some titles here and there, I can’t be bothered to go to any manifestations, and because I feel like I’m in a treadmill I have less and less sympathy for the wellfare state. I think I’ve finally come to understand the reflexes of right wing people. I mean to keep up what am doing, you have to have some kind of angry mentality. For the simple reason that: if I allow myself to be my natural spontaneous people loving sociable self, my work discipline will suffer and things won’t run as smoothly. When I was younger I messed up my career by prioritizing fun, writing and friends. I don’t want to risk that again.
Apart from being sucked up by the demands of the Money God:
- I also have to stay marginally fit, have to make sure I don’t eat crap all the time.
- I look like crap, but I need to be crap in decent, clean clothes, which also takes some effort
- My personal hygiene requires some effort
- There’s shopping to do
- In Slovakia you constantly need to go to the post office to pay bills or to pick up stuff that doesn’t fit into the miniscule post boxes. This is time consuming
- I have to strictly avoid alcohol and coffee, as things got way out of hand with both substances
In the end my life is really just about making money, talking to my wife -mostly about her or my work-, about expressing myself on this website, which may the only way to stay mentally sane for me, thinking up ways to make money, and a myriad of little tasks that need to be done. Soon this will all become extra complicated when we will have children. The treadmill will run even faster and the escape from it will become even rarer.
All the while there’s also the thoughts in the background. Always the same nagging thoughts. Ideas for novels I don’t write. Mostly useless reflections on history, society, the economy. How sex was only a real release from the pain of life back in 2005-2006, how I used to be fit, thoughts about my dad, self-incriminating thoughts as to why my life ended up being almost entirely devoid of any glamor and how I ended up without a spark. I’ve become the same work robot that I’ve always hated. Closed off, obsessed with work, dead for true human interaction. Entrenched in my little house and my little job and my ever shrinking little life. The only escape from it lately is an intellectual conversation here and there, like the one I had on Saturday in the Czech Republic. Two hours during which I felt myself again.
Maybe in some other universe I’m still organizing parties for a small army of friends, flirting with every lovely lady I meet, enjoying work on some novel or play at night, getting people together to create a theatrical performance, making people laugh, filled with hope that life is good and can only get better, fuller, more vibrant.
I’ve become the same closed-minded adult of which there are billions.
And the alternative would be to live like some bohemian bum.
I’ve tried that and have enjoyed some aspects of it.
But in the end, there’s this almost calvinistic ethic in my, an inner slave driver, that prefers to have me run in the classic treadmill.
I take comfort from the fact that eventually my heart will inevitably stop beating and the treadmill will come to a halt.
I seem to be programmed this way. Work until you drop dead.
To some degree however all of society has been programmed like this.