Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2003-12-17 Entry: "Outlet Shopping"

Two brief anecdotes from the last week that point to a bigger problem:

I've usually got CDs on in the car when I drive - I tend to sing quite a bit; silly ditties, alternative lyrics to whatever song pops into my head; but especially when I'm doing something like driving or skiing where overthinking the mechanical aspect of the activity is bad. So I rely on the CDs to give me something to sing along to. However, one morning last week, while driving to work, I suddenly had a desire for Christmas music and just had to find a radio station that was playing some. That station has been on in the car since.

Sunday, when I was supposed to be finishing my Christmas shopping (well, not entirely true - I was supposed to be finishing it Saturday, but didn't do any that day either), I found "Renaissance Man" playing on one of the movie channels. Admittedly not the greatest film in existence, but it's one of those movies I always end up watching when it's on; I've seen it seven or eight times now. There are two scenes in the movie I get emotional about - the first is the one the movie plays up with obvious "this is a sad moment" music. The second however is the St. Crispin's Day speech towards the end of the film. Usually this leaves me a little teary-eyed, but Sunday I was into a major crying fit before the speech was over.

Both of these (tangentially) point back to my complete lack of emotional outlets at the moment. Since I've been out in San Diego, I haven't yet let my guard down with anyone - let them close enough - to discuss personal stuff. I've made acquaintances, maybe even a couple of nascent friends, but no-one I'm really comfortable with. I haven't even been using this website as an outlet. As such I've been bottling a lot up - homesickness (which I think is what caused the need for Christmas music - it'd be on at home by now), anger (why I find myself tuning into Fox News just so I can scream at the screen for an hour), sadness (the reaction to Shakespeare was a little extreme), even happiness (probably why I'm singing more pointless ditties at the moment).

And then, when I do get the opportunity, I can only bear it in small doses: a close friend from Dallas came to visit for the few days before Thanksgiving. However, by the Thursday (when she left) I was desperate for some time alone to recharge. I'm going home for Christmas and I'm sure that after three or four days of being bugged to play Warcraft or Chess or to watch some film or whatever I'll be in the same state.

So obviously I need to find a balance somewhere in the middle. I'm just not sure how to accomplish it at the moment. I've not met anyone here yet that I'm comfortable with letting my guard down with, so it looks like meeting more people is the way to go (but just contemplating that is a draining thought). In the mean time, I'm going to make the effort to vent here more often (I know, I know, about every sixth entry here is an apology for not having written anything in ages - and I'll lose two weeks over Christmas while I'm home with the parents - but if I stick to my plan of cutting down on reading political weblogs at work then I'll have to use that time for something!).

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