I am what my wife has diagnosed as an extroverted introvert. I like people, just on my own terms.
One on one. Great.
Small groups of people I don’t know. Not so great.
I’m more comfortable being on stage in front of hundreds of people, than I am walking into a doctor’s office waiting room with only one chair open.
I love to be alone. I go on extended canoe trips alone. I’ve gone to movies alone. I exercise alone. I grew up mostly hiding from people. I live mostly in my head making my solitary time a defragmenting religious experience. But now, I got the little hero at my hip. This changes things inside me. I’ll elaborate.
Recently, I reviewed a Slipknot concert for Exclaim Magazine. I would never have bought a ticket for a Slipknot concert, but reviewing one (especially for a magazine I grew up reading) was a very fun experience.
As I sat in the audience (alone) soaking in the atmosphere, I thought to myself that my son could turn out to be any of these guys. This is something I think about recently. I try to embrace the intricacies of a million paths exponentially growing from a million decisions. After all, I was alone there. Amongst thousands of people. So, my mind goes in to ‘keep yourself entertained mode’ or ‘creative fun mode’.
He could be the crappily tattooed kid yelling for no good reason (drunk). He could be the fellow who made his own fake skin mask and wore it to the show. He could be the security guard. He could be a band member. He could, in all possibilities, turn out to be a 40 year old man sitting in the audience thinking the same thing about his own young son. To quote Chris Hadfield when coming face to face with space for the first time during a spacewalk, “The incongruity is stupefying.”
I am with my son everyday. I have spent more time with him in the past year of his life than I have with 99% of the people I love dearly. I think about all the people he could be. I reflect upon myself as I’ve never experienced such close a proximity to another living soul.
I see all the supremely stupid shit I’ve done. The people I’ve hurt. I see all the wonderful things I’ve been a part of. The lives I’ve made better.
Do I want him to be like me? Trying to do everything on his own? Fixing his own problems. In solitary. I don’t know the answer to this.
I see myself now, him beside me, trying to make both our lives better. I see my wife and best friend…I see Elizabeth and how wonderful she is making both our lives. I see the battles she faces. I watch her live them.
I had several goals before Prof. Ipeemyselfalot was born, I’ve kept some of them. Now they are not so much goals as they are broad hopeful possibilities that glean over the grey areas of the life I have lived with an individualistic drive. But I am no longer that singular being. I am three: Husband, father and Trent.
My grandfather once told me that righteousness is a joke where at the end, only god laughs (no he didn’t). I don’t want to be self righteous (as much) anymore.
I am not alone anymore. I’m not that little boy in the woods of Cape Breton sharpening sticks with my mother’s kitchen knives. I can’t hide (as much) anymore.
I think what I’m trying to say with all this is that all I can do is love my son and wife with the knowledge that I will live forever, but also, I will die tomorrow. I am not alone.
Also, have you ever tried to hug yourself? It fucking sucks.