Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here's the Mutiny I Promised You

Just had a good interview with "Library Mary," progenitor of Minneapolis' iteration of the drunken spelling bee. Inspired by Philadelphia's model, she's created an intelligent yet rambunctious social event. I just remembered an important question I forgot to ask her, I'll have to figure out how to get in touch with her again.

Today's a beautiful bright blue sky, against which the green and red tree out my windows stands stark. It's the kind of day that reminds you of a car commercial. Hilarious, how automotive manufacturers love to use clear skies and clean environments to reflect their vehicles. Kind of like signs incorporating jolly cartoon pigs happily slow-roasting their friend's or brother's ribs on a spit, to advertise a BBQ restaurant. "What's the hot ride for 2009? The new BMW Quisling! You could be the first person to spoil this particular stretch of Wales or New Zealand."

There's a message board (a BBS, actually) I've been on for over 13 years, and I've taken a hiatus from it now and again. I just returned from a six-month break, but instantly fell back into the in-fighting and petty squabbling that chases me away each time. ...I can't even write about it without getting carried away: three times now, I've deleted paragraphs of ranting about it. The point is that I just can't go there anymore. I can't seem to show up without getting into really, really stupid fights with people I otherwise like. I can't logon without getting into these fights. They're uninterested in my joys and amusements, and they band up to attack me on trivial interpretations, sometimes willfully misunderstanding me to escalate a conflict.

Imagine you're a regular at a bar or social club and you've been going for, like me, over 13 years. You're a regular, you know the regulars, you've got a history with this group of friends. But in recent years you find yourself in an increasing number of arguments, alone and on the losing side. And then comes the point where you have to walk away because you can't set foot in there without getting in another fight. You're distinctly not proud of these fights, you don't feel good about yourself while you're in them, and they threaten the status of what you call your "friendships." Then comes the first night you don't go to that bar, and then you don't go back. That's where I am: these are pretty much my only friends in Minneapolis, I know few people outside of this social arena. But now it's a cancerous organ that refuses to operate properly for me: its goals and functionality are directly oppositional to mine. It's not wrong, and I'm not wrong, but we are no longer working well together. It's profoundly disappointing to me that I have to abandon this group but this conflict is not improving at all. There is no happiness or positivity associated with it for me anymore, it is nothing but fighting, insults, conflict, and resentment. I really don't have the energy, and recently lost the desire, to keep banging my head against this wall.

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