[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]
“I dunno.. I haven’t heard from him in two weeks.“
“Yeah, me neither. Well, email here and there, but nothing else really.“
“Think he is alright? I mean, he used to hang out all the time with us…“
“I dunno… wanna give him a call?“
“He hasn’t answered his phone in two weeks. Hasn’t returned any pages either I don’t think. Julie said he didn’t return her pages…“
“Guess he isn’t talking to anyone.“
11:02a on the status bar. An hour and a half had passed and he had already sent 62 pieces of email to 47 people in 4 countries. He pressed ‘x’ and the screen replied “deleting 400, keeping 130“. The mail he considered important had been replied to, mail that would take more effort to reply to left for the afternoon.
10:44p on the status bar. He had no idea how many pieces of mail he had sent over the day. Well over two hundred; not that it mattered, but it was amusing keeping track. Another day had passed without leaving the apartment. What was that.. three days?
He woke up at 1:13pm and lay in bed for 10 minutes relaxing. His cat had jumped on the bed and lay across one of his arms, repeatedly nudging his shoulder. Smiling, he reached over with his free arm and scratched the cat on the neck. “I’ll feed you in a few minutes, son.” Climbing out of bed he tried to shake off the fatigue he felt. Another day of three hours of sleep. He reminded himself to look up the exact definition of insomnia later that day.
The shower hadn’t even warmed up before the phone rang; the eighth time that morning. He let it ring a second time to ensure caller ID information had passed, then picked up with a quick ‘hello’.
“Yes, I just woke up…“
“No, I haven’t read my email.. someone’s at the door, I’ll call you later.“
He slammed the phone down in disgust. Just because he slept at different hours of the day did not mean he was lazy. Each night he slept four hours less than most of his ‘friends’, yet got nothing but shit about his sleeping schedule. Fuck them. They wonder why he didn’t want to talk to them? If they can’t show simple understanding about such a simple thing as sleeping schedule, how could they understand anything else going on in his mind.. his life? Obviously, they couldn’t. Still disgusted, he climbed in the shower.
“Lets see.. new Fiona single, Portishead, Ani, new KMFDM, and 5th Element soundtrack. How does that sound kid?“
His cat looked up at him with an almost quizzical look. Its not like the cat would ever respond, despite a cat having over one hundred distinct vocal sounds. However, the cat appeared to understand the gist of what he said, and loved the attention. ‘shuffle’; ‘play’, and he closed the glass door on the stereo cabinet. Back to the computer to catch up on email and news.
As he sat down he leaned back to think for a minute. He debated on having his phone line turned off. He didn’t use the phone much at all as it was, and he had the two ISDN channels which could double as a voice line. That would just make it so no one could call in… not a bad thing overall. Or would cancelling his pager be a better thing. These days he didn’t get paged much, and those that did never paged with a code so he could recognize the number. That left a handful of random numbers each week, 20% of which he recognized and returned.
He looked over and his son let out a single meow. “Yeah, I’ll decide later.“
Aside from family, only his ex had remembered his birthday. She even bought him a present on top of lunch. He didn’t really care about his birthday, as it meant very little. But the action of at least remembering it would have been nice, especially from the various friends he did favors for. ‘Get this info for me’, or ‘can you pick up this’, sometimes ‘can I borrow ten bucks’. Didn’t matter what they asked, it was all a lot less than what they did for him. But he was used to it, and expected for them to forget.
Along with that expectation came the desire to distance himself. Like many things, it was the principal behind it, not the actions (or lack thereof) themselves. Perception is everything.
“He posted to a mail list the other night, but hasn’t answered my mail yet. I don’t know what’s up with him.“
“Hrm. I called him a few times over the past days and only got his machines. He isn’t answering pages either. Wonder if he is ok…“
“What a dick.. ignoring pages like that.“
The more time passed, the less reason he could find to stay in touch with the people he used to call friends. It amazed him that they would drop by unexpectedly, hang out for hours on end watching TV and drinking his liquor, but when they hadn’t heard from him for a week, they would barely try to reach him. Because of his current shift in daily routine, he had drug a patch cord out to the living room so he could stay online but watch TV or a movie instead of listening to the stereo.
As before, he loved getting email, but even that had changed. He eagerly anticipated getting mail from a handful of people, and barely opened his eyes to sort the other hundred pieces from mail lists. On his list were a few local people he still cared for. Others included a friend from New York, someone he had never met from the ‘Midwest’, a handful of young ‘students’ he was helping in various areas, and one or two other random people that wrote with great infrequency.
Despite the lack of physical contact, or voice communication, he felt closer to those people than most others. He wondered what the chances of compatibility were in each person he mailed. Some cases in the past taught him that meeting over the net was not a way to meet compatible people, while sometimes it proved to work out just fine. No clue on what dictated that characteristic or if there was a way to determine it up front. Not like he had to meet any of them or force the issue either. Just curiosity.
More problems plagued him now than ever before. Not the amount, but how much they weighed on his tired soul. As always, the people that claimed to care about him could barely read him, let alone understand him. It was a known element in his life, and expected. Why he put up with them was beyond him but his own desire for contact and friendship was still there.
The road ahead was unpaved at best, littered with unmarked turns and more than enough potholes. No matter how he tried to look ahead, no matter how he tried to figure out how to get a map, the more obscured his path became. Sometimes he wished destiny or fate would give him a hint as to where to go, other times he didn’t believe in either. Days passed where flipping a coin to determine change in life seemed a pretty damn good method of choosing. Others he was content to sit back and enjoy the solitude of his domicile, content with the world passing him by.
Whatever happened, he could only rely on where the day takes him.