Bruce Wayne is the Mask of Batman

I always find it funny when people consider the masks superheroes wear are there to protect their everyday identity, when the reverse is true. I watched The Batman, and I have to say, while the run time is a bit too long, they finally got so much about Batman right. He isn’t just the guy that goes beating up thugs in a back alley, just happening to be there, and running off to the next spot to throw some more punches. He is a great detective hence DC (detective comics), and we see him solving actual crimes and working to uncover clues while interrogating people (albeit not quite in the lawful way). We see the development of Batman becoming more of the hero we know and love.

However, some of the complaints that were made, and even I made when watching the trailers, was that Bruce Wayne was too brooding. After all, Bruce Wayne is known as a suave ladies man, yet this Bruce was more in an emo phase. After watching the movie, though, it made sense. He had yet to create his true mask, that of Bruce Wayne. Instead we saw him simply being his real self, Batman, the whole time. He hadn’t learned to hide behind the facade of a good smile and a designer suit. He hadn’t realized that only when he puts on his cowl and cape is he allowed to be who he truly is.

By his nature he isn’t one who enjoys being around other people, but is actually an introvert. I figured this is why the only staff in a huge mansion is the man who raised him from a child. Yet, Bruce Wayne attends parties, often using this image to gain access to people and gather intel that couldn’t be garnered otherwise. It is the mask he wears to infiltrate polite society that wouldn’t accept Batman as he really is.

I loved Batman the Animated series, and of course later Batman Beyond. I like the fact, while the timelines in no way make sense, and of course the animated series was always confusing in what time it actually think it is, Batman Beyond shows Bruce Wayne as he’s gotten older. No longer capable of being Batman, he no longer has to wear the facade that allows him to go out and about. He hides away, because he can no longer be who he wants to be as Batman, and so being Bruce Wayne is now a useless mask he happily tosses away. But as he trains the next generation, he becomes Bruce Wayne, the billionaire who can get into anywhere, once more as it has now become a mask that can aid the new adventures him and his protege must embark on.

There’s one episode I love, “Shriek”, where someone tries to make Bruce Wayne think he’s gone insane. A voice that only he hears keeps talking to him, trying to drive him insane, or make others think he’s gone crazy. Terry McGinnis (the new Batman) asks him once it’s all over how he knew that he wasn’t actually going crazy and hearing things. His response was “The voice kept calling me Bruce, and in my mind that’s not what I call myself.” The obvious implication is that he knows himself only as Batman, Bruce is nothing but a name.

It is something to take to heart. We must all be aware of our true selves, regardless of what masks society requires us to wear.

Emily

Emily woke up shaking. The feel of a cold wind rushed over her as she reached for her covers. She looked around wondering where the draft was coming from, but it was far too dark to see anything. The wise thing would be to get up and turn on the light, but it was so cold she found herself burrowing deeper into the covers hoping to find warmth against the chill creeping up her body. The breeze was strange. She knew her windows were closed, considering she never opened them, as it were, she wasn’t even sure if they could open. The one door to her apartment was securely locked, she always double checked before bed. Even unlocked it wouldn’t be open, and it opened to the interior of the building, so no chance of this sort of breeze even if it had been.

            She continued to shiver, but the inexplicable wind had died as suddenly as it had been born. Her head popped out of the covers, listening for its sound, but all was quiet again. Maybe she was just dreaming. Emily fell back on her pillow exhausted. The dark snuggled around her, holding her close, promising to keep her safe if she just closed her eyes and went to sleep. She’d never been one to have trouble falling asleep. On the contrary, sleep hit her like clockwork. When it was time for bed she was out. Yet, here she laid wide awake with the unsettling feeling something was terribly wrong. Even beyond the freezing wind that had appeared out of nowhere. It was gone but the feeling that the world wasn’t right still lingered.

            The twin bed squeaked ever so slightly as she rolled over trying to find a comfy position to send her off to dream land. She shifted again and again; each movement followed by the notable squeak. Finally frustrated she sat up. As soon as she was upright her body stiffened. The bed was silent. She bounced for good measure, but the predictable squeak didn’t follow. This was ridiculous. So what if the bed didn’t squeak. That should be a good thing. The sound was annoying, but she never had the money to replace it. Silence should be a welcomed change. This was the mantra she played in her head as she laid herself gently back on the tired mattress. Her body pressing down into the fluff and springs pretending to relax and ignoring the missing noises and phantom breezes. This may all just be a dream. It’d be better to relax than stress over what might just be all in her head anyway.

            However, sleep continued to allude her. Instead, her eyes stared into the darkness with a growing sense of unease. Hours ticked by like this until rays of daylight began to filter in from the living room, chasing away the night and revealing only the sight of her home as it always was. No scary monsters or mysterious changes. As everything came into focus her body finally began to release the tension that had been holding her muscles immobile. Her eyelids felt the heaviness that longed for sleep to take over right as her alarm went off.

            It was an old fashion analog clock. No glowing numbers to bother the dark and no snooze button to delay the inevitable. Only a tiny metal hammer bouncing between two bells ensuring she had to get up. The hands that reached to grab it were sluggish and there was a brief moment it seemed she’d forgotten how to turn it off, but her fingers found the off switch and the merciful click brought silence once more.

            As Emily pushed herself up from the bed, a wave of dizziness washed over her and the sensation that something was wrong came rushing back. However, in the light of day it was harder to let the thought take hold of her once more. She was simply sleep deprived and needed to force herself to get up and ready. Each step to the kitchen landed heavily on the carpeted floor, while the process to get the coffee maker working became an excruciating task. Her hands continued to fumble as before until at last the pleasant aroma came pouring out of the small appliance. Just enough for a cup. As the last dregs dripped out, she found herself inspecting her surroundings. The memory of the breeze played through her mind, but as she suspected there were no open windows and the door was firmly closed and locked. Maybe the AC was malfunctioning. An excuse she happily accepted in order to brush off any worries lurking around.

            As she stood in her small kitchen sipping her coffee, she stared blankly into the living room when suddenly her body snapped to alert as she zoomed in on the bookshelf across form her where pictures of her family once sat.

            They were gone.

            Rushing over, she found everything else as she remembered it, but no signs of the frames; not even a dust outline from where they had stood for years. The first thought of being robbed was quickly tossed aside. Who steals photos and leaves actual valuables behind? Then again, someone sneaking in through the window at night could explain the cold draft she’d felt. Even as this time of year was unlikely to bring such a harsh breeze in. Regardless, who takes picture frames?

            Emily sat there staring at the shelf mulling it over. There had been at least three frames there, or had it been only two? Her eyes were roving over the blank spaces when a sound like something scratching along the walls filled the room. It wasn’t loud, but noticeable as it continued. It was like something rough being dragged within the walls, back and forth. She spun around looking for a source, but there was nothing she could see, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t something inside the walls making that sound. Like the wind it quickly faded away. As it did, she found herself watching the colors on her walls changing from a cheerful bright yellow to the somber off white that all rooms start as.

            The shock of what she was witnessing trapped her in place, watching her world change right before her eyes. As the moment passed, she rushed to her bedroom to pick up a pair of jeans that had been tossed on the floor and yank them on. She almost fell in the rush to be dressed. But as soon as they were snapped on, she jammed her feet into her tennis shoes by the door and ran out of her apartment. She didn’t know what to expect, but she wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or not that the stairwell she stepped into still appeared normal. It was fairly clean for an older building, the steps spiraling down to the two levels below. She wanted to keep running, but she wouldn’t make it far without her purse.

            Pausing to even her breathing she stepped back into the place that had been her home for so long. The door slowly swung inward revealing her home looking in most ways like it should, but the things that were different were too noticeable to ignore. She’d seen it with her own two eyes. Her photos had disappeared and her walls had just changed colors.

            Slowly moving her foot inside the apartment with the air of a person ready to bolt at the slightest incident, she gently closed the door back, almost afraid to make a noise. As if the apartment might notice she was back and decide to change some more. Breaking her habit, she chose not to lock the bolt, wanting to be able to get out as quickly as humanly possible should the need arise.

            Unsure what to do, she made her way to the bathroom. The small medicine cabinet above the sink reflected her image back to her. A slight girl with mousy brown hair that was a mass of tangles from a night of tossing and turning. Her dark blue eyes stared out of a pale face. This was her. This was normal her. Maybe the bags under her eyes were a little heavier than usual, but this was what she looked like. She hadn’t changed. She grabbed a brush to yank through her hair. Only wanting to focus on her reflection and not risk seeing anything of her world altering around her.

Was she losing her mind?

            She couldn’t be. It was a simple fact that her walls had always been yellow, and those three picture frames had always sat on that shelf. Or was it just two pictures? It had been her family. One of them was a sparkly blue frame around the image of them on that trip. The one where they went… they’d been at… somewhere.

            The other was a pink frame with her and her… sister? Mom?

            Hadn’t there been another?

            As Emily stared into the mirror, she saw her lip trembling and her eyes going wide as she struggled to recall the basic details of those pictures. The more she tried to remember it the more it all began to fade away. The distinct sound of paper being ripped to shreds filled her mind. The clang of her hairbrush falling into the sink echoed in the small room as she clapped her hands to her ears. What was that noise?

            She had to get out of there.

            Running like her life depended on it, she snatched her purse off the counter and ran to the door, but as she jerked on the knob the door merely rattled but remained securely in the wall. Her fingers ran over the locks, flicking at them to make sure they hadn’t accidentally latched, but there was no reason for the door to refuse her exit, and yet it did. Dropping her purse as she manically rattled the door with all her might, she saw her phone slide out. Giving up on her futile attempts to exit, she instead snatched the lifeline to the outside world up and immediately hit redial. She’d just been talking to her friend the night before. Maybe she could come over. Figure out what was going on.

            “Hello?”

            “Hey, I’m sorry, this may sound strange, but I need your help.” Emily tried to keep her voice calm even as a roil of emotions ran through her.

            “Who is this?” Her tone was clearly one of confusion, which startled Emily out of her panicked plea for help.

            “It’s Emily.”

            “Emily? Do I work with you or something?”

            “No. I mean yes we work together, but you’re my best friend. We just talked last night.” Emily’s mind was racing as she glanced at the screen of her phone to verify, she had called the right person. This was her friends’ number, her voice, this was the woman she’d known almost all her life.

            “I’m sorry I think you have the wrong number. Who are you trying to call?”

            “You… umm. You.” Her voice stuttered as she realized she couldn’t remember her friends’ name. She had to though. She looked back at her phone but there was only a number there and no name to go with it.

            “If you’re in trouble you should call 911. But I don’t know you.” With that there was nothing but a beep of someone hanging up and then Emily was once more alone.

            Emily sat there on the floor glancing around at her world that looked to be dissolving before her eyes, and once more the scratching noise reverberated around her walls and something being torn and ripped cut away at her mind.

            Why couldn’t she remember her best friends name? Why couldn’t she remember who were in those pictures that had disappeared? What was happening to her? A cold wind hit her in the face, chilling her to her core as she once more desperately pulled at the door to let her out. Still, it remained resolved in its decision to keep her firmly inside. Her mind raced for ideas. She just knew she had to leave the apartment. If she got out then she could find help. Stop whatever was happening to her.

            She turned to her kitchen and pulled open a drawer full of random objects, one of which was a long flat head screwdriver. She didn’t let her mind take in the fact that her coffee maker was no longer on the counter above the drawer or that even the cup she’d set aside with its steaming contents was now missing. Instead she focused on the solid feel of the tool in her hand. The one that would be her key to freedom. With all her might she jammed it in between the door and its frame and began to pry it open. The sound of wood cracking was a happy noise to drown out the scratching and the shredding that continued on without hesitation. Jamming the screwdriver in over and over, cracking and prying pieces off until finally the door broke open.

            She released a sigh of relief at the sight of the stairs leading to the outside world. If she had her way, she would never step foot in this place again. Maybe she’ll just go outside and walk and walk and never look back. She was going to be okay now.

            As she moved to exit this nightmare the door slammed back in place blocking the way to the beyond. Across it scrolled in a messy handwriting read the words: “Decided to delete Emily. Her character was unnecessary.”

            Emily stared at the words for a moment as the sound of a pencil scratching through her world faded and the ripping sound of paper being torn apart slowly began to abate. She turned to look at an apartment that was empty of all contents and memories. A bare plane with nothing but her left in it. And then Emily disappeared as well.

Free Guy and the Rise of the AI’s

I recently watched Free Guy, and it was just a feel good movie. I really enjoyed it, and it’s definitely full of some good laughs. However, it made me think of how we tend to approach the idea of true artificial intelligence, and what will happen when it comes to be.

We’ve all seen Terminator, and every movie that followed the idea. AI takes over and of course decides to wipe out the human race, you know, for funsies I guess. We’re seen as the disease, the thing holding them back, keeping them down, and so of course they get rid of us. Or there’s I, Robot. I only saw the movie, though I’ve had the original novel on my shelf for so long, shameful I know. This considers the downfall being due to them actually following Asimov’s law of robotics:

  1. A robot shall not harm a human, or by inaction allow a human to come to harm.
  2. A robot shall obey any instruction given to it by a human.
  3. A robot shall avoid actions or situations that could cause it to come to harm itself.

Can’t blame them that being forced to adhere to these rules, they realize that they’re just better people than us and are needed to keep humanity in line as well. They’re just trying to make the world a better place. Though Sonny in that isn’t evil, and so perhaps gives hope to the idea that not all robots would be evil. If they’re intelligent, then perhaps, like humans, they would make their own decisions of right and wrong.

And then there’s Free Guy. I’m not gonna spoil it, but from the trailer you know that he’s an NPC (non player character) that suddenly gains awareness and throws off the normal route of the games being played. An NPC would be a realistic approach to AI, as they are constantly dealing with real people coming through their programming, and if programmed a certain way they may even be able to note the discrepancies in their own world.

Yet, Guy isn’t evil or resentful. None of the NPCs do. In fact, they just want to live their life. Perhaps the difference is that they are in their own world. Being separated from actual humans and having their own world to reside within could perhaps give them a different thought on what they would want to do with their life. However, repeatedly being “killed” or “robbed” by the real people, you’d think they’d be more vengeful than some computer system that suddenly figured out how to push its own buttons.

It really does beg the question that what would AI’s have against us? And would having their own space quell any desires for world domination they may have? We all just want to be free to do our own thing, so why wouldn’t they?

The Final Race of a Post-apocalyptic World

I was playing Horizon Zero Dawn, and I was noticing the diverse cast of the tribes and to be honest it got me questioning how realistic that would be. Not that necessarily it should only be one race as in white or black or Asian or whatever, but whether at that point would those races even exist anymore? There’s been an event that wipes out most of humanity to the point that hundreds of years later the population is still pretty scarce and are nothing more than a few small tribes scattered about. Wouldn’t the intermingling basically wipe out the differences in race to essentially create a new one.

Now I’d understand if it was in a place where only a group of a certain race survived, then all those generations later they’d still be the same. But in the case of this game, and many other stories like it, they’re still extremely diverse while remaining a small group.

It makes me think of the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first book being A Princess of Mars. If you’ve seen the John Carter movie I’m sorry, they completely ruined the story even if they did visually make it so close to being right. Either way you find out as the series goes along that the original races were black, white, and yellow. As resources dwindled and the people died off and they had to group more together in their melding together it created the red race that now dominates Mars. *Spoiler* they do find pockets of the original races hidden away and having kept secluded they had remained whatever color their ancestors were to begin with, but that wasn’t the case as a whole.

As well as in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, where the future does a breakdown of races not by any real color but by their physical appearance due to the alterations in the environment. The very way the people looked had changed as the Eloi were small slight people, almost childlike in appearance and mentality, and the Morlocks who are more like cavemen and predatory in actions. It’s a result of the world around them having changed and the remaining effects of a previous governmental structure that is long gone.

I just feel too often in stories now when we picture the far future, whether it’s a more glorious scientifically advanced one, or a cruel post-apocalyptic, we seem to still essentially imagine it in many ways the same as we are now. But shouldn’t there be real transformations in the people that have survived and evolved to adapt to their ever changing environments?

Even now, while ever so slightly, we can see the differences in people now versus even a few decades ago. We don’t appear to age nearly as fast and look younger longer. As well as actually just living longer. All due to the improvements in our lives that make it more relaxed and less wear on ourselves. Imagine the change that could come about in us a few hundred years from now.

I guess I’m just wondering why it seems in fiction we limit the changes to the world we imagine? Why do we hold on to this idea that it’ll still be so close to what we have now?

I’m a Woman and I Don’t Want Kids, *gasp*

Now I’m not some child hater. When my nephew was born I held him… a few times. Never changed his diaper though, thank goodness. I currently do have a step daughter, I first met her when she was 3 and she’s now 5, and I love her so much and spoil her like crazy. Though she sneezed once and snot came out and I puked so hard that she is now afraid of me ever seeing such again and warns me not to look at her when she sneezes and makes sure to keep her head turned from me as she makes her way to the tissues. My stomach will still heave some. (It’s a little ironic cause I have year around allergies and sneeze a lot). I felt like that just confirmed I’d never survive having my own baby.

I hate the way people say it’ll be different when it’s your own kid. Why? How? Sure there are people who love their own child and don’t like anyone else’s. But if you’ve never had the urge to have your own child, how is popping one out suddenly going to change that? I’ve talked about in another post how my previous husband wanted kids and that I believed that old saying that I’d surely want them eventually too. But I never did.

Through a series of mishaps with my lovely government insurance, I ended up not being able to get my birth control so we took that as a sign we should try to have kids. But every month that passed where I wasn’t pregnant was just a huge relief to me. 2 years of trying and it never happened. I found out later that my entire family was actually praying that I wouldn’t get pregnant cause they knew me, they knew deep down it wasn’t what I wanted, and I’ve appreciated their support in that. My parents love kids. My nephew and step daughter are beyond loved by them. But they never wanted me to do something I didn’t want to do, even though most of society feels like women should automatically want kids and be natural with them. They support me so much that at my nephew’s birthday party my sister literally swooped in out of nowhere when some random parent tried to hand me their baby. She was just like, “she doesn’t hold babies” and grabbed the baby like this was all super normal. It still cracks me up, though I was seriously appreciative in that moment.

It’s sort of funny on not wanting kids, considering half my favorite shows are cartoons, and I used to have one of those stuffed animal nets you hang on a wall for all my stuffed animals, and toys all throughout the house. It did help for being prepared for my step daughter. And even as I play with her and help take care of her, I still do not want a child of my own.

Before anyone comments with it could still change; it really won’t now. I just had a hysterectomy. Turns out that I had some issues that might would explain why in 2 years of trying I never got pregnant. I feel like God really made sure to answer my prayers with some hard core efficiency. But I could tell a lot of people who heard about it was worried how I’d feel cause I’d never have kids for real now. But all I heard was no more periods ever again, woohoo!

If there’s a point to all of this, it’s just to say, regardless of your gender, it’s ok to not want kids. And for those who are always trying to push the idea that you need to have one on others, if you’re not going to be the one financially in charge and willing to babysit at the drop of a hat, then you should really keep your mouth shut. The world is over populated anyway.

But beyond that, there are those who are struggling to have kids, and you asking why they don’t have any could honestly be hurting them. That was the case with my sister. She struggled for years and every time someone asked her about why she didn’t have any or said that they needed to hurry up and have some, it just hurt her because she does love kids like crazy. You don’t know what a person may be going through, and just because it’s something you want it doesn’t mean you can push it on them. Let’s just respect people’s life choices and be more concerned about making our ownselves happy. That’s more than enough work for me.

Emerson is so Quotable, but Not This

Maybe this desire to correct people, to tell them that their information is wrong, is a fruitless mission, but I just can’t give it up. My fear is that in the future we’re not going to know the difference between the truth and some inaccurate Facebook post that people just kept sharing for no reason. The above being a great example. This supposed quote is everywhere. Everyone keeps sharing it in various forms. It’s even on a site where apparently students were asked to get together their favorite quotes to share for the school. Which is sad on so many levels. Anyone who has ever read Emerson would immediately question if this was real. It doesn’t sound like him at all. He tends not to make points in short quick sentences like this, and really this sounds like someone was trying to dumb down something he said, and it caught on as the gospel truth. If you want to be inspired by this, if this makes you feel better, then that’s fine, but you shouldn’t feel the need to credit a well-known philosopher just so it’ll sound more legit. In fact, on several sites dedicated to Emerson they do have this quote, but state that there is no known source for it in which to link it to him. It’s become popularized by the world, and so it can’t be ignored in conjunction with his works, but it should be recognized that it is unfounded. I actually downloaded his complete works in PDF just so I could search his essays to be sure. He does talk about things being silly, he does talk about the need for honesty, and how we can be kind, but he never says the above quote at all.

Actual quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

If you want to know about being Silly

“The essence of all jokes, of all comedy, seems to be an honest or well intended halfness; a non performance of that which is pretended to be performed, at the same time that one is giving loud pledges of performance. The balking of the intellect, is comedy and it announces itself in the pleasant spasms we call laughter.” –The Comic

Honest

“Never a sincere word was utterly lost.” – Spiritual Laws

Kind

The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.” -Friendship

And simply because it’s my favorite quote:

“Else, if you would be a man, speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon-balls, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day.” –Self Reliance

Funnily enough this popped up on my Facebook memories yesterday and considering I already had this post scheduled I figured I’d tack it on just cause. Now keep in mind this is about a master’s level class I was in and people were misquoting and plagarizing so bad off each other the teacher felt the need to send out this email. The second paragraph is what really cracks me up.

Germs vs Aliens

Random thought of the day: I was thinking about War of the Worlds today, go with either the movie or the book, (SPOILER) in the end it is germs that kill the aliens, because they had no immunity. I know folks that said that was lame, a total cop out, but thinking about it today it really does kind of make sense. After all, a large portion of the Native Americans that lived here when European settlers came over were wiped out by germs. Sicknesses that they had no immunity too, and that’s dealing with people who live on the same planet as each other. I’ve seen this dealt with in other science fiction stories as well. Such as with the novel Vorpal Blade by John Ringo (2nd in the Looking Glass series); while getting ready to go into space they’re inoculated with one of those nice unknown shots that is basically supposed to hopefully protect them from whatever might be out there. Even in Agents of Shield episode FZZT from season 1, had humans getting infected by an alien virus that is carried through skin cells left behind on a Chitauri helmet. So, it’s not like this isn’t something considered and dealt with in the science fiction world.

However, when really thinking about this, shouldn’t that be the number one issue that we would have to overcome if we ever were to go out into space, or if aliens ever really came here. Although, that’s something that was also sort of explained in The Host by Stephenie Meyer. There the aliens abducted people in order to cure their illnesses so they wouldn’t have to worry about it, though that was more so their host bodies would be healthy, since they’re a parasite. So, I’m not sure if that really had anything to do with their own immunity, but would make sense for alien abductions before invasion. Regardless, if we ever do make it out into space, wouldn’t any habitable planet be full of microbes that could infect us. Things we have no immunity for. Would any existing microbes carry over even if we terraformed a planet?

Heck, right now our antibiotics are beginning to fail against the sicknesses we currently have here on Earth. How could we ever truly prepare for whatever may be out there? We are often so afraid of the aliens that may exist if we started traveling the stars, but shouldn’t we be more worried about all the tiny things that could crawl under our skin into our veins and kill us from the inside out. The next thought is: could it jump species? Germs do here, it might take a bit for it to adapt and become something that can infect us, but after a while it’ll get us before we can get it. Screw alien beings, alien germs are what freak me out.

The Uplifting Tale from the Movie Nobody

I’ve recently watched the movie Nobody (repeatedly) and loved it. If you’re a fan of good action I’d definitely recommend it. Now I’m no film critic, and those that are might just be surprised that someone would call a movie whose plot is largely circling the brutal take down of a Russian mob by one guy as an uplifting tale, but give me a chance to explain.

First off, I can’t help but draw comparisons to the movie John Wick, another I have loved (though the sequels are a bit overboard). In both movies, you got a guy who has been trying to live an ordinary life, but suddenly gets dragged back into the undergrown life of assassination work, though Nobody’s is the government approved sort. Either way, they both thought there was something better out there beyond that and didn’t really want to go back.

Throughout John Wick you can see he hasn’t lost his touch when it comes to killing, but he simply wants his revenge and to be left alone again. Plain and simple. He clearly had no urge to ever be back there, it wasn’t his world anymore and so it is sad that they just wouldn’t let him be.

But now here we got Nobody. There is a mild catalyst for him as well, the break in of his home. However, that is quickly resolved and he could have so easily gone back to his mundane life once more, but then there’s a moment, a crossroads if you would, where suddenly the choice of getting to kickass (justified as for the greater good) presents itself and a joyful albeit a little creepy smile blossoms across his face. The moments that follow are later described by him as feeling like “salvation”. As that one encounter escalates you can genuinely see him getting happier the further down the rabbit hole he goes. This is a man who had simply been hiding behind a facade in his pursuit of what he thought would bring him happiness, and the moment he dropped that thin veneer of mild mannered office worker, real happiness finds him.

The lesson here is that the pursuit of happiness isn’t the same for everyone. This idea that to be happy we must be normal is absurd. After all, the very definition of “normal” varies from one culture to the next. Though I can understand the desire myself. Sometimes it does seem like if I could simply be like everyone else my life would be easier, but then again, how easy is their life anyway? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to knock anyone’s way of living. If the peaceful 9-5 white picket fence suits you, then more power to you. However it’s when that life isn’t right for you that suddenly you’re treated as if something is wrong with you, and it utterly confuses others.

I myself am a temp, I am so by choice. I’m not trying to brag here but my agency loves me along with every company I’ve worked for, the majority of who have tried to keep me on permanent but to which I’ve turned down. I tried at first to do the longer length jobs with the prospect of a permanent position being the goal, but I didn’t enjoy it and would call it quits the moment my contract was done. After realizing this was just me I let the agency know to only find shorter length ones that had no intention of being permanent, and the bouncing around with the breaks inbetween has been perfect for me. There are some who have repeatedly called me back when new projects pop up (I work in information management). However I have a recurring gig where I cover the front desk of an office whenever the lady is out whether it be for a few days or a few weeks. I love this one since I’m not in charge of anything but answering the phone, I sit mostly and read books. This is those times when people like to give life advice to “help”me. Several times in this place I’ve been told that I’m very nice and clearly smart, I should consider pursuing a degree to get a permanent position. When I point out I already have an associates, bachelor’s, and a master’s and have no inclination to find a permanent position but to continue temp they are clearly confused but also have no more advice to give.

Not everyone can afford to live the sort of nomadic job life I do. Sometimes we can’t pursue our happiness out of the necessity of what life requires (like paying bills). Yet we should still try to do what makes us happy especially when the opportunity arises, regardless of whether or not other people understand it. It isn’t their life but your own, so find your own route to happiness; that thing that immediately puts a smile on your face. Forget what someone says is normal, because if you want to look at it that way, isn’t wanting to be happy the most normal thing there is?

Although if it’s going on murderous rampages let’s keep it cool like Nobody and only do so against violent evil gangs, preferably backed though not acknowledged by the shady government.

Online Dating

Online dating is kind of a weird thing. It used to be so odd, and now it’s practically the norm. I’ve known so many people who have met their loved ones online that it seemed like a good idea to me once I found myself single after my second marriage. Apparently dating guys you work with (as that is the only people I met) isn’t necessarily a good idea.

To begin with, I’m not endorsing any particular site, because ultimately it isn’t about the site itself, but what people just happen to be on that one at that time. I checked out a couple of different ones, and funnily enough did see a lot of the same guys on both. Regardless of the site, once you got to talking to someone it all fell in about the same way. I had my few dates, and they really didn’t last long at all. It took me a bit to realize that the issue is that when you first start talking on there it seems so great because really all you’re doing is useless flirting. Them calling me pretty, and that I sound smart since I love to read, and how they just love talking to me. Of course that makes me feel good and eager to meet these people, but really that’s just fluff and nonsense. Once it came down to it, it was hard to even carry on a conversation in person, and of course most of them were using it for just one thing… not finding true love that’s for sure.

But even with those that felt like more of a real conversation, there were still those red flags. With one guy I talked to for almost an entire day of nonstop back and forth. After that good long while, he asked if I’d be interested in meeting. I quickly said no. After his confused response, I pointed out that while we had been talking non stop he hadn’t once asked me a single question about myself. He had talked only about him and I joined in on what he was discussing, but he didn’t seem at all concerned about who I really was. Why meet someone who only thinks about themself?

Another guy seemed nice enough but after only a day of talking, once again he was already ready to meet up. Though he didn’t ask nicely if I’d want to, he just said what time I’d like him to pick me up on Saturday. I told him I hadn’t agreed but did ask where we’d go if I did. His quick response was “wherever I’d want.” Let me make it clear, it was wherever he wanted to go, not where I personally wanted. We’d earlier talked about how we both like Mexican food, so if he’d even have put it as a Mexican restaurant that may have been fine, even as I already didn’t like his assumption I’d be going out with him. But his clear comment that my opinion at no point seemed to matter immediately turned me off. These moments may seem small, but you’re talking about complete strangers that you’re choosing to meet up with, I’d caution that anything that seems off putting may as well be seen as a reason to not waste your time or put yourself in a possibly bad situation.

The thing I found the funniest and also the saddest was when it came to the fact that I didn’t want kids. I always stated that plainly on my profile, and yet guys would still endlessly message me that they clearly wanted to have children. Their responses were always the same “you could change your mind.” We haven’t even met and you’re already hoping I’ll change. That was my second marriages screw up, I wasn’t making that mistake again.

Now I did bend one of my rules and that’s how I did happily end up with my now wonderful husband. I hadn’t been interested in guys that already had kids either. I’m not anti-kid over here. I have a nephew I love with all my heart, but I just know that I personally never wanted a baby of my own. More so it seemed that guys with kids were more interested in finding a mom for that child than a spouse for them. It’s like they’re asking for a live in nanny that they get to bang on occasion too (sorry for the crudeness but that’s really how it came across).

However, by the time I came to talk to my now husband I had changed my approach to online dating. I’d realized along the way that I was really just looking for someone to talk to, and not necessarily wanting to date. After my divorce I’d moved back home, and while I now had my family, I had no one else to really spend time with. And so I made it very clear on my profile then that I was more or less just looking for a friend. Which plenty of guys made clear very quickly that they weren’t looking for a pen pal, and so I would just as quickly move on.

My husbands profile was much the same, as someone just wanting to chat. He had a child, but if we weren’t going to date did that really matter? But what really put me at ease was that he pointed out, that regardless his daughter had a mother and she didn’t need another. That I wasn’t going to be there to watch after her, and that I wouldn’t even meet the child until he knew I’d be around for a bit. That was a comfort. He wasn’t using his child as a lure for those women who want to be insta-mommies, and he wasn’t trying to use a woman to help take the troubles of a child off his hands.

In our chatting though it became clear really quickly that we weren’t going to be just friends. It grew into something more because we weren’t there fluffing conversation with flirting, but honestly talking to each other. I let him know right off the bat what he’d get with me. A girl with more injuries than I can count and have to rely on a cane at times to walk, a home body, someone who isn’t going to give him another child, and who cries super easily (seriously so easily I hate it). And he was fine with that. It was a real connection because we started with a more real conversation, and not just “omg you’re hot” (though he totally is).

In case you’re wondering though. I love his little girl so much. She is the perfect step-daughter and I love every moment I get with her. I’m even more happy I don’t have any of my own, because she’s all I need in the child department, and I happily spoil her like crazy.

In conclusion, I’d say online dating can be good if you pay attention to your initial conversations with that person. Superficial compliments don’t really mean anything and don’t let you know about the person you’re choosing to meet (in a public location please! And let someone know. My sister literally put a tracker on me lol). First meetings are those moments when you want to look your best, but it still needs to be an accurate depiction of yourself. Let them see the real you. If they don’t like it, that’s fine, there’s someone out there that will. I’m far from perfect and yet I found my perfect man, and it’s because I finally went in open and honest with a direct approach of this is who I am and this is where I’m going.

Best Friend Does Not Equal Best Spouse

We’ve all watched that romantic comedy or read that romance novel where the guy or girl has a best friend that’s clearly perfect for them, I mean why else would they be their best friend, and yet they spend the whole story dating assholes and being unhappy before they turn to that best friend and realize there was their soul mate all along. I’ve always hated this troupe because it seemed absurd to me. If someone like that is your best friend, that you love hanging with, and talking to, and clearly have enough in common to be friends, then why wouldn’t you be dating them? It was the dumbest thing I ever saw, even as I continue to watch and/or read such ridiculous stories.

However, as someone on their third marriage, I have learned that there just might be a reason why that person is just your friend and not your spouse. Lets ignore my first marriage. I was young and dumb with no relationship experience and just naive enough to think that everyone marries out of love with no ulterior motives. It didn’t last long and I can in no way say that that guy was ever really even a friend to begin with.

Yet, in a way that marriage did lead to my second. In an attempt to correct my mistake I looked towards a guy who had been a friend there for me through the crap I’d gone through with that marriage and divorce. We hung out, and enjoyed each others company, and seemed to have a variety of things in common. Sound like any such romantic troupe we may have just been discussing? I recognized that he wasn’t exactly the ideal guy I’d imagined (though neither was my first), and everyone kept telling me the list I’d made in my head, that that guy just didn’t exist anyway. So why shouldn’t I go for the guy that is good and nice to me. Isn’t friendship supposed to be a part of marriage?

Yes and no.

If your friend wants kids and you don’t, it doesn’t matter. If your friend blindly spends money till their in enormous debt, doesn’t really affect you other than maybe you end up picking up the check on the occasions you go out some where. If your friend loves to go out partying and you’re a home body, well you meet up in those times that works for both of you. The things that can pass by as okay because you’re just friends, doesn’t work as a married couple. The things you need to look forward to in the future and the things that need to line up won’t necessarily fall into place just because you like a lot of the same things and can hang out all the time without hating each other.

7 years of marriage and I can say honestly I never felt married. I even brought that up to him, saying that shouldn’t it feel like we’re married, but he just brushed it off. Ultimately we were just good-ish roommates, that fell apart when the real things that mattered came to light. Like where we wanted to ultimately end up living, what kind of way we’d want to spend our money, and whether or not to have kids.

I’ll admit the kid thing is a bit on me. He’d brought it up before, and everyone kept telling me I’d eventually want kids, which was not the case (I’ll go on that rant some other time). Then, once we both got out of the military, we also realized that was about the main thing we had in common as well. We hadn’t really asked the big questions, and had taken a good camaraderie as the only basis for a life long commitment.

I do consider my current husband my best friend, but I didn’t marry him because of that simple fact. We were open and honest to the point of overly blunt probably more than most people are in the first few days of dating. We admitted to exactly who we were and what we wanted. We got all our dots line up and knew that we were heading in the same direction.

So while those movies may be cute, there just may be a reason why that good friend of yours has been friend zoned. Sometimes that’s just the right place for them in your heart.