Barry, a Starbuck’s buddy of mine, and I were engaged in a conversation the other day, about nothing unusual, but we definitely shared contrasting views of the subject matter when he walked away saying:
“Oh, that’s right, you think we’re in a Matrix simulation”
Throughout my life, I’ve constructed rules.
Whether it’s a personal rule I made to myself a long time ago when with a woman to never, ever insist that she was ever in any way obligated or expected to have non-consensual sex with me, no matter how much I wanted it.
Or it’s rules concerning employment I made for myself which stated “I will only take jobs when it adds to my experience and background in ways I am interested in.”
A rule – that to this day I’m unwilling to break, which I am constantly derided for.
Some people have tried short circuiting my logic by saying:
“But you can make money. Get off the street. Surely that interests you.”
I show them my sliced wrist, a suicide attempt I’d made several years ago when my priorities got screwed up and I pursued money over my relationships and my entire life suffered as a result.
Many times they don’t understand, call it an excuse.
To which I politely tell them to get lost.
The rule’s there for a reason. I care about this guy and walking that path again isn’t a rational choice.
I have other rules I created for myself such as coffee. I don’t allow myself any after 5pm. Period, end of story. I enjoy my sleep, my stomach gets screwed up if I drink too much of it, so I curtail both issues by a simple little rule which limits my intake.
With women, and dating, a long time ago I developed a rule which states:
I will not date someone I am not substantially physically attracted to.
I tried it. Numerous times. Which is what shaped the rule to begin with. And while some may call me vain for it. I don’t care. In this case, it’s a preference, and one that I refuse to budge on. As a homeless guy, this severely limits dating which I haven’t done in five years, in part because of this rule, but largely because society’s collective rule for women seems to come in direct conflict with me, which is clearly “Don’t date broke men, unless they are hot, and if they aren’t hot and they’re broke don’t even look at them or give them the time of day”
Society. So very predictable at times.
I have rules for food intake.
“No onions, Olives, or carbonated beverages and please limit the tomato based derivatives please”
Mostly self preservation helped shape these rules. Olives taste like shit. Onions and red sauces, as well as carbonated beverages cause me agonizing pain in my abdomen, so much pain in fact that I have on several occasions considered suicide to stop it it hurts so bad. I avoid these foods, and the frequency of the pain diminishes substantially and with that, the intensity if and when it does occur despite my dietary restrictions the pain seems to be less intense.
I have funny rules I’ve created for myself.
Poop must come out immediately when I hit the toilet.
I suppose that rule comes from my obsession with time and efficiency, which views time on the pot as a waste of time. That, and I hav horrid images and memories of my grandfather blessing my new house I bought in Gilbert with a 30 minute bathroom visit that I could smell for days afterwards when he left. I just don’t want to be _that_ man.
Grandpa, if you’re listening, it doesn’t mean I didn’t love and appreciate you in other ways.
I once had rules for sleeping with other women while I was married. Later, I revised those rules, as I realized I enjoyed sex and my adventurous partners would encourage me to experience others, so I did.
My unexercised rule moving forward is simple: If I am dating someone, and am interested in someone else, I’ll invite both along. Exploration is my key, especially with sexuality, and this starts at the beginning of the relationship, not at the end when it’s falling apart.
I have rules for the work I do when employed by a company.
The rule is simple: Think like the company and represent accordingly.
This doesn’t mean letting go of me and my individuality, but what it does mean is being ok with making myself obsolete or unnecessary if the decisions I make on behalf of the company I am working with no longer need my services.
This rule has undergone revision in part because of my homelessness.
But also in part because I started understanding who I am and why people wanted me around.
So the new part of that rule is – being ok with remaining with a company even though they may not need my services, provided we can both cement a new relationship which is a win/win for both of us.
You see, this coincides with a decidedly deep need I have for .. companionship, whether that’s friendships or romantic partners, and simple business partnerships and relationships. Life, to me, has become more meaningful the less I focus on actual production and the more I focus on THE production itself.
Years ago, I wrote in a bucket list – or list of things I want to do before I exit this plane of existence – that I wanted to visit Cuba.
A part of me had been curious why America had an embargo against Cuba that had persisted for so long. Another part of me – the explorer – who’d visited most countries near the United States – prioritized my need for exploration over fear of incarceration, curiosity inspired in part by United State’s decision to retain the embargo.
Isn’t that odd, that someone or something else’s rule inspires a sense of curiosity in why that rule was created by someone such as myself?
Reason I personally think after visiting there that the embargo should be retained.
In 2011. Wanting to understand the United States’s rule and law making processes better, and because I admittedly wanted to date better quality women, I applied to Georgetown law and was rejected.
I wonder what would have happened if I told them the entire unpolished truth behind my application.
“My big brother at ASU was a lawyer, and had gorgeous women pursuing him like flies on shit. Rachel, the woman of my dreams was married to a lawyer. So while there’s professional curiosity about law, there’s also personal curiosity and a deep seated need to simply date and find myself with more attractive women, and to understand the mindset which attracts these women. What in these men were they attracted to, the mind, the finance, all the above, or something else entirely?”
I later learned it was something else entirely.
I have rules for friends.
But rules that intentionally do not require any specific behavior of friends other than come as you are. I’ve learned to drop making rules regarding friendship over the years, enjoying the variety this brought me, but finding some of them abusing these lack of rules I found myself putting up new walls.
Don’t fuck me over. That’s a relatively simple rule.
Don’t steal from me.
Just be there. Be Present. As will I.
Now I’ve come to look at the rules of the world around me, like I have the rules I’ve reinforced on myself, and begun the active process – especially after Cuba – of questioning what does and doesn’t work for me.
And in this process, I learned a lesson from Gandhi.
I hop the metro even if police are present, intentionally breaking the law. It’s my belief that PUBLIC transportation, created from taxes I’ve paid, should be free. So when I’m issued a ticket. I respond with “You know what I’m going to do with this ticket, dont you?”
I’m not breaking the law to be a jerk or because I’m a felon.
Like I did when I broke the law with drugs.
Like I did when I broke the law with Cuba.
I break these laws because for me, as both an individual and a homeless person, while they may work for the majority of people, don’t work for me.
I drive fast not to be a felon.
But because I enjoy speed and feel like I can manage the vehicle I am driving safely.
I did drugs and will do them not because I’m a felon.
But because I enjoy exploring and in this world where everything is weighed and measured, exploring my mind was one of the few avenues I had left or exploration.
I had frequent sex and oggled wives not to be disobedient to a God.
But because I enjoyed sex and this physical body and presence and the connection and emotional fulfillment the sex gave to me.
And when I went to Cuba.
I didn’t break the law to intentionally piss off anyone.
I’d heard good things about the place from foreigners. Believed them. And wanted to investigate and explore the place before it became over touristed by the bevvy of Americans who would go there when the embargo’s lifted, forever altering the energy and emotion of the city.
So while sure, I may make rules that I myself later break, I try to stick to them. And while I respect the rules others make for themselves, whether it’s a society, a government, an organization, or an individual, I’ve learned to embrace the concept of a multiverse to protect others from me when my rules and theirs don’t jive.
I have a new personal rule I’ve created for myself just recently.
I destroy my own universe when I’m done with it.
This process will eventually result in the creation of the Borg.