The Livingston Avenue Review Of Zines

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On Having No Life (1998)

I've got three different jobs. It works out to about two and a third times full-time or so. I've had to cut back on... well... pretty much everything else. The weird thing is, I don't seem to mind. In fact, I find to my surprise that I'm even fairly happy and, if not actually content, certainly at least well-adjusted. More so than at any other point in my adult life, maybe.

Sure, it'll be a relief when the semester ends next week and I only have to worry about my overnight job and teaching the algebra class at the community college (they're on quarters). There'll be time to get caught up on sleeping and reading and stuff. And the zines, of course.

Ah yes, the zines. I really love doing 'em. It's probably fair to say that making zines is one of the main reasons I find myself so pleased with day-to-day life—always after the time spent with my beloved wife and cats, obviously, but right up there with (the fun parts of) being a math teacher.

But it has to be said: The Ten Page News is most of my social life (and e-mail is much of the rest). I have two main categories of friends: (1) old pals I hardly ever see any more if at all (most of the ones I'm at all in touch with get the zine); and (2) friends I've never actually met—fellow publishers that I know only by correspondence and zine trades. It just seems like there must be something pathological about this: most of my socializing is conducted sitting silently in a room by myself.

I miss hanging out. Probably nearly everybody finds that they're doing quite a bit less of it as they get older. Schedules start filling up and you end up having to go to fairly elaborate lengths just to set up times and places to get together and catch up on each other's lives. Most of us also seem to do a hell of a lot of moving around from city to city, which certainly doesn't help. Add to that in my case that after spending most of my life in Bloomington, a real walking-around-running-into-all-kinds-of-people kind of place if ever there was one, life in just about any other city will feel more isolated.

Mostly, though, it appears to me that other people in more or less similar circumstances generally seem to overcome these obstacles and have regular face-to-face interactions with their friends. Probably I'm doing something wrong: in fact, it seems pretty safe to say that I'm lacking in some pretty basic social skills. But that's another story.

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