“Normal people’s” problems

The other day I got to meet with my godmother, who came to the city I live for some conference or something. We chatted and had a nice time together, and I was filling her up with how my life is going: not-very-successfully searching for a job, worries about money, a small existential crisis about the fact that I just turned 26 and I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life career-wise, relationships, and all the rest.

I have a pretty good relationship with my godmother, which is why I confidently shared a lot of the stuff that is going on my mind lately, and how I feel, particularly about career situation.

At some point she looked at me, and said something that took me off guard. She said “I think you’re not doing very well”, as in “I worry about you, because I think you’re sad”.

I looked at her, and I laughed. And then I told her that I am doing exceptionally well, and to be honest, I’m doing better than most other times in my life. I am not depressed, I am happy with who I am, I live in a stable house with a person I love and the stressors of my life are not as big as they used to be (especially during the past couple of years), and all I have to deal with right now is “normal people’s problems”.

I can finally sit down and think about jobs. LOL.
My future as a professional, what do I want to do with, you know, my life.

It’s funny because at some point in the past, not that long ago, I didn’t even believe that I would have reached this point. There was a point in my life that I legit didn’t believe that I will live let alone work past 25.

So, here we are, having to deal with unemployment and job search and all this shit, which is far, far away from fun and fine, but I find myself rolling my eyes at the face of adversity (or wasn’t that the quote), and not feeling as burdened about it.

I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but all I know is that I’ve grown enormously the past few years, and my whole life leading to now has given me a very different perspective on things.

A guide to masculinity: The car service tales

I had to visit a car service facility recently because my blue dragon has been showing signs of anxiety and old age, maybe a bit of dementia, giving me warning lights when everything should be fine. Ideally this wouldn’t be the first thing that I’d do in any given morning, but there I was, in my black hoodie and jeans approaching the “service reception”. The guy asked me about the problem and called me Mr. Imalexnowsurname, until he asked if I was going to go back to work and I said I’m a PhD student, so he proceeded calling me “my friend” – does your car have any damage my friend? (no, it didn’t)

I feel so unbelievably uncomfortable around dudes that know their ways around cars. It’s so foreign to me, and although I am not completely clueless (I have a basic understanding of how a car works and what I will find when I open the trunk of mine), I can’t not seem like a total and utter noob when it comes to visiting places like that.

I don’t know if it’s the general music videoclip setting, with the greasy vibe and the muscular boys in dirty overalls, the way people talk to you and to each other, or the constant feeling that everything is going to go slow motion and a woman in a bikini will make an appearance any minute now – I don’t know man, car service facilities are intimidating.

I always feel like I should know more about cars, know more about the way men associate with each other using that knowledge. Like I should go to a car service and have an opinion about what my car needs, whether it’s correct or not. I have been witnessing behaviours like that my whole life, with the close males in my life that seemingly possessed some kind of “male-only car knowledge”, which in reality is just a facade because if you are a man, you have to know about cars, and especially, your car.

What is fascinating is that, while I was growing up the person who actually knew their shit around cars more than anyone in the family was my mother. However, her opinion was mostly dismissed by more powerful, and male members (and non members for the matter).

I’m pretty sure that if I grew up as a “son”, the amount of car-teaching I would get from my father would be at least double the amount I got as a “daughter”. Which, too bad for him, because now I am a son, and an unprepared to talk to car service people son. (Disgraceful)

That is to say, I’m really not that oblivious. I just feel like I am, because I was conditioned to be like that. And it always bugs me to think that something as insignificant and ubiquitous as freakin car stuff “knowledge” should be gendered and gatekept. Don’t want to even begin to think about other, more important stuff.