The boy is in kindergarten, y’all. Or at least he will be, once summer vacation is over.
The boy is in kindergarten, y’all. Or at least he will be, once summer vacation is over.
I thought, for reasons that will quickly become quite obvious, that maybe I ought to not go ahead and fill the Internet in on certain recent developments in my life. But I’ve been pretty open about being on anxiety medication since they put me on it, and this is related to that, so to hell with it. A warning: if you know me personally, it’s possible that you might not want to read this. Certain of you I’m giving license to never ever stop mocking me again, which… eh. It’ll be okay.
So, to get straight to the point: I’ve taken myself off of Lexapro. If I were a more intelligent human I would probably be weaning myself off Lexapro, but I’m not an especially intelligent human and I was on a pretty low dose to begin with so I’m cold-turkeying the shit. I had several reasons for making this decision. One of the big ones was that I’m not in the environment (teaching) that led me to need Lexapro in the first place, so the direct cause of my anxiety issues is gone. The biggest one, though? It turns out that one of the rarer side effects of drugs like Lexapro is…
…this is the part where you stop reading, if you ever want to not think of this when you see me or talk to me again…
I have had, perhaps once a month in the past six months, what I will describe as a “bloop” and assume that your imagination can fill in the details. They have always happened when I was asleep, always when I was on my back, and have always instantly awakened me, at which time I’ve cleaned myself up, swearing profusely under my breath, and gone back to sleep. Last week, it happened twice in two days, and what was previously merely an excessively irritating thing that I was attributing to getting older abruptly had me Googling things like “prostate cancer.” There’s never been an issue when I was awake, although I feel like I’ve been having to race to the bathroom more urgently in the last year than I had previously.
Now, it’s a rare side effect. But I was seriously considering calling a doctor and scheduling a prostate exam, and if I can just go off a drug I already don’t want to be on rather than enduring a prostate exam, I think maybe I’ll try that first.(*)
So I did a couple things: I stopped taking my Lexapro and also stopped drinking pop, since caffeine and sugar have also been linked to urinary incontinence. Not only have I had no nocturnal issues since then, but I’ve slept through the night most of the nights since then. It has been months since I slept through the night five nights in a row; waking up at 3:30 in the morning needing to take a piss five or six times a week was also something that I had previously attributed to getting older that may have been caused by the drugs. It’s only been a week, mind you, and until last week this was not a thing that happened frequently, but the absence of further bloops and being able to sleep through the night have me thinking I’m probably on to something.
Negative side effects of stopping Lexapro have been minimal; I was weirdly dizzy today and that’s been about it. I haven’t noticed the anxiety coming back, really; I did let everyone at work know that I was off my brain meds and that if they thought I was behaving strangely they needed to let me know right away. Predictably, this has led to every fucking interaction I have with anyone now involving someone accusing me of being overly emotional, because the people I work with are caring and serious grown-ups.
(*) The word first means “first,” not “only,” just to be clear. I have since discovered that they’re recommending annual prostate exams start at 40 now instead of 50, so I actually will be talking to my doctor about that soon, and I’m not as het up about the idea as most men seem to be. I’ll tell you about it if it’s a funny story, but I don’t expect it to be a big deal. Just be aware that I’m not ignoring it.
Anyone with any aptitude for technology has encountered this scenario, right? The Family Tech Support issue, where you’re stuck between just fixing their problem, whatever it is, and refusing to help at all and just screaming read the words on the screen over and over again until they either help themselves or hang up on you. And that last panel is always the end result of any of these conversations.
It’ll happen to you, too, they say, or maybe you think it to yourself. Sooner I’ll be relying on my kids to help me figure out why the clock in my ocular implant is always blinking 12:00 over and over again, or I’ll need my son to point out to me that the reason my touchscreen “doesn’t work” is because I won’t just touch the thing and insist on stabbing at it with the tip of my finger like I’m hitting a key on a manual typewriter.
Lemme change the subject for a second.
I have six tattoos, and I’ve been fighting the urge for a seventh for the last few weeks– in fact, I’ve woken up a few times in the last few weeks convinced that I was going to go get another one that day. When I got my first one (and this was 20 years ago now) I heard from my parents exactly what every other person my age heard from their parents.
“What are you going to do when you’re 80 and you still have that?”
And here’s the thing (and let me be clear, I’m not talking about my parents specifically here; this is a widespread cultural phenomenon): when people ask you that, they’re suffering from a weird sort of blind spot: they’re thinking of old people now, who are comparatively less likely to have tattoos unless they were in the Navy or something. When I’m 80– which, good luck, fat boy– I will console myself with the knowledge that probably 70% of the rest of the 80 year olds sharing space with me in the nursing home will also have tattoos. It will be normal. Yeah, they’ll all be saggy and blurry and faded. So the fuck what? It’s not going to be weird at all. 2/3 of people my age have tattoos and we will still have tattoos when we are old.
Let’s talk video games. When I was a kid, playing video games was a thing For Kids. The notion that there would ever be jobs connected to video games was considered ludicrous; video games were a thing that we were all going to Grow Out Of, and they’d stay a Thing for Kids forever. Why? Because in the late eighties the Nintendo was a Thing for Kids.
I’m 40 and still playing video games, and I suspect a fair number of the people who were playing Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out with me are too. And I suspect a lot of those who aren’t are likely out of gaming because of reasons unrelated to maturity.
So, I ask you: how likely is it really that people my age are going to have to be calling our kids to get basic tech shit explained to us in 20 years? In ten, when my son is 15? What exactly is going to change about me or the way I look at the world that’s going to cause me to lose the ability– or, more importantly, the desire, because that’s actually the salient difference here– to figure new shit out, other than actual dementia?
Nothing. It ain’t gonna happen. Will there be some aspects of technology/Future Life that I’m not going to get? Sure, but that’s because of youth culture, not because of the tech itself. I don’t know what the fuck Tumblr is for, and I don’t really get Snapchat, but my confusions are more of the why would you want to do this variety rather than I need this to make my life work, please show me how to use it.
At 40, I’m about as old as you can be and still claim to be a “digital native,” a phrase more likely to be applied to millennials than people my age. But I grew up with this shit, and the upbringing my son is getting right now is really not that different from my own childhood. My first home game system was an Atari. I had a Commodore 64/128 that I used to dial into local BBS systems over a 300 baud modem. I spent so much time on BBSes that my parents had to install a second phone line in my bedroom. I had a cell phone in 1995 or 1996, way before most people had them. I still tend to be an early adopter in a lot of ways and my affinity for tech stuff is a key part of my personality.
And all of this is just supposed to go away at some point, when I have to start calling my son for tech support? When, exactly? When am I going to stop being myself, absent some sort of literal mental deterioration?(*) It’s not going to happen. This is just as much of a canard as Old People Don’t Have Tattoos or You’re Going to Grow Out of Gaming.
Or maybe I’m just hugely immature. I dunno.
Somewhat unrelated contention: I hate the phrase “Generation X” and always have. Gen Xers are older than me; I’m not one of them. Millennials are younger than me and I’m not one of them either. You may refer to my generation as either Generation Star Wars or Generation Nintendo; they both work as far as I’m concerned.
The clearest sign of whether you are in my generation or you are a millennial is this, by the way: if Pokémon was part of your childhood, you are a millennial.
(*) I am, and I hope this is obvious, not suggesting that people who aren’t good with technology are suffering from some sort of disorder. But if it were to happen to me, it would probably be a sign that I needed to go see somebody. That’s all I’m saying.
Summer ends tomorrow, as the boy returns to school and my schedule changes not at all. It’s going to be a weird couple of weeks, as all the other kids from his class (all of whom, as you may recall, are older than him) are moving on to kindergarten and he’s remaining in preschool. I remain firmly convinced that having my 11-year-old taking math with 13-year olds, as would have inevitably occurred down the road had we not done this, would have been a bad idea, but for right now we need to make sure that he understands that the reason he isn’t in kindergarten with his friends is not because he’s dumb. He hasn’t said anything like that to us yet, but he apparently made a comment to my mom along those lines a couple of weeks ago.
Managing to have a baby right at the beginning of school is one of the more spectacular examples of poor timing during my life, by the way.
Meanwhile: the water feature we had to build in our basement the other day has proven to be merely a massive inconvenience and not actually anything one might use the word “disaster” to describe, and certainly not anything that affects us financially. The basement is currently dry and our sump pump made it through the night without exploding. Not everyone was so lucky; the picture above is the parking lot of a local grocery store (note the car in the middle distance) and the store is pretty much completely destroyed, as is a nearby day care that is the south-side version of the one my son’s been attending. We got lucky. Lots of other people didn’t. Turns out that getting two inches more rain in a day than the area has ever measured before is bad, guys.
So, yeah. School tomorrow. I plan to get my review of Stranger Things written, and maybe I’ll break tradition and actually work on Tales from the Benevolence Archives instead of just talking about it. We’ll see.
If we were having coffee, I’d be… Hm. I’m not actually sure what I’d be doing at the moment. This is a big week of transitions in my life, right? I’ve been at training for the last two weeks, but tomorrow my new career actually starts. I’ve been an educator since late 2000. I’m a furniture salesman now. Most of me is really looking forward to this but a big part of me still can’t help but see it as a mid-life demotion. Will I get over it? I expect to. But I don’t know.
Oh, and also, I turn 40 on Tuesday. There will be a whole post for that, and I don’t want to burn the entire Holy Shit I’m 40 And My Imminent Death Is Staring Me In The Face post on a coffee share, but there’s some of that going on too. Or maybe not? I’ve been telling people I was 40 for a year, as I mostly skipped 39. I’ll be at work for eleven hours on my birthday, so it’s not like I’ll have a lot of time to get all kvetchy about things. But maybe I will anyway? Or maybe I’ll be OK with it? I dunno. I won’t know for real until it’s official.
Nah, if we were having coffee, I think I’d mostly be interested in looking to see if I could get you to indulge in bitching about fireworks with me. Some of the neighbors put on, oh, a two-hour display last night while I was at OtherJob? And it was pretty, but it was mostly loud. And I got some of the clearest evidence yet that I’m getting old, because by the end of the night I was muttering Jesus fuck, ENOUGH every time something exploded nearby. I sort of want to keep the boy up late tonight and take him to see something– we are in a shitty part of our timezone, and it doesn’t get properly dark this time of year until nearly 10:00– but I certainly found that I could do without the damned things last night.
So, yeah, maybe the goal for this coffee share is to keep you talking. My gripes are all pretty predictable at the moment. How’s it going?