So Why This Strange Pair(ing)?
So, why Apple-centric topics and depression? Of the vast array of strange bedfellows, why this particular pair?
The joke, of course, especially among those with, let us say, proclivities toward being less-than-fond of Apple and Apple-related technologies, is that the connection is obvious and fundamental: Apple nuts are, well, nuts. Among the wider public, all tech geeks are an odd assortment.
Tangentially, unfortunate sexist language aside, I miss the 5by5 podcast, Tech Douchebags, hosted by Jordan Cooper, even without the Louisville connection he and I share. Personally, I don’t think the topic was anywhere near being played out and had plenty left to be mined. Could be most don’t think of themselves as being d-bags, including those who are.
But this is not my point. My perspective, my take, as it were, has little to do with assholes and even less with being an asshole, nor, for that matter, with any of the host of related stereotypical images that come too readily to mind, such as the socially awkward basement dweller, though admittedly these have largely faded, in lockstep with the ascendency of the comic book/graphic novel nerd, from the cultural consciousness.
My focus, in the end, is myself, as I am in no position to pontificate or proclaim broadly, even if I sometimes proffer generally. Even with myself, I’ve learned the necessity of remaining tentative. By now, it’s an understood frame: everything I say is tentative, except this sentence. No! That sentence too. Wait, am I saying I’m tentatively tentative, thus suggesting the possibility of assuredness? Oh hush, Derrida! 'Tis not the proper venue for your wild, post-structuralist ways.
While we’re touching upon the subject, like any good academic, as I am by training and trade, we must define our terms, or at least make an attempt, even if the ultimate conclusion is one of hopeless chains ofendlessly deferring or overdetermined signifiers. But I do so love the nachos at Qdobas and lament the absence of any franchises near my present city of residence. So, yes, terms.
First, I’m not even a techie; or, perhaps, I’m so new a convert as to have not yet earned my wings, as it were, a fledgling, to keep with the general metaphor. Neither am I a mental health professional, nor do I work in any medical field or have any qualifications to give health advice, or any advice, for that matter, really, so, you know, don’t ever take my advice. It’d just be tentative, anyway.
Which brings us back to where I began: why this intersection of topics? Because my life recently, well, fell apart, truth be told, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I, someone whose slightly younger classmates in grad school had viewed as a bit of an old dog just this side of Luddite, suddenly fell in love with Apple products and Apple news, followed closely by the work of independent developers, to whom I very much want to give my money. And I do whenever I can, even if they happen to be one of the few who are rich and seem arrogant (coughsMarco) because Overcast is a damn fine app. Have my money; go buy another car. (Rather obvious I’m into podcasts as well, huh?)
So I fell in love, madly. With my iPhone, ever the gateway drug. It didn’t help that my wife had long before decided she did not, in fact, love me, madly or otherwise. I’m not convinced she ever did. I’m not persuaded she’s even capable, but I digress. Not counting kid stuff, in the days when guys said it to “get in her pants,” abhorrent behavior I would never do as an adult (and I mean that; no hipster ironic wink here), no one has ever said “I love you” to me in a romantic way or sense. Okay, in making that statement I’m also not counting the woman or two sufficiently drunk to mistake me for an old college flame. Or for daddy.
Speaking of, as you have surely surmised by now, yes, my own mother was cold and did not, in fact, love my father, for whom she had little respect. He was a simple man, a country mouse. She was no city mouse, but neither was she entirely simple or unambitious. The tragedy of the oppressively patriarchal culture in which they ‘’courted,’’ married, and lived is that it cost them both dearly, as repressive regimes are apt to do, if disproportionately. She was trapped by someone she thought inferior; he, disrespected by one he thought should be incapable of it by divine providence.
Whatever. It was failing to extricate myself from the friend zone with the head cheerleader and homecoming queen that truly fucked me up. No, really. It only seems obvious now that I stood no chance. The society works hard to maintain its many illusions about love, sex, power, and hard work, among others. Also working against me was the fact of my being, you know, like short and unpopular with all the other girls, too. At least Rendi was friendly.
My wife, however—a year after ending things, and she’s still technically my wife—was never friendly. How it came to be or got to that, why I stayed, why she stayed, how I became, let’s face it, suicidal, is a dark path through a deep forest and one we shan’t be taking right now. The important thing to know is that one who had once earned high marks in a Ph.D. program while working a forty-hour managerial job AND drinking or dating three nights a week was in danger of losing his job.
Meds and my only friend may have saved my life (for now, anyway), but technology played its part. Kept/keeps me sane, maybe. Was a form of self-medication, if you’ll allow me to stretch the meaning that far, a stretch I feel strongly is warranted. Warranted, indeed. To focus upon a workflow, eliminate a tap, discover a functionality, figure out a work-around. Ahh! The pleasure of a life hack! The singular focus that became for me both sustenance and detriment. Stay alive. Neglect everything, including my own well-being.
It’s a bit o’ the ole Catch-22, now idn’t it?
Not sure why an exaggerated Cockney accent seemed fitting for the prior sentence.
I’m maintaining the balance much better now, with therapeutic and pharmaceutical assistance, of course, but I do actively worry about the future, the long-term, about side effects like my murdered libido becoming permanent (not that it matters these days), about the abject loneliness no drug—or blog—can mitigate.
The diary of a dying man, or the journal of one coming back to life? Could be interesting either way, no? And in the meantime, app or tip of the week, perhaps, hmm?