No one knows what the fuck they’re doing. This is almost, not entirely, but almost universal. I just dropped my kid off at school and as I looked around, assessing my peers: fellow parents of preschoolers, I realized that A) we’re a bunch of complete dorks and B) none of us are any more equipped to be the parents of preschoolers than the kids themselves are to be preschool students. That’s not to say we’re inadequate. We’re every bit as experienced in being the parents of young students as anyone else on earth (save that pig with 21 kids and a few other hyper breeding disgustos), but the very notion of preparedness is kind of a bullshit notion across the board, unless you’re crammed deeply into a rut or routine. Pretty weird.
I’ve spent a long time on the road playing in various bands. I’d say that I’m pretty adept at figuring out what’s going on in the entire ‘traveling from town to town-showing up at a club-setting shit up-soundchecking-dicking around-playing a show-hanging out-doing it all again” scene. I know I can do it. I’m not a stranger to the notion of it at all. But there’s no point where I’m ever really prepared for what’s going on. Tour is a constant state of having no idea what’s going on. If you ever have a conversation with anyone who’s in the middle of a tour, inevitably at some point they’ll utter the phrase “I don’t know what the fuck is going on,” because there are just too many X factors to deal with to ever have a semblance of real routine (though it can still be mind numbingly dull). This is what keeps being on tour both exciting and maddening. You have to have a real zen attitude to just realize that you don’t know where anything is or what the fuck is going on, and let yourself be taken, all while staying pro-active and doing whatever you can to make sure shit’s as smooth as possible for everyone involved. What I’m just realizing is that tour zen is pretty much the same attitude you need to navigate life at large without breaking down into panic attacks/screaming fits.
At times, I have kind of a short temper. It’s one of the worst character traits anyone can hope to have. About 80% of my attitude is laid back and capable of dealing with being shit on/things not going my way with relative ease, but the last 20% of my brain just gets furious about weird stuff quite quickly. Lots of it comes from the new sense of investment I have in the world now that I have kids. Before, I didn’t really care about people driving fast through neighborhoods, for example. I mean, intellectually I didn’t like the idea, but it didn’t viscerally bother me in the slightest. Now, I see someone roll a stop sign or text while behind the wheel and I want to throw coffee across their windshield. “Hey, we got fucking kids running around here, and these kids are just stupid/innocent enough that they may wander into the street. As you’re part of the society that we’re having here, how about you don’t act like a total asshole while you’re behind the wheel of a giant machine that can (and routinely does) crush people, eh?” You get the idea. I have a lot more anger now that I have things in this world that I have a biological imperative to protect.
That said, it’s a shitty development across the board. The reason that a bad temper is such a horrible trait is that it completely incapacitates you on several levels. Firstly, when you’re angry, you can’t think straight, ergo you’re making yourself dumber. You shake and your head pounds, making you physically less capable. It rubs off on other people and either makes them angry too or makes them dislike you/want to avoid you/want to further enrage you: It cripples your social skills. There is nothing in your brain so perfectly designed to short out your good time as your temper. When you are angry, you can’t let shit go, you can’t create a contingency, and you sure as shit can’t make sure you’re operating in such a way that best serves the group you’re with. It blows.
Which brings me back to my original point. No one has any idea what the fuck they’re doing, and not knowing what you’re doing can often breed anger. HOWEVER, if you start giving into the darkside, you’re gonna be angry for the whole rest of your life.
By the time I know what it’s like to be a parent of a preschooler, I’ll be the parent of a kindergartener, in much the same way that as soon as my kid gets the hang of preschool, BOOM! He’s gonna be on to the next thing. Sure, the parents with older kids have a bit of an idea of the game, just as the younger siblings do, but the point is still valid. You think your mom knew how to deal with you when you were sixteen? No fucking way. She had no idea. Just like you had no idea how to BE sixteen. It never ends. It starts when you get dragged out of a vagina that’s terrified everyone by becoming big enough to fit a person through and it ends when you die. There’s a reason that death is called the last great unknown, because it’s the last in a huge series of completely unknown things that you’re never, ever gonna be prepared for.
You never get the hang of being a kid until you become a grown up. Being a grownup is even more impossible to navigate because there are really no rules (except for all the rules that random people prescribe: you’ve gotta shave. you can’t shave, you’ve gotta own a suit, you can’t live with your parents, you need twelve place settings, you have to get your asshole waxed, you MUST get riled up at doctors who give abortions/you must NEVER get riled up about abortions….you get the idea. Everyone has a set of rules that they’ve arbitrarily thrown down and adult human interaction has everything to do with how similar those rules are to someone else’s and/or how badly you want to fuck them and that’s pretty much it).
You’re born. You have no idea what you’re doing. You’re a kid. You have no idea what you’re doing. You become a student. You have no idea what you’re doing. You graduate. You have no idea what you’re doing. You make a resume. You embellish it because your actual experience is worthless. You have no idea what you’re doing. You get a job where they expect you to be able to do the shit that your resume says, but you adhere to the old “every job is just learning on the fly anyway” maxim which is just another way of saying you have no idea what you’re doing. You get promoted. You have no idea what you’re doing. You have kids. You have no idea what you’re doing (and now they too are here, and THEY have no idea what THEY’RE doing). You become the living embodiment of the Peters principle and you keep getting promoted until you find yourself at a job that you don’t do very well, because it’s too hard. And that’s where you stay, incompetently bashing your head against a wall in a routine. Stuck in a rut where you do know what you’re doing, but here’s the dick punch. What you’re doing is ‘having no idea what I’m doing’ and that’s what enables you to stay there.
“But wait!” some of you are saying, “I am a bartender/barista/designer/accountant/dude in a band/porn actor. I’ve been doing this same shit for a long time. I know exactly what I’m doing. This whole rant is complete bullshit.” No. No dude. No it’s not and no you don’t. If you’ve been doing your shitty job long enough that you know what you’re doing, then what the fuck are you doing? You’re sitting there in the rut you’ve cultivated (even if you ‘enjoy’ your job) and on some level you’re thinking “what the fuck am I doing? Is this it?”
And that’s the ultimate nut punt, isn’t it? Humans are designed to throw themselves into situations where they have no idea what’s going on, and once they figure it out, they become dissatisfied. They want to fuck someone new or switch up the living room or move to Spain or get a new job or finally get in shape or say ‘fuck the gym’ and just kind of live Cheeto-style for a while…what a bunch of clowns we are. Bumbling along with our dicks in our hands, making up rules, and either rolling with the waves or drowning in our rage. It’s a wild world.