The Story You Want to Hear
This is it.
In this first paragraph I’m going to tell you the story you want to hear. And I’m speaking to you directly — you disenchanted Millennial, you overworked tech-worker, you misunderstood Boomer you. It’s the story you want to hear because I’m betting on the majority rule — the stats. The norms.
Who cares if not all millennials or igen-ers or ex-city dwellers or ex-church goers or ex-pats are disenchanted, I know you are.
And that’s important if I want you to keep reading — I’ve gotta be speaking to YOU right from the git-go.
Secondly I’ve gotta be speaking about something you like, something you want to learn (click here to make $5,000 a month on Pinterest!) or something that irks you. And it helps to use cool words like ‘irk.’ Makes me sound like a disenchanted writer. Oh — another sub-group to add to the keywords!
Waaait maybe I hit the nail on the head— what if we’re ALL disenchanted?
Maybe that’s why these “real stories” all sound like Truman-show-level propaganda — maybe the prescribed audience doesn’t matter if the message is uniformly understood right?
Fiji? Aw, ya better not go to Fiji, what with the long flight, and native unrest, better stay close to home this weekend — and wouldn’t you know brats are on sale — and the game is on! How perfect!
Sidenote - I’ve begun to wonder if the bulk of these stories of disenchantment are real. Or more specifically, if these ‘real’ people are writing from actual experiences.
To quote a classic Seinfeld, regarding Kramer believing the stories in the back of a certain adult magazine:
“well there sure are a lot of people having sex with amputees!”
— George Costanza
Please don’t misunderstand — I’m not trying to start a blogger turf-war with my fellow remote writers, some of them have to be real right? I’m just hearing my cynical inside voice more than usual as I peruse the daily options of a morning read.
(And if you’re hearing your cynical voice too I will confirm yes, I’m real — my name is listed as real as it can be and yes it was an Olmsted cousin who designed NYC’s Central Park. Very real. Like dirt and trees real.)
Back to the story
It’s still all about the story though right? That’s why we’re here, why we get sucked in. We get sucked into a story that is maybe better written than we could write, or that we want to take the time to write, but one that almost makes us feel as though it’s a story we did write.
So that later on today, or this week, over coffee with a friend (ah, remember the good old days) we can feel confirmed in our hatred or cute disdain for (repeat the hook) Millenials, capitalism, Karens, big cities, the church, America, etc.. because we’ll say “oh, speaking of (the above), I read a great little piece about exactly what I was telling you, it DOES suck to not be able to afford a home in California — this woman totally said what I was thinking — see it’s not just me!”
And therein lie the two important points — ok three.
- Maybe, as I mentioned, we’re all in a disenchanted season, and
- We need confirmation that we’re not alone, and
- We’re seeking a solution (if we’re honest).
If you like acronyms that’s
*notice how after being sucked in because I was speaking to you, now you feel confirmed — you’re not alone! — and now you’re ready to hear a solution. Also I slipped an outline in there with three easy points so simple even you might remember them. You’re welcome.
Of course if you’ve ever watched QVC (another great acronym!) you know but wait — there’s more.
Look the disenchantment is real I believe, I’m not trying to downplay it, though I do believe it’s at different levels for different people.
How do I know?
Not from canned articles online, nope.
I know from the road, man.
See what I mean?
Shoot — wait — I chose the wrong folder from my photos — I mistakenly chose the sucking-the-marrow-out-of-life folder.
And speaking of sucking the marrow and DPS (wow I’m really on a roll with these acronyms) now’s a good time as any to remember the captain, my captain:
These pictures of real life, of my life the past five years, on the road, unencumbered, do not look like quiet desperation or disenchantment do they? Not even like pictures of someone who cares if they can or cannot afford a house in California right?
And what about the other people in these shots, do they look disenchanted? Well the native Americans in Navajo Nation have a monopoly on that if we want to be honest and honor history and our own misgivings. And we should. But here we are, having completely taken over, and now we’re complaining about being disenchanted, and upset that a Starbucks wage doesn’t lead automatically to a house? And do you have any idea what type of house it’d be if it did?
We’d all live in storage containers, which can be made into a pretty cool house for about the cost of a Honda Civic. Ok maybe an Accord, but definitely a Honda.
So that’s the solution for disenchantment is it? Living alone in a tiny (however cool) box.
Because the fact is that after you’ve posted the pictures of the cool tiny house and told the story of the cool tiny house to all your friends and followers what do you do then? You live alone in a box. Maybe there’s a gf or a bf or a canine or feline. Or a fish.
It’s still a box.
We’re at a strange point though, where things are not just slightly different from what you see, they can sometimes be GLARINGLY different.
You like the road trip pictures right? Who wouldn’t. A couple of guys on the road, meeting people and cruising America in a huge gold boat.
And don’t get me wrong — it’s awesome. That car has led to more adventures in 22 years than some people have in their entire lives.
But it’s not awesome 100% of the time.
It can’t be.
During last summer’s lockdown-getaway we found ourselves unable to book at a state park outside of Savannah, GA (damn Covid again!). We scrambled and found “Mirkwood,” I’m using the exact name since I abstained graciously from writing a bad review on hipcamp, but I truly don’t want anyone else to be deceived. I can’t find the listing right now, maybe they wised up and pulled it but after 5pm our choices were limited so here we were:
Doesn’t look too bad right?
Here’s what was behind us.
I won’t even detail it because I barely have the energy, lets just say my shower was cut short because the dudes’ truck had rolled onto the hose.
Can’t make that up.
But you know the kicker right — the kicker is. . . was it worth it?
You saw the other shots yeah? There’s over 500 of “other shots” and that’s just ONE trip out of 22 years with that ONE car. And I’m just ONE guy, there’s thousands of others living outside the little box. (I really do have nothing against minimalist living, it’s actually a noble pursuit and as a society we have waaaay too much in storage).
But was my trip worth it — in your opinion?
Shoot I almost forgot — we also skidded off the road, into a culvert, and almost flipped when I hit this Antelope in Texas at 70 mph.
Life is a risk, man. A bloody antelope of a risk.
There’s disenchantment of not being able to buy a house in California. But there’s also disenchantment of having a huge road trip almost dissolve on day three because you were looking at the beautiful west Texas sunset instead of at the road.
It’s a risk.
Of what, exactly?
The unknown, of course.
Solution / Wrap
Or does it? In 2020 we had more excuses to claim that it did, but life is always going to be about risk and weighing choices and family dysfunction and family joy and cute babies and difficult toddlers and great sex and just ok sex and too many super hero movies and awkward work events and amazing travel and exhausting plane flights and good hair days and bad hair days and no hair days and all of it together.
It’s a big gamble.
A BIIIIGGGG gamble.
Alternatively you could stay home, stay safe.
I won’t, but you can.
And if I’m worth any salt as a writer here’s the big finish — the amazing solution if you just click here.
See the point isn’t whether or not you can afford a house in California, or a box the cost of a Honda — some can and many can’t. Many people in the world also don’t have access to clean water. Or regular meals. Or the opportunity to work. Or buy a car. Or live in a safe country.
When we have so much what do we also have a lot of?
Time to bitch.
Take your pick:
- The government
- The church
- Online comparison-ing
- Cubicle life-ing
- Living to please your parents
- Sitting in traffic
- You name it
Was this really the story you wanted to hear?
I don’t know anymore.
But maybe it was one you needed to hear.
Or maybe I did.
Nah you just probably need some coffee and maybe a dog and probably to be around people you’ve known for 35 years. Like these:
When’s the last time you talked to a friend on the phone? Not to say you’re late for dinner but just to talk?
I did it the other day — for the first time in a while.
It felt great.
Do you feel closer to or further from your friends after 2020?
When’s the last time you wrote a letter? I know. . an antiquated practice, but maybe it’s time to write a letter to someone who needs to hear from an old friend.
Maybe disenchantment happens when we look inward instead of outward.
Actually come to think of it my friends’ kid just joined the army and his mom said he’s feeling a little lonely. I have work but I’m sure at lunch I could pen out a letter. Maybe even buy a stamp.
Maybe I can address it right now, make sure it happens.
Honestly that’s not the ending I had thought for this post but I’m gonna run with it.
Maybe it’s not the full solution, the long term solution, but maybe writing to a kid in bootcamp, maybe that’s one step towards less disenchantment — at least for today.