October 01, 2012

A chapter closing

A chapter closed on my life this past week and it seems I am waiting for the next chapter to open. The changes are small, minor things that most people would regard as petty, but they were important to me. For starters, I learned this past week that City of Heroes, a game I have played for seven years, will be going offline on November 30th. Some of my earlier posts related to City of Heroes are here:

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf
Master of Her Own Universe
Have Cape, Will Fly
City of Heroes Spring Fling

The demise of City of Heroes has hit me pretty hard. I've been spending more time playing this past week than I have in the past year, often putting aside important tasks until some distant future date that is still undetermined. Sometimes I get even more choked up visiting old maps and missions than I would if I visited my hometown in California. City of Heroes has been a consistent pleasure I could return to time and time again when the world around me went insane or simply became too complicated to understand. Call me crazy if you like, but I have never felt comfortable in this modern world. Not when I was child, definitely not as an adolescent, and even less so as an adult. Reality is what it is and it sucks.

But that is not the only ending point I've suddenly and unexpectedly reached. Several of my friends, two of them people I've known for decades, have become ever more reluctant to discuss anything more than the weather. They have fallen under the mystique of "reality television" even more deeply than I ever fell under the trap of online gaming. As they spend less and less time reading newspapers, reading the news online, or even watching the nightly news, they have become more and detached from reality. I've always been drawn to fictional and virtual worlds, so I sympathize completely, but they have fallen farther from reality than I ever did even in my absolute lowest moment. Even worse, because the programs that have captured their attention are labeled "reality television", they treat the characters and personalities as equally important as their immediate family and friends. In more than one instance, a friend I have known since high school has expressed deep sympathy for a reality television personality while attacking me for simply stating that I wouldn't know because I don't watch reality television!

It has gotten to the point with some of them that if I mention that I disagree on even the most casual topic they get as personally offended as if I had insulted them directly or verbally attacked a family member. Not just reality television either. Books, politics, religion, abstract philosophy, personal decision chains, in almost everything I am suddenly expected to either copy their perspective in the most minute detail or an apology is demanded and expected. I don't understand how so many people can grow so intolerant in less than a year. They are attacking me as if I have attacked them just because I mention that I disagree. And no, I'm not being insulting. I am not aggressively demanding they change their outlook. I am simply expressing disagreement and explaining why my view is different. Have we truly reached a point in this country where we expect everyone to be identical? How is that freedom?

If I were demanding they agree with me I could understand it, but I'm not. I am simply insisting on my freedom to be different. I stopped demanding people agree with me a very long time ago. Raising two sons while not working meant early on that I had to find ways to express my view on things and then let them make up their own minds because the fact that I did not work while almost all of their friend's fathers did work immediately invalidated any parental demand I might make. It was most frustrating, but I learned and they learned and now I am far less demanding of everyone while they have grown into generous, open-minded young men.

And so it is that this blog post reads more like a bad reality television show than the opinion pieces I normally post. As this chapter closes in my life, as the most important presidential election of the past century and a half is held and decided, as friends abandon me and my favorite game ends, there is no doubt in my mind that I will change as well. This kind of sudden life change is exactly why all those years ago I named this blog, "Brian's Meandering Mind". I had just closed an important chapter in my artistic and professional life and had yet to understand what was coming next. Being addicted to writing in the way that I am, I had to write something but I had no idea what I would be writing about, so I knew it would be a long, meandering journey into an unknown and unknowable future. Now, nine and a half years later, I stand yet again on the threshold of unknowable change.

"Meandering", indeed. Always and forever it seems. Always and forever.