Sunday, September 18, 2011

I was half drunk. Not fully drunk, but half drunk.

It was all around me, all the same, all boring goddamned people doing boring things and leading boring lives and talking about boring bullshit.

For a moment I felt like I was 18 again as that old angst overrode all the other emotions I'm inundated with from moment to moment.

See, the older I get, the better I get at what I do. The better I get at what I do, the more I realize that the barriers are falling away from how high I can go in this journalism business, and I had just read this article earlier that day:

This passage, in particular struck me.

"My life was the opposite of cozy domesticity. I slept with a pre-packed bag with clothes, and had a wardrobe consisting of “winter war” (Chechnya, Balkans, Afghanistan, northern Iraq) parkas and boots and “summer war” (Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Guinea, etc.) baggy shirts and trousers. I had a collection of Middle East and “strict Islam” head scarves, abayas and kurtas. When I went on the rare holiday with friends who had children, I listened like an alien as they talked about schools and real estate."

And I looked around that bar, that same old fucking bar that I've been going to for seven fucking years, and it was all the same people, just with different names, but all the same boring fucking people talking about their kids and their houses and their jobs and all kinds of other things that I just can't make myself care about and it struck me that I will be leaving, as soon as possible.

I had promised myself when I was little that I would never be one of the men who hated his job and only lived for the weekend, but my problem has become the opposite. I have become addicted to and totally consumed by journalism, and I am happy only when I'm boxing or when I'm working.

The weekends are spent in drunken boredom as I catapult from bar to bar, waiting and hiding my boredom until Monday.

I realized it when I was sent on assignment to Virginia recently - it was, and still is, the first time that I've been actually "sent on assignment" and it was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had, being sent out into the Unknown having to keep a promise of delivering a hundred inches and a shitload of pictures... it was glorious.

I just began reading in ernest Robert Fisk's "The Great War for Civilisation" as well, and the timing of my reading it is further proof that God has a sense of humor with me.

The book is a chronicle of sorts of Fisk's years as a Middle East war correspondant for a London newspaper, times that he spent interviewing Osama Bin Laden and traveling with Russian soldiers across the frozen Afghani landscape during their invasion of that country in the 1980s. The writing is fantastic, the stories, nearly unbelieveable. And those, dear friends, are the stories that I want.

Sometimes it seems like everything over the past few years has been building up to that. Learning to box, learning to shoot, learning outdoor skills and how to sleep outside in the sweltering heat of the Virginia plains or the frigid Catskill Mountains night.... it's as if I unwittingly have been preparing to go to these war zones that I have read about so eagerly.

And looking around that bar, realizing that at 27 I have no girlfriend, no house, no kids, no desire to have kids, and nothing holding me back from pursuit of such dreams.... it will not be long before I am gone.

And I do sometimes believe that I will not come back.

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