Sunday, November 30, 2014

Zero's Mix: November 2014

1) MakeDamnSure - Taking Back Sunday
2) So What - Miles Davis
3) Broken Cash Machine - Modern Baseball
4) My Little Drum - Vince Guaraldi
5) Hurts Like Heaven - Coldplay
6) My Foolish Heart - Bill Evans Trio
7) Band Call - Oscar Peterson Trio
8) People Get Ready - The Frames

Friday, November 14, 2014

Volkswagen Busses are not for Decision Making

"Ben tell us a story about how foolish you were when you were younger!"

Okay, have I got a doozy for you. This one even has some important theology to it.

I don't know if I've explained this before, but I was kind of a loner in high school. I had people to talk to when I was there and people to do stuff with but when I went back to Kingston, there was no one to talk to so I mostly just played a lot of video games. That went good for a while until I did something stupid and lost all my friends that I played video games with (that story is next on my list). Then I had my computer and my parents and a few people that I talked to a lot but with little deep and personal interactions.


One summer, I met a girl who became my closest friend throughout the rest of my high school years. She was friendly and would always be messaging me (in the days of MSN messenger....) in the evenings while I was playing video games or working on my homework or what not. We would have these prolonged conversations sometimes about nothing, but sometimes about things I hadn't really spoken to anyone else about. Though I felt massively insecure, she kept talking to me and I really enjoyed that.

Over the course of this time I developed a massive crush on her. I think this happens a lot. There's a funny video where girls who have male best friends are asked this question and then asked if they think the guy would date them if given the opportunity. Then they interview the male best friends. With clever editing, it turns out all of the girls think the guys would not date them. All of the guys say they would.

When you're in high school and trudging through the depths of emotional intimacy and seeing what's out there, it's easy to get stuck on a relationship that looks significant but lacks depth and maturity. It's also easy to do this when you're an adult but I think it happens more commonly among teenagers. Amid all of the emotional intimacy of this very close friendship, I decided that I really liked this girl and she must like me romantically because why else would she spend all of this time talking to me. No one else does this.

I told her about my feelings for her after I met her new boyfriend. The conversation was...cathartic but ultimately not very satisfying. She did not have the same feelings for me. What would I do? I was kind of distraught. I asked God what I should do. Then I did something that you should never ever do. I asked God if he would tell me if I was going to marry her. It was a thing where I had heard about other people doing it and I assumed that it would work for me.

I decided that if I saw a Volkswagen bus, that would mean that her and I were going to get married.

Now I know what you're thinking. If you are not a person of faith you would probably say "Ben that sounds like the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. You are obviously a crazy person." If you are a person of faith, you would probably say "Ben, that sounds like the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. You are obviously a crazy person." The truth is that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but because I didn't want to tell anyone what was going on, I refrained from consulting with anyone about my plan with God.

I used the justification that this was like Gideon and the fleece. There's a story in Judges where Gideon is trying to determine if he really heard from God and so he takes a blanket and lays it out on the ground overnight and says "God, if you're really asking me to do this then make the ground wet with dew but leave the blanket totally dry". He awakes the next morning to find the fleece dry. Then he says "God, I just want to make double sure so we're going to do this one more time and this time make the ground dry and the fleece wet". The following day he wrings several cups out of the blanket which he picked up off the dry ground.

Volkswagen Bus, impossible fleece, they're totally the same right? Not really. It is unlikely but still very possible to see a Volkswagen Bus. It is impossible to witness the conditions Gideon did with the fleece. Problems would inevitably follow.

And they did. I saw a Volkswagen Bus, thought it was a sign, and waited for my friend to change her mind and come running into my arms where we would happily run off into the bliss of marriage together. Instead she continued dating this other guy leaving me feeling confused and frustrated. Didn't she understand God's plan for our life together?.

"Man Ben, you were crazy back then"

I know. Don't remind me. Anyways I spent a couple of years like this before I finally told someone who was more responsible than me. I was distressed. They asked why. I explained that God had told me who I was going to marry and they didn't seem to know it. They asked how I found out. I told them about the Volkswagen Bus thing.

"Your methods sound pagan"

It was probably the best thing anybody could have said to me at that point. The whole exercise was so ridiculous that it needed to be identified as such and this guy was the first one to do that for me. After that conversation with him I decided that I must have been wrong and I tried to move on.

A month later I am crying in the arms of my best friend because moving on isn't working. Even though I don't think we're going to get married, I still have feelings for her. It's hard to tell your feelings that they're not allowed to like someone, especially when you spend years focused and fixated on them. I had not learned about the feminist argument against the "friend-zone" yet. I didn't have an intellectual argument to fight with the stomach churning feelings inside of me. This went on for a couple of months.

Then one day I gave up. It took a couple of months but there was a moment of clarity where I realized that it wasn't going to happen and it was time to give up on my romantic pursuit. It was a great moment of clarity. I immediately told her the whole story of what had gone on. She thanked me for telling me. I think she was secretly relieved that I wasn't going to be creepy anymore. We continued to be friends. And then 3 months later, she told me I should talk to this other girl about something. That other girl was Amanda and we've been married for a year and a half.

What's the moral of this story? It's not like every story has to have a moral but I think there's two things to take away from this one. First if someone doesn't have feelings for you (and it's super easy to find out if they don't. Just ask them "do you have feelings for me?" They will tell you) then no amount of divine intervention is going to change that and it's healthier to live in reality and enjoy the friendships you have instead of pining away for some romance which is never going to happen. Trust me, you'll save yourself a lot of frustration if you are able to get that into your feelings.

The second is that romance is kind of unexpected. Amanda and I went from friends to dating within a very short span of time and if you had asked me if high school if I thought we would end up together I probably would have said no. Yet somehow it happened. Romance is funny like that.

Anyways, I've embarrassed myself enough for one day. Get out there and make good choices friends!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Zero's Mix: October 2014

In no particular order this month...

1) Yes - Roundabout
2) Apostle of Hustle - Energy of Death
3) The Used - The Taste of Ink
4) Pharrell Williams - Gust of Wind
5) Chrome Sparks - Marijuana
6) Pedro The Lion - Rapture
7) The Weakerthans - One Great City!
8) Zeus - Marching Through Your Head
9) Bloc Party - Tulips
10) Death from Above 1979 - Always On