This is an excerpt from my upcoming book Dear Charlotte, which tells the winding story of the triumph and folly of forever trying to better yourself. This letter is from the chapter on "Dealing with Others".
I've been on a strange trip these past two months. I've been finding myself awake at 4 a.m. in the homes of people I just met that day. There's a lot of drugs around me, even though I'm not really partaking in them. The other night, I was playing cards on the carpet of some old house, and this girl excused herself from the group to go to another room. I didn't wonder why at the time, but the next day it occurred to me, "Duh, she was probably doing coke with those two dudes." While I got a gay vibe from her friends, I wasn't 100% sure, and so I have no idea if that's all that happened. This kind of uncertainty seems to be following me everywhere on these nightly escapades with hipsters.
Why am I here and why is this happening? Well, a switch flipped recently and I adopted a policy that I call "social non-working." It's similar to a policy of "going with the flow" or "taking the path of least resistance." What I do is at every decision point, like when someone asks, "Hey, you want to go to another bar?" or "Hey, do you want to come to my party?" instead of thinking about my preset plans for the evening, I just sort of quiet my mind. I let myself go freely, like a planchette on an Ouija board.
It's a double-edged sword. Sometimes social non-working makes me lazy. One time I found myself at a bar, spending two hours in silence, watching TV. A cute girl walked by, and my attitude of non-work prevented me from getting up off my ass and talking to her. But overall, I've found myself filled with more moments of surprise than with boredom. The other night, I was up till 5 a.m. on this one girl's porch, drinking and smoking cigarettes, which is very unhealthy, but I had the time of my life.
Why am I doing this? I guess it's all a trick, like doublethink, to get myself out of the house and build something out there. It's much easier to focus on this method than to tackle some project like "find a girlfriend" or "make new friends." I can't even begin to think about how to consider attacking those things.
Or maybe I'm just making up for lost time in High School, when everything we did was focused on getting into college.1
1 I kept up with social non-working for months, until I got wrapped into a stressful relationship with that girl I started smoking with. While I'm grateful that this method got me in a relationship, as an instrument it was too blunt, throwing me into many situations I later came to regret.