Photos and Words of Patrick Calder

I live in Washington, DC with 1 cat named Pixel, 6 cameras, 3 computers, 158 movies, 286 books, and 1 bowling pin. I own the Design Foundry and pretend to be a graphic designer by day.

Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.

dark shit / January 3, 2006

I’ve talked much shit, in person and in this journal, about the strength necessary to work for yourself. The ability to even conceive of something so outside the social norm. The necessity of having the skills and contacts to implement any such idea. The intestinal fortitude necessary to deal with the overwhelming incompetence and bureaucracy you’re bound to face. The natural assumption—and admittedly most often result—of a successful attempt at controlling your whole life instead of just 16 hours of it, is a wonderful sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Like you’ve broken out and are now master of your destiny. But few good things don’t have a darker side to them. In what passes for one of my more sullen moments recently, I thought about what that control actually meant. My greatest fear since going out on my own has been failure, resulting in ending up living on the street. It’s not a fear I can simply ignore. The street very literally looms large in my life, just outside my giant bay windows. I cannot walk more than a block anywhere in this city without being pan-handled to by someone supposedly living on the street, with thoughts of “There but for the grace of some desperate clients…”. It’s a simple enough fear on it’s own; really not just limited really to people who work for them-self. But I think the limited—very limited— success I have had so far (knock wood) makes it all the more vibrant. I’ve proven that I can control my own life successfully. But the street is still out there. Not everyone who ends up there fell on hard times. Some people went there with conscious effort. The temptation is ALWAYS there not to do the more unpleasant tasks. Not to deal with the difficult people. Not to make the awkward calls. While I, and most people that would be considered mentally healthy, choose to live a cleaner, more peaceful lifestyle, complete control really means complete control. There’s no safety net… no business or social requirements that keep me off the street, anymore.
“Beware the dark side, Luke”
Morbid and ridiculous, I know. So I often pull myself away from the window with a bit too much force, and look at my apartment. And I think about how much crap I have. Things unnecessary to every day life. And if I ever did end up out of here, how much would I regret that DVD, or those new jeans, or… Certainly inspires some serious cleaning and purging binges. And makes me cringe every time I get a frivolous, meaningless gift.
I have no doubt I am seriously fucked up. But then… would I be better off worrying about mortgage payments and what Allison thinks of me?
Of course, when I look at my cat, nothing in the world can keep me from smiling.
*Editor’s Note: No… I wasn’t particularly depressed when I wrote this. I had intended to write many things that night, which had been building up over the holidays. But when finger was put to keyboard, that’s all that came out.

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