may 26th, 2010:

“what a sweltering hot day. i walked down henderson in the morning and mr. Vangou from no frills saw me. he drove me to hock shop for my Rogers shoot. the power was out in the store but we managed to finish the shoot without too many problems. then i walked to the GO station, listened to the new Pendulum album. the song “Encoder” is really good, reminds me of sitting oceanside somewhere near the Pacific.

i went downtown and walked up to one Dundas. listened to the song “88 Lines about 44 Women” and wondered how it was possible to get not just one, but 44 different girls to be interested in you. talked to reception, found out the team was meeting at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. so i went to the Print Shop, got Stitch and Beardmaster’s Edge trading cards laminated, then met the team at the theatre and hung out for the afternoon. Lots of marathon runners on the Exhibition grounds. The Weakerthans took forever to finish their set.”

What would 2020 me say to 2010 me? I feel nauseous even thinking about it.

“On May 26th 2020 you will be alone and a miserable wreck. You’ll have that job you’ve been shadowing- but it takes you most of the decade to get it. And guess what? You still don’t get accepted into the ‘upstairs clique’. By the way, every friend you do have right now will no longer talk to you. And those 120 Facebook wall posts you just got on your birthday? Savour them.

You won’t be married. In fact you still won’t have had anything even close to a relationship. You won’t have that condo in the city. You won’t have taken a vacation in this time. In fact your daily existence will be roughly the same every single day for the next ten years, just remixed slightly. You’ll have about five good days.”

2020 me is genuinely worse off than 2010 me. If I lose this job now, I won’t have anything. No friends. No concerts. Not on TV anymore. Health is shot. And now there’s no time to start over; all that time is gone and my best years are behind me. But the absolute worst part, the absolute worst, is that there is no more hope. Because I have hoped and hoped and hoped and nothing has happened for 10 years.

My worst fears have been confirmed. I am of zero consequence when I’m not present. I’m a non-entity.

In English: nobody ever thinks of me. If I don’t make content I do not exist.

I no longer imagine what life will be in the future because life has proved to me that it’s not developing into some imagined fantasy. Life in 2030 will likely be some minor variation on what it is right now. There will be no trip to Santa Fe. There will be no condo in the city. There will be no girl who supports me and shows off my work and enjoys my company. It will just be this forever. I can guarantee you tomorrow. One week from now. One month from now. One year from now. Ten years from now. I will be just as sad and wrecked as i am right now. How do i know this?

Because ten years ago I was already a mess and it’s only gotten worse since then. In 2010 I had already gone through a decade of failures and constant emotional turmoil and was waiting for that magical “it gets better” period that all the pundits say comes around. Now ten years have passed since then and it still hasn’t gotten better. That’s the very definition of hell.

4 years ago i was also having a bad time on my birthday, and had an especially rough day. i went to de-stress in my car at the parking garage, reading the very bad graphic novel The Sculptor. then i drew a bit, then went to the metro parking lot and drew some more. and i seared that afternoon/evening into my brain. it is blinding hot. every time i’ve either parked in that same spot in the parking garage on the 4th floor overlooking the mercury diner. every time i’ve driven by metro and seen that scraggly pine tree. i think. wow. it has been (certain amount of time) later and things are not better.

that’s almost 1500 times of driving by that metro and hoping that things will get better.

i returned to the GO parking garage a few days ago and had an almost identical evening. things have not gotten better since then.