I'm going home

(This was written on 13 May 2001. I'm leaving it up because I think it's interesting, not because it's accurate any more.)

I'm going home soon. Already I have no classes, not even any finals remaining. Mitch has left already and Mark is leaving in about 12 hours from now. This school year is already over.

I'll get to see my cats. I've missed them since my last vacation in March. I always miss them when they're not with me. I think about how they are mortal, and so I only have so long in which to see them. I think about how I am mortal. I do this last rarely, because it upsets me too much. But then again, I've done many things that aren't praiseworth in my life. There's probably some legitimate argument that I deserve to die. What did my cats ever do to deserve that? They're just cute little balls of fur, as friendly as can be. This is from someone who strongly believes we should not have a death penalty in our penal code, but I wouldn't feel the least bit bad if anyone who wants to hurt my cats were brutally murdered.

I'll have lots of time to think. I have a lot to think about, and I've been obsessing over various bits of it for quite some time. I don't know if my thoughts will coalesce even in those circumstances, but at the least I'll be able to work on some issues I've had for a long time.

I'll have free space. Lately I've been feeling very cramped in my room, between my roommate with whom I don't get along especially well and my propensity for messiness, tossing papers and various other things throughout my area. At home my room is big, and if it ever feels small, there are plenty of other rooms to go to. There will be cats in some of them sometimes.

There will be less pressure. I haven't conformed very well to their expectations, but people have been expecting me to do various things - homework, study for exams, etc.—a fair amount recently. That will stop, at least for a while. Even once my job starts up again, it's low pressure. Perhaps if pressure molded me into some kind of shape, made me think about things, then it would help me, but I'm such a crushed ball of emotions and issues that it hasn't done me much good.

I'll have plenty of time to listen to music and watch movies. I have over 200 hours of MP3s, and I'll be damned if I've gotten the best possible use of them so far. I'll sort them better, get rid of some of the ones I don't like, pare my collection down so that it won't be too disorganized when I get back, and so that it's more pleasant to use. And I'll probably watch the movies I have on VCD—American Psycho, Run Lola Run, and The Professional—and on video tape—American Beauty, The Matrix, and probably some others I'm forgetting or that I'll borrow or rent—several times each.

I'll be able to watch the copy of Evangelion that I'm downloading right now—maybe more than once—and any other anime I happen to have stashed on my hard drive at the moment. I'll be able to play Final Fantasy IX and Chrono Cross, maybe a bit less distracted than I would have been if I had tried while here, and when I'm done with them, I have about 1600 ROMs for various consoles—NES, SNES, Sega Master System, Genesis, Neo Geo—that I can try to pick out the good ones from. I'll have time to reread books I liked the first time, read some that I never had time for before, perhaps teach myself some of the material I should have learned this semester but never did.

If the urge ever seizes me, I'll be able to start a piece of software, work on it, polish it with the tools that I have available. I'm a computer science student, damn it, and I haven't put those skills to much use. Maybe I will. Maybe I'll work some more on this web page, so as to have something more worthy of what visitors I attract, if any, when fall comes around. Perhaps I'll write something—philosophical essays, fiction, something I'm good at, something which expresses feelings I have, or something just for fun.

If I seem a little unenthusiastic and dull, it's because I am. I'll be lonelier than I've been in a long while over the summer, with no friends easily accessible. I'll keep contacts alive through email, but it won't be the same—it can't be. I won't be on ICQ much due to a lack of internet access at my father's house. In a way it's a trap, not to have internet access, but in another way it's freedom—freedom from incessantly checking Slashdot and my email, from being able to kill hours watching passive searches on Gnutella—freedom from easy, somewhat entertaining, meaningless ways to waste my life. Being without it may not force me to face up to myself, but it may push me in that direction.

The projects I've outlined here aren't very ambitious, are they? I never said I was going to write the next great operating system or the great American novel in my little third-story room. But even the humble tasks I've set for myself fill me with doubt in my ability to actually carry them out. I wish it were as simple as hating summer, but it's worse than that. I'm sick of this level of existence. I want to escape it, to transcend it. A little voice in the back of my mind insists that this can't be all there is to the world, that there just has to be something more.

I'm sleepy. This is Kenn, signing off. I hope your life is a little more pleasant than mine has been in recent days. You and I probably both deserve that.

Kenn Hamm
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Last modified: Sun May 13 02:35:09 2001