Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Sine Wave Of Happines

Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow
is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?
~ L. M. Montgomery

There's the 'peak' sine optimism there... tomorrow is perfect, because it has no mistakes. Sadly, that fails to take into account the sum accumulation of all the mistakes in life up UNTIL that point. It's rather like sitting in a little rowboat, facing away from a tidal wave, and looking at the placid water and thinking "Boy, it's pretty."

See, the top of the sine wave can be considered "good", and the bottom of the sine wave can be considered "bad". As is the natural order of things, everything waffles back and forth between varying amplitudes of good and bad, happy and sad, happy and angry, happy and depressed. It's rather unfair that the top of the sine wave only has "happy", while the troughs have everything else conceivable. If you're happy, you're happy, but if you're NOT happy, there's LOTS of things you could be.

Now, there's nothing in math that says the baseline HAS to be equidistant from the peaks and troughs. y=0 might very well be A/4 below peak, or A/8, which means that the bulk of the system is well below baseline. I call this the "reality dip". It's composed of sour cream, garlic powder, lemon juice, basil, and blind hopelessness, and it goes well with Ruffles.

Unfortunately, it seems I have no picture for that.

Now, a friend of mine has suggested that I try to figure out the pattern, and then plan happy things for the peaks, to take advantage of them, since doing happy things in a trough doesn't even cancel out. Throwing happy into a trough is like throwing coins into a pond... it's the thought that counts.

Spongebob Squarepants - The Best Day Ever just came on Winamp.


Now, you'd think that by adding more energy to the system, the application of stress and circumstance, would change the sine, and it does. However, it decreases the baseline for periodic sections of the curve, so even the peaks don't even broach the baseline (which is now about A/16 above peak). If the amplitude doesn't increase, the frequency decreases, so the peaks get farther apart. I know I spent a couple weeks in a trough a while ago. then I peaked for about four or five days (in time to go see a movie) and then troughed again, and peaked long enough to see Ironman, get a raise, and sell my car.

But the car came back, the very next day (ha ha ha, fucking funny, I know) and it's apparently broken. The guy's pissed, and might want his money back, which means I traded a fully functional 1991 Taurus for a BROKEN Taurus, which will go back to sitting idle on my front lawn. I've gotten a buddy of mine to agree to look at it tomorrow, after I go look at it today and get some information about what's wrong (battery, starter, ignition, or my personal theory, he'S FUCKING OUT OF GAS). Coupled with the loss of the desperately needed $900, two sick kids, and who knows that the fuck else, this trough looks big enough for me to actually move all of my stuff into, and maybe start paying rent. At least it's shady during the day.


See, I don't think I'm bipolar or anything. Bipolarism, also known as 'manic-depression' or 'the wandering happy-sad whackies', is characterized by alternating periods of hypomania, or elevated moods (elevated good and bad ones). I know I'm not bipolar, because my doctor said I wasn't after ten seconds of me describing my symptoms. He must be a very good doctor, to know so quickly. I'm lucky to have him.

Irregardless, bipolarism is like ADD... often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Perhaps I'm just overly reactive. Perhaps I'm too emotional for the world as it exists, or too unemotional for the world as it should exist. Perhaps the constant, unending thoughts of anger and violence are extremely common, and I'm just really bad at dealing with it (most guys I know like violent movies just as much as me, so that's actually pretty likely).

Metal ductility is a funny thing. A softer steel is better for construction, because of the stress/strain diagram.

There is very little strain for quite a large amount of stress, until it hits the first limit. Then the strain accumulates quite quickly. Strain actually decreases as the load is further increased, as the internal structure of the material fails. If I suddenly don't feel strained anymore, I'm going to seek medical help.

I was raised a very particular way. It was a sort of laissez-faire childhood, with neither post-divorce parents really regarding me as much more than someone who ate all the food and didn't do the laundry. Sometimes they'd speak to me. I remember those days. If I was hurt, I was told to walk it off. If I was upset, I was told to tough it out. If I was lonely, I was told to... well, I wasn't told anything, because I was lonely. Who the fuck was I going to tell? My mettle was tested, and my metal was tempered (man, I kick ass at puns). Instead of the soft, ductile, flexible, and ultimately useful steel that's most commonly used, I because quench-hardened steel. The stress-strain diagram is almost a perfectly vertical line, with a little 'tick' at the top, indicating where the steel does not bend, but in fact shatters in what is known as "catastrophic failure" in engineering circles. Look it up, kids... it's cool. It's why sometimes man's buildings say "No more!" and then lay down for a nap.

Still, that's just a metaphor. My brain isn't made of 350W beam-grade steel (if it was, I couldn't balance). And it certainly isn't made of 800T. For all I know, I'm still on the way up, the steel creaking but not deforming by any really measurable degree. Every steel building has steel somewhere on that first slope, enduring, maintaining.

After I wrote the above part, I went to get a bagel and a donut (someone brought them to the break room today), and I felt a little bit better. I don't know if it was from the catharsicide of typing out a bunch of random psychobabble bullshit or the promise of baked goods. I'm going to go get more baked goods and see if it happens again (though not the donuts... Tim Hortons uses some sort of frosting sugar that really REALLY hurts my teeth). Stupid Timmies.

This is probably my longest non-review blog post. I started writing this every couple of days for the past few months, then I realized that I was just whining, and I erased it. Then I'd post something happy. Then a few days later I'd post something deep and confession-y, then I'd erase it and talk about something else. Right now, I know I'm in a trough, so writing this seems perfectly reasonable. In a few hours, I might be in a post-lunch happy-plateau (which I call a hapeau) and this whole post will seem attention-getting and retarded, and maybe I'll be right. I think I'm right now. I'll think something else is right later. I'll think completely opposite things when I go to bed and when I wake up. Most of the time I go to bed happy and comforted that, when I wake up, whatever I was mad about suddenly won't matter.

That stopped happening about a month ago. Maybe I'm gaining better perspective, or maybe the things I worry about really ARE getting more important. Who knows?

I'll probably erase this this afternoon.


And here is, an hour later, and I hit the 'fear' stage. This is always the stage where I've calmed down a little bit, had a bite to eat, rinsed out some things, and have come full circle to 'thinking'. I have an overwhelming desire to erase this post, and just put something clever, like "See?" in it's place. I PARTICULARLY want to erase it before Throkky reads it, which is where most of the fear comes from. I run on fear. Fear, and unleaded Cheerios.

I did feel a little better when I went for my walk (that is to say, it felt like my insides were churning) and I tried some primal scream therapy in the privacy of my head (it's fairly soundproof in there). Then I went and bought a couple bucks worth of lunch from Shoppers Drug Mart (where some things are 50% off, and some are on sale for MORE THAN THEIR REGULAR PRICE! Math! It's what's for dinner!) Now I have my pink apple soda and my rice cakes, and I want to hit ctrl-A --> delete --> publish. I really, really do.

I'm not going to this time. Fuck YOU, Mr Brain Chemistry! Fuck YOU!

EDITED YET MORE: (I know, I know, stop it)

And the fear is gone. Throkky called, she's in town, so I have LOTS of time to erase this. I'm already rationalizing. I could do it, no-one would know, since very few people read this (and with the possible exception of Sleeping Kyle, none regularly). Even so.

I looked into it, and I'm not responsible for the car. He took it for a test drive, he pronounced it sound (and in fact talked me down because he suspected it might have problems). We both signed all the doccy-ments that say that it belongs to him now, and money has exchanged hands. The fact that I'm taking two damn days and calling in favors with mechanics is just proof that I'm a nice fucking guy.

So outside it's the rainy apocalypse. My fondest wish right now is to just go outside, and lay on the hood of my car with my iPod safely protected inside a plastic baggie, and just... enjoy the rain and the wind. Instead, I have to produce site plan drawings for a fictional development for our senile architect.

Life is sweet.


There. Upbeat.

Not bipolar at all.


Anonymous said...

Dude. Be more zen. less thought.

chiya said...

I didn't read all of it, just the part about the sine wave...

I also think that effort put into life can be described by a cosine graph. When you're having a bad day you put more effort into trying to make it a good day, but the effects of it are delayed.

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