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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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there's an app for that
I'm kind of boggling at the realization I can retire before I'm fifty-five if I really want to. I mean, possibly earlier if I really make an effort.

I have a list of things I want to do then: buy a house (I mean, I think?), build voice controlled indoor and outdoor fountains and breed koi and track their mutations, get an F-1 Savannah cat and walk it regularly while wearing heels and a leather trenchcoat, install in-wall cat 7 from attic to basement with outlets in all rooms, install cool light fixtures everywhere, design and build a server room, rewire every outlet in the house to be smart, build some Pi robots and race them, that kind of thing. I don't necessarily want home ownership but I'm resigned to the fact rental limits (somewhat) what you can do. As it turns out, my complex has reservations about my indoor fountain + koi idea. And maybe space, whatever, I can make space.

(Also, Savanna F-1s are sort of on the shady side of legal in cities, and you'd want your own home for that.)

On the other hand, it feels like this could end badly (uh, not the above shit, that's gonna be great). The not-working thing.

I cannot honestly think of a worse thing for me personally to do is stop working, and I don't mean just money, though there is that. A lot of it is the occupation aspect; yes, people always say 'hobbies' or 'travel' or 'gardening' (Oh God no) or whatever, but no, you don't understand how my brain works. Occupation isn't enough because I won't do it on the strength of 'mental health'; it has to fulfill the criteria of 'necessary' and boy is that one strict and you'd be surprised how little I consider 'necessary' when left to my own devices. Hint: it's kind of upsetting when I think about it too hard.

Occupation is my only usable defense against anxiety and depression; trust me, this has been tested more than it actually needed to be to be found true.

Regularly scheduled necessary work with a medium-to-high intellectual effort requirement is a must; occupation plus stimulation or God help whoever hires me. I mean, I am the person who when I worked fast food was doing cheese architectural design in the back or tried to improve the mayo-to-milk-ratio or made honestly terrifying hamburger-esque food designs that genuinely made my coworkers wonder about my sanity. When I was in retail, I kept trying to completely change the entire layout of the women's section surreptitiously because it didn't conform to logic (and it fucking doesn't to this day) and reorganizing vast numbers of shirt and then going to other people's sections to stealthily rearrange their work because frankly, it was wrong (but hide when they appeared, like bloodhounds, it was weird). It was creepy is what I'm saying. Somewhere in the world are two to ten former retail workers who tell stories about their creepy-ass coworker lurking around looking furtive and not to steal, no, that's normal, to rearrange things in their section.

The more strictly scheduled my life is, the better I do, and I do amazing when that scheduling allows very rare but highly prized blow-offs. It can be an effort to do things I want to do. Easiest way to assure regular personal interaction with me? Ruthlessly use guilt or make me buy plane tickets: investing money means 'necessary' and I will damn well go.

My conclusion to all of this? One, I probably need to work until I die and two, something I saw on twitter that I realized I needed: a life dom.

Not kinky sexual whatever but someone to order me to stop it with the default cheese sandwiches and make a meal involving vegetables, to do my laundry before it becomes a barrier I have to fight my way through, clean the bathroom before whatever that is achieves sentience, take the ground beef out of the refrigerator before I go to work, social interaction with another human being twice weekly, do ten minutes of timed math problems, thirty minutes of word games, an hour of watching TV minimum, then I can loaf. At which time I'll have hit my limit on getting orders and fuck you, I'm not going to loaf, I am going to invent new spreadsheets, bitch. All my problems solved! Especially my vicious revolt against someone in authority over me: God I miss that.

This would so work for me. I might even fit in making my bed with that kind of motivation. Maybe even with sheets, if I can ever find them.

Note: I should probably explain the math thing.

I really like math--I know--but I'm not really a natural at most of it, all things geometry are fucking alien, but at a certain level of abstract I'm golden. However, growing up, I'd absorbed girls were bad at math and predictably, reacted not well but productively. This led to accidental academic excellence, a weird fascination for complicated graphing problems, discovering a genuinely surprising aptitude for programming, but also, math tests.

Specifically, those timed math tests for simple addition/subtraction/multiplication/division we did in elementary school. The ones to make you stop counting on your fingers, you had like x minutes (or minute) to finish twenty problems to forty problems. His name was Travis and in third grade, he got to drink a bottle of Coke in class for having the fastest time and I never got over it. A part of me never will.

Then I found out (decades later): there's an app for that. An app of nothing but simple math problems and the speed of your fingers and timing, it's beautiful. I got the pro version, of course. It's super zen, no lie, and really good for clearing my head, but discovering all that was a super cool side effect because I had a purpose first and would not be swerved.

Short version, a couple of years ago I beat his time by five seconds. Probably one of the better days in my life. If the person who invented that app didn't have their own elementary-school coke-drinking Travis-shaped demons to exorcise, I'll be surprised.

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