Matt Forney
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The World Just Screams and Falls Apart

falls-apart

My journey to the Philippines almost ended before it began.

It happened when I was stepping onto the plane. A tweedy little stay-at-home dad-type was blocking the line to board. I had the misfortune of being right behind him.

“Could all of you hold up? I need to get some diapers out of my bag,” he pleaded, dried baby vomit on his vest.

Without waiting for anyone to give him permission, he immediately laid down his luggage in front of the cabin door and started rummaging through the pockets. My legs ached with fatigue and my ankles were itching like poison ivy.

I’m not doing it. Nope.

I shambled up to the cabin door and lumbered over Tweedy’s bags, taking special care not to step on them.

“I guess the answer is no,” he pouted as I traipsed away, wielding my suitcase like a club.

My body was on the verge of complete shutdown. Aside from passing out for five minutes on the Blue Line to O’Hare, I hadn’t slept in a day. My vision was blurry, my contacts clinging to my eyeballs like barnacles. Visions of homicide danced in my head, my skull throbbing with a hangover beat.

I finally found my seat—a window seat near the wing, thank Christ—shoved my bag into the storage compartment, and plopped down for some Z’s.

“Hey buddy, good thing you rushed onto the plane! We almost left without ya!”

It was Tweedy, clutching a fresh diaper in his hand and shooting me a passive-aggressive glare.

Any other day of the week, I would have let it go. Hell, any other day of the week, I might have even indulged Tweedy holding up an entire plane’s worth of passengers at 8:30 in the morning. But I was down to my last nerve, and the Tweedmeister had just snapped it.

“Go fuck yourself, pal,” I growled as the idiot wandered down the aisle.

Excuse me?” Tweedy stopped dead in his tracks and turned to face me. Probably the first time in his life that someone ever talked back to him.

“I said,” groaning like I was explaining quantum physics to a retard, “go… fuck… yourself.”

It was half-bluff. I knew there was a good chance this idiot could get me thrown off the plane. But I lucked out; Tweedy was sufficiently intimidated by my threatening, hungover tone of voice that he backed off. Satisfied, I shut my eyes and silently thanked him for giving me a new target to fantasize beating the shit out of.

***

I never used to give money to beggars. Thanks to Janelle, I do it all the time now. Davao doesn’t have as many bums as you’d expect—the police chase them away from the major highways—but you can still come across beggars hanging around C.M. Recto as well as the shantytowns around the Governor Generoso Bridge. By American standards, they’re downright polite: they just come shuffling up to you, hand outstretched, moaning a pitiful “Sir…” or “Please…” No pushy black guys talking about how they need $18 for the bus or trying to sell you copies of The Onion they lifted from a Potbelly.

The first time I was out with Janelle and a shirtless boy crawled up to us looking for change, I slapped his hand away. Years of instinct in dealing with NYC and Chicago bums, who won’t leave you alone unless you threaten them with violence. As the kid ran off, Janelle looked at me like I’d just pissed on the Eucharist.

“How could you do that?” she cried.

“He’s a bum,” I protested.

I tried to explain to her the necessity of being rough with the homeless back home, but she would have none of it. After that incident, I made a point of tossing a peso or two at the beggars who come up to us on the street. I once flung a ten peso coin at a little girl and her face lit up like a Christmas tree.

Janelle has never left Mindanao. The most exotic place she’s ever been is GenSan. Her eyes go wide whenever I talk about my past: my hitchhiking escapades, nearly getting shot by suburban copscrashing in socialist communes, climbing mountains. About sharing bridge underpasses with junkies and nearly getting killed in downtown NOLA. My journey from homelessness to income independence in less than two years. I told her that I was sick of the danger and the risk. That I’d like a normal life for once.

That’s enough to justify why my life is falling apart.

***

Janelle expects me to marry her. I never once said that I would. To her, marrying someone you’re in love with is natural as death and taxes. She’s fascinated with California—a lot of Filipinas are—and wants to go to L.A. I tried to tell her that there are better places to go in the U.S., but she doesn’t listen. She wants to see Hollywood, Vegas, New York City, the usual traps. I told her that I’d be back in Davao in January, that I had personal issues to attend to back home. She tells me that she’ll wait, and my seeming devotion to my family makes her love me all the more.

I’m not coming back to this city.

Everything has gone to hell ever since I stepped off the plane. I haven’t been to the gym in two weeks. The two books I said I’d be done with by now sit untouched on my computer. Of the dozen paperbacks I brought with me, I’ve only finished reading two. I haven’t played a game of chess or done any tactical problems since I left New York. I waste my time playing video games—a habit I’d thought I’d kicked—and watching movies via the HDMI cable my landlady thoughtfully provided for me.

Janelle has to know, on a certain level, that there’s no reason for me to marry her. I’m a moderately fit, economically independent young white man in a country that venerates whiteness, and my “competition” consists of middle-aged whoremongers. I can have virtually every girl in this city eating out of my hand. The only reason I went exclusive with her was because I was sick of the rigamarole of going on constant dates with carbon copy Filipinas, sick of putting in even the minimal effort this country requires of me.

I don’t feel motivated anymore. All my life I’ve been struggling towards this, the state of bliss where I have enough money to loaf off all day if I want and sleep with all the women I can deal with. But once you’re there, how do you avoid becoming one of the lotus eaters? I can basically make a living and get laid without having to leave my house, aside from weekly grocery shopping. When you have everything you want, there’s zero reason to do more than the bare minimum to survive.

This post is a fine case in point. I spent well over a month trying to write this shit—repeatedly typing, deleting, typing again—and failing. For whatever reason, I can’t organize these thoughts into a coherent essay. Any longer in this part of the world and it’s curtains for me. Mark Zolo and Dom Torres will organize an expedition and they’ll find me in some dive bar in Cambodia, spaced out on mushrooms and swatting imaginary bugs out of my chest-length beard.

***

By the time this post goes online, I’ll be in Manila, land of the sleazy hookups. Three weeks from now, I’ll be back in the U.S. I don’t want to go back, but I have to.

I’ve enjoyed my time in the Philippines, and that’s the problem: the dose is the poison. Were I five years younger, I’d be sticking around here until the money runs out. But for a man of ambition, getting everything you want is the worst thing that can happen to you. Right now, I’ve accomplished a lot in my life—author, self-sufficient from my online work, done things that would scare the shit out of most people—but I want more.

It’s kind of odd to write an article about how I’m feeling listless at the moment, yet have a clear vision of what I want to do next. But that’s how I feel. The Philippines is a lovely place, but I don’t want to be a lotus eater. The next major step in my life will be happening back in America. This place will still be here when I’m ready to go back, so whatever.

It’s decided. Next month, I return to the USSA and the next big step in my life, a step that could very well blow up in my face, a step that terrifies me. But if I don’t do it, I won’t be able to respect myself as a man.

Funny thing is, when I talked to Roosh a month ago, he warned me against finding poosy paradise too early. Looks like he was right.

Read Next: The 2012 End of the World Tour by Frost

  • slenkar

    If you stay with her any longer she’ll get pregnant. Then you’ll have a child and a girlfriend who barely relate to you. It’s best to only sleep with a girl you are serious about. Preferably from a similar culture and race

  • Good essay, and a great warning against complacency. Good luck on your next adventure.

  • We’re either expanding or contracting. There is no standing still. Paradise can only exist where time does not exist. And think about this way Matt, you at least acknowledge you’ve been a layabout, and feel a healthy sense of shame. In doing research for a serialized essay I’ve been writing, I ended up watching the Brony’s equivalent of “Triumph of the Will.”

    You could be one of THESE people.

  • Peregrine John

    I cannot comprehend this. Not the freedom – that is the goal. But it’s not freedom from, it’s freedom to. Curse of an artistic temperament, which is only a curse until it can run free. I’ll never run out of music to write or perform, photos to chase, things to see. I’ve lived longer than you, have gained and lost freedom along the way, and know it to be true. If every stupid restriction suddenly fell away I’d have about 2 weeks of extraordinary laziness before the endless march of things to make kicked me into motion forever. Yeah, I know it’s not technically endless, but it’s more than I’ll get to if I live to be 110.

  • Titan000

    The thing with being alive is you are either growing or declining and in concurrence with Tiger Jockey there is no such thing as a stagnant living thing.

  • citizen49a

    ‘I never used to give money to beggars. Thanks to Janelle, I do it all the time now…’

    Once you get out of the tourist areas in the third world, it’s hard not to have a little sympathy for these guys. But I like to focus my donations on the guys who are trying, however pathetically, to demonstrate some enterprise and attempting to offer value-for-value.

    So in Central America I usually get my shoes “shined” at least once a day (actually I just give the kid a quarter to go over them with the brush out of his kit), or buy a pack of chiclets or some trinket I don’t need. Because it makes a big difference for these people. They’re dirt floor, firewood burning poor; not EBT card carrying, section 8 housing living poor.

  • Looks like you are missing the hustle!

    A man like yourself would have eventually gotten bored when you realize that you do not have to struggle much to get what you want. You will become lazy, bored and not really caring anymore which is happening to you right now.

    Its only natural to act like that. Its struggle brother you miss the struggle!

    Hope that you are getting yourself back in line bro!

  • Stop being so negative, English Teacher X! Life is for the living blah blah blah.

  • This was an awesome read. A lot of people don’t realize there is a trap to accomplishment. And imagine if you did stay until the money ran out? Then you’d have to come crawling back and start over from scratch, you know? Ground up again.

  • ^Lol what the fuck.

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  • pauldrake

    LOL middle aged whoremongers. That’s me your not so competitive competition. Carry on my younger friend and conquer as much of the world as you can handle. Don’t get jaded, most of us will never get the opportunity.