A Lost Boy

man child, immature boy, the reporter and the girl, video games, TV, smoking pot, unemployed, no life, loser

It is a few days left until I move into my apartment in London; an exciting, scary, and new stage I’ll enter. Although moving doesn’t sound exciting to everyone (the stress of carrying luggage, and transferring things to another address etc…), this is the first apartment that I acquired and will live on my own – so its a big deal that I get it “right”.  And maybe soon I’ll have a housewarming to show off the new digs once I paint and stuff.

However, I have been hesitant about this, as it shows how invested I am in staying in London — a two year lease and some intensive interior decorating. However, any doubts that I had about moving from my shared-house to my own place was wiped away last night.

I was very fortunate through a friend in New York to be introduced to a girl a year younger than me, but who had a room in her mother’s house that I could rent. I am staying with her mother and brother. They have been very welcoming and I always consider myself lucky that I found her; it helped with my transition and gave me someplace stable and affordable while I looked to step up.

The daughter lives on her own, not too far away with her own young family, and the mother is a nurse who is a workaholic. The son, who is 30, stays at home. When I talked to him, he told me he was out of work and had been for two years — it had gave me anxiety about how difficult it must be to find work, especially skilled work (administrative, professional etc..); and I expressed this to my landlady who is more like my UK  mom now, and she always told me not to worry, I will find something– a month later I did.

Now before ya’ll accuse me of being that immigrant that comes and steals local jobs; this job was asking for a specific language skill-set that I have, although they do have positions there for people without being fluent in another language.

Anyway, things have been fine. Really. I did noticed some things about him that really seem strange.

  • Like sleeping all day but up all night “watching TV”.
  • The strong smell of cannabis from his room and from whenever he returned from the garden.
  • As well as up to this point, there has been only two times that I’ve seen him leave the house.

The first time, he escorted me to the post office to exchange my money to GBP currency, and the second time he was on his way to the job center. I assume it is like the United States when you are receiving benefits, every once in a while you have to go and speak with the counselor and show them that you are looking for work etc… but I mean, even the average person wouldn’t want to stay in their house for weeks without leaving? As well as he tended to get “visitors” more often when his mom wasn’t home. Now these visitors never stayed, except for the 1 or 2 friends that he sits on the couch with; most often the doorbell rings, and he goes and gets it, says a few words to someone and they leave.

I guess these Jehovah Witnesses are really active in this neighborhood, and dedicated too! They will come to the door at all hours of the night.

He finally got a job about a month ago, a temporary rolling contract that seems all too common here; but he’s only working until they remove sanctions from him receiving the benefits. So if the job lets him go through no fault of his own, then he can go back on welfare.

What can I say? The benefits system is very strong here; I know there are people who abuse the system in the U.S. too, but I never had an inside knowledge of this.

On Friday, a family friend from France came to visit me for the weekend. I put her up in my room and slept on the floor of the living room. Friday night was fine, although my roommate had to come in two or three times to get to the garden to smoke. I was gone most of Saturday for a tournament, but my friend and him seem to get along very well, they even shared some wine together that she brought from France. So we went to dinner and came back very late – after midnight — and I was completely exhausted. Between playing five softball games and then having to “look alive” for a night in Camden Town I was dead.

**Good news is, my team went into the semi-finals and won the final tournament!!**

He was sitting in the living room, with one of his friend who actually comes to stay, and when I asked where all my belongings were so I could lay them out, he responded that he collected them and put them in my room. I asked him why, and he said he is using the living room and I needed to sleep upstairs. I was surprised, and then his friend — who seemed to understand what is happening — got up quickly to leave. I asked “where? In your room?” I was really confused what he wanted me to do. Because my guest was in my bedroom, and then there is his room and my landlady’s bedroom. So I explained that we have a guest sleeping in my room, and I was going to take the living room for just the next few days, he got very angry and said that it he didn’t know about this, and he didn’t care that there was a visitor here and I said. “Well, she’s here now and there’s nothing we can do…but I need somewhere to sleep – so if you won’t give me your room, and my landlady hasn’t said its OK to use her room, then I have sleep downstairs. He ended by saying I can sleep there, but he will continue to watch TV every night on, no matter what; and I know he watches until 4 or 5 a.m

So I’m wondering if this is cultural, where if I guess is invite over, you share the bedroom together, as oppose to American tradition when you “give” someone your room for his/her stay?

Or is this gentleman not normal?

So, I have been thinking about this and I feel that his behavior adds up to something abnormal. I mean if your entire life involves around sleeping, watching TV, and smoking — and you take away one of those things then the stable triad becomes an unstable being. To me, I thought it would be a minor inconvenience, but nothing to ever write about — but my life revolves around many different things that breaking a routine for a few days wouldn’t make me angry.

However, this isn’t just a “he”problem its a family problem. This morning I suspected that my landlady doesn’t want to talk about it, or maybe she is just tired. Even his sister seem nondescript when I texted her about how upset he became in front of everyone. So, it sounds like they know or its happened before; because I would have expected a stronger reaction — why is a grown man acting like this?

Its true what they say — that when you have nothing left your family will be here for you. And at one end you have to admire that, it takes a lot of patience to deal with someone who is “stuck” and based from what I was told, has been “stuck” or “lost” since he was teen. We have all been lost at one point, whether its for the 6 months you are looking for a new job, or the two years after that divorce. But how long is too long? Why can some people say its enough and try to find their own way, while others do not? And how do families/social network help with finding one’s way?

So what motivates you to do the things you want to do in life? What are your dreams, hopes, and aspirations? How will you attain them– basically whats the difference between sitting on the coach — waiting for things to happen versus pushing you to reach for them?

Tell me @ReporterandGirl or Facebook.

 

 

19 thoughts on “A Lost Boy

  1. This got a bit wordy…. but I hope it helps.
    I’ve been stuck for long periods of time. It only lasts as long as my sadness lasts. Everyone around me seems to think that some of my losses should only take two weeks to recover from. I am not fully recovered from the loss of my grandparents and they have been gone over 30 years. My father’s loss is comes in strong waves. Neither are debilitating any more. But I was told by a doctor that my dad’s death should have taken two weeks to “put behind me”. My mothers was the most devastating. Her’s redefined me. And that was something that no one was prepared to deal with, least of all myself.
    Is he lost because his dreams were shattered? Or because he never was born with ambitions and “lost” is the polite, less accurate term for this?
    It is not culturally limited to life in the UK. There are plenty of young people in the US who are like this. I know several that are unmotivated to do more than watch TV due to mental illness. The lives of fictional characters are easy to deal with because they come in serving sizes that PTSD & other mental illnesses patients can manage. The rest of life is beyond the skill sets that they have.
    But with your particular situation it simply may be that his being “lost” is a result of dealing with an addictive substance that Parental Pride will not acknowledge. No one likes to believe that their child has a problem. Denial solves nothing. But it is what most people really know how to do. Pot is addicting. Addiction is debilitating. Driven people aren’t likely to succumb to these things. So it is hard to understand how this can content someone.
    I don’t understand how people with nothing more to do than stay home can be content to live in filth. But I do know when you give in to depression, addiction or suffer from PTSD you don’t see any of the things that “normal” people see.
    A good deal of the people I know who benefit from government handouts are also legitimately convinced that they can do nothing for themselves. One women I know grew up in a family that told her she was too stupid to do more than get married. They married her off to the first person who offered. He kept her stupid. She was only allowed to clean, cook and do his laundry while bearing his children. She grew up believing her job was to serve her family and her husband. She never learned to drive. She never learned how to count money since he paid the bills. Now she is in her 60s he left her and she has no skills that translate into being able to work outside the home she can’t afford because talking to men outside of the family is also a sin. Therefore she would not even be able to take a cashier’s position.
    In short, a lot of the “abusers” of the benefits programs were actually created by family. And a society that thinks it is none of their business to interfere. I can not however explain to you the people who boldly crow they are to pretty, too fat, too self important to work and thus look like absolute fools.
    Not everyone here gives up a room to a guest either. We always shared by pairing people of like temperament. Each country has micro cultures based on ancestry and income, rural v. urban lifestyles.

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    1. Wow, Germanphile. It was not wordy at all — I appreciate every single word you wrote it gives a lot of insight. In this case, yes there is so much underneath the surface that we don’t realize other people’s struggles. It’s easy to write off someone as being lazy or selfish without knowing the struggle underneath.

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  2. This is kind of funny (unintentionally, I know). He may have mental instability that his family knows about, and is self-medicating and or lacks motivation to get help or become a “normal” participant in society. So, if he’s not harming them or anyone else, what can they force an adult to do? Nothing. And what would putting him out accomplish? Fortunately, HE can make up his mind at any point to do something different. But until then, it’s a good thing you’re about to be outta there!

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  3. In Japan there is a syndrome caled hikkimori.Roughly translated it means the lost ones. It afflicts young men and they feel unable to face the world and stay in their rooms. Apparently there are several million of them. In extreme cases frantic mothers have installed toilets in their bedrooms. Your lost boy just sounds like a motive lacking slob! Why don’t you just beat him up? I don’t wish to sound extreme but well yes give him a smacking! That’s how my wife gets me working! Or call the police!
    Your mails are consistently entertaining! Keep it up!

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    1. Hi Hugh, I am actually familiar with this phenomenon in Japan. This guy had a similar experience when he did not leave his room for two years. So that the fact that is on the couch, the backyard, and started a job is progress. Yes, you definitely do not know someone’s struggles.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel stuck / lost at the moment. I am not in school this semester, although I love school I just feel like it’s too expensive and I just want to save and move. I work full time but I have a hard time saving, I always spend money on things I don’t need. I am working on paying my debt so I don’t know. Hopefully when I go back to school in the fall I won’t feel so lost. I enjoyed reading this post, it reminded me that I am not the only one who feels or felt lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rambling Kori, it’s definitely OK to feel lost but the fact that you are still working and trying to figure things out, you are in some better place than most people. Don’t give up, keep going out there every day and move one step closer to your goals.

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  5. He sounds classic autistic to me. That was the first thing I thought, and then your descriptions of his behaviour reinforced that impression. (Whether or not you agree with my view, based on selected, random bits of info, I do have heaps of experience of knowing autistic people and training in working with autistic people). Try to be kind. Autism can be socially crippling due to a feat of change and the unknown, and this can make work a source of anxiety; autism can also inhibit ability to cope with change, such as someone expecting you to alter your routine and sleeping in your space without *ample warning*… Sometimes, even with warning, the flexibility of routine is just not manageable and can lead to massive anxiety. And a huge dope smoking habit might come out of a need to block out mental overstimulation which is a curse of autism. However, I’m no psychiatrist, and even if he is autistic, which he may well not be, each autistic person is different, and it would be wrong to stereotype him just on that.
    His behaviour might look weird to you, but compassion is always a good starting point; we never fully understand someone else’s struggle.

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    1. Thanks for your opinion. I have no experience with autistic persons, in fact from little of what I’ve seen I thought those were autistic didn’t even speak. But I guess there is a scale/range for how severe it can be?

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      1. Yes, you’re right about a range – that’s why there’s an autistic ‘spectrum’ … most autistic people seem like everyone else, but are living every day with a struggle in a world they actually do not understand. This means they often don’t fit in with conventional society and may be judged to be freaks, because they are ‘odd’ in some way; autism is a social and communication disorder, the brain is wired differently.
        http://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is.aspx

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  6. It’s incredibly sad when someone just gives up on life and accepts an existence that is devoid of achievement, which sounds like it might be the case here. (I say “accepts” because as Germanophile pointed out there are illnesses and situations that make it hard for people to reach their full potential.) Personally I think the difference between someone who has a rich, full life, and someone who chooses to sit on the couch all day watching TV, is largely a combination of concrete goals, self respect, and whether the person has a sense of entitlement. Some people do have a sense of entitlement, and think that others should provide for them. Ultimately, that’s not a fulfilling way for a human to live. We humans need achievement in order to feel satisfied with our lives.

    And speaking of achievement, congrats on your tournament win and your new apartment!

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  7. I don’t know if it’s a phase in his life, or he is withdrawn personality wise. But yes, this was extreme. No empathy and behaviour bordering on extreme obsession over minute things. I think he would be better getting help.

    Well narrated story. Good work.

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