Oil derricks that is. I was talking to my sponsor yesterday and she made this crazy analogy (which I loved because I love crazy analogies of any kind!)...she asked if I knew why there were so many oil derricks in Bakersfield...well, first she asked if I had ever seen them. Of course, I said yes, anyone who has ever driven through Bakersfield knows that oil and their attendant derricks abound.
So she asked me, “Do you know why there are so many?”
I said no because of course the time of my life that I have dedicated to knowing anything about oil, or derricks is exactly zero time. None time.
She said that most of them do not produce. Most of them are just for show, in a sort of weird oil one-up-manship of the oil world. The more you have the more it looks like they produce so the more wealth you or the company might have. But in reality, most of them just sit idle, holding their weird ugly status symbol place on the destroyed landscape of oil land.
So you are likely wondering why we were talking about this...
She was making a comparison to the people I have allowed to remain in my life. Friends, lovers collected perhaps as my own version of oil derricks, littering the landscape of my life, producing nothing. There for show only. And taking up space and cluttering not only my external but also internal landscape of my life...
She does this to me all the fucking time. She starts telling me some ridiculous story, or at least that is what I think, until she then boomerangs back around and hits me with some heavy shit, usually about some aspect of my existence that I am too close or distant to see. And so far, anyway, she is always fucking right which is irritating.
So I did what any good alcoholic does...I fact checked her. I googled her statement and found out annoyingly that she was right. And now the analogy became even harder to stand...
What I found on google was that the more derricks you have the more oil you can pump. Now the derricks go stale and stop producing but there is alway the chance, the hope that one day they will produce again and guess what? Sometimes they do!
And that would be I think the whole of her point. That I have gone around collecting “derricks” in my life, junking up the horizon of my very non-oiled landscape looking life, and now they are strewn about, taking up space. And I tend not to get rid of them because they might, someday in the not so distant future, produce again.
Goddammit I hate it when she makes a good point like this. It kind of ruins my whole day. (Not really, but it makes me think along lines that are not my preferred choice). And I really have to be irritated and pissed about it because I would be wholesaling myself if I didn't.
I prefer to operate in my somewhat delusional world that all these people in my life want to be here and value me. And I them. But that would be a lie going both ways. There are a lot of people in my life (less so today than a few years ago) that likely should have never been granted admission in the first place. And I have kept them around for show. Kept them around because they make me look like I have some sort of bizarre status that I don’t actually have. They are rusty relics of a social life that I have never really had. And quite honestly, don’t really want. Which makes this whole analogy even more stupid and poignant.
I mean, you build oil derricks because you want to capture oil. And I have built friendships because I wanted friends. But what I can see now, that I couldn’t see before, is that I allowed a lot of people in who would have me. Not so much because I wanted them, but because they would have me as a friend and I didn’t always do a good job of really valuing myself and in turn anyone else.
So now I sit in my domain, surrounded by quite a few empty oil wells in my life. The derricks being the ugly marker of a great deal of time, energy and expense taken over something that was not all that worthwhile to begin with...yet, still I keep mining. And I have stubbornly refused to do the rehab work required to rid my panorama of these empty vessels that always hold the promise of production. And that is likely all they will ever hold for me, empty promises that someday they will produce an overflowing wealth of love, friendship, support and care.
I have to look inside myself and deal with the part of me that allowed the scenery to become besmirched with all the derricks, rusty, non-producing wells of hope that someday, great wealth will be shared and enjoyed. And I do not mean material wealth. I mean spiritual connection, true partnerships. True love and support.
I can see that it is time to look around and do some remediation in my life. And remediation isn’t fun, and it is costly and at the end of it you don’t have this fabulous new whatever, you just have a landscape that is blight free. A landscape that is vacant instead of being slapdash with empty vessels that have long since stopped producing.
This whole piece would have been funnier if I had dated a lot of men named derrick. But I haven’t which kind of pisses me off. I mean the analogy would work so much better if the last four relationships I have had would have been with men whose name was Derrick. But alas, I only have the overreach here. I can just reach out over the obvious to the less obvious connection and bridge the gap anyway. Derrick is really just a name, and for this blog, derrick is the word that translates the emptiness of my attempts, my status seeking attempts to land myself in some sort of misguided robberbarron land of oil and gas. Some sort of feeble yet real attempt to accumulate people in my life that by all outward appearances, appear to have value and depth and are capable of producing that feeling. That feeling that happens on the rare occasion that the endless pumping, attending and hoping actually produces what I am seeking.
For today, I am seeing the landscape of my life, and I see all the derricks I have accumulated, hoping beyond all hope that one day soon production will begin again and I will have what I have always wanted: connection.
Today I see that one being feverishly pumping the land of another is a poor substitute for connection. Always was, always will be. Funny, so funny, that I am only getting this now. Today, what I see is the empty oil fields of my life. All the derricks of non-production. But more importantly, for me, I see why I have created this for myself. And because I know why now, I can do something different. Which I am pretty sure means that I am getting out of the oil business forever...buh bye Derrick!