The Lonesome Cowboy. That’s the role I’ve written for myself. Early on in my independence, it was a badge of honor. As a teenager, I took the bus into Manhattan by myself. Backpacked Europe solo in my twenties. Moved across the country without a co-pilot. I was getting so good at doing everything alone, I started to convince myself I didn’t need anybody else.

But if you tell yourself you can do it all by yourself long enough, eventually you’ll realize you never learned how to be with somebody. It starts to make sense that relationships are confusing, anxious, and…

My flight is scheduled to depart from San Francisco International Airport at 11:20PM. It’s currently only a few minutes past 7:00PM, which means I have almost an entire evening to fall into my typical pre-travel routine: delay packing my bag indefinitely, attempt to learn a new musical instrument, put together the random piece of IKEA furniture that’s been sitting in its box for three weeks, read the entire Wikipedia page on knot-tying, and eventually find myself frantically scampering through the terminal on the verge of a full-blown nervous breakdown.

But no. Not today. Today, these demons will not win. I…

Spin. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Photo by Martin Barák on Unsplash

The one and only thing I know about SoulCycle prior to this point is that my class (henceforth referred to as a “Soul Session”) is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. I am told to arrive by 12:45 p.m. As usual, I am not only behind schedule, but — as I quickly learn — I’m dangerously ill-prepared.

I round the corner at approximately 12:51 p.m. and encounter gaggles of traditionally beautiful athletic women loitering on the sidewalk. Most are outfitted in expensive-looking athleisurewear that has molded to their sculpted bodies like a recently-applied coat of Flex Seal. Some are nonchalantly…

Wake up the ungrateful, bratty little bastards. It’s time to celebrate the greatest country in the history of the world.

Breathe deeply and take in the smell of hot, seeping garbage as it drifts through the morning air. Join the loud and the proud, get ready to honor your goddamn independence with propane grills, high-fives, and case after case of Bud Light Lime.

Give a howling yell at that fat, sweaty, no-good prick a few houses down as he laces up his walking shoes and parades that hopeless, broken family over scorching blacktop and cobblestone. …

We’re outside, in the middle of a fenced-in backyard made up of splotchy grass patches. We see a moon bounce and slip-n-slide in the background of the frame, both surrounded by active groups of young kids.

We open on CHIP and DON, facing the camera. They’re standing in front of a steadily smoking grill, both wearing a casual summertime outfit, looking as if they’re on their way to or from some random chores around the house. They’re your everyday suburban Americana heroes. Their speech is droll, kind of monotone. They’re basically just two simpleton fellows you’d see on YouTube trying…

Enjoy a smooth cigarette tonight. No hangover tomorrow — just imminent death!

For a smooth, menthol taste, choose Newport. Great for the heart!

Even Lebron James smokes Camels!

I tell my 9-year-old son, “Reach for a Lucky Strike!”

Cancer, Schmancer! Light up an Old Gold!

Parliament Lights keep my smile pearly white!

People who matter smoke Marlboro!

Studies show it’s not as dangerous as second hand smoke!

Even the Pope smokes Parliaments!

Cigarettes don’t kill people, second hand smoke kills people!

Makes my hair smell like a motel carpet!

Even my pulmonologist is a Marlboro man!

I love a nice…

My experience with doctors typically goes a little something like this:

  • Discover an issue somewhere in or on my human body for which a doctor’s expertise may be necessary.
  • Convince myself it is nothing. A trip to the doctor is not needed.
  • Second-guess myself. Google my symptoms while sitting alone in a dark room.
  • Convince myself I have six to eight months to live. A trip to the doctor can’t happen soon enough.
  • Spend the next four or five days wrestling with my own self-pity as I attempt to figure out how to schedule a doctor’s appointment.
  • Call my mom…

Over the last week and some change, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a young lady the old-fashioned way: through small bubbles of text on a 5.44 x 2.64 inch screen. Her transmissions have remained timely, witty, and of appropriate length. Her emoji usage: a bit overdone, yet tasteful. And her selfie count? A resounding zero.

“Okay,” I thought to myself, “this seems to be going well. Why not ask her out and see this whole thing implode before your very eyes?”

And so I did that. I asked her out. And then I waited, hunched over in…

I’m not proud to admit it. Not at all. But I can’t deny it. A sports game being played by a group of 18–23 year old boys just sent me into a downward spiral of rage. The rage was followed by sadness. And the sadness parlayed nicely into a numbing sensation that has taken hold of my body for the foreseeable future.

The contest in question wrapped up about an hour ago. You may have been watching, too. It was the Iowa Hawkeyes versus my alma mater, the Temple Owls. …

Well, it’s been one month in this motherfucking freakshow. San Francisco, that is. Not San Fran — that is not the preferred nomenclature, friends from that faraway coast and elsewhere. Just a friendly heads up for your green asses.

Anyway, one month. In these past four weeks and some change, I’ve learned that rumors of an abundance of human excrement on public sidewalks are, indeed, not rumors, my bedroom setup still looks like a bonus scene from Trainspotting, and so far, only three people have responded to my Craigslist “rooms wanted” ad — two middle-aged gay men who sent selfies…

Ryan Overhiser

Much more drab IRL.

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