Mark is restless.
Although Facebook is still growing rapidly, operations expanding in most continents and countless countries, Mark himself mainly oversees the entire production from a distance, only dipping into the day-to-day occasionally when he has a chance to walk around the office and check in with people. For the most part, Facebook is self-sustaining with over 2000 employees performing all the tasks required to run a company so large.
It’s a long way away from a few kids in a dorm room.
Facebook wouldn’t collapse into a fiery death if Mark isn’t involved with the minutiae of an undertaking like this. He’s much less hands-on now and his days usually consist of meetings and reading stacks of reports unerringly filled with extremely dry wording. Disconcertingly, a significant portion of his time also entails attending luncheons, conferences, and galas.
Still, most nights are his to do as he pleases. He usually tinkers with the site in his free time, but lately he has been feeling increasingly unsatisfied with his life.
He’s bored. He has a great job and a close group of people he’s proud to call his friends, a loving family, a dog. No significant other, but he’s living the dream and his life is...good. Yeah.
“So why do I feel like there’s something missing in my life? I feel like I’m stagnant. Or something.” Mark says from the purple méridienne chaise longue he’s lying on. It’s purple paisley. Mark is vaguely horrified.
Across from him, sitting in an equally hideous armchair, his therapist blows a stream of bubbles out of a smoking pipe contemplatively.
Dr. Keenan Skylar Gray is a tall, skinny twenty-something man with an easygoing demeanor. His parents are probably the most laid-back pair of hippies in the world judging by his name. A little twitchy and absent-minded and odd, he fits the profile of “eccentric genius” perfectly.
In what feels like another life, Mark would have dismissed Keenan as a hack and an idiot right off the bat. He would have never consented to meeting any psychologists, let alone revealing anything from his personal life.
However, Keenan has a Ph.D. in Psychology and he’s not a pretentious douche like the four other therapists Chris forced him to see so that was good enough for Mark and here they are, three months later. He sees Keenan once a week every Thursday afternoon at three thirty in a quaint, red brick townhouse located in the heart of Berkeley. Mark suspects the “office” is really the man’s living room and the “waiting room” is in fact the hallway.
“Why don’t you pick a hobby? Something new that’s interesting and refreshing. Something that reduces stress,” Keenan advises, peering over his wire-rimmed glasses and stroking the orange tabby cat curled on his lap. “How about getting a pet? I know someone who has a delightful baby goat.”
“Um…I’d rather not be responsible for a living thing right now.” Mark prevaricates. “I can barely take care of my lawn.”
Over the years, he’s mellowed out, learned to use tact, and lost the urge to insult everyone within a five hundred foot radius. Mostly. Sometimes people are stupid. And Mark is a sarcastic person by nature. But now his dry comments make people laugh, instead of like cry.
As for the really stupid people, it helps that he learned how to control the degree of mockery in his tone. He can deliver the most scathing comments without anyone ever realizing the recipient was insulted.
“If you’re sure. You’d be an amazing foster parent, I know it.” Keenan says, sincerity shining in his eyes. “Well, spend the week thinking about it, Mark. Let me know what you’ve decided next week. I hope that whatever you choose brings you happiness, gratification, and inner peace.” He says seriously.
"Now, you said you had a dream where you turned into a chicken?"
On Sunday, he sits down at the kitchen table to write a list of possible ideas. He gives up after twenty minutes when the only things he could come up with are stamp collecting and defeating Google.
Clearly, outside help is needed. Now, whom does he know that has a healthy, interesting and varied lifestyle?
He calls up Sean.
“Someone told me that I need a hobby.” Mark says into the phone as soon as he hears the other end pick up.
“Yeah, that would be me, buddy. I’ve been telling you that for years now.” Sean drawls.
After two stints in rehab and one incident involving a psychic and a vision quest performed during a camping trip, Sean now spends a lot of time working with D.A.R.E. He travels to schools all over the country with Daren the lion mascot to tell kids that crack is wack.
He won’t even take Tylenol anymore.
“No, Keenan did. And also, you know that I never listen when my headphones are in.” After a short pause, he continues frankly, “Plus, other than dropping ‘the’ from thefacebook, your track record with ideas aren’t that great, Sean.”
“Whatever. Then why’d you come to me, genius?”
“Chris is even more of a workaholic than me and Dustin combined. So he’s out. And Dustin only plays video games or talks to strangers on Omegle when he’s not busy with his company.” Mark sighs, fiddling with his hoodie string.
“Right. Well, how about taking yoga classes? You can come with me to the studio I use. And it’s not only for women. Many men agree that yoga is essential to your physical and emotional well-being.” Sean says defensively.
Mark hums. “You have a weird obsession with health trends. What’s next, body cleanses?”
“For your information, yoga is not a trend, it is a way of life. Also, I’ve already looked into cleanses. Not my thing. I like eating. My housekeeper makes the best organic baked ziti.”
“If you ate like I do, you wouldn’t look so much like a starving orphan. Or a homeless person. Though that’s probably more because of the way you dress…” Sean trails off.
“Shut up. I eat. The cafeteria makes great food.” Mark pointedly ignores the crack about his appearance.
Sean snorts. “So, you’re saying you don't only eat Cup Noodles and Pop-Tarts when you’re at home?”
Mark is silent.
“See? That’s why you look anemic. Vitamins. They’re important. Look it up.”
“I’m naturally pale, Sean.”
“Maybe you should learn how to cook, man. Yeah! Then you can cook for me. Be my little housewife.” He exclaims.
“That’s…actually a good idea.” Mark says, surprised.
“I’m the KING of good ideas.” Sean says smugly. “So keep in mind that I like Italian and Japanese, ‘kay?”
“Sean, there’s not enough money in the world for me to be your "little housewife". Ever.” Mark says before hanging up on him.