Pinball / New Ideas

Nine twenty five.

Feeling nervous about my coming trip to the agency at ten o’clock. Not very happy about it. Last night I realized how much I was craving alcohol at a subconscious level, betrayed by figurative language: rain and water imagery mean drinking alcohol to my mind… I feel lousy and low energy. I’m waiting in my driveway for the taxi to come get me. It feels like the world is falling apart, but I can’t do anything about it.

Quarter of one. That went pretty well, and Misty made me a new appointment for the end of August while I was there. The sun has come out, a better color than recently. They’re saying that some of the smoke has cleared around here. I’ve decided to give the Sturgeon novel another chance out of curiosity. Think I’ll spend an hour with it this afternoon and suspend judgment.

Quarter of eight.

At the end of my nap just now I dreamt about my nephew Ed. He was trapped within a giant lightbulb, the spinning filament of which grew more rapid and more lethal the longer he waited to get out of it. The suspense was like “The Pit and the Pendulum.” I woke up before the dream was resolved. My sister hasn’t returned my call from yesterday morning, so I’m a bit concerned for her family. I know it’s no good to try to guess what’s happening with them, though my mind will still weave dreams to fill the blanks until I have more information. I wonder what persuaded Ed to get a job as a park ranger? It has become one of those cliche occupations associated with very conservative people, sort of like flower arranging for women, which my sister used to do. It only shows how easy it is for us to be pigeonholed and subdivided by this machine called society. Very strange to watch it happen to people you know as they are shot out like balls in a pinball game, hitting this and that bumper for points until they disappear down a hole. It’s not an original metaphor, either, but one provided from a stock of images for anyone to buy.

Quarter after nine.

And now I suspect that being original is an exercise in futility when we live in a consumerist society with everything mapped out for you before you even exist. I should take a look at Auden’s poetry, particularly to reread “The Unknown Citizen.” Salinger nailed it very shrewdly with The Catcher in the Rye. Suddenly I realize that my feelings now are echoes of me from when I was twenty years old; but what I feel is no less genuine for being an adolescent’s feelings. Everyone takes a ride on the carousel, even if you choose not to do so. The rain falls on everybody’s head. Whether a player or a spectator, we’re all in the game. You can sit and watch the skaters on the rink, but someone’s also watching you. Sartre: we live only in the eyes of other people. Green means go, red means stop. But is it really hopeless to dream up a new idea? Maybe I’ll be the one to find this out. 

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