The air has cleared of the smoke somewhat since yesterday. Also yesterday, I did some reading work on Percy Bysshe Shelley for an understanding of his rejection of Christianity, although he admired the Greeks, and he still believed in a certain Power coeternal with nature. I was about to read Alastor again. But I think Shelley was kind of dumb to multiply entities in his view of the world. If phenomena can be explained solely by physics then what do we need the spirit for? I knew a friend who used to say, “Something’s keeping my heart beating.” And I told him it was his nervous system and the AV nodes of his heart, and it was all physical. Of course, I played the devil’s advocate with him; my bad. He told me that I was fucked if I wanted to stay sober. For a while, I fulfilled his prophecy, almost as if to make him happy. It came to a point where it didn’t matter whom I was pleasing. Everything was different when it became a life and death decision. Then it was just me and the booze; no one else counted. And that’s what I have to remember when those AA’s get in my face these days, telling me I’m going to relapse and what not. What they say says more about themselves than about me. And tomorrow is my anniversary no matter what people say. Now it’s my turn to say someone is fucked.
One by one, Randy has been hauling away the cars from his lot on the corner of N Park and Maxwell Road. I don’t know for sure when Will’s Auto Repair is moving in. Whatever, it must be a situation that benefits both parties… My mind has been on my fifth birthday of sobriety and how I dared to show up 12 Steppers. I actually feel kind of remorseful for doing this, and I’m not complacent by any means. What if the AA’s are right and I’ve been wrong the whole time? I’m afraid I’m going to slip or have a full blown relapse to active alcoholism simply because those people said it would happen. According to them, if you don’t surrender control over to your Higher Power and keep it yourself, “you’ll drink it.” I’ve struggled with AA doctrine ever since my introduction to it in 1991. So now, with five years sober, I’m sort of quaking in my boots after all the warnings I’ve heard from them. Again I remind myself that there has to be more than one way to do things. The date of the anniversary is actually the 12th. It’s not a matter of luck, it’s a matter of myself.
Another dreary winter morning with a touch of fog. Cold: 37 degrees out. Frankly I’m depressed lately, so it was an effort to drag my feet to market today. Heather had on her Ghost of Gatsby T-shirt, an advertisement for a local rock band. I understand that they’re pretty good, though I imagine they are much younger than I am. I’m a dinosaur of rock, pretty much. I like most things that are done intelligently and with quality. Accordingly, this morning I bought myself a new hardcover copy of Ulysses, and I realized then that this year is the centennial of its publication in 1922 in France. Its theme of universal love makes me self conscious of the way I proceed about my life: am I a hypocrite? I’m just an old bachelor, irresponsible and free as a bird, instinctively pulling away from entanglement with women. I don’t want to compromise in any way for any reason; and the price of this is the loneliness I often feel. Can I honestly say “I love everybody” when everyone is a stranger to me, or is this a kind of intellectual stunt, a delusion by dint of mental gymnastics? It’s the sort of objection that Sartre would raise. Maybe it’s easier to feel universal love with a bellyful of beer or wine? Aesop is hungry for breakfast, so I won’t put it off any longer…
Ten o’clock. I’m trying to think of a counter argument to support Joyce. The world would be a better place if everyone held the same love in their hearts and shared it with everybody. It is good to read Ulysses because we all could use a dose of humanization. We all need to be churched in James Joyce.