A Ha Penny Will Do

Nine o five.

It’s strange how the neighbors on my street, except for Roger, are not very friendly. The ones across from my house put up their Christmas lights yesterday, a string of all white. But every time I get to N Park and Maxwell Road, I’m received more nicely, especially at the market… where I happen to spend a lot of money. I try not to be cynical of people. This morning, Lisa wore a funny red striped hat tipped with balls of white. She said she was selling more coffee than anything else. Only one biscuits and gravy order, and hardly any breakfast sandwiches… I have “Waltz of the Flowers” going in my brain. I haven’t been sleeping well because my mind is on my sister and her family, worried for the future if something happens to her. She is 74 with a few health issues. At times my consciousness feels ready to melt down or implode on itself when I’m lying in bed. Also she was considering giving our brother a call after a long silence. This could be a disaster if she gets ahold of him. Life isn’t altogether peaches and cream. For once I’d like to get a good night’s sleep.

But Christmas comes anyway. 

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Paranoia

Noon hour.

I’m getting an overdose of society today, and I’ve got Gloria tomorrow morning. I just feel besieged and I worry too much all the time. I want the world to go away for a while, so maybe I should go off the grid temporarily. Unplug everything and take a holiday from people and their conflicting opinions. I don’t want to deal with this anymore. And the fucking news in my face every time I use my phone or tablet is driving me bonkers. It’s too much like The Central Scrutinizer of the record by Frank Zappa; so totally Orwellian and intrusive in our individual lives. Am I just paranoid? Meanwhile the clouds are clearing way for the sun to shine through. If nature were all we had to deal with! But instead we have The Monster, this disembodied octopus in charge of all human beings, thinking in ones and zeros, calculating our destiny with no mercy, no heart, and no soul. If we could just conquer this oversized brain, this cyber Messiah, with the will to love one another like humans and not machines… but it will never happen. There will be no Human Revolution during my lifetime, short of a cataclysm: an asteroid collision with the earth. The next Ice Age. Be careful what you wish for…

One Big Boat

Seven thirty.

Today I’m skipping the caffeine completely. It was turning into a problem with my sleep. There’s just a light rain this morning, but we get more rain than sun this June for whatever ecological reason. At one time, all I worried about was staying alive, but now I worry about more complex things. Frankly I’m tired of the stress. It’s tempting to just opt out of life one way or another. But then I’m probably not alone with the bigger picture. I’ve gone from poor to virtually penniless due to inflation. It doesn’t help when people say that the ultra rich will alone survive in the long run. Something must be done for the little guys, the paupers with nothing but the clothes on their back. My bank makes it more difficult for me. Maybe I should switch to a credit union or something. But not until I’ve paid off my credit cards, a long way away. I really need to talk to somebody at my bank, but they don’t answer the phone. I feel I’m up a creek without a paddle, but again, perhaps not alone.

Before the Ordeal

Wee hours of Friday.

Aesop, my cattle dog, has an appointment for an exam and a toenail trim this morning at ten o’clock. He is doing pretty well right now, since we tried his sedative yesterday. For my part, I’m trying to minimize my dread and superstitious fears of what could go wrong.

During the day yesterday I wrote quite a lot in my journal, ending up with some thoughts about the historical effects of intellectual movements. It seems that whatever the existentialists start, the flesh and bone religion of the common people finishes. I remembered a chapter from Les Miserables titled “After-Dinner Philosophy.” The Christianity of the poor and the working class was not good enough for the hedonistic nobles who rejected God and the afterlife. Apparently, society has been structured like this since at least the time of Victor Hugo. But what happens when a self styled “antichrist” like Nietzsche comes along and preaches the “superman?” Maybe George Bernard Shaw has an answer for me in one of his plays. Man and Superman is a work of literature I never got around to reading. I only know that Shaw was a Socialist born in Ireland and living in London, and self educated out of a museum. He lived over a hundred years ago and made his living mostly as a music critic.

But none of this argument is here or there to Aesop, who has to go through an ordeal today. 

Suspense

Eleven thirty. I wonder why I have such emotional problems? Life has gotten more difficult since April, with increased stress and pressure from all the people I deal with each week. I feel as if I had to compromise my identity to get along with others, and I was never very good at turtling and wearing a mask with different people. It’s exhausting to do this. I feel so tired. It would be better to simply be myself, and if people don’t like me, then they can go away and leave me alone. It seems like such a sin to assert myself in this life. We assert ourselves just by existing, by being someone, and immediately this draws fire from somebody else. The ideal is to live and let live, but hardly anyone practices this policy. It gets harder and harder just to exist in our society. I don’t know why this is. Am I the only one who notices it? I’d like to read a few pages of Being and Nothingness, except Sartre might make this feeling worse… It was Sartre who thought that hell is other people. Well, I shouldn’t have to bend over backwards to agree with someone with a different point of view. Everyone ought to be tactfully assertive and still be okay with each other. I just get this feeling that we’re really not okay. And the situation is escalating day by day. Someday soon it’s going to explode… 

Pushed and Pulled

Four twenty.

I kind of dread my appointment with Rebecca, though it’s not her fault. The problem stems from the other guys in the band, who wouldn’t understand why I need a personal care attendant to keep organized at home. The guys are a working class sort and probably want me to be one of them. The more I think it over, the more I see how this band is causing me grief. It started when I bought a new bass for myself, knowing that this was something my friends wouldn’t do, or approve of me doing. I suffered a great deal over my decision to buy this instrument. So now I’m beginning to think these guys are not worth the pain I go through on their account, yet it’s hard to know what to do. I realize that I’m taking responsibility for their feelings, which isn’t the right thing to do, according to cognitive therapy, although some philosophers disagree on this tenet. The point is for me to avoid depression and anxiety as a result of interaction with other people, thus the cognitive perspective is likely my best option. Of course I have the freedom to choose to leave the band if things get out of control. And then there is the issue of their substance abuse, while I’m trying to stay sober in their midst. Maybe the music profession is not what I might wish it to be. I feel myself being pulled apart by the attitudes of other people, their politics, and their personal opinions and backgrounds. It makes it very difficult just to be a person in this world, but there has to be a solution. 

Gray Again

Nine thirty.

I’m going without caffeine today, no tea or Coke, no beverage at all. I saw what it did to me yesterday, especially in the early afternoon. It was unpleasant. I left a voicemail for my sister. It isn’t supposed to rain today, so my walk to physical therapy should be uneventful. I feel lonely, and I wish life could be different. I’d like to make another friend like Kate across the Atlantic. The best thing is to keep an eye out for opportunities to meet likeminded people. The sun is making an appearance.

Ten thirty. I just voted and put my ballot in the mailbox… Some of the measures dealt with substance abuse, so those were easy to decide on. I hope it’s a clear day for my stroll later. A thought on the edge of my mind keeps offending me. I think it’s about Santa Clara. I have to go there today, and it makes me feel like a child somehow, or a helpless victim. I’ll be in my sister’s jurisdiction while I’m there. People really believe in spooks in that part of town. It just gives me a feeling of sadness and a little anxiety that I could be caught out as an alien unbeliever. Worse, I fear psychosis and delusions of frightful things. It’s no joke when you have schizophrenia. I once had a frenemy who thought it was cute to make me watch horror movies with him. He was neither very smart nor sympathetic.

Noon hour. I don’t feel very good, but I guess that’s okay. My thoughts are all confused, enough to make me cry. I wish the truth were objective and not plural and divisive. We can be taught that round objects are really flat, or that two plus two equals three— and we believe it for a lifetime. And some will tell you to forget the truth and get on with your life; but what is life without pleasure, without fun? It is pinning the tail on the donkey blindfolded. Pushing a boulder up a hill repeatedly and uselessly. It is work with no play. It’s gray. 

Friday Excursion

Four o five in the morning.

I’ve taken my Vraylar and a Vitamin D3, and eaten a small Hot Pocket. R— isn’t doing a good job of keeping the store stocked with supplies. There’s not enough stuff for me to eat at that little market. I said something about it to M— last Saturday, and she looked distressed. Maybe today I’ll opt for Grocery Outlet. I can’t go wrong with that Seattle International sourdough bread. I don’t ask for much, just enough food to eat. As long as I’m mobile on my two feet, there’s no reason why I can’t go to the other store… I had a nightmare a bit ago about my dad. He was trying to sabotage me by forcing me to drink a substance with pins and needles in it. The dream didn’t make much literal sense, but the drink was probably alcohol… I anticipate seeing the sunrise this morning.

Five o’clock. I guess I’ll go back to bed and rest for a while longer.

Eight thirty. A fine, misty rain is coming down… The PA at the institute concluded that I should continue the surveillance of my ferritin levels. Very strange. Why did she send me that letter? One person even thought it was a forgery. But W— admitted to doing it… Tonight we film the church service again… The letter from W— disturbs me only because it seems she was condemning me for my past alcoholism. There are always people like that. I’m going to keep the letter she sent, in case of problems down the road. Suddenly reality assumes the shape of a Henry James plot, where I am confronted by the irrational in human affairs. And just as suddenly the sun peeks through.

Eleven o’clock. I walked to Grocery Outlet, but had anxiety and energy issues related to gabapentin withdrawal. I just took a pill. Still, I managed to buy food for me and some really nice natural dog food. Aesop should be very happy with tomorrow’s breakfast. His exact birthday is unknown, but the month is September. I want to do something nice for him… I spotted a blue Amazon delivery truck on my way to the store. Apparently they’re making a go of their own delivery service. Dunno how I feel about that. When I arrived in the store parking lot, I saw quite a few cars and people, as if nothing were wrong. People wore masks, but otherwise it was normal. The dog food had been moved since the last time I bought it there. I was exhausted by the time I got home. Luckily it didn’t rain again while I was out. I passed by a few people on the street who courteously said hi. As always, the sourdough bread is outstanding.

Blue Tuesday

Eight twenty.

I’m going to try to make today a better day. Think happy thoughts. Yesterday was ridiculous. A downward spiral straight to hell. I used to think reading Sartre was fun, but now it’s too real and gruesome to enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with Romanticism, the beautiful and true. We need something to lift us up from the pits. It may not exist already, but we can create happiness by means of music and poetry.

Nine forty. W— sent me a letter saying it’s unlikely that I have hemochromatosis, but she didn’t tell me what I should do. So, I called the institute and asked about it. I will get a call back later today. It seems to me that W— is trying to be a diagnostic hero or something. Looking for a feather in her cap. The decision is up to the hematologist, not her. Why did she send me the letter? It just seems confrontational on her part. Whatever, I’m getting to the bottom of it. She’s probably right, but still, the doctor is the one to say… People do crazy things in the summertime. The heat gets to everyone, messing up our judgment… Aesop is begging me for his breakfast, due in one minute…

Well, all I have to go by is the note W— wrote. Maybe my reaction was paranoid. I’ve been in a bad frame of mind since yesterday. Perhaps she didn’t think it through to the same conclusion that I did. And my conclusion was, Why be seen for a condition I don’t have? Why waste my insurance money on unnecessary visits and labs? Indeed, I probably did jump to a conclusion that W— hadn’t thought of. Anyway, getting that letter in the mail puzzled me and got my day off to a rather bad start. I’m having a very hard time staying positive. I’m looking for evil motives in people where none exist.

I should burn the Sartre book.

Quarter of ten. I wonder if I should take a gabapentin? Maybe it would help my mood. But this would be psychological dependence on the drug. My cranky mood probably has to do with stopping the med. It is definitely addictive. I think I’m in a mess, a vicious circle of addiction.

Gabapentin

Quarter of three. I appear to be physically dependent on gabapentin. I looked up the withdrawals on the internet and not only do they exist, but I could identify with several of them. So I started taking it again just to get rid of the withdrawals. Then I left a message for Darcy at Laurel Hill. I hadn’t realized that gabapentin is potentially addictive. People had said such good things about it. But by now it is well documented on the web that the withdrawals are similar to alcohol and benzodiazepines, which for me is deja vu all over again. I bet my old psychiatrist would have known the risks of prescribing gabapentin. Worst of all, while experiencing the anxiety symptom, I wanted to drink alcohol to make it stop… Therefore I would warn people about this drug before agreeing to have it prescribed for you. In some ways it’s as bad as alcohol and Xanax.