Footlights

Wee hours.

I thought I would jot some words and see where they go. I woke up with Pat Metheny jamming in my head in the middle of the night, when I’d been dreaming of Shakespeare’s plays. Now it seems that I’d love to read The Tempest once again, if I never read anything else in my life. It would make me think of the crucial mistakes I made in love with somebody at a young and foolish age and try in my mind to rearrange history. On the other hand, it’s better to make errors and learn from them than to dwell on the past and repeat the things we did wrong. Another book on my list is still The Ambassadors, though this also would express a regret in my unconscious mind. I might be better off to open up The Octopus or something I’ve never thought of reading before. Or instead of reading anything, I could go take Aesop for a walk around the hood and have ourselves a little adventure. But not at two forty in the dead of night. There must be a way to go beyond what I learned in school thirty years ago, a way past bibliomania into a wider reality; but the real world offers nothing as exciting as the ideas found on a college campus: ultimately, in books and music, the theater and art exhibits. All the world’s a stage, but it is illuminated by genius. 

Jumpstart

Seven o’clock.

I was out very early this morning. I caught the sickle moon waxing in the east through a chink in the rosy clouds; would have taken a picture, but I knew it wouldn’t have turned out good. A neighbor on Fremont Avenue flies a blue flag saying “Let’s go Brandon,” and today I finally looked up the meaning of this. But I could have predicted it pretty much. Inside the store, an old Toto song was playing on the radio, so I asked Michelle if she liked them. She didn’t sound very enthused about the band. I commented that they were extremely tight as a group, sort of like Michael Jackson in his heyday. Her interest waned even further… Last night I got an email back from Pastor regarding my resignation; he said he’d been kind of expecting it. But we’re on friendly terms at least, and we may have a meetup to discuss it. Yesterday overall was a bizarre day, with human connections being quite difficult for me. Things just weren’t syncing up very well. Right now the daylight is growing, showing the sky gray out my eastern window. Aesop’s moods seem mostly rather bored. He’s only interested in snack foods and he balks at eating his breakfast. When I get up the nerve I’ll try walking him around the block a few times to spark his zest for life again. It appears that everyone around the world needs a jumpstart in their lives today. They need something more than the holiday shopping frenzy and other hoopla. They need the next Beatlemania. 

Autopilot

Any kind of catnip would brighten my day, yet the responsibility for my mood is mine. If it’s not, then David Hume is right about causation or determinism. My dog now relies on routines rather than on his own wits. He’s on autopilot every day, not thinking of his next moves; not thinking at all. Living with him is possibly getting me down. Aesop used to be so bright and vivacious, but he’s fading at nine years old. He is just a creature of habit.

One ten.

I called Guitar Center regarding pickup installation. Their tech is out today but back tomorrow and Friday. I can’t think of anything very intelligent to say now, except follow what makes you feel happy. Could John Watson really turn a garbage man into a lawyer as he boasted? Is there no such thing as native talent? I’m still stuck on Mark Twain’s “Man Factory” idea. He was also unimpressed by musicians, from what I can tell. Emerson was a lot different about poetry and music, the things that take inspiration from the muses. The sun has come out. My maple and oak have lost all their leaves for the winter. I regret that the medication is so effective sometimes; at night I can’t even dream like a normal person. I think what I need is unconditional love from someone, or just to be forgiven my weaknesses. Then it occurs to me that my harshest critic is myself; so how does that happen? If I disable the guilt, will I feel better? Maybe we should all cut each other some slack, maybe bolster each other up for a change. I know one person I can go easier on right away. 

Social Animals

Ten thirty. I would feel lonely this weekend if I didn’t go to church tomorrow. Every friend counts, no matter what they believe. I’ve gotten out of the habit of church attendance, and it’s really different anyway with the COVID restrictions. If the weather is fine this afternoon, I can go back and get a bucket of ice cream for fun. My favorite flavor is Espresso Madness, but I have a hard time with the caffeine. I might buy it anyway… or not, since I remember my reaction to those white chocolate pretzels for Christmas: I was laid out for a couple of hours in bed. The buzz and the mood swing were too much for me… I do get lonely and sad when there’s nothing going on in my life. Mostly I yearn for the company of very intelligent people, but it’s very strange how everyone is scared of the virus, as if they had no backbone at all.

Eleven forty. Forget it. I’m going to read my Nietzsche for a while…

Quarter after one. I realize that reading Nietzsche has been infectious for me. The material has incubated in my mind and hatched out a miniature clone of the German philosopher himself… for better or worse. My memory reels back to December 1987, when my mother and I made a trip to the Literary Lion on the Downtown Mall. She had special ordered a book by a local author titled A Letter Home. It was about the Oregon pioneers. I just remember how soon the afternoon grew dark for the wintertime, and somehow that bookstore makes me think of Nietzsche. It must have been a selection among their classics. I really loved my mom, and I miss her today. She never wanted to stop drinking, but she didn’t overindulge it like I did. My drinking was suicidal up to the point where it was a choice of living or dying. I picked life, sacrificing even the dearest things, treating it as an adventure. Now I don’t know what to do about my situation with the church, but the door stands open for me to come and go… A neighbor nearby mows her lawn. There’s sunshine outside, with some colossal clouds of white and gray. On days like this I used to kill time by drinking beer; I was lonely like today: maybe I should make a visit to Deb at the market? 

Thursday Afternoon

Things turned around for the better in January 2019, when I met Heidi. We hit it off from the start. I haven’t seen her in over six months. I hope she’s doing well. Maybe tomorrow I’ll call LHC and see if she’s come back to work. She was on furlough from the lockdown. It used to be so much fun to go grab bubble teas at Cal’s. I was really kind of crazy about Heidi. Funny that I hadn’t thought of her in so long. We had a kind of tacit mutual understanding. She told me she was born in 1978, so she must be 42 years old. I always thought her face was pretty. Maybe I stopped thinking about her to protect my heart. What else does MS Word remind me of? I stopped using my PC on 11 March 2019, the morning of the fire. Gradually, I’m catching myself up to the present. Damien still hasn’t replied to my text this morning. It seems to be a bad day for trying to reach people. And then, probably I’ll hear from everyone at once. Tomorrow is church night all over again. I’m sort of dreading it, though at least I’ll be among friends. I feel rather lonely, and the heat is uncomfortable. There aren’t that many people I have deep conversations with. The one with Polly went better a few days ago. I didn’t feel paranoid or self-defensive as I would’ve with caffeine. I feel bored, too. Before the afternoon is through, I could play my P Bass. I may not be in the mood, though. Outside the front window, the clear sky even looks hot. Part of the whiteness might be from the forest fire in Salem. It’s supposed to be ten degrees cooler tomorrow and the next day. I can think of nothing more to say right now. One of those days. I’m running the fan just to move some air around. Currently it’s 88 degrees out.

Late Afternoon

Four o’clock 🕓. Aesop keeps indicating the front door with the anticipation of pleasure, but I have to tell him that the mail is not bringing him any treats today. I think I’ll give him another bone from the package stored away in the pantry. The temperature in the house has surpassed 73 degrees, making me a little giddy… I gave Aesop a new bone, so now he’s in bliss, of course. I feel like a reverse Mother Hubbard, for the cupboard was not bare, and the dog actually got something.

Five twenty five. My imagination for writing posts has run dry for the present. Everyone seems to be busy worrying about the virus or something. Blogging is not what it used to be. Maybe it’s time to go back to Distributed Proofreaders and do some volunteering. I’ve been doing WordPress for almost four years and it’s getting kind of old. I should just follow my feelings to determine the next move. Everything is stalemated by the circumstance of the coronavirus, so it’s hard to know what to do. Meanwhile I continue to age a little more every day. When I lie down, sometimes I feel how fragile my life is. My heart could stop beating, I could stop breathing; one of my systems could fail, and I could die on the spot. Something keeps me going, perhaps mind over matter, or maybe there’s a spiritual component to human existence; I don’t know. But I need an activity to keep me occupied, especially when the world is at a standstill. It is not the end of the world, but people are acting as if it were. The sun keeps on shining day after day while we hunker down in terror. We’re not making much sense. Or perhaps people have better things to do than blog nowadays? And maybe I don’t blame them.

Protocols of People and Dogs

Six o’clock.

I hope for a quieter day today. I don’t have to go to River Road this time. No guilt trips over wearing a mask or not, or leaving my bag at the front of the store. If Aesop weren’t so scary to other people and animals, I would take him for a walk. But he’s like a pit bull in being aggressive. For this reason I would never own another blue heeler.

The way I ended up with this one was a fluke. I was afraid to say no to my sister, who often gave notoriously bad advice. Jeff knew this about her and tried to protect her from the truth. He swore me to secrecy all the time. The family situation was an incredible mess from all the lies and deception usually for the purpose of emotional caretaking. Don’t tell So and So because she will be upset. Polly and Jeff learned this mode of operation growing up together, but I learned just the opposite in dealing with Mom. I could not adapt to my siblings’ protocol after Mom passed away. It wasn’t my fault. I was brought up to be honest. If it turned out to be a virtue, it was by a coincidence and not from adherence to a particular doctrine…

Anyhow, Aesop is in a rut of waiting for his next snack. Just lies there and does nothing for hours at a time. He doesn’t know how to entertain himself when I’m busy with something else. I believe he’s too intelligent to sit and gnaw on a bone. He needs to interact with me in a meaningful way. I have to figure something out.

C’est l’ennui!

I just lost all my notes for today. Accidental deletion. But I just laughed. It was mostly bogus observation anyway, products of an overactive imagination. I closed the blinds for the coming of the night. Tomorrow I go to church because I promised Pastor when he called me on the phone. I’m so bored that any change of scenery is welcome. There’s nothing to look at from the couch in my family room. Not even a tv screen. I got an overdose of my old music for two and a half hours. Boredom is the reason why people need each other. Without stimulation from others, I for one would go bonkers. We need intrusion, we need contrast and maybe disagreement to better understand ourselves. People define themselves by comparison and contrast with others… I feel a little hungry, but the same food choices day after day are redundant and insipid. Bachelor living used to be fun, but like everything it’s become drudgery. Anything compulsory gets to be a prison, a ball and chain, and in the extreme we turn to excess of whatever gives relief, whatever affords escape. It could be getting drunk on Friday nights and watching horror movies for a thrill. Who knows what the inmost human craving is, and how to satisfy it permanently? Life is transitory, with quenchless thirsts and bottomless hungers. Some people say Jesus can slake this endless craving for pleasure and stimulation. I don’t know for sure, but the ennui I feel currently is unpleasant…