Something happened just now that changed my whole mood for a day. It’s a very simple thing. I made a call to my pharmacy to request a prescription refill and dealt with an individual who was exceedingly nice to me and who made the process much easier. Her name is Laura. With some people you just have a certain chemistry and with others it’s more of a battle, and nothing can explain it save for the stars and planets or the vibrations of names and numbers. I think sometimes that the initial letter of a name can tell you a little about human interaction. In this case, “Laura” begins with L, whose number is 3 on the Pythagorean chart. The traits of the 3 are mostly creative expression and maybe emotive qualities. The R in Robert is a 9, meaning humanitarianism and the arts.
Is it all a lot of baloney? But even if it is, people need a way to make sense of life. We need a calculus of human and social chemistry to navigate the maze of this existence, and occult science seems as good as any method.
Quarter after eleven.
I ate a salad for lunch and then hit the street, carrying the little owl in a bag for Kim. On the way I felt dizzy and lightheaded but managed to get to the salon. I found out that Kim wouldn’t start work until noon; so I put the toy on the counter with Kim’s things and Karen said she would call her attention to it. I turned around to go home then. Roger is outside doing his pet project and I saw a team of Mexicans busy with some construction work. Actually they were just talking among themselves in Spanish and I felt like addressing them in their own language. But often it makes them a bit paranoid if you do that, so I thought better of it. I just said hi in English. I got home and ate a lot of chocolate to help with my dizziness, if that makes any sense. All the while, it’s a clear and sunny day and the temperature is very mild and pleasant. I think back to the times when my yard guy was a Mexican named Juan and his friend Geronimo fixed my truck’s electronic problem— and then wanted to buy the vehicle from me. I haven’t seen those guys since the politics got unfavorable for them, which is a sad story in itself. And sometimes I’d like to just drown my sorrows and forget everything happening today. Pass the chocolate…
Five thirty AM.
Daylight already this morning, and by six thirty it’ll be broad day outdoors like it was yesterday. I still haven’t popped the plastic on my new book of Dali; it’s so impressive it’s a bit intimidating to me. Am I just a denizen of the Maxwell community, and if so, how dare I aspire to something better? My existence is perhaps like pearls on a dung hill, and just as useless to the people in my surroundings. Everyone is so anti intellectual around here that I have doubts about the place of a person like me. On the other hand, I let this feeling defeat me before, over the same book, eight years ago. People readily condemn what they don’t understand out of fear. And around here it’s an epidemic of stupidity I’m up against.
I resolve to open the book and look through it before the weekend, damn the torpedoes.
Even my brother used to say “sell more books” for beer money, but what kind of “professor” tells you that? At heart, he is still a redneck with the rest of the family. Family and community have a nasty way of devouring the voices of reason and intellect that dare to exist in their midst.
Misery loves company, but joy must struggle to assert itself, and may live alone. If it is all just a fantasy, then still I’ll no longer beat myself up.
Five thirty AM.
I’ve about had it with my sister. I won’t call her on the phone this week. She claims to be a Christian, but there’s a good way and a bad way to be a Christian. Her interpretation of the Bible turns Jesus into a figure of hate instead of a loving savior. The Jesus that some people understand is a lover and a forgiver, and, like Gandhi, a pacifist (turn the other cheek). But my sister’s Jesus is a terrible judge of gay people and anyone else who doesn’t fit the mold.
Maybe Jesus is a dummy people manipulate to express their own values, their loves and their hates, to give these more power (my Jesus can beat up your Jesus).
I’ve heard some off the wall sermons in the past three years. The first ones I listened to were actually pretty good, emphasizing the qualities of love and forgiveness, exemplified by Jesus Christ himself. After Covid, something went wrong for my church. And today it’s weird to see a few members supporting the pastor. Generally speaking, it’s quite a mess, plus the story is different depending on whom you hear it from.
I haven’t been to church since January and can’t really say anything with certainty. As for my sister, bigotry is not my style.
I prefer to liken Jesus to a pacifist like Gandhi and maybe leave the Old Testament behind. I can’t agree with making him an agent of hate.
The whole thing is too complicated for words.
I went to the little store just now, and again Lisa asked me if I was getting enough food to eat; so I asked her curiously if Suk would do anything if I answered no. She said she didn’t know about him, but she would do something… With Kim in mind, I bought still another Ty stuffed animal: a little white owl with a big funny beak and a clueless expression on its face. The Ty toys are one sign that some people still care about each other, even if our government is cold and corrupt and doesn’t give a damn for the citizens. In this regard, the USA now resembles the more authoritarian countries in the world and seems less like a democracy. The next vote will probably be a joke, down to the same old clowns, while people are not credited with having any intelligence at all. God help you if you’re the invisible person on the street. You just ask yourself what in the world is wrong with society.
My dog is very vocal for his breakfast, finally barking at me to feed him… Done.
In the market parking lot I saw a red Nissan truck with a canopy, 90s vintage, that made me think of my old green pickup which I couldn’t afford to maintain anymore: so I sold it to some drunkard for a humiliating price and now I’m stuck without a car.
You can’t have everything you want, so be happy with what you do have. And if you have something, by all means keep it.
As the church seems to cut me off, I feel more deserted and aimless; I don’t even have the church to beat up anymore: nothing to wrestle with to give my thoughts direction and purpose. Once I heard a political song on the radio years ago with the chorus, “Without this system, you guys would have nothing to bitch about.” Now it’s a point taken. The weather today is beautiful with irrepressible sunshine coloring things on the ground with orange juice. The high temperature should be 79 degrees. But I feel very alone in the world, and the perfect weather just rubs it in. It’s like being all dressed up and nowhere to go. “Waiting for someone to come / And turn your world around…” And Rush was probably right. But also there’s The Beatles: “Nowhere Man, don’t worry / Take your time, don’t hurry / Leave it all till somebody else lends you a hand.” I think I like the John Lennon version better.
I was considering reading Daisy Miller again, but it’ll likely turn into another unfinished project. Besides, I still have to read to the end of The Portrait of a Lady.
Karen is bringing me a whole rotisserie chicken from Costco this afternoon. So at least I know that somebody cares about me and won’t let me starve. At the same time, I feel kind of like a bum to take charity from my friends. And maybe I ought to try to support myself; see a specialist at the agency and hunt for a job. I remember how a local bookstore hired an older man when I used to frequent the place a long time ago. Again, there’s the difficulty of not having a car. I’d have to take the bus to work every day.
The cards seem stacked against me, but even so, you know that something has to give. In the meantime it’s a game of waiting and seeing. Does anyone still believe that the pen is mightier than the sword? Or I should say the dollar. And the game of cards has really become a game of hardball. Hardly anyone lives for love nowadays. People are still saying that money makes the world go around. I think this will be the inscription on our stone.
My mother taught me two main lessons. First, to be honest. The second, to despise money. Was this a disservice to me? But there it is and I can’t change it. I’m not sure I would if I could.
On second thought, the gold of pure philosophy doesn’t put food on the table.
Two hours ago I could barely hobble to the store around the block, having lost a night’s sleep. When I got there, Lisa asked me if I was getting enough to eat, and I replied that I had plenty of food at home. She pursued that a lot of others were having a rough time since their Snap benefits were reduced, and some women would get pregnant just for the hike in food stamps or whatever welfare they received. She said it was ridiculous, but I don’t know if she meant to blame the mothers or rather the situation of the government. I know which party I would condemn, and it’s not the women on welfare. Again I see that I am not alone in abject poverty, yet the ridiculous thing is I have an education, but because of the stigma of my illness, and because I am honest about it, I’m totally screwed. What’s the difference between the dungeon for schizophrenics and the chains of poverty and prejudice?
Either way, we’re locked up and forced to be invisible to the public. It’s completely fucked.
Quarter of seven.
It was six o’clock when I hiked to market, and my right foot stabbed me with pain a few times. I saw no one else outdoors although the birds were all very awake and raising a racket. Above me, the clouds were scalloped small and gray on blue sky and westward I heard crazy cars on the highway. If I focus hard enough I might recollect my thoughts. Anyway: yesterday I learned the names of the neighbors in Derek’s old house, and they told me he had a job in Oakridge and had bought a house there. Not that it matters much, because I think those neighbors are Skinheads, judging by the truck parked at the curb with Confederate plates. True, that was two years ago, but a leopard doesn’t change its spots overnight… The rest of my promenade was very ordinary, banal, and boring, and now the sunshine is going away. But at ten I’ve got Gloria and we had planned a trip to the bottle drop in Springfield today. I look forward to that, even though an excursion to Springfield is a voyage back in time thirty years. Maybe that’s why I like it. Aesop barks for his breakfast. Life today is a mixed up mess, especially in a place like Oregon.
It’s a cloudy morning, though not a solid sheet of overcast; you can make out individual clouds, gray and white. At 6:30 I hoofed it to the store; now it seems like forever ago. Just a typical trip, nothing exciting. Life generally feels dull, having lost its luster, and I see people chasing after the bucks every day, no one really happy or making an effort to give each other pleasure. The only exception is the little Ty stuffed animals you find in stores, which you give your friends or family to appreciate them. Otherwise the times are cold and joyless as everyone keeps to herself, closed and expressionless, exchanging only money and material things. It might be easier for a person who has a lot of money to thrive today, but the poverty of love affects everybody. No one really feels what community means nowadays. Again it’s not like the world of James Joyce. I suppose that I am just another statistic, a symptom of everything going on. If half of Americans don’t believe in God today, then I’m just one of them; a simple fact of sociology and demographics. But there’s something wrong with this point of view, as the poet W.H. Auden indicates in “The Unknown Citizen.” Every person is an individual with original feelings and thoughts, with a life to live, and one chance at fulfillment and passion. Deny a person that, and the soul of the world is shot to hell.
So far, I’m not having a good day…
Anyway, the sun shines without mercy, though at least the high will be just 79 degrees today. The light from the sun looks a florid orange and the greens are all lit up, while the azure sky is deep and fathomless but void. You look straight up at it and see a rich powder blue, and down below here, people chase about their business as obliviously as the forgetful sky above. It doesn’t look much like the natural world of a Wordsworth poem. As I neared my house coming back, I saw a large dark bird with enormous wingspan in the air behind Lenore’s house: like a hawk or buzzard if it wasn’t some waterfowl. I didn’t get a good look at it.
It’s as though the moral virtue of nature and people had vanished from both. It’s also like The Hollow Men of T.S. Eliot, I suppose. You don’t get the sense that God is in his heaven, all’s right with the world like in Robert Browning. Our world has gone quite prosaic— unless it’s only me with these observations. All I had to do was take a walk outside and mark my surroundings. But maybe it’s different living in suburbia, shuffling the streets and sidewalks…
A crazy thing just happened on my phone. An emergency alert came up saying look out for a car stolen from someplace in CT or something like that. It didn’t say if the people were armed or anything. It’s just another example of how ours is not a romantic age anymore. Instead it’s looney tunes, and perhaps the politics here form a big part of it.
But there’s not much we can do about it. People are selfish and corrupt; those with power want to keep it and all their money, and screw the people who have nothing.
I wonder if Rob Roy is a good book?
Rob from the rich and give to the poor.
Seven thirty five.
The mask mandate for healthcare facilities in Oregon was lifted a month ago, so today I don’t have to wear one to the agency. After ten o’clock, the taxi will pick me up for a little ten minute trip. I can’t really speculate what it’ll be like, since it’s a bit different each time I go. The realistic attitude is not to imagine ahead, but take it as it comes and act accordingly. Of my two parents, my dad was the sane one, while my mom, though brilliant, was a nut. When under stress, I draw upon my dad’s genes to navigate a situation. In honor of him and his literary tastes I named my dog Aesop… My poor mother had such a negative outlook, full of fear and paranoia, that life with her was very painful for me. She was defeatist, believing it could not be done. Overall, she seemed to think that the universe was not a friendly place and everyone was out to get her… She must’ve been in college when she had exposure to Edgar Allan Poe, whom she praised as a genius. After she passed away, I photocopied “The Bells” at OfficeMax, had it laminated in a single sheet, then drove up to Rest Haven to her gravesite and stuffed the poem into the flowerpot over the marker. My other choice would’ve been the Intimations Ode by Wordsworth. Either one made a fitting sendoff for my mother.