I spent a very long night last night. I reacted to the shot rather uncomfortably. It didn’t catch up to me until bedtime, but now I feel only a little bit better. It’s good to see the daylight again. Mostly cloudy with a patch of blue sky. It would be great if I could mind over matter the way I feel this morning. That’s what philosophy is good for, so maybe read a bit of Being and Nothingness… I received a call from my bank yesterday afternoon: they just want to do an annual review of my financial wellness. I can say it’s a lot better since I quit drinking. I’d like to go get myself a Snapple tea but it isn’t obligatory. Suddenly I realize how lonely I feel. I’ll call my sister in a half hour… I wish I had a girlfriend like Kate again.
Eight thirty five. I sucked it up and went and bought a Snapple raspberry tea. I got some good news in my mailbox. Feeling better than I did when I first got up. The sky is growing more blue now with a splash of sunshine on the ground. But it’s intolerably quiet in the house, the silence of solitude. It might be a long day.
We may decide to have band practice tomorrow. If Mike doesn’t work on Saturday and if I feel up for it then we could probably do it. I don’t want to miss church on Sunday either. If Aesop weren’t so aggressive towards everyone but me I could take him for a walk around the neighborhood. As it is, he scares people to death. I guess no situation is ever perfect, so you take the bad with the good. I’m glad now that I bought the G&L bass. I think I’ll buy some Ernie Ball strings for it soon. I’d love for life to get back to something like normalcy, but it seems like such a long time coming. Not only that, but maybe there’s no normal to return to.
Quarter of eight.
I think band practice is going to happen tomorrow, at four o’clock. Mike suggested having an easy jam oriented get together, and I added that we might record ourselves. My sister said she would call me this morning, so I’m kind of waiting for that. The weather is partly sunny and rather nice. I’ve been to the store and bought a green salad and two Snapples. I grunted somewhat under the cold and just old age as I ambled along the street. I observed my neighbor Steve getting in his car, but he didn’t see me… I had a series of dreams earlier about a possible moral decline from family values to selfish hedonism. But whatever happens, I’m involved in the American scene. It may be a ship of fools that’s out of control; or maybe just the contrary: every individual contributes to the direction humanity takes. It starts with one person going against the flow, like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the grandfather of Romanticism… When I was a student, I didn’t do well in history courses. It would be wonderful if I had another opportunity at it. There is so much to know.
Quarter of nine. I also dreamed about my mother this morning: we were sharing this house together and not getting along. I don’t know if I’ll ever shake my memories of her. At least I know I’m doing music for myself and not to please someone else.
Ten thirty. Mostly I’m anticipating having a jam tomorrow. It isn’t much fun to live alone with no escapes, but I suppose I could read a good book later today for stimulation. The sunshine comes and goes. I reserved a dose of flea medication for Aesop, so I can pick it up tomorrow morning or maybe even this afternoon. My heart aches for happier times when I had a friend in Scotland and international borders were open. I hope it won’t be too long before communication is back to normal.
Eight twenty five.
I see myself moving away from the talk therapy perspective on schizophrenia. Psychology and morality have nothing to do with the illness, so the church is useless to me anymore. The only useful therapy is cognitive therapy, which is not a moral or spiritual thing. I’m totally burned out on religion… The clouds have moved in, making it partly sunny this morning. I slept in for a while, with bad dreams of my vaccination tomorrow. Aesop has fleas, so I should get him some medication for that.
My favorite writer when I was younger was probably Herman Melville. The first book I finished reading after my mother died was Typee. I was aware as I read that this was very different from my sister’s family, with its working class Christianity and general narrowness. And this was my heritage, the values my mother left me: basically epicurean, a life of pleasure. It was either very shallow or very smart, depending on what the truth is. I suppose my mother wagered that God didn’t exist, and lived accordingly. No punishment, no wasted piety.
Nine fifty. Heidi is going to call me at ten o’clock. I can tell her about my confusion over politics and life today.
Quarter of noon. I’m at my best in the morning. After twelve o’clock it’s all downhill, possibly because I crave beer or something to kill time. I was late getting to the store this time, but it was rather nice. I saw a small group of Mexican youngsters who probably lived in those new apartment complexes towards Northwest Expressway. They were very clean and handsome people, polite and courteous. JR was working today, as he does every Wednesday. From the street I saw Derek in front of his garage, and little Natalie chimed out something like hi Robbie and waved to me. That was pretty neat… I told Heidi that my beliefs were in flux, and she said this was okay and pretty healthy. Better than being an extremist or other stick in the mud. We had a good talk for an hour. Hearing from her makes me feel less alone in the world.
Quarter after nine.
I get a haircut today at eleven o’clock with Karen. It’s cloudy, but the clouds are kind of pretty. The daylight continues bright every day. I’m a very sensitive soul, so little things can stimulate reactions in my mind that will snowball into depression or anxiety. I have a memory that goes back a long way, in spite of the drinking I did. I find myself doing certain behaviors that are motivated by the past, though unconsciously. Yet I wouldn’t want to dispense with my memories if I could.
Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you
I still miss my parents and wish we could be together… Aesop is telling me he needs water, so I say five minutes… I can put on a lot of bravado about existentialism and so forth, but sometimes I feel more tender and vulnerable. The color and the tone of my new bass remind me of another one I got in the fall of 1990. I probably had it for 19 years, and I sold it only because it gave me delusions of hell and the devil. That was no fun. And of course no one else understood my mental pain, not even my psychiatrist, who could only observe that I drank too much.
Eleven forty. There’s some sunshine out of the gray sky. It was good to get out among people for an hour. I don’t know what to think of the times today; they just seem rather insipid and kind of loveless and lifeless. Is it only me? Who knows but maybe love is the answer? Michelle’s husband had a terrible accident a few weeks ago, so extreme that it was unbelievable. And Kim from the salon likewise has a husband with many issues. If people could slow down their breakneck pace each day and smell the roses and hear the music of the spheres, life might have more meaning. I feel like I want to do something to help, but sometimes all I can do is be a good listener. I see people get married for reasons of mercy and pity, but often it just results in compounded problems for both partners. Maybe I’ll never get involved in a relationship, and maybe this is the wise choice for me… It’s always odd to hear people mouth off their politics and be expected to agree. I come away from it quite confused and a bit resentful. Most people merely parrot the opinions they’ve heard from others without thinking them through. I don’t know much today. My mood is as gray and vapid as the sky above. I am a microcosm of the Absurd.
Quarter after four in the morning.
I began to feel better once I identified the thoughts that were bothering me. I even got a decent sleep up to a point tonight. The past two weeks were very difficult emotionally, I don’t know why. Perhaps May will be a happier month. My band mate put me on the spot regarding vaccination last Saturday, so then I made an appointment with Bi Mart on Monday for next Thursday. Another church member also urged me to get the vaccine when we met up a week ago. My sister has been inoculated, but she didn’t put pressure on me to do the same… I hate feeling powerless over my life, but truly, no one else can rob me of my native freedom. This agency is inalienable, not by the Constitution, but rather by nature.
I just got a great email from my good friend. She is right that our worst enemy is fear, and it’s dividing us up more and more. It makes people do crazy things. The coronavirus today is like Communism in the 1950’s, with Joe McCarthy and his witch hunts. The fear escalates to a frenzy and people do things they regret. Maybe the saddest part about it is that people don’t know their history. Consequently we keep making the same mistakes again and again. Those who know what’s best for us must either take action or, like in the Ray Bradbury book, go off by themselves in a small band and wait for events to shake down… Is it hyperbole to say every individual for himself?
I just dreamed about Vicki from the little store on Maxwell Road, except she doesn’t work there anymore. Now she’s a Covid sanitizer for the school district. She is a cog in the machine like everyone else, going where the money is. She used to believe she could express anything she wanted on the job… until her job changed. I guess money speaks louder than words. Could there be exceptions? What kind of chaos would a cashless society be?… Up to two o’clock this morning I listened to Moving Pictures, followed by certain tracks from Light Years by Chick Corea Elektric Band. The second CD called to mind my working stint around 2005 in the summertime.
Ten o five. It’s kind of inexplicable how alcoholism ruins lives, like a form of kryptonite to any would be superhero. The opposite process, recovery, is equally mysterious, but it seems to be a matter of time and letting nature do its job. I’ve been doing recovery for three years and seven months, and right now it feels like a spurt of health has been granted. Today the weather is beautiful yet again. I had a good conversation with my sister from eight until nine o’clock, then gave Aesop breakfast. I was pleased to see Michelle back to work this morning. She was wearing an orange sweatshirt with a black apron, which happen to be the colors for Oregon State University. I also saw a Black man in the store, and even an Asian guy looking at the newspapers. Meanwhile, Roger still drives the old Ford truck with Trump stuck to the rear window. My own BLM yard sign still stands as well. The neighbors on my street are peculiarly paranoid and unfriendly with each other; very selfish, stingy conservatives with hearts the size of the Grinch. I really deplore their attitude, but I own this house and am quite stuck with living here. But Mike’s house is only a stone’s throw away from me. Every Saturday I am privileged to make my little pilgrimage to our studio where the world doesn’t intrude too much; where the world is more like a stage.
I feel great this morning, perhaps because I learned that my stimulus payment is coming this Wednesday. Dunno; I just feel different today. Not at all interested in Easter tomorrow. I have band practice this afternoon at four o’clock. Looking forward to that. I’m giving Ron one of my Ezra Pound books to repay him for two taxi rides. I might take along a Rush CD as well. A little while ago I was writing in my blank book about my rejection of metaphysics, which means religion and even Platonic idealism. I don’t buy any of that stuff now, and my detour to religion four years ago was mostly a mistake motivated by the political scene. I’m not sure how all of that works. Was Hegel right about the dialectical process of history? We move to the left and we move to the right and back again.
I feel as if I’d come out of a trance that lasted four years. And my views on schizophrenia are strictly biological once again, because hopefully the world is changing its mind also. Life is all very chicken or the egg, mind and matter, phenomenology and physics. I’ve had enough of psychology for a long while and look forward to a more realistic existence. I used to believe that maybe talk therapy could cure a mental illness like schizophrenia. But after several years of this, I’ve seen no progress as far as the delusions and hallucinations. So we just take the medication and live our lives as we can. To a great extent I feel relieved to see the changes round about me. Some people will be disgruntled for the next term, yet we all have to surf the waves as they come. For today, anyway, I’m pretty happy.
Quarter of seven.
The first thing I noticed upon waking up was the peach moon out of my bedroom window. I called my dog’s attention to it, but he was oblivious. Yesterday at dusk, the eastern sky was gray as if with clouds. The afternoon overstimulated my senses so that I had to go to bed a few hours. What I enjoyed most about the day was my phone conversation with Heidi, more of a friend than a peer support. After that I tried to write in my blank book, but my mind was blanker than the book. The day was so yellow that it seemed to scramble my poor brain. Today there’s a prescription I should pick up at Bi Mart when it warms up a bit. I try to assess the spirit of the current times and I only find that people aren’t sleeping well lately. Generally, I observe that some friends are getting farther away while others are getting closer to me with the passing of time. These things happen to you just because you exist in the world and you use your brain to make decisions and navigate through life. It’s sort of like scissors through construction paper: there’s what you use and there’s also the waste. I just wish everyone could be happy, if only for a day. One day of perfect bliss, a heaven on earth for the whole world. Maybe this would be enough to redeem us so we could begin again.
Quarter of ten.
It’s mostly sunny this morning. I feel pretty good. I saw two young women in dirty clothes at the store; Michelle eyed them suspiciously. It was cold out, with frost on the grass everywhere. I worried a little about my situation with the church, but I think I’ll be all right. They can manage their own feelings. I’m leaning toward a revival of cognitive therapy in my mind. It might be good to read Jane Austen, picking up where I left off in Sense and Sensibility. There’s so much polarity in the world now and not much wisdom to see both sides. Early this morning I had some dream thoughts that were very difficult to verbalize. They had something to do with the concept of the unconscious mind. I ponder whether it’s possible to dissolve the dichotomy of conscious and unconscious and eliminate traditional psychotherapy. Some people are still stuck in Jungian thinking. I just want life to be more balanced and sane… I spent ten dollars on Aesop’s Dog Chow: his favorite since puppyhood. Michelle noticed that the potato salad I’d chosen wasn’t very full, so I exchanged it for a different container. That was nice of her. Without the ibuprofen, my back would still hurt, hence I take one pill every morning.
Quarter of eleven. Also during my walk, I thought about how I don’t seem to belong in the world anymore. It has changed so much and left me behind like a beached whale. Particularly, education is not the same as when I went to school. People are being trained to function like robots rather than humans. No one is encouraged to think their own thoughts. If you do choose to discover your own truth, you’ll be either very rich or very poor. But again, wealth or poverty is not necessarily financial.
Three thirty. The weather is beautiful now, so I made a run to the market for some beef jerky— very expensive. I spoke with my neighbor Jeff for a couple of minutes. Boats are his hobby. He even has a pirate outfit. When possible, he puts his boat in over at Fern Ridge Lake, a man made body of water with a reservoir. Jeff says we’ve been short on rainfall this year and the level of the lake needs to come up a couple of feet. The marina has been closed, but opens again on the First… While I was in the store, I sort of wandered around looking at the different jerky snacks. It was like being in a new world, a world where I don’t have to drink anymore. The other customers appeared rather rough and ragged to me, as if they lived in poverty, so I fitted right in— up to a point. Suk manned the cash register. He asked me if the jerky was everything… I also saw my neighbor Steve, though he didn’t notice me passing by. There were two children in his yard. Somebody on a motorcycle came down Fremont Avenue and nearly stalled. Right now I hear a lawn mower on my street. Things are getting back to a new kind of normal while the sun shines on carelessly in a sky of blue dust.
I got a very nice email from my pen pal who lives in Texas. And it occurred to me what I really like about her: it’s her endless curiosity and desire to learn new things, without having a bias that would exclude any new discoveries. That is, her mind is totally open and unprejudiced. So it’s always a treat to hear from her every morning. The world could use more people as wonderful as she is… The sun won’t come up for another half hour, and until then it’s black as ink outside. I hear an airline jet crossing the heavens overhead. It hasn’t been announced yet how people on disability income are getting their stimulus checks, but I’m sure it will be very fair and right. The weather yesterday afternoon was beautiful— almost too much stimulation for me, tipping me into alcoholic cravings. I saw the headline about the shooting of Asian people in Atlanta and frowned in sympathy for the victims and all the people of color who would be concerned. Someday in a perfect world… but we’re still very far from that. The best we can do is keep educating ourselves and never stop learning. I’ve been awake since three thirty this morning; my daily rhythms are rather mixed up, so that I’m sleeping for part of the daytime and up a lot of the night. I guess I could read a book to pass the time. I really appreciate it when other bloggers take the time to actually read my posts. It means that my followers are sincere and genuine. Now I see the first gray light of dawn, and very soon the sun will clear the roofline across the street from my house: a dawn of potential, as is the promise of every new day.