Another hot one is predicted for today. Think I’ll stay home from church yet again. The reading I did of Shakespeare during the night got me reflecting on collectivism in a new way. Autolycus as a character in The Winter’s Tale is a fly in the ointment, and by nature he is unlikable with his dishonest purse cutting and bawdy songs. It makes me compare his role in the play to my own place in the church and the community. And seeing myself in this light, I don’t really like my image. Funny how reading a good book can make you self aware.
Seven thirty. The store was supposed to be open at seven, but when I arrived, no one was there and the doors were locked up. I’ve never seen this happen before at Community Market, a total failure to show up. So I crossed the street to the espresso hut and bought a raspberry tea from the pretty girl and came home. I can’t speculate what happened to Heather this morning. I only know she didn’t show up to open the store today… I’m still contemplating going to Our Redeemer for Sunday worship. It’s a very long walk there, and Aesop won’t be happy about my absence. I’ll leave it to the last minute to decide… Band practice was such a disaster yesterday that I won’t make an Orpheus post this time. My mates were too stoned and drunk to be able to play their instruments, let alone think and make sense in speech. I was terribly embarrassed. Maybe in this case it’s two strikes and you’re out. I wasted my time yesterday with these bozos. I just want to make music, while the others make music secondary to the drugs… Church is looking better and better as I think about it…
I just got back from my daily run to the store and didn’t wear a mask this time. Michelle said her cat is angry at her for being spayed recently. I remembered to get Aesop’s dry food and my ibuprofen. It’s cool outside today with overcast skies. Damien brought my ac unit yesterday evening, so now I have some insurance against the next heatwave. I’m just thankful that I can think straight again. I’ve got a passage from Prokofiev playing in my head, used both in his Classical Symphony and in Romeo and Juliet. I first heard it when I was 24, just before I was diagnosed… This is Thursday and nothing planned for today, though I hope for a band rehearsal tomorrow or the next day. I’d like to play my G&L bass sometime today and soak up its beautiful tones. It sounds very close to the Music Man bass I owned during the ‘90’s, the one that made me a small fortune with disco. The band I’m in now is nothing like disco; it may be called indie music, I suppose… I hope the neck on my Aria bass didn’t warp while sitting in the studio through the heatwave…
I don’t recall what dreams I had last night. In my blank book yesterday I confessed that sobriety can be hell, and I asked myself why this is so. But this morning my mind has recovered its original shape, so I think the real hell was the extreme weather last weekend. And that was a trial for everyone in the Northwest, not just me. Nor was I like Jonah, or anybody else in the Old Testament. I don’t believe in telepathy of any kind, thus no God who knows the thoughts of my heart. No other being in the world will ever know my inmost thoughts and feelings by a direct link between minds. But the question is an interesting one. Perhaps I just don’t want to believe in telepathy, valuing my privacy instead, sort of like Virginia Woolf in Mrs Dalloway. The privacy and freedom of one’s mind is a sacred thing.
One o’clock. I went to Bi Mart for my prescription and to get some socks and underwear, but on the way, on the Silver Lane sidewalk I almost got hit by a reckless pickup driver. He ran off the road right next to me, up onto the sidewalk, and eventually drove to the turn lane to get on River Road. Three other witnesses were there, and two of them asked me if I was all right. It was just one of those crazy things. And just as swiftly as it had occurred it was forgotten and I continued to the Bi Mart.
The pickings from the men’s clothes were quite slim, so I grabbed whatever they had in my size and checked out at the pharmacy counter. The cashier was an old sourpuss who always works on Saturdays. It’s interesting, but when I was a drunkard I thought Bi Mart was a very cool place to go shopping. Today I see through its shortcomings, which even the employees readily admit. Bi Mart is not Walmart or even Jerry’s Home Improvement. It has a small selection of a little of everything you need to survive. They have a good variety of beers and wines, sometimes on sale for cheap. But I don’t go there for booze anymore, so it isn’t very exciting these days. I think of how many ghosts from the past I’ve more or less exorcised since quitting the alcohol. I’ve accepted the losses and let them go.
Then I took my things in a brown paper bag and walked home the same way I arrived, reasoning that another accident like before was improbable. I got home without further incident.
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.
Nine thirty five.
Polly called me an hour ago. She never got over the sickness of last week and had to go to the emergency room Saturday evening. A doctor at the hospital told her she had probably passed a kidney stone and the pain of this made her nauseous. All the tests they ran came out okay. She said her oldest son hadn’t been spending much time with her in this adversity. I urged her to call me during the week if she feels lonely or bored and maybe unwell still… Meanwhile I had what felt like a small stroke last night. I thought I was going to pass out or even die on the spot. Being honest, I haven’t felt good in the past couple of weeks, maybe for psychosomatic reasons. Life all around me has really sucked ever since the November election, when people behaved their worst under pressure. There’s no excuse for the BS we’ve allowed to thrive as if it were acceptable. If I had a rocket ship and a lifetime supply of oxygen I’d fly to the moon where I could be by myself. But no. “Every mistake we must surely be learning / While my guitar gently weeps.” We’ve forgotten our history, and we are paying for our stupidity. Is the pen really mightier than the sword? Are books stronger than rifles? Is knowledge power? Then we need to do something wise to save ourselves. There’s no one else who can do this for us: no invasion by extraterrestrials, no Second Coming of Christ— nobody. It’s like the ending to Lord of the Flies: who will save humanity from its own wickedness?
Thick fog hangs low in the street outside. Aesop needs canned food before nine thirty, so I have to make a trip to the store soon. I won’t forget the birthday lunch for Angela. I just started hearing “Onward” by Chris Squire of Yes in my head. Perhaps it is appropriate to the way I feel, which is a little hopeless, like flying into the light of a dark black night. I had a lot of dreams of being caught in public without a mask. Today I feel almost like withdrawing from society completely because I have no defenses, no disguise to hide behind. But the squirrels are having a good time. Aesop is being quiet, lying in front of the sliding glass door. Another day in the life of a very funky year.
Nine o’clock. Flashback to the taxi ride to Springfield the other day. The driver was so calm and quiet, except I caught her harmonizing to a song on the new country station. It was sweet, but I felt a bit alienated. As if I didn’t belong in the world. Then she switched stations, and presently Yes came on, followed by Aerosmith doing “Walk this Way.” Last night I dreamed about the Tom Hamilton bass line, and how cool it would be to play in another rock band. Impress the girls. I also dreamed about an old friend who was a musician. He was very homophobic, like most musicians in this area. Our friendship was sort of love hate. I was socially clueless and he was driven by greed and the need to be popular. He wanted to be cool. At first I liked him because I thought he looked nice. But his nature took a darker turn over the years I knew him. Mine did too, an impulse to self destruction. On second thought, maybe rock and roll isn’t so great. I believe I was misdirected when I was growing up. What is the counterculture to me now? A whole lot of alcohol and marijuana. The music is secondary to the lifestyle.
Ten thirty. Pastor has been busy on the problem of the “darkness” of the past six months. He sent out a letter urging us to email him stories about God’s grace working in our lives. Also he emphasized that salvation is a matter of here and now, a heaven on earth by the way we treat each other. So, I guess I’ll give it some thought…
It’s been a very strange kind of day, with thick wildfire smoke choking the Valley, tinting the sky apricot and orange, the sun raspberry. I’ve gone out in this mess twice today, but they advise staying indoors. The residents of Marcola, which is the east side of Springfield, are preparing to evacuate. Before I had a nap this afternoon, I was imagining the worst for our future. It seemed like the tip of the iceberg, or perhaps even more advanced than that. But not everyone is thinking that way. I called my sister and she was quite levelheaded about the fires. And then, when I walked to the salon and the store, plenty of people were out and about. On my first excursion this morning, the traffic on the Interstate seemed rather normal. I observed that some streetlights were still on against the smoky obscurity. It feels like some idiot’s demented nightmare, but I wonder if the idiot is only me. I added together the fires, climate change, the pandemic, the protests and counter protests, and the election, and came up with apocalypse. Another factor in my deduction was the way some bloggers are leaving WordPress. Dear reader, will you become one of them?
Out of the blue, the toilet decided to run. What makes it do that? Plus, the water heater quit working. I have to call The Home Depot about that. Little setbacks are cropping up as autumn gets a little closer. I slept better this time. Dreamed about making music with some help from friends. I think that common sense is the key to our future, if we can just be patient and persist. For a long time I’ve been trying to declare my independence from the church. To sit around and wait for the Last Judgment is no kind of answer to our troubles. It would be rolling over and submitting like a dog. This is what we’re doing to ourselves spiritually. Well, people believe what they want to believe. But a belief ought to give pleasure, it ought to help us along. I reckon I’ve made my wager on the religion issue. Maybe I’ll go to hell; but why would I go to a hell that I didn’t invent? After all is said and done, every individual creates his own fate.
It’s another beautiful and mild day. I wanted a Coke, so I bought a Coke.
I think I’ll decline on singing with the church this Friday. Sooner or later they’ll get the point.
When I stepped out my front door, I smiled to see the Black Lives Matter sign stuck into my lawn. Little elves had put it there this morning.
Quarter of noon. The good news is that I don’t have any psychosis or superstition at all. Time should take care of my woes. I want to enjoy my life.
One twenty. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. My chemistry is all fucked up. It could be the Vraylar. Not enough is known about this drug, so I’m just a guinea pig, or maybe a body bag. I want to find a homeostasis, a state of stability, but instead I just feel worse and worse. I’m tempted to drink beer, but out of masochism I won’t do it. If I were to give myself what I really want, I would probably get drunk and shoot the whole thing to hell. Still I won’t drink. The epic novel of current events is too fascinating to obscure from myself. I might as well read it as far as I can follow it. Some people are talking the end of the world. I’m not going to hurry it up. Hang on and hope for the best.
Four fifty five. Sometimes I think about Karen and the girls from the salon. It kind of astonishes me that they liked having an old bum like me around. As if they saw something in me that I don’t. I particularly miss seeing Angela; but they’re all great. Lisa was going through a tough time, the last I heard. The salon was hit with several little catastrophes before the lockdown. Maybe the respite is needed, and then they can come back refreshed. Darlene’s passing was very difficult, for she was my reason to hang out with them. Now I know it would be hard to work as a caregiver to seniors, because they tend to die… Karen was great on the day of the funeral. As usual, I didn’t look like much. I just brought myself, take it or leave it. I was impressed with Janet’s family; her husband and young son seemed very upright and honorable. She had done well, as she deserved. She gave a speech about her mother and family. Janet was still a little in shock from having lost her brother thirty years ago. The music selections were new country, which was fine for them. I was kind of glad to get out of there, though. People were saying that now Darlene is reunited with Lewis in the afterlife, and it was a good thought. I can see the way he used to ride his bicycle home from work every late afternoon. The family always liked me okay up until I was ten years old. Then I had a falling out with their son on the way home from school. Afterward, I still saw Darlene delivering the local newspaper for many years. And she still came over to visit with my mom, often while I was away at school. Mom would tell me about it later. It was only me who kept my distance, and it became a little awkward. Kind of like what happened with my nephews and me as we were run through the chute of the education system. Our fates got sorted far apart from each other, on different paths. It was nobody’s fault, though it’s hard not to regret what happened…