Birthday for Two

Well it looks like I’m going to make it for my birthday tomorrow: five years of sobriety, and nothing really mysterious about it.

I actually sent an email to my former friend about the anniversary. I only did that to make myself feel better; it has nothing to do with him at all. I doubt if he’ll reply, and that’s just as well.

Tomorrow will come and go like every day, but the word of the day is “relief.” It’ll be a huge burden rolling off my shoulders, and then I can get on with my life.

I know it happened three years ago, but the house fire 🔥 is on my mind today. Amazing to me that I lived through a fire and what that means symbolically and psychologically, even in an occult way. For me, it means my transformation to an independent person, which is like the zodiac sign Aries and my life path number of 1. Sometimes I get into this kind of stuff. Maybe it’s stupid and bogus; or then again maybe it’s not. I think I’ll look up fire in the dictionary of symbols.

I feel pretty puffed up with myself just now. I feel really good about my recovery ❤️‍🩹 and how far I’ve come. I’m a much stronger and braver person now than before I quit drinking and took control of my life.

Woo hoo! It’s a very big deal!

I should order myself a pizza 🍕 tomorrow afternoon and pig out! Call it a birthday for Aesop and me.

The Underdog

Nine o’clock at night.

I had a dream that a T. Rex killed my dog. Aesop went up against him fearlessly to defend me but the huge lizard chomped him down. Obviously I was sad afterwards. I wonder what the dream means. Does the dinosaur symbolize something, maybe the monster of society or of life itself, and my dog represents the brave but puny individual whose valiant fight is futile? The story ends up the opposite of David and Goliath: the underdog, against tremendous odds, loses the battle. What are they battling over? Still, Aesop’s self sacrifice to the T. Rex kept me alive a bit longer, so his death was not vain. One more observation: the name “tyrannosaurus” means “tyrant lizard.” Thus, the real tyrant could be anything you can imagine: the Church, or perhaps a group of unjust politicians trying to topple democracy. But usually when I think of something threatening, it’s the menace to liberal scholarship and to education as I remember it. And of course, “Aesop” is the fabulist and moral teacher of antiquity.

Doggie Logic

Wee hours.

The dead of night. No store is open until seven o’clock except the 24 hour places like 7 Eleven and WinCo, or Shari’s restaurant, all of which are too far to walk to. My dog seems happier now because I figured out the cause of his bitter mood. It’s funny to discuss him as if he had human feelings, but he’s very smart for a canine, and reason is the same no matter where it occurs in the universe. Aesop has no understanding of music, but his verbal comprehension is good, and he even has elementary math ability; he knows basic quantities, and more-than or less-than. I would beg to differ with something I read by Loren Eiseley about the uniqueness of human intellect, as though only people had a soul, and the world was kind of waiting for us to arrive on the scene. He wrote some nonsense about the “finger of God” in evolution. He seems to think that human beings hold a privileged place in the cosmos, which is true enough, but it doesn’t mean that we have a monopoly on reason. Even Plato believed that the universe is imbued with an essence of reason. It wouldn’t matter which species came to ascendency, so it was rather accidental that humanity was the one. As it is, dogs are capable of dreams.

Silicone

Nine o’clock.

I dreamed that my dog could talk. He had a vocabulary of 600,000 words and knew the entire Bible. Then I woke up and fed him breakfast. As he scarfed it down, I said, “Bi Mart to the rescue. Gloria to the rescue. Laurel Hill to the rescue.” An otherwise sunny day is clotted by high clouds. They forecast a high of 92 degrees. The trip to market was pretty dull, and sometimes I consider mixing it up with other places to buy goods. I told a friend I was contemplating getting myself a gift for five years of sobriety. So I went on the Guitar Center website and priced a bass I was interested in. But the thing about it is how the music community here is totally saturated with alcohol and weed, almost to the exclusion of the music itself. Thus it wouldn’t be practical to invest in a musical instrument with such a situation. Another thing is, I saw photos of Robert Plant’s daughter, I guess, “then and now.” In the second picture, she had breast implants so huge that I had to say, “That’s disgusting!” At one time I would’ve liked that look— back when I drank a lot. Now it’s a different ballpark. So I wonder what rock and roll is really about, and should I invest in a new bass guitar? Where will my attitudes be in five more years?

Relativism

Quarter of eight.

This morning is overcast and kind of ugly, though things are going rather well so far today. My conscience prods me regarding church; I suppose I’d better show up on Sunday and try to be a good Lutheran. I awoke in the middle of the night with a vision of the album cover to Jaco’s Word of Mouth. It shows the progress of the sun across the sky in broken up frames to suggest the relativity of perception. I hadn’t thought about relativism in a long time, but I encounter epistemic problems frequently with my family. Getting to the bottom of a story is nearly impossible when you have nothing to go by except reports and hearsay. I get so I despair of ever learning the truth. Still, I have faith that the truth exists if we can eliminate all the lies and coloring of the facts that people add to reality. Of course I could be wrong, and there is no truth outside of human creativity. It just seems kind of wishy washy to have that belief. And my intuition is usually pretty on the money. I’m certainly very tired of family dynamics. I feel upset after every conversation with my sister…

There’s no denying that my dog is hungry for his breakfast right now. It is an indisputable fact, and I can witness it firsthand.

Stormy Night

Eight thirty at night.

I’m feeling kind of sad this evening. Outside it’s a night of high winds, and they warn of flash flooding, but my neighborhood is far from water. I told Aesop to be careful when I let him out for a potty break, and I worried about limbs falling from the oak tree. It was a day of bizarre contingencies, and of people misunderstanding each other like T.S. Eliot’s game of chess. Culture is in a state of fragmentation. We seem to speak different languages, our punishment for the Babel Tower, aspiring to the exaltation of the deity. Or maybe this is the isolation of being a deep thinker. The opossum, my uninvited guest, makes a small racket under the bathroom and Aesop barks his anxiety and frustration, answered by a few other canine voices from far away. The animal kingdom harmonizes, so why doesn’t the human world? People don’t treat each other well. Instead, we thwart and baffle one another. Now I’ve heard the thunder: I say the word, and Aesop barks nervously. Everyone understands what thunder means. Perhaps it’s what this whole day has built up to. Afterwards it’ll be a relief and a release of tension. For now, we just hang on.

Henry

Six thirty five.

An hour ago I hacked my beard completely off for a clean shaven look. Aesop barely recognized me afterwards. On my way to the market, there was more asphalt put down on the sidewalk; they must’ve done that yesterday. A man speed walking passed me on the street and said good morning. Lisa noticed my face and said she liked it. I wore the blue sweater that Colleen gave me when I stayed at Residence Inn three years ago. I was distressed yesterday, but I still don’t understand exactly why. Going to Bi Mart seemed to trigger my alcoholism all over again, though Grocery Outlet would’ve been even worse for me. Ten years ago I had more innocence and naivety than I have today, unless I was guilty for drinking the whole time. It raises the question of what is innocence and what is sophistication. I’d say that my pug dog Henry was an innocent lamb, loved by everybody. I can’t boast the same for myself. I wish I could! Some people duck the issue of ethics with gray values. I used to do this, too. But I think in the end it was just self defense. Henry made it to 14 years before he had to be euthanized. Besides his cataracts and hearing loss, he had a heart murmur. The staff of the veterinary hospital sent me a sympathy card, signed by everyone who worked there. They also made a plaster paw print to remember him by, but I remember him anyway. Henry was my innocence.

Equity

Nine fifty PM.

I just got done watching the official video for “Pride” by U2. I guess there’s something to be said for icons after all, but I feel that there must be a reason for my de emphasis on pomp and grandeur. Now I think of the former president with a shudder of dread for his egomania, but it’s really a symptom of an American disease. We always want things larger than life to feel entertained and satisfied. But why aren’t we happy with the little things? The media amplifies everything out of proportion without a thought to its impact on the public. We need to be more responsible for what we say.

My dog Aesop is so intelligent that his feelings can be hurt if I say the wrong thing. I told him that he was overweight yesterday, and today he pouted for most of the day and refused the carrot sticks I offered him as snacks. He’s self conscious about his weight! It makes me wonder about his interior monologues: what does he think in his canine tongue? Sometimes I wish I was Dr Doolittle so we could understand each other. Or, like Sigurd in Viking mythology, I could drink the dragon’s blood and be given comprehension of animal speech.

Every living creature deserves to be heard.

Time Flies / No Complaints

Seven thirty five AM.

There’s a reprieve from the wind and rain of yesterday and last night. Outdoors I saw tree debris scattered all over the streets. Also I noticed for the first time that a lawn on Fremont Avenue had gone completely to seed. The grass was so tall that it was lying sideways with the blades tipped like little spears. I wonder what the situation is with that, though it’s not my business. The same house is where I observed the white truck with Confederate flag license plates in January a year ago. And on the street in front of the house someone had sprayed “gay” one time. Very strange. So I ambled up the sidewalk to market and went in. I encountered a young lady who had a pleasant face and like a klutz I blurted, “Hi!— how are you?” She smiled politely and returned the greeting. The delivery came through yesterday, so I grabbed two deli items; but the distributor didn’t say what happened to the missing driver… The little store has changed so much in three years. Sometimes I think of Michelle, now someplace in Wyoming. She’s only been gone since March: two months ago, but it seems like longer than that. Who knows a month from a year anymore? I entertained the idea of going to church this morning, but those people are too paranoid of Covid and I’m still throwing off a cold. Besides, I don’t feel like singing hymns today or any day. The church was there when I needed it, when it counted, and I’m grateful for that.

Quarter of nine. When he’s in the mood for it, Aesop likes me to pet him. I couldn’t have picked a better dog than him for intelligence and devotion. He is day and night different from the pug I owned ten years ago. He guards the fort and keeps me safe. I don’t even have to lock the front door when I leave the house. Blue heelers are an amazing breed. Aesop is one more reason why I can’t complain about my life.

K-9 Beings

Seven o’clock.

I’ve decided not to be passive today, but to be instrumental in my own moods and thoughts. If it rains outside, then it doesn’t have to rain within me. I can dust off the old idealistic philosophy and make life better. I don’t know why everything is in a slump currently. Maybe it’s not necessary to know in order to fix it. I wish we had more choices than just the same old Christian and Buddhist churches in Eugene, but then it’s really up to you to form your vision of reality. I don’t believe in a Resurrection that Christians are waiting for so excitedly. It’s probably nix on going to service this Sunday. When you don’t believe, there’s no sense in pretending otherwise. It’s also impossible to turn back the clock to peachier times… I reckon what I want is another brain to have an intelligent conversation with; someone who’s not a church pastor or other spiritual leader. Someone for whom Jesus is not the point of reference for every topic of discussion. And finding a person like that requires a trip abroad, or going online in search of international forums. My experience is that this country has gone intellectually stagnant.

Eight twenty.

I see that my dog is in a better mood today than yesterday, but I admit that I’m still in the pits. Nature doesn’t seem to know that it’s springtime now; we’re getting wintry weather still in Oregon. Maybe that’s better than super hot like it is in Texas. Well whatever. Nobody’s listening to anyone else anymore. No one seems to care on this gray and rainy day. It’s a good thing that most Americans have a dog.