Saturday Babble

Quarter of nine o’clock.

Today I’m kind of glad for the bland weather. We’re actually getting a real winter this year, whatever they may say about climate change. I believe I’m nearly over the virus I had for a week; I feel much stronger and healthier now than last weekend. And my mood is good today. Aesop gets bacon strips, the kind processed by Purina in the yellow pouch. Yesterday afternoon I received the new Ulysses book from Amazon. It is so beautiful that I hesitate to desecrate it with my touch. I know a bookshop owner whose brother can read a book and leave it still looking immaculate. He barely opens it up when he’s reading, to protect the spine. Tsunami is a neat little shop in the south of town on Willamette. I haven’t been there in years but I still think of it. Scott is a good man and very fair in business. When I didn’t have any money I used to bring him books to sell. The very same books had been rejected by shops in North Eugene; they couldn’t use classics, which had no value to them. They were after Louis L’Amour and Danielle Steele… What is it with me and books? But I’m not alone in bibliomania, this worship of totems.

Nine forty.

My dog just had his breakfast of canned food. The air outside is as still as death. A while ago I saw a fox squirrel through the window, but there’s no sound of birds at all, not even crows. I wonder what happened to them? When I was younger I used to listen to a local radio station that played elevator music, but it was really quite good. Often they put on George Benson’s “Gimme the Night” and “Follow the Sun” by The Beatles; also “Do You Want to Know a Secret.” It was good for me when I felt anxious or depressed, in the days before my illness. Above all, I’m very thankful that my virus is gone. 

Glimmer of Sun

Quarter after seven.

Even though the forecast says it’s cloudy, I can hear it raining outside. Never take another person’s version of the truth. I really didn’t like yesterday’s A— News. Maybe I’m not a Democrat anymore, seeing the effects of the current politics.

Eight thirty five.

My mood is better just now. I’ve been to the store and had my Snapple tea. I saw four teenagers grabbing a snack at the market before they went to school. Cathy manned the registers by herself. Again Michelle was not there, but I had no time to ask about her, for the store was rather busy. I notice the clouds breaking up to the east and there’s a reprieve from the rain. I look forward to the spring, when my utility bill is lower and I’ll have a little pocket money to do some things I want to do. I know I can’t afford to buy a car; just being realistic. Every form of transportation is very expensive nowadays, pricing me out of my lifestyle. And maybe my rock and roll days are over anyway. It’s interesting just to watch the wheels turn around, as long as I don’t have to get too involved. Otherwise it’s very hard to be a person in society today. The worst part of it is being told what to think regarding the nature of reality, when the door ought to be left wide open for speculation. I just saw a glimmer of sun on the magnolia leaves. To dream the impossible dream of freedom for all: Don Quixote wasn’t at all crazy.

Quarter of ten. My dog Aesop is cute when he enjoys a cookie. He seems pretty relaxed this morning. As for me, some things are out of my hands, so I might as well take it easy, maybe read a good book today. 

The Honest Way

Seven fifty five.

I might be doing too much caffeine lately, and this affects my nervous system adversely. For whatever reason, I feel pretty lousy today. Aesop is moody and pouting because I did three or four things yesterday that he didn’t approve of. He seems to keep score and then punishes me with his cold shoulder. Outside, more winter weather, very dark and wet. Ugly. It’s going to keep raining all morning. I’ll be interviewing a person for the PCA job at one o’clock today. Not very happy about it. Michelle was absent from work for two days, so I wonder if she’ll take the whole week off. Cathy and Heather held down the fort yesterday.

Quarter after nine. The rain was light. I never used my umbrella on my little pilgrimage. I spent eighteen dollars on four items, and Michelle was gone again today. A lot of customers go there in the morning to buy a pack of cigarettes in addition to their grocery stuff. Cathy doesn’t know me that well… I was thinking about the toxic relationship I used to have with my brother. Alcoholism makes life more difficult. I have some regrets for the things I did when I drank; stupid things, dangerous things. I was dishonorable, though a part of me tried to be honest and do what was right. Interesting how the honest way is the way of virtue and not of darkness and disgrace. Of sunshine, not winter rain. The heart knows what is right. 

Peace

Nine o’clock.

At the store, a guy showed up in a green Chevy truck decked out in a complete Santa costume and went in to give Heather a candy cane. Heather didn’t know this person from Adam. She was wearing headgear with two Christmas trees on springs. I bought a Coke and more than the usual treats for Aesop. My friend on WordPress gave me an Amazon Gift Card late last night that took me by surprise. I’m thinking I’ll get myself a new set of bass strings with the money. The church gig last night went pretty well for being under rehearsed. We’re not professionals and our church is small… A small miracle I’ve noticed is that my back pain is a lot better than it was a year ago. I tend to believe that the pains I’ve had since being on my medication were side effects that came and went. So I’m not as old as I’d thought. But the medication is indispensable because without it, my interior experience would be a living hell. Thanks to modern medicine I don’t have to suffer like that. Aesop and I are spending this day alone together, and that’s fine with me. It’ll be a time of peace and quiet to hear myself think. A day of shalom. Peace that passes understanding. Shanti

A Letter: Alcohol and Caffeine

Now I know more about what’s been bugging me lately. I don’t know why I started doing so much caffeine recently, but it’s having an impact on the way I think and feel and remember. I believe that everything we do boils down to brain chemistry, and ultimately everything is physical and material; it’s all constructed of atoms, basically. I could be wrong about that, but it’s my particular belief system. Nothing spiritual is necessary to explain natural events. Now the question is what made me buy the Coca-Cola in the first place. Today I got myself two Snapples, still too much caffeine, so tomorrow I’ll either skip it or just get one of them.

I guess I’m going to church this Sunday, though my feelings about it are mixed. I think I’d prefer not to sit through a sermon and take communion and all that stuff again. Maybe I’ll wait and see at the last minute whether I want to go.

Yesterday I flipped my blank book over and started writing going in the other direction on the left hand pages. Meanwhile I kind of wonder what interested me in Paul Bowles again; or even why I used to like his writing originally. I’ve changed since I first read him in February 98. And at the end of the same year I finished Moby Dick, the mood of which was very similar to the Bowles book: it was quite nihilistic and maybe sort of wicked like Macbeth. I don’t know how I feel about the unconscious from a Freudian point of view anymore, something dark with basic drives, but you can see it illustrated in the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, like in “The Cask of Amontillado” and many others. And that reminds me: have you decided on your next purchase from Amazon yet?

It’s been drizzling here since about noon today, but it’s supposed to stop pretty soon, only to redouble itself for another week or so. Rain, rain, rain! But I have no complaints about it, and I actually like it. It promotes a state of mind for thinking and reflecting about abstract things.

Aesop has been in a sympathetic mood yesterday and today, probably sensing that I was feeling rather crappy since Monday afternoon. He is a very smart dog, and I think I care more about him than the dog I had before him, a little pug named Henry. The pug was more gregarious than Aesop, and everybody loved him. Henry was very sweet and cute as could be, and sometimes I miss having him around. But like a lot of things and people I used to know, he belongs to a past that can’t be revived. I may regret it all I want but in the end I will accept that the past is buried and irrecoverable.
But once in a while something happens to remind me…

At some level I wish I could get drunk and enjoy my life like I used to years ago. I thought I had my whole life ahead of me when I’d get a mile high. The future consequences don’t occur to you when you get wasted on alcohol or other drugs. And then you get a wake up call and realize that life is very short and you are not immortal. And you know then that alcoholism really is fatal.

An Easier Life

Six thirty.

Can a person be driven mad by Modernism? My old psychiatrist said no. Introspection doesn’t cause psychosis, and my illness would have happened anyway. A few hours ago I sat and read two chapters of Connecticut Yankee. I’m past the halfway mark into the book. Consistently it debunks superstition, and also it advocates democracy and deplores injustice and oppression… I just heard Bonnie Rose leave in her truck, probably for work today. Those neighbors are very unsociable with me. Diana seems to trust only Cherie from up the street. There’s a hint of the light of dawn, purple gray. My mind is racked between Romantic primitivism and a realistic society, or between psychosis and sanity. It pulls my head apart when I try to sleep at night. But the thing to do is accept myself and forgive my weaknesses. Mostly I agree with Twain’s disapproval of magic and other nonsense, yet it’s only because of the medication I take. Without it, I might be susceptible to miraculous thinking like a lot of people. I feel cold in this room right now. I can see through the front window that it’s foggy out. Aesop rolls onto his back and stretches himself. His life is easier than mine. He never heard of the pandemic or climate change, and his belief system is marrow snacks. 

Golden

Quarter after nine.

Doomsday is just ahead. What I fear the most is condemnation by people.

Wee hours of Saturday.

Friday’s big adventure is over with. Aesop is still exhausted but now we don’t have to do that again for another year. I don’t have any plans for later today; a good opportunity to relax for a day. Right now, the room is absolutely silent. Silence is golden. 

Before the Ordeal

Wee hours of Friday.

Aesop, my cattle dog, has an appointment for an exam and a toenail trim this morning at ten o’clock. He is doing pretty well right now, since we tried his sedative yesterday. For my part, I’m trying to minimize my dread and superstitious fears of what could go wrong.

During the day yesterday I wrote quite a lot in my journal, ending up with some thoughts about the historical effects of intellectual movements. It seems that whatever the existentialists start, the flesh and bone religion of the common people finishes. I remembered a chapter from Les Miserables titled “After-Dinner Philosophy.” The Christianity of the poor and the working class was not good enough for the hedonistic nobles who rejected God and the afterlife. Apparently, society has been structured like this since at least the time of Victor Hugo. But what happens when a self styled “antichrist” like Nietzsche comes along and preaches the “superman?” Maybe George Bernard Shaw has an answer for me in one of his plays. Man and Superman is a work of literature I never got around to reading. I only know that Shaw was a Socialist born in Ireland and living in London, and self educated out of a museum. He lived over a hundred years ago and made his living mostly as a music critic.

But none of this argument is here or there to Aesop, who has to go through an ordeal today. 

A Cafe Sketcher

Three o’clock in the morning.

I agreed to go to church at ten o’clock today, but maybe I didn’t get my point across to my friend over coffee at Black Rock. He still operates on the assumption that heaven exists, while I tend to reject metaphysics wholesale. He asked me who was my favorite philosopher, and I said John Stuart Mill, the developer of utilitarianism, the Greatest Happiness Principle. As if to demonstrate my assertion, a man down the table from us was busy making color drawings of flowers and hummingbirds. He told us that he would ask people for a thousand dollars or a smile, and got the smile every time. He opened up his sketchbook to show us the flags of various countries of people he’d met, plus drawings by children of things like dinosaur tracks. The key to what he was doing was the very simplicity of it, sort of like Mill’s ethics, and it made excellent sense. So then, Tim and I left the cafe to walk over to the Dollar Tree in search of American flags. We wandered the store from end to end, not finding them, nor did we encounter any employees on the floor to help with directions. The magic of the coffee bar didn’t follow us to Dollar Tree.

Four o’clock. Next, we drove across River Road to the veterinarian so I could pick up a prescription for my dog. It was good to see Debbie again at the reception desk, though I missed Wendy. The place made me think of my old pug, Henry, who lived 14 years before I had to euthanize him 9 years ago. I also thought of the way things used to be in general, and the people I knew. But it seemed like a time for new beginnings as well, and the daylight coming in the windows was the light of future joy. 

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.