Roxanne asked me to remind her about church tonight at six o’clock, so I will send her a text. Hopefully church will make a good diversion from the other things bugging me.
Eight twenty five. The cold sun hits me right in the face. I expect two packages today, one from FedEx. The other one is my book of Montaigne. As of now, I feel again that I need a verbal coat of armor. I’m up a creek when I’m stripped of my words, and of course these create my experience of reality. My trial of physical therapy has been similar to acting and singing when I was a child. Strange forgotten feelings arise from doing those things. Maybe it only takes some adaptation to it. My head and my body don’t know each other, and the head usually rules. I ought to talk to Erin about this, but she’s not a psychologist… Aesop needs canned food, so I have to go to the store very soon.
Nine thirty. The market was rather busy this morning. Two guys stood ahead of me in line. One of them bought hard lemonade, the other just a bottle of water. I figured out that the computer terminal comprises an advertisement for cannabis. What else? As usual, I saw no people of color, which disturbs me a little. Michelle looked a bit stressed out, but that’s nothing extraordinary. My life is in something of a rut. I should probably change some things, yet the little store on Maxwell sits so close to my house… Darkness will have fallen when Roxanne comes to pick me up. I will take my Aria bass, my Fender amp, and a guitar stand. I won’t forget a patch cord. I hope my back holds up.
The deeper the conversation with my sister, the more she would discover that she hates me. Intellectual people are anathema to her. Is that my fault? It’s a better idea not to talk to her too much. And let her despise me if she must… I still feel pretty weird today, and not very cheerful. I’d like to see an end to this whole nightmare. It’s like being forced to watch something gruesome… I wish life was different than it is. My sister is really a nice sort of person. But our lives are like parallel lines destined to never meet. If she could understand me, then maybe we could like each other. Her emotionalism, however, cannot see how my rationalism works. She thinks that I am some kind of monster. And that’s just the way it’s going to be forever.
Five thirty five. I’m looking forward to the end of this lousy day. I will take a gabapentin tonight and then try to get some sleep. I’ve been shaken to my foundation by the phone call yesterday morning. I might try skipping it next week. She’ll probably know I’m avoiding her, but it may be for the best.
Quarter after six. I still feel confused and disappointed that my music prospect hasn’t texted me again. But tomorrow is the weekend and then maybe he’ll have more time. I was in denial about how much this jam means to me; afraid to be let down. My feelings echo the ones I had 38 years ago when Joe strung me along, getting my hopes up and then dashing them. Now I don’t want to care about music too much, but underneath it all I still do. It is a very emotional thing, while others are more casual about it, like casual lovers. If you have a sensitive heart, music can break it. I should just give it up and chalk it up to the stars being improvident. Non musicians don’t understand how egotistical and cutthroat the music profession is. It is very competitive and full of weird behavior. Musicians are not very rational or verbal; and they tend to be conceited. The politics of music operates at all times and not very subtly. And nobody seems to care about maturity and decency. The higher the stakes, the more irrational the behavior. I guess that is true in any profession, but it seems that music is the most blatant. Wouldn’t it be nice if a spirit of reason really did pervade the cosmos and its people? Alas, I haven’t seen it yet, and least of all in the music trade.
Six o’clock. I feel a lot better now than I did yesterday at this time. Even the very worst feelings are temporary. It doesn’t bother me that music hasn’t worked out so far. I have other activities to keep me happy. I didn’t buy a soda today, but got ice cream instead. Vanilla bean. Aesop was pretty good about letting me take out the trash. Someone’s ideas got under my skin and did some damage for a few weeks. Now I don’t remember whose they were, and right now I’m free from guilt. Opinions are like buttholes: everybody has one. I don’t believe in filtering out every undesired thought that occurs to me. This is unnatural. It is more human to acknowledge every impulse in ourselves. It is more vital. Rational restraint and control over your mind is a conservative thing. Funny how Eve and Pandora, those who released all the evils in the world, were both women. They had a liberal curiosity that men were suspicious of. The kind of man I admire would be someone like Walt Whitman, whose feminine side was as active as his masculine. Dunno; without curiosity, life would be rather boring. If you leave so many avenues of the mind unexplored, how much will you have missed at your deathbed? The wise person is the one who knows himself.
Quarter after two. I’m getting cynical about Fender as a corporation. Everything is different since the days of the prog rock I remember. The ‘70s were 50 years ago. The quality of the gear available is not the same as the old days. But also I don’t know if I can play with the drummer in our band. I tend to have nightmares about him since our tussle in texting some weeks ago. I fear his temper, and maybe he’s a little afraid of me as well for standing up to him. He’s in for a surprise if he thinks he can be a bully to his band mates, especially me. I really don’t like him after our disagreement over the pandemic, and the irrational way he behaved. I think I might quit and be done with it, and see about working with Mark, the other drummer, who is really nice. But another voice says I should stick it out with Mike and Ron no matter what. I wouldn’t want to get a reputation among musicians for being hard to get along with… Just thinking about it makes me nervous, and I don’t like having nightmares about Mike’s temper… I’m used to dealing with people who are more reasonable and peaceful, more self controlled. It’s quite a shock to run into Mike with his rude personality. It’s so much like the situation with SLO, which got more and more volatile as time went on. Those people acted like children, and had no respect for each other. Totally uncivilized. I felt so uncomfortable with that band, yet I did it as long as I could. In a word, they were immature, especially the ones who sang, and also the guitar player. Everyone else was fine.
Three forty. Now I think of times with Blueface when things were tense. I couldn’t have handled them sober, without a screen for protecting myself from the reality. My last gig with them was in June; the same with Satin Love… I think I’ll go lie down for a while and try to relax. Nothing can ever make me drink again. But when a band is getting on my nerves and giving me nightmares, maybe I should do something about it.
I’m glad I made the phone call to the middle school this morning. I anticipate the fall, when I can go visit the scene of a lot of memories. I don’t know why I waited so long to plan this. I’ll be doing it not for fun but from fascination. Why did I read so many books by Edgar Rice Burroughs? I don’t remember a single sentence that he put together. Something about giving vent to the victory cry of the bull ape. Or Lin Carter? “Night hung like a black curtain over Stygia.” The thought processes of my teenage mind were very different or maybe nonexistent.
Midnight hour. My heart recalls a girl named Kathleen, however. All the boys in my class remember her. It was the kind of crush that made me nervous and anxious beyond all reason. If only I had declared my feelings to her, I’m sure she would have been kind. Instead I froze like a deer in the headlights, went catatonic in her presence. Absurdly, I came to resent this girl who could inspire such emotions and daydreams. Kathleen simply existed; the emotional turmoil was my doing. It was easy to get that confused. I dared talk to no one about my crush, so I just ate my heart out. She was destined for great things while my road has been a lot rockier. Maybe I had some foresight in this regard, and for that reason, hung fire. The take home lesson is that no one else can do your love suit for you. One must be proactive.
One twenty five. But, because the theory of knowledge intrigues me, particularly the use of imagination, I think I’ll read more Edgar Poe, try to finish out the volume I have. I recall that I used to employ intuition as a tool… but did it work? This part I don’t remember. I only saw it fail for my coworker Alice a long time ago. The incident impressed me because she was scolding a participant and I intervened. Her insight was dead wrong in the case of Ken accepting empty bottles from me. She believed he was being a nuisance but I was in the habit of giving him bottles for the redemption value. So, how accurate is intuition really? And where do hunches come from? Is it a spiritual thing? Poe deals with a method he calls ratiocination, and demonstrates it by the character of Inspector Dupin in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” …Earlier today I slipped back to intuitive thinking and decided that Sheryl must have hated me for some reason, and led my sessions astray. The only evidence I have is her body language a few times. I was also intuitive when I declared that Polly wants possession of my house. Again, scanty evidence. She let drop a concern about who inherits my house after I’m gone. My paranoid radar took this and amplified it into something big. But I could be wrong. Also note how intuitionism brings with it the assumption of good and evil motives. Black and white thinking. Very strange the way that works. As if this mode of thought took up a certain territory of the human mind. Apply cognitive therapy and all that goes away. Yet it’s such a great thing to be able to feel your feelings and emotions… UPS just brought my bass strings and I hadn’t expected them for another hour and a half. Assuming anything doesn’t work!
One fifty five. I think I’ve determined what was bugging me yesterday. It was the memory of my first girlfriend, who loved me and left me broken-hearted 33 years ago. My mind employed all kinds of defense mechanisms to hide it from myself. At the same time, my subconscious was gently trying to remind me of what happened in 1987. Yesterday afternoon the cravings for alcohol were so bad that I went to bed and tried to blot myself out of existence until the sun was nearly down. The trauma from that relationship is something I still have to deal with. I haven’t been in love with anyone else since her. I don’t know what to say about her right now, but it will gradually become clear. It gives me some pain to play my new bass, which sounds so similar to the old pewter Fender I owned in ‘87. I loved that little bass… Every springtime this trauma comes back to me, but not as badly as this year. I wonder what’s going to happen next?
It’s very odd being 53 years old, and having such a wall up with my family. I regret it only a little. Overall I think the division is irreparable. Jeff still hasn’t called back, nor will he. Polly told me some wild stories about him, and she usually tells the truth. But the moral shortcomings all around are really hard to ignore. How do you forgive racism? Or gratuitous lying and cheating— even stealing? I know I’m a lazy person, and proud. Still, I don’t screw anyone over. I do remember a time when I was a chameleon with people I didn’t particularly like. I told them what they wanted to hear and they were completely fooled. Eventually I was exposed, and then the poop hit the fan. I don’t know where I learned to be a deceiver, though I saw my brother dupe the family enough times. His practice caused a great deal of pain. In the last decade I began to see duplicity for what it is. So many times he tried to swear me to secrecy about his feelings toward the rest of the family. Every time it backfired because Polly demanded to know the truth from me. My siblings used me like a shuttlecock in a game of badminton. I think now they finally realize how they feel about each other, so now they have no use for me! Funny how it turned out. Anyway, now I’m free of the mess…
The sky closed up and it started to rain. It is rather a relief, a release of tension. When the wet garment is wrung, you expect water to come out. The drops hit the patio cover with a sound like a tympani. The south fence leans crazily to one side, just one more thing to take care of. Aesop feels as depressed as I do, and saying this, a deja vu teases the periphery of my mind. A while ago, a solicitor came to my door and took my rejection like a trooper. He was the third solicitor since the house was rebuilt. This morning, as I was leaving for the store, Aesop whined and began to yelp. I could hear him outside the door, and I felt bad. But he knows when things are not right. I feel ineffably sad and downhearted, deprived this week of my sunshine. I couldn’t admit to her how I felt because it would have increased her own feeling of guilt. It might compensate me to see Lisa in church on Sunday. It seems I have a couple of little crushes going on, with no future of fulfillment, but still two lights in my otherwise gloomy life. I believe it’s ok to have an inspiration in the form of a woman. If Dante and Petrarch could have Beatrice and Laura, then I’m not shy about admiring Heidi and Lisa. It’s even better that they are my friends… The raindrops keep banging the patio cover like a kettledrum. In a world of tragedy and sadness, the springtime yet promises to come.