Sunny and Mild

Ten o’clock.

Something happened just now that changed my whole mood for a day. It’s a very simple thing. I made a call to my pharmacy to request a prescription refill and dealt with an individual who was exceedingly nice to me and who made the process much easier. Her name is Laura. With some people you just have a certain chemistry and with others it’s more of a battle, and nothing can explain it save for the stars and planets or the vibrations of names and numbers. I think sometimes that the initial letter of a name can tell you a little about human interaction. In this case, “Laura” begins with L, whose number is 3 on the Pythagorean chart. The traits of the 3 are mostly creative expression and maybe emotive qualities. The R in Robert is a 9, meaning humanitarianism and the arts.

Is it all a lot of baloney? But even if it is, people need a way to make sense of life. We need a calculus of human and social chemistry to navigate the maze of this existence, and occult science seems as good as any method.

Quarter after eleven.

I ate a salad for lunch and then hit the street, carrying the little owl in a bag for Kim. On the way I felt dizzy and lightheaded but managed to get to the salon. I found out that Kim wouldn’t start work until noon; so I put the toy on the counter with Kim’s things and Karen said she would call her attention to it. I turned around to go home then. Roger is outside doing his pet project and I saw a team of Mexicans busy with some construction work. Actually they were just talking among themselves in Spanish and I felt like addressing them in their own language. But often it makes them a bit paranoid if you do that, so I thought better of it. I just said hi in English. I got home and ate a lot of chocolate to help with my dizziness, if that makes any sense. All the while, it’s a clear and sunny day and the temperature is very mild and pleasant. I think back to the times when my yard guy was a Mexican named Juan and his friend Geronimo fixed my truck’s electronic problem— and then wanted to buy the vehicle from me. I haven’t seen those guys since the politics got unfavorable for them, which is a sad story in itself. And sometimes I’d like to just drown my sorrows and forget everything happening today. Pass the chocolate… 


Keep What You Got!


I went to the little store just now, and again Lisa asked me if I was getting enough food to eat; so I asked her curiously if Suk would do anything if I answered no. She said she didn’t know about him, but she would do something… With Kim in mind, I bought still another Ty stuffed animal: a little white owl with a big funny beak and a clueless expression on its face. The Ty toys are one sign that some people still care about each other, even if our government is cold and corrupt and doesn’t give a damn for the citizens. In this regard, the USA now resembles the more authoritarian countries in the world and seems less like a democracy. The next vote will probably be a joke, down to the same old clowns, while people are not credited with having any intelligence at all. God help you if you’re the invisible person on the street. You just ask yourself what in the world is wrong with society.

My dog is very vocal for his breakfast, finally barking at me to feed him… Done.

In the market parking lot I saw a red Nissan truck with a canopy, 90s vintage, that made me think of my old green pickup which I couldn’t afford to maintain anymore: so I sold it to some drunkard for a humiliating price and now I’m stuck without a car.

You can’t have everything you want, so be happy with what you do have. And if you have something, by all means keep it. 


Quarter of seven.

It was six o’clock when I hiked to market, and my right foot stabbed me with pain a few times. I saw no one else outdoors although the birds were all very awake and raising a racket. Above me, the clouds were scalloped small and gray on blue sky and westward I heard crazy cars on the highway. If I focus hard enough I might recollect my thoughts. Anyway: yesterday I learned the names of the neighbors in Derek’s old house, and they told me he had a job in Oakridge and had bought a house there. Not that it matters much, because I think those neighbors are Skinheads, judging by the truck parked at the curb with Confederate plates. True, that was two years ago, but a leopard doesn’t change its spots overnight… The rest of my promenade was very ordinary, banal, and boring, and now the sunshine is going away. But at ten I’ve got Gloria and we had planned a trip to the bottle drop in Springfield today. I look forward to that, even though an excursion to Springfield is a voyage back in time thirty years. Maybe that’s why I like it. Aesop barks for his breakfast. Life today is a mixed up mess, especially in a place like Oregon. 

Suburbia; Rob Roy

Anyway, the sun shines without mercy, though at least the high will be just 79 degrees today. The light from the sun looks a florid orange and the greens are all lit up, while the azure sky is deep and fathomless but void. You look straight up at it and see a rich powder blue, and down below here, people chase about their business as obliviously as the forgetful sky above. It doesn’t look much like the natural world of a Wordsworth poem. As I neared my house coming back, I saw a large dark bird with enormous wingspan in the air behind Lenore’s house: like a hawk or buzzard if it wasn’t some waterfowl. I didn’t get a good look at it.
It’s as though the moral virtue of nature and people had vanished from both. It’s also like The Hollow Men of T.S. Eliot, I suppose. You don’t get the sense that God is in his heaven, all’s right with the world like in Robert Browning. Our world has gone quite prosaic— unless it’s only me with these observations. All I had to do was take a walk outside and mark my surroundings. But maybe it’s different living in suburbia, shuffling the streets and sidewalks…
A crazy thing just happened on my phone. An emergency alert came up saying look out for a car stolen from someplace in CT or something like that. It didn’t say if the people were armed or anything. It’s just another example of how ours is not a romantic age anymore. Instead it’s looney tunes, and perhaps the politics here form a big part of it.
But there’s not much we can do about it. People are selfish and corrupt; those with power want to keep it and all their money, and screw the people who have nothing.
I wonder if Rob Roy is a good book?
Rob from the rich and give to the poor.

Rabbit’s Feet

It’s a good day today. It sounds like Gloria has been doing a lot of reading. She’s still on the Hamilton but also she read Life after Life and has started the Williams poetry. I told her not to worry about the critical introduction and just enjoy the poetry. Really, Carlos Williams is perfect for simplicity and the details alone, in pieces like “The Great Figure” and “The Red Wheelbarrow;” also “This Is Just to Say,” one of the pastorals, “To a Poor Old Woman,” and many others. Gloria observed how he tends to venerate poor people, or to justify them in some way. He even wrote one about a poor drunkard that doesn’t really condemn him. Gloria got a little bogged down with the Greek mythology, but that’s okay. The names are unfamiliar and difficult, and Hamilton is actually more a reference book than the kind you read through. She got through the story of Hercules and his 12 tasks, etc, but she was surprised by his violence. Maybe I should go read the play by Euripides about Heracles.

The weather is very nice; it’s over 60 degrees and partly cloudy— great puffy white clouds in the blue sky. So, I took a hike to the market and the salon. I saw Lisa just driving away out of the parking lot as I arrived. Kathy and a newer guy were working inside. When I was returning home, Karen waved me to stop in, and she gave me some food and two rawhides for Aesop. The dog was pretty happy with his treats and right now he seems rather tired, resting by the door.

Gloria came after ten o’clock and took me to Bi Mart where I bought six items. She also helped me put the ac back together, with the hose to the window and all that. She cleaned the bathrooms with Fantastik spray, but first we had the Snapple (obligatory) and sat and talked. Her leg was very sore from the surgery; she noticed it more this time. But she said it was getting better each day. Funny but she got hearing aids for both ears and hasn’t told her family yet. I think they put pressure on her to get them, so now she doesn’t want to hear them say they told her so.

Wow. I almost had a big deja vu. I could swear I’d written that before sometime. I kind of like that experience, where an event is familiar to you but you can’t place it. It’s the repetition of something or some strange coincidence, and you want to believe it’s spooky. I can remember having 8th grade English class early in the morning, when the sleep was still in our eyes and we were still half dreaming. Junior high school was an odd mix of realism and superstition before I got to 9th grade. We read about the Hope Diamond curse, saw The Monkey’s Paw, and heard The Pearl by Steinbeck. We wore Rabbit’s Foot socks and carried real rabbit’s feet around the halls every day. Kids played D&D the whole school day.

Well, the rabbit’s feet might’ve been imitation, though they had a toenail in the fur.

I think one of the most intelligent things Ayn Rand ever said concerned how primitive our ethics was. She said Americans have a nuclear bomb in one hand and a rabbit’s foot in the other. Our morals are way behind our technology, in other words.

Sometimes I still kind of like her writing. It interests me that she was a Russian Jewish immigrant and how her background shaped her personality and her philosophy. There are much better writers, but I find Rand quite interesting.

I liked The Fountainhead.


Six forty.

It was already daylight at six, though the streetlights were still lit. I looked in my mailbox and found nothing. There was just a hint of rain. In front of Dell’s house, I heard an electronic beep as I passed by: some kind of sensor like a theft alarm. At that hour, I couldn’t expect to see anyone else about the streets. Then I gained the parking lot of the store where Lisa’s Jeep Liberty was backed into its usual spot. The only thing that distinguishes today so far is Cinco de Mayo: Mexican Independence Day, but for a lot of people, an excuse to get hammered. Lisa said she was glad she didn’t have to work at night, particularly tonight with all the drunk and rowdy people making trouble… I bought three items this morning. I’m not really sure what I was thinking while I walked there and back. I felt fairly relaxed and easy. In my journal yesterday I wrote a lot of retrospective stuff on the past three decades, maybe with the object of absolving myself. I wasn’t to blame for a couple of situations where I was involved: a workplace and a church. The wheels were in motion with or without me, yet it makes you wonder what kind of difference one person can effect. It’s similar to the words that compose a sentence: every word counts towards its meaning, and adding or removing a single word alters the whole sense. Therefore each person is like a word in a vast book of words… 

At Sea

I don’t know how to describe this day, really. Pretty lonely, and nothing going on around here. I think I was up for five hours last night, but now I don’t know what for. I guess I’m sort of in a daze this week, and all these memories crowd in to plague me. Like yesterday, when I reminisced on the last decade before the 00, from the middle to the end. In my journal I recollected part of my old route to Chris’s house in Springfield. He led the band I was in. Things have changed so much since 97. Not even the roads are quite the same anymore, and when I go to Springfield now I’m really lost. I think I kind of miss driving my own car. There are pros and cons either way. It’d be tough for me emotionally to drive around town and see how nothing is the same. Even just riding, I saw Autzen Stadium, home of the Ducks, a year ago or more, on MLK Blvd and marked the changes to it. Today it’s a huge black structure, really scary looking, like nothing my parents had imagined. And I suppose that’s the bottom line. So that it’s more comfortable for me to walk into places like Bi Mart, a capsule of frozen time resistant to change, perhaps to perversion. You go in there on a Tuesday and check your lucky number, like they’ve done for fifty years. Maybe you’ll win a toaster or something cool.
I’m just rambling, trying to get my feet under me to understand my feelings today.
It’s partly sunny just now. Yesterday evening there was blue sky from five until sundown… I need a way to drop anchor in this emotional sea, because I’m feeling kind of seasick. It helps me to make notes in my diary and to read them back later on. I often find that in hindsight, all my writing makes perfect sense. So, the words themselves serve as anchor for the seasick passenger on deck.


Quarter of five.

Too much of me, me, me and not enough of others.

The book for Gloria should arrive here Tuesday or sooner if we’re lucky. I can count the number of people I’ve seen today on the fingers of one hand. But yesterday was a little more social because Gloria was here in the morning, followed by Damien and Todd in the afternoon, when they mowed the grass and Damien cleaned the gutters using a big leaf blower. I went outside to give him the money I owed, and then as I looked up at him on the roof I asked, “How bad is it?” He said without hesitating, “Terrible!” And he stuck his hand in the gutter and showed me some black slime, the debris mostly of leaves off the oak and maple trees. I felt a bit embarrassed. He told me that he’d done the job just last fall, though I wasn’t aware of that. Damien is a very sharp guy, with a birthday on New Year’s Day, just a few days before mine. He says he is descended from an outlaw who ran with Jesse James in the days of the Old West. And I believe him. His motto is something like, This is not a dress rehearsal, and, There’s a lot more said than done. He likes to build race cars and do target practice with his guns. You get the impression from him that he could pull off anything he set his mind to.

This morning I saw Thomas at the store. It was cloudy but without rain, and much warmer than it had been for the whole winter into the spring… It’s good to extravert my energies and take notice of the real things around me; to keep myself low and inconspicuous like better writers do. Good to just be an observer sometimes. 

Fishbowl Living

Ten twenty five.

I guess I’m very tired. I don’t have enough friends who are like me. Superstition always gets my goat. Should I join them or try to beat them?

Or simply tolerate and agree to disagree…

I’m watching as Gloria vacuums the carpet in front of me. A gray day, plain and dull.

Life could be a lot worse.


A ray of sun pierces through. The dishwasher goes on in rinse cycle. And somehow my life doesn’t feel like it’s mine. It’s an old Queen song: God knows I want to break free. Fate would be fine if it went the direction I wanted it to go. And then I start to wonder how many years I have left, and what was my goal anyway. I suppose I’ll know when it happens to me.

Do you ever feel like you’re in the fishbowl? All eyes on you and no place to hide.

I think a lot of us understand this condition.


Quarter after eight.

The rainy days sort of run together into a watery blur. Every morning I see the same birds and hear the calls of the doves out back. I make the same pilgrimage to the market each day early and see the same clerks. By the way, today Lisa was very busy checking out customers in a line that kept growing, like a hydra sprouting new heads for every one it loses. She kicked on the afterburners and seemed tireless and mechanical, shopper after shopper. There was a kind of poetry to this industry, a music, though it consisted of rattles and clanks and the hiss of steam. I stood in line when I realized I’d forgotten to get cash from the ATM to pay Roger for those cable ties. So I ducked out and went to do that. Usually when I shop, I’m the last of a wave of people checking out, but today I was in the middle of a rush. Of course, it’s only a convenience store, not a Goliath food store like WinCo or Costco. But it’s a size that I can handle without agoraphobic panic. As for expense, I don’t have a car to maintain, so the math averages out to about the same… And then I take my stuff and simply walk home around the bend.

I can understand why Lisa fought with the shoplifter last week. Fifty bucks is fifty bucks.