Thursday

Quarter of noon. I walked to and from my appointment for the vaccine. A very sweet girl administered the shot, and then I was kept there for 15 minutes to make sure I was okay. I ran into Carol and Helen from church while I was there at Bi Mart and said hello. It’s really a beautiful day today, good for going out and seeing people. A lot of senior citizens shop at Bi Mart, which endears the place to me because of my parents. It’s like backwards time travel to step inside this store… So many of the faces are familiar to me at Bi Mart; the same employees have worked there for ages. As I was going home on Silver Lane I started hearing “Lovely Rita” in my head, just the chorus looping, and I thought of how John Lennon found beauty in ordinary life, the things no one would consider poetic, for instance a meter maid doing her job. Meanwhile I looked at the bulldozers working on the site for the new North Eugene High School; the layout seems quite massive. Maybe voting for this action was a good thing to do, so no regrets. And when I got home, I opened the package of Aesop’s marrow snacks and gave him four of them. 

Arrivals

Noon hour. My bass came UPS a little before eleven o’clock and then I opened it up and played it for 45 minutes or so. It has a three way selector switch for different pickup modes. It sounds the best in series, I think. And the bucking pickup happens to be very loud and boomy. They put wimpy strings on the bass, but I change them anyway. Overall it sounds pretty cool! I like the finish color: Irish Ale, just a clear dark red over swamp ash.

It’s still perfect weather, sunny and not too warm. I already had my lunch, and I’m still hungry. This day with this weather reminds me of something I can’t put my finger on. Somehow it’s like the 1990’s again, and I feel quite content this way. Of course I miss my parents and my old friends, but it’s enough to think of them. Finally it looks like life is settling down and it’s safer for people to go out and socialize. We’re in much better hands than we were for the last four years. I feel like a Pepsi or something. I could go get a liter of soda for the joy of it.

Four o’clock. So I went out and got a Pepsi and saw Michelle, Cathy, and on the way back, Karen. This last made me an appointment for a haircut on Monday morning. When I got home I had about half of my Pepsi two liter and then played my Kiloton bass again: it definitely sounds awesome in series mode. I noodled around and picked out the Hungarian Rhapsody, plus a song by Chick Corea from Light Years. This bass is the best one I’ve got now, so it’ll be my main axe for a while.

The color of the sunshine in the late afternoon seems rather mellow, and more summery than springlike. It’s 75 degrees out. It just doesn’t feel like April to me. But I didn’t use to be sober years ago during the spring, so I have no point of reference for comparison. Beginning at three o’clock, I would start drinking like a fish and put on The Beatles; have a big bacchanalian party for one person and his dog. It was really no way to live because I didn’t know what was going on in the world, or I was numb to what was happening. My mind was ruled by crazy rationales and paranoia, even delusions of telepathy or thought broadcasting. I was miserable and out of touch with reality. But today, it feels so much better to be free from more than one kind of oppression and injustice in my life. I am my own ship’s master and commander, steering myself toward what’s right for me. 

Wednesday Moods

Quarter after eight. Michelle was cute this morning, with a cobalt blue T-shirt that said, “Well bless your heart!” We talked about the products of a regional food company: potato salad, summer sausage, dips, and so on are all good from this place. Aesop needed his canned food, so I looked for that and my usual stuff. The music by Chick Corea I heard the other night was very pretty, particularly the four slow songs I have in mind. Sometimes I really enjoy good jazz fusion. Unfortunately it’s a dying art, just not popular anymore as our culture grows increasingly primitive and selfish. No one has any time for beautiful things, time to unwind and be fully human. It’s kind of an Ayn Rand existence for us: always technical with no space for feelings and sensibility, as if we were slave to our own machine heads. In this regard I am very old school. The technocracy is running our legs off and will be the end of us. And to compensate for this state of affairs we defer all happiness to an afterlife that probably doesn’t exist. The job of a musician is to make people happy here and now, today. You get loose with a little wine and groove on the sound of music and maybe reflect a bit on the lyrics. What are we here for anyway if not for happiness? “It is not the reason that makes us happy or unhappy.” Still, we keep getting it backwards and make ourselves miserable, and life is pointless except for the desert oasis known as music.

Nine twenty five. The psychiatrist I left behind often quoted Freud on the two primary functions of humankind: to work and to love. But what music does sort of combines the two modes… My bass guitar will arrive this afternoon, between the noon hour and five o’clock. I feel excited but also a little nervous about the uncertainty when it comes: what might go wrong? I just hope the instrument isn’t damaged in shipping, and my dog is going to act berserk, barking his head off… The weather is still sunny and bright, though this Saturday it’s supposed to start raining. Tomorrow I have a follow up appointment with my primary care provider, which means a long taxi ride to Springfield again. But it’s okay; I sort of like Springfield sometimes. I miss my psychiatrist when I don’t think about it. I have to remind myself of my reasons for terminating with him four years ago. I feel as if I’d rebelled against a father figure, and done like Zeus to his father Cronus in classical mythology. Not only does he murder him, but he liberates his siblings who had been swallowed up before him. It is a powerful story of rebellion and independence, and the defeat of tyranny… 

Travels of Orpheus

Two forty. I’m leaving for band practice in less than an hour. We should have fun today. Going with my original plan to give away the SX bass after playing it this afternoon. I’ve shaved my beard completely off, leaving my face clean. Not sure why I did this, but it looks much better now. I can’t believe the self destructive way I used to behave. My teeth are in pretty bad shape from many years of alcohol abuse. I just didn’t love myself, and I kept the kind of company that always put me down. My brother is absolutely toxic to me. I can’t figure out what’s wrong with him. For some reason he hates my guts and does everything he can to mess me up. I don’t like other alcoholic people who lie and do dishonest things. My old supervisor was another lousy person. So I had to take care of myself and get out of that situation. The bumper sticker is true: Mean people suck… Outside, the sunshine is bright yellow. Today I can finally get down to business with music. No worries, no guilty conscience— because there’s no reason to feel badly. At last I’ve shaken the crap off of me so I can just mind my own business… Only about seven minutes to go before I take off out the door. I feel pretty calm right now.

Two o’clock in the morning.

If I believed that the future could be reconnected with the past, I was probably deceived. I don’t believe history repeats itself in a circular way, whether personally or publicly, but rather keeps going forward in linear fashion. Does a straight line ever cross itself in its progress to infinity? I’ve forgotten my geometry lessons… I had a good day yesterday. The events of the day were as favorable as the sunny weather. Mike must think I’m a little nutty on the subject of Rush. Neither he nor Ron wanted my SX bass, but I left it at the studio anyway and walked home empty handed. By the time I got home it was just after seven o’clock. As I passed the Fast n Fresh Deli I peered in the windows to see any customers. I found only one person, and he probably worked there. I don’t remember what I was thinking on my way back. I felt rather giddy from playing music. I do recall being suspicious of the passing cars, and I hugged the inside of the sidewalk whenever they went by. Just now I was thinking about going to Grocery Outlet sometime soon. I would kill for some of that Seattle International sourdough bread and some Gallo dry salami; maybe some pepper Jack cheese, too. But you know, it isn’t very thrilling anymore. Music is the only thing that floats my boat. My taste buds are in my ears… 

Firelight

Six thirty five. Sun is rising outside my window. I may go to the store a little earlier today, despite the cold morning. A Snapple tea will taste really great, though it isn’t a necessity to me. My brain is trying to pull up the memory of the Tchaikovsky I heard two weeks ago. I’ll probably listen to the disc again soon. It amazes me that I fired my psychiatrist a few years back. I’d believed that I couldn’t live without one. Yesterday noon I feared that I had made a mistake and lost confidence for a little while; and then it all came back to me. My verbal ability has always been reliable, so I was able to use it to establish my independence from authorities. How could that be a mistake? Now I am a much stronger individual than I was four years in the past. My relationship with my shrink was like Prometheus in reverse: I gave my fire to a god instead of to humankind, but the fire was always mine to keep or give away. Isn’t it the same for everybody? What will you do with your fire? The firelight of reason is native to everyone, and educators are people who ought to fan the flame of curiosity rather than douse it with oppression. To think that I deposed the dictator over my life! I guess I’d had enough of parent figures. At some point we all need our independence.

Eight ten. I saw no clouds on my walk to the market, and so far there’s no wind. It is calm. I feel that there is justice in the world, or anyway the world is good to me lately. Aesop is asking me how long until I feed him breakfast, so I tell him in minutes exactly when it will be. I got the store to myself this morning except for one person behind me, a woman with a baby. Suk ran business on his own because it was still very early. Going along on the sidewalk, I was wary of cars passing by me, thinking a person could be driving drunk or something. My back twinged with pain once when I took a step. It’s unpredictable when this will happen. Getting older has its pitfalls as well as perks. I was thinking I would play my Aria bass later today, but now I have my doubts. The instrument probably weighs 12 pounds, maybe more. Take an ibuprofen and forget it. 

The New Normal

Quarter of ten.

It’s mostly sunny this morning. I feel pretty good. I saw two young women in dirty clothes at the store; Michelle eyed them suspiciously. It was cold out, with frost on the grass everywhere. I worried a little about my situation with the church, but I think I’ll be all right. They can manage their own feelings. I’m leaning toward a revival of cognitive therapy in my mind. It might be good to read Jane Austen, picking up where I left off in Sense and Sensibility. There’s so much polarity in the world now and not much wisdom to see both sides. Early this morning I had some dream thoughts that were very difficult to verbalize. They had something to do with the concept of the unconscious mind. I ponder whether it’s possible to dissolve the dichotomy of conscious and unconscious and eliminate traditional psychotherapy. Some people are still stuck in Jungian thinking. I just want life to be more balanced and sane… I spent ten dollars on Aesop’s Dog Chow: his favorite since puppyhood. Michelle noticed that the potato salad I’d chosen wasn’t very full, so I exchanged it for a different container. That was nice of her. Without the ibuprofen, my back would still hurt, hence I take one pill every morning.

Quarter of eleven. Also during my walk, I thought about how I don’t seem to belong in the world anymore. It has changed so much and left me behind like a beached whale. Particularly, education is not the same as when I went to school. People are being trained to function like robots rather than humans. No one is encouraged to think their own thoughts. If you do choose to discover your own truth, you’ll be either very rich or very poor. But again, wealth or poverty is not necessarily financial.

Three thirty. The weather is beautiful now, so I made a run to the market for some beef jerky— very expensive. I spoke with my neighbor Jeff for a couple of minutes. Boats are his hobby. He even has a pirate outfit. When possible, he puts his boat in over at Fern Ridge Lake, a man made body of water with a reservoir. Jeff says we’ve been short on rainfall this year and the level of the lake needs to come up a couple of feet. The marina has been closed, but opens again on the First… While I was in the store, I sort of wandered around looking at the different jerky snacks. It was like being in a new world, a world where I don’t have to drink anymore. The other customers appeared rather rough and ragged to me, as if they lived in poverty, so I fitted right in— up to a point. Suk manned the cash register. He asked me if the jerky was everything… I also saw my neighbor Steve, though he didn’t notice me passing by. There were two children in his yard. Somebody on a motorcycle came down Fremont Avenue and nearly stalled. Right now I hear a lawn mower on my street. Things are getting back to a new kind of normal while the sun shines on carelessly in a sky of blue dust. 

Early Morning Mid March

Six thirty.

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. 

Scream for Ice Cream

Three o’clock. I’m thinking I might take a break from reading for a day or two and try to be less intellectual. It seems that you are what you read. If you absorb wise words then you’ll probably spout the same kind of thing— whether they’re really true or not. Some writings can affect my behavior a certain way, not always for the good.

A car in the neighborhood passed by with the stereo playing techno music. The weather is very warm and partly cloudy; outside my glass door I hear a dull roar of traffic on the highway and up and down Maxwell Road. It could be a good day for ice cream, and maybe I’d see Deb at the market. Espresso flavor appeals to my imagination, but the reality is caffeine overdose. Also my body is still tired from my errand to Bi Mart six hours ago. 

It was a two mile round trip adventure on Silver Lane and Kourt Drive coming back. I didn’t have much fun. I huffed and puffed as I ambled along, noticing the upgrades and downgrades in the pavement, and thankful for the latter so I could coast a little. The thought of my Snapple waiting for me at home gave me the motivation to stick out the distance. I accomplished my mission of getting my Vraylar, but there wasn’t much to see or hear on the journey. A resident on Grove Street had a few signs in his front yard. One of them said social media is a source of division, or something like that. Usually he places signs about cruelty to animals, but since then he’s found a different cause to rant on. Otherwise, the trip went almost as if I hadn’t been there. 

Auspicious

Eight o’clock.

The day is getting off to a good start. It is true that you are what you eat, and I’ve done a lot of potato salad lately after a steady diet of burritos and cottage cheese. At the store I just bought a Caesar salad, more potato salad, and two Snapples. I found out at the checkout counter that I have another two hundred dollars in food stamps. Michelle joked that I could buy a lot more salads and laughed. She also said the store was very busy this morning because people were getting their tax refunds. The weather is overcast right now, but I don’t know the forecast for later today… My brain is playing music by Erik Satie. In the old days when I worked in an office I would get tipsy on Friday evenings and listen to piano music by Debussy or Satie, wishing I could be free of my job. Early this morning I thought of a play by Eugene O’Neill called Dynamo, about some dehumanizing line of work. I don’t think I ever read it. My volumes of his plays are out in the garage.

Nine twenty five. Mike has canceled practice for the second weekend in a row. I can still play the bass on my own, or even give my guitar a try. I love beautiful things. I like pleasure and fun, and feeling good. I don’t believe rock and roll is really about Satanism, if it is done with intelligence and taste. But the local music scene doesn’t offer much in that regard. It tends to be mired down in traditional blues and other thoughtless stuff that doesn’t interest me… The sun is free to shine in spurts. For a long time I was depressed every day, and now events seem to be more auspicious. I heard music and voices of people across the fence from my backyard late last night. They didn’t stop until one thirty in the morning. The good times are starting to roll. 

Social Animals

Ten thirty. I would feel lonely this weekend if I didn’t go to church tomorrow. Every friend counts, no matter what they believe. I’ve gotten out of the habit of church attendance, and it’s really different anyway with the COVID restrictions. If the weather is fine this afternoon, I can go back and get a bucket of ice cream for fun. My favorite flavor is Espresso Madness, but I have a hard time with the caffeine. I might buy it anyway… or not, since I remember my reaction to those white chocolate pretzels for Christmas: I was laid out for a couple of hours in bed. The buzz and the mood swing were too much for me… I do get lonely and sad when there’s nothing going on in my life. Mostly I yearn for the company of very intelligent people, but it’s very strange how everyone is scared of the virus, as if they had no backbone at all.

Eleven forty. Forget it. I’m going to read my Nietzsche for a while…

Quarter after one. I realize that reading Nietzsche has been infectious for me. The material has incubated in my mind and hatched out a miniature clone of the German philosopher himself… for better or worse. My memory reels back to December 1987, when my mother and I made a trip to the Literary Lion on the Downtown Mall. She had special ordered a book by a local author titled A Letter Home. It was about the Oregon pioneers. I just remember how soon the afternoon grew dark for the wintertime, and somehow that bookstore makes me think of Nietzsche. It must have been a selection among their classics. I really loved my mom, and I miss her today. She never wanted to stop drinking, but she didn’t overindulge it like I did. My drinking was suicidal up to the point where it was a choice of living or dying. I picked life, sacrificing even the dearest things, treating it as an adventure. Now I don’t know what to do about my situation with the church, but the door stands open for me to come and go… A neighbor nearby mows her lawn. There’s sunshine outside, with some colossal clouds of white and gray. On days like this I used to kill time by drinking beer; I was lonely like today: maybe I should make a visit to Deb at the market?