Quarter of nine.
Today’s weather turns out quite pleasant. You can see blue heavens and the sun, and even a gibbous moon in the southwest, so faint it looks like another cloud. Two squirrels played together on the trunk of a tree outside Steve’s house. A scrub jay screeched and a Canada goose honked in solitude an hour after sunrise. The lavender rhododendron is blooming, and there are buds on the pink one and on the rose bush. My dog Aesop has had breakfast and a snack of doggie pepperoni. For her 30th wedding anniversary, Lisa said she’s taking a three day holiday to the coast with her husband. I said hi to my neighbor Jeff but he didn’t hear me, being absorbed in some job. Crossing N Park took a little time, as I had to wait for five cars to pass. A solo recording by Pat Metheny begins in my brain, “Fallen Star.” It’s very beautiful but very sad, and it reminds me of loneliness. Perhaps it’s a loneliness that everyone feels deep in their soul. It takes the union of woman and man to be whole and perfect, as Lawrence wrote in a poem I read many years ago. Once we were self contained, but became separated into two sexes. This isolation is torture…
Seven fifty five.
The next day it rained. And it’s more than a light drizzle; just a steady medium rain to make everything green. My umbrella got drenched en route to market, and wouldn’t stop dripping after I shook it out. A wonderful old Herb Alpert tune plays in my ear, probably from the album SRO back in the mid sixties. Often my mind doesn’t discriminate today from decades ago, so all of time is allowed to coexist at once. It’s sort of like the character Benjy in the Faulkner novel, where his memories are indistinguishable from what goes on right now… I was able to buy a nice potato salad this morning, and since the Snapple teas were gone, I got myself a Coke. The place was quite busy with customers even for a little after seven o’clock, and everyone was kind and considerate to each other. There’s something rather mystical about rainy days, taking me back to my early childhood in Astoria and Salem, though it was over fifty years in the past. At some businesses I qualify for a senior discount, which I find drily humorous. As I was going out the door I ran into Lisa from Karen’s salon at one time. She was there to grab something before heading out to work. Now as I finish this, the rain keeps coming down like so many mental events today or yet to come.
Quarter of seven.
In my mailbox this morning I found my prescription from Genoa pharmacy, so now I don’t have to pick it up in person. The post office people have been doing crazy things lately, just small unprofessional stuff, and they have an attitude about it, like refusing to deliver mail and lying about getting it done. Wtf is up with that? But the main thing going on with me is that I won’t be a masochist anymore. I think I’ve done my penance for a bad relationship that happened 23 years ago. I’ve tortured myself for long enough, so now it’s time to enjoy life once again.
Quarter of eight. The sun still struggles to gain the tree line across the street from me. The cloudy heavens are light gray where the sun doesn’t show. I’m thinking of a story by Borges, and I often resolve to read something more from him. Maybe today. Also there’s a short novel by Sturgeon I want to finish. It’s about telepathic youngsters, kind of like King’s fiction, but before he became popular. It’s interesting to trace the history of an idea to its origins. I’ve seen mixed reviews of the 40th Anniversary Moving Pictures by Rush. Mostly people didn’t like the packaging, and the liner notes precluded the lyrics in the booklet. The strong point was the Toronto concert to support the album. They say the sound quality was better than for Exit… Stage Left.
Quarter of nine. Gloria is coming at nine o’clock, and I’ve let Aesop know what is happening today so he’ll know what to expect. More gray clouds roll along the east side of the sky.
The wake of a beautiful sunny and warm day with a lot of social activity outdoors. During the mid afternoon I wandered over to the salon to chat with Kim about her successful divorce. She seems to feel quite good, or as she said, relieved. The first thing she will do is purge her house of everything that reminds her of her ex husband. And from there I strolled to the market for the usual treats. Deb asked me about my dog, so in kind I asked her about her cats, which she said were big and fat. She has tomorrow off, when she said she will mow the lawn and simultaneously get some sun. Every spring and summer Deb basks in the sun and turns a deep brown… Later, I waited at home for my yard guy to come and mow my lawns, but evidently he had other plans or something came up. Out in the street I could hear Diana calling to a neighbor, “Are you looking for your dog?” And I guessed the rest… I’ve read up to Chapter 8 of The Portrait of a Lady, impressed more by the style than the plot, which isn’t very kinetic, but kind of holds still for a dozen analyses. The writing is anything but crude. Its fineness and sensitivity are Victorian, a little bit boring, though the book may be worth getting to the end of.
Quarter after six.
Day is just dawning on an overcast sky. Last night, into the small hours, I slipped on a banana peel while writing in my journal: I thought of the fact of consciousness again and its link with language and logic, so I was trapped in the net of philosophy as before. It’s a condition that comes and goes. But right now I feel like the anti philosopher. There’s so much uncertainty and anxiety with people today. For some reason I recall the image of the new high school being built on Silver Lane. It’s an ominous looking thing of dark gray brick and brown windows in a campus of huge buildings. More like a prison than a school; a place for forcible indoctrination, mentally violent. It’s like the idea behind The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher, of being Capped by alien forces we don’t understand, that deprive us of our own reason and capacity for original thought. No one can be a philosopher who attends a school like that, nor simply a human being.
Eight thirty. I saw nothing very interesting on my walk this time. W—, who lives on Fremont Avenue, was busy with something in his garage. He owns an HVAC business and flies ultra conservative flags on a pole in his front yard. I guess a lot of people around here feel that way, but when I go to Centennial Plaza it’s a blue zone and people are mostly pretty happy. The various demographics even within the same city can be rather baffling. “Second nature comes alive / Even if you close your eyes / We exist through this strange disguise.” Why can’t we be closer to our original nature? Now the sun makes glints off the cars in Roger’s driveway and lights my magnolia up lemon. Aesop turns to me with a questioning look, then settles himself again.
I witnessed some good spirits at the market just a bit ago. A pair of women shot the bull with Lisa and apparently they had jobs in healthcare. They made jokes about paranoia and so on. I noticed that they were buying Mike’s Harder Mango at a very early hour. As I approached the parking lot from the sidewalk I saw a sign at my feet that read “For Rent.” Somebody must’ve dropped it there for a joke. The apartments across the way off of Maxwell Road go for $1400 a month. I think of how fortunate I am to own my home, and there’s something to be said for staying in one place for a long time. Inside the store, another customer examined the greeting cards on the revolving tree. The atmosphere was laid back and even pretty jovial. When I was going out I ran into a young Black man and said hi for no particular reason and held the door for him… The sky at dawn was gunmetal blue this morning. Yesterday it rained most of the day with occasional snow. Right now the sun wants to come out to the greeting of the birds. My dog gets breakfast in just a few minutes.
Eight twenty. I just heard from my friend in Texas. She’s been through extreme weather that damaged her house last night. She is without power and more bad weather is still coming. I hope someone comes to help her very soon. Why do bad things happen to good people?
Eight twenty five.
I was just at the store, where Cathy held down the fort. It was a slow Sunday morning, so I took the opportunity to ask her if she was married. The answer was no, but she said she’s enjoying her freedom as a single person. She also said she’s had a few boyfriends, and she has quite a few friends in Eugene. Then I asked her if she lives in North Eugene, to which she replied that her place is about a mile away from the market. And she knows I live around the corner somewhere. Thus, I wasn’t a hard sell about hitting on her, and her response was not a total rejection either. Maybe I can ask her to a friendly cup of coffee sometime, as long as she feels comfortable. Now, in hindsight I can’t believe my audacity with her, and yet we were pretty rational together.
Nine o’clock. There’s just a light rain this morning. The birds sing in the rain and everything feels quite natural for an April day with its sweet showers. Sometimes Oregon seems like a transplanted England in climate, though the people are nothing alike. The only comparison is life up on the campus.
Karen did something very nice for me today. She gave me her green salad and some ranch dressing to take home, telling me she would have chili. She had observed that I’d lost weight because of the meager fare at the market and acted accordingly. Karen said that Kim’s divorce will probably go through okay despite her husband contesting it. He hasn’t been behaving well, not doing what he’s supposed to do. They’d been married for 16 years. I think she was being merciful to him… The sky appears like the mercury in a thermometer, silvery with great puffy clouds. Aesop has been very good ever since Gloria started working with me on housekeeping and personal care. Now the sun comes out a little. Yesterday evening I ordered a book of Adler, generally about his individual psychology, which may go well with what I know of Freud, though I’m not a fan of Jung anymore. Eugene is a big Jungian town everywhere you go, so they tend to shove it down your throat. Forcible indoctrination is never a good way to get along with people, but rather it’s a kind of violence. The more the pressure, the more others will rebel. Jung may be a mental giant and an institution, but then so is Shakespeare if I want something Romantic to read and talk about… Across the street, Roger potters and tinkers with a mad scientist project, not at all interested in such things.
I got a nasty surprise in my mailbox this morning: a green notice saying “vacant” with a brief explanation that my mail is on a ten day hold for not emptying my box every day, and a request for me to call the post office. My paranoid imagination tries to make more of this than there is to it. They simply drew the wrong conclusions from the fact that there’s no car in my driveway… Or maybe they really are punishing me? But I seriously don’t think that people are the instruments of God’s will, to either reward or punish others according with his pleasure. This idea is very superstitious and unreasonable.
Nine twenty. I got it straightened out on the phone… The high clouds outside make the sky look white. At the store a while ago I heard L— using foul language with a customer who probably knew her. I thought it was weird for a clerk to swear like a trooper with the public. I guess I don’t care for her very much. She is not like Michelle by any stretch of the imagination, but rather a rough old blackguard. I’m tempted to generalize and say that society is going downhill at a rapid rate since the time I quit going to church. And I am just a camera eye for everything going on. I feel inclined to dust off my Riverside Chaucer and review the “General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales. From the Knight on down to the last two characters shows a steady decline in morals that may be compared to our times today.
Noon. It turns out that the mail carrier really is being bitchy with me, without saying anything about it to me before. The unreason of people nowadays is rather breathtaking. Is it from the pandemic or what? Why are people acting so childishly and rudely to one another, and cutting no slack?
Quarter of eight.
I’m figuring things out about my life. I think being an alcoholic can totally warp your personality, right down to your soul. I saw it happen to my dad and then it happened to me. I had no understanding of him until I started drinking with him in high school. All I could see was that his behavior was malevolent and diabolical, cruel and malicious. Now I get that my dad’s identity was disguised, even from himself.
At the store this morning, Lisa was taking too much time with one customer. For some reason she opened five different packs of cigarettes for this person who seemed to be looking for something. The guy ahead of me in line turned and walked out the door. No one could comprehend why Lisa indulged this customer this way. The latter was clueless that people were growing impatient behind her. It was one of life’s irrational and embarrassing moments, and an oddball mistake.