Monday Night

Quarter of ten.

I have a couple of purely social engagements this week, and one of them is with Heidi. She is a lot of fun because she’s so young, or perhaps young at heart. We can banter together, talk about nonsense while the invisible antennae purr between us. We had this sort of rapport from the time of our first meeting: a certain ease and familiarity, even informality, when we cruised over to Cal’s Donuts. It was as if we’d always known each other… My Wi-Fi has been connected for nearly a week now. At some point in the future I’ll have the motivation to unpack my computer, but it could be a long time coming. They say necessity is the mother of invention, but so far it hasn’t arisen. I’m anticipating my jam this weekend with gusto. It should be fun, but serious fun at the same time. I want to take my red Precision Bass copy, which I’ve been practicing on most recently. I remember how Roger helped me hotrod it with a DiMarzio pickup in August of 2018. He did the soldering for me, and together we figured out the instructions. We were lucky that the pickguard fit over the part after it had been installed. Finally, that December, I put in a high mass bass bridge, brass finished with chrome. The overall effect is quite a monster P Bass tone. The jam will take place on Sunday afternoon. As for right now, not much is going on. I can’t decide which book to read out of such a huge collection. William James might be interesting to learn more about. His revival ten years ago was quite a thing, though at the time I disagreed with it. At best, I was ambivalent. My brother was a diehard factualist, but James argued for the practical usefulness of religious ideas. If a belief worked for you, then it was in some sense true. This was the essence of Pragmatism. Today, I don’t know what to think of that. I only know that optimism can see you through difficult times. If it’s inaccurate, at least it works… Aesop is ready for bed again, and anon I’ll be right with him. In about twelve hours, Polly and I will be having lunch at Red Robin. It’s my long awaited birthday celebration. Fifty three years old, and thankful to have come this far…

Sunday Worship

One ten. The sermon today was about evangelism. Pastor asked the assembly what words we associated with it, and I said “force.” He liked the relevance of this to his sermon. He said that many in the congregation had never experienced evangelism, so maybe they wouldn’t understand. So he went on to define what evangelism is, or what it should be. Our pastor is a smart guy, thankfully. He has a lot of erudition and is powerful with words. Though I feel a little on the fringe of the group, they still accept me as part of the family. I know they won’t pick up stones to hurl at me or anything if I openly express doubts about religion. I’ve done it already on a few occasions, and it merely made them think a little harder. All in all it’s a very healthy mental environment for everyone involved. I really like Our Redeemer for a place to go and share with intelligent people. Service today went especially well, I thought. And it’s a beautiful sunny day today.

A Duty of Love

Two thirty five. I’ve done some sleeping and half conscious thinking about my experience with Satin Love. It appears that the difference between me and the band was my Platonism to their Christianity. That is, I was possibly gay. The band’s whole emphasis was heterosexual love, but for some reason I didn’t fit in. I was intellectual, academic, trying to be a local rockstar. Satin Love, I thought, was a sham, when what I cared about was the truth. I even questioned the idea of “love:” just what was that? The devotion I felt to my parents was a kind of love. And I realized that they were going to die soon. At the same time I was under pressure to get married, get a life. I was in my early thirties. But the bond with my parents was stronger than that of any sexual relationship. We needed each other. No one else understood that. I’m not sure I do either. It turned out that I took care of Mom and Dad till the bitter end. I couldn’t have borne for them to be lonely without me. They had no friends of their own. And when cold finality came, all they had for consolation was me. So in a way, I performed a duty stronger than anything selfish I wanted. And that to me was a kind of love.

Salon Visit

Eleven thirty. I went and hung out at the salon for an hour. Karen lost her temper at Lisa over the parking lot situation. The latter had tried to be her spokesperson in her absence and it was wrong. Darlene was in good spirits. Her face lit up when she saw me. Poor Karen has quite a Type A personality. I fear for her having a heart attack or something. Lisa is young and capricious. And Angela is sort of a diplomat between these two opposites. Karen is very concerned for success in her business, but she also takes in people who need help; seniors and people on the wrong side of the tracks. I guess that includes me too. Karen knew me when my addiction was so bad. It seems to me now that I was a different person then. Lisa asked my dog’s name, and I was surprised when she recognized Aesop the fabulist. I told her she was one of the few who did know the name. She said she had hung around guys who claimed to know a lot. I began to wonder about myself; maybe I was another such guy? And maybe I really was from the wrong side of the tracks? The dynamic of the salon is interesting, with the customers tending to be relaxed and pleasant but the staff rather tense and anxious. Then there’s me, the bum who comes around to visit Darlene. But of course it’s more complicated than that. I’m not exactly a bum, and Darlene is an old friend. It was a pleasure for her to see me again, and that’s what I do it for.

Friendly Universe?

Four o’clock. A universe friendly or unfriendly, asks Einstein. So did 19th Century American writers from Emerson to Melville and beyond. Moby Dick constitutes a monument to thoughts about the cosmos. When I played bass with Satin Love in the late 1990s, I tried to solve this intellectual problem myself by intensive reading. At one point I read Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Jude the Obscure back to back to ascertain the truth about the friendliness of the universe. They contradicted each other. I followed these with The Sheltering Sky and As I Lay Dying, both of which were pessimistic, and they influenced my mood while I was playing with the band. All the while I was listening to atonal music such as Schoenberg and Penderecki, and Webern and Berg. In fact, I dreamed recently about the Lulu Suite by Alban Berg. All this cacophony I learned and heard inside my head through my adventures with the disco band, accompanied by the ideas of Thomas Hardy. We took a trip to San Francisco in September 1997, and I was a wet blanket all the way. Lying in bed the last night, I heard Webern’s Five Pieces for Orchestra and wondered how I ever got to this place so far from home. I had insomnia for the whole trip. When we finally got home I went to bed and slept like a dead man. Life seemed as chaotic to me as the atonal music I constantly heard. Was the universe friendly? I don’t know, but the band I was in was definitely unfriendly…

Return to Church

Quarter of one. Church went fine. The holiday hullabaloo is over with, so the pressure is off of me. Sheryl gave me a hug at sharing the peace. She was happy to see me again. I stayed after for choir practice, and that went well. Doug also gave me hugs. Darold gave me his phone number in case I wanted a ride to church. Everyone was very nice and understanding about December being a rough month for me. Sue said they missed me at the food pantry yesterday. Cathy had baked me a pumpkin bread. I made the coffee for fellowship hour this morning, and taught Tom how to do it. Somebody brought German chocolate cake. Pastor was waiting in his office for me when I arrived. I walked in drenched from the rain on my walk to church. My shoes were soaked and my umbrella had to be hung up to dry. But I made it. Pastor and I talked a little about Neil Peart. He hadn’t realized the tragedies the rockstar had been through. I said that was what “One Little Victory” had been about: the band reuniting in 2002 and getting another chance to score… So I had a good Sunday morning, and everybody was quite happy. I walked home with the rain having abated a bit, and now, safe at home, it commences to pour. Aesop is overjoyed to see me again. Time to relax now and read a book.

Friday Morning

The worker was already here when I got up. I opened the blinds and there he was. What fools. It’s a very gray day in winter and not very auspicious. The pressure on this guy is incredible… I texted Damien to cancel tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ll make it to church Sunday either. I haven’t been able to do anything all week because of construction except for the jam Wednesday. I couldn’t cancel that… There’s something to be said for skill at what you do, and talent even more so. I can’t imagine people talented in one area being forced to do something alien to them. When will the arts be appreciated? And when will we have a system of government that recognizes what talent is and supports it? I hated my job in an office; drank my life away. Everyone is born to do something by nature. My talents are music and writing. Everybody has something they can do. My brother said music is no way to make a living, but I’m done with him… I just told Deb that I’ve been doing music. She said that was awesome with a big smile. Sometimes I feel like fortune is favoring me, and others just the opposite. Right now I don’t feel blameworthy for anything. My medication is right on and life is good. Even if it weren’t, I could still make a post about it. The wind outside is cold. I stopped by the salon and excused myself from Darlene this morning. Karen understood my explanation. I got home and once I heard Aesop scratching the door down the hallway. It might be a long day but I feel better for sharing with Deb.