Cues

Quarter after eleven. I was feeling hungry, so I had my lunch. So many things are gone and so many things remain. Here comes the sun again. Sometimes I have bad dreams about falling off the wagon, but whether I do this is up to my ego to decide. Much of psychology is still pretty Freudian, like when we say that the beer jumps in your hand: it happens without a conscious will, and in fact comes from a bigger unconscious will. It’s like Schopenhauer’s vision of reality two hundred years ago, possibly still valid today. The sky is now mottled blue and white, while it’s yet cool outside… I guess it’s feasible to overthrow the paradigm of Freud and the thinkers who inspired him, and cognitive therapy is one way of doing this. Do people really operate on the pleasure principle, or is that just a myth?… The phone just rang and my dog went cuckoo. It was my insurance agent: my life insurance policy is all set… I can’t find a subject worth writing on right now. What is spirituality to me? I don’t believe it’s real. 

I miss the summers when my apple trees produced so much fruit and my sister would come over and help herself. Particularly I remember August 2012. In the afternoon I would drink Rolling Rock from a plastic cup and go out in the backyard for a few apples to munch on. My pug had been put to sleep in July and I was without a dog for a few months. I kept myself company by writing my journal and emailing my friend across the Atlantic. Otherwise I felt like I didn’t exist in my solitude. And I suppose that in a sense I really didn’t exist without the validation of other people. Something about the atmosphere today is a cue for memories from years ago. Perhaps the quality of the light is just right. And just maybe in an alternate universe, the past is still present, and what I recall is still reality. 

Soliloquy at Night

Quarter of three in the morning.

I wasn’t sleeping well tonight, so now I’m up for a while. Maybe now I’m done with trying to be Sigmund Freud, so it’s time to put myself back together. Recently I noticed some white whiskers in my beard, and together with my crow’s feet and worry lines I look rather old. It is very frustrating to grow older and feel so lonely and hollow inside. Either way, alone or with somebody, is a trade off as far as my freedom is concerned. I was never very good at compromise or even sharing with others. The worst that anyone could accuse me of is selfishness, but you know, my lifestyle might be enviable to some people. Remaining without commitments and responsibilities entails that I am comparatively free as the wind. I don’t have a wife to tell me I can’t play in a rock band. Has life passed me by, or is my maverick behavior paying off? I wish I could find a psychologist who is worthy of my case; but on the other hand, therapy is often more about the clinician than the client. I just don’t want to arrive at my deathbed with the regret that I missed something. 

Spirit of Solitude

Six o’clock.

I finally got up after having a dream that refused to make sense. Now, Aesop is up as well. I’m quite convinced that he understands most of what I say to him. It would be odd and frustrating to comprehend language but be mute like a dog except for barking and whining. It looks like a cloudy day ahead. The sprinklers have turned on, startling Aesop, so I tell him this is normal and it happens every day now. The music in my head is poignant: “Long Ago Child” by Pat Metheny. I used to listen to New Chautauqua when I was a senior in college. In the summertime I felt very lonely, so I would go to the bookstores to hang out and try to meet people to talk with. There was just nothing to do during the summer, and no one seemed really interested in talking about abstract things. Everyone’s mind was on the matter, thus I would be very disappointed when I came home and read a book by myself or listened to music… The little market is open now. I could go buy some foodstuffs anytime, if I wanted… One remedy I’ve found for loneliness is the activity of writing. This is like Henry James, keeping himself company with thousands of pages of his own prose, but which he shared with the reading public, to his great acclaim. How would it feel to be awarded the Order of Merit and then be buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey? Did he still feel lonely or was he at last fulfilled? And do I really want to live a life like Henry James? Well, on certain days I don’t have much of a choice… Later today I’m going to DDA for a meeting. I’ll get to see a few people, and the most interesting ones are often the cabbies who drive me there and back. I think I’ll go buy a Snapple very soon, and take a look at the neighborhood around me.

Quarter of eight. Now there is sunshine through the heavy clouds. Michelle was distracted by her cell phone when I was checking out. As I was standing in line, I saw my image on the monitor and marked how stupid I looked: a bald guy of average height with poor posture and a clueless expression on his face. Just an intellectual geek caught on Candid Camera in a convenience store at seven in the morning. Otherwise I noticed nothing out of place. Crossing N. Park on my way home I thought again of Henry James, of his loneliness and the way he often went to dinner invitations to hear stories from which he could fashion new fictions. Music: “A Day in the Life.” Aesop looks at me and I tell him 49 minutes till his breakfast. It is good to be understood. 

Wotan’s Moods

Quarter of noon. The sun wants to come out. Now I reflect on the cyber friendship I had with Kate in the past ten years. I did all that on a Dell desktop computer, but today I can’t stand Windows operating systems. I only succeeded in being intimate with a machine that used me as much as I used it. And mixed up with the whole scenario was big time alcohol abuse, so truly there was nothing substantial about my daily life. I floated a mile high all the time. The saying used to go, “Kill your tv.” Now it ought to be, “Trash your computer.” When I had an office job, one of our computer consultants was a strung out tweaker, and my boss had a lot of problems. I think I regret the years I spent working with office machines. Maybe I’m on the fence about that. Sometimes on Friday nights I would get plastered and listen to The Police with my computer’s visualization app, tripping out to “Tea in the Sahara” or “Walking on the Moon.” It was a complete waste of time, but I guess I was very lonely and unhappy.

Quarter of one. Rebecca will be calling me very soon. I’m in a rather cynical mood today. It’s no wonder, after hearing that my identity was stolen.

Two thirty. Now it’s trying to rain, which would be fine with me. A UPS truck was just here but I didn’t get my package. On a day like today, a half case of a good beer could really hit the spot. However, drinking beer is not something that worthy people do. I feel a vague longing for something or someone, while an old song by Pat Metheny, “Fallen Star,” caresses my mind. I have DDA group tomorrow at one o’clock, so I can anticipate that. It’s true that alcohol is a depressant, but it also triggers endorphins and makes you feel good… Or anyway, it used to be a wonderful feeling to get a buzz on a tasty beer. But behavior becomes unpredictable when you drink. That’s why the Greek god of wine, Dionysus, was capable of being so brutal as well as amorous. Yet why should a person suppose that a state of drunkenness is somehow truer than sobriety? And for this reason, perhaps the tradition of the old Greeks may be set aside…

Three forty. It’s been a different kind of day. The quality of the green daylight appears somehow unusual, and it kind of soothes my nerves. The air inside the house ought to be cleaner since I replaced the furnace filter yesterday. I could almost go for some strawberry cheesecake ice cream from the little market. 

Undrowned

Three o’clock. I don’t feel very poetic lately. My creative energy is invested in music with Mike and Ron, and otherwise there’s no reason to worry about the “sublime” anymore. The world is changing away from the supernatural, which is fine with me. The time is now for charting my course through the future, whether I have ten years left or twenty.

If it weren’t so far to walk, I’d go buy two jalapeño burgers from Carl’s Jr. and scarf them down at home. Been a very long time since I did anything like that. During my working years I ate fast food every day and really enjoyed it.

There are other things I’d like to do, too. I’d read some later Henry James if I thought I could share it with someone who cares. His writing is very Freudian, very Modern, and beautifully done. I never did read The Ambassadors, and I’ve always wanted to do that. Maybe I’ll do it anyway and keep it to myself, but it’s more fun when you can discuss it with others. I also feel that I might be in the wrong place on WordPress— not for the first time. How I long for a friend who also likes Henry James and can relate to what I learned in college, albeit 30 years ago, when education was much different from today. How nice if I could warp time back to the late ‘80s and do school all over again. In that case I’d be surrounded by people like myself with the same education. Learning is meant to be shared with friends, but I feel like a fish out of water flopping around on the dock. Nowhere for my message to go… 

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? 

Then and Now

Noon hour. The pizza Hot Pocket tasted great. I realize now that I’m lonely here at home. I need real social stimulation to keep me going. The internet is not the same as a real physical presence, which is why I often think of D.H. Lawrence and his message of love and anti industrialism… I feel very tired and unmotivated. I don’t see where life is leading me and I don’t feel close to anybody anymore. I have this sense of what am I doing here and now, besides sitting on a loveseat and writing to myself. Everyone seems so distanced from me and from each other, yet no one complains about it like I do… I can conjure memories of good times with old friends when I was young. I drank more than my share of beer, but the liquor and the music and camaraderie were all worth doing at the time. Now I think I’m over the hill. Still I hope the band I’m in goes somewhere. I missed having a rehearsal yesterday— one of the real activities I get to do each week.

One thirty. Forget it.

Quarter after three. I just read two stories by Paul Bowles. Very good. His characters are often neurotic, while his own narrative voice is indifferent to them, even blackly humorous at times. The sky is a solid sheet of gray although the rain ceased hours ago. I feel like going to the store for a treat, but what do I want? Frequently I forget that past mental states have little or no bearing on the present. Life is forever in flux and this reality hits me when I fail to repeat history. It is a river, not a rock. The trick is to accept the here and now. I disagree with Freudian determinism: personality is not fixed from age four or five. The self is just as malleable as its surroundings. If this were not the case, then my sobriety would have ended already. In his own way, Emerson was a wiser thinker than certain other mental giants. I love how his prose flows like air or water, never dogmatic like stone. And never really conclusive… 

Mourning Doves

Quarter after nine.

I dreamed that water was leaking into the sanctuary at church. While I was there alone, I changed the settings on a certain air pump that kept out the water. I was not supposed to do this… In my dreams, water often symbolizes alcohol. So there’s a concern on my mind about relapse. Maybe it has something to do with religious faith, but I don’t know for sure.

It’s predicted to rain later this morning, and I carried my umbrella to the store just in case. Michelle wore a cardigan sweater with a rose on each shoulder, which looked good with her gray eyes. Life has been changing so rapidly over the past year. Despite the fact that she was rather abrasive, I miss seeing Vicki every morning. I wonder how she’s doing since losing her job? Having her gone sort of slams the door on my alcoholic past. It is all irreversible history now. I guess I feel a little sad today, a bit lost and disoriented. The chaos of this last year makes me worry about the future. Here and now, in this room, I am utterly alone with the dog, and the winter sky looms overhead, cold and ominous.

Quarter after eleven. Well, my sister called me on the phone, so I wasn’t so lonely for an hour. We might get together for my birthday, and get some food to take out or be delivered. Yesterday afternoon I ordered myself a new bass amp for practice and small gigs. It should arrive sometime next week. Meanwhile, a pair of mourning doves have found their way to my backyard: large white and gray birds with a call similar to an owl. Living in the present moment can be very strange. Outside, the weather is alternating rain and shine with occasional gusts of wind. Times are not very happy, but we stick them out just to see what happens next… 

Thursday Afternoon

Things turned around for the better in January 2019, when I met Heidi. We hit it off from the start. I haven’t seen her in over six months. I hope she’s doing well. Maybe tomorrow I’ll call LHC and see if she’s come back to work. She was on furlough from the lockdown. It used to be so much fun to go grab bubble teas at Cal’s. I was really kind of crazy about Heidi. Funny that I hadn’t thought of her in so long. We had a kind of tacit mutual understanding. She told me she was born in 1978, so she must be 42 years old. I always thought her face was pretty. Maybe I stopped thinking about her to protect my heart. What else does MS Word remind me of? I stopped using my PC on 11 March 2019, the morning of the fire. Gradually, I’m catching myself up to the present. Damien still hasn’t replied to my text this morning. It seems to be a bad day for trying to reach people. And then, probably I’ll hear from everyone at once. Tomorrow is church night all over again. I’m sort of dreading it, though at least I’ll be among friends. I feel rather lonely, and the heat is uncomfortable. There aren’t that many people I have deep conversations with. The one with Polly went better a few days ago. I didn’t feel paranoid or self-defensive as I would’ve with caffeine. I feel bored, too. Before the afternoon is through, I could play my P Bass. I may not be in the mood, though. Outside the front window, the clear sky even looks hot. Part of the whiteness might be from the forest fire in Salem. It’s supposed to be ten degrees cooler tomorrow and the next day. I can think of nothing more to say right now. One of those days. I’m running the fan just to move some air around. Currently it’s 88 degrees out.