Nine thirty 🕤.
I think I can write off Chuck the drummer. I just called him and he hung up on me, so that must mean that he changed his mind. Human behavior can be strange sometimes. Or perhaps it only appears that way until the reason for it is revealed. Is all behavior ultimately rational? Causes and effects make sense when we can figure them out. Even my first therapist had a motive for what she did to me two years ago. She was losing control of the sessions and she was a control person. Her wish was to make me submissive because she didn’t feel comfortable with me for whatever reason. She hadn’t expected a person diagnosed with schizophrenia to be intelligent. The reality was that she was merely a social worker and not the Sigmund Freud she wanted to be. Anyhow I’m glad to be free of that situation… So, Chuck was another lead gone by the wayside. I’ve had four so far. Now that we’re a third of the way into August, I’m having August flashbacks. Identifying them gives me a little control over them. Life is better now than it was in 2018, at least, and I am still sober. Last night I slept hardly a wink because of the liter of Coke I had yesterday afternoon. This morning I figured that the pleasure of a Coke was not worth losing my sleep for. I bought a ginger ale instead. The weather is sunny again, but it’s going to be 94 degrees.
Ten thirty 🕥. During the wee hours I listened to Copland again, then read the booklet. His compositions for ballet came quite late, 1930s and 40s. And Appalachian Spring had nothing to do with either the mountain range or the springtime. He wrote the music with a certain dancer specifically in mind. The title simply sounded good to her. Copland was awarded a Pulitzer for the ballet. While his stuff is very good, I could only wish there was more of it… This is going to be another long, lonely day. I’m caught up on my monthly bills, and now there’s nothing to do. Honestly I feel really disappointed that my music lead didn’t pan out. I wish I knew why the guy blew me off. Apex just came and picked up my garbage. I watched the mechanical arm of the truck grab the can and dump it in the back. Tomorrow, Aesop has a package of bones coming. I bought him a lot of food this morning. He always enjoys the beef bones filled with peanut butter. Maybe I’ll read a book today. Something to stoke my vocabulary for a while and give me some ideas. It is good to have no financial worries, but it’s a drag having a limited social outlet. I could go around the corner and visit Karen tomorrow, and I think I will.
Quarter of six. At the pharmacy this morning, the cashier was Sherri, who’s always been nice enough, but no more than duty calls for. Chemistry between people is complicated. On the trail before I reached Bi Mart, I met a woman with a walkie-talkie and some guy. I don’t believe they were officials of any kind. I don’t know what they were doing there. I avoided them on my way back. It was nine o’clock, the time when I ran into homeless people another day in that place. It was a little creepy. After the pharmacy, I passed the storefronts and saw everyone wearing a mask. I had removed mine after leaving the walk up prescription window. I didn’t see many people when I got to Silver Lane. A pedestrian in front of me was slow, so I walked around her in the bicycle lane. People in general are isolating possibly a bit too much, so that it feels weird. I passed a couple of advancing young joggers, and the girl said hi through her mask. Her eyes were pretty. And a spry senior woman also said good morning as we passed on Grove. But overall it was a rather lonely walk to and from Bi Mart this morning at nine o’clock.
There are some clouds this morning, so maybe it’s going to be cooler today. Obviously I would welcome that. I’m in the process of shedding my church indoctrination, including the silly belief in teleology, which says that life’s events occur for a purpose. It seems to me wishful thinking, and besides, nature doesn’t revolve around you and me. It is egocentric to think so. But I figured out my interest in my trees lately. Indeed it is me anthropomorphizing them, giving them human character in order to feel befriended. Loneliness is a strange thing. Like Tom Hanks in Castaway, making a human face out of a soccer ball and naming it “Wilson.” The high winds are rolling in these clouds, thankfully. In my head I keep hearing “Because” from Abbey Road. Acorns from the oak keep smacking the house. It is a huge tree, visible from blocks away. The shape of its branches suggests that it is shooting straight for the sun. I don’t know for a fact that squirrels eat acorns, but it would be a convenient arrangement for them. They could hoard a lot of them away for the winter… I haven’t been to Grocery Outlet in a very long time. It’s a painful reminder to go inside it because of my losses of friends and family. However, I think I’ll go there today and buy some food. I need an adventure to break the monotony. I love their Seattle Waterfront sourdough bread and some of the cheeses.
I miss Kate this morning, and the way things used to be when I could drink beer. Maybe only because I was a little younger. But life was a bit on edge too, as long as I drank. I didn’t believe that alcohol would kill me. I rationalized it with what other people did, and eventually by saying it was what I wanted. The year 2016 was awful for me, with more than three hospital stays from gastritis. I don’t know why I kept drinking, unless it was because of my other illness. I should be thankful for my comparative stability today, but for some reason it leaves something to be desired. I saw Craig at the store, and observed that his head was beet red, presumably from alcoholism. I crashed into his car in November of 2016. I can’t believe that was me. My insurance company paid for the repairs…
I don’t feel very well today. I should talk about things other than war stories. An instrumental by Pat Metheny called “Country Poem” comes to my mind. Summer of 1990, when I felt so alone and depressed. It was before schizophrenia. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. No one did. I just knew that I was very lonely and sad. Sessions with the psychologist didn’t help much. He said I was coming along nicely, but I still felt all alone. I felt I had no future after college. I guess I didn’t want to sell my soul for some meaningless job that had nothing to do with me. I mattered more than corporate America. I had thoughts and feelings to express, seemingly without end. Perhaps everyone feels this way? If so, then there’s no better time than now for blogging.
Nine ten. Todd called at about three thirty. He didn’t think my problems were caused by the medication. He asked a number of questions about my mood lately, such as depression and suicidal thoughts. I told him I just feel agitated, probably due to the lockdown. I suggested that I might benefit from a prescription for gabapentin, so he agreed to that. The order is now ready at my pharmacy. Then I ate a bite and finally went to bed and slumbered for a few hours. For some reason I dreamed about an old Steve Winwood song. “Higher Love” is on the radio frequently at the market on Maxwell. Vicki likes oldies from the 70s and 80s. I haven’t paid enough attention to the moments I spend in the store. And it bothers me that my family has blown me off. A person like me needs love like everyone else. Like in the “Epilogue” by Sting on Ten Summoner’s Tales… I think my relatives are quite selfish, or else they just don’t love me. I don’t really know. It’s unfortunate. My existence seems to have broken some unwritten rule of theirs. I’ve done all I can. When this crazy pandemic is over, I’m going to try to make more friends locally. I have an excuse to go to Bi Mart tomorrow. Maybe take some pictures with my iPhone and post them.
Is it loneliness that drives people to shack up together? Yet I’m used to solitary life, and even kind of like it. It was tremendously hard right after Mom passed away. Reflecting on it now, probably I do so much writing to keep myself company. Henry James did the same thing. He craved intimacy with people, so he reached out in his writing. Back when I was employed at Laurel Hill, I journaled at my computer every day. Then after I left that job, I journaled nonstop every day, and drank every other afternoon and night. I must have been extremely lonely, living all by myself and wishing for company. Other people noted, too, how alone I was, and how hard it would have been. In a way, I have survived by my writing. It hasn’t earned me any money, yet writing has kept me alive for 18 years. Now, I’d go nuts if I couldn’t write at least something each day. I might feel as if I didn’t exist. My own words validate me when other people don’t. It has indeed been a very lonely journey, but perhaps someday the solitude will come to an end.
Ten twenty. No email yet from Suzanne. I hope all is well. The sunshine is soft and mellow. I just saw a Eugene Mission truck drive by twice. Aesop had his breakfast and I ate three slices of bread. I plan on walking to the market pretty soon, but I suppose I’ll be the only person on foot.
I saw one other pedestrian the whole way there and back. Three guys from the beer distributor were at the market. The customer ahead of me was buying two bottles of beer. I got my usual Dr Pepper and burritos, though I felt just as criminal as the others. We tried to obey the order of standing six feet away from each other. Vicki was working the place alone. Across the street, the espresso shack is still going. Traffic on Maxwell Road is significantly reduced. But we keep doing our thing out of habit, I guess. And people want to have their fun. I think the little market is just a comfortable place for me, like a home. I’d certainly miss it if I couldn’t go there.
Five twenty. My practice on bass guitar was uninspired today. When I got out and headed for the store, I realized that I needed the stimulation of other people. This would give me a better high than the buzz of caffeine. Sartre wrote that hell is other people, but heaven is other people too. One blogger complained about people using social media in order to validate their self image. But Sartre observed that we live only in the eyes of other people. I wouldn’t care to disagree with an intellectual giant… I was saying my music was not inspiring this afternoon. I needed my friends to jam with, a reason to play my instrument. A sage said, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” I’ve been lonely all day today. Tomorrow I have an appointment at 11:30, a break in the monotony. Wednesday there is Heidi. Thursday is open, and Saturday. We jam again on Sunday. There are pitfalls to living alone. The freedom of solitude comes at the price of longing for company. Maybe for love. I’ve lived alone since 2001, so almost for 20 years. I could be getting tired of it. Like everything, solitude is a tradeoff. When you are alone, you don’t have to compromise with anyone. You live by your own rules, and break them when you feel like it. I guess it’s true that I’m doing pretty good, yet I get awfully downhearted for lack of someone to talk to. Company is what you sacrifice for freedom. Heidi told me she envies the way I’ve set up my bachelor existence. Perhaps many of us would like to live with a minimum of responsibility. Have I been clever, or is this really the way I wanted my life? Thinking harder about it, this is probably the way I needed it.
Quarter of three. I’m back from Laurel Hill. I told Heidi about the cynic. She said I should tell the adjuster about him. She was very tired, barely awake. She works ten hour days and goes to school and does homework. Sleeps only five hours… The autumnal colors are beautiful, changing leaves everywhere. My oak is all red now. Maple is gold. It reminds me of past fall seasons, even the ones when I still played in rock bands. Like when I met Marc and Tim in October 2002. My religious delusions were bad back then. Every day was Halloween. I could never tell where the Christian ideas came from, but my sister was an evangelical almost from birth. It’s maybe genetic, but I couldn’t stand being around Christians. In that year they were everywhere, living the myth, making it real. I didn’t want to be menaced by hellfire. It seemed to be the Baptist way, and they all were white. At least the Lutherans have a diversity of colors… The other Octobers I remember because I was at Laurel Hill this afternoon. It’s almost as if I’d never met Kate when I walk into the agency building. It’s like the old days of Serenity Lane across the street. Looking back, I was a good guy in my thirties. Something steered me wrong before 2004 was over. Later I learned that my boss drank and smoked weed every day. But the toughest thing was grieving for my mother. That wound was still fresh and deep. Took ten years to heal. Whatever happened in the past, I’m glad I won’t die of alcoholism. That’s what killed James Jamerson of Motown fame. I was certain I didn’t want to go that way when I got to that point… And my existence today is a parallel world, as if I’d sloughed my skin, stepped out of my shoes. I’m not supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be gone like Jamerson. I feel like I’ve left my body, to be a wandering spirit. So much of my life has been this way. I grow attached to people who die and leave me stranded. To love is always to lose, but the loving is for the better…
Two o’clock 🕑. There isn’t much new to talk about. Nothing at all, really, worth sharing. The night is still and quiet as death. It is oppressive, pushing in on my eardrums. It’s like being buried away in my coffin, six feet under. The trailer makes a little noise temporarily. It doesn’t feel like summertime. Strikes me that there’s no reason to be up at this hour. I got up because my dog was awake. But what does he want?… Now I get more likes on my posts, but these are all people I don’t know, so how rewarding can that be? My mental ear hears the old Doobies song Listen to the Music, but what music? Maybe just that of the existence of electric light in the pitch dark keeping one life form breathing. And thinking. And feeding back to itself with gadget in hand. Was there something fearsome about sleep? A cat fight in the street. They really mean business. A random memory of karaoke evening over a year ago. Just a function for recovery. They fed us a little chili one time. The talk rudely continued over someone’s endeavor to sing. They didn’t know any of my songs: generation gap. I was old enough to be their dad. There now, a car cruising by. Now a restoration of the soft silence. Finally a silent voice in text on my gadget: a reply to my comment. A sign of human life out there, linking ocean to ocean. And above us the satellites blink like false stars.