Eric Berne

Nine twenty five.

The ground is still wet since the overnight rains but the clouds seem to be breaking up to let in some sun. It’s windy and kind of cold. The Friday conversation with my sister almost didn’t happen; at the last minute I called her at eleven, an hour later than usual. It’s interesting how a chat can be dominated by one side or the other, as though from the parent to the child and the reverse. People often take turns dominating and submitting; but this relation is not the ideal way. Rational exchanges are adult to adult, according to the theories of Eric Berne: by now rather dated yet still useful for getting along with others. It’s just kind of silly to ride the seesaw with a person, being on top or the bottom instead of level together. Talking up or down to people isn’t much fun. It is neither civilized nor very informed. Strange how theories and practices go in and out of vogue, depending on what the times demand. Are there any eternal verities, truths that are independently valid at all times?



Quarter of seven at night.

I’ve had a great day, with two fun packages for me in the mail.

Quarter after eleven.

I’m very happy with both gifts I got myself. The little Squier Jazz Bass looks, sounds, and plays great. The body is Daphne blue and the neck has pearloid inlays. I had fun unboxing it and plugging it in the first time, setting the tone for my day. Later, as night was just falling, the mail carrier brought my book of four Jules Verne novels, another delight. The pages are gilt edged, the cover probably leather, and the sewn binding includes a ribbon marker… This morning I skipped church as a kind of objection to something I don’t believe in anymore. My journal is full of nostalgia for a band I played in 24 years ago, an alternative groove band called The Owls. It was far more mature than the butt rock band I joined two years on its heels. My dad’s death threw off everything else in my life; sometimes I miss him more than my mother. He gave legitimacy, decency, and taste to the activities I chose to pursue in the Nineties. Even if it was only rock and roll, it could be respectable as well as fun, with a good moral message to listeners as opposed to sheer gaudiness with no substance. Thus I’ll probably think again about returning to church— just for the ethics element if not for the supernatural fluff. 


Quarter of one in the morning.

Tomorrow I’m going to treat myself to a little trip to the booksellers on Valley River Drive just for a change in scenery to relieve the craziness. I keep thinking that I’m tired, but it’s not really fatigue; more a kind of dullness almost like apathy and resignation. Occasionally it occurs to me to reread The Sheltering Sky for the masterful writing by Paul Bowles. It’s a Saturday night, so I hear the sounds of rowdy people in their cars over on N. Park or farther away, as well as the typical clashing of freight cars in the yards by Northwest Expressway. At midnight I woke up and reminded Aesop of the garlic cheese still in the fridge. So we got up and dusted it off. Here and there a dream will come back to me; like this morning when I dreamed the 40th Anniversary edition of Moving Pictures was released on CD and I found it in a bin at Fred Meyer. The reality is that Fred Meyer doesn’t stock CDs in their home electronics section anymore; those days are gone… There must be a perk to being realistic with the coming of maturity, and I think it’s that people respect you better than when you were a foolish idealist. About 11 years ago my brother and I were out driving on 7th Street downtown on a sunny day. To my left on the sidewalk, a bum held up a cardboard sign: “Vision of a cheeseburger.” We laughed. But in the blink of an eye, the roles can be reversed: so that royalty is really a fleeting state of mind. 

Magic and Metaphysics

Eight thirty five. It’s below freezing outside. I’ll go to the store after feeding the dog at nine o’clock. I’m a little confused on where I stand regarding the existence of magic. Generally I don’t believe in the supernatural, but I know a lot of people do. Why so, when there’s no evidence for their claims, I don’t know. I had a difficult time over the summer, debating with myself whether the apocalypse was a reality. I left the church up in the air for a while until La Niña kicked in. The seasons keep changing like normal, but we had a summer that suggested the end of days. Climate change is the truth. In fine, I didn’t want to believe in the Second Coming and the Last Judgment. Now the election is over and I still have to make a choice for or against metaphysics.

Nine thirty five. The day started out okay. I got a renewal of my food stamps, so that means I’ll save cash. Vicki acted a bit weird about it, as if disguising envy and resentment. Otherwise her mood was good. The leaves have really dumped at the end of my street, carpeting the pavement and lawns with gold. I saw Karen’s vehicle outside the salon, but the blinds were still pulled down. I didn’t feel like knocking on the door. All in all, people are not very sociable right now, but keep to themselves with their private thoughts. One thing I observed is that I’m a world class procrastinator. But I don’t think I’m marked for hellfire because of it. I’ve been through very rough experiences with treatment programs in the past twenty years. I’m still not a fan of those tactics, and I stay away from fundamentalist churches. I was educated in humanism; people are supposed to respect each other. Some of the immaturity I witnessed in group took my breath away. I also saw racism, but the counselor didn’t care. Nowadays, that particular facility is filthy rich and no longer takes Medicare. And people still pay out of pocket to be mentally abused. I guess we’re not very discerning as a whole bunch. 

Under the Sun

Quarter of nine.

Patience is a virtue. Apparently my pen pal can’t receive emails from me by some glitch. I have to wait until the bugs are fixed. It’s another sunny morning. Furnace is running. I won’t participate in the Zoom service. There’s nothing factual about Jesus, and that’s why it’s so hard to believe. It is unfortunate that real information is expensive while BS is free. Even worse when the BS is also expensive… But maybe the best avenue to faith is the Intimations Ode by Wordsworth. Childhood memories hold the key to everything that is spiritual in us. It can take quite an effort to remember back that far. When things were “appareled in celestial light.” We may be asked to give up childish things, to grow out of them. There is conflict with “the Child is the Father of the Man.” And then what are we supposed to do? Go on growing up, or cling to the child inside? This is my personal brain teaser lately. Do I go with Wordsworth or try for something new and more mature?

Ten o’clock. Pretty soon I will hit the street and head to the store. Destination Snapple. Destination something new… 

Let Down

Quarter after six. I still feel confused and disappointed that my music prospect hasn’t texted me again. But tomorrow is the weekend and then maybe he’ll have more time. I was in denial about how much this jam means to me; afraid to be let down. My feelings echo the ones I had 38 years ago when Joe strung me along, getting my hopes up and then dashing them. Now I don’t want to care about music too much, but underneath it all I still do. It is a very emotional thing, while others are more casual about it, like casual lovers. If you have a sensitive heart, music can break it. I should just give it up and chalk it up to the stars being improvident. Non musicians don’t understand how egotistical and cutthroat the music profession is. It is very competitive and full of weird behavior. Musicians are not very rational or verbal; and they tend to be conceited. The politics of music operates at all times and not very subtly. And nobody seems to care about maturity and decency. The higher the stakes, the more irrational the behavior. I guess that is true in any profession, but it seems that music is the most blatant. Wouldn’t it be nice if a spirit of reason really did pervade the cosmos and its people? Alas, I haven’t seen it yet, and least of all in the music trade.

Sound of Thunder

Btw the weather is very strange again, with a threat of thunderstorm in the air. Tomorrow is Friday, so I’ll call Beth for the latest. She might feel as helpless as I do. Time keeps slipping away. It has been six months since the fire and things are not happening. But I’m making the best of it. If I throw religion entirely out the window, I am within my rights and to hell with sunshine and gumdrops. We are supposed to be mature adults, not children with visions of sugar plums. Let the children have their own websites. America has a lot of potential if we just open our minds to the rest of the world. It is a big place, contrary to the annoying ditty about a small world. The 21st Century is a romantic prospect, a time of promise and history in the making. Americans can either rejoin with other countries around the world and flourish, or remain isolationist and go out with a whimper for our gross loss of sophistication.