It’s hard to admit that I’m getting older. The root beer from yesterday disagreed with my gut, so I guess I can’t tolerate soda anymore. My brain can think one thing, while my body has quite a different opinion of what’s healthy… My drinking days are definitely over, even though I still remember when getting tipsy felt great. And that’s why I keep reminiscing on my old friends, long since gone away… I really love my Kiloton bass, and I rue the death of rock and roll. It would be such a devastating loss if people couldn’t enjoy live music anymore… Any minute now I’m going to pick up Henry James and spend some quiet time reading.
Two o’clock in the morning.
I think reading James will make anyone a better writer, although I put down The Ambassadors yesterday morning, declaring it quite boring. I have to be in the right mood for it. Here it is the limbo time before Friday. No one said anything about having a band rehearsal this weekend, so I assume it won’t happen… I understand that cyber friendships are becoming more and more common in our culture, thus I guess there’s nothing wrong with accepting the changes wrought by technology. Two different therapists I had seemed to believe that internet relationships were invalid due to being somehow unreal, hence they were unhealthy. But these people were older and resistant to change. One of them insisted that body language was over fifty percent of communication between people, an opinion that I contested on the spot… Sometimes I used to summon the vision of D.H. Lawrence to decry the computer age, saying how unnatural it was, how it perverted our instincts, and so on. However, hardly anybody reads Lawrence anymore, as if he’d been a relic of the 1980’s curriculum. A month ago even I tried to read his poetry and was shocked by the pornography on every page. So I reckon that in the end, everyone must go with the flow and roll with the changes, or else get left behind.
Three o’clock. Outside, the rain is heavy and constant. Aesop likes his ribeye steak treats; I bought more of them this morning, and battled with the cold and wet on my walk there and back again. The raspberry tea I brought home tasted great, but the caffeine and sugar made me feel woozy. I noodled about on my homemade bass for a while, satisfied with the lowest frequencies through my old GK amp head… I didn’t see much as I marched to the store. One car passed me on Fremont, cruising around the corner of N. Park. No other pedestrians. The neighborhood is a ghost town. And it was just another gray morning for a recovering alcoholic in the middle of the pandemic. Perhaps late this spring we’ll all be vaccinated and the music venues can open again. But nobody really knows what’s what. How effective are face coverings and vaccines against Covid? It’s the blind leading the blind… Something made me think of Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. I have a nice omnibus volume of his novels. I left off in the middle of Journey to the Center of the Earth.
I’ll probably skip church again Sunday and gradually let them go. Pastor is leading them in a direction I don’t agree with. While they wait around for the Resurrection, I’m going to live my life more like a bohemian in quest of happiness. I was always a lousy Christian, having no faith in the possibility of a demigod or even a virgin birth. Mythology is full of immaculate conceptions, but these don’t make a pretense to reality. I gave Pastor that book of William Blake a while back because my own belief was very shaky. He didn’t seem to like it much. He told me he read the introduction by Harold Bloom, which was probably not Christian but rather secular humanist. But Blake is about as close to faith as I’ll ever get. So this was sort of my last offering before saying goodbye to the Lutherans. It couldn’t have happened any differently. In the blackness outside, the rain comes down with benign apathy to human affairs.
Predawn blackness outside. I think I’m done sleeping, yet I’m tired. I’ve written in my blank book that I’m sick of the sermons about culture and the doom and gloom. I’ve had enough: it’s time for a holiday. Instead of saying “we” I’m going to say “I.” And I will make a clean break with the church once and for all. I contributed all I could. Tried to help Pastor out during the summer and fall. Time to say goodbye… There should be daylight in about twenty minutes. I see a gray glow in the east right now. The promise of a day that’s just for me. Nature cares nothing for society, and can’t be blamed for it. The sun in the sky is equal opportunity and available to everyone. I plan on disengaging from the media for a while. No news and nothing social when I go on holiday. Unplug the devices and turn off my phone. Had enough of thought control. Then I will write more in my blank book, conferring with my own spirit and shaking off the BS. I might buy a little tub of ice cream today. I’d forgotten what it’s like to treat myself.
I can sleep no longer this morning, yet it’s still pitch dark outside. Recording the church service went well. It also went quite briefly; I got home before eight o’clock. Kenneth, the Jamaican guy, gave me a lift, so I didn’t have to walk. Only two people showed up to be singers, Sandi and myself. Everyone is getting very tired of the Covid lockdown. Hopefully in about a month we’ll be live-streaming worship on Sunday mornings… This afternoon we’re having band practice again, Mike and Ron and me. I get to use my new amp at Mike’s place. It’s kind of a nice change to have some male friends to do things with. This element had been missing from my life.
Seven twenty five. First light of dawn is showing. Within a half hour I will head to the store for my Snapples and something to eat.
Quarter of nine. At the store I saw three guys in camouflage uniform. I have no idea what they were up to or where they were going. I felt a bit intimidated, but I was on my way out the door… Aesop has been fed his breakfast. Goodness, but everything is topsy turvy, and 2021 is off to a rocky start. Well no, the only oddball thing is Trump. We’re just counting the days until the inauguration.
Ten o’clock. I don’t know what my nearest neighbors are thinking, but they’ve certainly been quiet for the past two months. The gaudy banality of blogging is getting me down; I think I’ll have to give it up. I’ve contemplated it since November. I get enough support for my sobriety from Our Redeemer, which is local and mostly real and live. This community needs me and I need it. Of course I will keep writing, just not on WordPress anymore. This may be farewell.
Four o’clock in the morning.
I had a lousy day yesterday. Just one of those things. Maybe Monday will be better. I still hesitate to buy myself a birthday present for financial reasons. The holidays are always very rough on me, particularly the pressure to believe in something absurd. I keep trying to end my relationship with the church, but feel duty bound to stay and help out…
Quarter of ten. I just reread “The Sisters” by James Joyce. Very subtle and symbolic. Speaking of sisters, I should probably call mine this morning, but I’m still kind of mad at her for not calling me on Christmas Day. I generally feel frustrated and uneasy with my situation in the church and some of my friends. I realize what a hypocrite I am to continue going to church when I have no faith in Jesus Christ. This fact bothered me all during the summertime. It sometimes seems that words only get me into trouble, so maybe I should just play my bass and keep my mouth shut. Two decades ago I was in a band with a guitarist who used to say, “Play your bass, Rob.” In other words, shut up… In addition to these problems, I haven’t been very mentally well lately. But overall, I’m just not a happy camper, especially on WordPress. I can’t expect myself to change the world singlehandedly, and besides, I don’t have the right. I think I’m simply in the wrong place, and ought to look elsewhere for friends. As it is, I’m butting my head against an implacable wall.
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…
Eleven thirty five.
I don’t want to believe in karma, so I guess I just won’t. No heaven or hell, either. I think I’ve lost Pastor’s trust. It seems that he hadn’t thought through the matter of the saved and the unsaved. I feel very lousy today. When do I ever feel good? I think I should forget about the church, seeing how Pastor is avoiding me. Don’t email him anymore. He doesn’t have a good line of defense against my arguments, so that it only hurts his feelings. I think it’s over with… Gee, he’s just a little church pastor. My brother used to reproach me for flashing my brilliance. Now I kind of see why. But then, where is an intelligent person supposed to go? I feel like an enemy of the people, doomed to be unpopular for the observations I make. Yet there must be a place where I belong, and something constructive I can do… It’s not as though my brain were severed from the rest of me. My deepest emotions are those of a very smart person. Well anyway, I think my problem with the church is resolved already. Now I have to figure out my next move. But first I think I’ll take a break for a while.
One thirty. I went and hung out with Kim and Angela at the salon. The talk was mostly beauty school stuff, about which I hadn’t a clue. Their friend, who used to be Kim’s boss, dominated the conversation. Karen and Jean carried on a separate discussion. I just sat in a chair and listened. The lemon meringue pie was great.
I still feel pretty good today. I have no desire to practice the bass guitar this afternoon. My jamming days are over. The rock and roll image is not for me. I could sort of make it work when I used to drink, but now I have nothing to rebel against. My mentality is all different now. That’s a good thing. I’ve even made friends with my sister, which until now would have been impossible. On the other hand, my brother’s alcoholism will make reconciliation very difficult, if it’s even advisable. He’s in a different world from me as long as he drinks… Aesop is telling me that he needs water, so I tell him five minutes, and he settles down. Give him a time frame and he is happy…
I look forward to the fall, but until then, days like today are good enough. Probably tomorrow I will export more boxes to the garage. Chip away at it until I’m done. The whole house is mine, yet I’m only using a fraction of it. Some idea that was on my mind had backed me into a corner. I think I’m free now. I feel very confident.
I just remembered: I’m going to the salon tomorrow for Kim’s birthday. This will be a good thing to do. I could actually go to Bi Mart today and buy a few things. As long as I’m there, I could get Kim a birthday card…
Quarter after eleven. I chickened out and ordered from Amazon. The sun is blazing high in the sky right now. It’s just as well to stay home. I feel a little hungry, so I’ll have some cottage cheese presently.
Noon hour. I just began my project of making my living room habitable. I moved 11 boxes of books out to the garage. First I put Aesop in the backyard. Then I opened the side door to the garage and propped open the front screen door. Maybe this afternoon I’ll move some more. My desire is to get some comfortable furniture for the living room, if only a few beanbag chairs and a couple of lamps for reading light. I’m tired of having only two places to sit in the house… I think I’m done with placating my parents’ spirits. If rock music doesn’t appeal to me anymore, then I can make other changes as well. Stay sober and the rest follows. Everything is different from before, including myself. Mom and Dad are truly gone… I found my Oxford copy of Middlemarch and pulled it out. I know very little about George Eliot, except that she was an Englishwoman who accepted Darwin. It might be fun to gaze into it at some point today. I’m so lazy and slow to get anything done, but there’s no pressure on me. If I want something badly enough, then it will happen.
Noon hour. FedEx just brought my new flatwound strings earlier than expected. I’m going to save them for a while, but they will probably go on my Mexican Fender. I hope I can play with the church, at least. Maybe I’ll email Pastor about that today. I feel like the ultimate geek because no one wants to play music with me.
Quarter after six. Feelings of shame lead me to do regrettable things. The opposite of shame is pride, and pride, rather than a sin, is indispensable to a guy’s wellbeing. Being rejected by the drummer this morning with no explanation made my pride implode. I can be okay one moment and then the next be thrown into a vortex of depression. If no musician wants to play with me, would it help me to know that I’m too good for him? “The better you become, the fewer the people you’ll have to play with.” A music teacher told me this truism in 1998, and now I’ve fulfilled the prophecy. I don’t even want to play bad music like I once did 20 years ago. I can laugh at rock and roll’s absurdity today, whereas then it gave me delusions of demons. The medication changed all that. Currently I feel I want to do something serious with music. The same teacher told me that I’d be a perfect candidate for music school. Said I could major in composition and play any instrument I wanted. I didn’t pursue it because my illness was not under control. But how about now? Could Eduardo introduce me to some people at the school of music?