Quarter after nine.
Today I get my hair cut with Karen. I’ll probably get rained on. I had a conscientious dream this morning that I won’t describe right now. I tend to dream better when I miss a dose of my antipsychotic. At the store, Michelle mentioned that she has diabetes. The regulation of blood sugar is a real pain, she said. Occasionally I get tired of taking my medication as well. Sometimes it’s important to be able to dream and confer with the soul. If my guilty dream put me on the spot, then at the same time I managed to come to my own defense very effectively, even in the context of a deep sleep.
Quarter of eleven. Karen was all ready for me when I got to my appointment ten minutes early. Kim was also there at the salon and watched and joined in the conversation. Looking in the mirror, I could see the Maxwell bridge out of the door, the cars with their lights glaring in the rain. Karen buzzed over my head with electric shears, then fine tuned the job with scissors. Afterwards she gave me a wash. I paid her a generous tip because things are tight lately. When I took my leave, went out the door and grabbed my umbrella from the rail, a reckless driver screamed by on Maxwell Road. Right behind him came a City of Eugene police officer. I stopped to watch what the cop would do, but I was disappointed. I came home humming melodies from the Prince Igor overture. Crossing N. Park, I passed the sexy neighbor mom who waved to me from her car. I regretted that I didn’t know her name.
I’ve been sleeping a few hours, and I woke up overheated and maybe dehydrated. I had a number of dreams about the zodiac and the element of Saturn in my horoscope. Somehow, the image of the goat and the similarity of the name Saturn to “Satan” all melted down to the same archetype, I imagine. Traditionally, the devil was depicted in the form of a goat, just like the fauns, satyrs, and the earth god Pan in Greek mythology, and the main idea of the goat was lust and procreative power. Before Christianity took over, goats were sacred to the wine god Dionysus. There was nothing particularly bad or wicked about the goat in antiquity. All of this reminds me that I have a book on the cult of Dionysus in my stuff, written by a Jungian scholar. It might be good. Did you ever read Bacchae, a tragedy by Euripides? Perhaps it is of more interest to me. About fifteen years ago I read it to compare it to Christian tradition, and the parallels between Jesus and Dionysus were rather startling. Both were arrested and brought to justice, and both rose again in the end. Both were too powerful to be conquered… Mythology and its relation to astrology, and the whole subject of symbolism, I find fascinating. It delves into an interior reality of the unconscious, though I think the last word still hasn’t been pronounced on it. The field is still wide open for new scholars and new discoveries.
Well, the mystery of Victoria and her family goes on. This morning I found a thank you card on my mailbox for the chocolate, again from Victoria. This game of note passing makes me imagine strange things about the situation in their home. Maybe Diana is another Republican sore loser like Roger and Alice? I only know that Victoria graduated from the University of Oregon in psychology and wants to be a therapist. Meanwhile, her mother is uneducated and resentful of people who go to school and succeed in something. Victoria probably knows I attended the University a while back, and also her dad is a fifth grade teacher who went to the same school. And then there’s the matter of my political sign outside for Black Lives Matter. Still, all of this is circumstantial evidence and pure speculation on my part. Yet the cards she gave me are very real; I’ve put them up on my bookcase.
I found a little surprise in my mailbox a bit ago: a holiday greeting card from my neighbor across the street, Victoria. She is the sister of Bonnie Rose, the youngest of three daughters. The note inside says thank you for always being so kind to me, and thinking of you. So then I headed for the store with a lighter step. I saw on N. Park not one or two, but three squirrels chasing each other in the spirit of fun. The sun had just barely risen behind the clouds. Michelle told me a little of what was going on with the deli next to the store. And the latter will be open for Christmas, as it is every year. When I saw Bonnie Rose approaching in her big black truck, I stepped to the left to let her pass and waved. Once inside again, I put Victoria’s card on top of the bookcase as a reminder that life is really pretty good.
Quarter of nine.
Thanksgiving Day has started out quite nicely. I bought Aesop a special treat of T bone snacks. The peppermint candy ice cream tempted me but I passed today. In the home stretch of my walk, I met with Bonnie Rose in her big black pickup truck. She rolled down the window and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving. I wanted to ask her if she was the one who kept setting up my lawn sign, but there wasn’t time. It was a little like Beauty and the Beast as I trudged up the street in my sapphire hoodie with a full shopping bag. Or maybe Lady and the Tramp. I can remember when she was a young girl and my mother had just passed away, nineteen years ago. Her older sister played the piano and her younger sister shot hoops with their dad in the driveway. The parents divorced a few years back, and now the family of women keep more or less to themselves.
Quarter of ten. The other morning I spun the disc of Rush’s Power Windows and was impressed with their mid eighties sound. Hearing Geddy Lee play his Wal bass made me wish I had another bass with active electronics. Perhaps someday. I wish even more for opportunities to play with other musicians… What I’m thankful for today is my sobriety and the positive effects this has had on my relationships with people. My pen pal thanked me this morning for my kindness, and it’s nice to be perceived that way. I still believe that alcohol is the root of all evil, though I know madness can stem from other factors. It does seem that avoiding alcohol has a magical impact on my fortunes, the year 2020 with its strangeness notwithstanding. It’s miraculous alone that I stayed sober through the trials of this year. I think fleetingly of my parents: they could never have maintained sobriety for three years. Whatever helps me today, my parents had nothing to do with it.
Ten o’clock. Colin was out walking Lolo with his baby daughter Tessa strapped to his front when I returned from the store. He told me how pretty he’d thought my maple tree was before it dropped all its leaves. And it really was beautiful. Tessa made “stink faces” at me, but they didn’t mean anything. She also waved. Colin speculated on the future of the coronavirus, but neither of us knows anything. We agreed that a vaccine will be a great thing. Lolo sniffed my shopping bag, which was full of stuff.
The store was fairly busy. One customer bought biscuits and gravy. I saw another person head for the beer cooler. I got a couple of Snapple teas and easy food. I found out that I don’t tolerate soda very well anymore, perhaps because of the phosphoric acid, or the carbonation. I tried to do a two liter of Pepsi Friday and felt a little sick. Gradually I’m moving away from things that are unhealthy for me. To some extent, alcoholism is deliberate suicide by a slow means. I’m more hopeful now than I used to be, and a bit more defiant towards people who don’t understand me. My sister and brother used to bully me until I finally broke away and took my chances on my own. I found that most strangers were nicer to me than family, though that sounds counterintuitive. And it’s still a battle with them, especially my brother, who refuses to understand what my life is like.
The Stewart Copeland songs are still in my brain, so maybe I should listen to something else. People always ask me if I hear good music or bad, but it’s really a matter of what I’ve been listening to. Is it a hallucination or instead just having a phonographic memory? I’ve had it all my life and come to live with it… The rain has stopped this morning, but should resume tonight. It rained all night long. At least it’s a little brighter outside than the last few days.
Yesterday morning, my neighbor Derek offered me an air conditioning unit that sits on the floor. He was letting me have it for free. He asked me to think about it and come back when I’d decided. So, this morning I went back to accept his offer. His face clouded and he told me with embarrassment that the unit doesn’t work. My brother used to say, “If it sounds too good to be true…” And then, as if in response to my sign that says “Black Lives Matter,” Roger put out an American flag with black and white stripes and one blue stripe in the center. I stopped and asked him what it symbolized. He answered, “The police.” This makes sense, for he and Alice are retired cops. But what gives me pause is the thought that there may be something beyond the mere phenomena. Facts are one thing, but behind the outward show I feel sometimes that there’s a karmic law. Good is rewarded with good, bad is punished with bad. The mechanism for this is mysterious, while the effects of it are easy to see… I tried to drop in on the girls at the salon, but it was still too early. Damien called me: apparently I owe him for the past three mows. He’s coming over on Sunday. Life seems to be dumping on me, so now I stop to ponder why this is. “You say there’s no reason to conjure / With the force as it has been known to be seen / You say I’m a fool, a believer / Put your feet on the earth, it is green.”
Nine fifty. Just back from the pharmacy. I took Kourt Drive to and Silver Lane from. Saw a big blue GMC truck for sale at $5500, but I don’t have that. The sun was already hot. Made the top of my head sweat. I remember thinking of how far it was to the horizon, where I saw a shimmering mirage, and then being surprised when I had closed the gap. Kourt Drive is a fascinating street, particularly on the north side. Some of the houses are beautiful, like something out of old movies. So well kept and clean, with tidy yards. They may be 70 or 80 years old, but they stand there to baffle the day, immaculate houses that time forgot. They make the blue sky seem prehistoric, something in old photographs, a permanent ghost. Walking by is to step out of a time machine and feel as if in someone else’s dream. You participate in the mind of Vishnu, who slumbers this world into existence. It is definitely a throwback to more romantic times… Finally as I neared my own home, I encountered Lenore mowing her lawn. She was wearing a gray Queen T-shirt. She stopped and I told her I was sorry for her loss. Then I went inside and fed Aesop his breakfast right on time.
To kill time I just listened to Abbey Road for the first time in many years. It is the one Beatles album that everyone seems to know, like an international anthem of peace and love. The quality of the vocals and of Paul’s bass are beyond comparison; every subsequent band has been an imitation of the original and archetypal. A perfect masterpiece of rock and roll, paving the way for the art rock bands that followed, in particular Yes and Genesis; also Queen. The Beatles had an earthier sound than Yes, however, with lyrics often more mundane and common… It’s interesting how life unravels day by day, like the expression of nature’s DNA, the very blueprint of fate. My neighbor Roger is working on a project outside his garage. The sunlight tastes like tangerine. I catch myself feeling a little greedy, a bit of a spendthrift. But investing in music gear at this point would be useless. There’s no one else to play with…
Nine twenty five. I remind myself that crazy things tend to happen in the summer. The heat has an adverse impact on people’s brains. My pen pal has not yet written to me this morning, so something must have come up… I’ve found my copy of The Planets by Gustav Holst, very poignant for me because of two friends who are now gone from my life. One of them was canine, a pug named Henry. The other was a Scotswoman pen pal. Maybe I won’t listen to it again. The music will conjure to my mind King Voltaire dog biscuits and worse, the taste and effect of cheap beer and sometimes wine.
Ten fifty. I crossed paths with Mike again at the market. He told me straight up that we won’t be practicing anytime soon— if ever. Well you know, the pandemic is going to cause serious problems with our mental health if we continue to socially distance ourselves. And imo, writers like D.H. Lawrence will eventually be brought to light again, being as they are symptomatic of their times, and ours as well. Not only is our society excessively industrial but also we have this virus situation that forces us apart. It is against our instincts to live like bears alone in the woods. Plus I hate to see the demise of music performance, played on real instruments by real musicians. At some point people will do something desperate. We will develop neurotic symptoms, making necessary another phenomenon like Freud. The future will be interesting to observe, if not tragic and sad.
Another summer day starts out sunny. Been to the store, and now I have to march to Bi Mart for my gabapentin and a few pairs of socks. A warm summer day is like an overripe fruit, something excessive and cloying. Spring is still my favorite season. But I really have no worries today. I got the church chore out of the way yesterday. I often feel culpable about my standing with the assembly. Do they think I’m just a hypocrite? It’s not my intention to be a rebel or maverick. I simply obey the honest perceptions of my mind. I never have believed in ghosts or anything immaterial, not even personal immortality… But if any vehicle can help us transcend, it is poetry. Lyrics, poetry set to music, are the most transporting things. The rock bands I like the best are the ones with the best lyrics. Yet the words can hardly be divorced from the music. There’s something about sung words that makes them stronger… Aesop gets his breakfast in just a moment. I give him the countdown until then. After that I’m bound for Bi Mart again…
Eleven o’clock. I took an interesting walk up Kourt Drive to the pharmacy, noticed things new to me. Some of the houses on the north side were as big and nice as mansions, while others were dilapidated dumps with old wrecked cars in front. I wonder how those neighbors get along with each other, with the affluent adjacent to the indigent. Kourt must be a singular kind of community, with its own Church of Christ and a little cul de sac of boxy two story houses. When I got to Bi Mart’s service window, I didn’t see Shawn or Jeanine. It is Saturday, so the clerk was Dona, who isn’t as pleasant. My prescription cost me only $1.30. Along the dirt trail I saw four guys playing doubles tennis on the blue courts behind the high school. A hooded man on a bicycle towing a little cart passed me as I returned to the street. The whole round trip took me about 40 minutes. I felt quite detached from any past I could put my finger on. I was just interested in the sights on life’s way. Last night I saw a V formation of Canada geese overhead, flying very low and close to me. I stopped and watched them go by… There was a food pantry this morning I didn’t go to, but I think they understood why. The volunteers should be wrapping up pretty soon. I’m having a good day so far.
Nine thirty five.
The sky is leaden with blue and pale sunlight caresses the ground. Roger is tapping on something, making a sound like timbales out of rhythm. There’s a wicked red spider on the back doorway. Finally I called Library of America and learned the fate of Elizabeth Bishop: it got sent to the Residence Inn by my mistake. So I called the hotel and Shelley located the package, which she will attempt to forward to me. Aesop and I then returned to bed, but I still didn’t sleep much. Just now I left a message for Shasta at my insurance office. At around two in the morning I listened to Close to the Edge, which made me ponder evangelicalism.
Quarter after eleven. I made my run to the store, stopping by the salon for a donut. Angela is engaged to be married, but she’s known the guy for 11 years. The salon has a new floor now, sort of a beige wood grain color. On my way back from the store, I stopped and had a conversation with Derek outside his house. He has sold his fifth wheeler in favor of tent camping. I noticed its absence because I walk past it every day. He has two little daughters, Claire and Natalie, who are always outdoors playing. We chatted for maybe 20 minutes, as it was 11 o’clock when I got home. People are talking about the heat wave coming next week. I hope it doesn’t get too much above 90 degrees. Today is partly sunny and cool. I asked Roger about help finishing my J Bass and he declined, saying my best bet was to call a professional luthier for an estimate. It might not be worth it, for the kit cost less than the luthier would… For some reason the old Yes song “Survival” is playing in my head. I could go to Bi Mart today or tomorrow, but I have no purpose for going except to get out for a while. Aesop is resting at my feet. I hope Shelley is able to forward the book to my address. I’ll just keep an eye on the mail every day for it.