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.
Nine fifty five. A cool and cloudy morning. I wore my rain jacket to the store. My body feels stiff and terrible because I’ve run out of gabapentin. Tomorrow, Bi Mart for sure. I’ll try to be present for the Zoom church coffee hour today. It’s difficult when I don’t feel well. I feel old and that much closer to the margin of death. I notice it when I overdose on caffeine. At any moment my heart could stop or I could have a stroke. Maybe I have hypochondria. But I know that I don’t feel the same as I did a year ago. Sometimes it hits me that my behavior is similar to my mother’s. I don’t know why I take after her so much; did I learn by observation, or is it genetics? I also think about my neighbors to the other side. I used to go over there to chat with the man until he tried to get involved in my therapy. I feel bad about ignoring them now, but it seemed like a dangerous situation for me. These days I have no idea what they’re up to.
It’s a lazy Sunday so far, and even Aesop is not in a hurry to do anything. I was further thinking that church is a good place for getting a moral education, if you don’t have one already. The metaphysics of Christ will always be problematic for me, but I can agree with the ethical part. Some people are ferociously opposed to religion for personal reasons, but my objections to it are strictly logical. If it doesn’t make sense, then so be it. Sense to my dog is getting his breakfast on time.
Quarter after one. I was going to ponder intuition as a method for gathering information, but I don’t know where to look for precedents except for Poe and Emerson, where my interest was first sparked. I could search engine for ideas, but I think I’d turn up a lot of scholarly articles, even some that are pay per view.
Three o’clock. I guess Jennifer did pass away. Lenore received two baskets of sympathy flowers. The delivery driver tried to leave them with me because Lenore was not home. Her boss at Kirkland Flowers said it was okay to leave them on her front porch in the shade. Is it only a coincidence that my sister used to work for Kirkland? It’s a beautiful June afternoon, like one I recall 18 years ago. At that time, my mind was not conditioned by evidence based therapy. It was more Jungian and traditional, and less filtered by logic. Dunno; it was just odd to hear the doorbell ring and see this young girl with flowers for Lenore. She drove all the way from Springfield, and my imagination supplied the rest, creating a synchronicity that may or may not be accurate. Ultimately, one chooses to believe or disbelieve, but for now I’m undecided…
There is no evidence that schizophrenia is caused by repression of gay instincts. It was merely a nonsense theory dreamed up by Sigmund Freud a century ago. Without proof, a theory is sunk, or at least it isn’t a fact. Scientific studies show that the predisposition for schizophrenia is hereditary and not phenomenological. This is what I go by. As for the prognosis, the illness is incurable except in 15 percent of cases. I doubt if Sheryl was aware of either of these facts. She believed she was onto a miracle cure that she read about on the web. I have no faith in talk therapy with regard to schizophrenia. I’m an oddball for my opinion in our time, but posterity will probably prove me right. Talk therapy is in vogue because it is less expensive than psychiatry, and of course the world wants to save a buck or two. The rule goes, any accurate knowledge costs money, while misinformation is available for free. I just hope for a day when this sad state of affairs is redressed. Some rich and generous soul with a science brain must come forward and set things to right. But then, the rich usually get richer while the poor get poorer. This problem needs to be fixed first.
Quarter after two. I slept for about four hours and had at least one significant dream. It featured Vince from across the street many years ago. We were having a conversation in a sparely appointed room about James Baldwin. Vince said very articulately that Baldwin’s life had been a social experiment. He added that it was a difficult one, but Baldwin didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be a homosexual. He was born that way… What Vince was saying so intelligently could not have been voiced by the wife he divorced long ago. Although, his daughter Victoria is studying to be a therapist, or will be someday. I recall the bond of father and daughter they had. They shot hoops together out in their driveway… So when I awoke, I returned to think about giving talk therapy another chance. My plan is to call Laurel Hill this morning and ask about the possibilities for me of doing that.
Nine o’clock. It’s raining right now, constantly and damply drenching everything in the black night. Aesop braved the weather to do his business. I glanced north to the neighbor’s backyard where there was a porch light on his collectibles. Aesop tended south along the house. The scene out back evokes memories in the darkness, though the chronology is a little obscure. The old neighbors to the south had a big dog named Rocky. Their friends would come over during Obama and play baseball outside. Come nighttime they made a fire in the pit and sat around it telling stories. One day a fence board broke and Rocky and Aesop could’ve fought each other in the chink. I went next door and explained the situation to the wife. That evening at five, her husband replaced the board. I offered to reimburse him, but he said forget it, it was only two bucks. It was perhaps the only time we ever spoke. The neighbors with Rocky might’ve lived there a couple of years. They were renting from Rich and Susan who used to live there with four children. In January 2010, during a power outage, he invited me over to breakfast that became an inquisition about my religious beliefs. It was one of the strangest experiences of my life. The November of the same year, they moved away to the fish hatchery out of town where he had a job. Rich asked me to keep an eye on his house, which he’d been unable to sell. Currently the house has been bought by the occupants now there. We’ve only spoken two or three times…
Quarter of four. I had another good practice on my green Dean. The neck scale is a bit smaller than on a genuine Fender, which is great for my small hands. The La Bella flat-wounds sound deep and powerful. Kate bought me that set about eight years ago. She ordered the strings from Germany and they cost her about twice what they go for in the States… Aesop is pressed up against my side on the loveseat. He had a stressful day. Me too. Time for peace and quiet. There will be no strangers around the house tomorrow. I will march off to the church to volunteer like on a normal Saturday morning. Then the rest of the day is ours. Overall, Aesop is very happy to be back home… I hope my bass picking calluses come back soon. My chops were so good last spring. Now that we’re back in the house, I should be able to play much better again… My neighbor Jennifer was angry because one of my workers shouted a profanity in her earshot when she was trying to sleep. I think that’s absurd, because she goes around flaunting a big fat doobie in her hand. I figure she can just be that way, but it surprised me to see her in my backyard. Of course she took exception to my house color too. Still it didn’t ruin my day.
It is said you should write what you know. Right now I know nothing. This evening however the sun was farther south in the sky. It lit the interior of the trailer from a different angle, and I felt a little hopeless because the autumn will bring only worse weather for finishing the house. I actually entered it and had a look at the work. You can still see through the paint, so obviously it’s not done. I couldn’t make out the countertops for being covered with paper. No sink basins or faucets have been installed. And of course the flooring is still undone. It looks to me like there’s a long way to go. I was told how incredibly fast the building was going to be, but I’m skeptical. It’s been six months and the weather won’t cooperate now. The whole operation has been slipshod from the beginning. I guess it depends on whom you talk with too. My immediate neighbors are very skeptical and cynical of the slow progress they’ve seen. But what the hell can I do? Nothing. All I can do is endure and hope. It really doesn’t help when other people are pessimistic. This is after all my life. I won’t commit suicide or do anything stupid, so don’t be so negative about my home. Eventually the work will get done because it must. This has been a terrible trial for me, perhaps the worst of my life. The least you can do is be positive.
Eleven thirty. My writing yesterday was pretty good, just not very fashionable for the times. But that’s the flavor of my community here off of River Road. I encounter a good deal of it in my stomping up and down Maxwell. I could establish my own little tribune about it. It’s very 1960s in tone, even in the music heard. My house in fact was built in 62… The church dates back to the 50s. It’s almost as if the landmarks here spoke through our voice boxes, the radio stations we tune to, the books we read, the movies we watch. The edifices lend to the living a deathless spirit, possessing us and guiding our actions as it sees fit. It changes to accommodate the new, but the original essence remains. It is a spirit, more than anything, of honor…
Nine o’clock. I went out for a strawberry banana smoothie and brought some back for Aesop. Michelle showed me how to operate the mixing machine. I saw a blond woman at the counter with regular features; attractive. But she regarded me as if to say, Yeah right. Women never did take me seriously that way. My face looks like everybody’s boy next door. On my way I stopped and spoke with Cherie about my house fire. Also Steve was out watering his lawn. We both remembered the summer evening two years ago when I asked him to shoot me with the hose. I’d been to the store for a fresh tomato or two. So he shot me with cold water. This time I said no to the water. He said he likes Barry Sanders but his wife likes Joe Biden. We agreed that the election is a long ways off. Still, people will be talking about it. The smoothie was delicious, though it gave me an ice cream headache. It hurt my forehead and my esophagus, smack behind my sternum. My dog enjoyed his portion, or anyway it’s gone. It looked like pink baby food when I poured it into his dish. Sometimes the moral of the story is no moral at all. Sometimes it’s the Emperor of Ice Cream…