Few of us are having much fun anymore. Or maybe I’m just beginning to learn what responsibility feels like. No one can make a move without an impact on other people. You can cloister yourself away and drink yourself to death, but even dying costs money. I don’t know if the “collective unconscious” is for real, but living in society involves having a kind of radar for what people do. And don’t do. I grew up with clueless parents. The curtains were always closed to keep the outside world from looking in… My dog Aesop lets me know when he is hungry. He gets breakfast at nine o’clock. I wouldn’t dream of not feeding him.
Nine fifty. It feels very cold outside. I ran into some icy patches on my walk to the store. The sun was out. Bonnie Rose passed me in her truck again. I had to stop and step aside to let her by because of a pile of leaves. Melissa is now working at the store. Years ago she worked in the deli next door, so it’s rather nice to see someone familiar be hired. I saw a senior citizen buy a case of Rolling Rock first thing in the morning. Some people can be functioning alcoholics, but I found out that I can’t get away with it. It’s a fair enough trade off to have more money when I don’t drink… I stopped at the salon where Karen complained to me about the jewelry store in the Gateway Mall. And then Kim walked in with mild complaints about her bipolar husband. I declined on the donut and came home.
I don’t see many people spreading spontaneous happiness, so I’m thinking maybe I should be the one to start.
I just missed the heavy rain. It was very windy while I was out walking to my usual haunts. Kim and Angela are managing business by themselves today; Karen is on a mini vacation until Thursday. The girls had the radio tuned to an eighties station rather than the oldies that Karen likes. I heard The Clash come on. Then I moved on to the store, where Vicki was in an okay mood. Cathy busied herself with unpacking foodstuffs.
Prior to my excursion, my sister called me and we chatted for an hour. She and her son are having their Thanksgiving with three other relatives at their house. I don’t have any plans of my own for the holiday. Usually my church has a public dinner, but this year it isn’t doable with the pandemic. Maybe I’ll take a food box from Laurel Hill this year. It’s rather strange that Polly didn’t invite me over, but then I’ve been unwelcome for Thanksgiving since 2007. It’s all right with me. Mixing with family would feel very awkward. After all, the only relative talking to me is Polly. She has to distort herself a bit in order to do this. But she can’t control the behavior of her family members. It’s all out of her hands. Whatever; she tries and does the best she can. I know that she’s a different person with me than she is with her own kin. As her brother, it’s always been kind of like that. Probably we’ll do something special for my birthday in January. I guess I am sort of a special case.
Noon hour. I’m at physical therapy now, way early. The cabbie was very nice. Polly was difficult, but families are like that. I see that Suzanne liked my post this morning. I don’t know. I’m leaning toward science right now. WordPress is up in the air since Biden won.
Two fifty five. Home again. Erin had made a note of how Christina made me feel judged for my posture. The latter read it and asked me about it, so I answered her honestly. Christina worked a bit harder to be nice after that. I saw Erin on her way in to start her shift and she asked me how it went. I said pretty good. The sun was out, and it still is right now. I don’t usually associate sunshine with November. It seems like something new in my experience. It feels beautiful and cheerful. The most unprecedented thing today is that I’m sober. Yesterday, Misty told me that three years is a significant chunk of time. And looking around me, I sense so many things that feel new, things I’d never noticed before at this time of year, in these conditions. The return cabbie was good looking in a rock and roll sort of way. I liked her. I’m just a square type of guy myself. It was a bizarre fluke that I ever got involved in rock music. Plus the alcohol and the diagnosis that stuck me in an illicit category. But life has a way of equalizing everyone in the long run. The Buddha taught that life is suffering. We all go through it, more or less in the same degree… The westering sun projects soft tangerine beams over the tree line. I’ve had a good afternoon.
Here and there I have a bleed through of psychosis, saying that this is the end of the world, and by a freak of metaphysics, a god will emerge from the machine. Psychosis is radical emotionalism; if it feels true, then it must be true. It’s important to remain evidence based when I’m tempted to exaggerate the reality. My mind wonders why the crap all hits the fan in September. And more, what will future Septembers be like? It feels cold in here, and the smoke outside is still very dense. Linn County is getting ready to evacuate.
Nine o’clock. I just paid my garbage disposal bill online. For many years I paid over the phone, but now I’m all set up. It seems like an investment in the future. I don’t feel so pessimistic now about current events. Perhaps it’s just chance that everything has happened at once. I should remember all the distortions of cognitive therapy and apply them. Pastor wrote something in the Daily Devotions that I was inclined to take personally. But the truth may be that he wasn’t thinking of me at all. Consistently, time after time my assumptions have been proven wrong since Monday. When I catch myself in a thinking error, I feel a little silly afterwards. I wonder how many of us are making the same mistakes?… Aesop gets breakfast in a few minutes, and then I’ll get ready to go to the store. Or maybe I’ll delay it for a while. I can relax and have a burrito. It’s only 50 degrees outside. Wait until it warms up.
Ten forty. I saw Karen, Angela, and then Michelle. I made an appointment for a haircut next Tuesday at ten o’clock. Karen was happy about that. The countertop at the store is definitely red. Michelle was there by herself. It just feels different from the old glass counter in the middle of the floor. Less personal somehow, more official or conventional, like all other convenience stores. Almost more regimented. I like the way it frees up space on the floor, though. It’s just another sign that we’re saying goodbye to the past. A man walked into the store with 36 empty Rolling Rock cans as I was leaving. This reminds me that my “birthday” is tomorrow: three years sober. It’s been a roller coaster, and not only for me. The world was rather crazy this year, and last year my house caught fire. Regardless, I didn’t drink. I rolled along with the punches. Some days I feel absolutely terrible, and seldom do I feel really good. But always I am free to choose my mood. I can put on different music when I feel down. And it’s good to be a member of the human race.
The first thing I’m going to do is buy a Coke and some food. Today should be approached from the precept of freedom and responsibility, and it is so if you think so. I’m slightly tempted to just give up like everybody else; and maybe I will. But if I do resign, then I’ll be angry afterwards. Therefore, obey your own feelings and be true to yourself.
Eight o’clock. Vicki appreciated me this morning… I won’t let the despair of others drag me down today. The reality we live in is the one that we make. I just unsubscribed from a blog the hopelessness of which was affecting me. I was sorry to have to do it, but now I think I’ll be glad I did. The day is beautiful and pregnant with promise if you look for it. Positive change starts with just one person, who then communicates optimism to a few people, and by exponents it spreads. Certainly if I can deal with schizophrenia, then other people can handle their depression. Everyone is responsible for their feelings, and to some extent, the feelings of others. Some people might argue with me on this point, and that’s fine with me. Meanwhile I’m going to spread as much happiness as I can and forget the despair I’ve seen. I believe that happiness is our natural state, so I’m beginning with myself.
Well imagine that: my Bishop book got forwarded to me safe and sound! Now I’m going to have two copies. The volume is a beauty, of course. I was a little stunned when I found it in my mailbox, like an act of God or something. I should give this book a special place in my library after so much ado about it. And then I went to the market for canned dog food and food for me and a cranberry ginger ale. Also the weather took a merciful turn for the cooler this morning. There’s a cloud cover, and the forecast calls for a high of 80 degrees. Michelle at the store was very nice as always. A man walked in the door without a mask and Michelle reminded him. As an aside to me she said that some people do that on purpose. Elsewhere, Aesop’s intelligence continues to stagger me sometimes. We communicate with each other very well. He makes me feel like Dr Doolittle. Today is getting off to a great start and the song in my head is “Here Comes the Sun.”
Eleven thirty. I keep thinking this is Saturday. I slept in for a couple of hours, then fed the dog and went to the store. I ran into Lisa from the salon. Apparently she’s working but not doing hair. She added that her uncle just died the other day. I still think people are magnifying the negative things that happen. Surely not everything is going wrong. This is where cognitive therapy can be useful, if people are receptive to learning something new. I see many of us letting one or two negative events color everything else dark, but that’s not realistic. Rather than wallowing in depression we ought to balance the bad perceptions with positive ones. Try to be optimistic on a daily basis. The end of the world hasn’t happened yet, so don’t expect it now. Having a positive attitude can turn the ship around, while moaning merely assists the storm. I don’t want to see us all shipwrecked. I guess that’s why I kick against the prevailing sentiment of doom and gloom. Despair avails us nothing. We owe ourselves an outlook of hope.
Guilt is an expendable emotion; it serves no purpose whatsoever. There is no particular way a person is supposed to be. Who says we have to look a certain way or act a certain way, etc etc? I don’t care to be conscientious like some people. Take it or leave it. There’s no such thing as perfect. There is no king of public opinion, or if so, then who is it? Martha Stewart was put in jail, wasn’t she? Kathie Lee Gifford and her sweatshops. Regis Philbin. I don’t watch tv, so I don’t even know who is popular anymore, and care less about it. Kill your tv! Live your life your own way. Oprah Winfrey sucks. My sister thought Oprah should run for President. I can’t imagine much worse… They’re making good progress on the fence. Damien is using a nail gun and they move right along.
Three o’clock. I took the Snapples out to them. I’ve been forgetting the idea of faith that all shall be well. In other words, optimism. In uncertain times, this is indispensable. The fence has needed replacing for a couple of years, and now I can do it. In fact, it’s almost done. All I did was not to drink alcohol anymore, and good things came to me… Aesop’s treats are coming from Amazon tomorrow. Filet mignon flavor soft chews. I hope he likes them… I noticed that the paranoia is a lot better than before. Most people don’t have bad intentions toward others. Only if they use drugs or have a mental health issue. Or if they are driven by the big bucks… Now the guys are building the gate. The day has turned out kind of good. I’ll be glad to have the job finished. And then I can listen to the other disc of Permanent Waves.
Interesting, but sometimes I can clearly see into the workings of my preconscious mind, thoughts and impulses just on the threshold of consciousness. But my conscious mind can choose its actions regardless. Maybe it’s just the wisdom of experience that makes it all so clear. This noon hour at the store, I walked right past the beer cooler and was fully aware of my thoughts about why I wasn’t going to drink. Mostly it’s a surefire one way ticket to death for me. Occasionally there is Coca-Cola if I want a sugary treat. It’s like the rare Bubble Yum or Doritos my mom used to buy me when I was an early teen. Root beer floats sometimes.
Four twenty. My Led Zeppelin CD arrived in the mail just now. I’ll probably listen to it after dark tonight. It occurs to me to wonder why I live like a wanton child rather than a responsible adult. Maybe because I could never get away with anything when I was young? When Mom died I found the opportunity to be the bad boy I’d never been in youth. Dunno. There are many ways of looking at it. I’d still like to be a wanton in some ways, but I doubt if it will happen. On the other hand, self sacrifice will never appeal to me. I believe the Id will always want more and more until I die. The Platonic beast can be tamed but not entirely snuffed. Or maybe this is only a theory? What if it merely looks good on paper 📝? If so, then it can be scratched out and written down a different way. The computer program can be scrapped and redone from nothing. This would be the view of John Locke. Often philosophy has an advantage over psychology. With philosophy, there’s always a drawing board to return to. Individual people can literally posit their identity— just like reprogramming a computer. What do we need dunces like Freud for?
Again I feel myself missing my old secular friends. I dreamed about my psychiatrist this morning and I wonder if I should go back to him. Sometimes I wish I could simply move to the UK someplace. A place that resembles my lost past. I hadn’t realized what a minority I am in this country until I put myself in treatment in 2003. The ignorance I encountered there was staggering. People hated school and learning, preferring church by far. I still don’t get that. Having an education is a wonderful thing, so liberating and broadening. It is not indoctrination, but just the opposite: an open door to endless other open doors, with the light of learning growing ever brighter. It’s a Promethean life, the gift of fire and the light of reason from the gods. Aren’t we stupid to refuse such a gift? If one lifetime is all we get, then shouldn’t we learn about it all we can? Instead of working at meaningless jobs and procreating like rabbits, we could be wise and on a par with the gods. Who would stop us from building a Tower of Babel this time? We could make a skyscraper to the moon with impunity. Life would be like ancient Athens once again, but with the advantage of technology. All this your life has to offer: why spit in its face? Why choose the Dark Ages over the glittering high rises of enlightenment? You can be the poorest pauper on the street and at the same time possess priceless wisdom. Learning is not a means to an end, but an end in itself.