Eight twenty five.
I’ve slipped out of my delusions and back to reality for the moment. I will remember to take my choir binder with me to church, as we are having practice after service. It’s good to be a little organized. The sun is out again. All things considered, I’m still pretty fortunate to have the life and the friends I have. Schizophrenia is a pain in the butt, yet I don’t have the delusions all the time. In solitude is when they are the worst. I hear some avian life chirping outside. The sun has brought out the perching birds. I’m trying not to magnify reading to the assembly today. It’s not as stressful as the appointment with Dominic I had Wednesday. Church is a sanctuary, a safe place. I hear a mourning dove. The birds are being very musical this morning. In about ten minutes I have to leave. I would call to mind memories of Kate and of Aesop as a puppy, but I wonder what for? That was a time when I drank heavily, and besides, I never met Kate in person. It was all a fantasy.
Noon hour. Church went fine, and Doug was grateful that I read in his place. I feel really beat now, worn out from insomnia and walking everywhere. But at least the social life I have today is real. In about twenty minutes I’ll go to the store for food. I hadn’t realized how much Doug hates to be the lector until this week. I got a lot of praise for reading today. His mother passed away eight weeks ago and the funeral was yesterday. I’ve always liked Doug, so I didn’t mind doing him a favor. Now I can relax for the rest of the day… I don’t feel delusional anymore since church. Eduardo and Tori did a great duet for a postlude, a piece by Gabriel Faure that was vaguely familiar. Beautiful modern chords, a little strange. Lisa looked lovely today, but then she just is lovely. I missed seeing Sandi this morning. But it was nice to see everyone else. The sun is still out, though it’s supposed to rain again later this afternoon. I’m pretty equal with everything now. Worry free for the remainder of the day.
Quarter of five. I felt very tempted to drink earlier today but rode it out. Something triggered me, cued me to times in a specific past. I think it was the color of the sky this morning, a luminous gray, making me believe it was 2017 again. I was so unwell back then, and also flat broke. I never had any money to spare. My addiction burned a hole right through my pocket. I really was a different person before I quit drinking. The daylight is dying down outside, gray fading to black gradually. The day turned around when I sat down to play my bass. I just emailed Mark regarding a future jam. We’ll see what he says. I feel more up with the present again. A little bit hungry. Aesop was good today while Damien and Todd worked on my trees. I’m glad for the nightfall; daytime feels oppressive sometimes, as if the sun were a judge in the sky, hammering verdicts with his gavel. Church tomorrow should be good. I ought to tithe something, but I’m nervous about my bank account. We’re supposed to turn in our pledge forms tomorrow. I hope I remember. It’s twilight outside now. Twilight time reminds me of The Moody Blues, in turn of when I used to work a job at Laurel Hill. I don’t think I could work another job like that one again. Nobody cared about my opinion when I was 37 years old. The street hires didn’t give a damn about the participants. We were looked down on as inferior… Jet black night. Dreams are forgotten, but my mood is better. I’d like to find my copy of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Peter Gabriel’s last album with Genesis. Probably it was their best album, though I think I like Selling England by the Pound better. This afternoon I picked out a few bass lines from old King Crimson. I had fun with “The Great Deceiver” and “One More Red Nightmare.” When I was done, I looked out the window: nothing had changed on my street. Roger was puttering about with his 77 Ford as usual. The overcast was a sheet of gray, no longer luminous, but the light dying down… on Broadway…
Eleven thirty. I went and hung out at the salon for an hour. Karen lost her temper at Lisa over the parking lot situation. The latter had tried to be her spokesperson in her absence and it was wrong. Darlene was in good spirits. Her face lit up when she saw me. Poor Karen has quite a Type A personality. I fear for her having a heart attack or something. Lisa is young and capricious. And Angela is sort of a diplomat between these two opposites. Karen is very concerned for success in her business, but she also takes in people who need help; seniors and people on the wrong side of the tracks. I guess that includes me too. Karen knew me when my addiction was so bad. It seems to me now that I was a different person then. Lisa asked my dog’s name, and I was surprised when she recognized Aesop the fabulist. I told her she was one of the few who did know the name. She said she had hung around guys who claimed to know a lot. I began to wonder about myself; maybe I was another such guy? And maybe I really was from the wrong side of the tracks? The dynamic of the salon is interesting, with the customers tending to be relaxed and pleasant but the staff rather tense and anxious. Then there’s me, the bum who comes around to visit Darlene. But of course it’s more complicated than that. I’m not exactly a bum, and Darlene is an old friend. It was a pleasure for her to see me again, and that’s what I do it for.
One thirty eight. I bought three Wilson tennis balls at Bi Mart, then popped in across the street and purchased a bottle of pet shampoo. Traveling north on Grove Avenue, the passing bus driver waved at me, so I waved back at her. My cashier at Bi Mart was Ann, who’s been working there forever. She once dyed her hair brown, but now she’s let it grow out white. I used to run into her at Community Market, where she would buy Oregon Lottery tickets. No one was supposed to know. Then at The Veterinary Hospital, I dealt with Wendy and said hi to Debbie and recognized Dana. The price of the shampoo was outrageous, but I paid it and went out the door with the tennis balls in one hand and the shampoo in the other. I passed a woman on the sidewalk going the opposite direction who eyed my items with a sneer, perhaps of puzzlement. The balls, by the way, cost only $2.19. The comparable dog toys cost a lot more. Come to think of it, Ann has sold me tennis balls before, years ago. Is there anything significant about that? Further on my way home, at the corner of Armstrong and my street, I heard a dog sniff at his fence, but he didn’t bark. But I got barked at by a few other dogs from inside their homes. Finally I arrived home and presented the goods to Aesop. We tossed one ball five or six times, then he was quite winded for lack of exercise over several years. Still I made the trip and now he has some entertainment.
Ten twenty. It’s just a blah winter day so far, but likely better than winters of the past few years. I can remember how comfortable alcohol used to make me feel, but now I’m quite relaxed even without it. I’ve faced down my worst fears and come out triumphant. It was never an issue of anybody else, but myself alone; maybe that’s what was so scary… My trip to the store was uneventful, although they stocked a new item which I bought: a breakfast burrito that weighs a pound. The wind was cold and unpleasant on my face. I kept my hood on over my baseball cap. When I entered the store I resolved inwardly to notice something new, and voila the new burrito product. Some feeling is teasing the periphery of my mind, unidentifiable. It could be a craving for beer, or maybe a craving for women. It’s some kind of delight that I haven’t had for a long time. Not since Kate. Alcohol used to increase desire, so maybe that’s the connection with women. Hopefully the desire can exist without the beer. It continues windy out. Nate is arriving between 12:30 and 1:30 today. I don’t think Chad needs to be here. I look out the windows and feel something indescribable, the evocation of forgotten instincts. I know I won’t drink again, so this is different. It’s definitely libidinous, a thing of the pleasure principle. It is the ultimate joy. The sun shows itself with a little blue sky. The clouds are gray on the underside, tinged white on top. I anticipate the springtime, but really the here and now will suffice.
When I got up, the eastern sky was magenta. I thought, Red skies at morning, sailor take warning. I poked around in some boxes and found my textbook for first year French. In the same box were my books of Homer and Immanuel Kant. There may be one or two more unopened boxes. It just takes me longer to do anything because my motivation is so low. I flipped through the French a little and remarked to myself how I’d learned that stuff drunk. The pages didn’t look very familiar. But the Homer epics were inviting: I never did read The Iliad, and I think that’s important. The abduction of Helen of Troy and the subsequent war is a classic story. And Achilles, who was invulnerable in combat except for one spot where the magical waters hadn’t touched him: his heel. And Odysseus brainstormed the Trojan Horse… The sky now is seamless gray overcast, very dark. Today is verdict day for Chad’s company. They’ve had their last chance. After this, Nate will send in his own people if necessary to finish the house. I hope Polly and I can get together for lunch before the end of the week. I’ve had enough of strangers entering my home and disturbing everything. I see that it’s windy outside; the magnolia shifts a bit. It is probably bitter cold like yesterday. I’ll experience it firsthand when I go to the store. I hope it doesn’t snow as it is rumored it will. But then, I don’t have to drive a car in it if it does snow. And if it does, I might as well enjoy the natural beauty of the phenomenon.
Nine fifty. I just got back from Bi Mart. At the pharmacy, Jeanine was haggling with a Hispanic. They were having a communication breakdown. I felt like I ought to help, but my Spanish isn’t so great. It needs practice. As it happened, I just picked up my prescription and left. It cost me only $3.50, and I paid with my debit card. On my way home, on Silver Lane I observed a small cloud that was round like the moon. I couldn’t tell whether it really was the moon in the blue sky, but I doubt it. My fingers felt extremely cold, as if frostbitten. The journey took me less than an hour. When I got home I ran hot water over my hands. The worker left to go fetch the pressure washer, so I seized the opportunity to feed Aesop. Right now, it’s nice to sit down in a warm house. No worries.