My Precision Bass, modified with the Model P pickup, sounds rather barbaric, but I won’t really know until I change the strings. Obviously I didn’t attend church yesterday. I’m actually kind of glad I didn’t. The posts I made last fall, through the end of the year, were mostly reactions against the church pastor and his medieval opinions on a lot of things. I really needed to shake it off and be free. Now that I’ve succeeded, my writing isn’t as good as when I had something to fight over. Funny how that works. Gray clouds still block the sun today, though it comes and goes as they allow. I went for the gusto this morning and bought a two liter of Coca-Cola. It isn’t doing much for me. I think I like Peace Tea better, and of course my standby Snapple. The intellectual warfare with the church is ended, clearing the way for peace, even if peace is boring. I have to find something else for stimulation, perhaps something better than petty conflict with others. A rebel without a cause must adapt to changing times. A warrior out of war, like Hotspur, will be food for worms if he doesn’t speak the language. And today the lingo seems to be pretty ordinary: no puffed up rhetoric, no personas to hide behind. People are bored with ostentation anymore. The days of self glorification are over…
It’s Michelle’s last day at Community Market and she’s telling everybody so, and saying her goodbyes a little sadly. I asked her if she’ll be keeping in touch with someone here. She said she is friends with Deb and Cathy on Facebook, so maybe we’ll hear about her from them. Michelle told me that she appreciated me during the time she got to know me. I related to her that Suk referred to her as a very nice person. Suk is hard to read, she said, but it was nice to get that feedback from her employer.
I hear the screech of scrub jays in my front yard and one crow cawing. It is partly cloudy and was below freezing an hour ago. Misty texted me yesterday afternoon to say that I’m still stuck with her as my case manager for a while. The other person no longer works at the agency. I feel thankful for the coming spring after a long and rather difficult winter. Before I got up this morning, I dreamed about my brother, and now I’m reminded of the importance of being nonjudgmental. Usually the most critical people have bigger problems than you do. Always consider the source when a person gives you a hard time. I ran into Patty at the agency yesterday and she had forgotten my name and struggled to remember who I was, but I think she was preoccupied with other things. All in all, I feel at peace with people today.
At the store, a guy showed up in a green Chevy truck decked out in a complete Santa costume and went in to give Heather a candy cane. Heather didn’t know this person from Adam. She was wearing headgear with two Christmas trees on springs. I bought a Coke and more than the usual treats for Aesop. My friend on WordPress gave me an Amazon Gift Card late last night that took me by surprise. I’m thinking I’ll get myself a new set of bass strings with the money. The church gig last night went pretty well for being under rehearsed. We’re not professionals and our church is small… A small miracle I’ve noticed is that my back pain is a lot better than it was a year ago. I tend to believe that the pains I’ve had since being on my medication were side effects that came and went. So I’m not as old as I’d thought. But the medication is indispensable because without it, my interior experience would be a living hell. Thanks to modern medicine I don’t have to suffer like that. Aesop and I are spending this day alone together, and that’s fine with me. It’ll be a time of peace and quiet to hear myself think. A day of shalom. Peace that passes understanding. Shanti.
Quarter after nine.
Doomsday is just ahead. What I fear the most is condemnation by people.
Wee hours of Saturday.
Friday’s big adventure is over with. Aesop is still exhausted but now we don’t have to do that again for another year. I don’t have any plans for later today; a good opportunity to relax for a day. Right now, the room is absolutely silent. Silence is golden.
Nine o five.
Just when I think I’ve succeeded in being independent and free, I rediscover the truths of psychoanalysis. I read somewhere in Joseph Campbell that higher education is like a nurturing mother on which some students try to depend forever. Taking a step further, my obsession with books suggests a very similar thing: dependence on the mother. Now I wonder why this is. Could it be that my real mother was an inadequate parent, leaving me still needy and unprepared for life in the world? This situation can conceivably produce both schizophrenia and alcoholism in a grownup child. But psychoanalysis doesn’t indicate a prognosis and course of treatment other than mass doses of psychotherapy. It seems to me that a person who has the illness, if she is insightful, must undertake her own healing process and not rely on healthcare professionals. I guess that’s what journaling is for… I once had a copy of Symbols of Transformation by Jung, his first really independent study, marking his break with Freud. Sometimes I feel that my life experience lacks depth and quality of feeling. I’m actually torn between two directions, to climb higher or to dive deeper. This is the condition of the Capricorn sea goat, if I put any faith in the zodiac. The danger of depth psychology is getting the bends and not knowing up from down.
Ten twenty. I’m just enough of a weirdo to buy a new copy of the Jung book. As if in reply, the same smoke detector just started pipping at me again in the hallway… I’m looking into Jung because I want to, not because I was forced. Probably I shunned him for so long due to forcible indoctrination, but that’s over with and now I’m coming back around.
I got up and took two ibuprofen right away. My dad’s birthday would be tomorrow. I’d like for my mind to be tidier than it is, but just accept it, I guess. I used to have a big dream of freedom for all individuals, but in practice it gets political and very tricky. Right now I’m too tired to think about it. It’s almost enough to watch the squirrels have fun in my backyard. I think Aesop wants me to go to the store. I hear some kind of sirens going on outside— speaking of freedom.
Quarter of ten. I’ve been hearing from quite a few people that I know. I’d been thinking the worst, yet such exaggeration is usually not realistic. It’s good to review the tenets of cognitive therapy when my mind gets unruly. In general, I might enjoy going back over Enlightenment thinking, and dare to know and be optimistic about knowledge. Right now the sky is powder blue and there’s no wind. A blue garbage truck just drove by my house because it’s Tuesday. By and by I’ll settle into a groove of the day. I stopped the cholesterol med five or six days ago; it had made me feel crappy, so it wasn’t worth it… I can’t seem to get my brain kickstarted today. It wants to relax and simply feel something. This wouldn’t be bad after being hyperactive for a long time.
My mind is as motionless as the absent breeze.
I tried to rest in bed for a few hours, but my shoulders hurt when I lay on my side. Only now does it occur to me that my electric bill is going to be higher because of the air conditioner. It was kind of fun to walk to the market this afternoon in the 90 degree heat, although I saw almost nobody else on the streets. It was a ghost town in my neighborhood. The sun beat down out of a cloudless sky like the blonde assassin of the Dickinson poem. I didn’t stop at the salon today, and proceeded straight to the store, marching mechanically as a Capricorn robot on a mission. When I arrived, I found Cathy wearing a light summer dress, while Hank hid his baldness with a baseball cap like always. I purchased a peach Snapple tea and a peanut butter bone for Aesop and then went home. On the sidewalk I hugged the inside, close to the fence, just in case of reckless drivers who might lose control and run off the road. Home again, I gave Aesop his treat and watched him enjoy it while I quaffed the Snapple. My mind was quite occupied with the inevitable questions of each day, but right now I feel more relaxed. Like Robert Frost, I have been one acquainted with the night: the time after the sun goes down soothes my hyperactive brain and all things are settled. I think I’ll stay up a while longer and simply chill out.
Just a report from the wee hours of the night. I’ll be honest with you, it’s pretty terrible here. Aesop can’t stop panting and I can’t stop sweating. Outside it’s 75 degrees now but there’s no breath of air; inside it’s 86 degrees still. The forecasters are saying 111 degrees for Sunday. The worst part of this is that the summer is only beginning. Unlike you, I can’t be in denial when things are bad. I do what I can to help the situation but I don’t lie and say everything is peachy. Acceptance just is what it is. Pretense is against my nature. However, on a lighter note, I’ve thought on what the Age of Aquarius might portend for humanity today. A few weeks ago I rode with a cabbie who told me his first record in childhood was the 45 rpm of Hair’s “Aquarius” which I also remembered. Well, we’re twenty years into the Age of Aquarius now, and Capricorn progressed to Aquarius is supposed to see some changes in character.
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars ✨
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius!
I have another story about the same song. On the blackboard of a classroom in the Knight Library during spring term of 1989 someone had written the full lyric to “Aquarius.” A student sitting nearby saw it and assumed it was Shakespeare! So of course I corrected her.
It may be worth some astrological research to learn more about the effects of the new age on human behavior currently. As you know, my constitution has a weakness for the zodiac. And by the way, the Seventh House is Libra, the sign of peace and partnership, symbolized by the scales.
In a better mood this morning, I hoofed it over to the store to buy a couple of things. Heather was handling business very well on her own. I let another customer go ahead of me because he had cash. People were quite courteous to each other. On N. Park I saw a guy loading his vehicle with fishing gear and stuff, preparing for the holiday weekend. I also passed Colin’s house and reflected that I never see him outside anymore, I don’t know why. I don’t see Kat very often, either. Fear drives people to do strange things, and self preservation is the strongest instinct… The way some people hibernate in their homes, we might as well be bears living alone in the woods. I find that people are only indecent when they are out of their senses, due to substance abuse or madness of some kind. It is not our natural state to be wicked, and yet we’re so mistrustful of other people… Aesop is asking me when his breakfast is coming, so I tell him a half hour and he understands. The morning is partly sunny. Music: from Rush’s Counterparts, but there’s also a real train horn off to the southwest. I hear a mourning dove cooing somewhere near. Consciousness is a complicated thing, a system of associations with multiple layers, like peering down into a well, or at an overhead projection with different transparencies. Margaret Atwood uses these images somewhere in her fiction, probably in Cat’s Eye… And again the silence in the house overwhelms, but today it isn’t a bad thing.
Nine ten. I’m actually thankful for the peace today, and I’ve gotten my shots out of the way. It was good to talk with my sister yesterday morning. I don’t know if my family will ever accept me, or even if I care, but for now I have my sister. People can be ungrateful when you treat them kindly, or perhaps we’ll never know how they feel.
Quarter after nine.
It’s mostly sunny and below freezing this morning. I got wise and indulged in my quart of Snapple tea today. I feel better for it. On my way to buy dog food I passed a crew of workers led by a Mexican. The side of his white pickup truck read Chico Yard Service. Evidently they were paid to remove some debris from a neighbor’s property. Aside from that I ran into nobody during my walk. There was one other Mexican pedestrian, but he was a distance behind me. He caught up to me at the store. Melissa wore a black hoodie with the motto, “Nothing is under control” on the front. I smelled something that had burnt behind the counter, which corroborated the statement. No one was in back of me when I checked out. My pace was quite slow, subdued by the frigid weather. In one of his writings, Jack London describes the murderous cold of the Yukon, as if nature were intelligent and intent on killing people. I’d forgotten how good he is at his style of brutal naturalism. So I got home with Aesop’s canned food and gave him breakfast close to nine o’clock. I’ve got band practice this afternoon. Mike’s place is just a fifteen minute walk away. Like a wandering minstrel I will tote my bass in its gig bag, and hopefully no one will mistake me for a sniper or something.
Quarter after ten. This is Saturday, a non business day for many. It’s a nice breather from the worries of the week. I did my church duty last night, and now I can forget about it. I hear a chainsaw laboring outside: probably Chico’s people. Sounds of shouting off to the west of me. Are things back to normal again? I guess it depends on how you define normal. But I for one feel relieved that the madness has gone away for a while.