Quarter of ten.
I have a couple of purely social engagements this week, and one of them is with Heidi. She is a lot of fun because she’s so young, or perhaps young at heart. We can banter together, talk about nonsense while the invisible antennae purr between us. We had this sort of rapport from the time of our first meeting: a certain ease and familiarity, even informality, when we cruised over to Cal’s Donuts. It was as if we’d always known each other… My Wi-Fi has been connected for nearly a week now. At some point in the future I’ll have the motivation to unpack my computer, but it could be a long time coming. They say necessity is the mother of invention, but so far it hasn’t arisen. I’m anticipating my jam this weekend with gusto. It should be fun, but serious fun at the same time. I want to take my red Precision Bass copy, which I’ve been practicing on most recently. I remember how Roger helped me hotrod it with a DiMarzio pickup in August of 2018. He did the soldering for me, and together we figured out the instructions. We were lucky that the pickguard fit over the part after it had been installed. Finally, that December, I put in a high mass bass bridge, brass finished with chrome. The overall effect is quite a monster P Bass tone. The jam will take place on Sunday afternoon. As for right now, not much is going on. I can’t decide which book to read out of such a huge collection. William James might be interesting to learn more about. His revival ten years ago was quite a thing, though at the time I disagreed with it. At best, I was ambivalent. My brother was a diehard factualist, but James argued for the practical usefulness of religious ideas. If a belief worked for you, then it was in some sense true. This was the essence of Pragmatism. Today, I don’t know what to think of that. I only know that optimism can see you through difficult times. If it’s inaccurate, at least it works… Aesop is ready for bed again, and anon I’ll be right with him. In about twelve hours, Polly and I will be having lunch at Red Robin. It’s my long awaited birthday celebration. Fifty three years old, and thankful to have come this far…
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.
I finally figured out what causes my insomnia: it can be no other than the Vraylar. It’s a side effect of the medication. Probably there have been other ones as well, and I just didn’t recognize them. I bet constipation is one. Here it is the wee hours of the morning, the sky and everything cloaked in blackness. The sounds of the railroad faintly reach me. It feels cold because the furnace is turned down. Aesop lies on top of my feet. Fifteen minutes have already elapsed since starting to write. One thing I’d like to remember is the importance of body language in social interaction. A live presence, a meeting in person, is much different from something solely verbal. Our gestures and every movement of face and body express ourselves. This didn’t dawn on me until I met with Ron on Friday afternoon. As any impressionist writer knows, so much is said in the silences. What words or musical notes don’t say, the silence implies. And the same for body language. It reminds me that I am responsible for my facial expressions and body movements. Dependence on electronic communication had obscured from me the truth. For meeting in the flesh there is no substitute. In this sense, DH Lawrence has been absolutely right. No machine, therefore, will ever be able to feel anything. Do machines have body language? The question sounds absurd. Lawrence is amazingly farsighted for his century. He spoke a prophecy for all of us, one that we haven’t heeded. I daresay we never will.
Five thirty. We’re going to jam on the 2nd, a Sunday. Mike is giving me a ride to the rehearsal rental. I’m supposed to pitch in ten bucks, so I’ll have to use an atm. It was an enlightening afternoon. I really liked Ron, and he says that Mike is a good guy as well. My walk to and from Black Rock was a time of feeling expanded. Eugene all of a sudden got gigantic in one day. I feel a little uprooted even though this is my hometown. I barely recognize the place, though most of the buildings and other structures are the same. The difference is in the quality of the people I see today. Eugene has become urban, after an eternity of being run by redneck people. I must say I love the way it is changed. I don’t want to turn back the clock like the conservatives I know. The influx of people from all over the country is mind boggling, and it’s also occurring in Bend. I just never noticed it before… The people are indeed more intelligent than the native hicks I grew up with here. And while I’m loving the change, my sister must be hating it. I couldn’t stand my next door neighbors John and Rhonda. They finally moved away in June 2015. The day I decided to quit drinking, I realized that everything was different now, with those neighbors displaced. Is it possible that I will finally be free from the redneck attitudes I was forced to grow up with? It seems like an act of divine providence. The State of Oregon nearly killed me with its rustic people. Sheryl the therapist told me that Oregon sucks, and I agreed with her. And perhaps she was right about my sexuality. As Eugene grows bigger and better, it may be ok to be a homosexual.
Wednesday evening was interesting as the night was falling. There I was standing on the corner of the cul de sac at Laurel Hill, waiting for my taxi. I felt abandoned and helpless, yet I knew I would be all right. I was thinking about how I might be gay, and it scared me. Across the street from me stood the Even Hotel, where the windows were lighted and where strange people were staying. I felt alone in a hostile world, but part of that strangeness was internal. The alien, the foreigner to me was my very self. I felt like Walt Whitman preparing to sound his barbaric yawp into the night. And then I was driven home by a former meth addict. She said she was just as night blind as I was. Nothing else of great pitch and moment happened, but Aesop barked at me when I got home.
Almost four o’clock.
I was totally surprised! It turns out that we have a lot in common. We like a lot of the same music, but also we share a love for poetry and good literature. Ron is from New Jersey, and speaks with a bit of an accent. I’m quite impressed with his range of knowledge about music especially… My walk to Black Rock was uneventful at first. When I gained River Road from Kourt Drive, I saw that I’d misjudged where the crosswalk was, and had to go a little out of my way. It was rather amazing to see all the people on foot or waiting at bus stops, people who were essentially just like me. They came from who knows where to Eugene, with any variety of circumstances, but all having a story to tell. Some of them might have been educated and others not so lucky, but to me they all appeared intelligent in some way. I took my umbrella with me just in case. The sky is still overcast with some breaks here and there. The traffic on River Road at three o’clock in the afternoon was incredibly dense and noisy, and waiting for the walk signal took a few minutes. Still, it was an enjoyable experience. And then there was the chat with my new friend. He was a lot more sophisticated than anything I was used to from Eugene. It’s almost as if the whole city had become like the University campus in being savvy. I was amazed at what I witnessed. Like Rip Van Winkle, I awoke twenty years later and found everything transformed– into a minor metropolis. All this was going on just a mile from my house. So that I needn’t have gone out to seek the world; the world came to my backyard.
I have to be ready to leave at three o’clock. I’ll go to the store after ten o’clock or so. The weather is gray but not stormy or even rainy. It’s just sort of glum and blah. It is neither warm nor bright; just the opposite. I’m getting tired of the same old food day after day, but I still enjoy the ginger ale. Remember to avoid caffeine because it gives me shortness of breath. I thought I would die the last time I did Coke… I haven’t heard from any musical prospects since Monday. I look forward to another jam with Mark, but he has to find us a guitar player to make a trio. I guess I’m trying to hurry things, but it takes time to put something together. I should just relax and let the future happen. I hear “Cinema Show” in my head, an old Genesis classic. Aesop gets his breakfast in an hour. He’s such a good companion. Smart as a whip. I feel that I should accept life more as it is rather than try to change it. It’s so important to love ourselves and each other and basically let it be. We are where we are in life, so no need to push things or try to force them to happen. I’m thankful that the schizophrenia is well managed and that life is as good as it is. What if it doesn’t get any better than this? Shouldn’t I be happy just the same? Maybe idealism has its drawbacks. Progress is slow and painful, and perfect is probably impossible. It amazes me sometimes how I run into the same people now and then. Everyone does the best that they can at all times. To ask for more is being unrealistic, so just accept and move on… Therefore, the weather may not be beautiful today, but it could be much worse. And human beings are like the weather.
Quarter of three. It is very cold inside the house. I’m not sure why I got up for a few minutes. All the world’s asleep and the questions run so deep for such a simple man. Yet I’m not simple at all, in the eyes of other people. My family can’t figure me out, but I think I have them pegged. As I’ve said before, I’m a conventional intellectual just as they are conventional cowboys. Everyone is a stereotype, and we are molded that way by education and other modes of society. It isn’t anybody’s fault; it was the monster. The big machine makes us what we are. It gives us a few options along the way, but what we are is ultimately determined by precisely those choices. It is much like choosing the words to write on this tablet even this very moment. It makes me want to be a Luddite and break all machines; sneak into the factories in the dead of night and do the dirty deed. Human beings are not as stupid as society believes we are. The best we can do is start from scratch, break the old molds and defy tradition as much as possible. We need to be our own option makers. We need to esteem value for ourselves, and again from scratch. Perhaps I’m only writing this for myself? But no: the machines are taking over humanity and it’s up to you and me to do something about it. Together we must rise and read our D H Lawrence and read the writing on the wall. Someday our humanity will be completely extinct, all the red blood sucked out of our vessels, all our spontaneous instinct destroyed, our brains chipped and bionic. The Age of the Cyborg is upon us, as corny as this sounds. What are you going to do about it?