Streaking and Shrieking

Seven thirty.

I hate politics. Biden’s vaccine mandates force me to be political, however. I didn’t know how to respond when our church musician said he had no tolerance for the unvaccinated, but now I can say that he was too extreme. For more than one reason, I want to boycott the church, and Biden’s action makes this decision even stronger for me… Last night I took my medication, and a few hours later felt worse than I’ve ever felt in my life… I don’t know. I don’t care what I say anymore. Life really sucks for everyone right now, so I guess anything goes. I feel like throwing off all my clothes and running screaming through the streets until I get arrested; but chances are that nothing would happen to me… I just trashed the daily church email without opening it. Aesop is whining for his breakfast. At least dogs are apolitical and innocent. I wish people had as much sense as my dog. 

Nature First and Last

Six o five.

I had a dream a bit ago about playing the bass guitar to please my parents. I bargained with my dad, saying that after my gig I wanted to drink an amount of beer and then go to bed. He permitted a 750 ml can of Foster’s, so I went into the grocery store… but I changed my mind and came out empty handed. I also looked in the southwestern night sky and saw the full moon, symbolic to me of idealism, of dreams and ambition, and thought I couldn’t betray it by drinking again… The dawn is coming up gray through my front window. I hear the screech of some perching bird and the caw of a crow. Last night I indulged a few mystical thoughts on my transformation from a “Greek” to a Christian. And it actually rained briefly at around midnight. Today there are no big pressures on me. I think my sister may be having a difficult time dealing with her oldest son’s politics. Evidently he’s been blithering stuff lately about a “civil war” of red against blue. Others in the family are also politically polarized. I think we have enough problems with the pandemic and with climate change to be preoccupied with politics. I feel tired and even kind of nauseous upon hearing this news. I don’t understand how some people can make politics logically prior to the ecology. This is just backwards, I think. It’s like saying, “We don’t use language, language uses us.” It inverts the commonsense order of things.

Quarter after seven. Nature came first, and everything else is the artifice of human beings. The future depends not on our fictions, but ultimately on the fact of the natural world. Things like money, religion, and politics are constructs of human imagination. So I guess I’ll never really be a Christian, or anyway, not a very good one. We’re in trouble when our fictions are more real to us than nature. 

Domains

Nine fifty.

I don’t feel very good today. I suspect the cholesterol medication makes me dizzy and unbalanced, plus I have back pain. Just the wages of getting older. I hope I can make it to church tomorrow morning… But mentally I’m doing pretty well. The raspberry tea must’ve helped me. It is definitely cloudy and overcast today, and I kind of like it. Maybe it won’t get so hot this time. My mind dwells on school during the fall of 1990 for some reason. It was the only time I ever went to a Halloween party— and felt like a complete social klutz. It was also a time when I had to choose between music and academics, ultimately picking school. A difficult decision. But I think I was in the wrong place with my musical friends, though I didn’t realize it right away. I dunno; it’s hard to be a divided person with diverse abilities.

Quarter after eleven. Feeling lonely again. Roger has some project going in his garage, something noisy. Since his retirement it’s been hard for him to keep busy. What is a retired cop supposed to do? His job was to bust the scumbags, as he called them. He didn’t care how the bad guys came to be that way. Didn’t think about criminal justice or whatever. If they broke the law, they broke the law: period. That was the training he received… Roger has been my neighbor for many years. He’s an old conservative like two other houses on this street. The most outrageous conservatives used to live next door to me. They laughed at homeless people and didn’t own a single book. I was actually sandwiched between two ultra conservative homes. Those people all moved away by June 2015, to my immense relief. They hated me and didn’t try to hide it. Those were very difficult years.

Noon hour. When you can’t find a niche where you fit in, you have to carve your own niche. That’s what having a domain is all about. 

Generous Spirits

Five o’clock.

I was sleepless, so I just got up and took a shower. Also I wrote a little about sociology in my blank book— amateur, of course. It’s hard to live your life without reference to your own times and history. I see the predawn twilight already; supposed to be sunny again. My trip to Laurel Hill and the park yesterday was pretty interesting. Eugene in that district is very different from River Road in terms of political vibe. People actually have fun and are generous and free spirited around MLK Blvd. I have neighbors nearby who don’t have any fun at all. They keep to themselves and kick against the things they don’t understand or agree with. Basically, their minds are locked up in a prison cell. They hate more than they love, and what they love, they hoard… The band is having a practice today at five o’clock in the evening. Mike is going to pick me up at four thirty. I listened to the tracks he sent me of us playing together last Sunday and kind of smiled at me copying the bass line to “Carry On” at some point. I transposed it up a step and no one knew what I was doing… Two Snapples from the store today ought to be good. Hopefully Michelle’s mood will be good, but you know, sometimes I think it’d be better to go to Grocery Outlet on River Road every morning. It all boils down to cash and coin— or maybe not. I’m not a businessman, never will be. Aesop looks at me like I’m cracked… 

Cycles

Quarter of four in the morning.

Since yesterday evening it’s been both warm and rainy, which makes an effect like a sauna or a watery hell. I got as much sleep as I could, with my mind on this ambivalence regarding a label such as schizophrenia: is it a useful thing or not? I could assume an attitude like Ayn Rand and be intrepid, saying no one gets a free ride in this society, no matter who you are. And maybe for a high functioning schizophrenic person this would be okay… but then I think of the others who aren’t so fortunate; the ones who don’t have insight into their symptoms, or are lower functioning— and I feel a profound sense of injustice rendered by the Ayn Rand policy. In this case, I want to fight the conservatives and advocate for the mentally ill people who don’t have a chance. But it’s hard to know what’s right in this situation. It may be all right to encourage people with mental illness to “better themselves,” but what if they can’t do that? The worst thing we could do is take away their safety net when they are incapable of working and supporting themselves… I think bitterly of my family that gives me the cold shoulder for being different from them. It’s a lucky thing that I don’t have to depend on them for anything. My parents were quite prescient of this scenario.

Quarter of five. Still the rain comes down like my thoughts from thought clouds. There’s a poem by Anne Sexton about a rain of dolls. And there’s a Grimm’s fairytale of money that falls from heaven. Also a newspaper article concerning a rain of fish in the book by Charles Fort. A plague of frogs in the Old Testament. Ecclesiastes said there is no new thing under the sun, and to a great degree this is the changeless truth. 

Winds of Change

I had my appointment with Misty this afternoon and we decided to keep me pretty much on the same course as before regarding having a PCA. I think I’ll be okay with that. It was just hard for me to accept that I have schizophrenia and that I need the help from somebody. And you know, my blog is sort of a place where I present a persona to readers and say this is my not schizophrenic life. I think I’ve been in denial about my diagnosis and wanted to be known as a person, not a schizophrenic. The truth is that I am both… While I was at the agency I ran into Patty who lives on N. Park in my neighborhood. She also has schizophrenia. Today her ride home was very late and I offered her the use of my cell phone. So we called Ridesource and got it sorted out. They sent an Oregon Taxi cab shortly and I saw her get in. Patty doesn’t have a cell phone or a computer at home; just a landline phone. The only way she can go online is by using public computers at Laurel Hill or wherever. She said her husband has a cell phone. And she said she can’t afford a phone or a computer. I should tell her about the computer recycling place in town, and there’s also a program that gives free computers to people with disabilities. I’ll probably see her again out and about, at the market or someplace in the area… It’s really odd how attitudes change towards all kinds of things, including mental illness and behavioral health. And it’s even more complex because my own attitudes change too, so which is doing which? Right now, it’s going back from phenomenology to psychiatry, or from psychology to a biological perspective. I used to think maybe there was no such thing as schizophrenia as a diagnosable thing, but now it’s doing a 180 turnabout. In some ways this is a good thing because people can get services that they couldn’t under the other policy. A diagnosis can qualify you for a lot of helpful free stuff. I dunno: it’s making my head swim, it’s happening so fast. And I strongly suspect that the Democratic government has a lot to do with the change— though I can’t prove anything. All in all it’s very interesting to watch as it unfolds.

Well now the wind is blowing quite fiercely and it’s cloudy this afternoon. There’s a chance of rain over the weekend, probably light showers. I just got done playing my bass guitar, the homemade one, for over an hour and it felt great to me. A lot of fun, and on Sunday we’re going to have a band practice. Pastor Dan gave me a call this morning regarding my sister’s unfortunate attitudes about gay people. He understood about her fundamentalism and of course he didn’t agree with it. He is still in Michigan to visit his brother who just had heart surgery. Meanwhile I avoided calling Polly today just to avoid feeling upset 😢 by another abusive speech. So maybe I’ll go to church this weekend. And tomorrow I have nothing planned. Aesop will be glad 😃 if I stay home for a day.

Open Book

Four thirty. Because I skipped my medication last night, I was unwell this morning. There were some classic symptoms of schizophrenia exhibited in my writing. In addition to this, I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. The point where things got worse was Saturday morning when I talked with my sister. But the fact still remains that people are not getting along with each other over silly things. We need to learn to mind our own business and to live and let live. Other people’s sexual decisions have nothing to do with me, so I have nothing to say about it…

Wee hours.

“The fortunes of fables are able / To sing the song…” As I was waking up, this old tune by CSNY swam to my consciousness, so I asked myself why what worked for the hippies doesn’t work for us today. I once had a girlfriend my age, a Lutheran who was born during the time of the Flower Children. She was a very interesting person, but we eventually broke up over the issue of religion. It seemed to me that I could be anything but a Christian. I leaned towards Emerson and maybe even a little Plato. It would have been very hard to forgive Leviticus for its message of hate toward gays and witches— if we must take scripture literally. And the same goes for Plato’s attitude of eugenics and elitism. In the end, there is no perfect religion or philosophy to guide our lives by, except perhaps a philosophy of freedom, happiness, and love. The attempt to establish any Constitution that prescribes the well-being for us all will always fail, so the book must never be sealed and made into a dogma. John the Divine closes Revelation by adding a curse to anyone who amends his vision, thus locking up the Bible with a key. But I think Emerson is right that life is in a state of constant flow and change, and cannot be confined within the covers of any book. 

Sanctuary

Eleven o’clock.

I’m having a lousy morning. I hear more and more people mouth off about sexual morality, the attitudes they learn from a literal interpretation of the Bible. Where would these people be without the Bible to do their thinking for them? I wish this ancient and dated book didn’t exist. I doubt if my sister even knows what language the New Testament is written in… Oh well, I just have to keep living and fighting for my right to a place in this world. I walk around the house and say to myself, This is not my house and this is not my life. I’m not in charge of my life. Instead, it is controlled by intruders… Stupid people get up in arms for stupid reasons. LGBTQ is the new political bone of contention, after the old one of abortion. A voice in my head says very simply, I want to go home. Home would be a place of safety and sanctuary, of comfort and security. But the house I inhabit feels nothing like that. If I could fast forward my life to the very end, maybe I would do this and get it over with.

Noon. I remember the article in Equality magazine about Rev. Fred Phelps, the demonstrator against human rights, with a photo of him holding a sign saying, “God Hates Fags.”

Obviously I feel very strongly on this topic. I also sympathize with Jewish people for what they have to go through. I will go ahead and publish this post, and damn the torpedoes. 

True Blue

Quarter of four in the morning.

I dreamed I got together with Dr T—, my old psychiatrist of 26 years, for a Mexican lunch. Lately I’ve been dreaming about him a lot, perhaps betraying a wish to return to his service. But what would happen if I did go back to his practice? It was out of a fiercely defiant impulse to independence that I left him four summers ago, redirecting my energies to blogging and attending church each Sunday. Now it’s all the same to me which options I choose, because my sobriety will probably remain intact. I should do whatever is faithful to myself.

Quarter of five. There’s a first gray gloaming in the east, even though it seems awfully early for the appearance of daylight. I just ordered two sets of Ernie Ball bass strings on Amazon, arriving Sunday.

Quarter after six. I wonder why I would want to make my peace with Dr T—? No matter what I did, there’s no going back to a previous condition. It is futile to entertain regrets for what is lost like spilt milk. Staying sober has its costs and also its rewards… Today there’s no practice with the band. I guess it’s another day to read and think about stuff.

Quarter of eleven. I disagreed with part of the conversation I had with my sister this morning. I still feel a little nettled about it. She can be quite self righteous in her Christian walk with God, as if her reality were the only and absolute truth. I told her that I’m a churchgoer but I don’t identify myself as a Christian necessarily. It was after I said something about the Christian Left that she started spouting her religious and political views on transgender people and how children are being educated today. I don’t really want to go into it further, or anyway not now.

At the store, Heather paid me a compliment on my honesty, which made me feel good. There were a few spats of light rain while I was out. I dropped in on Karen and Jessica for a moment and asked about Kim, whose shoulder is recovering only very slowly with the help of physical therapy. And finally I stood in Roger’s driveway shooting the breeze about his ‘73 Dodge truck, just recently finished. The color was supposed to be candy apple red, but afterwards it looks closer to scarlet, a bright red with a tinge of orange. I said it looks different on a cloudy day. 

World in Recovery

Seven thirty.

I just dreamed about Vicki from the little store on Maxwell Road, except she doesn’t work there anymore. Now she’s a Covid sanitizer for the school district. She is a cog in the machine like everyone else, going where the money is. She used to believe she could express anything she wanted on the job… until her job changed. I guess money speaks louder than words. Could there be exceptions? What kind of chaos would a cashless society be?… Up to two o’clock this morning I listened to Moving Pictures, followed by certain tracks from Light Years by Chick Corea Elektric Band. The second CD called to mind my working stint around 2005 in the summertime.

Ten o five. It’s kind of inexplicable how alcoholism ruins lives, like a form of kryptonite to any would be superhero. The opposite process, recovery, is equally mysterious, but it seems to be a matter of time and letting nature do its job. I’ve been doing recovery for three years and seven months, and right now it feels like a spurt of health has been granted. Today the weather is beautiful yet again. I had a good conversation with my sister from eight until nine o’clock, then gave Aesop breakfast. I was pleased to see Michelle back to work this morning. She was wearing an orange sweatshirt with a black apron, which happen to be the colors for Oregon State University. I also saw a Black man in the store, and even an Asian guy looking at the newspapers. Meanwhile, Roger still drives the old Ford truck with Trump stuck to the rear window. My own BLM yard sign still stands as well. The neighbors on my street are peculiarly paranoid and unfriendly with each other; very selfish, stingy conservatives with hearts the size of the Grinch. I really deplore their attitude, but I own this house and am quite stuck with living here. But Mike’s house is only a stone’s throw away from me. Every Saturday I am privileged to make my little pilgrimage to our studio where the world doesn’t intrude too much; where the world is more like a stage.