Bargaining with Loss

Three thirty five. The afternoon is already deepening to dusk. There’s an irrational thought process at work. If I get drunk, then Kate will return as my friend. It’s a form of sympathetic magic such as primitives use. This reminds me that I should read The Golden Bough, a great expose on superstition. Anyway, nothing, not even magic, can bring back my lost friend. It doesn’t work! The transfer of power to the Democrats is meaningless to this end as well. Accept that Kate won’t be coming back and forget about it.

Four thirty five. I searched through some boxes of books and found my copy of Frazer. It’s kind of a dangerous book to someone like Pastor, who had no answer when I compared prayer to magic spells. This was the beginning of my loss of faith two summers ago. Well, I can’t help that. You know what you know, and it can’t be reversed. Probably every summer is going to be a period of skepticism and doubt for me due to that first time in 2019… As for my imitative magic regarding Kate, I caught it and I can dispose of it. Changing my mental state doesn’t alter the objective reality. I can try all kinds of conjuror’s tricks, to no avail except as a delusion. The past remains in the past, and the present is today. It happens to be November and we happened to elect a Democratic president, yet history will not repeat. The fact is that I wish very strongly for Kate to come back, and wishes drive every kind of dream and attempt at magic, every sacrifice, and every prayer. Every delusion! But we learn to negotiate the world as it really is, ultimately getting over the pain of loss. 

Breaking the Monotony

Six forty.

Roxanne asked me to remind her about church tonight at six o’clock, so I will send her a text. Hopefully church will make a good diversion from the other things bugging me.

Eight twenty five. The cold sun hits me right in the face. I expect two packages today, one from FedEx. The other one is my book of Montaigne. As of now, I feel again that I need a verbal coat of armor. I’m up a creek when I’m stripped of my words, and of course these create my experience of reality. My trial of physical therapy has been similar to acting and singing when I was a child. Strange forgotten feelings arise from doing those things. Maybe it only takes some adaptation to it. My head and my body don’t know each other, and the head usually rules. I ought to talk to Erin about this, but she’s not a psychologist… Aesop needs canned food, so I have to go to the store very soon.

Nine thirty. The market was rather busy this morning. Two guys stood ahead of me in line. One of them bought hard lemonade, the other just a bottle of water. I figured out that the computer terminal comprises an advertisement for cannabis. What else? As usual, I saw no people of color, which disturbs me a little. Michelle looked a bit stressed out, but that’s nothing extraordinary. My life is in something of a rut. I should probably change some things, yet the little store on Maxwell sits so close to my house… Darkness will have fallen when Roxanne comes to pick me up. I will take my Aria bass, my Fender amp, and a guitar stand. I won’t forget a patch cord. I hope my back holds up. 

Therapy and Me

Six thirty. I should analyze what went wrong today. Why was I thinking I was gay? I have a Platonic impulse and an Aristotelian. Plato is deeper, I believe. He is round, Aristotle flat. But Aristotle is proud and upright. There must be something in my past influencing my present. It’s been a weird day ever since I got up this morning. I only know that I had physical therapy yesterday, and probably something about it set off queer thoughts today. Time will tell why. Maybe some of the exercises Erin put me through suggested sexual stuff to my mind, even humiliating things. And no, I don’t think I like it, even if it’s just me. One more session, I reckon, then I’ll discontinue the program. Physical therapy is not my kind of thing.

Eight o’clock. I wonder what gives me such a strong attitude of pride, and why is it often wounded? I hate being put in a compromised position by anyone else. A position may be literal or figurative, physical or mental. I hate to be degraded or demeaned by people or situations, likely as a result of abuse somewhere in my past. And it’s awfully easy for new people to come along and abuse me even more. I’m just not the type for therapy for that reason. I’m more inclined to go off by myself and lick my own hurts… 

Culture Shock

Nine thirty 🕤. I’m in the waiting room of the physical therapy place, situated on the lower level of the building. I arrived very early due to Ridesource policy. The colors are very beige and pumpkin. I think my appointment starts at ten fifteen. At least it’s kind of comfortable here: only one other person in the room. I’m glad I brought my iPhone, because there’s nothing else to do. I feel rather alienated from my normal self. It’s so much like Halloween, but from 18 years ago. This place is located in Santa Clara, where I haven’t been in a long time. I don’t like this sector of town at all. The farther north you go, the worse it gets. Maybe it’s only an impression on my part. I see no Halloween decorations, and yet the nutmeg carpet and the custard walls give off the sense of the season— in 2002… How much time did I use to spend in Santa Clara? My sister lives here, way up River Road. I’m probably just psyched out. I identify with the south side of town mostly.

Quarter after one. My physical therapist, Christina, is very good at her job. But I’m still glad the appointment is over with. Right now I feel lightheaded and kind of tired. Funny, the cabbie for the return trip said that the receptionist wouldn’t inform him whether I was there or not. She was trying to uphold HIPAA regulations, protect my privacy. I kept him waiting for about 15 minutes because Christina was behind schedule. I was very apologetic when I finally came out to the car. As we drove away, I saw that Albertsons had a great mound of pumpkins piled up next to the front entrance. How strange it felt to go north of Division Avenue! It’s like going behind enemy lines, although a decade ago I traveled there occasionally. Up there the people are so very rednecky and incurious about cerebral things. This strip of River Road, before it debouches into farmland, extends some seven or eight miles. I think of it as an intellectual desert. All this space and nobody home. 

“September”

Eight thirty 🕣.

The forecast calls for constant sunshine and much higher temperatures all next week. My dad’s anniversary is on my mind, gone 21 years. He was a very ordinary guy who loved his comfort and security. He wasn’t particularly brave; in fact he was quite a wuss, and had an inferiority complex. He was courageous only one time on my behalf. When I had neck seizures from taking Haldol, he jumped the fence at Baker Pharmacy to get the antidote to the side effect…

This time I got robbed on the doggie pepperoni, but I paid it without comment. “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire was on the radio. We used to play this song in Satin Love 23 years ago. Chris was an amazing musician. I couldn’t help but admire him in spite of his braggadocio sometimes. Those were glory days for me, not likely to be revived. Maybe it’s not about the glory, anyway… I came home in the foggy morning, passing the children who live in Darlene’s old house. Their mom came out in her bathrobe and chided them about something. Even so casual, she looked very attractive to me. I hadn’t felt this way in a long while. It would be like “going home,” except I don’t know the contents of her mind. If I knew, it could be a turnoff.

Quarter after ten. The fog is beginning to lift. I’ve heard it said that D.H. Lawrence, though a genius, was misguided. There are so many different ways of looking at human life. It’s almost as though the same world were multiplied by eight billion perceptions of it: eight billion realities. And yet we pretend it is all one, for convenience. We shove square pegs through round holes and get on with it. The importance of self knowledge can’t be stressed enough. Such a tragedy when people die with their lives unexamined, unfulfilled. We are not carbon copies of each other or of a system. Somewhere within every individual there’s a blueprint for the conduct of life. From there, you either find a niche or carve one that didn’t exist before. 

State of Nature

Five o’clock 🕔. I made my trip to Grocery Outlet and bought some very fresh foodstuffs. The dry salami knocked my socks off, and the banana peppers were super hot and tasty. I ate about a third of the loaf of sourdough bread. On my way to the store, I figured out who the real tyrant was: it was Pastor and the church. Now that I’m free, even food tastes better than in the chains of Christ. The full rainbow of colors is again available to me. This afternoon is quite beautiful, but the air is still a bit smoky. My new aqua bandanna works great, so I’ll use it often and might get an extra one. The cashiers at the store were exceedingly friendly and nice, and it just felt like the beginning of my life. Part of me is a little scared to be without religion, as if I must be possessed by the devil or something. But no; this secular life is natural for me, and minus the reference point of the church, the idea of the devil makes no sense. This is my life au natural, stripped of all fictions, much like what Nietzsche envisioned. Everyone ought to be this free and pure… Tomorrow I have nothing planned except to call my sister and get some food for Aesop. Tuesday I have X-rays to show up for. Wednesday they said more rain. Other than that, I don’t know what I’m doing next week. 

The Name of Action

Eleven o’clock. It baffles me to know that my brother, once so clever and socially apt, has now been exiled from the family due to lies and duplicity, and even stealing. Maybe he just has no respect for my sister’s family… I’ve eaten the cottage cheese for lunch. It feels like fall in the air today, with the climate much cooler and fresher after the rain. I feel pretty good; just a little guilty for the church situation. I can only imagine what Pastor has been thinking, and this only tells me about myself. All psychoanalysis reduces down to the self. It’s the same as reading a Henry James book. All the intuitive guesswork never gets you out of yourself, and this solipsism is the condition you have to live with. Maybe this is the only truth we can know— and it’s the point of literary Impressionism to always mediate the facts with a mind. Perhaps cognitive therapy is naive after all, because all truth is ultimately subjective. This is a hard datum to live with. But it gives validity to the old school of psychology… I kind of wish I had a job, though I wouldn’t want to be in a situation that would make me drink. The ritual for many people is to work and drink alcohol every week. Supposedly this is being a grownup. It is good to be free, however you define your freedom. For me, capitalism is more a bondage than a liberty. If I had to go to work, then I would probably drink again, and the whole endeavor would amount to suicide. I’ve done that before— and made it out alive. I don’t really know what to do with my life. I’m spinning my wheels just sitting here analyzing the truth, while life passes me by. They say that actions speak louder than words. Also, actions get more done.

Noon hour. Here it is already midday. I should do something with the time, like go buy some worthwhile food. Put on my bandanna and go raid the grocery store. But by now the checkout lines will be longer and more tedious. Tomorrow morning will be a better time. 

On a Brubeck Song

Four forty. I rested in bed for a while. Towards the end I began to hear “Strange Meadowlark” in my head, an old Brubeck classic that always lifts my mood. The temperature outside is dramatically down from the summer heat we were having before. Currently it’s 70 degrees. This relief makes it easier for me to function again. It was fun to play my Strat a while ago, and I might do it again tomorrow. Maybe even plug it in. I don’t have many thoughts about literature and life right now. Perhaps something about learning from our regrets but not beating ourselves up. I remember that I asked a woman cabbie out once. I never saw her after that, yet I don’t regret doing it. Life was strange early in my recovery. There are things I don’t recall, but mostly I just wish I’d had more self respect at the time. It didn’t matter that I had a diagnosis of schizophrenia at all. It finally becomes clear to me. What counts is that I am a very intelligent human being, and very worthy for that reason. I don’t know where I got the misconception that having a brain is a terrible sin. There’s not an iota of truth to that. So, it would have been nice to avoid all the therapy and the abuse and suspicion I received from the professional people who really didn’t know what they were doing. I’m so much happier now, without being stigmatized. All I needed was to take the Vraylar. Over the time since the fire, my blog has metamorphosed from being about schizophrenia to being about human life without labels. But this doesn’t subtract anything from the beauty of “Strange Meadowlark,” does it? The bird is an ugly duckling destined to be an awesome swan. 

On the Dock

Two o’clock. It looks like my Dell laptop is about to ship because the transaction has reappeared on my bank statement. I bet it will arrive Friday… Is Sigmund Freud the truth or is he just another school of thought? Overall, my college education was very Freudian, and so subtly that I didn’t realize I was being indoctrinated. I think every university has a platform. Very strange to see it now, and to see it demolished. Freud is just one more discarded image today. Likewise, my education is dated. Some parts of it are salvageable, but the central thrust of it is defunct… Now, considering myself, can my worldview be adapted to the present day? Or will I wander around the dock as the last Freudian who missed the ferry boat?… Imagine if I’d been brainwashed with something else when I was young! It could have been anything… I’ve looked around at the books in my library, scowling to think of how I was duped. And then, what happens when every doctrine has been fully eradicated from a person? Do you have the philosopher’s ideal? Maybe just a vegetable…

“Karma”

Eleven forty. I took a 300 mg capsule of gabapentin. Gee, I only want to enjoy my life, and instead I’m getting a lot of negativity. I don’t think other people blame me for anything, but I get down on myself. Polly’s criticism used to hurt unbearably, but I don’t detect any condemnation from her anymore. Then where is it coming from? It must be internal, must be me. Okay: somebody did say something critical at the last food pantry, about my disability income and Medicare. I tried to deny that this was hurtful, but the truth is that it cut very deep. Realizing this now, I just want to go back to enjoying life. Forget I ever revived Ayn Rand and all that stuff. I feel a little like confronting the woman who made the unfortunate remark, because after all it really did hurt. Maybe what goes around comes around, as we used to say 15 years ago. Good karma and bad karma are like a game of tag. They get passed along from person to person until they arrive at someone with the insight to make the game stop— or change… I feel better now, and I think that tomorrow I’ll be able to go and make some music.