It’s a dull day. I guess that’s better than a stressful day. My PCA is here, cleaning the bathroom. The dog is shut in down the hall like every time we do this. I don’t know. Life is pretty weird for everyone these days. I remember the times of high inflation under Reagan when grocery stores offered generics to save us money. My brother drank beer from white cans with a label that said “Beer.” We ate food with generic “Ketchup.” But he usually tried to find ways to save money, for no particular reason that I could see.
I was dreaming of a way of thinking, but there was a piece that didn’t fit the rest of the pattern. It drove me kind of cuckoo so I had to get up. Now awake, the thought of my sister comes up, and the last conversation we had. I’ve always known that she is a stoic while I am the exact opposite, an epicurean because of my parents. It’s an odd thing for two people to each be so convinced that they are right, yet contradict each other. To me, the principle of the greatest happiness makes perfect sense, whereas her stoicism seems like masochism to my mind… She would never consider writing a valid form of work. It’s too easy, and it actually gives the writer pleasure to do, as well as the reader. If an activity isn’t painful, then how can you call it work? Thus, I’m at an impasse with my sister and her family. Maybe she believes that I will go to hell for my ideas and approach to life. It may be best for me to let her go, at least for today, and just mind my business for a while.
Eight thirty five.
I feel tired and irritated due to the heatwave. I don’t have air conditioning, so Aesop and I will just bake. I went to the market. A couple of Mexican guys ordered biscuits and gravy. Their lime green shirts advertised the business they worked for. Michelle helped me at the other register… I spoke with Kat on the way home. She has air conditioning, and invited me over if I feel like I’m getting heatstroke. When I approached her house, she was in the garage, walking on a treadmill. She wore a yellow T-shirt that said, “Volunteer.” …At ten o’clock I’m taking the taxi to Laurel Hill for another appointment. I haven’t heard anything from the guys about band practice this weekend. Some things won’t get done in the near future because of the crazy weather.
Nine thirty five. I hope the taxi service is Oregon Taxi today. I just saw someone towing their boat up the street, probably destined for the marina. I might just take up Kat on her offer…
Quarter of one. I had a nice visit with Todd and also with Darcy this morning. Things were fairly relaxed, though I got a feeling of emptiness from hanging around the agency. I’m not sure why. Life today is much different from when I had a job there. A certain presence is missing now: my brother, maybe? And perhaps my old psychiatrist. These guys were super smart about how to live life to the fullest. I guess I joined a church just out of desperation four years ago when I saw no other way to stop drinking. Now I’m torn between my old hedonism and my sobriety. It’s similar to the classical dilemma of the pursuit of pleasure versus stoicism, plus the middle ground of skepticism: not knowing which way is right… As the taxi was taking me around the corner by Kat’s house, I saw her in her yard, digging the dirt with a shovel. I felt a little regret that I couldn’t stop and say hello again. She also makes me think of the stoic impulse, while I might be just a worthless epicurean. And really, which lifestyle is better in the final analysis?
One thirty. The guitar stands came, so I unpacked them and set them up. My mood is still pretty rotten, though better than a little while ago… I don’t enjoy much of anything lately, and it’s very rough to experience. Kate liked pleasure, and so did I; we both were sensual and commonsensical about it. Except, it wasn’t rational to drink a half case every day. The Greeks prescribed moderation, and it’s still the truth. I’m a little afraid that I’m close to a relapse of alcoholism, and this could depend on the outcome of the election. I know it shouldn’t be that way, but party politics are what they are, I guess. It looks like my vote went for sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The movies will go berserk with a Democratic win, like Pulp Fiction all over again. Life in general will be decadent and liberal, and even irreligious. This is how I see the Democratic Party, whether or not it’s absolutely true. Thus the presidential race still bugs me, and will keep doing so until after November 3rd. It’s possible I voted for the wrong guy. I guess I really want sex, drugs, and rock and roll, or however you formulate sensual pleasure. I used to have too much fun with my old friend Kate. But it’s very difficult to know what is right between the choices of stoicism and Epicureanism. The latter nearly killed me, and yet I want to have fun so badly. Some people are satisfied with just having more money; that’s all they wish for. And then there are those who want to burn the candle at both ends and party like there’s no tomorrow. That was me four years ago and before. I don’t know. Which way is more commonsensical? I realize that alcohol is my curse and not good for me, yet I voted for the liberal party in hopes that everybody could have a good time once again. It’s too late to change my vote now, but I see myself white knuckling it until all the votes are counted.
I’m going without caffeine today, no tea or Coke, no beverage at all. I saw what it did to me yesterday, especially in the early afternoon. It was unpleasant. I left a voicemail for my sister. It isn’t supposed to rain today, so my walk to physical therapy should be uneventful. I feel lonely, and I wish life could be different. I’d like to make another friend like Kate across the Atlantic. The best thing is to keep an eye out for opportunities to meet likeminded people. The sun is making an appearance.
Ten thirty. I just voted and put my ballot in the mailbox… Some of the measures dealt with substance abuse, so those were easy to decide on. I hope it’s a clear day for my stroll later. A thought on the edge of my mind keeps offending me. I think it’s about Santa Clara. I have to go there today, and it makes me feel like a child somehow, or a helpless victim. I’ll be in my sister’s jurisdiction while I’m there. People really believe in spooks in that part of town. It just gives me a feeling of sadness and a little anxiety that I could be caught out as an alien unbeliever. Worse, I fear psychosis and delusions of frightful things. It’s no joke when you have schizophrenia. I once had a frenemy who thought it was cute to make me watch horror movies with him. He was neither very smart nor sympathetic.
Noon hour. I don’t feel very good, but I guess that’s okay. My thoughts are all confused, enough to make me cry. I wish the truth were objective and not plural and divisive. We can be taught that round objects are really flat, or that two plus two equals three— and we believe it for a lifetime. And some will tell you to forget the truth and get on with your life; but what is life without pleasure, without fun? It is pinning the tail on the donkey blindfolded. Pushing a boulder up a hill repeatedly and uselessly. It is work with no play. It’s gray.