Quarter after nine.
I feel kind of lightheaded and dizzy, and I’ve got aches mostly in my legs. I feel like I could opt out of reality, take a holiday from the world indefinitely. With more practical ability I would pick a natural spot and build myself a log cabin, or one made of rock like the one Jung built by the shore of Bollingen Lake. I sometimes think my brother’s naturalism is right. He had one foot in and one foot out of civilization. I miss the trips we took to the Coast, where we talked and drank beer and ate like kings… Why did I get up at six this morning? I might be thankful that I got up at all… A few times lately I thought of the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop. I could go into it in greater depth for fun. A good activity for a rainy day. I see sunshine and black skies at the same time. My PCA is due to arrive any second now. Real life is no place for wimps.
Now it’s Sunday and I don’t plan on going to church. But, during the night I had some superstitious thoughts about why my finances are so precarious. If I gave money to the church, would I be compensated by a Supreme Being? It seems pretty unlikely to me since waking up a little more, in both the short and long term. It’s easy to get hopelessly confused by religion and politics, trying to mix and match what goes with what. I want to be done with all of it.
Seven o’clock morning.
Yesterday afternoon and night I got “drunk” on Coca-Cola because I couldn’t get drunk on beer. At the same time, there’s a controversy in my mind regarding primitivism versus sophistication. Is logic better than instinct? Still another thing is that a friend from church is trying to put together a choir this spring, and his emails include me in the loop, so I’m feeling rather pressured to get involved.
It’s always something.
Now I wonder why I abused caffeine yesterday, in a behavior similar to drinking beer. Maybe there’s too much pressure on my brain. I’m feeling pushed and pulled, as if I were losing control of my own life. Naturally the question of freedom comes up again. The worst thing is to compromise your integrity and authenticity, to do what you really hate to do. Perhaps I am called upon to do exactly that to make someone else happy. Then my values are in conflict, since I care about general happiness as much as fidelity to myself.
But the stress from all of this drives me to want to drink alcohol. It’s up to me to make wise choices for myself while being prudent with others as well.
I must be losing my marbles. I read back what I’d written in my diary since Thursday and felt horrified by all the bad things I said about the people I’ve known. I pointed the finger at everyone but myself, when the source of my perceptions was just me. I think my moods go in cycles that accelerate the more I do caffeine. I could be bipolar, as Todd has suggested a few times. Also the thought of suicide crossed my mind a little while ago. I wonder if cutting out the caffeine might help my behavior? I feel wretched and very dissatisfied with my life sometimes, alternated with occasional elation and gratitude for good fortune. The world may be going to hell in a hand basket, but that’s not everything that’s up with me. If I thought alcohol would help me then I’d drink again, but I know it would exacerbate everything. For just once I wish someone knew what they were doing. Instead it’s a lot of shrugged shoulders and scratched heads, so a person virtually has to be her own doctor. Or maybe even this is a thinking error?
I believe that everyone is under considerable stress…
I didn’t sleep very well last night. At least I hope today is a good day, but I feel quite a lot of pressure on me regarding the PCA situation. As if in sympathy with my dilemma, the temperature on Sunday is going to be 109 degrees. I think I’ll go back to bed and try to rest.
Nine thirty. Michelle told me she could use a vacation. She’s been overwhelmed by many events in her life lately, and I joked that she needed a Calgon bath. One of the customers before me in line bought a half rack of Budweiser, which reminded me of a dream I had last night. I was forced to pick my poison from a bunch of different brands of beer, and none of them looked very good. I narrowed it down to Miller High Life and something else, but I don’t recall whether I ended up drinking it… The next person in line bought a newspaper with cash. Michelle helped the people behind me while I used the card slider. Outside of Colin’s house I saw a pest control van; probably for ants, because I have a lot of them too, though they stay outdoors. And every year I get swallows in my chimney and just live with them. A few minutes ago there was a mourning dove on the ground in my backyard, grazing for food. It had light gray plumage and a long tail…
Yesterday afternoon I sampled some John Berryman poetry from The Dream Songs. The tone of it struck me as being rather dissatisfied with big city life. The speaker has desires that always go unfulfilled. But sometimes he shows compassion for other people. Why does Henry say that he and Lucifer are in business together, or that God is no friend of his? I guess it’s sort of like Baudelaire, where people in poverty are befriended by the devil. Almost every poem in the series consists of three hexagrams: triple six. Very strange… I don’t think Berryman is for me, but I’ll give the book to my friend. He’ll probably enjoy reading it, and it might inspire his creativity.
Five twenty. My practice on bass guitar was uninspired today. When I got out and headed for the store, I realized that I needed the stimulation of other people. This would give me a better high than the buzz of caffeine. Sartre wrote that hell is other people, but heaven is other people too. One blogger complained about people using social media in order to validate their self image. But Sartre observed that we live only in the eyes of other people. I wouldn’t care to disagree with an intellectual giant… I was saying my music was not inspiring this afternoon. I needed my friends to jam with, a reason to play my instrument. A sage said, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” I’ve been lonely all day today. Tomorrow I have an appointment at 11:30, a break in the monotony. Wednesday there is Heidi. Thursday is open, and Saturday. We jam again on Sunday. There are pitfalls to living alone. The freedom of solitude comes at the price of longing for company. Maybe for love. I’ve lived alone since 2001, so almost for 20 years. I could be getting tired of it. Like everything, solitude is a tradeoff. When you are alone, you don’t have to compromise with anyone. You live by your own rules, and break them when you feel like it. I guess it’s true that I’m doing pretty good, yet I get awfully downhearted for lack of someone to talk to. Company is what you sacrifice for freedom. Heidi told me she envies the way I’ve set up my bachelor existence. Perhaps many of us would like to live with a minimum of responsibility. Have I been clever, or is this really the way I wanted my life? Thinking harder about it, this is probably the way I needed it.
Quarter after six. Stuart from of old called me a Faust when I visited him in winter 1996. But who cares what he said? I don’t even know if he’s still alive today. He belonged to a very radical church that met for worship up in Harrisburg. Not a very logical bunch. They would’ve scared the crap out of me. People in mobs can create a group psychosis, but it’s ridiculous and childish. How useful is it to behave like superstitious children? Adults have no excuse for acting crazy. And the mentally ill are better off taking their medication. The situation is similar to the end of Lord of the Flies. The boys on the island get rescued before Jack can murder Ralph; but— who is going to rescue the rescuers, the adults in the real world? The human race needs to grow up and be responsible because no supernatural agency is going to hold our hands through tough times. When the solutions to problems are available, by all means use them. If you have a rational mind, then for heaven’s sake use that. Human beings don’t have claws, fangs, camouflage, venom, or a stinger to cope with everyday life. The way we’ve evolved to survive and rule the world was by means of our intellect. When human reason fails, then we’re in a terrible bind. It’s just like me when my psychosis flares up. But people need to recognize when things are not right. Maybe relax and do something low stress or take a nap. Wake up refreshed…