Aesop is begging me for his breakfast, due in ten minutes. I’ll have to buy him more food today at Bi Mart when Gloria gets here. Even though it’s springtime, it’s been cold each day, and they keep saying it’ll snow in the valley. On my walk to the market a waterfowl, a crane or heron, crossed the sky before me. He probably preys on the sitting ducks in neighborhood fishponds when he doesn’t hang out at Kelly Pond. I saw him yesterday, too. Being a bird would be a strange life. The other day I had another fugitive thought: do they have beer in heaven? If not, then what would be the point in going there? I held the door open for a man carrying a blue half rack of some fancy Budweiser that looked pretty good to me. But I did the right thing and stuck with my Coca-Cola. This last week seemed like a very long haul. There is church tomorrow, but I have so many disagreements with the pastor that it’s not worth the trouble. Nobody pays me to think critically on theology or ontology, metaphysics, etc, but I can’t help myself. The two deepest mysteries of life are the emergence and the fate of consciousness. I think that a personal heaven after this life makes more sense than the Resurrection and the Kingdom Come. And having a beer in heaven makes the most sense of all.
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.
Quarter after eleven at night.
The plain English is that I’m ambivalent on sobriety. This goes on at a deep and fundamental level, underneath all my thinking and deliberating. I compare it to the hunt for the white whale, and, having read my Melville, I acknowledge that Moby Dick may come out victorious, dragging down the whole ship and drowning the captain. It’s the ambiguity in the book that makes you wonder what the heck. Like trying to serve two masters, both a god and a devil. Or maybe it’s only humankind having to contend with the devil, as in the philosophy of Schopenhauer. The whole point is to obliterate the Will, and this and the whale are the same thing… Ishmael’s life is saved by the coffin that Queequeg built for himself before the final confrontation with the whale. So the coffin symbolizes death and life in the same image. Or maybe Q. gave his life so that Ishmael could live. Remember that his tomahawk also served as a peace pipe…
What I fear is that religion has no substance. In the chalice of faith there’s not a drop of wine. And on the other side of this reality there’s no ideal world, no sublime: no heaven. So then I begin to ask myself who I’m doing sobriety for. What does this word mean?
The last word is books instead of booze. When you buy a book, you invest in wisdom that will last a lifetime; whereas buying beer is a temporary party: you consume it and eliminate it all by the next morning. Then you wake up with a hangover and a cloud of regrets, guilt, and shame.
Within myself there’s a little war waging between Id and superego, or perhaps between hell and heaven. It makes me want to read the book by Paul Carus on the history of the devil and the idea of evil… It’s available from Amazon for $13 and 13 copies remain in stock. My own copy is in storage with the cleaners. The author concluded that Satan is a hero, a champion of rebellion and freedom. But observe the coincidence of the number 13 associated with what would’ve been my order. Thirteen came to signal bad luck because the thirteenth member of a witch’s coven was the devil himself… So why is my mind doing these things? I seem to be desecrating my involvement in the church. What happened? Maybe I’m bored. A little excitement would be good. Baudelaire asserted that ennui is the cause of drunkenness, rape, and other crimes people do. Also that the devil holds our strings like a puppet master. Church the other day was vapid and insipid. It was only a place to go on Sunday. If the Vraylar is working so well, then maybe the boredom of this makes me restless. I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s a good thing. S— wasn’t a very nice person, and J— next door was likeminded. The secular world is fallen to the devil’s rule and the church is indeed a sanctuary. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil… God’s is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever…
I just thought of how good a beer buzz would feel. And I again remembered pleasant times with K— years ago. We were both on the wrong side of the tracks, but I was in worse shape. The project of the devil is always destruction of God’s Creation. He does this through the appeal to the senses, getting his victims hooked, then presently zooms in for the kill. Alcohol use feels good, like a foretaste of heaven, but in the end is a slow ticket to hell. I won’t be stupid and do the wrong thing. I won’t even amble off to Bi Mart as I might like. I know that I would return with a lot of beer. And getting drunk as in the days of old would be a defeat worse than death: it would mean infinite punishment.
Quarter of one. I bought a pastrami sandwich and a Coke. The soda tastes good. I miss alcohol a little right now. Weird to think of that dormant beast within me. Awake and active it is the very devil. Don’t feed the cute baby alligator and it won’t grow into a dragon. It takes hitting bottom to pierce its armor and transfix its wicked heart. Nothing short of your lowest low will weaken the dragon. I’d still be drinking if I hadn’t been inches from death. Today the many headed beast is “in remission,” and will hopefully atrophy down to the hatchling alligator again. My brother’s metaphor is a cobra for which he is the snake charmer. I almost like his image better; it’s more original. In both cases the beastie is reptilian, a thing to strike terror in our hearts. Maybe that’s why dinosaurs appealed to my imagination so much when I was eight years old. To consider the likes of tyrannosaurus being an atomic part of us is frightening…
It must’ve been in May of 2011 that I used to drink every other day and go to McDonalds for the jalapeño chicken sandwich from the Dollar Menu. One late afternoon in particular I recall: I bought a half case of Henry’s Ale at Bi Mart and brought it home. Then while I proceeded to get drunk I streamed David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. I found out that Kate was not a fan of that movie nor of the director. I watched it because I was remembering my first girlfriend in a distorted and hazy way, ie through a screen of alcohol fumes. And now I wonder how I ever permitted myself to drink so much. What could possibly vindicate such unworthy behavior? How did I excuse myself? I remember feeling very anxious and nervous whenever I had a computer malfunction. It was due to being a perfectionist. What would happen if I failed to figure something out? I believed the world would end if I made a mistake. Strangely it never did. Anyway, I lived in a dream for all those years from 2011 to 2016. It must’ve felt good to me or else I would’ve quit drinking sooner…
The rain has started again. Sometimes I can recall the past but usually it’s all a blur of obscurity. Think of all the times I was inebriated in public, and obviously my drunk driving. It’s so amazing to me that Kate forgave my drunken debauchery.
Another time I remember was probably February 2012, when I took Henry to the vet and it happened to be dental month. My head was filled with Kate that whole day. She sent me a bunch of music files by email; African music, some of which was really good. But it was mostly Kate I was thinking about. Was it love? I couldn’t make up my mind, and I was self conscious about my drinking. I couldn’t let myself have a total relationship with her as long as I was a lush. Something within me knew it wasn’t right. There was a shred of healthiness in my soul that knew better. And so it didn’t happen. It was sort of like the rationality I possessed in the midst of my initial episode of schizophrenia. A part of me was aware that something was wrong…
I will have my sandwich at three o’clock. There’s a light breeze in the maple tree outside my window. The color of the sky somehow reminds me of that day in May 2011. It is lemon gray. The sun just poked through. I feel half inclined to amble off to Bi Mart to see where this mental state takes me… but it’s likely to result in a six pack of Henry’s, so staying home is wiser. Beware the lemon sky!