Then finally it's me keeping me up, after all the conversations of the week, after that strange realization as I clean the bar up after a Wednesday night jazz, everyone in the restaurant gone, that my work week is over, and the 'then what?' in the mind, but thankful. I put the cushions up, so the itinerant mice won't chew them, do the paper work, pack up my things in my courier bag, throw in a bottle of wine, get my bicycle, turn the lights off, check the doors, and go, following the titled half moon nestled in a line of clouds. Then I get home, with the usual aches, turn on the television for company, soak some black eyed peas, go out in the backyard with a camper's headlamp to pluck some basil, make a pesto, take soaked dishes out of the tub and move them to the dishwasher, all the while drinking wine, settling in to a run of past episodes of Breaking Bad. The wine tastes very good, and indeed it is soothing to the lonely hour, when commercial breaks become infomercials and Sesame Street and yoga shows come on. I might have thought about strumming the guitar, or doing something else creative, or read, but at this point, reading is hard. There are a lot of decent books here, or ones I might learn a few things from, of course, but the labors have dragged me down, and the next day I sleep in, very late, a dry feeling in the throat, vaguely hearing trucks in the background, a motorcade's sirens and Harley rumble, the body just wanting sleep. Breaking Bad, mirroring my own strange secret life of trying to make a living serving up a drug to support an illness, that of writing, beyond the boundaries of normal society.
Do I even write anymore? Or do I just like the time alone, not knowing what to productively do with it, writing down some lazy half confession of being too much around a weakness for wine. The duck confit was realized to be salty, but I never seem to drink enough water anyway, and it's not til four in the afternoon that I really manage to get some green tea going. The week had bright moments, an excellent conversation about artistic matters, just me and one guy, a painter's son, Sunday night. Monday night, too late, the Viking of 'the brotherhood' arriving at 5:30, even before I finish brushing my teeth, and staying on seven hours. Tuesday, the dentist, then wine tasting, Peter, the rep, always an education, and then finally, when the other half of 'the brotherhood' comes in, to talk over everything, each song playing on Pandora, the tie of my tie, admittedly off, love lives, girls, a trip to New Orleans we all must come on... "I think I'm wearing out my welcome here," he says, early in his visit. And at one point, I even say, "off my back," such that he turns, of course, to his female companion, a sharp cookie, somehow too along for the ride, and of course asks, "did he just say, 'off my back?'" But it all leaves me talking to myself in my apartment.
Life, I know, is a matter of hard work. I applaud my friends, some of them real honest Republicans, who are excellent with such values. And I like working hard myself. It's satisfying. It takes the mind off confusing itself. But I've never known, really, what to do with myself. I've never known anything of a calling, but to write. So, at the things of adult life, work, I've faked it, gone along sportingly, I suppose, with the need for a job, gone along with the restaurant work that became, de facto, my career, my resumé, my reason to be. And the day off, the day of not being engaged with anything is indeed hard, taxing, even if you have no energy to do anything. From its own perspective it makes work indeed feel like being kidnapped, diverted from a true occupation. Being middle-aged, funny-looking, awkward, a poor renter, what do you do? You keep on going, as strange as that is, even as your own contribution is laughable, minuscule, as if it weren't even an attempt to contribute and rather utter selfishness, navel staring, a not getting on with it kind of a life. "Shame upon you for all you were given, and doing nothing with it," the voice of the day off can also seem to say.
And yet, somehow, out there, ethereally, nebulously, hidden, there is poetry. It may be largely thwarted, still-born out of your own cowardice, unachieved by your lackings, not being the poet scientist religious person that Da Vinci drew you as, understanding all things, Vitruvian, bold and strong. A poor beast slouches unknown back and forth to a job, to a niche in society based on rent, but his inner fire is a separate matter.
It's like the world woke up knowing what to do with itself, each a profession, knowing what to compete for, knowing what to sell, and then there's you, stupid, not knowing, confused, hardly enough energy to walk slowly around the block and look at the sunset from in between street lamps from a hill on a day off. Don't begrudge myself the job, for keeping myself in groceries and green tea, some wine at night, a phone.
I write these things, amateurish, penny for your thoughts type unreadable, not as they can ever be a direct take on the truth, but because they are things that speak of writing and its process, things from an archeological dig, left for later to see what might be of worth or interest, a piece, a shard, an object. And if I do write, about work, it's only because work is perfect for what it is.
A Mercedes ad comes on. That's what writing is, will always be, an innovation of form, a new form of vehicle. There have been, of course, many great forms. Chekhov's "My Life," Dostoevsky's "I am a sick man.."