Get to work at 4. A set-up, stocking the bar, that doesn't stop--wine bottles, soda, mineral water… not even a chance to call mom. People arrive at 5:30, leave finally at 12:00. The last party ordered their food two minutes after the official kitchen closing. I groaned when the boss had mentioned they were on their way. "You don't want the business?" almost storming away. "I'll send them to La Pique," he says, taking the restaurant's handset phone out. "No, they're nice… Let them come," I say, and he nods. The same people had kept me 'til 1:30 after a busy combined wine tasting night benefit party. Believe me, I was very good to them. Later, he comes back around the bar from the office in the back. "But it's good to be busy," he smiles, positive again. "I know," I nod. "There've been some scary nights." I had momentarily envisioned the same sort of late night privileged people party thing happening, and regretted now my negative reaction. Fortunately the late night thing did not happen, except for the ordering of food at the last possible minute and making a tired kitchen staff very unhappy. I had called the party of four at the bar "V I P," and when the busboy comes back from downstairs with the food they've ordered, he tells me, "Chef says the kitchen is very closed."
Finally I get home, I scout the TV listings, pour a glass of cheap Spanish wine, get out the yoga mat, light a few candles, finally turn off the TV after the conclusion of The Last Samurai and actually do some yoga. Triangle, half moon, shoulder stand, plow, head stand, attempt at lotus, finally meditating, as the first of blue light rises beyond the Buddha seated low above the couch and the two back windows.
I rise around 11:30, to drink some water, take an allergy tablet, eat a reheated hamburger, have a cup of Moroccan Mint tea, go back to bed, feeling hollow, legs weak, no energy at all. And finally, now around 3:00 I'm up.
I gather my scattered self, pulling it from diffusion into the core, the caduceus, the line of chakras, in no small part by writing, or at least attempting to have thoughts that feel like ones that should be written down, as much as any yogic envisioning. My thoughts have turned in the last day to observe what an emasculating job it must be, waiting on people. Nothing in particular, I couldn't ask for a better more respectful place to work, but just the whole thing. What a waste. A person who should be a man not standing up for himself, getting by on this certain kind of unresolving job, attempting to write about nothing at all. Twisting in the wind. I've kept the wrong attitude. Why did I stumble? These days it seems that in an attempt to be a gentleman I've lost the masculinity of a way forward.
Is this perhaps the problem of one who would like to participate in the ancient religion, the mystical removal of a self separate from the universe, who needs now just to be, not to listen to anyone's problems, but realize he's in his own sort of mess, allowing the outside to define him, put upon him the sticker of a certain identity, the duties of a restaurant, taking him and his work for granted. Have I suddenly begun to reject the work, finally realizing that it is wrong and that I have to do something about it, even if that should be create something new as if on my own? Shouldn't I finally just stop and ponder and finally find the enlightenment I have every reason to believe, along with gut instinct, is out there, that to get there I must stop and sit in one place…
Earlier in life, I was dumb. I didn't realize that in order to have a literary life it helped to have grown up on 5th Avenue, privileged, with connections. I failed to create a career for myself in lines of work of big value, rather just a faulted novel based too much on life, what could be dumber or more embarrassing… Except that it looked for some kind of understanding, not unrelated to Buddhism, or Zen or Christianity, or Theosophy… That spirit of questioning makes it fair, I think, if I'm not mistaken, coming out of some hazy tradition, perhaps found in American writers of the salt of the earth type, perhaps in literary study of a certain kind, or in the intellectual questions of college age that one thinks should last a whole life, though they succumb to far more practical things.
Unaccomplished, I am real, an ordinary person, suffering the same things a lot of Americans, a lot of people around the world are having now.
I go for a walk, along the stream, down to the creek finally, which is flowing and slightly murky, of a greenish hue under April light. I see a flicker in the water as I walk the dirt trail by beech trees. From the small bridge I see, the alewives are running.