"But it's true. It all would have gone a lot differently if at some point she had given him a handjob. A kind gentle little tug in the right direction, a little pull or push and he would have walked, with her help, through a vastly different set of the infinite doors we all pass through as life takes shape. She would have grasped the beauty and size of his engine, felt who he was as a person, inside, and it all would have gone a lot differently. Had that all happened he wouldn't have fallen into war with himself. He would have felt less the urge to numb himself, to retreat, to hide his light...
"But there are lots of causes to such a thing, and many moments, passes that contributed to the disengagement of two young people. No one's fault, everyone's fault, his fault, she might not have helped, on and on and on... And though he remained essentially the same person within, life and time shape things irrevocably. Smart people can get dumbed down by their surroundings. They can feel ashamed of themselves, and there is unfortunately no going back, even if there was no reason for things not to have worked out originally, but for a great misunderstanding.
"We all pick up our burdens, out of necessity, and move on, but some of us do it better than others, cleaner, I guess you could say. Some can extricate themselves from the webs of memory and behavior and, as they say, move on.
"I however am not enough a writer to tell such a story. What I do know is that socializing, though I am excellent at it, honed it as a trade, completely throws me off when I am taken out of work. Some of us give to situations and we end up giving more than we get, humbler than others I suppose. We put a lot out, invest our own sense of meaning into the encounters we have, take things seriously. And the little we get, to us, goes a long way. But still, there's a point where you realize you have to be more selfish, more self-protective.
"Or is it that those things akin to lonely frustration cause us to seek escape or self medication in wine, and we realize eventually that the habit of wine costs too much physically. To go out and be social, just by old habits, lead me to consume more than is good for me... And having one leads to more. What's the way out of it, but to break out of the pattern, as much as you might love wine. Not all our friends are good for us, you know.
"Which came first, the depression or the depressant? And it would be depressing, maybe, to cut our old ties, to try and find a new kind of a life.
"Well, anyway, it is my own personal view on the social lives offered by a city that I endeavor to tell my colleague's, my friend's story, or maybe it is, too, my own story. My blood seems to prefer walks in nature and quiet, peaceful sounds of wind coming down through the trees, the sounds, forms and movements of the creatures of the natural world, for in them I see humanity, more so than I do in this modern world in which we are obliged to make so many successes out of ourselves without so much caring.... Yes, I like to go out so much as the next person, but after fitting myself into the hours and duties of my job, my hours are strange, and rather than play with nieces and nephews I need the same time to do yoga, to get back in touch with my inner spirit and energies. I need a bike ride or a walk by the stream, maybe to reinstill in myself the thought that this world is not all covered with concrete and buildings and the race of humanity struggling everywhere all the time to get ahead in all those fields that will be forgotten. I'd rather have conversations that weren't so mired in social conventions such that would one offer to drop into them the deeper presence of human kindness or deeper thought and questions he would be met with 'oh my god, you are so, like, weird.' Maybe with a homeless man on the street corner on a Saturday night (someone who can admit their loneliness), but otherwise people have pulled up their guises around themselves so thoroughly that little light can penetrate from outside. Besides, the deeper stuff, I've often felt, comes out of our brains like sonar waves of the dolphin, soundlessly, from our faces, where our emotions are comfortably at home, should we ever have the bravery to show our real faces, without pasted on smiles and aggressive control, the attempt to dominate.
"I still find it necessary to take some time alone and think and explore. Writing is a little hobby along those lines, and I find no need to tell some grand plot-driven story that has no bearing on our day to day. 'I got up, made my tea, took a shower to get limber, did some yoga, stretching this muscle and that tendon to the point of that vague sick feeling in the stomach, then I meditated. I felt maybe guilty for a second, or glad, I can't tell, or all the above, of not having to go to work, all the less money for me, but, you know, we're human beings, there's lots to us.' Probably not very exciting.
"For me personally, a story, however you tell it, should be, should serve the same purpose, as meditation, that kind in which you leave conscious thought behind, look for the space between thoughts where consciousness itself expands, a presence like clear light shining everywhere, no longer attached to this little personal self with all its little problems and all that illusion stuff that must itself ultimately break down and reveal that the self is the greatest illusion and that there is oneness, though you really have to be pretty well enlightened to get there, though it's worth a try for all of us.
"We all know it's no good, that it serves no useful purpose to obsess over the past and our problems, that you have to make the best out of the present day as you can, building something upon the present, based on things you find enjoyable, personally satisfying.
"Ah, well, when I think about it, tending bar is a real thing. I'm not for the other side of the bar where you have to put on some sort of act. I'd rather be real, hard on you though it is.