The night found me experimenting with buckwheat flour, an honest attempt at pizza dough after the walk down to Whole Foods on a beautiful clear cool Thursday evening. And while I'm down there, sure, along with a basil plant, yeast, fresh mozzarella, vine ripe tomatoes, soda water, I pick up a bottle of Pinot Noir. I like the lower alcohol wines these days, this one from the Pays D'Oc. And when I get home, yes, I open it, shower to get off the pollen, the feelings of great general disappointment at my own life, then start the dough process with yeast, then mixing it in and letting the whole thing rise on a warm stove. I cook for myself, a lot, eat out as little as possible, and occasionally try an experiment. Like the Cornell Fireman's Field Day chicken cook out recipe I tried earlier this week grilling out on a hot afternoon, trying to nostalgically duplicate that smell from boyhood summers and Fourth of July.
A writer is a person in between. He sincerely wants to practice Buddhism and meditate and be calm and not drink any alcohol whatsoever. But alone, recuperating from some long shifts at work, sore, feeling depressed, attempting to cook for himself, for energy as much as anything else, he has some happy juice. And perhaps this represents a basic inability to step forward, not having the courage, the moral fortitude, to just say, you know what, that's it, I quit, I'm getting away from wine (and the rest of it), goodbye. But the follow through, pretty good sometimes, isn't perfect. To the mind, a complete ban seems a little severe, no?
You acknowledge the good that you have done, the cutting back, the distancing from the knee jerk, "time for some wine now." That's been good. But after you do the tidying up, the dishes, the groceries, the laundry, and the exercise, more important, you made no advancements. You frittered away Friday by sleeping in, because you are lazy and still a little tiny bit foggy, not clear in the head. And this is a waste.
This vacillation is evident in Keroauc, life and works. It didn't help him when people came knocking on his basement window as he wrote, "King of the Beats, King of the Beats... Let's party with the King..." His work, of course, is peppered with spirituality, and he'd been a serious reader of Buddhist literature. But when we read him in Dharma Bums (I think) and he says at the end, lyrically, "a new life for me," alas, we know it's not true. He's stuck in a rut. No references to get him out. The same thing happens in Big Sur, trying to be a good boy, but falling to temptation, and then really going through a horrible alcoholic episode, that he faithfully recounts, at one final point, he swears, seeing "The Cross."
Don't want to play by all of society's rules? Well, pretty soon you're going to be your own worst nightmare, nothing but a goddamn bum.
Meditation is the thing. Through meditating calm is achieved and life's surroundings will improve. And with that in mind it comes to me how when I wait on people, particularly those who've already had a drink, ego comes forward, a person's false construct to which he has clung to in order to be 'who he is,' in order to be 'a success, with family and property,' an adopted identity of mannerisms and its own (tedious) sense of humor, not that that ego personality is not affectionate or friendly. The ego jumps out of their eyes and mouth and the person within, whatever, however we might construe their true 'self,' has receded, as if entranced by the show of this ego, this mirror, this projection of 'who I am.' And so you have to--or rather I often enough find myself in this situation--dance and duck and dive around this bestial ego that is trying to nail you down as well in the same way, "oh, what is he?" claiming to know in the same ego terms. Is that why people get clinging and touchy in wine bars?
I feel tired after a walk around the block, and fall into a long nap, feeling the pollen again. Napping is good, causing no harm.