I get in a from a low energy bike ride, the hills beneath the Finnish Embassy, between that ridge and the one that rises from the Omni Shoreham, and I get a call. Meet us out, downtown at Izakaya. And sure enough I wake up on the couch, put myself to bed, sleep it off, wake up finally feeling stupid. You pledge yourself to a quiet friday night, but, and it was good to get out, celebrate a birthday, have a few bites at a surprising new place of urban cool with a touch of old Japan. Glasses of wine here, glasses of wine there, a burger around two at McDonald's, and the night ends fuzzily, and today I was still fairly intoxicated and have not much choice but to sleep in past one in the afternoon on a beautiful day, feeling some shame, what's my problem, haven't I got on off switch, if I had a girlfriend I wouldn't be so fucked up. Well, it's Saturday, I don't have to tend bar, there's enough light left for a bike ride, hey, could be worse. Would not want to go face a shift, which would be to rub my nose in my problem, "you don't have a girlfriend, you don't have a girlfriend, you bloody never will,' as if I were more a member of childhood than humanity. And there are enough things, fine, I need to do anyway before the next week starts up, enough things I told myself I'd get around to but haven't. If you were to go out you'd only end up talking to homeless people and the ineligible, and what with that sad look on your face and your apartness...
A girlfriend, yes, that would be nice, a spiritual necessity I've denied myself for unknown reasons, as if I felt unworthy and indeed I am the way things seem now, financially at the very least. I could use a starter kit, or one of those books, dating in Washington, DC, without really having your shit together, For Dummies. Meeting up at an early hour, other people's normal hour, is never good for me. I've left housework undone, would prefer to get groceries, cook, keep it simple, only the necessary sins at home on my own terms. I remember the gal I said hi to as I locked my bike up. She was tall, and she looked good in her jeans.
But you can not say no sometimes, and it's good to discover the big city, and find that you can bike down all the way to Gallery Place, lock your bike up, hang out with your best friends, get caught up, find your bike is still there when you get out. Then it's simply the unnecessary stops on the way home, further glasses of wine without enough food to absorb, tasting so good at the time, the inevitable losing track of how many over time.
The phone pings, the laptop pings and already I'm so far behind. The Koch Brothers are such with this horror of Citizens United business that the Democrats are after me, and I don't blame them, not one bit, though it's blown up my email. And I'm very happy work isn't calling, and today is my form of Sunday the day of rest so today I pledge to myself, take a day of peace and taking care of yourself and don't get talked into going out because inevitably it'll be back into the wine again. Reminded of that strange subtle sense of being picked upon that goes hand in hand with tending bar, I seek refuge in yoga, with the real need for spirituality, with a real need of finding calm in nature. And because I don't have any real plan but to continue on with what I'm doing, as much as I'd wish to leave the world of bars entirely, but have no skills for other jobs, or greatly lack confidence, as competent as I am, I think it best I stay in tonight, or, if anything, go write quietly on some park bench after securing groceries for the week.
As I write, having written, writing in my head as I go through yoga poses, indeed, I feel better. I feel less marked by the magnificent cruelty the female of the species is capable of at a guy's mistakes. And to observe that his impulses included the wish to defend his father in a general way from a similar thing, the visitation of feminine cruelty, all of which we cannot blame them for in the slightest, is a helpful psychological observation. That was why I acted with such harsh moral nobility in response to what I took to be similar to what I'd seen as a kid, a moral stance I had no right to, one that was inappropriate, but understandable, unfortunately not the slightest bit political or politic or smart as a way to achieve a basic heartfelt goal. As if to say, you shouldn't be so mean, and now I'm not going to talk to you... what good does that do for the male part of the equation--none at all.
Maybe the same sad noble moral stance continues who knows, why I chose not to answer the treasonous clerics by writing papers for them, why I chose to become the great democrat holding that every day of life was an education in the human world. Which might be good in some way, but perhaps not because it constitutes the same kind of inappropriate reaction, the ideals of youth, which do not carry weight as far as the business of the world. You can be noble all you want, but it's not going to pay the bills. It may allow you to extract some modest sense of meaning out of life, a good thing, and hopefully too that meaning isn't overly childish and out of place, a thing of some lonesomeness and aloofness and drunken nights frittered away on your own, not engaging with people.
I call my mom after taking my clothes off and putting on cycling gear. I explain feeling like shit a little bit, and she has a good story about the nature preserve, a talk she went today up in New York State. About my going out, "good for you, and you can't have it both ways." This is true. It's been a decent weekend for me, topped with a decent ride in the park. Rediscovering Just Look Them Straight in the Eye... The Pogues box set, on a stereo my brother handed down to me, which has some thump in it. And it's true, you can't have it both ways, even if you might occasionally wish for rehab.
I get out for a walk with my grocery bags, needing to get supplies for the week, meat and vegetables mainly. I pull up at the coffee shop patio, my notebook in a Whole Foods bag. I see there is an art gallery opening of some sort, people lined up on the sidewalk before the steps of different galleries. I see a tall gal in high boots come up the street and she climbs the steps and enters. Things make a bit more sense, once again, as they do when you get out of the house. But suddenly I am confronted with my own lonesomeness, and I sense again my own shyness, my timidity, my psychology's memory of how harsh people can be, and first it's out of gloom that I retreat to the market but fuck I admit I could use a glass of wine, so I figure out their card machine pour system. From Virginia or New York State wine is wine, fuck it. But a grown man and you're too shy to walk into a gallery, or maybe it's some Catholic thing, that the world is too deep a spiritual problem for the fluff of an art gallery with wine and cheese. The vision of the tall slender young woman, well-presented, returns.
And so, being a solitary artist I read my blog and new ideas come, and I see a link between Gary Cooper and Shane MacGowan, two honest men. And I think of the Irish Wolfhounds we had when I was a kid, and how they'd dream, and their paws would move, and their eyes would flicker beneath their lids, and their hair would come to life again as they lay there on their sides sleeping by the fire, and they'd woof lightly now and again. It's natural. And the same for my mom. She was just being natural, the way our thoughts are dreams as we are awake, and so is their beauty in the response. That maybe is the better understood meaning of Buddha's statement that it's all a dream, perhaps misquoted. The things that pass through our heads are dream. So that she'd get upset, it was and is beautiful, and a thing of being alive.
I get my groceries home, get the guitar out, plug in the mike, and play some songs for my own sake. Later I go out, but Duke's where my friend works is closed, and I wander Dupont Circle at 2 in the morning and end up just going home.