Sunday, December 28, 2014

But no, you never feel like Jesus when you get up.  Of course not.  You're just a fallible writer, with faults and laziness.  You need to stay away from hard liquor, but your brother makes you a Manhattan at the end of your shift on Christmas night, you sit and talk in the living room trying to talk about therapy and stuff, and the next day you feel like shit.  A typical mistake, and it's typical we make mistakes, or at least I know myself.  But there's still good in you.  And you grapple with it by writing, you know, as maybe that helps you figure it out.

I get the 'your choices' thing from people sometimes.  I know what they mean.  I see their point.  "You choose to be a bartender, to fall down into the restaurant business and lie with dogs, to not make any money, to live an irresponsible life..."  I saw it as a way of trying to get by when you have a deeper calling to be a writer, but who am I, Mr. Fancy Pants, 'I'm a writer, blah blah blah.'  But it has allowed me to write, whether or not that is a good thing or a bad thing.

I didn't so much choose to be a bartender;  I choose to be something like a Christian, or a Theosophist, mainly because my dad was.  That's how I see it.  A Christian not bound to an particular religious practice.  Who allows himself to be a Zen Buddhist at the same time, I mean, to the extent you can do any of that in your mind, without running off to join a monastery.  Maybe you could say the same about the original, Jesus himself.

But how do you do that?  You need some spiritual advisor, maybe.  Some kind of support, so that you don't get too lonely or start to feel ridiculous and then start to feel depressed again because you're not doing enough.

Maybe it was not inappropriate that I had to work on Christmas night.  The event can lose some of its meaning.  Or it's like the old money changers want a piece of the action.  And even for the restaurant, a big money night.  "Tough shit, Jesus, you gotta work on your own birthday."

I like to go to work, to some extent.  I like to talk to people, to be, I don't know, sort of steadily 'there' for them.  A community.  I like to hear out their little problems, though, of course, few share much.  There are a few nights you can still do that.  And then there are other nights when it's a long slog, running food, carting dirty plates around, heaps of glassware cleared from tables, who has time to talk....  There are nights were I lose a bit of the control, when a party blows up at ten o'clock on a Sunday night after you've ran your ass off for five hours, running on empty.  You're not doing anyone any good then.   You're not being a state of deep awareness, no.  And everyone gets carried away.  That doesn't happen in a yoga studio.

But still, I'm not Jesus would like so much the confines of a church.  I have these musings annually, around this time of year, as we get through the holidays in the restaurant, as the days tick down to my own birthday in the coldest time of the year.  How to celebrate it is always an odd question for me.  A retreat away from my own faults...

Back in Amherst it was a cold sleeting night and I'd finished my dinner in the dining hall and wanted to hang for a moment, and maybe take the brave move of going over the table of whats-her-name, and her friends, sit down and have a sort of truce, but my friend Al came along and we walked out into the hallway. I guess that's how fucked up I was back then.  And then a guy from the house offered me a ride after wishing me a happy birthday, and next thing I knew I was back up on the hill all by my lonesome.  I went to see Blue Velvet alone that night.  Fell asleep in the middle of it.  How sad.  I wasn't self assertive, I guess.  For want of a penny a nail was lost...  She would have been more or less obliged to be somewhat kind to me.  But I was fucked up, I was fucked up.

Ah, but let's not think about that.  It makes me feel sad.  Yeah, my birthday....  I try to be a good sport about it, I guess.  What's to celebrate?  Know what I mean?  We're back to the sufferings of Jesus again.  The sort of sarcasm that greets his claim on wisdom...  The empire doling out physical punishment and pain.

Which is why one simply wants to get back to his work, whatever that is.  You're just a writer, staring at a blank slate, with no story to tell.  Some random silly thoughts in your head.  A job calling in an hour or so.  Feeling kind of lonely, feeling kind of shunned.

But hey, that's why you do yoga.

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