Got through jazz night.
Everyone comes in at once, around seven. There's a group--of the kind that will want separate checks--convening at the bar, meaning the poor bastard waiter, who has not been encouraged supportively by the team, is going to be bogged down like a surrounded army back in the wine room. I'm trying to shed my persona of wine therapist. A lady has called my name already several times as I attend to triaged duties, and observes that I am in a bad mood, which really doesn't help. People have sat themselves, entitled, pleased with the show of their own vanity; table reservations are juggled.
Got through it. Really needed a good dose of Beaujolais on the rocks with soda in a tumbler, I mean, just to deal with the last bunch of people, Salvadoran restaurant owners, who leave their table in the back to sit at the bar, and who thankfully just want beer. Wish I spoke Spanish. Attending to the night, I am drained. For Lent I promise myself to cut out that last bunch of drinkers provoking me into the sauce, but I must compromise here on the night of Ash Wednesday. Limit the self-damage, get home on the bike on a pretty cold night.
And today I wake not at a bad hour, feeling more energetic. Return to my humble artist notebook. Dostoevsky sat and listened to people and wrote out loads of dialog to get their patterns, drawing faces and sketches in the margins. Schoolboys. The general public viewed from a park bench. Women. Men.
I have to clean up, edit, a few things of what I've written, just to better get what I'm trying to say. I'm listening to the way I talk, the way I talk to myself, the way I talk in my own head.
And the worries always return, why the job I have... It wasn't a choice. I mean, the self-righteous people love to say that, 'the choices you made,' pointing a finger at you, telling you how much opportunity you have wasted... reasonably worried about you sometimes, sure...
The pain returns when I start a new entry. What was I thinking about, when I got up?
Oh. Yes, back to Jesus, as every reader has tired of hearing about, maybe, no, not really do, would I think that...
Treasures. "For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12, Matthew 6.
Sad, why am I sad? Because I feel like what I do is of little worth? Tired of printing out a check at the end of a transaction, the party paying, putting a tip on the dotted line... There's something missed. I am regarded as compensated. What more can you ask for? It's work. Just like everybody else... That's how the system works.
And then I sit down and write, yes, in my own fashion, to my own satisfaction, spiritual and otherwise, a calling, an avocation. It feels, as I stare at the screen of my MacBook Pro laptop (this is written in silver letters on the black edge below what I am typing out, like I am staring out of a deeply befuddled darkness, one I must inhabit, looking out of, for a necessary clarity. Will the next thought make things a bit clearer, I don't know...
No, that didn't go anywhere.
When I became a man, I put away childish things. I looked through a mirror darkly... Then face to face...
In real time you cannot really know what you are writing. You take a stab at it. One thing might lead to another. My feet hurt. I've done my job. I feel ready to move on, and yet, there is ministering to it, but, I don't know...
Writing is scary. Life is scary. How will things ever work out? What are my sins of laziness and distraction and childishness? How to atone?
I took too much wine, to get the mind and body through the valley of death, through the heart of the world, to ease the pain and the lack of a listener at the end of the night, the end of the week. Too many hats to wear up at the bar of Dying Gaul. I managed to do a little yoga when I got home; maybe that's the way out of this unhappy state...
I need to change the way I see.
Treasures looked at reflexively, as to the effect they take upon the heart, yes, that is a clear thought for a cold day. Look to the heart. Look to your core values. What do you care about, when work calls and drags you in to the arena? What a sad thing, being dragged so, what a tiresome thing... A place of sin...
Jesus loves sinners, of course, they are the sick people, exactly the ones he needs to cure. But they obviously get to him. His anger is directed at the scribes, the Pharisees, the religious authorities, but something has built up his ire. It sounds like the people who have gathered in his barroom he is getting tired of. Something that runs deep, that causes him pain, that leads him to speak not just of individuals or walks of life, but a generation... The salt of the earth, people, have lost much of their defining qualities.
'I'm tired of you and all your egos. All your self-protective little stances, the smug careerist things that make me sick. Your self-promotion, your tiresome self-centered way of seeing things. Blindness, everywhere. Consumerist. Pawns of an empire's economy. Receivers of catalogs in the mail.
'I knew eventually it would get to me, in a way I could no longer stand. Not that I am at all happy over it.
A few good people here and there, or a little part here and there within the good ones. Tolerable. Welcome.
The satisfied diners... Wanting an experience... Eat good decent food that agrees with your system, drink good wine with it, if you have to. Food that's not been manipulated with additives, that has as decent a morality to it as possible. And remember always the spiritual context that broadly encompass the little details, the deeper purpose of a human gathering. The details, those with 'high standards,' do I really care? I'm tired of you and your selfishness. 'This pinot noir tastes funny.' It's not corked. It's perfectly fine. A lady from the table jams the glass up at me, like I've brought them something poisonous. Is the mushroom fricassee buttery, she asks me, as if it is my trial. Venomous people, who wave, subtly, the threat of the bad review.
Grown tired of it, seeing through it, what awaits for me? The monastery? The desert? The high place? Homelessness? Ridicule as a false prophet with too many heady claims?
Go take a walk. Get it out of your system. You'll get to the grocery store and feel better about yourself. You're tired. Two nights are demanding enough. Cruel even. Take up the cross, yes, one knows about that.
Foul generation which seeketh a sign...
This is one of Dostoevsky's lost characters, an idiot, a middle-aged student who is not in school. Out of the lost pages of a lost notebook, one that is merely a background, an iceberg's underpinning.
Where does indignity come from? From whence sprung the natural authority? Through what steady acts of goodness and toleration?
Go and catch a falling star... find what wind serves to advance an honest mind. (Donne)
What we are in search of is higher consciousness.