Sunday, February 19, 2017

I took to wearing a simple daily uniform in the cold months of blue flannel-lined Dickies work pants, a white tee-shirt, a hunter green LL Bean chamois shirt.  A layer of jackets and that got me to work on my bicycle, a winter hat underneath a helmet.  Very simple, comfortable and wearable to work everyday and home doing the chores and the grocery shopping.  At night, finishing my shift, turning the lights off after the long clean up, the mis en place, the restocking, I changed out of my work slack and shoes, I'd get on the bike and head home.  I'd have a glass of wine, try to not watch too much television, stay up too late often enough, finally go to bed.

It was tiring work.  It became that on days off, despite other options, I'd take to the same outfit, making life simpler.

(And with this cementing of a simple life, my inclinations toward writing became secondary, at least temporarily, in part due to the sense that one must be skilled at something practical in order to live a decent life, a quest that might not been helped by my queer love for that writing habit, and perhaps in part to due to my talks with a professional, a therapist, who made me heedful of staying away from the old minefields of thought habit, which can leave you feeling impotent, handcuffed.   I was meditating anyway, though, with a steady yoga practice.)

The mind can make a lot of things.  I found a picture of an old girlfriend on the web after many years.  She'd been the kind your mind makes you pine for, hold a torch for, an old flame, someone the mind had lingered over, for some psychological reasons, for way too long.  You'd attempted to exorcise the whole thing presenting your side of the story in literary form, helpful in some ways, but not in all.  Finding the picture, though, I almost wanted to laugh, in a good hearted sort of way, no meanness to it.  Somehow, I'd known it all along, it would happen, eventually, in such a way.  A picture.   Not how you remember someone, but how they turned out, not idealized, imaginary, but real, as they deserved to be respected as such, real, not idealized, a living person.  A typical knowledge that comes to us, when we turn adult.  One can regret never really knowing a person, missing the chance, but that is how things turn out sometimes, and you've already lived it anyway, so it can't be a big deal anymore.

Lincoln wrote a letter once, expressing a similar realization over a fiancĂ©.  In his case the situation might have been that she had put on a few pounds, which happens sometimes.  Lord knows, life is not easy, a physical strain, an endurance, sometimes grim.  We go on and plow our rows, and wonder what will become of us, and perhaps the best thing to do is to keep in shape with realistic expectations.  As they say, things turn out for the best, and some form of contentment falls, one no longer cares to be much embarrassed about.   Join the human race, welcome.

Perhaps this is a reason we like to watch violent movies, ones which often deal with revenge, from time to time.  Not out of lust for gratuitous gunnings-down, but out of some sense of peace come from slaying our oldest, worst, longest-standing demons.  And sometimes, maybe a little of Clint Eastwood, Outlaw Josey Wales, rises up in us, before safely diffusing itself into routing household chores and recycling.   Sitting on the rug, Japanese style, my laptop on a low table meant for breakfast in bed, getting over the flu, Clint pulls out his six-guns each time a bad guy rises, bang bang bang, groceries in hand one moment, four fully armed bad guys dead two seconds later, over my left shoulder, volume down on the television, as I write.

One would never get any writing done if it weren't for the alone time, and for this profanely sacred alone time, the road is long and full of tempting illusions, chimeras and dragons that seem to go hand in hand with tiredness and burdens and not feeling good about where you might be in your attempt to be a responsible adult and economic unit.  A long time asleep, a long time dreaming, a lot of time in your own little world, albeit one earned dealing with the general public of a barroom and a long list of diner reservations and the restaurant's scuttlebutt.

Perhaps it is simple, in some basic way, to take care of the human animal.  Hydration, protein, exercise, red wine to keep the bugs away, ginger and turmeric, age old traditions of staying well, mentally and physically.  Maybe even a little writing, notes to self, notes from the underground.  It's a private thing about private matters, and you don't feel like talking to anyone much after you've done it.

There'd been a reason why I liked the old Irish music all along.  The sense of humor, perspective, the quality of a mind liberated from the usual junk, the pricks, the assholes of which there are many.  That sense of humor, that's what keeps you going.  

With one illusion dealt with, may others fall.

Not fair it is to look at a photo and expect much of it, as far as being able to draw any impression, judgement or conclusion.  But, if that's all you are given, than that fact alone must tell you something.
(And yet, still good looking, more than twenty years later.)

Everyone in their own way had been telling me to get over the silliness, to forget all about her.  Perhaps some of us don't mind dwelling in grey areas and unhappy things.  But admittedly, with the weight it wasn't a good habit.  It takes the male of the species a visual, like a photo, to get over things, unfortunately, the only way.

And then, in that new light, freed, as it were, my old habits weren't so bad after all.  You can't blame a guy for liking the medicine of red wine, a bit of talk in a bar.  Dating is pushed on all of us, but it doesn't always work so well, those of us who need to keep to a modest routine.

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