I’m pretty sure I’m dead!
I think food is a dumb thing to talk about in most contexts
There I said it
‘HERE LIES A FOOL
WHO HAD NOTHING TO PROVE’
For a long while I assumed nothing was changing inside my brain. There was a point when I even considered that maybe I was getting progressively dumber. But I know now, as much as I can know anything I reckon, that rather than build on anything preexisting I have dismantled the old. It has gone from me, most of it, and only a little of it remains. What I have held onto I think is good, and will take it with me into the future. The new things I have erected are serene and humble. That’s what I think anyway. There is darkness too but it is manageable and for the most part helpful. It keeps me honest. When a mood swings sharply toward self-destruction I can take it apart and make it nothing for a time. When it returns I will dispel it once again. And on and on till I die I’m sure.
At night, alone, I address the phantom that governs the great machine, first saying, “Why? why? why?” Then: “You can trust me with the secret! I will tell no one.”
If some unseen agency revealed to me a grain of what is really happening, if there be anything on the other end of the thing, then I would keep it to myself if told to do so. I would not run to the press. I would tuck it away. And if I could tell two or three other souls then I know who they would be.
I don’t make it my purpose to believe in things I cannot prove are real, but I also don’t block out the possibility. There are definitely curious things we do not know about and maybe never will. That’s fine. I have opened myself to whatever may come. It can pass over me or pass right through me. I am certain of my heartbeat and little else—and even then I wonder! What an air-thin miracle it is to find four walls surrounding me in the morning and the same face I’ve always known looking back at me as I brush my teeth. As far as I know this is it till it ain’t. Thank God no one has returned from the dead. It is not the finality which is interesting to me but the mystery. It is maybe the only mystery left.
The plan is to play the game! I will die playing it. Hooray!
I left Baltimore when I was twenty-three. I lived there for five years. It was scummy and small and boring. A lot of people who lived there thought they were artists. Public transit was awful. The museums weren’t any good. The harbor smelled like ass.
Here’s the thing about the weather: half the year the weather was nice. The other half was hot and humid. I remember having to shower a couple times a day because I would come home burnt and sweat-slicked. I had to change my T-shirts just as often.
But I’ll be god darned if it didn’t rain sometimes. And I’ll be god darned if there weren’t some clouds in the sky on any given day.
After Baltimore I went to Austin. Austin is bright and sunny and hot most of the time. I had a difficult time thinking because my mind was always aware of how disgusting my body felt in 100+ degree temperatures. Everything about Austin was great otherwise. But often I would think, “If only there were some clouds! Some rain! Lord!!!”
I moved to California after that—to the Bay Area. Here it is also sunny and warm a lot of the time. In Oakland I almost never see clouds. We get maybe a week or two of rain a year, mostly in December or January.
After twenty-seven years of research (hah!), I have concluded that under the sun I feel stressed out and confused and disoriented. It fogs my brain and makes me irritable. I become too aware of myself and I can focus on nothing else other than getting away from all the light.
Consider the protagonist of ‘The Stranger’, who shoots a dude because the sun is in his eyes. Dude ain’t thinking right! I’m not saying I’m going to accidentally blow someone away because of the sun, but I definitely get lost and forget what I’m doing or who I am—what with all that unabated sunshine in my face!
Even now I struggle to write this because my room faces west, toward the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, and receives so much direct sunlight at sundown that it nearly makes me throw up. It will be another two or three hours till the sun disappears completely, and I feel well enough to read or write or even move around without feeling sick.
What is the opposite of seasonal affective disorder? Do I have this? (Does that even exist?)
I have not experienced a four-season climate in years. I miss it terribly. Whenever I visit Virginia, I am amazed that it can be sunny and then overcast and then rain all within the same hour.
If it were up to me, the world would look like purgatory. There would be mist and fog and overcast skies and some light rain throughout the day. God! That sort of weather is so good. It’s not sad, it’s just quieter. It feels really good to read or write or make some god darn soup on days like that.
Maybe I should move to the Pacific Northwest. (Maybe I already am??)
I have had so many dumb, empty, shallow, meaningless experiences in the last three years that I wonder if three years of the polar opposite can repair it all
And thus, though surrounded by circle upon circle of consternations and affrights, did these inscrutable creatures at the centre freely and fearlessly indulge in all peaceful concernments; yea, serenely revelled in dalliance and delight. But even so, amid the tornadoed Atlantic of my being, do I myself still for ever centrally disport in mute calm; and while ponderous planets of unwaning woe revolve round me, deep down and deep inland there I still bathe me in eternal mildness of joy.
And some certain significance lurks in all things, else all things are little worth, and the round world itself but an empty cipher, except to sell by the cartload, as they do hills about Boston, to fill up some morass in the Milky Way.
Tonight, at a Major American Retailer, I bought some champagne. There was some kind of sale going on, so I bought two. I walked to the register with my two bottles of champagne (I am on something of a champagne kick recently) and set them down on the conveyor belt. The cashier said: “Damn, you like Andre?”
I said, “Of course I like Andre—it’s $5!”
“No one likes Andre. Why doesn’t anyone like Andre? There’s no hangover.”
“It’s cheap, too.”
“I wonder why no one likes it.”
“I’m gonna tweet about this later. I thought I was the only one who liked Andre.”
“You’re not alone!”
I walked through Emeryville back into gloomy Oakland with my two bottles of champagne—one in each hand. People were amused when they passed me, or when I ran through a crosswalk. “What the hell is that guy up to? Man I’ll bet he’s about to have a really good time with those things.”
You know: someone carrying two bottles of champagne . . . now that’s a person with a fine idea. I am glad that at this juncture in human existence that person was me.
(EPILOGUE: Later, talking to a friend: “I have bought two bottles of champagne. I will save one of the bottles for the next time I see you.”)
Man, there is so much “yoga mom mysticism” in the Bay Area.