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I’ve been reading Kay Redfield Jamison’s “Touched with Fire.” I thought I knew everything there was to know about bi-polar disorder/disease/whatever. I’ve been a practicing BiP since I was three. But there were aspects to it that I somehow missed, subtle things. I used to think I was 30 percent BiP and 70 percent me. Now I’m thinking it is closer to 75% BiP and 25% “me”. No, I don’t like it. I never have. BiP is an insidious thing, seeming to have a mind of its own. But then, of course it does. It uses mine whenever it likes.
My son Tom has gotten a request to increase child support payments. The papers have the mother’s address on it. The address is local. He wants to visit his son and he wants me to go with him. I agree, knowing that those two behave better when I am around for some strange reason. We go, and she lets us see Daniel. They agree to try to sort out an ongoing arrangement. It is odd that they will talk when I am there, but that after thirteen years all they really want to do is tear each other’s hearts out.
Michael Jr. may sell his motorcycle today. I think he had someone over to buy it last night. I think they agreed on a price of $650 now and $150 when you catch me. It doesn’t seem like much for a bike that I still owe $5,000 on, but it will put part of it to rest and will make another month’s rent for them. The thing has been dropped so many times, I’m not sure I’d want to give any more than that for it myself. I don’t know if it is safe to ride in its current condition.
April Sunday. My brother-in-law will take my mother to the tiny church in sunshine this morning where the choir will sing out of tune and someone will ask how I am doing. I have no idea what she will say this morning and that is part of why I am reluctant to be there. Possibly I should go to defend myself. The things I hear about myself. The truth is bad enough sometimes. But it is like that everywhere. And old friend from work: “I heard you were in a Federal prison.” I wish now I had asked what for.
I had breakfast at the Coney. I let the waitress talk me into raisin toast and the hash browns, along with orange juice, coffee, the eggs, sausage, a glass of water, and I ate everything. I am stuffed. I didn’t want to get up from the table. I wanted to drop my head onto the empty plates and go to sleep. “Anything else?” She cooed. “I can’t move,” I said. At the register, Karen asked how it was. “It was too much.” “It’s good for ya,” she said. “You need food.” Ten bucks buys a lotta love at the Coney.
I went to sleep last night to thunder and house crushing rain. It was quiet this morning for a while, and then it started again. Initially I thought I was hearing big drops leaking in onto the fourth floor ceiling, but it was hail starting to knock on the roof, followed by another gush of rain, overflowing the gutters and filling up the ditches. The hill behind the house is green today, gone that way in a single day. The yard is covered with branches of various sizes, and I think I had just cleaned those up from the winter.
Michael has decided to sell his motorcycle by having me put it on Craig’s list, since he doesn’t have internet access. This meant I had to field all the responses. How broken is the motorcycle? Will you take $500 and a broken Ford Focus? A friend suggested I add Michael’s phone number to the ad. This was something I had initially suggested to Michael, but he was afraid his phone was about to be turned off. How am I going to get ahold of you anyway then? I asked. Adding the number made the emails go away—most of them.
AT&T has returned to eat the rest of my front yard. Maybe I was too hospitable before. Judging from the size of the equipment, crew, and conduit, I was hoping I had just missed the announcement of a new county sewer project, but no, it was just a cable upgrade. It was big enough for a sewer upgrade. I considered how much work it would take to connect my septic pipe to that big orange tube of theirs. I wondered if the salt from my softener would be a problem. It eats concrete you know. Their piping is plastic though.
My mind comes and goes today with the sun. It was warm yesterday, but today it would like to be cool and sunny, and that has a way of putting me in Canada. I wonder if that is why my mind will not stick today. Thinking of Canada sometimes reminds me I have not yet gone to Ohio. Thinking I have not yet gone to Ohio is an idea which crumples easily, like a tower made of a single folded sheet of paper under a solidly lowered fist. A piece of magnetic tape spins on the wind outside my window.
Across the road, a neighbor has trimmed a hedge bush. This is not so unusual. Perhaps what is unusual is that I don’t trim any of mine. But I am not writing a complaint of my grounds keeping. I am commenting on my neighbor’s hedge. I think he meant to have a round shape, but from here, it is a very large green toad, with its powerful hind legs coiled up beneath it. It is pulled in to itself, against the wind, soaking in the sun and sleeping. I think the stray cat could walk by it today with impunity.
Well, the email notifies me that I've been outbid on the BK 125ST power amp in "really nice shape. I check the blue book. I've gone as far as I can to make my margin and still pay for shipping and deal with any other surprises, such as the junk people have been willing to describe as in "in really nice shape". This usually means I take a loss on the piece. Before the economy dump, I could open my computer on any given morning and find a thousand dollars lying there. Now I have to work for a hundred.
I can’t believe it. The old lawnmower still works. Frankenstein started on the first pull with the gas from last fall still in it. Half the body work is gone. The cord is frayed beyond belief. Twice hit by cars, its air cleaner is missing. This mower should be dead. I had the new one picked out. I was going green with an electric model. I don’t know what perversion made me pull the cord. Now I am stuck. I’ll have to go buy it gasoline, sharpen the blade, and buy it a new spark plug, if still has one.
I wake up whimpering like a whipped puppy. I have no idea why. My brain is too mangled to give me any useful answers. Finding my glasses I check the clock. Eight twenty AM. I should title my next book Eight Twenty. My body clock has been re-set to wake me every morning at ight twenty out of blackness and full of—what? It is not a dream. It is a state of mind somewhere between anxiety and grief. I find my Ativan, a blanket, and a couch in a dark room. I wait for a clearer state of mind.
I decide this morning to work on my music server. This is necessary because I don’t have space on my laptop for all my CD’s. It is necessary because, well it is necessary for people to have projects to keep them from going mad. I already have the music server working in concept on a small scale with about 250 CD’s loaded onto my laptop and streamed wirelessly into several music systems throughout the house. What I need to do now is to move to the 1.5 TB disk I got for this and get this function off my laptop.
The work on the music server doesn’t go well. I am not sure I have the correct plan. The server takes the Squeezebox software ok, but will not recognize my Pandora or Rhapsody accounts. These are problems I can deal with later. It downloads about 400 CD’s from a backup, but loses the cover art in the process. I expected this. I can fix this too. I am beginning to wonder about the wisdom of using this particular server. I am beginning to wonder about the wisdom of using the same drive to store music that I use for backup.
MJ’s motorcycle is gone. The ad I put on Craig’s list finally worked. Some huge young man showed up with an Army shirt, a truck, and a thousand dollars, and took it away. MJ was happy to see it go. So was I, even though it still needs to be paid for on my side. MJ and Ty got thrown out of their apartment yesterday or the day before. They showed up in a truck to put their stuff in the basement. I think they are staying with Ty’s parents for a while. Nobody is suggesting trying here again yet.
Tom gave MJ his Cadillac. An older car, it looks very good on the outside. Michael spent a couple days fixing the brakes on the car so that he could drive it home. Now my sons both have fancy cars. One drives a Cadillac, and the other drives a Lincoln. My daughters speculate about what this might mean as my boys smile steer their pride carefully through the streets. I am unsure. I wonder if I have done something wrong. I spend time now thinking about other vehicles they have owned and what they might mean. I don’t get it.
I had dinner with Amanda the other night, and found myself offering to buy her a new car. Well not exactly. I found myself offering to buy her a new used car, a ten thousand dollar car to be exact. She had been thinking in terms of a five-thousand dollar car, and I came up with ten thousand dollars somehow. It seemed to make sense at the time and every time she asks me to confirm it makes sense again. She wants to buy a used Subaru Outback and it appears that with judicious shopping and bargaining this is possible.
Elizabeth wanted to hear Magnepans. I have always liked Magnepans so it was easy for me to offer to take her to Audio Dementia to hear a pair. I had been thinking about borrowing a pair. They were demoing a $10,000 CD player to a young man on a $12,000 pair of Maggies when we arrived. Harry, the owner of Audio Dementia boxed up a pair of modest 1.6’s for me and I went to find Elizabeth in rapture. I had to peel her not off the young man but off the giant Magnepans. Harry has a new Maggie fan.
My houseguests have left, and I feel rather strange about it. They were here for about nine days, and they changed my routine when they were here. I don’t know what that change was, but I find myself looking back, rearranging memories, trying to understand the nature of the small things that happened that seemed to work for me, because when they left I felt a loss. I got up in the morning and didn’t know what I was supposed to do. It was just like before they got here. Was that it? Was it the “supposed to do” thing?
Hey yous! Yeah you guys with your mini black hole. You Idiots! Don’t you know what a black hole is? Wanna get your head out of it for a minute and think about it? They are hungry little suckers. Yeah! And you are gonna make a mistake. Every atom, every piece of atom, every photon or gnat or knit or thought particle you let that thing suck up is going to what? It’s gonna make it bigger…and hungrier. A little bit at a time. I give you five years before it swallows one of you. What time is it there?
In a special early morning edition The Washington Post announced today that the Black Hole project has been halted and has been taken over by a multi-government military consortium. Citing concerns that the “mini” black hole had outgrown initial size parameters and was in danger of violating safety protocol sources said that the situation was “dire.” “We had no idea it would absorb thought waves” said Professor Lother Graves who was subsequently unavailable for contact. Government sources worldwide refused comment on the affair or characterized it as an outright Hoax, some accusing Post reporters of trying to incite worldwide panic.
The Washington Post did not go to press this morning. When contacted for comment, front office people expressed confusion. The presses were quiet however. It appeared that key individuals simply did not report for work and the paper did not get put together. Most of these individuals were middle managers who no one really paid much attention to before. Additionally those involved with the Black Hole story had not reported to work. When asked if they suspected foul play, spokes people reported the idea was preposterous, but they admitted it also preposterous that their newspaper simply did not get printed.
News about the Black Hole Project has been difficult to get lately. The building itself is guarded by troops, and news outlets are silent. There is little internet activity, although one blogger called Lance Bolero seems to be posting occasionally. His posts are identified as virus by most tracking software, although the posts seem to do no damage. His latest information is that a several governments plan to launch the mini hole into space and to combine it with sufficient anti-matter to destroy it. This has to be done far enough away so as not to destroy our solar system.
AT&T is here yet again today. They have some kind of agreement with the government which supersedes the constitution and allows them to disturb my domestic tranquility whenever they want. This is difficult to understand unless you read the list of donors to the political parties and realize that ATT tops the list on both sides. AT&T is not a utility. It IS the government by that definition. So they bang on the side of my house, and disconnect me, and re-connect me? Yes, I am reconnected. Music starts flowing again. I should get my turntable out, just in case.
I woke up this morning from a dream where I was cornered and about to be crushed by an odd-shaped multi-colored Panther Tank. I remember disbelief that the thing actually intended to run over me and that was how I was to die. My life was not passing before my eyes, only a brief litany of alternative deaths followed by a rapid series of scenarios for escape, all impossible. I wondered about my father this morning. He brought these dreams back from the war with him, sharing silently without knowing, after I was born, in the dark, bedroom to bedroom.
I planned to start Yoga lessons this morning. Eating a light breakfast, dressing and driving to the brick coffee house, Yoga spot, and beauty parlor near my house, I arrived characteristically early. The class was to begin at 11. It was a TCB class, taking care of your back, which seemed like a good place for me to start. At ten after 11, I started wondering, and checked out one of the brochures. The class I wanted had started at 9. A different class was under way. Driving home, I wondered about people who say everything happens for a reason.
I had my first Yoga class yesterday. It did not go as badly as I had expected. My body found it more agreeable than I had anticipated. Had I done Yoga before? No, I didn’t think so. I didn’t want to say I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure—am not always sure what the correct thing to say in these matters is. The correct thing is so complicated. The truth is that I have snatches of memories of something that I cannot quite connect with. The truth is that there is a religion connected with Yoga that would say Yes!
Something falls into place and I am given a moment of clarity. The mind is a fragile stew of chemicals at the best of times; it is difficult to tell when one is working properly. Easy, to point and say, “That one is malfunctioning.” Sometimes even to say, “I don’t feel quite right,” as you step out of your car which you have just parked in the middle of a mall, after having driven it through a glass wall. Appearances are important though, especially at times like that. You must appear to be in control. It was the car’s fault.
My daughter and I are off to look at a car. She needs a new one. I ask her to drive. I am tired. I don’t understand this tiredness. It is a new thing with me. It is a tiredness of the heart, I think.
My mind is linking another close friend with the idea of cancer and the screaming is pushing hard against the sides of my head. I have read that the bipolar thing sometimes gets worse as you get older, and this last set of cycles has been very tenacious. A box you can’t escape.
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