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I've some catching up to do.
"Today" (the 1st) is the Thursday of the week of Burning Man. I woke up alone, put on a short blue sarong and sexy silk jockstrap, borrowed a small trailer, and delivered gekko the pieces of her playa bench. She appeared while I was assembling it outside her tent. She had an air of melancholy, and wanted to go talk and chill out. I was all for that. I had also wanted to search in my near nakedness (and alone) for a bar, but I could not turn her away, she is too delicious.
On the Friday of the week of Burning Man I visited the Temple of Shame, an odd semi-spiral in the desert, scrawled with messages less general, more specific to shame one way or another than messages left at the Temple proper. It served a useful function by focusing feelings and decisions, a catharsis driven to with purpose.
In green felt pan along a railing:
I am ashamed that I have a hard time coming to Burning Man because my first year I was brutally raped by a meth addict ... I forgive you. And I am _happy_ I am here.
The Saturday morning of Burning Man week is a melancholy time. Though that night the culminating event takes place -- the burning of The Man -- it's also when many camps break down and pack up.
We cycled past one of my favorites, the Ashram Galactica, and the playa's only four-star hotel, with fully-serviced and fully-furnished canvas tent "rooms", was already being dismantled.
It was a not-so-subtle reminder that Burning Man is a brief and finite event and that by the weekend -- paradoxically, when many people are just arriving -- the best parts of it are already over.
The camp, the city, thinned out during the day. It was sad to see.
We said goodbye at the Lost and Found. Our airport scene was a line of dusty Burners looking for cameras and smartphones in the middle of a high desert afternoon.
I suggested she drive by on her way out and then later regretted it because I knew I wouldn't be around when she did. A bunch of us went out for a long drive in the art car, cruising to mellow music in the back streets.
She left a note on my door. I kept it.
The city emptied out as we broke it all down. By the time the tower was down and trailered, and the art car folded into itself, and all the huts stacked and packed, it was dusk and all around were wide open spaces. What had been a busting 24-hour city of life and noise was returning to its windswept emptiness.
But first! Party at Illumination! Fire dancing, music, drinking and singing, young and old, aimless relaxation under the stars. And then we went out to Center Camp and stole, I should say harvested, some sweet abandoned bicycles. Beach cruisers!
We left BRC at nine in the morning. Caravan of six trucks and four trailers. Clear blue skies, low dust.
Much of the city was gone. Remnants of camps here and there. Mountains looked down, indifferent.
No exodus line. A guy needed a battery jump.
Traffic out was jammed up here and there. At Nixon where a passing fire truck had ripped the side off an RV. Exposed furniture, no injuries. Otherwise full speed ahead.
Stopped for Indian tacos. Old woman and her sons taking the opportunity, not proficient at serving the public, but the food was good.
First full day home after Burning Man. Been away from the office almost two weeks. Can't remember if I told people I'd be back today, or tomorrow. But don't care. Not going in today. Not checking mail either. Corporate world can wait for me. Fuck 'em.
Ambition is to clean stuff and reorganize it and put it away and do laundry and generally get a good start on starting my new improved post-BMan lifestyle in which I am more focused and organized and get more done and as a consequence feel better about myself.
Didn't work out that way.
First day back to work after Burning Man.
This is written a week and a half later and I have nothing to say about it. Except that I didn't want to go back to work. Still don't.
What instead? Lose the mental energy suckage that is the corporate life and just go live that artistic life I've always wanted to lead. But the artistic life doesn't pay many bills.
One could have fewer bills. But still. Too many people my age and older have no retirement or health insurance. And so they must work.
That's why there aren't more artists.
Today I am starting 100words again. I took August off. I will fill in the earlier part of September as the mood strikes me.
Until the 6th I was in Nevada, away from networks, enjoying my time at Burning Man. I remember some people remarking that, Wow, today's the 1st of September! Next day it was someone's birthday: The 5th. I said, Today's the 5th? What? Yep. I had lost all track of time.
My mother's birthday was the 3rd. I got points for remembering, and sending a card ahead of time. I had no such thought on her birthday.
My son lives 444 googlemiles away from me. From the house I used to lived in to his first dorm it is 444 miles. From my current apartment to his current apartment it is 444 miles. This and the general feeling on the streets indicates to me that Orange County, or Irvine anyway, is possessed by a strangely disturbing energy that enforces a certain level of order. There are few pedestrians, and they do not have the look of illegal immigrants. Automobiles are expensive and clean and driven with purpose. Visitors who hesitate at intersections are met with Teutonic frowns.
The problem was this: It was nighty-night time and I had to pee, but of the two-couple apartment's two bathrooms, one was behind my son and his girlfriend's closed bedroom door and the other had the other couple in it. I sat in the living room listening to bodies squeak against the shower insert and the girl choke on something and giggle and decided to hell with it. I went outside and, though the apartment complex did a great job providing no shadowy or hidden spaces, found a hedge and went behind it. When in a pinch, etc.
Met a lady. Idea is keep pushing, searching, exploring, learning. The lady I love supports this, indeed insists on it, she loves me so.
On the website she looked like a healthy active fifty-ish woman and wrote like someone with things to say. She lived in Stockton which is too far away normally but I passed through there returning from Irvine so what the hell.
Reality was interesting. All the ravages of lifelong smoking -- odor, throaty voice, ravaged face -- combined with a snaggle tooth and a too-aggressive sense of humor. Strong healthy physique, but. Ick. Somewhere, a lesson.
Why is the one left behind typically subject to the worse depression? Of the few cases I know, the one who was left behind was also the one who made the marriage so difficult. Controllers and abusers get left. They never leave the convenient whipping post. Why would they? And when that person leaves them, their control is shattered, their world inverted, and the depression sets in.
I'm not unsympathetic. She is buried under schoolwork and spends all day alone in a huge house and feels worthless. Still, much of my sympathy is with the poor unwalked dogs.
To be honest, I thought maybe that was enough for a bit, and a longer break would be tolerable. This is because I am growing out of my need for a tight comfort zone, and am ready to fill my attention with more people.
Funny thing, though: Anticipation, and twelve days' separation, have flipped me right back on again. I want her here, for real, and for everything.
Second funny thing: I am still growing my ability to extend outwards and risk more and experience more ... and I want her along, in her particular way, just as much as ever.
Still need to organize a Burning Man picture set, one for Facebook and one for Flickr. Maybe the same set for both.
Both have clunky upload systems. By far the best would be FTP, but no one enables that anymore. They all have fancy java or other tools that make the upload conceptually easy, but difficult and time-consuming to actually do. If could use FTP? Snap!
Anyway. I took over six hundred fifty pictures, of which I'd probably want to share three or four dozen. It'll be a project to make the selections, and rotate, and crop, and resize.
Foot in mouth right away.
Company auto show. Employees show off their all-consuming vehicular hobbies. Hot rods, race cars, restored historical vehicles. And then there are the folks who just show off toys. A fancy Mercedes or Corvette, or that freaky motorcycle thing with the two front wheels.
So I saw my friend and said, "What's with these people just putting some stock new car in, what are they, showing off? Stupid."
Well. He was showing his new F-350. It was nice, it was clean, it was nothing special, but there it was.
I found ways to backpedal.
I was transfixed by her green almond eyes as her hands gently manipulated flesh. With every sigh and tiny scream drawn out by her firm and gentle pulling, her eyes focused on mine in pure joy.
The climax drew closer. I sensed this with every fiber. I raised it to her lips. She closed her eyes and took it into her mouth, buried it between her lovely lips, and playfully ran her teeth along its quivering length.
Staring deep into one another's eyes, we each bit deeply, silencing the screams for mercy. Blood spilled like nectar between her rising breasts.
Returning from airport, stopped at shop. Hadn't been there since day after Burning Man. No one there. I stopped in to scarf my In-N-Out and maybe unload a trailer. Was doing the former when Brad showed up. Don't really know why he came by. Maybe like me he drives by sometimes on the way home, and saw a vehicle, and came in. So we had a nice long chat about Burning Man, and volunteering, and he and his wife, and his wife's friend A, and stealing bicycles, and being old, and relationships, and you, etc. It was great.
Today went well until sometime after an ad hoc two o'clock meeting. I was mentally tired and wanted a break. My mistake was checking Facebook for album comments. I spent upwards of an hour cruising about all the usual places, like a bored kid driving around a small town.
I got back to work afterwards, sort of, but my passion was spent, and by six I needed to just go home. Now my mood is down for feeling like I again fell off the wagon. The cure is to write. So after this, and cleaning up from dinner, I will.
I sent an email to family about Dad being in hospital and scheduled for dialysis. A response from a former stepsister thanks me. She also says she "heard about the divorce," wishes us the best, and that sometimes "the best moves to make in life are worth the disruption."
This has proven true but mention of "divorce" makes me melancholy. We've done no divorce yet, and frankly, there's a mushy piece inside me that doesn't want to. We were so in love once, back when we were young. I guess I haven't really let go of that.
Sure, I will.
He sounded reasonably well for a man in the hospital. Still a sense of humor. I said I was checking in. His wrist had unaccountably started hurting and he said it was checking in too.
No one knows when dialysis starts. A matter of planning and, of course, the installation of an access port.
I said I would see him Saturday. He said good. He said he looked forward to seeing me Saturday. He said it four times, as if each time the thought came to him, he wasn't sure if he'd already said it. I suppose that's the meds.
Bored, got laptop, found hospital guest network.
Dad dozing, met with docs, Mary too (longtime close friend). Too sick for dialysis. Recovery possible but unlikely. If he maintains this decline, he is essentially dying.
I can't wake him up enough for conversation. He looks, smiles, closes eyes, ignores questions.
I sit. I watch. I think.
5th floor of John Muir Med Ctr in Concord. Mt Diablo out the window. Mt Diablo has overseen a lot of family history.
Approx 154 years worth.
Nor does that end here. But he might.
We're never ready. What for? Death is nothing.
Called nurse. He was alert today, ate something. Much improved over yesterday.
Will go down tomorrow and discuss options with him.
Yesterday on way home I took a long detour. Instead of freeway, hit industrial backways of Port Chicago, Pittsburg, Antioch. Many roads closed. Bird sanctuaries. Shooting ranges. Oil refineries. Ruined factories. Stray railroad spurs.
Found the S.P. ferryboat
! Looks like a weedy island today, but the outline is clear in satellite photos. Once the biggest ferryboat in the world.
The sun set as I crossed the soaring Antioch Bridge. Spectacular pictures if one could stop.
Was fun, going to Folsom Live with this rail-thin blonde who kept at the Coors Light.
She started out as someone who's had countless OKCupid misadventures, so I figured I was just another try; but wound up amazed at herself for letting me into her house. Never does that.
We were too much the grownups to jump at it. Maybe some other time.
Has a hardened look at times yet is a fairly shy person without any more love life than anyone else. And that isn't saying much.
She likes me. But: what am I looking for?
I just learned a cousin of mine "does not have an e-mail address. Lives in the DOS and WordPerfect era."
Interesting character. Had a job programming in COBOL four decades ago but has never really worked since. Owns a house in Oakland thanks to an old inheritance, and lives off his tenants' rent and various odd jobs. Extremely intelligent and completely unambitious. I think he still has my grandmother's thirty year old car. A nice girlfriend. A Zen-like calm.
Politically, a capital-L Libertarian.
I wonder how many people out there have never bothered to "upgrade" to Windows?
I'm all worried about process -- managing expectations -- here, there, and over there.
There2: Let's "date" (wtm) but there will be no limits wrt others I may be dating.
There1: Our friendship and trust is paramount. It's okay if our sex life draws down.
Here: My passion for you never subsides, even in the first reluctant jitters of potential NRE. Yes, there is some E to the NR, but jitters exist, and I am both reluctant and willing. Past lessons tell me to lean towards willing, and new lessons that I can handle honesty, high standards, and a willingness to "lose."
I drove behind a truck towing a big hopper trailer. It had a wooden catch guard, and on the sloping metal beneath, little rust spots where rocks had fallen out and nicked the paint. There was a rust line showing the angle of descent from the top of the guard. There was also a splotch of rust where some rocks had tended to fall short in just one small area. I wondered what aspect of hopper loading caused rocks to fall inside the angle of descent in just that one small place.
I also wondered if anyone else would wonder.
One of my gym workout crew is a volunteer fireman. He spends time in the summer hucking hoses and equipment over hills and mountains to suppress wildfires. He's the strongest amongst us.
He laments this year's relatively quiet fire season. There have been terrible fires here and there across the country, of course. But following an unusually snowy winter, not so many in the mountains of Northern California. And as autumn draws on, he's beginning to realize something.
With his eyes bugged out in disbelief, he says he may have to use his vacation time to take an actual vacation.
Must have been frustrating.
A girl was driving and texting in the diamond lane this morning, breaking two laws at once.
The diamond lane requires two people or more in the car during commute hours, and texting is now illegal while driving.
A cop car came up close behind her. She was bound to get a well-earned lesson in paying attention.
But the cop was a sheriff from another county and out of his jurisdiction. All he could do was hope she'd notice and quit what she was doing. So far as my exit, at least, she did not.
I love being reminded that the great natural clock can be depended on.
Like most places out west, our streets were laid out by orderly nineteenth and early twentieth century minds and generally travel due east-west and north-south, with some adjustments for terrain.
A little over a week ago I found myself driving directly into the setting sun and traffic was slowing down because of it. The sun was directly in our eyes, dead ahead, and right at street level. There was no escape.
It was the solstice, and the time was six o'clock. (Really seven, per DST.)
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