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A planned vacation day taken at the office. Didn't shave during or after my long New Orleans weekend. New manager saw me.
"So this is how you take vacation days. Come in anyway, just don't shave."
"Pretty much," I said, and worked until about six. Then went home to pack and because of this and that and the other thing it took all night. No, I mean all night. Alarm was set for 3:20 so I'd be sure to catch my 6:05 flight. I had my bags all packed and lay down for a nap at 3:10.
After a full night's sleep of seven minutes I got up and took a shower. Showers are rejuvenating. They give one a fresh lease on the day. I calculated I needed to leave at four but my loss-of-sleep altered state slowed me down and I didn't actually drive out until four thirty. Thus I was worried about missing my plane. But the drive was swift and the economy parking lot bus, while full, was efficient, and I got to the gate in plenty of time.
It was fun soldering el-wire at your house, and, um, so on.
A pleasant drive across the Tonto National Forest and up and along the Mogollon Rim. The Rim is an amazing feature, an escarpment rising starkly from the forest like the location for an old Conan story, one of those tales wherein the young hero rashly follows the trail of an old legend, climbs where no man has climbed for centuries, finds a deep dark cave, and encounters a jewel-encrusted and mummified wizard who awakens from un-death to cast wicked snares and invoke ghastly demons, only to be cast into shards by our heavily-muscled warrior's raw barbarian vitality.
First full day at the festival, high-elevation mixture of hot and cold. What'd I wear? A vest, a skirt, don't remember if anything underneath. You wrapped your bosom in just a gauzy veil. We visited the little Temple where a big naked woman was painting something. At E3 a lawyer in boots and hot pants advised how to respond to law enforcement vis-a-vis searches and marijuana. Fine naked chicks in audience. Thank you for asking one if I could take her picture but I do need to get over my shyness. Danced up a sweat that night.
What a perfectly relaxed, perfectly crazy Regional Event day.
The Fuckoffolopolis dome's main support pole rose out of a baby grand piano. When I spun the spinner and it said Entertain Us I had to stand on the piano and ... think of something. So I sang this old song.
"Hello, I must be going. I cannot stay, I came to say I must be going ..."
And then some woman said, "Show us your ass!"
I hiked my sarong and gave everyone a view. Not just of my ass, either, but also of the cock cage I had secretly put on.
Past midnight -- and thus Sunday morning -- we followed the octopodan priestess and her acolytes into the dim-lit glow of her fuckoffolopolan temple dome. I was cold and tired and yearning vaguely for warmth and quiet but didn't want to admit it to myself. There were a few rickety seats. I took one and watched a man get plastic-wrapped to the tent pole, a human burrito giggling and wriggling. Then someone else stumbled in and spun the wheel and got saran-wrapped to the first. They fought themselves free. It was entertaining enough. Absurdity doesn't always have legs, though.
A long, unhurried day to decompress. Such a rarity. I had a yen to reflect in writing, but that turned into a plan to seize the opportunity and photoessay my two trips, and that turned into a paralysis of intimidation. Not by the level of work, but by the vast gulf between the work and my desire for the result. I didn't really need a photoessay, or a blog post, or a retrospective journal, or anything. I thought about that and decided that maybe I am fixing to stop recording my life so that I may more fully live it.
Woke up at five, tried to doze, decided that was it.
Went to bed at, what, half past midnight, so 4 1/2 hours sleep. Good enough.
Plane landed last night at nine ten or so, got the message that my baby could use a little me-time, went on down before going home, found her out taking a walk. She was full of smiles but I came to learn seeing me was the only reason for smiling. Things have gone crazy. Crazy bad crazy.
We all need friends and she's got some and me too. It'll be all right.
I was late to the group workout. The room was crowded. A portion was walled off with floor mats for ping-pong. When I came in, a guy who seemed to think he was running things told the ping-pongers we needed the room. They said they weren't done. He said yes they were and started taking down their wall.
That pissed me off. I said, "I'm not staying in here with an asshole," and left. He said something to me. I didn't catch it. I went to the weight room and ripped up on my shoulders and biceps instead.
Might miss the workout today. Writing here to noodle on it.
It's not much good without some nutrition underneath. Usual workout time is at eleven (in twenty minutes). I haven't eaten anything today. Cup of coffee at the counselor's. But I left there at eight thirty, half hour drive to work, meeting nine to ten, didn't go run for breakfast, not hungry, now it's late, I'm not nourished, thinking exercise would be a waste. Or am I just trying to justify laziness? I do need to get this project finished up, feel terribly behind, sick to death of working nights.
Not gonna write about work today. Not gonna write about the gym today. Not even gonna complain about myself.
I wanna immerse myself in memories of New Orleans. I wanna recreate select silver-gilt moments and frame them in words so that anyone who happens by can live them according to their own interpretations, as if reading poetry, as if viewing a painting, as if listening to a symphony, as if experiencing a work of art illuminated from within by the images and feelings captured in the magic lantern within me that will never go dim.
But there's this job ...
A truly lovely Saturday. Out in the heat, shop back yard, Lurveseat mechanicals in better shape than thought. Peeped in on the fire arts class. A little storage unit cleanup. Devised means to attach a four-foot sea horse. Away for shower, talk, drinks, skin time. Dinner, conversation, endless promises of more, continued discoveries of how right it is. Sad the night ended so early, drowned it at the shop in beer and drunken pyromaniac interactions, growing my friendship with J. Finally, home, sleepy, decided to brave warnings and read 3000 words but all I did was watch love grow.
When I was young I was used to being distant. That was just the way it was. I got her a Mother's Day thing -- usually. She was Mom. No story to tell about that.
Then I married a woman with expectations, and the image changed. I was neglected, and I saw in that neglect the seeds of all my unhealthy histories with women. I was a family man, and I saw in my own struggle the fruit of the neglect.
But now she's a sweet and intelligent and loving lady who seems to understand and approve of my life's direction.
Workin' late again. For whatever reasons, there are a lot of critical details that still need to be closed and implemented in this thing. I don't want to slip my delivery date. A couple of reasons however have been offered why I should. Three, actually.
1 - Producing something with known issues is a bad idea even if you do plan a next rev.
2 - The actual need for a next rev is under question, since when I proceed with care I rarely need one.
3 - The milestone that ultimately drives my schedule is rumored to be slipping.
This wasn't writing.
I feel it as I talk, as I watch the bartender, as I stare lost in thought at the table, as I drive. It is the illuminating wash that comes with a shining light, like the warmth that comes with the sunshine.
She is watching me.
I'm self-conscious, as a reflex, and then I relax. No need for that when under the all-accepting gaze of a true friend.
She is absorbing me, comprehending me.
She is looking at me from a sacred space deep inside that is still and quiet and certain and knowing and, above all, loving.
When I was a child I imagined worlds within worlds, entire universes filling out their existence in tiny spaces within our own. Bored in a 3rd grade classroom where the windows were open to the soporific spring air, I'd stare at a hole worn into the old wooden floor and listen to the inhabitants' whispered tales of strife and conquest and wonder.
Now I face computer screens and as a designer of computer hardware, see, indeed feel sometimes, the worlds filling out their existence within the microscopic transistor arrays that spark away in the heart of the machine before me.
I alternate between analytical and reflective. I like being reflective (reflecting the world as I see it). But I need to be analytical, and it seems when I sit to write a little bit, that need usually wins out.
You'd think if I wrote that out first, it'd be out of the way and I could then enjoy being reflective. But often, there is some immediacy to reflecting an experience. A bout with analysis kills that immediacy.
So the artist and the engineer are always in strife.
So, to be analytical: It seems I do not want safe and predictable.
It makes me sad. I meet over the phone with coworkers who are also friends. They talk about modules and options and plans. Some piece is missing in my understanding -- a piece of history or other assumed knowledge. But I don't know what. All I know is the conversation isn't coming together for me. I can focus on each word one at a time if need be, deny my natural tendency to wander, parse sentences. But the conversation itself means nothing. I don't know what's going on and answers to my occasional brave questions don't help.
I'd rather write music.
Once in awhile I am privileged to make magic. Today was such a day.
I brought my homemade machine and we decorated it quickly. The two little mermaids liked the pirate; and when mama mermaid climbed in and started driving, and it climbed the hill and along the boardwalk and then very nearly led the parade, three happy and excited little mermaids all in a row ...
It was perfect.
And one of them hugged me thank you, and the other one (who was pouty cuz the parade ended too soon and didn't hug me) later made me a card, wow.
I didn't care about the eclipse. It was an emotionally complex day and a partial annular solar eclipse didn't excite me.
I went out at the peak. Daylight was attenuated. Sunlight dappled the ground in little crescents.
Recent news continues to disturb me despite my intent and ability to get past it. Thinking "too much" is what gets me past the very bad feelings. When I just feel it, I feel it terribly, terribly. There's no cure but time and love (which you give me so freely); and above all knowing you are true. Things change, and that matters now.
Grabbed my Clarke tinwhistle, such as Tommy Makem used to play, and blew a few tunes. Fingers only a little uncertain. Molly Malone, Whisky You're The Devil ... and since I'm only slightly Irish, Rule Britannia too. Can still bend out half tones, but the instrument isn't made for that, so to play an accidental is a rare thing.
Lifted weights alone, my friends off doing group exercise. Result of my disinterest in, or inability to keep, schedules. I love the feeling of muscles strained to their limits. Pain signals growth of many kinds.
But ... painful news of a friend's cancer ...
Overheard a cubicle conversation. Woman had gone to a graduation. Don't know if high school or college. Was complaining about the speaker.
"She was telling them how to write their resumes," she said, clearly disgusted. "At a graduation! For God's sake, she was telling them to just go get a job, that it was perfectly normal and okay to work at jobs they hated!"
I know some kids and I have to say, the kids are all right. A lot of people my own age, though, they're fucked up. But not my co-workers. They want people to be happy.
On my stomach, a position of surrender.
The slightest touch, the heel of a palm, an occasional, almost imperceptible tickle. Breathe slowly, feel my shoulders stretched, my neck at an odd angle.
"Don't fall asleep."
The tickling worsens, spreads, follows indefinable patterns across my back. Relax, breathe, don't move, let the sensations flow off like water. Surely the monkey brain thinks they are insects that need evicting, but I can master it.
Done. I rise, find a mirror.
A lion's face, cat's eyes closed, a vibrant mane, a solar halo, and a mouth like mine.
Truly, a gift.
So what are all these pieces? A jumble impedes me. Can I just kick through? Or, no. I need to handle them, one at a time, once and for all.
My creative mind needs a clear space to live. So the cluttered house needs clearing. This means getting rid of generations of impedimenta.
It needs less distraction. So the undone taxes and the estate need closing. That is happening, albeit in tiny increments.
It needs time. So the job needs more in-hours focus for less out-of-hours effort.
Then, we're all sheet music and wheelchairs, paintbrushes and sousaphones.
Sometimes one wonders if a pair of minds so perfectly matched can actually function as a matched pair. Some contrast is needed, some yin for the yang. And as it happens, there is contrast, there are differences. One or two that are quite significant. High achiever versus habitual drifter. Unabashed extrovert versus behavioral introvert (innate or made, TBD). So the unusual likenesses really do not impede a shared progress. Rather they enable a rare understanding. But what if I become an outgoing achiever? Will we then be identical? I'd say no; and that could hardly be a bad thing anyway.
My ex seems increasingly unfamiliar. I can remember her as she is in pictures, but face to face I'm a little surprised.
I met my mother downtown to watch the jazz festival parade, and then walked about with her until time for their lunch date. The ex appeared about noon in her volunteer t-shirt. She seemed more stressed than I am used to in people. She looked heavier too -- not fat, just carrying more density. My first thought, perhaps unkind, but I've known her for twenty six years, is that her exercising is not keeping up with her drinking.
The great local music festival was good, but not great. It is really made by the location, the old 1850s-era riverfront. The festival started out as a traditional jazz jubilee. There are still trad jazz bands that come to play. But their audiences are aging and dying out. Damn few are under retirement age. And the music never changes. So the festival has branched out. Today we started out watching a mariachi band, and ended it with a Johnny Cash tribute act. His popularity was a fairly pathetic statement about the state of jazz these days. But, well, shrug.
If there are gods they have blessed me in these past months and years beyond measure. The greatest wealth is love. Through encounters and relationships I could never as a married man have imagined, and that most people I know are unable to comprehend, I am learning aspects and realities and practices of love that continually blow my mind.
Love as a calculation and a snare of codependency -- this is how romantic love as I knew it looks nowadays.
Love that is open to more love, that is neither jealous nor conditional -- this is the love I am happily learning.
I didn't realize it until I wrote it down. I wrote it down because sometimes my writing follows its own path, and all I can do is type out the words and then be surprised at what I've written.
I was describing the increasing burden of not having disposed of my father's estate and belongings. I was acknowledging my procrastination.
I wrote I was finding "excuses to stall from a subconscious unwillingness to let Dad go ... After all, I've had a lot more of him in death than I ever did in life."
It's time to bury him for good.
This was odd. Surprising.
Needed an office supply thing. Not in cabinet. Talked to uber-admin, said get info, we'll order it. Asked who am I under so I go to the right admin minion. I gave a name but she said, no, what group, and started rattling off three- and four-letter abbreviations (aka TLAs).
As soon as the TLAs started coming, high blood pressure filled my face, something in my brain said HALT, and I had to stop her. Seems I can't deal with obscure technical abstractions anymore. Never mind, I said. Thanks.
Getting more common, these panics.
'Twill be a change, no lie. Writing loosely as a slantendicular threesome to writing alone.
It didn't work out very well. Sensitivity not in the plan. Unintentional feelings stirred off the cuff. Objectivity impossible. Self-protective pullbacks unsurprising.
It worked out beautifully sometimes. The opportunity to read ...
Unknown how it goes from here. Not concerned. It's only a little website full of little windows, and windows have curtains, or stained glass, and sometimes look in on bedrooms but also look in on the front room where all the nice furniture is kept that no one uses and is for show.
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