Archive for August, 2001

Will I make it to

Thursday, August 30th, 2001

Will I make it to work on time? 

Went to bed sick.  Woke-up sick.  Decided, in some sort of fear-of-death Puritanism, that calling in sick would be… well, lazy.  And that would make me bad.  (As if showing up late is somehow redeeming?).  So here I am – in my underwear, with foreign things moving furniture in my abdomen, and with twenty minutes to be at work – and I am typing. 

(You needed to know that.) 

I just love this (new?)

Thursday, August 30th, 2001

I just love this (new?) blog, with lines like, “so he invited our priest and her boyfriend the policeman over for dinner tomorrow night,” and throughout using the endearingly utilitarian title ‘the husband’ whenever referring to the companion/lover/significant-other/canasta-partner/whatever. 

And this.  Delightful.  I hate that he is younger than me.  ; )

How to learn Swedish in 1000 difficult lessons

I’m sick.  But I’m not

Thursday, August 30th, 2001

I’m sick.  But I’m not complaining.  You can’t know that, though, because it sounds exactly like complaining.  How do I say it the way it is meant? 

There is a language I have not learned, a rapid fire rata-tat-tat of syllables that would dance and tumble from my mind with effortless precision like Nadia Comaneci, a way to tell you in perfect tens, or in spades, or in quadruplicate forms, or in two hundred ninety five million divided four ways; a way to say in one life, with one heart, just one word that cannot be misunderstood.  There IS such a language, but I am possessed of it not.  Not yet. 

In the meantime I do night school, here with my blog, alone – like an autistic trying to get through.  To you. 

Someone advised once long ago, in the pre-history of high school perhaps, to just write.  Don’t think the words to death, but get them out and put them on the paper.  Make room for more; despite my fears, more will surely come – it always has.  And when more words do come, put them on the paper too.  With a flow of enough words over enough time, I might get through.  Hell, just a trickle made the Grand Canyon, after enough time. 

Enough time.  I’m sick. 

It matters less than not at all what particularly is wrong with me, or rather, my body.  It matters less than not at all the hour and the day when these words will end.  What matters is how many went before.  I could have done better, from the beginning until now.  And who knows what I’ll do between now and the end. 

But I won’t be a Navy pilot, and I won’t be a movie star.  I’m not going to have a beach house, or probably any house at all..  I might not ever ski again.  I’m never going be able to play all the games I’ve learned in this life – I’ve spent all my time learning new games (or re-starting old ones, maybe) just so I could avoid getting too deep into any games; like life, or love, or family, or friends.  Me. 

I think it all gets stuck inside me, like an infection festering, or a poison that my liver tries to contain within itself in a futile effort to save my life.  It makes my stomach hurt – everything from my ribcage to my waist, swollen and heavy like a garbage bag full of water – and it wants to get out.  Maybe it is just sick of waiting, and since I am never going to start the flow on my own, maybe whatever is stuck is going to just come out, like in ‘Alien‘, and there is no way to be ready for that.  There was never a way to be ready. 

Return of the Lockbox, a

Tuesday, August 28th, 2001

Return of the Lockbox, a column by Mark Weisbrot at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. 

I am not an economist; to me, economics seems a study in conundrums.  But all this ‘either raid the trust fund, or pay down the debt’ rhetoric is not informative or even helpful.  It is, rather, the two major political parties jockeying for advantage. 

I am usually a politician-basher but, you know, they must be as fed-up with us as we are of them.  As an electorate, we are lethargic, disinterested, and a nearly unrousable occupant of our own careening destiny.  The tedious decisions, the tough decisions, the consequential decisions; we choose to discard them to the custody of our elected representatives who, without guidance from their constituents, have no choice but to find other lights to guide them.  This is the inevitible result of popular non-participation in government, and we should not expect it to be different.  Unless we participate. 

We cannot expect them to do what we want unless we tell them what we think.  And, yes, that makes the letters and the calls and the e-mails and blah, blah, blah all very important.  But the tedious work of telling them what we think is not the hardest part; thinking is. 

Thinking leads to feeling, and feeling leads to a meaningful response.  If we have conviction, then the e-mailing, the letter writing, the phone calling – even the sign making – is a cinch, and not tedious at all. 

Personally grappling with the intractable conflicts that confront our lawmakers is the very chore which we elected them to relieve us of.  That is a self-deception.  We are responsible; all they do is represent us.  And to overcome our disinterest, the politicians present us exaggerated details with histrionic drama, and that is OK with us – even when we know that what they are doing is not strictly truthful.  That’s OK, as long as they just keep making our decisions for us, relieving us of our responsibilities which, really, are impossible for us to surrender – whether we like it or not. 

Found in the Boston Globe

Tuesday, August 28th, 2001

Found in the Boston Globe this morning, with coffee: US to tap pension funds, report says.

Shifting Social Security funds to other government expenses has no impact on benefit payments, but has been considered taboo since 1998, the last time the government used part of the surplus for anything other than paying down debt. Office of Management and Budget director Mitch Daniels yesterday called that policy a ”symbolic commitment,” arguing that while it was a noble cause, it should be considered a luxury in boom times, not a necessity during an economic downturn, and that the budget estimates should not hamper investments in defense.

Please tell me what we need defense from, if not from these worry-mongering Queeg’s who live in fear and seek to codify it. 

Sorry.  Pomposity is not a good way for me to start the day. 

Me and Irene are looking at another apartment this morning and, in the cyclical nature of things, it is across the street from the apartment which I moved out of 6 years ago to come to my current place.&nbs.  It is on the third floor of a gorgeous old brick Victorian that is showing its age.  All hinges on the quality of the renovations now ongoing. 


Monday, August 27th, 2001


This brings back memories from

Monday, August 27th, 2001

This brings back memories from when I worked at a garage, especially the complex hydraulic control-channel casting.  Ahh, the pre-silicon seventies…  Howstuffworks: “How Automatic Transmissions Work.” 

I can’t stand the ‘B’

Monday, August 27th, 2001

I can’t stand the ‘B’ stuck to the top corner; I want to make it float.  I guess it’s not going to stay so simple after all. 

‘Hi, my name is Joe, and I am a javascript addict.’ 

I’ve been gradually reinstalling

Monday, August 27th, 2001

I’ve been gradually reinstalling stuff lost to my operating system upgrade.  (don’t ask.). 

I recently reinstalled AOL Instant Messenger, as well as the new version of ICQ, and that has allowed me to reacquaint myself with a couple chat buds with whom I failed to maintain contact over the last year or so.  The reacquaintance has been really …well, let me just say it has been very nice.  Isolation can be pleasant in small doses, but excessive isolation just seperates me from everything, always.  That was nice for a while – not needing to accomodate anybody else’s needs, or respond to anything outside of me – but the deadness creeps in, and the creator within me becomes despondant. 

I’ve spent a lot of time there, in isolation, reflexively closing doors without any consideration for what (or who) I was excluding.  It got so tiresome that at one point, I almost closed the final door – with a rope.  That made me realize that what I really want is to stop closing doors. 

But it is opening them that scares me.  Yeah I know, that’s just like everybody else.  Only everybody doesn’t buy th.  rope. 

I suppose I’m going to have to do a lot – a whole fuckin’ lot – of work on the reasons why I like having doors shut before I can fling them all open without a care.  But to have gotten so far as to have closed them all but one, and then to have chosen quite deliberately to stop closing doors – that reversal is enough, for now. 

My future is all open doors; I might even find occasion to close one, from time to time.  <insert lyrics for tacky 70’s song, ‘Behind Closed Doors‘>

Back from round one of

Monday, August 27th, 2001

Back from round one of apartment ‘cruising’.  Me and Irene didn’t have any appointments set up to see places, so we just did a series of ‘drive-by’s’. 

The first one is a condo in a three-unit building, and the next door neighbor (whom Irene drew out onto his back porch) is a very attractive black man with light brown highlights in his hair, and a very pleasant personality.  She says he liked me, but that would be too much to hope.  Besides, my whole life will be undergoing some significant changes – my astrologer told me so – and I hope (tentatively) that I will be changing my habit of objectifying men.  I’m really, really not sure, but I think I might prefer to meet and get to know them – to engage with their heart and mind without bailing and diving into their pants. 

But that is a nice thought, still. 

Apartment hunting.  More to follow…

Monday, August 27th, 2001

Apartment hunting.  More to follow…

I laughed out loud. 

Sunday, August 26th, 2001

I laughed out loud. 

Saturday.  A little nuclear family

Saturday, August 25th, 2001


A little nuclear family – a unit of four – was being shown one of the apartments behind mine.  Dad was trying very hard to pay attention to the blither being pitched by the guy showing them the apartment; a fifty-year old ex-surfer dude who was wearing shorts, had blondish-gray hair and a tanned, lean body.  He looked like he lives in a tanning booth.  He seemed very intense, and slightly annoyed.  He must want to be in Colorado. 

Dad, on the other hand, was moving about uncomfortably.  He appeared awkward in his sandles and shorts as the little group viewed the back porch.  He seemed uncomfortable in his role, hesitant and uncertain as he stepped back into the apartment behind everyone else, pretending to listen to the conversation while fiddling dumbly with the storm door latch behind him.  His every movement seemed unfinished, his hands – held behind his back – fidgeted continuously. 

However, Dad’s son was a thing of beauty to behold.  He had long black hair, aquiline features, and his eyes were dark sparkling pools adorned with unfairly thick, long lashes.  He seemed a little lost, but not uncomfortable like his father; the freshman’s awkwardness was borne of his youthful innocence, he had not yet learned the aging reluctance of his Dad. 

The boy appears to be just leaving high school, and I assume he is a freshman at one of the dozen or so colleges around here.  The parents were looking at places for their child, and it might have been the daughter – who appears the same age as the boy – who is the freshman.  But, if it is the boy, and if that is the chosen apartment, I will note it well. 

Here we go again.  I

Friday, August 24th, 2001

Here we go again.  I suffer from htmlism.  It is an insidious disease wherein the sufferer cannot moderate his/her use of html.  For me, html abuse begins with one tag, and then I can’t stop – tables, images, style sheets – it gets crazy.  And that always leads to the hard stuff.  Javascript.  Before you know it, I’m buying domain names with the rent money, blowing-off gainful employment, and obsessing over tweaks and bug fixes to the exclusion of food and clothing; naked, with coffee and a blog. 

It’s not a pretty sight. 

Simple. A new start, gracious

Friday, August 24th, 2001


A new start, gracious though ungraceful – panicky even.  I am close to the end, the parts amputated are still nearby, sheddings of a weightful something – old trauma perhaps, but more likely sheddings of a present fear.  Just me. 

I am – we are – ever close to the end; indeed close to everything, only an instant away.  It is all just on the other side of a membrane which contains us, and time, and reality as we know it.  Everything crowds up against it; birth, death, and every moment in between, the boredom and the thrills, the history and the moments yet unlived.  The possiblilities and the impossibilities touch me all around, and reaching them is not a process of filling this space with complex stuff.  Reaching beyond the limits of this membrane is achieved by becoming less, by emptying, shedding, and simplifying. 


This was Thursday, August 9, 2001 2:05:14 PM.
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To be decent, I should include at least one renamed link to assist the intrepid visitor in the navigation of this site, which is apparently going to be entirely revamped.  (I thought this was simple?) 

For the old familiar journal presentation, click here

There is so much to do, and so many ways to do it.  I find it difficult to avoid the complication of all things, the exponential expansion of each detail into a new universe of my own making.  Nothing ever comes in to that universe from the undiscovered country, and my complications more than adequately distract me from any need I may feel to mount an expedition to explore the undiscovered country. 

The frontier of complexity is unmoving; it never progresses.  The illusion of movement comes from the explosion of itself backwards, a sustained production of geometrically multiplying details, a roaring flow creating its own wind, mesmerizing like the blur of asphalt which I contemplated as a child while hanging out of the rear window of my parents’ station wagon.  A vision fascinating to behold, but utterly impractical, for it reveals nothing about where I am really. 

This was Friday, August 10, 2001 2:18:57 PM.
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Enough abstraction.  There really is a life being lived here, and these are some of the parts of that life which are important to me.  I worry about my friends. 

·  Suzy was taken to the hospital with chest pain after she arrived for work yesterday.  She is an RN at the detox where I work – a very stressful place.  It is a kind of port authority for agonies, and sensitive souls like Suzzanne, for whatever reason, try to bear more of that burden than they should.  Maybe they refuse to believe that every broken thing cannot be fixed, and want to prove it. 

·  Kathy works in the same office as me, and she has seemed quieter than usual lately.  I suspect that the overwhelming nature of our job is beginning to get to her.  But I find myself wanting her distress to be the result of my behavior – so I can feel significant for having a profound affect on others, and salvific for my ability to retrieve them from pain by merely changing my own behavior.  But I worry that she is hurting somewhere inside from something I did not cause, in a place that I cannot touch. 

·  Annie is my supervisor at work; I used to be her supervisor – sort of – and then I walked out.  She took over my job, and a lot more, after I came back.  She has had hurdles presented, and standards set which I never had to contend with when I was the one initialing the overtime on other peoples time cards.  She initials my time card now, and she pushes herself so hard to meet her new challenges that she gets sick.  I never had to push myself that hard, and it’s not fair.  And though she does it all cheerfully, it is wearing on her.  I worry. 

·  Gary and Betty are friends from my past of fifteen years ago with whom I may reunite in the next couple weeks.  I worry for the Gary and Betty I once knew – who I chose not to know for the last fifteen years – who have surely passed-on by now.  And I worry about how I will be received by these ‘new’ people who know so much of my personal history and my past cowardice.  Dinner with them is this week or next. 

This was before bed, Saturday, August 11, 2001 2:45:41 AM.
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Hints and wisdom; whispered rumors of an enlightenment that surpasses light; existence spent in the intimate process of living.  How can one remain downcast for anything more than mere moments? 

(Two sentences – not bad for five days.)

This was before bed, Thursday, August 16, 2001 1:54:41 AM.
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I’ve been trying to complicate things again. 

While fighting the waking-up this morning, I was dreaming about my cousins’ Dachsund.  The memory is from more than thirty years ago, and my cousins were military brats who had then recently returned from Germany, though I don’t know if the dog was from there.  I have since heard that Dachsunds are a breed prone t.  being nasty and mean.  My cousins’ little dog was not like that.  In fact, it was extraordinarily patient; my cousins were angry kids not given to gentleness. 

Maybe she just liked me; the Dachsund was female, I think.  I have a vague memory of puppies.  Back then I was a gentle person, maybe moreso than now.  No, certainly moreso than now. 

My cousins were three boys, a year or two younger than me, sons of my mother’s sister who had married an angry guy named Blair.  Her first pregnancy produced twins, and they named one of the new boys Blair.  As an adolescent he was agressive, and enjoyed dominating his twin, Robert, or anybody else who would let him.  I was fascinated by Blair, and a little afraid of him.  I was very attracted to him.  I have never been battered by a boyfriend, but remembering my feelings for Blair reveals the early origins and depth of my desire for isolation; regular violence at his hand would have approximated companionship without the risk of anything even close to intimacy.  I can actually see myself preferring a violent Blair to the shrieking emptiness which is my companion now. 

Robert, the other twin, was a whiney child – kind of a wimp – and definitely not the favored son.  And two, maybe even three years younger than the twins was Jeffrey.  Jeffrey was the artist and, for a time, he was innocent. 

We all grow up, one way or another. 

This was finished after work, Friday, August 17, 2001 12:57:01 AM.
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The landlord is raising my rent by $165.00 to six hundred dollars per month.  That’s a 38% increase.  I find myself spontaneously rehearsing courtroom dialogue in scenes from a Chekhovian nightmare. 

I don’t like myself.  I don’t like my space, much less its container.  But circumstances force me to be champion-protector of this place (or some place) as if it were mine, as if I loved it as something more than just a familiar place to go and isolate, as if it really mattered to me.  As if I mattered. 

Yeah I know, that sounds whiney, and I know also that in fact I DO matter.  But you see, I DON’T want to matter.  I WANT to not matter.  Defending myself, making claims to protect and preserve myself and the things I need – it all makes me very uncomfortable.  And if doing any of it was just a hopeless fantasy, beyond my capacities, then I could let go of all this landlord-tenant bullshit, and move on to the next lesson life sends me. 

But this is one of those despised challenges that you hate for one reason more than any other; it is a challenge which you are perfectly capable of meeting, and though it may not – indeed probably will not – have a favorable outcome, it is a challenge you cannot forego without the disappointment of knowing, deep down, that you ran away from a struggle, and turned your back on a contest with an angel – an angel sent to make you become more than you thought you ever could be. 

Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled an angel until the breaking of the day.  When the angel saw that he prevailed not against Jacob, he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh.  The hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him, and the angel said, ‘Let me go, for the day breaketh.’  But Jacob said, ‘I will not let thee go, except thou bless me,’ and the angel said unto him, ‘What is thy name?’ 

He said, ‘Jacob.’ 

The angel said, ‘Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince thou hast power with God and with men, and thou hast prevailed.’  And Jacob asked him, and said, ‘Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.’.  And the angel said, ‘Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?’.  And the angel blessed him there.

This was after everything else today, Friday, August 17, 2001 2:20:10 AM.
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Toward the end I was really starting to get it – you know like life was finally starting to make sense, at least a little.  The restraints surrounding me, which had always been concealed by fear’s murkiness, began to emerge as I drained that swamp, revealing to me most (or perhaps all) of the many ugly secrets that had deformed my youth, had confounded my every effort to grow, and had tied me to my eventual ruin.  At the end I began to see clearly for the first time in my life the tragedies which had been origin to a thousand tragedies more.  At the end I began – with compassion – to finally absorb the agony I had been unable to endure at the beginning. 

The reclamation of the small amount of trustworthy ground which I was able to recover was an excruciatingly slow process, considering that at the end I had been at it for over forty years.  But the progress at the end had become quite swift, leaving me now with only a hint of how far I could have gone had I been able to continue that progress untruncated.  I know that every summit – and beyond – would easily have been mine; ahh, but the mere imagining of those vistas inspire such heart-bursting joy that I don’t believe I could have survived the real thing.  I would love to have died trying. 

However, I have yet to record the middle of this story.  This is not an unlikely problem; more than half of humankind’s existence was spent not in ignorance of our beginning, nor of our end but, until Copernicus, in utter ignorance of the middle from where we observed all the rest.  Self-awareness is ever the greatest challenge, and simple presence the most daunting task.  If now is all I have, really, then the last thing I want is to make an inventory of it lest I find naught but crumbs.  Let us measure the past counting and recounting its achievements and its accumulations, or let us guage with imagined specifity the promise and the peril of the future.  But let us not give now more than a mirror’s glance for it reveals all we are and all we possess, and as such represents by cold inference all that we are not and all that we do not possess. 

But that may be exactly what we need to know most of all. 

This was before bed Monday, August 20, 2001 2:52:49 AM.
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