Watch Out for Pranks Today, Everyone Will Think Less of You If You Don’t See One Coming.

Some cars and a traffic light.

I’ll never let my kids work in restaurants

even though the maitre d’ said everyone should be required to work in restaurant or at least retail so they know how to act when they go out in the real world

fuck that better for my kids to carry on blithely without ever considering the emotional turmoil they’re putting people through

because they’ll have enough of their own without dealing with the possible pain of others

the kids will probably have brain damage or debilitating diseases in which case they’ll be damn lucky to work anywhere

and even if they were healthy they’d just rebel and go work in restaurants so I’ll just have to burn their restaurant down.

Some cars and a traffic light.

Sometimes I lie on the street.

 

Just For Tonight, I Will Try to Be Kind

I started using the Headspace App a few months ago and have been fairly consistent in meditating for ten minutes every day. They have the option to increase the amount of time, but I haven’t tried to commit more than ten minutes. More than ten minutes and I’m likely to think I haven’t got the time for it.

I started out really well, I think, and then after a while I was less good at it, falling asleep a lot, letting my mind wander all the time. Andy, the Headspace guy, says you’ve got to train the mind even when you’re not meditating. Well, he doesn’t say it like that. He always says use a gentle touch with the mind. He says you should be noticing when you’re indulging in thoughts that take you away from the present moment and seek to gently bring yourself back to the present moment. So anyway I got to the point where I was letting my mind wander as much as I had been before I started “training my mind.”

But a few days ago I decided to “give it another go” and “get serious” again. Side note, does putting cliches in quotes absolve you of the literary crime of using them? “Fuck it.” Haven’t we been down this road before…

So anyway, I’m meditating on different kinds of “happiness,” as silly as that sounds. Yesterday, Andy said that I couldn’t feel happy if I was simultaneously being unkind towards anyone. And he said I also count as someone that I shouldn’t be unkind towards.

Today at work I tried to be kind to everyone, including myself. It worked well, even when I found it a struggle for a few moments when some customers seemed to respond with vitriol and condescension, and even when I forgot to keep “being kind” at the forefront of my mind.

One thing I tried to realize is that being kind to everyone and yourself doesn’t mean self-abnegation. It doesn’t mean you have to be subservient or obsequious. What’s the right way to balance being kind to an asshole and being kind to yourself…not sure yet.

But I’ll work on it. In the meantime, I’m on break, sitting in the sunlight and feeling good about the morning, which is not something to be taken for granted.

Paul Graham said that anyone who insults us hurts us twice, the first time when they insult us and the second time for however long we ruminate on it. By focusing constantly on kindness, you don’t have a lot of time to get hurt in the second way. Also, in regards to yesterdays’ rant about customer service and finding a way out of it, Bob Dylan says that everyone has to serve someone. And that’s really ok, because being waited on all the time makes me uncomfortable anyway. It’s good to serve other people out of our own free will and kindness, not out of avarice and not with bitterness. Is it possible to serve people at your job while feeling like you’re doing it out of the “kindness of your heart?” Maybe.

But in any case, it will be good to eliminate bitterness from my life, if possible, because Benedict Cumberbatch was right when he said, “Bitterness is a paralytic.” I think I’ve written a post about that, but I forgot about it until now. Maybe I have not made much progress in my career because I am bitter about the past, how I graduated college at the wrong time; how I took on too much debt for no reason; how I didn’t pay attention in school; how I didn’t put in enough resumes last year, or the year before that or the year before that. Translating that bitterness towards the customers gives it fresh life and keeps me from breaking free.

Now, I’ve tried to be positive about customers before, and that fails after a while. But maybe the way is not to be positive about what they’re doing, or who they are, because after all you can’t know those things, and when you think about it nearly everyone is as clever and complex as you are, but anyway to disregard all that and focus on what you can control, how kind you are to them and to yourself, that may be the way. So if someone berates you unfairly, not to stand there and take it as if you deserved it, but rather to return to them a kind response and to remind yourself that you don’t deserve that kind of treatment, and move on. Any thought you have about their hopefully impending horrible death is fine, you’re allowed to have the thought, since thoughts don’t define who you are, but at the same time you don’t want to leave the present and walk very far down into that fantasy.

And you especially don’t want to do it and rationalize it by telling yourself that it will make good material for a story, since bitterness the paralytic will keep you from writing any stories.

So for me I will not seek to understand people tonight at work, only to be kind towards them and towards myself. We’ll see how happy I am at the end of the shift.

Doctors Are in Customer Service, Too.

I’m thirty years old now and I’ve never learned how to market myself. The idea of it nauseates me completely. But can I really avoid it? My whole life? Can I be poor forever?

Maybe if I was alone, I could. But with a wife and maybe a kid, well the sticking to your principles no matter the cost thing just isn’t as attractive. I’m thinking of just pretending to be someone else for a while. Someone marketable and packaged in cellophane like.

Just for a time you understand.

Great work is meaningless if no one ever hears about it. Genius needs an audience, you know, Benedict Cumberbatch said that. How to get an audience? Well maybe you should get the genius part figured out first. But then again maybe not. Maybe the genius part isn’t important at all. Maybe if you marketed yourself well, you would have time to be a genius later; while if you became a genius first, you might never have time to learn how to let people know that you were and maybe no one would ever hear of you anyway.

Anyway I don’t really care, all I want is a nice house in Mexico and for customers to leave me alone. I asked my friend if he thought he could be a doctor. He said he didn’t know, and anyway it was basically a high-paying customer service job where all your customers are sick and dying.

Customer service sucks. Every year you spend in customer service you become more assured that the world is a cruel place full of assholes. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, power corrupts, and even a small amount of power can make someone look like an asshole.

Maybe if I wrote in a coherent way, I would have more success in communicating my ideas.

Blood Above

The more you search for something elusive the more elusive the something becomes, the more frustratation takes a hold. You’ve nothing to say after two weeks, you’ve nothing more to say after a couple of drinks. No one cares. You were fun, you were fun, and now you’re not.

I remember a table with books on it and a couple of flowers outside of vases, you knew they’d die soon anyway. You didn’t like flowers because they died, you didn’t like pets, you didn’t like drinking because of hangovers. You thought of the end constantly.

The more you thought about it the more you thought about it. The more you thought about it, then you’d think about it again. You had no discipline. It was no wonder what happened. It was no wonder. You’d think about anything. I told you what to think about, but you would think about anything else.

I remember a shadow growing where there should have been light. We were amazed and our friends laughed. The man on stage called it science but later I dreamt of a black horse and I never do that. I never dream of horses. I remember your sister had a horse. Where is she now? Gone with the rest of the wild ones, I guess. I can’t remember whatever happened.

I remember some things, though, I really do, I know you were there. I hope you come back. I hope you don’t come back. I don’t know why I thought about you so much. I’m done thinking about it, really, I am. The more I think about it, the more I look for you, I know, I lied, I do.

I do that.

What about that time, with the coffeemaker, that one from France? I remember the lady telling me that I needed one. She was bold. She was so bold, that lady, some people are like that and make an impression. But I don’t care anything for that lady and her boldness, not a bit, and so I think about her often.

The more you search for something elusive the more you search and the more I look for that old lady in people passing by.  She’s easier to spot than you. I’ll never see you if I can help it. 

Sometimes I can’t.

Fate the Security Blanket

Blame the gods, the ground has given away beneath us. It’s not your fault that you put the basement in wrong. Nah, what do you know about putting basements in? Anyway, who told you to do it. The gods and the fates.

It was nice, wasn’t it, then, to have someone to blame. That wasn’t so bad. And we didn’t have to get so arrogant and live and die by our decisions and all of that. Some people are into that sort of thing.

William James decided for one year that he was going to take responsibility for everything that happened in his life, and apparently it was the year of his “rebirth.” I’ve heard it worked out well for him. I thought about doing it for myself. But maybe William James was just the exception. How many people take responsibility for everything that happens in their life and then kill themselves.

You never know, right, because all you do know about is William James and Brad Pitt. Worked for them. 

How many amazing writers will never be read? Who knows, who knows, writing well and getting people to read are two different skills and not every golden thing gets uncovered by virtue of it’s glitter.

No Fear Without Imagination

I feel burdened by the strength of my imagination. Whatever I turn it to, it contorts, magnifies or compresses, demonizes or glorifies.

Who was it that convinced me that I would enjoy driving a Ferrari? Who was it that convinced me later that I would be happy being a hobo begging for change and spending it in dive bars with strange and interesting characters? Who was it that made me scared of being attacked on the street at night? And a million other fantasies that I’ve never experienced.

Instead of taking risks and experiencing the rewards, I run through a simulation in my head and decide against it based on what I find there. Which is great because I get to experience all of the psychic pain that I would have if these bad things had happened, but I don’t get any of the rewards.

The only way I really get anything done is to go in blind, to jump without giving myself enough time to imagine the outcome. 
 

Checklist for Existence

I’ve tried to come up with, implement, and stick to a set of procedures in order to optimize my time and actions to achieve a perfect existence. I’ve looked back on my life and created a narrative. I’ve seen how the pieces fit, how each decision led me to the next decision, and how that single chain has led me to the present moment.

How disgusting are procedures when applied to the living of a life; how laughably insufficient is hindsight to explain even a single journey.

I’ve been searching for answers and hoping I could share them with others, but in this life, brief as autumn grass, no two paths are the same.

My Discomfort is Comforting?

I’ve heard that physical comfort is detrimental to living things in the long run. Without stressors, humans shut down and start dying. Why not? Keep everything in stasis.

Stasis has many definitions, four at least: “a stoppage of the blood”, “retention of feces”, “equilibrium”, and “a period of stability during which little or no evolutionary change in a lineage occurs”.

So then I thought maybe mental comfort is detrimental, too. A quiet mind is a dying mind. Then again “not dying” isn’t the only thing in life. In fact, maybe focusing so much on not dying is making life miserable. Extension of life at all costs. Dunbar from Catch-22, kale, and chemotherapy.

Ah well. Nothing quiet about this mind at the moment.

I don’t meditate as much as I did before, but still probably four times a week on average. What I’ve learned from that is how I go about falling asleep.

Fuck It (Part V)

Hello, friends. Guess I got to feeling guilty again. You know how it is when you miss a couple of commitments and the next thing you know you’re wrapped in blankets and shaking uncontrollably in a dusty corner.

Well I’m sitting in a chair now, looking in the mirror, and I figured I’d say hello.

I was sick for a week. I was coughing and coughing and coughing. I had to pay for going so hard a couple weeks ago. I worked four 12 hour days and went out three times. I couldn’t hardly sleep the whole time, too. Yeah but the sickness didn’t stop me from working and going out some more and stuff like that. On Saturday I overdosed on Tylenol Severe Cough and Cold and felt like, well I don’t remember, really, just felt bad. I got some cheap cough syrup from Duane Reade. I thought it would be as good as the regular stuff, whatever, had the same ingredients. It tasted like shit and didn’t do much of anything otherwise.

I had an iced coffee for the first time in a while and then my stomach hurt the rest of the eight hours I was at work. It was miserable. Jesus Christ. I used to drink that shit every day in the summer and I always kind of felt like that, honestly. Jesus.

Woo! Some low level problems out here to be sure but you know these past few weeks I’ve tried to entertain very few thoughts so I am identifying with my body more. Just trying to convince myself that I am not my thoughts or feelings or experiences. But not really trying to convince myself of that because that would just be my thoughts convincing my thoughts of something. So I’m just not thinking about that shit and just existing in a manner of speaking.

I recently learned that Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises was based so closely on real events that the people who were there when it happened said that they couldn’t believe he was passing it off as fiction. I think I’ll write something like that about the restaurant. Just write down a bunch of real interesting shit and make it look like a novel.

Sometimes I have been thinking of some more shit Malcolm Gladwell likes to talk about. He always makes me feel better about my life. He said that there are two kinds of artists, some are like Picasso and some are like Cezanne. Cezanne would paint the same thing over and over again and wouldn’t produce anything of value until later in life, while Picasso painted shit quickly. Everyone thinks you have to be like Picasso I guess, but maybe I’ll just keep doing shit all circular like and eventually I’ll make something pretty, too. Ha or just be lazy till the day that I die. Who cares! Fuck it.

Yeah last night my wife was telling me some plans she was thinking about which involved modifying some plans we had already made, some life goals and shit and I was like is that what you want to do and she said what do you want to do? And I said that sounded good, after staring at her for an uncomfortably long time. What do I want to do? Fuck it, I’m doing it.

A reminder from the other side

You say that people want to be lied to because you want to lie. I don’t know how but you’re being selfish. You’re not telling the truth when you think you are. Your points break down between shots. Tighten up your theories Doc, this shit ain’t little league.

I lie to everyone because it’s the only way for me to feel superior and I need to feel superior because I believe that I am worthless.