Clean Something, Clean Anything

It was the strangest thing, after I got done writing that last post I read three articles about hating on white people and stuff like that, and then I went inside and started washing dishes. Then I did that cleaning project I wanted to do: take shit from under my bed and dust it off and sweep under there and shit like that. I told…what was my wife’s name again? Molly. I told Molly I would do it sometime soon yesterday. So I did it today. Why not?

Anyway I had no intention of doing that shit when I was sitting out there on the balcony. I figured, fuck it, I’ll just write a bunch of shit down. Fuck this day. Waste it.

It was either the coffee or the writing that gave me the energy to start cleaning shit up. Or it was because I went into the living room and Morgan was there talking on the phone and I was going to say something to him but I figured I might as well do the dishes first while he was on the phone and once I started actually moving my life from disorder to order in that way, I had the strength to move forward onto bigger projects.

After I cleaned under my bed and shit, the apartment felt pretty good, less dusty anwyay. I heated up some quiche and I went back out to the balcony. Morgan and I sat there just staring out into the day. It is really nice outside right now. It’s too much too fast though. I miss the spring. It was spring yesterday, but today it will be summer. Who knows if we’ll ever go back to spring because last week it was pretty much late winter.

But we’re always romanticizing something that probably isn’t real. Like the idyllic part of our childhood before we became self-conscious, and other shit like that.

Now I’m laying on the bed, typing more shit. It’s about time to go to work. I guess I have to get dressed and set up the feeders for the cats. What else? I guess that’s really it, although I should start work on Molly’s website, or else apply for a job, and I really should get back on my exercise program before I lose all the gains I was seeing, at least I should do the sit-ups. 

I don’t know if I’ll do any of that. I might just lay here and fall asleep. Fuck it. I have a weird life. Morgan asked me if I would ever get a tattoo. I said I didn’t know. When I was 16, I wanted flames going up my arms from my wrists like the lead singer of Linkin Park. He said that would have been ok. I said yeah but everyone would know that I had gotten that tattoo in the 90’s. 

I thought about it and I probably wouldn’t get a tattoo because who has the time or the money to do something like that. It would be cool to have a tattoo, but the way I live I probably wouldn’t get around to planning something like that. According to my value system it’s frivolous. I try to only do things that aren’t frivolous, at least that’s what I tell myself. And then I sit around on balconies staring off into nothing.

But some people just go around doing things that they want to do. They go to work and they work and then they come home and just do things. But I can’t even think of things that I want to do when I really think about it. Like Molly asked me yesterday, what do you want to do? And I tried to think of an honest answer because most of the time I would never assert myself about some shit like that because I just go along with whatever she wants to do and I couldn’t think of an answer. Besides have sex. Sex and eating, that’s all I do. I like drinking, too, but I like that less and less as it hurts more the next day or the night of, even, when I drink just enough to feel good but not enough to knock me out. I know there are things I want to do, I think, I never thought it was just going somewhere and eating, but maybe it is.

I mean sure I want to go hang out with the girl I was formerly obsessed with, but I don’t even know what I want to do with her, just go dancing I guess or sit on a bed talking, basically anything that seems like it’s leading to sex. Or eating.

But I also like just sitting and talking with people. I like talking with people, especially the girl I was formerly obsessed with. I like playing basketball, too, and writing down dumb shit. I like learning shit, I think I do. Sometimes I even like cleaning, but I don’t know if it’s just because I feel like if I’m cleaning, I’m safe from my inner critic, the one that tells me whatever I’m doing isn’t right, that it would be better if I did something else entirely. And then I do that and it’s the same thing. It’s always something I can’t even do, really, or won’t do, because I’m scared. I should just go around doing things I’m scared of, I guess, is the lesson. I don’t know.

Fuck it, I think I’ll go to sleep.


This girl made me think. Why does that happen? There was a girl in Boston who made me think.
Sure I’m always thinking, but I’m usually thinking the same thing. Some variation of the same thing.

But in these two instances, all the lights in my head went on for a blinding few seconds. Then they went out with a hiss and I found myself on cold, damp, soft weird shit, just shivering there.

A neurotic mess: myself, but worse.

The first descent in darkness was interrupted with some real practical type shit. I got fired, so I had to find a job and make money fast and I’m no good at that. Working seven days a week saved me from suicide or enlightenment.

Then this most recent descent.

My inner life was cruising along at medium shitty, nice and comfy. Then I met her and the ride got bumpy. I thought, why these moments of transcendence, mixed with these hours of extreme neurosis and nausea?

I asked: why am I stuck in this marriage, why can’t I just do what I want, why don’t I ever do drugs or listen to music in the dark or jump off cliffs?

Then I found the answer to why I don’t do those things. It wasn’t because I’m married. It’s because I believe that life is stupid and pointless, and I believe that if it was designed, it was designed to fuck with me.

Ten years ago, when I found out Genesis didn’t really happen, I laughed and said, you’ll never fool me again, Culture. Society. White men in long robes. Fuck y’all. I bought a bottle of Chivas, like my new hero Hunter Thompson, and I went to fuckin town.

Ten years I believed in nothing. You don’t know! I said to everyone. You don’t know shit, none of you do because none of you can, and anyone that thinks they know anyone is deluding themselves. And more power to those assholes, because I’d love to be able to delude myself. But I couldn’t delude myself. I had seen the truth, and it was an abyss.

Ten years I worked in restaurants thinking that the reason I didn’t get out of it was that I wasn’t using my free time effectively.

Ten years and longer than that, I lied with abandon, fashioning a chameleon armor around my starving, angry soul to keep everything away, to keep alive in a world that couldn’t give a shit.

But how is it that these two girls broke in where others didn’t?

Probably something to do with sex and something else to do with my mother.

Gotta go, bitches. More later.

Spoiler alert: I still don’t believe, and I’m still married.

Click here to go to part two.

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. 

Today I Failed to Stop Feeling Like I Failed

Man I saw the trap coming and I still fell in. Nassim Taleb said that if he woke up in the morning and knew what was going to happen that day he’d feel a little dead.

I don’t know how it happened, I tried to follow my bliss. I just worked on ebook stuff I thought that would be enough. I’m making ebooks again for money. Not writing them, just making them.

Now my stomach hurts like a mother fucker, I been sitting all day, and I have to leave here and go to work and I ain’t even dressed and the cats ain’t even been played with and so now I have to feel bad about that, too. Damn damn damn. No escape. Feels like I’m rewriting a post from 2014.

Taleb also wrote that there are people for whom life is a project, and these people make one feel nauseous. I guess I treat my life like a project and it always seems never to be getting anywhere. I would try to enjoy it for what it is, but I hate my job, and it seems I’m always at my job. I don’t really hate my job while I’m there. I hate that I’m wasting time there. I hate thinking about it. And I hate a lot of the people I wait on.

How to get out of the whole cycle? I don’t know, I don’t know! I guess I just need to get through one hour at a time. Just push through, it’ll all be over soon. Everything will all be over.

Reflections on a life of quiet desperation

I cleaned out my junk drawer today. I clean it pretty often, so there was only three weeks of junk in there. Which is to say that my relationship with my wife is really a strange and beautiful thing that I don’t understand.

There was a great band called Love that sang this song “Alone Again or” where they say: “I could be in love with almost everyone. I think people are the greatest fun.”

One of the reasons I got married was so that I could wear a ring, a signal to everyone that I should not flirt with them.

But you know, the idea that I could get rid of this problem by wearing a ring suggests that the people who flirt with me are the problem. I’m the problem. It doesn’t help anything that I’m genetically inclined to believe everyone is flirting with me whenever they are nice. The only time I don’t think someone is flirting with me is if they are a straight man or gay woman with no apparent gender fluidity.

Still, that would be fine. The whole world could flirt with me and I wouldn’t have a problem if I didn’t fall in love so easily. And when I say “fall in love,” I’m trying to label that loss of control that happens, that supreme fixation of the mind on the idea of another person.

I wonder if it is a problem. It’s really just who I am, why should I change that? But, of course it is a problem, because I love my wife and I would not tell her that I’m in love with someone. For good measure, the only people I’ve ever told my wife I think are attractive are men, and also Zhang Ziyi in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which was an accident. Whenever she asks me who I think is good looking, I just stare out of the window for a long time as if I’m thinking and then I say, I don’t know. Name someone and I’ll tell you what I think. Then she says something like, Giselle, and then I say, “Who the hell is that?” And just for protection, I’ve avoided looking up this Giselle person so I can honestly say I don’t even know who that is besides she’s Tom Brady’s wife and the woman my wife is always asking is she attractive. When she names someone I know I look at her in mild horror and say, I mean…she’s not disgusting or anything. Then she laughs and we move on.

My wife and I are practical people…no wait. My wife is a practical person and I love her so I live the life of a practical person to the best of my ability. We are entrenched in practicality, doing practical things every day. We’ve been together for a long time. I support her in her career. She pretends she’s not worried about me ever finding a real job. One day, I really will get it together and make her proud. The purpose of this paragraph, before it gets away, is that for most of our relationship, my wife and I are battling real life, which is a gruesome endeavor for two people. Even if we weren’t very different people at our cores, we probably wouldn’t be in total rapture ten years into fighting this fight.

I want to be in love. I want to do drugs. I want to jump off cliffs and spend days in the dark listening to music on the floor.

Is it wrong to imagine doing those things? It is, because I never think of doing those things. Well, besides the drugs. I never think of doing those things until someone breaks through the wall that I hoped my wedding ring would reinforce.

I’m mostly in love with every girl that’s ever smiled at me. It’s a manageable thing, though. I’m used to it. I’m not used to feeling like I feel right now, which is obsessed. I don’t know how to deal with this. In the past, I’ve dealt with it by leveraging geography, I just move. It happened to me in Boston, and it happened to me in DC, and if I hadn’t moved I don’t know what would have happened. I am a comfortable liar, and my wife is not a curious person. I can avoid the act of infidelity by staying physically away from the person I am obsessed with, but I can’t currently avoid thinking of this person constantly. Meditation is giving me a better understanding of my mind and my relationships with thoughts, so maybe that will become available to me in the future.

The problem is that I like feeling this way. I feel creative, unafraid to die, purposeful, tireless, and rejuvenated. In a twisted way, I even like the other feelings: loneliness, shame, and a sense of tragic irony. But I don’t like hiding all my thoughts from my wife. I usually hide half of what I’m thinking and the other half remains hidden because she doesn’t ask questions, but this is different.

The last time this happened to me, I lost my job. I have a general recollection of terrible darkness. I completely understood suicide for the first time. Maybe if I think back over that time and deal with it as it really was, and not just as a locked Pandora’s box, I can find answers. Or, insidiously, maybe I’ll find justifications. I need a therapist.

Probably I am not unique. Could be that everyone, when they’re truly in love, whatever thing happens in the mind when that happens, is, depending on perspective, either a delusional raving lunatic or temporarily completely sane. You know how you feel when you get the good buzz while drinking, or when you take ecstasy, that feeling of love for all humanity? That feeling that is usually so far away.

Have you ever felt that everyone was doing the wrong things, and that it was all the fault of people that had felt the way that you feel when you take that darkest of drugs – power. I have never felt enough power to get addicted, and I have never done heroin. I assume they are similarly addictive.

In a life as mundane as mine, which isn’t even as mundane as most of the people I know, it’s easy to go along and not debate with yourself about whether this is anywhere close to the best of all possible worlds or whether it is closer to the worst of all possible worlds. But when you get a taste of a powerful emotion, you question this going along.

Could it be that everyone who falls in love feels like sitting in the dark and listening to music? Well, yeah probably everyone does. But the last time I sat in the dark and listened to music was a year ago or more. I feel like I am so distant from myself. I feel imprisoned by my current life, by debt, society, my family. Then, another being shows up who for some reason makes that prison feel like it’s a trick of the light. That I could walk right out of it.

I want to live on the street, smell like shit. Take showers in public bathrooms. Write love poems in the sand of deserts where no one will come looking for us, where the moon shines in her eyes and it may be the last thing I’ll see. I want simpler things than that, too. I want to fall slowly into a life of squalid domesticity where I’m sure I’ll begin to resent her…

But when you are on drugs you think such things. Who are the happy people of the world? Certainly not the people we have heard of. It’s not the people who follow the drugs and the love where ever they go, who chase an experience outside of reality. The happy people of the world have families and jobs and die having loved in a way that wasn’t about what they wanted all of the time. Thus speaks the prison. Is the prison a prison or is it my true self? I wish I could test a different path and come back to this point if I found the other path to be as frustrating as this one. Maybe I am just convincing myself that the world is a horrible place where you can never win because I’ve already resigned myself to life long pain and toil.

There are no happy people in the world, really. There is no happiness. There is only striving and struggle and existence at all costs. What we have are moments of joy, which appear in every life. I just wish the ratio wasn’t so fucked up.

And drugs like ecstasy and obsession trick us into believing that the ratio could be better than it is. But there’s always a comedown. Isn’t there? Shit I don’t know, maybe there isn’t.

Waking Up in Bogota

This morning, a car outside was playing fiesta music. I mean the kind of music that makes you feel like you’re waking up in a commercial. It’s bright as hell in the apartment, and somewhere nearby there’s an important convention of emergency vehicles.

I don’t really feel like writing a god damn thing. I really just want to go back to sleep. Too bad I can’t. Too bad. 

I remember thinking last night that I am getting too wound up and I better just relax again and forget the feeling that I’ve done nothing of import in thirty years. I usually forget stuff like that in the morning. 

I Was Going to Say Something, Then I Changed My Mind

There are so many things written about restaurant staff. A lot of things I read overplay one or two aspects of the job and are very confident that this happens in all restaurants. There are many kinds of restaurants. I don’t know where people get the bravado to generalize so conclusively.

I would like to write about waiting tables. Sometimes I think about it. There are a lot of good characters and situations. The situations are often a challenge to capture with words, however, that’s not the main reason I have so far refrained from trying. Writing about restaurants is a little like writing about a disaffected young man in that it’s already been done and overdone, sometimes successfully and sometimes poorly—mostly poorly.

I started to write a post about the restaurant where I work, but I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what servers are called in the King’s English, so I looked that up. That brought me to an article about restaurant staff and twenty-six things they know about you. And that article was very true about one kind of restaurant, or maybe even one restaurant, but it claimed to speak for all restaurants.

I don’t identify primarily as a restaurant employee, but it was annoying all the same.

And then I realized that I have to stop getting annoyed so easily and just try to have fun.