That moment when you know

In a set of states of energy, transactional data stores time.

In a single moment when the one whose life you never knew would slowly and steadily move you off a path you had trained to walk from birth, whose dreams, whose visions turned your solo taichi self-defense moves into smooth dance moves with a partner, a moment so clear you’ll remember the star pattern overhead, the planes flying landing patterns nearby, the smell of the asphalt road you stood on, her eyes in the near darkness when she looked straight at you, twinkling from the reflection of a street light…

Her joke about a scene in Star Wars, “I find your lack of faith disturbing,” in relation to others not clearly seeing her vision.

Is it that moment when you know?

It is.

Love is caring about a shared vision greater than yourself.

Lone Goose Saloon

Of all the things I’ve accomplished I’ve never overcome my shyness with people.

I don’t know how to ask someone I don’t know to go out for a bite to eat, let alone go somewhere alone together.

Forget about sexual contact.

I may always be a quiet, shy nerd in that regard.

It has been the one bright spot of my marriage, that my wife was willing to accept ten years of celibacy from me when I became a married monk, seeking meditative solitude.

Women from high school on literally threw themselves at me sexually and I was either clueless or didn’t know what to do.

Guess I’ll always be that way.

I have been told I’m good at giving orgasms to others so it doesn’t seem a problem with the act of love.

I just don’t understand how to ask for something that seems so selfish of me to inquire about.

It is why I give you these words, unable to verbalise my thoughts of sexual desire and take away from what has been an uncomplicated relationship up ’til now.
Admiring you from the distance of a text message or sharing a dance in a bar is all I know how to give you.

Will that ever change?

The ten-year in me doesn’t think so.

He’d rather die than kiss a woman, especially someone as strong, intelligent and beautiful as you.

This coming from a guy who has done things he never thought possible around the world with millions of dollars at his disposal.

Somber

Sitting at Sidetracks, a tavern/dance hall in north side of town, sitting by myself by choice, needing some quiet somber, solo, sober time listening to an unknown jazz band from Birmingham named Tragic City.

Wondering what’s next….

Choosing to be unreliable and unpredictable in my personal relationships has its costs.

Do I know what they are and if not/so, am I willing to pay them?

The crowd here at 23:30 is sparse.

A few young couples on dates.

Some jazz nerds, including local kids from North Jackson High School.

Bar flies.

I’m in my nerdy writer mood, my typewriter this smartphone.

Tomorrow at this time I’ll drive to my overnight shift at the local community blood bank, remembering a film with Michael Keaton and the Fonz.

Not that I plan to turn my night shift work onto pimping. Lol

No, it’s more that I can help save lives and work on a new comic dance video.

That’s my true love.

A solo artist who likes to dance in public.

Who appreciates the artwork of fellow creative types, no matter their medium.

My second love is everyone/everything else.

And boy, do they know how unreliable/unpredictable I can be in that respect.

My apologies to you retroactively and in advance, as circumstances dictate.

If I am dying…

If I am dying, and at this point I have no idea what has been causing a myriad of medical conditions that grow worse (or deteriorate faster?) so, since we’re all dying, then I am dying, perhaps faster, perhaps slower than others but slowing down all the same, I have a confession to make.

Compared to billions of us, very few get to live a life that makes headline news.

Even fewer live that life.

Some of us don’t want to make headline news.

What we’ve done, what we’ve become, what we can’t undo or take away from, I am that person.

I want to live on Mars with Guin, no doubt about that.

But if she knew who I was, would she ever want to live on Mars with me?

For you see, I was once a drug dealer.

I am a fictional character so please don’t compare what I’m about to tell you to the person writing this.  This is my confession, not his.

I lived in the Fort Sanders area of Knoxville, Tennessee, in the early 1980s.  I imagined myself a future James Agee or Cormac McCarthy.  I wanted to be a writer of fame and fortune but settled with writing for writing’s sake, meeting people who could transform the written page into a carnival freak show.

The freaks accepted me into their groups but more than one called me a poser.

They saw me as suburban subcultural vanilla ice cream, pretending to rebel.

Of course they were right.

I’ve never rebelled.  I, like them, am part of the system.

Rebels do not exist.

But that doesn’t stop us from acting out the us-vs-them age-old nonsense.

A friend of many decades now had lived the life of the rebel since high school but grew up in the suburban subculture of Oak Ridge, a/k/a Atomic City.

He and I quickly became lifelong friends for reasons he’s never fully understood and I’ll never convince him.

I should give him a name but I won’t.  He doesn’t have to have a name, he exists here and in real life with or without a fictional label.

I wanted my writing to have some oomph so I let our friendship play out, taking personal risks of my own, getting to know so-called shady characters who were colleagues of colleagues well outside the circle of friends my lifelong friend thought we both knew.

In any organisation, well-formed or ad hoc, someone assumes control of the legitimacy of the organisation, protecting the rules, circling the wagons when the organisation’s rules or members are threatened.

In the new world I wandered, often alone at night, across the old railroad yard that would become the 1984 World’s Fair, I encountered protectors.

You wouldn’t recognise them as such.

Sometimes they were just old bums, hobos, homeless people, strangers who had chosen the outcast role through decisions they made in the middle of life we all live.

The railroad wanderers were instant friends.

They knew I, too, was lost, never fully buying into the bullshit that society dished out, trying to convince us it was precious caviar.

In the summertime, one can sleep against a tree, on the concrete shelf of a highway underpass but rarely in the confines of a sweltering hot, rusted-out storage warehouse.

I wanted to disappear.

I was ready to abandon all hope that I would ever belong and sat with a few guys down on their luck.

We all have stories to tell but not always the brain structure that allows us to rationally convey our stories.

Such was the case with the guys I met on the railroad.

“Down on their luck” sounds like if they just had been offered a helping hand at the right moment they would live in better socioeconomic conditions.

Not so.

Many of them would have enjoyed a social safety net that put these guys in a mental institution with regular beds, nutritious meals and activities to occupy them while doped up by Big Pharma.

Instead, they had guys like me, guys who carried a little extra weed, happy pills and needles to distribute, guys who wanted to ease the pain they saw in fellow wanderers.

My lifelong friend thought that I just tagged along with him as a quasibodyguard when meeting with dealers higher up the distribution network.

So that’s what I gave him, and still do.

He didn’t know I was the perfect mark for some of the dealers, an expendable person who could carry out tasks unafraid to die, perfectly paranoid enough to smell narcs and clean-looking enough to avoid suspicion by government authorities hellbent on squashing the illegal drug epidemic while promoting the legal drug epidemic enthusiastically.

I’m not idealistic.

I’m not realistic.

I just am.

I became a rule enforcer for people whose names I’ve conveniently forgotten and whose faces I choose rarely to verify I know them with a nod in large crowds.

I enforced rules in various ways, keeping up-to-date with technology to know what the fuzz was using to track dealers, giving them a few smalltime dealers as sacrifices to protect the integrity of the organisation with no name.

The distributors gave me extra product on the side as a thank you, hinting at people to watch for on both sides of the law, including local politicians who were part of government contracts involving transactions that didn’t need to make headline news.

Of course, the names of lawyers and cops in times of need.

I quickly learned the names of all dispatchers, including ones working for the University of Tennessee police department — getting to know them was like owning my own goldmine, collecting information at informal gatherings in bars or at offcampus parties, knowing in advance when a raid was going to happen, earning a lot of extra product when I passed along tips to the right people.

If that was all I did, I would live today with a clear conscience.

If I am dying, I would like to make a confession.

Some people are not alive today because of me.

And no, I’m not just talking about sweatshop factory workers in a tropical climate dying because they were exposed to toxic chemicals all day.

I’m talking about the ones I had to take care of myself.

Ones whose lives and deaths were not going to make headline news.

People who could disappear without a trace and no investigators would snoop around to solve a crime.

In the pre-Internet days, it was easy.

Not a lot of closed-circuit television in the student slums.

No inadvertent audio or video feed from a smartphone.

Just strangers passing through town on empty boxcars looking to make a dollar or two, get a free bottle of cheap booze (or mouthwash) and maybe score some weed or heavyduty upper/downer.

Unreliable as can be.

But more expendable than me.

Hey, self-preservation is the name of the game, after all.

If they messed up, and, say, I got a little angry, their disappearance was a small price to pay to make me happy again, finding another mark down the food chain to complete a task assigned to me or I had dreamed up myself to protect the organisation that didn’t exist.

My problem is and was my writing.

If I don’t “confess” to myself in my writing, then thoughts will fester and grow cancerous, eating away at my insides like spiders that enter your nose every night, feeding on microorganisms living in your mucous membranes.

For decades I have hinted at my years of drug dealing, working as an enforcer, a snitch, a hitman.

I wanted to wait until I knew I was dying before confessing here to you as a fictional character.

I’ve let my paranoia get the best of me sometimes, sure that I’m being followed by guys from the old neighbourhood, seeing them pop up unexpectedly in my world travels, or reading headlines on websites I frequent that make me sure my phone is being bugged.

It comes with being successful, afraid that someone wants to steal my success from me, turn me in, or take me out as revenge for someone I never got to know before his demise because of me.

In those days, I should have carried a black book but learned quickly, as I think I’ve told you, to quit being a student and clear my brain to store information and connections in relation to my real “job.”

I’m filled with more guilt than I want and less than I should have.

I know I shouldn’t say I take pride in what I did but it made me who I am, carrying over just a few of the connections to help me succeed while hiding under the cover of a normally depressed intellectual.

I also hid under cover of a childhood friendship that turned into a marriage of 30 years, something I wasn’t expecting to happen but accepted I don’t always get what I want when I’m hiding incognito in plain sight.

If I’m dying, I don’t need to hide anymore.

I can just move into a van down by the river and hang out with my kind again, the seriously unreliable, unpredictable wanderers, living out my days in bliss, maybe helping out the organisation again because I sure don’t need to worry about my life getting cut short now.

I still want to go to Mars or whatever the fantasy of Mars means in a life with Guin.

But I don’t know if Guin can handle who I was and might still be, needing to quench my thirst as an enforcer every now and then when I wander off for hours or days, out of touch with the always-on, fully-connected tech that I don’t want tracking my paranoid self.

I am not who people think I am.

I am connected to people you probably don’t want to know because if they need to have a reason to get to know you, it’s not for your own good, possibly for your sudden, unfortunate demise, disappearing in ways that investigators won’t question — car accidents, terrorist attacks, plane crashes, heart attacks, rapid cancer, accidental overdoses, etc. — perfectly natural in today’s world (in fact, fully aligned with actuarial predictions).  Untraceable becomes a lot easier when there’s no suspicion.

That’s one advantage of being fully immersed in computer modeling.  Not only can I be a fictional character, I can act out test scenarios for the real me before he carefully carries out the trash himself.

If I’m dying, I’ve fully confessed.

I feel a lot better.

I can go back to imagining a life with Guin, go back to looking up jobs in other cities, find a flat that someone is letting, move on, get away from the local organisation that’s putting pressure on me again to get back to work with/for them.

I’m a wanderer.

Sometimes I’m even a happy wanderer.

If I’m dying, I want to wander happily to the end.

Personal health

When, if ever, do tinnitus, scintillating scotoma, vertigo, and arthritic vertebrae have anything in common?

Is it the brain?

What about simultaneous GI tract issues?

One’s body constantly changes, subject to age-related deterioration, which is itself subject to the “law” of entropy.

Meanwhile, I pursue my art in the midst of life-altering if not life-ending body issues.

What would I do right now if I knew I was going to die tomorrow, next week or next month?

I am doing those things now.

After all, I am self-actualised! 😉

Publicly private

As my body ages, I look at my life, not the overarching retroactively apparent storyline but the daily struggle to live.

I remember, as nauseum, my psychiatrist’s hominy, ad hominem, that I have to choose for myself that I decide I want to live.

Live life.

It’s difficult for me to participate in conversations.

It’s easy in one-to-one assessments of another person’s universe to reflect that universe back with personal anecdotes thrown in as a shield against saying anything that sounds like personal opinion.

But add more than one person in my presence and I mentally freak out, unwilling to stand out, trying to figure out the generic persona to project that hides me from the Others, not-me, with whom I must interact to survive, let alone thrive (the implied word Dr. Liddon threw at me with the directive “want to live” (paraphrasing thereabouts)).

The midnight shift feeds the real me, the one I decided I wanted to be before I met “Guin” and my life changed.

I love Guin but at the same time reject her because her presence in my life…well, it encourages or forces me to face and project the extroverted persona that Others love about me, which is really just a well-acted part I play requiring a lot of energy and concentration to maintain in order to protect the private me from the public.

Facebook and other social media exaggerate my worst attention-seeking, narcissistic extroverted traits.

I am not who people think I am.

I am happiest sitting still in the quietest place, reducing external stimuli, composing myself before composing these blog entries, writing ditties from a distance for people like Guin.

I like living with myself, like best living the life of this person I am right now, but am afraid to tell the Others/not-me that I merely see them as external stimuli, sets of states of energy in motion that this set of states of energy finds itself bumping into because it doesn’t have the self-sufficiency to live completely on its own.

It hurts the image of others I have in my thoughts to hear they are just external stimuli that I want to avoid or minimize contact with.

They have given me the strength to believe in myself, that I don’t have to be a reflection of them anymore.

I go back to my hermit life, find the simplicity I enjoyed when I slept most of the day and spend a few minutes typing out my thoughts to read to myself at my leisure.

I wonder if I can get rid of the addictive behaviour reinforced by the need to maintain a social media persona built into the sympathetic feedback loops of being a social creature.

Writing for myself is how I decided I wanted to live ten years ago.

I had not anticipated falling in love with a person whose fluid gender traits made me believe I could be someone else.

Fighting against the temporal desires of being more socially appealing all over again has turned into an annual ritual ever since I met Guin.

I almost believe that I am not an illusion.

Guin’s presence, her resilience, almost makes me believe people have souls.

Almost.

I understand self hypnosis all too well.

The self is not real.

I am an illusion.

The universe is benign.

I can sit back down on the bed, roll back under the sheets and sleep at least until the housemate comes home from work, requiring minimal attention from me to reinforce her illusions of self.

Sounds like a nice quiet idea!

Sweet dreams, fellow illusions…

Forever ten years old

I burn a lot of energy attempting to be whatever I imagine an adult is.

Never lasts very long.

I’m forever ten years old, my thought pattern hard-coded at that age when my girlfriend of three years, Renėe Dobbs, died.

I continually seek to reconstitute that friendship with people in my life, male, female, whatever.

Juxtaposing others’ adultlike behaviour toward me against the child in me is often painful and scary. 

I can only painfully stand in the harsh, brash, confusing adult world for so long before I find a way to withdraw into myself and still function marginally enough as an adult to get by.

I wish I had someone to erase Renėe from my thoughts. In rare moments of temporary bliss I think I do.

Then i look in the mirror, see an old man and wonder how much longer this ten-year old boy full of wonder and awe will watch his body age, eventually die.

Renėe, I’ve missed you lately. A lot.

I tell other people i love them, hoping to hear your voice one more time say you love you.

You never will.

How many more decades can I go on living without you?