Coffee, power, breakfast 

Arms and shoulders tired, sitting in a sunny cafe, waiting for breakfast to energise my morning physical therapy…

Brain is relaxed, thoughts moving slowly…

Should this writer expect more than a day’s pay for a day’s work, or can one invest one part of one’s earnings to build a personal trust fund which gives one a life after one’s useful working years are over?

What value does one place on instant gratification?

What is peace?

Once again, I have made peace with the world.

What is peace?

Peace, of course, is a concept, a label, a symbol, all of that.

I do not exist, therefore a nonexistent entity making something called “peace” is all imaginary.

The world is easy enough to grasp as both an entity and a concept.

At a multicellular level, I am not at peace, my body always fighting entropy, battling bacteria and viruses floating around in my system, breathed in and pooped out on a regular basis.

So what, then, is peace?

It means I have let go of the parts of me that in my youth wanted to explore the universe off of this planet.

I am no longer 5, 15, 25, 35 or even 50.

To be sure, age is just a number and more than one person my age or older has traveled to the International Space Station orbiting Earth but I am not them.

I am me.

It is in my personal best interest, healthwise, to fold up the circus tent under which I was entertaining people around me and return to the meditation platform in the woods where I can rest during the day whilst quietly spending half of the night shift working alone preparing blood product inventory for delivery to hospitals.

I am contented, not necessarily happy, but able to enjoy myself and no longer fill my thoughts with the lives of others who, although they gave me a level of exuberant happiness, also left me feeling old, unable to keep up with their busy lives, as busy as I was when I was their age 25-30 years ago.

I unattach myself from the surface of others whose lives I mimicked as a chameleon.

I am happiest here, writing, wherever my butt is seated and my hands have a keyboard or pen and paper on which I compose these ditties.

Peace is simplicity and frugality.

Peace is my thought set devoid of a running commentary justifying its existence, shouting for attention, and seeking quick thrills.

Delta, Dawn, Dune

Connections.

Networking.

Talking Sister Rosetta Tharpe with one friend, capacitors with another, and how to properly brew Piper & Leaf branded tea with a third.

All within the greater community connection that is dancing.

Yes, dancing has connected me to the following, at the least:

  • Cosplay/Dragon*Con
  • Oil change discounts
  • Barcode readers
  • Weekly social gatherings
  • Outdoor photography with friends
  • LGBT rights
  • Rocket/missile engineering/engineering in general
  • Juggling multiple jobs
  • Local Maker movements
  • Online roleplaying/multiplayer gaming
  • Massage/physical therapy
  • Haunted buildings/locations
  • Multiple emotional/mental conditions (depression/bipolar/dissociative/schizophrenic, etc.)
  • Traveling for weekend dance competitions (not unlike car racing, gymnastics, tennis, etc.)
  • Recruiting
  • Promoting/marketing
  • Local art communities
  • Municipal growth planning
  • Extraterrestrial exploration/colonisation
  • Greater exposure to different music genres
  • Polyamorous relationship management skills
  • Watching young people expand their talents into other fields
  • Watching people 40 and older rediscover the simple joys of living
  • The international language of dance overcoming all socioeconomic sub/cultural barriers
  • Myself

In times past, I spent Sunday mornings meditating on a subject or two, often asking more questions than reaching conclusions, setting up thought trails to explore the rest of the artificial seven-day block we call a week (trying living without a watch or calendar and see if you recognise a week; you might tune yourself into periods of a day and a lunar month but will you feel a week go by if there are no specific days you need to do anything?).

My latest electronic project has turned into the next evolution of the personal care chair, a seating device that senses your posture, wrapping itself around your torso and gently correcting your posture, working pressure points to ease muscle/ligament/tendon pain, keeping you alert when you need it and reminding you to relax occasionally, as well as push you up to exercise your body, tied as it is to your fitness tracking device (smartwatch, phone, wristworn activity tracker, etc.).

I started physical therapy recently to work my upper body, hoping to build muscle and bone mass in an effort to stop the bouts of vertigo my general practitioner/primary care physician believes is caused by pinched nerves in my neck/spinal column.

One of the physical therapists I also met through dancing.

Is there anything anymore in my life that isn’t related to dancing?

We live on a small planet, third cooling molten rock mass from the Sun, so I know better than to feel or act shocked that we humans connect through common interests.

Yet the child in me enjoys amazement and awe.

The teenage boy in me enjoys his own amazement and awe that is kept at bay for no other reason than I am what I am, an awkward nerd whose looks, age and ability to deflect people away from the real me through the art of conversation gets tiring after a while.

Sometimes I wonder why I carry an eclectic set of social data in my thoughts from which I can parse sentence structure and make sense in general conversation whether I know what I’m talking about or just am interesting enough that people ignore my ignorance, inferring from the few words I blurt/write that I know more than I do.

The wisdom of aging has its advantages.

Time was when I wished I was wise enough to seek wealth.

Then the training of my youth kicked in, driving me back to the monkhood for which I was destined.

I don’t know how to live in two worlds and the confusion has clouded my weekly meditative writing.

Two worlds, one which is the monkhood with my marriage that I gladly enjoyed for ten years, the second is the sexual attraction infused in dancing that counteracts my celibate marriage and draws me to see human bodies in a way that constantly confuses me since the nerd in me has no experience seeking out sexual relationships with others.

The denial of sex with others has fueled my creativity for decades, including writing and electronic gadget construction.

Dancing fuels my writing but takes away from my laboratory time.

At my age, 55+ years, and in semi-retirement, working for a local nonprofit, what or who am I?

Does anything matter anymore — labels, symbols, philosophical stances, subcultural beliefs?

The child in me and the future geriatric self wait for an answer that may not exist.

I return to the mantra that I do not exist, therefore I am not important.

I am at peace in my thoughts.

That much I know.

At my age, that’s all that matters.

I spend the day with my wife, give her the attention she seeks from her life partner, a person who lets me be me as long as she feels important (the primary person in my life), a person who feeds me and clothes me, for the most part taking care of me and my health.

What else am I to do because I don’t know how to care for myself?

I sit here and write, that much I know about feeling peaceful.

Everything else is just random interaction in the connectedness of the dance world.

I need not find patterns where they don’t exist.

I need not project the future in hopes of saving our species from global destruction.

I will die soon enough, might as well remain as peaceful as I have in the past, enjoy the ride and not question the beneficial/detrimental effects of the transportation device.

I no longer struggle with who I am.

My actions speak louder than words.

No need to be confused.

Breathe, eat, sleep.

A set of states of energy in motion which needs no overlay of symbols to justify its existence; i.e., the secret to happiness.

Live and let others live/die as they please, interference from me unnecessary.

[On a side note, I wonder if the Meclizine and ondansetron, combined with physical therapy easing decades of pain, have led to this new calmness in my thoughts…certainly, uncertainty about my vertigo and the piercing pain in my neck for 40 years have made me feel like I’ve always been running away from something; now that I have a solution, I don’t need to run away anymore, no need to pretend to be someone else in order to hide the real physical pain that has defined me since high school, from which I used to think there was no escape.]

Time to let go of me (again)

Back in the laboratory where I feel most comfortable, where the only person I entertain is me.

I started a new life a few weeks ago, switching to the night shift at work, thinking I would free up my days and evenings to spend more time with people.

After a few weeks of this newfound freedom, I find myself back here in the home creative workspace where inventing new friends from electronic parts gives me a kind of joy that is spread out over a long stretch of time, unlike the quick roller coaster rides of joy on the dance floor that addictively attract me to those with whom I’ve danced.

I am at heart a solitary person who likes romantic walks under the stars with himself writing poems to imaginary people, sharing my writing with real people who most closely match my imagination.

Do I know what love is?  Not really.  I understand what working relationships are, where we pay attention to the needs of our fellow human beings, selflessly exchanging goods and services (including time) to meet the needs of others.

Otherwise, I don’t know what love is.

I don’t even know if I love myself.

I pause here in my life, taking a break from having fun imagining what it’s like to have fun with others, to let go of my selfish pursuit of friendships and look at these electromechanical parts in front of me, figuring out what I can uniquely do with them that I haven’t seen someone else assemble from their imagination.

Woz is right — motivation is better than knowledge in the realm of human endeavours.

I love to dance, love the people who love to dance.

I also love being alone.

I am not alone in this feeling of balancing social life vs. personal alone time, so sitting here alone in the workshop on dance night is not unique in itself.

It is 21:39, an hour and a half away from when I should leave the house and head toward my night shift job doing my part in the healthcare business to save lives.

I heard from “Helen” on social media.  We are still connected to each other although we haven’t seen each other in decades.  The short years we spent together in high school and college seemed like forever at the time.  The nearly fatal motorcar smashup which gave us both head concussions and shoulder/neck injuries almost 40 years ago still plague us today.

From that car wreck, my brain’s neural network changed, instantly forcing me to question the reality of everything I see.

I equate what I felt in the 30 seconds of regaining consciousness in the backseat of a car after the concussion to the dissociative characteristics of hallucinogenic entheogens.

I see everything differently, more so than when I was five years old and woke up to see brainwashing aspects of social training.

It does not make me any more different than others.

I have talked to myself in sufficient quantity tonight.

Talk to you again soon, Rick!

Maybe you’ll shake off this dull edge of lack of sleep and find happiness.

As your wife told you the other day, you haven’t truly laughed in pure joy in a long damn time.

Are you ever going to laugh and have fun again?

Does trying to have friends, trying to understand what they’re saying, when you can even hear them, require such hard work that it’s not fun anymore?

Right now, sadly, it seems so.

Boo hoo, the luxury of middle class, midlife bourgeois quasicrises! Ha ha ha ha ha! rofl

Close this self pity party blog entry and get back to work, you slob! Your future self will thank you!

At 55

In my 56th rotation around the Sun, like a chicken on a rotisserie, or a pig in a pit, I am.

I live only in this moment where tinnitus and arthritis are my constant companions.

No guarantees, no warranties, no wallabies, no garish brasseries…

Never having lost at love, I’ve only learned.

At 55, wisdom should flow from me like a waterfall;

Instead, I issue wise observations one drop, one pebble in the pond at a time of my choosing.

I like happiness, I like kindness, I like a lot of conditions we call emotional responses

Of sets of states of energy cooperating rather than competing.

At 55, I’ve seen it all or projected it into the future…

Variations on a theme.

I want to believe I’m other than I am,

A lazy, selfish oaf, tired most of the time,

Stretching the perimeters of my comfort zone

To be, or attempt to see, other than I am.

Theory is nice and all —

Word combinations can simulate that which might be —

But practical limits on my capabilities bring reality into focus,

Erasing infinite futures, replacing them with a line.

I know how to project the temporary image of a loving person,

Well-practiced responses to growing up in fear of passive-aggressive parental attacks,

And, unfortunately, that’s all I have to offer, a false front.

I’m guided by fear, not love,

Raised under the promise of a technological utopian future,

Conflicted and inflicted with vertigo-induced side effects of staring at the electronic glass mantra of this screen.

Att 55, this is me,

Belonging nowhere,

Cared for by one in one scenario,

Caring for another in another scenario,

Trapped in a comfort zone of unhappiness,

Wishing for the uncomfortable zone of happiness,

No matter how contradictory it sounds/reads.

At 55, I am tired,

Unable to count my blessings,

But fully aware of the privileges my current living conditions provide,

Fully aware of the generation gap my workmates and their peers exemplify,

Bridging the gap through dance.

At 55, dance is the one language I like to speak when I can’t speak and be understood at my age.

At 55, I don’t have the strength to attempt to live on my own, I never have,

Requiring faith in a future self I’ve never come close to.

At 55, I remain a dreamer.

Dreams are the only reality I’ve ever known,

Hiding from a benign universe,

Believing the universe is aligned for my existence alone.

At 55…

25…

Or 5.

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?

The overnight shift

I live quietly, my actions less active than my younger self.

Or are they?

This week, I limit my social media interaction, my thoughts distant from other humans, a part of this world yet alone.

Calm, happy enough to know people around me are living lives without knowing me.

Little need for attention, entertaining those with whom I work a new shift at night, sleeping during the daytime, interrupted by telephone calls from unknown humans.

I planned art projects to occupy myself when I felt the need for attention but, in this sated mood, sleeping occupies me more.

Sometimes, fear of dying drives me to complete a project.

Somwtimes, curiosity about my Maker capabilities does.

Only three people i know actually call me to go eat with them on a whim — my wife, my sister and David.

Does that constitute my circle of real friends? (All other friends are hobby-connected.)

I know it does.

It is life at age 55, very common.

Sometimes, i wish otherwise, virtually crying out in the dark with social media posts, short stories and poems.

I was raised to believe life was one of a few choices: man-vs-man, man-vs-god/nature, man-vs-self. I never fully believed in the contrast of “man-vs-X”. We simply react as sets of states of energy in motion.

My motion today is simply sleeping, waking to play with a cat, eating, and working.

The simple life.

One of my lifelong dreams fulfilled.

Perfectly acceptable.

Simple.

Enough.

Morning Sunrise

Car parked in carpark overlooking morning traffic, 

Hiking mates yet to arrive,

Brief meditation on the meaning of social connections

Atop our tiny planet

In this vast universe;

How can we find our way

Midst chaos and confusion

When social media redefines the hive mind,

When minds do not exist?

The dead cedar tree does not say,

Neither the crushed rocks

Nor the pigeon gliding across the road,

But they exist.

Traffic sings a song

When we take time to listen.