Tapping away

This afternoon at work, this woman who sits directly opposite me sort of sheepishly walked up to my desk and asked in a hushed tone if I could stop tapping my feet. I acted incredulous (that is, at least I thought so) because I felt incredulous. I knew I was not tapping my feet even though it was entirely possible that I was tapping my feet. It was also possible that she was bothered by the movement of my chair rolling upon the very old and very bumpy wooden floor Still, I was incredulous, embarrassed and pissed off.

How could I not be?

After I regained my composure several hours later, I asked her if she could be more specific about what was irritating her. I rolled my chair a couple of times and asked, “Does this bother you?” She said she wasn’t bothered any more because I had stopped tapping my feet.

I then said that sometimes I get restless… thus pretty much admitting that I was tapping my feet.

And she had stopped being bothered because from the moment after she asked me to stop tapping, I had been sitting frozen at my desk, hyper-vigilant to not make even the slightest movement.

I could have easily said that I work quietly and speak to no one all day long while you chatter away incessantly. But have you ever once heard me complain?

But I did not.

I could have promised her that I would try to do a better job of being invisible.

I could have said that I notice that lots of people near our desks tap their feet and she never complains about that. So she just happens to complain about the one person who happens to be of Jewish descent on our floor.

I texted my friend C about this and she had an interesting suggestion. “Yes, next time accuse her of religious discrimination. Then give her a compliment about her breasts. I guarantee this is a good way to make friends with your coworkers!”

I texted a response to C that I don’t think that would make a difference because I compliment her about her breasts every day (I actually never would, in case you are wondering). But she never returns the compliment about my breasts.

I could have said that soon she would not have to deal with my feet because I will soon be undergoing surgery and there is no guarantee that I will survive it.

Maybe if I had said that working across from her tomorrow would be a lot easier.

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Unarrived

I can’t tell you where I’ve been lately because I haven’t the faintest clue.

I think I may have been in L.A. But my image of being there is approaching dim.

I may have been tango dancing with my new girlfriend, except that I do not know how to dance. I could not possibly know how to dance. And my girlfriend turns out to be another ghost.

I’ve been dwelling either way too much or not nearly enough upon my upcoming hip replacement surgery. Which is both liberating and frightening.

I also think about my job which I am both afraid of losing and afraid of eternal entrapment.

And then there’s Trump and dismal election which never fails to bring me down.

And I may take breaks here and there to climb into the television. Little breaks here and there.

And I may sleep for 4-5 hours night.

And I may stare at any number of devices waiting for texts from real and imaginary friends.

But it does’t really feel like I am anywhere.

Everything feels in between.

Waiting to leave a place where I’ve never arrived.

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Empty promise

I am so sad to see you go.

I am not sure what happened

You called me to tell you did not want to talk and that I should do all of the talking.

I asked if you wanted me just to talk or to if I should read a story.

You said, “I don’t care.”

But I wasn’t sure what to say because I didn’t have a context for where you were, if you were in your car or in your home. I didn’t even know which city you lived in. Except that you lived in California. I could not tell if you were exhausted, or sick or perfectly fine (as long as you were not required to speak).

So I asked where you lived and you said “California” which you already knew that I knew, with a hint of irritation.

And then you said, “You know, I’m going to get off the phone now.” And you hung up.

And you were gone.

I tried to find you.

I called out to you.

I sent emails.

I sent texts.

I waited and waited for your response.

I tried to figure what went wrong.

Could my asking you where you lived brought about the doom of our relationship?

I guess I was just supposed to talk. Any question was out of bounds.

But how could you not know that talking to a person across the country whom I had never met in person, talking more or less into empty space… how could you not know that I was not known for this sort of thing.

I’m a call and response person.

But now I regret it.

I regret that I did not take you literally.

And when you meant that you did not want to talk, I should have known that this meant you did not want to utter even a single word.

And I violated your needs of the moment.

And now you are gone.

And makes me so sad.

This helpless sadness for a situation for which I have no remedy.

My 3 apology messages were no remedy.

Maybe I was not supposed to apologize either.

Please come back.

I promise I will follow all of your parameters as precisely as possible.

This I can promise you.

Even though you have left and will never receive my promise.

It’s an empty promise. Which is not the same as a broken promise.

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It’s amazing how a 1 day road trip can shake up one’s consciousness out of the doldrums. That’s kind of what happened when I went to Dia:Beacon and continues 2 days later. Which I didn’t expect.

I just met this woman in NYC on Bumble. I asked her if she wanted to ‘chat’ but I meant text chat, not the dreaded phone chat, which is what she thought I meant. And against all of my resistances, against every fiber of my being, I called her. And I immediately liked her. Just her voice alone was worth it. I was clumsy and awkward and there were awkward silences. But we seemed to agree that we should talk again and maybe try to meet.

But then today she sent me a message that she thought the distance was too big a barrier. I replied that I didn’t think that the distance was insurmountable. It’s pretty easy for me to get on a train, especially a train to New York. And she replied that she was taking inventory of her life and realized that she had no need for dating, but she would welcome a friendship. Which comes as no surprise.

I mean it’s become the norm. Not usually over the phone… but usually in person. After a first date, the person I dated has a realization that they need to reassess their lives, or that they realize they have not recovered from the person they had just broken up with. Things to that effect. Or affect.

It’s kind of bewildering and disturbing to think that I have that effect or affect on people. Sometimes they actually do want to pursue a friendship, but sometimes they say they do but it ends up as a ghosted non relationship. I’m not sure what to make of this most recent person.

She watched one of my videos and told me it reminded her of Tarkovsky. Is that a good thing? I don’t think I’ve actually sat through an entire Tarkovsky film. And now that I think of it, I’m not sure if I would want to go out with someone who reminds me of Tarkovsky either. Maybe that’s my problem. I think I am going to have to make myself watch an entire Tarkovsky film just so I can learn what kind of impression not to make with a potential date.

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somebody told me i should be writing. so i asked, have you seen my writing lately? this person look bewildered. I said “I am guessing you have not seen it because if you had, you might think i should be knitting instead,” which I instantly regretted because it may have sounded like i was essentially saying ‘those who cannot write, knit.’ Were I a knitter I would be quite insulted.

But you know that’s not what I meant.

I just meant to say that if this person had read what I have been writing lately, they might think that my energies could be put to much better use doing something else.

It’s kind of scary and disconcerting. To recognize that what might be your greatest strength might not be anything to write home about. I used to think that my non-writing was untapped potential and that I could be doing so much more, taking things so much further. But I don’t enjoy writing and reading what I write is the opposite of enjoyment.

But I don’t have very many options in my isolation exile in New England. There’s an urgency to communicate something to somebody. A pressing urgency. And communication requires words. Written or spoken. But what if you have run out of words? Or just never learned the right ones to use, the very best ones?

What are your options?

One option was to go Dia: Beacon today, which was amazing. I loved every moment of it. Except for the moments when I was dodging the cameras because people are taking photos constantly. You really have to be on your toes to avoid accidentally stepping into someone’s photo. I felt old and crotchety because I remember going to museums before there were smart phones with cameras. When people came to look at the art rather than using art as a backdrop for a selfie or a family photo. Now an art museum feels more like Disneyland.

Every words that I have just written has been completely against the grain. My body and soul are crying out, “stop it already. we hate writing!” There has to be a way for me to work through this. I’m not sure what the answer is.

The Artist’s Way? Maybe I should give another try. Morning pages sound pretty awful for someone who barely functions in the morning  during the work week. But perhaps I need to break out of unhealthy patterns. There’s a lot to break out of. I would not even know where to start.

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made it

Danbury Connecticut

After 3 days of non-decision, I finally decided to take a little road trip to Beacon, NY specifically to visit Dia Beacon which I have not yet seen and who knows how much longer I’ll be out on the east coast? and if I don’t go anywhere during this holiday break, that will be a major major failure. Even I could not allow that to happen.

And I thought this could be a bucolic little ride while listening to Bach Fest on the Columbia University radio station through New England hills and dales. What could be more relaxing than that?

But I didn’t hit the road until mid-afternoon, meaning I would only have about 2-1/2 hours of daylight and I hate driving at night on New England roads because they are not like expressways in the midwest which are always straight and always brightly illuminated. New England roads are the opposite.

And then, quite naively, I didn’t think there would be Friday rush hour traffic in Connecticut. It’s not exactly Amish country. And then it started to rain and my wiper blades are in bad shape and the windows kept fogging up. And the route I followed on Waze was as complicated as any route I’ve taken.

Had I bothered to look at a map, I would have at least been psychologically prepared.  

So when the sun set and the rain began…. well it was too late to head back to the home that isn’t really my home because I have no home. But I was non-home homesick. And I really had to pee and it was bumper to bumper, no exits anywhere. And then the warning light went on that the pressure was low on one of my tires. 

Finally, I arrived, about an hour later than anticipated, but I did find a bathroom in time.

I normally would not write about this, but I am typing as a new strategy for stress relief (since I left my vape pen at home).

 

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The challenge

The challenge is quite challenging. Quite. How to fend off abject loneliness and a sense of failure as a human over the holidays. Am I up for the challenge?

Sigh.

I’m really not sure.

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Not terrible news

Today may have been a first. The first time a doctor called me to tell me news that was not terrible. In this case, I don’t have knee cancer. Only I would be at risk for something like cancer of the knee. So at least there was some relief from thinking about my future hip replacement, a prosthetic leg to replace the leg they would have to amputate and never being able to walk normally again, or have sex again or even date again.

The holidays are about to begin and I am taking all of this time off from work with no where to go because I’m broke and no one to see because I don’t know anyone to see, outside of cashiers and people who work in service industries. Other than that. I’m going to try to use it as sort of a writer’s retreat. Which is a scary thought because what do I have to write about that I have not written already. Perhaps I should end this post now because the more words I put into it, the fewer words I will have when I need them for my writer’s retreat. When you only write or speak a handful of utterances each week, you really have to ration them carefully, judiciously.

But what will I do over the holidays to fend off despair? I just to find a place where I can pretend I am another person.

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Kitchenwhere

At this moment I am listening to the dishwasher which might be the first music I’ve heard all day. I am not sure why I turned it on. There were no dishes to wash. In fact, there are no dishes because, one-by-one, I have broken them all in some sort of elongated ritual whose purpose is unknown. Could this be some sort of metaphor for the absence of a wedding in my life? Who knows? The glassware, the ceramic cups and plates. And all of the silverware is gone, too. Someone broke into my apartment to steal 6 spoons, 8 forks, and 5 knives. This may have happened while I was sleeping. Which explains why I find it so difficult to sleep. If you let down your guard for the tiniest moment, you are not just asking for trouble. You are inviting it. Who knows what they’ll take next?

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On the train. Numb and fatigued. It’s the numbness that I’m really concerned about.

It looks like I’m not going anywhere for the time being. And that concerns me, too.

The job plods on. I search for change but it seems like it will take divine intervention for that to happen. I don’t even know how to ask.

I haven’t exercised in over a month. Which has something to do with the ennui.

My half birthday passed by, perceptible only to me. 6 more months of being where I was 6 months ago and 6 months before that.

Alone

Unkempt

Unmotivated

I hate writing about these things. I used to think that writing these kinds of things would lead me somewhere.

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Irritating, Irritated

Everything off-kilter. I do not do very well with less than 4 hours of sleep. My timing was off all day. Which made me irritated. Although hopefully not irritating. I would be the last one to know. Actually I can’t even recall the last time anyone told me I was irritating.

Maybe my parents when I was smaller.

I’m trying to conjure a specific memory of a specific incident. But my memory machine is all so foggy. I might be able to trace back to the year when I may have stopped being irritating to my parents. It may have been in the late seventies. Possibly a Thursday. But I can’t recall the irritating things I did up until that particular Thursday.

That may have been around the time my oldest sister did sort of a fake attempt at suicide. Swallowing a bottle of sleeping pills and then immediately calling my parents. Maybe the trauma of that time took the attention off my possibly being irritating to my parents because they were overwhelmed by dealing with my sister.

So anything I could possibly do that may have once been irritating now paled in comparison to what my sister was putting them through.

And now that I think about it, I’m sure I did things to irritate all of my ex-girlfriends. Which explains why I am alone now, near the end of my life. With no one around to irritate beyond myself.

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Option A

OK. I’ve been meaning to ask you something, but I’ve never been sure how best to articulate it …

but how can you tell if

A.  You are talented but not demonstrating it nearly enough to get noticed, thus denying the world of your talents?

versus

B. Not having talents to demonstrate?

I feel like I alternate between either option. But lately I prefer option A.

Although option A feels like more of a character flaw. There’s something in my character that keeps tripping me up, keeping me in my place, not moving towards my goals and desires and then freezing up as I watch the clock expire. Getting me nowhere.

Wouldn’t it be easier to not have any talents at all? Or goals? Or desires?

Then there would be so much less to panic about.

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Heavy niceness

My friend C was complaining about my friend H who is her co-worker but not her friend and apparently H talks a lot at work. It sounds like H talks and talks and talks. I guess that would bother me, too. I guess. Or maybe I’m just jealous because I usually have nothing to say to anyone. Well, not to anyone. But to the majority of the population. Unfortunately I don’t have data to back me up on that.

But I often do not mind if people talk excessively because then there’s less pressure on me to come up with something to say. And life feels pressured enough, doesn’t it?

Speaking of pressure…

That was supposed to flow into my next topic, but I could not figure out how to transition…

I’ve been putting on all of this weight these days because I move around less and more slowly with this bothersome hip fracture. But the weight might affect my self-image more than my hip. In my larger form, I feel like a lesser form of humanity. So I try to compensate for that by trying to act like a nicer person. Much nicer than the more svelte version. Much more considerate and generous. As if the effort to be a better person is a good cardio workout.

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addition/subtraction

It’s Sunday night at 8:00 and I just realize I have not spoken a word in 29 hours. And if I subtracted the 1 hour I spent talking to my therapist yesterday, I have not spoken to a soul in about 52 hours. This is no way to live.

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My calling

I am stuck. Again. I want to get my writing out there. But I have no idea how to go about that. It takes a focus, assertiveness, aggressiveness and confidence that I am lacking. It’s a real problem.

Plus I hear that if you want to get your writing out there, you should probably write, which I have not been doing much of lately. That seems so unfair. Sometimes I think that the best writers have never written before. Maybe they don’t even know how to write or how to type. But there is something in them. And it deserves to be read.

I guess you can apply that to anything. The best people are the ones who go unnoticed and unseen. But they do not lack presence. It just doesn’t come across very well on online dating sites.

__________

The mirror has not been kind to me of late. Every time I look into it, I see this old, frowning face. I don’t look like the type of person I would want to say hello to. I guess my coldness, my numbness is reflected in the mirror. What do I look so cold and unfriendly? And old? How did that happen? The lines grow deeper. How does a person become this kind of person? How can I be different?

I want to be different. What I am is not who I am.

I’m trying to think of something notable to tell you. Something notable that happened to me.

I pet a dog.

I ride the elevator

I talk about the weather in the elevator

I text my friend

I stare at Facebook

I read the news

I drink coffee

I pay the person who serves the coffee before I drink it

I order a chicken salad sandwich

I thank the person who made it. I pay her too.

I ride the train.

I ride the subway

And later that day

I ride the subway

And then take the train

I take a nap on the bathroom floor, ignoring the people knocking upon it

I vape

I try to look busy

I worry

I am easily hurt by people I see everyday who never stop to say hello

I try to feel something unprotective

I fail

I apologize

I ask

I answer when called upon.

I am not called upon.

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