I took a late afternoon stroll into the forest, trying to find Sibley’s Farm. Walking on the Bobolink Trail, following the blue paint trail marks dotting the trees. As I wandered deeper and deeper into the forest, I noticed that the farm was not nearly where I thought it should be. And I was walking for a pretty long time. Somehow, somewhere along the way, I must have wandered off the Bobolink Trail, onto the Otter Pond Trail I had no idea how that happened. The blue dots on the trees were now yellow dots. I checked the GPS on my phone, but there was no signal and my battery was down to 5%. And the sun was beginning to set. And I tried not to panic. I tried not to think about the fact that I didn’t really know anybody in New England. And I tried not to think about getting shot by deer hunters. Or eaten by bears. Or snakes. And I tried not to think about how long it would take someone to discover my vulture-ravaged corpse. And I tried not to notice that I seemed to be wandering in circles. But maybe, if I walked exactly the right number of circles, I would get incredibly lucky and that a miracle would happen and the yellow dots on the trees would turn into blue dots and I would somehow find my way back to the parking lot where my car would be waiting for me and maybe I could then reward myself with dinner at a Thai restaurant because I probably would have earned it. And somehow, moments before sundown, that miracle did occur. I thanked the universe or whoever was listening for my good fortune. When I returned to the car, I turned on the radio and someone was interviewing Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She was ranting about the attempted coup by the Democrats, encouraged by liberal media, to take down the president. And she would not stop talking. On and on, she went. About treason. And wiretapping. And obstruction. It was then that I realized that getting lost and not found in strange forest was probably the least of my worries.
how strange it is for me to assume that i don’t have a story.
how strange it is for me to assume that I don’t have a story simply because i don’t have a narrator.
I can’t tell you how strange.
Because my narrator is narrating all of the time. it doesn’t stop narrating. and feels compelled to narrate everything in such a ceaseless stream of narrating chatter that it just becomes a layer in the background that i forget is even there.
endless endless narration
and the narrator is rarely narrating me. it doesn’t even use my voice. i don’t even know who these characters are that the narrator is narrating into a story.. It’s all so foreign to me. Many of them have foreign accents. When I pay attention to the voices, to these characters, its like watching a movie, but it’s hard to make sense of it, because usually I have missed the beginning and i have no idea what these characters are up to or how they relate to each other and of course there are no subtitles. I don’t think they have much relationship with me. i am incidental to the narrative, if i appear in it at all.
It’s not my movie.
Or else the narrator is inescapable. Nothing I do escapes the narration. the narrator’s judgements, critique and analysis, the narrator’s predictions and foreshadowings and conclusions and bygone conclusions.
If only the narrator could stop narrating, I might be able to get some sleep. And then perhaps I might be able to finally wake up and be present to the world outside the narrative.
instead i live in a half dream that i sometimes wish was a full dream or better yet no dream at all. But I’m not in control here. The narrator does not yield control.
I try to tell the narrator there’s no need to be so controlling because it’s not like I am going to do anything outside the narrative. I can’t even see that far. But I think this narrator has some sort of god complex.
How does one awaken oneself out of numbness?
My first thought is to fall back asleep to enter the dream world where nothing is numb. But I think that would be cheating.
My second thought is to set oneself on fire, which would call way too much attention to myself which I absolutely would not want. So cross that one out.
My third thought is sex, but that requires a collaborator and I don’t see any around.
My fourth thought is sex again, maybe with a different collaborator, in case I can’t find the first.
My fifth thought is to do something I would not normally think of doing, but that’s a little vague and doesn’t give me the direction I so urgently need.
My sixth thought is just to pretend that one is not numb and maybe something real can eventually arise out of all of that pretend non-numbness.
My seventh thought cannabis.
The seventh thought has more potential than the previous 6.
Tonight is the night it became 5780. I have little idea of what that means. But hopefully in 5780 I will become a better human than I was in 5779. The kind of human I would want to be around. Not that I want to be around myself. But the kind of human who other humans like to be around. I am so out of practice with that. I need more discipline.
My mind was so scattered today. I was jumpy and unfocussed all day. All of this unused, unchanneled energy with nowhere to go. An oddly anxious day, although nothing in particular happened in it.
Even though it was a perfect day outside, I did not set foot out of the house until 8:30 pm which is when I drove the park on the waterfront to experiment with night photography. But even that was stressful. The police were out. I could not see very well in the dark. And could only hear distant and some not so distant voices shouting. It made me very nervous. But I did manage to take one photo.
I’m listening to ocean sounds on my laptop, trying to calm my scattered mind. And strangely enough, I think it’s working. Especially if I close my eyes.
If I close my eyes, I have a better sense of who and what is here, including you.
I am trying to think of something that literally did not happen today. Or it happened, but not literally. And I’m coming up empty. It’s been an empty day. It’s been an empty year, an empty past 4 years. I have bottomed out of emptiness. Literally bottomed out. I didn’t think it would be possible.
The Sabbath is supposed to be the day of rest, but I am not sure if the rest is supposed to involve the vocal cords which have been resting unused all day.
How can I break out of this pattern? Almost 4 years of not breaking out may have done me in. I am at a loss. So lost at a loss. Perhaps if I change the name of this blog, everything will turn around for me. Maybe if I stop writing about loss and lostness, I regain what I have lost and find my way back again.
It’s sort of like the election. Trump has made us all so miserable that one pines to return to the lost world that existed before him. Even if that world was not our favorite. I would give anything to return there. Wouldn’t you?
I find myself sighing a lot. All of the time. I have probably produced more sighs in the past 4 years than I have in my entire almost extinguished life. Today alone, the number of sighs completely dwarf the number of words I have spoken.
Not THAT may have been the most depressing paragraph I have ever written. I don’t know if I could top that.
There’s got to be a way for me to break out this. There’s just got to be. But it’s going to take an intervention. Something beyond me. It may be difficult to find that something that is beyond me if I never leave this apartment.
I just went through a flurry of job interviews in a short span of time. And came up empty. I was hoping upon hope, pleading, putting everything I had into getting this job in Minneapolis, but they went with a candidate whose qualifications more closely align with their needs… or however they phrased it. I don’t know how much more aligned I could have been. But I guess I must be a very mis-aligned person. I guess I must work on that.
But every time this happens, I cry out to the universe:
What am I doing wrong ?
Is it really my fate to be so unhappy and lonely and isolated until the earth is done with me? Has that been my fate from the very beginning?
My brain is running me ragged. It doesn’t stop churning. On and on it goes. On and on. It’s so monotonous. And it’s exhausting. And it doesn’t seem to care that it’s exhausting me.
One would think my brain would have the sense to think of someone else besides itself. One would think. But that kind of thought never enters this brain’s thinking. Not even for a splinter of a second.
And it keeps dragging me along. It won’t let go. No matter how hard I try to set myself loose, it simply won’t let me. It’s so unfair.
So then what is this brain thinking about? All of those what/if/then/that kinds of thoughts. What/if/then/that and then if/that/what/then/if. The content is irrelevant. The point of it is to exhaust me. And it is succeeding. I wonder if it feels a sense of pride in that kind of success.
But my brain does not feel success or failure or much of anything else. My brain does not believe that there’s no success like failure … or that failure’s no success at all. My brain does not know what to believe. My brain is not in the business of believing. Believing in something. In anything.
But it grinds away. Unremittingly. And I am tethered to it. It’s an unfortunate situation.
But I like to think there is hope. A flicker of hope. I hope for the day where one day my brain looks up and sees the sky. And looks around and sees the sky all around it. And begins to notice there is earth below. And upon there that earth there is me. And maybe at that moment, my brain will experience a realization of some sort. A realization about something and someone outside of it.
And perhaps then it will feel some sense of responsibility to others besides itself. Even if they are intangible. I wait for that moment to occur.
I’ve decided that it might be a good idea for me to spend more time in conversation with the dead, especially when I often cannot think of anything to say to the living. Tonight I was talking to this friend of my sister’s who I knew all too briefly, who I really think could have been a significant person in my life before her departure. I was just sort of talking to her and reminiscing about our fractal of time together, but I felt bad because I could not recall her name. You know that feeling you have when you’re talking to someone whose name you have no excuse for forgetting, but you are drawing a blank? I believe they call it Nominal Aphasia. Isn’t Aphasia a beautiful word? Sort of like Fantasia and Aphrodisia fused together.
But just when I had given up on my ability to rise above Nominal Aphasia, the name COLLEEN appeared out of nowhere. In a flash. Of course, Colleen! Just like that Joanna Newsom song.
What an amazing spirit you were when you dwelled among us… artist, writer, English Channel swimmer, authentically beautiful human. I’m so glad I’ve reconnected with you. I feel so much better now.
I long. I am longing. I am not lacking in longing. Longing is something I do. I cannot say for sure that I do it well. I just do. The days I am not longing are disconcerting. To me. I wonder if today is such a day. So far nobody has asked me about this. So far, at 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon, no one has asked me anything. So far, no one has spoken to me nor have I spoken all day. This does not feel like a very healthy way to live. My under-used vocal cords would probably agree, if they could speak, which they could if anyone addressed them. they are waiting. they are longing.
You may ask me, what is it like to long? I might say longing is the same thing as yearning. To which you might respond that this was not a very helpful answer. I would think about it for a moment or 2 and then I would probably agree. But I would probably need more time before I thought of answer.
And it might not even be the right answer. Longing is an acute awareness of what one is lacking in one’s life that is smushed together with a fervent desire to acquire what one is lacking.
You might say that this answer sounded so formal and academic.
Which is exactly not the response I was not looking for. I worry that this impression I give others of seeming formal and academic obscures all that I am capable of being. So maybe I should try a different answer. Like maybe I should say that longing is a feeling of great depth and passion that I have, even when there is no subject, no object to receive it.
That would probably be a better answer. Even if it were not entirely true.
I’m trying to figure out if I should send a follow-up text to my okc date from the other night. But what do I have to say, especially when the expectation that I will ever see this person again in what remains of my lifetime is so low?
I guess that is one of the purposes of a blog. It’s sort of a sandbox to try out things that I may or may not try in my life outside of the blog.
And I should feel especially unencumbered to try things out since, as far as I can tell, I am the sole reader of this blog.
Perhaps I could text her:
Hi _____! I hope you had a great time rock climbing this weekend. I spent most of my weekend waiting for your text, but something must have gone wrong with my phone. Would you mind re-sending?
Hi _____! I hope you had a great time rock climbing this weekend. It must have been a great release, especially in light of the stress of meeting me the other night. Actually even though I have never climbed a single rock (but I have tripped over many) … and even though I am afraid of heights…. rock climbing is probably much less terrifying than asking you if you’d like to go on a 2nd date. Even climbing Mt. Everest would be less terrifying.
Hi _____! I’ve been meaning to write to you to let you know that when we met, I was so consumed by self-consciousness and worries over how I came across to you that I barely remember you being there at all. I don’t know if I would even recognize you if we passed each other in the hallway. I have a vague image of someone with long hair wearing a black shirt and drinking a local IPA, but I am not convinced that was you. It could have been anyone. Would you like to meet up again and maybe this time, both of us will be present? I would like that.
now that I feel nothing except for a headache, I’ve decided that now might be an opportune moment to write. now that I’m numb and i’ve run out of time, I thought this moment is probably more opportune than any other moment that came before it.
i’ve been trying to distance myself from the heartache of another okcupid date. not even heartache. i’m not convinced my heart was all that invested in this person. I had not even considered whether or not that was true.
the hurt comes from just trying to be liked, regardless of who happens to be doing the liking. It could be Hitler or Stalin or Mussolini or Eva Braun or Tiffany Trump or Dick Cheney or Liz Cheney or… . i can barely even recall what I thought about you. you seemed nice. and authentic and curious. that is all I could have hoped for. But now, it’s looking like my fears might be realized. i don’t know if I’ll ever hear from you again.
And I’m trying to decode what could have possibly gone wrong.
Was it the fact that I am 10 pounds heavier than in my photos?
was it because I was not as fast and witty and engaging in-person as I am in text? Although I warned you, this would probably happen. the in-person me might take some time to catch up with the SMS version.
Was it my shirt? Maybe I was wearing too much brown.
Or sometimes people read things in my facial expressions that are completely divorced from however I am feeling at the moment. Maybe I looked too anguished or too pre-occupied, or too worried, or maybe my face is just responding to the right things at the right moment. But whatever it does, should not define who I am.
But tell that to this okcupid person. If you can find her. I have the feeling she’s vacated the premises.
I spent the day driving in circles, or in some cases, ovals. I couldn’t seem to get anywhere I needed to go, but it probably didn’t help that I had no idea where I needed to go today. Completely directionless, motivationless and passionless. Devoid.
Round and round I went. Over and over. It took me over an hour to find the river trailhead. And once I found it, I quickly realized that I needed insect repellent which was not in my possession and I just couldn’t handle it in the woods. I am such a lightweight.
So I thought, OK, skip the nature today. Maybe a tiny adventure to a new cannabis store in Uxbridge, MA. I waited in line for 1/2 hour and I was so proud of the quick decision I made to buy a disposable vape, cbd:thc 1:1. I was really excited about it. But I had no cash. And my debit card was nowhere to be found.
So I finally gave up. And headed back home.
Hoping I would feel different. Hoping for something unexpected. But it turns out, if you rarely leave your apartment, the likelihood of something unexpected occurring drops exponentially.
My world just keeps shrinking. Shrinking much faster than I could ever keep pace. And I float further and further away.
From connection .
From feeling and being authentic.
From feeling and being anything.
Drifting away. Floating away. Like the astronaut that HAL murdered in 2001. I think his name was Frank Poole. or Pool.
i wish i could find a way to get people i would want to sit next to me on the train to sit next to me on the train instead of the people who sit next to me on the train.
I feel like a terrible person for saying that.
I should be open to everyone
But I fall short.
Again and again.
I fall short.
I wish I did not fall short.
I was placed upon this planet to live up to my potential as a human.
But so far, I am falling short.
How can someone who is so tall fall so short?
My legs are far too long for the seats on the very train where I want someone to sit next to me, whoever you are. I know you’re out there.
But what is the purpose of being tall if I am falling short?
I am thinking a lot about purpose these days, as I struggle with purposelessness.
Unless I can find purpose in searching for purpose.
If that is the case, then I guess I may be falling less short than I imagine.
It’s become an obsession. Maybe not an obsession but a hyper-hyper-sensitivity to the movement of time. I’m ultra aware of each second ticking by and each second I am doing nothing nothing positive or new. Nothing that I haven’t done before. And it’s getting me nowhere. Nowhere in a hurry. And the seconds whisk by and I am frozen. Even now, more seconds are ticking by. The problem is … the problem is that I sense I am running out of seconds. But instead of making the most of the seconds as they happen, I sit here petrified and frozen. Are typing these words getting me anywhere? There’s so much of the world I want to see, so many experiences I have yet to experience. But I just can’t get anywhere. And more seconds whisk by as I contemplate not getting anywhere.
I keep hearing all of these politicians say, “that’s not who we are” in relation to something odious said or done by the most odious of humans who sadly tragically odiously occupies the White House; or another horrific odious incident of white nationalism that he inspires. Or sometimes the politicians will say, “this is not who we are.” This or that is not who we are.
I wish I could say that all of the time. It would have come in handy as a reply to the job rejection email I received the other day which probably should not come as a surprise since I was not at my best during the interview. I’m not ever at my best at any interview. Especially a search committee on the phone interview.
I wish I could have written a reply to the search committee, something along the lines of “that person you interviewed… this is not who I am.” Perhaps this might lead them to think they have failed to reject me because the person they rejected is not who I am. And then they might decide to consider the person who is who I am.
And all of the rejections from dating which I never do because I am too anxious and self-conscious and make a terrible first impression. But if at the end of a bad date, instead of looking for clues as to whether there will be a 2nd date, I could simply let them know that the person they went on a date with was not who I am.
And the homeless people I walk past and do not acknowledge because I never carry around money and I’m in a rush and if I had more time I would direct them to a soup kitchen but instead I walk past them and try to convince myself that this is not who I am.
And the people at work who think I am eccentric because I have no idea how to start a conversation with them and they never start one with me, but if they did, they would see I am an actual dimensional person instead of this person who is not who I am.
So the real question is who is who I am?