Hotel tonight

I arrived in New York without a bed, nor a roof over my head to get through the winter night. This was a situation that could be easily remedied, but I chose not to until the very last minute. I was using the “Hotel Tonight” to monitor the falling prices. As the day progressed, the lower the prices dropped.

It turns out that the biggest bargain was the very one I could not stomach. A room in the Trump Soho hotel dropped from $450/night to $73/night. This was at 4:00 pm. Perhaps if I had waited, the hotel might have paid me to stay there. But I did not want to run the risk of contamination. I would have needed a major delousing after a one-night stay, maybe even during it. To be in the periphery of such odiousness.

I think that the scariest part of living under the Trump/Republican regime is not know when or if it will ever end.

So I ended up staying at a trendy hotel in Brooklyn and I could easily have stayed there forever if I had not run out of $$ and gotten sick. So now, back in Providence, home sick. Trying to conjure a spark within. And not think about Trump.

On the train ride out of New York, I was hit with a massive wave of despair but I am trying to shake myself out of–knowing I was returning to utter aloneness. Were humans equipped to feel such loneliness? I am not. Loneliness is like the Trump regime in certain ways. A dark cloud that will hopefully pass. Because it has to.

Maybe Bach Fest on the radio will uplift me. Maybe D’s new book, which is unexpectedly intense. Intensely funny. Intensely sad, on top of the sadness I feel when I think of how far we drifted apart and how I let that happen. Intensely regretful.

Isn’t this post pathetic? This will be the last one of its kind. I swear.

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I’m in New York for the holidays. And I don’t even know which holidays I am here for. But it always feels like a good time to go. Someday I will learn why.

When I first arrived, I dragged myself to my friend F’s neighbors Christmas Eve party. This is the 3rd or 4th year I have gone. There are people I am happy to see and who are happy to see me, even though we have never seen or communicated with each other outside of the moments we share at this party and they know so little about my life. And then I look around the room where I don’t know anyone and try to find someone who looks like they would invite a conversation. So I give it a whirl. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

When I arrived at this party 2 days ago, I was my met joyfully by F’s soon-to-be-ex-husband. A big reason why he is soon-to-be ex is because he is an alcoholic. An entertaining exuberant alcoholic, but I could not fathom having to deal with that day after day… and raising 2 children on top of all that. It sounds like an unmanageable hell. Anyway, the soon-to-be-ex, Peter might be his name, immediately greets me as I enter the house and gives me the warmest hug and a peck on the cheek. And says, “I have to confess. I am very drunk.” And I said, “That’s OK. It’s the holidays.” He looked confused and asked “Which holidays.” And then I reminded him.

Then he told me how miserable he was, since F threw him out of the house. And I said, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry this is happening. My heart goes out to you.” And it really did go out to him. Especially since F was there at the party. Keeping at least a room’s length distance. He told me that shortly before the party, F and he had a really good talk and “hugged it out.” I sighed one of my deepest sighs. He then told me that he had started to return to gay bars (he once was and probably still is gay), but that all of the guys are half their age and they don’t look up from their phones.

I sighed again. But in my own way, I have been through this. Not the marriage or former marriage or gay or ex gay part. But it felt very familiar to me. How many times have I been at parties or social gatherings where someone who has just rejected me is also present? How many times have I tried to act as nonchalant as possible, unfettered, while at the same time trying to exude such wit, joy and charisma that could only rekindle and win back the heart of my rejector. It’s a terrible horrible position to be in. Probably not as terrible a situation as being thrown out of the house by partner of umpteen years. Probably not as terrible as battling alcoholism or addiction. Since I haven’t experienced either of those, I consider myself fortunate. But alienation and rejection and a decimated heart are not lightweight matters.

If I could really have been candid with Peter, I would have suggested that perhaps not showing up at social events completely plastered in your soon-to-be-ex’s presence might be a good place to start. But obviously this is one demon I have not confronted.

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The Shield

I don’t know how wise it is to write when you are falling asleep. How can I expect a reader to not fall asleep? That’s something I really don’t have to worry about because, based upon my calculations, I am the 1 person who reads this blog. But I would not say I am a very loyal reader. I am not. I can be very disloyal. I can turn on people. I can be vengeful and vindictive and vile. I can be soulless and dishonorable. I can be all of those things, but I prefer not to be. But that’s sometimes how I feel. So much pent up anger directed towards one person in particular at work. I’m not sure what to do with it. Were I not so fearful of asserting myself, or imagining what would happen if I asserted myself, perhaps I would not have so much pent-up anger and resentment. I might even be someone who could you might call a fun person. I used to be a fun person. What happened to him?

But instead I’ve become un-fun. Even now. Riding the train. I am not sure why this keeps happening, but I am usually the first to take a seat… and then when I am watching people slowly trickle into the cart, there are always some people who make me cry out to the universe, “please, dear universe, please sway this person away from sitting next to me. Please protect me.” (They are usually a male with no sense of boundaries, eating fried foods). While the people I would feel completely happy sitting next to walk on to the next row. I’m not sure why this keeps happening. It all makes me feel like I must be doing something wrong. That I have done something really wrong to incite the universe to act against me. That this bitterness I feel at my workplace spills over into my non-work life. And when my soul and psyche are stirred up in this way, everything feels like work. Life becomes laborious. Difficult. Not fun. A real challenge.

The frictionless life I have in mind eludes me. Which is not what I had in mind. I really need to be more open to the world. And put up less of a shield. Because the problem with most shields is that they don’t have filters. They just block everything out. The good and the bad. The whole spectrum. It’s a rather barren place to live, behind this shield. I would not recommend it. Not to any of my readers. If you’re thinking of investing in a shield, you better consider the consequences.

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My days are filled feeling angry and hateful and vindictive towards myself and others. I don’t think this is what the people who gave birth to me had in mind. They took their chances. And this is what what came out.

But don’t worry. I’m just in a really bad mood. It will pass as soon as I swim a 1/2 mile. That is usually what it takes.

It would help if I were around people who could bring out the good things I like to think are still there. somewhere. Inside. Lurking. Hiding. Keeping their distance. It’s near the 2 year mark since I came to this town. And at last count, I have made -6 or -7 friends. People meet me to satisfy their curiosity. And then they are gone. I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have friends in Chicago or New York or LA or New Orleans. They are the ones who keep me alive.

Everyone tells me I should find MeetUp groups. And I look for them, but nothing seems very appealing. Or I don’t have the courage to ride a kayak or go hiking with someone I’ve never met. I would think I would have to build up trust with somebody first. If I fell or sank underwater, how would I know if they would save me? And none of the book clubs are reading anything I would ever want to read. The artist groups are for visual artists. I’m not that interested in cooking. Or bitcoins. Thermal bridge modeling sounds kind of cool, at least I love the phrase. But it might not be a good fit. Same for the French language group. Definitely not the board or card game groups. I just don’t have the attention span for that sort of thing. The Dungeons & Dragons group… that sounds way too scary. I don’t think I’d last very long in the UX Support group. And there are so many Holiday parties to not want attend.

So I guess this means I don’t like anything. And I will spend the remainder of my days alone.

Maybe I should form my own group. Or move to a new city where there is a Leonard Cohen group; a Laurie Anderson group; a Kafka group; a Beckett group; a Gertrude Stein group; a staring out the window group; a solitude group; a sleepwalkers group; a Little Prince group; a John Cage group; a train robbery group; a falling asleep on the train group; a failed romantic group; a Vertigo group; a Carla Bley appreciation group; a cereal eaters group; a thunderstorm group; a slow but deep thinkers group; a telepathy group; an ancient cemetery wanderers group; a group for people haunted by regret for bad life decisions. I guess there are lots of things I like. Who cares if most of them do not exist.

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An inconvenience

This is one of those days where I try not to get to a worsening situation but it is still not getting any better or not. How best to ride this out? Should I just go to the movies? Should I just go to the dentist? Should I go back to school?

My reflection in the window is not getting any longer in the past or the other day. There is too much darkness to see beyond it. It’s so strange. My reflection in the window resembles who I was 3 hours ago. Different hair. Different glasses. Smaller nose. Less stern. Thank heavens for that. For that, I thank you.

We are hovering just above the window in our train. It is not yet Winter in the evening of July. Our friends are eating vegan cheese with a banana on the way home. So many of our friends have left the same room. This is the room we are not getting in our new house. This is the room where we once had our friends. But now, they are no longer available for us. Fear not, we say. We will find our way. Even if we have to take a different route this time around. What is there to be worried about that is not the best thing imaginable? Absolutely nothing.

Everybody wishes you a happy belated birthday. You are not sure which birthday they are referring to. The last time you had a birthday, everybody was really really sorry to say we apologize for any inconvenience. You are not sure which inconvenience they are referring to. Was it really hard to say, or maybe they were just not sure about the time. No one is ever sure about what you are referring to. But as a general rule, they say they are sorry for any inconvenience that they might become.

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I find myself thinking of you more than I am entitled. People are alway telling me that I have a false sense of entitlement, but then other people might say that the opposite is true. That I have a true sense of entitlement. I am entitled to be conscious of how far I am from the things I am entitled to. Such as you. I’m just being honest. I am entitled to think of you. But that does not mean I am entitled to you. Maybe we are entitled to each other and we’ve never really confronted it. But I am giving you absolutely permission to be entitled to anything, including me. Especially me.

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How does one develop a love for a cat? Is it because they are so indifferent? Or elusive? Or less than magnanimous? Or insubordinate in nature? What does one get from a cat that one is not getting elsewhere? What is it we want from a cat? By “we,” I am not including myself, not because I don’t love cats, but because I wonder if I’ve truly loved anything. If I were a cat, I might ask how does one develop a love for me? We have that much in common. Maybe it is because the cat and I have that much in common explains why I could never love the cat.

How does one develop the student of social work? Is it because they are not a complete person? Or maybe a little bit more of an afterthought? Or less than a few people? Or insubordinate in the afternoon rather than the next day? What does one get from a student of social work that one person will become in the quiet car? What is it we want from the train to London? By “we,” I am not sure what I was meant to be but if “we” were to be free, there would probably be more than one person of consequence. That would truly be something. But I wonder if I have ever heard of the person. Heard of the person who was meant to be in love with the person who was meant to be with them. That does not happen very often. If I were a student of social work, or maybe a student of social security numbers, I might not even know what I would have to say about this place. Not because I don’t know how much I love the way you are I. That much we have in common. Maybe it is because the student of social work loves the way you can make your own decisions about how much you love to be a part of their life of course. That is something I had not heard of before.

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How does one develop a love for a cat? Is it because they are so indifferent? Or elusive? Or less than magnanimous? Or insubordinate in nature? What does one get from a cat that one is not getting elsewhere? What is it we want from a cat? By “we,” I am not including myself, not because I don’t love cats, but because I wonder if I’ve truly loved anything. If I were a cat, I might ask how does one develop a love for me? We have that much in common. Maybe it is because the cat and I have that much in common explains why I could never love the cat.

No, that’s much too obvious. But I am having a really hard time coming up with another explanation.

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Defensive driving

I was out of town for 1 day this week to take a test for a job at the United Nations which was something of a disaster since the 25 math questions were impenetrable to me. It did not take very long for me to hit my wall. My math wall. But while I was gone someone broke into my apartment and then they stole a loaf of frozen gluten free bread. I was shocked and astounded. I thought I never could have imagined that something like this would ever happen to me. And I looked far and wide, in every cupboard, cabinet and closet. I looked in the back of my car. And then I remembered that I had forgotten to complete my defensive driving class. Here I am, at a point in life where I am trying to break down all of my defenses and expose my vulnerabilities. And then I am made to take a defensive driving class where I have to unlearn everything I have been striving toward and be constantly on the defensive.

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it was then that I realized what I had become.

i was no longer an artist

or a lover

or a friend

or a dog-companion

or a cyclist

or a climber

or a citizen

or a permanent resident

or a shadow of a permanent resident

or a cloud

i no longer was shaken out of my slumber by pressing concerns

i no longer consisted of water

i had assumed a role

the very role i was born not to portray

the role i had assumed was not necessarily even a role

My role had transmigrated into a profile

instead of a heart and a head

i had a profile and an account

and an inexhaustible supply of likes and unlikes

none of them having very much connection to the other

no matter what happened to my body

my profile would live on beyond me

it was all so liberating

to be swiped in and out of existence

to be a user who in search of a use

that was what i had become

that was what i was disappearing into

and no one could find me

without the right password

and even that was no longer mine.

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I took a nap this afternoon and I almost managed to fall asleep but I kept drifting into this half-dream (not daydream) state where I imagined waking up and finding myself alone in a place where I knew not a soul and I only had 20 or so years of life remaining and I just sort of froze up because I knew that, with time out of my control, there would not be enough time for me to make the sort of changes I needed to make in order to be in a place where I was not alone. It was terrifying.

And when I arose from my nap, I quickly became aware that the half-dream was more than a half-dream. Or less than a half dream. Because it was not a dream at all. It was literal. And it was decimating. If I were a sailboat, the wind would have been taken from me.

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The Gap

There isn’t a day on this earth when someone does not tell me, “Please pay attention to the gap between the platform and the train.”

I don’t think that’s ever been a problem for me. Paying attention to the gap. The gap is all I can think about. It’s the world across the gap that sometimes escapes my notice.

How long to find you. Find you across the gap. If only there were some sign of you, something to reach for. I would go there in less than a heartbeat. If you wanted me to.

I recall our lists. The lists we used to make. Always a new list. I vow to find our book of lists. We used to make lists of everything. Usually lists that would not exist otherwise were we not there to make them.

I wish you could exist outside of memory. Because mine is not the most reliable. And I am certain you will remember that. Unless I am thinking of someone else

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Boston to Providence train, 8:30 pm

The train is now 15 minutes late. I can’t tell if I mind this or not. It should bother me, but I don’t think it does. But something is bothering me. It could be something I ate. Or someone who almost walked into me while she was texting. I try to be open to it all. It would have been nice to start a conversation instead of a near collision. Or better a collusion than a collision. (sorry)

But it’s funny, I think. I’ve never learned how to start a conversation. It’s a talent I am lacking. Or if I start a conversation, I don’t always have success in keeping it afloat. And for someone who loves silence as much as I do, silence within a conversation is petrifying. Even with my therapist. Especially with my therapist.

You know I don’t even know if I can claim I have a therapist. Since I’ve moved to the East Coast, I have now tried out 10 therapists in 22 months, and I just haven’t felt compelled to stay with any of them because of all these awkward silences. Maybe it’s a New England thing.

But I digress.

How does a conversation stay afloat? That’s another talent I am lacking. I begin talking to someone and I begin counting the seconds to see how long we can keep it going before there’s an awkward silence which ends things abruptly.

But… if someone asks me a question, even the simplest question… such as “do you think it’s still raining?”… if you asked me something as simple as that, words come gushing out. Like a geyser. I think it’s a geyser that gushes, isn’t it? I just talk and talk and talk and talk.

Maybe we are not so different, the geyser and I. Sometimes people can’t tell us apart. We’re both made out of water and to water we shall return. And we both gush. Though it is often I who gushes from embarrassment. While a geyser is a much more gifted conversationalist. That’s why people are always drawn to it. It commands so much attention. And there’s no way I could ever compete with that. I don’t even try. Maybe that’s why people don’t always notice I am around. And if they don’t notice, they are much less likely to ask me the kinds of question that could trigger a gushing outpour of words.

So this geyser and I really are not so different. But you could never tell at first glance. That’s why 2nd glances are the ones that count.

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I’ve been writing more lately than in quite a long while now that I have an hour-long train ride 5 days per week. I have no excuse to do anything but write. So I write. I’d rather talk than write but I don’t know how to start a conversation. So I write. But I don’t type. And I don’t use paper as a physical form. I’m trying to find where the train and the iPad and iPad pencil will lead me. IMG_0240

This train I ride on is the one you’ve left behind. How many years ago was that?

The yawning chasms of memory, hollowed out.

Threadbare and barefoot. Nearly destitute.

Yawns in place of words. All I seem to do these days is yawn. I don’t have time for much else. My time management skills are the worst. And (outside of this train), I don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Something is always stopping me. I can’t get into any kind of groove. All of this dispersed energy. Like sunbeams, slightly out of reach.

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the intern

It just occurred to me, at this very moment, at work, sitting here, at my computer, that my thoughts, my gut feelings are only connected to real life occurrences by sheer coincidence. I never thought I’d agree with anything related to cognitive behavioral therapy, but… but if my thoughts are not consumed by fortune telling of uncertainties, they will conjure up new uncertainties for things that have no evidence. It is evidence that eventually humbles the fortune teller in me.

So what does one do? If that one was me, I would hire someone to fortune tell  for me.  A professional. With good references. Someone who is skilled in connecting the immaterial … the immaterial world with the material world. As it relates to me. Although I would not mind if it also connected to others. For instance, maybe someone who can predict when we all be removed from the trauma of the Trump regime. I would not mind finding someone who could do that.

But on a more self-centered level. As I wait to hear about a potential job offer and my mind spins all sorts of rising and falling fantasies and scenarios, skies and doors opening or closing, I have to tell myself that all I am really doing is wasting energy. Because every second I am consumed by these thoughts is a second I could devote to making real changes and maybe building up some sort of discipline. Take writing blog posts, for example. Or creating a website. Or practicing piano. Or exploring places I’ve not yet been, or swimming, or grazing or gazing at things outside of me and appreciating them. Or finding new ways to connect with people.

And all of this fortune telling leads only to waiting for things to happen to me instead of me making things happen that I actually do have power to make happen.

The world is happening around me and I am always lagging behind because I get off to such a late start, which is what happens when I am waiting. It’s been that way for decades. And now I’m up against a deadline. I am beginning to fortune tell about how much time I have left.

And I really don’t have time anymore for waiting. And I don’t have money to hire someone to make things happen that I not empowered to make happen. Maybe I could hire an intern. That would be really helpful.

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