Saturday, August 25, 2012


It's like coming to an old place after a long absence. Because that's what it is. I tend to isolate, and I don't have internet at home. Profoundly depressed last night, but I don't let it get me down. Just remember to breathe. I'm in the habit of just observing the madness. I realize that I've given up. I have no expectation of happiness. That's not to say I don't have happiness. I suppose happiness is too imprecise a word. It's that I will always be alone. As I say, I isolate myself, so where's the hope.

Someone was talking about how he'd stopped drinking and his former friends became former because they didn't like the change. "Come back when you're ready to be sociable." Something like that. And he said they didn't like the positive effects -- leaner, more energy, better outlook. I made the observation that spite was the second oldest human story ... the oldest was loneliness. Adam, you know, and then, later, Cain. Then I said I'd have to think about whether it was true or not, cuz I'd just made it up. Spite is the third oldest ... I'd forgotten disobedience. It's all so closely related though. The yearning to be with someone else is almost a yearning to be them, to own them. Envy and jealousy are like that too. No wonder then that the ethical religions preach selflessness. It's the only thing that needs preaching ... selfishness comes naturally.

I pulled out one of the very few pictures I have of my son, from when he was very little, three, and I just smile at how sweet he was. When he was 8 or so he heard the ice cream man coming and wanted some money, and I said yes, if you never ask again, and we made a contract, and he abided by it. Once or twice afterward he'd hear the bells and perk up, but then he'd remember and hold himself to it. Tonight, again, I felt very guilty about that. I took advantage of him. I'm sure there was a character lesson he learned, and that's good, but I just wanted to avoid the hassle. I'm pretty cheap, too. I don't think I can ever forgive myself for the mistakes I've made. I'm not good at forgiving. Maybe it's that I don't forgive people I don't love.

I'm like a stranger in my family. I don't touch anyone. I feel guilty about that too, sometimes. I should hug my mother. She's getting old. It's a vicious downward cycle, each failure reinforcing the pattern. And it's not that I don't know how to change it. I don't really want to.

But I called, then texted my son. "Love you." I forget to do that. There didn't used to be texts, so I made sure he never left the house without getting a hug. "Love you, honey boy." That was my pattern. I'm not so much a hello hugger. I'm a goodbye hugger. The message I want to send is not that I've missed you while you were gone, but that I want you to take my love with you when you leave.

Oh, I have a lot of political observations. It's just not convenient to make them. Part of my most recent depression is that my sleep schedule has been erratic for a couple of weeks, and some nights I've gotten literally no sleep at all. A week of that, no sleep, a few hours, four or five. Very wearing. Someone I know has recently been feeling some emotional turmoil, depression and anxiety, basically debilitating. I don't suppose I've been much of a comfort, but I haven't had much of a chance. These things come and go, and we cannot let them rule us. Feel bad, or good, and do right. I've never been able to comfort those in distress, because I can't lie about the future. I have no idea if everything will be alright. Maybe it will get worse. My own life experience suggests that's the case. But it also gets better. We need these horrors, real or virtual, to mature us. They can destroy us, damage us irreparably, as mine have -- or we can grow wise and strong. Dude, it's only a feeling. Feel bad about how you treat people ... or feel good.

Ah well. I grow smaller with the passing months. I miss having kids. I like kids, but I keep a distance now. They're not mine, you see. I used to be the father to children who weren't mine. I was not strong enough to survive the consequent pain, and now I'm off the board. That makes me pretty mad, but my courage is spent. I continue on this planet out of stubbornness and a sense of duty, but the purpose for which I was given life has been lost. I just don't have the energy for it, the heart. You can see that, in my increasing silence.

Don't let me get you down. I say these things here because I have to say them somewhere. It's the first human story. We just tell it, over and over. It needs hearing, because communication is the only thing that lets us break free of ourselves. Let us speak of kindness, like Jesus speaking to the Roman world. They'd never heard such things. Kindness as more than a whim. They must have paused, grown still, his strange ideas pulling at them, some of them, called up a yearning we don't have words to express. It is a wonderment. What's the alternative. Living life in isolation, growing too weary finally to stand, breathe, and we express our final breath with a sound like remembering a small sadness.

Maybe next time I'll talk about Obama. Speaking of serpents.


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