Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ah Life

Not much time to blog, but no time to shed tears either. I must return to work in about fifteen minutes. I can't afford to have a tear-streaked face in front of customers. Why the tears? Why not. It was only last week that I had started a letter to my dad, and now he is back in the hospital once again. I wrote about two pages worth of letter, and then felt bad about what I had written. The truth is [oh what is the truth Mark? Tell us. Tell us.] that I really don't have good childhood memories of my father. My father was addicted to work. He would come home from a day at the jewelry factory and then, after super, he would work in the garden if it was still light; or he would be up in his workshop doing some project. I'm sure these activities were enjoyable for him, and probably cathartic after a day at the factory, but I'm stating that he worked rather than spend time with his children. I was the first. A son. I didn't like hunting or fishing. I wasn't brawny (neither was my dad) and ready to take over the farm. I read books and filled sketchbooks. So, I have about two-thousand words of a letter, for the most part recounting horrible memories. Having to set the example as the oldest and being beaten with a razor strop. Stuff like that. Now my dad is near the end of his days, and I'm trying to come to terms with that. Come to terms with a 93-year-old father, who "never connected" with me. (His words.) The only time he ever spoke any words of affection was one of the few times in his life that he was under the influence of powerful medication. He told me that he had wished we had spent more time together through the years. I think I may have been thirty about that time. I'm not sure, but it's been at least twenty years since he said that. He must have forgotten once the drug wore off, because he never did make an attempt to make up for lost time. He still has a hard time bringing himself to show any interest in my life, and the things that interest me. But the days are growing short; even for me. Why aren't lobotomies voluntary? You can do all kinds of weird stuff to your body: cat whiskers, piercings all over, tattoos and so forth. But your own mind? Most mind expanding drugs are illegal, because they want you to fill the corporate coffers. Suicide is illegal. And I would imagine voluntary lobotomies are illegal. And yet it's my brain. Do I need to be on a medication strong enough that I slur my words? Strong enough that I can't alphabetize my section in the bookstore anymore? Is that the kind of drastic measurement that needs to be taken to get me back into the good graces of those I have wronged? I have no idea. I have no pastor, or mentor to discuss these things with. And my father and mother...well, as I was saying, they didn't have the skills necessary to help foster a sense of self-esteem in me early on. Never mind the fact that I was in an orphanage for the first six months of my life. Oh, but I do go on don't I? But it is not time to join my co-worker upstairs and drag myself through the last two hours of work. Even I am tired of my words at this point.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Talking is Overrated

I just got back from having my ears lowered (as my dad used to say) and I'm always annoyed by the stylist's attempt at small talk. I go to the same place to get my haircut each time, but I am lazy about it, and show up about once every six months. "How is your family?" "Do you work downtown?" "Did you have a good weekend?" I'm actually fine with not saying a word. I could easily just sit their in the barber's chair and zone out for twenty minutes and it wouldn't bother me a bit. It's more work to try and maintain chitchat with someone you see twice a year. But now I'm all cleaned up and ready to go run a cash register, and alphabetize books by author. ("How are the books organized in this section?" "Oh, by color...duh!")

My reading habit has suffered greatly lately. One of the reasons is the fact that I'm reading a book about our justice system (said with a smirk) and it's compelling, but not an upbeat subject by any means. I'll need to read something quick and fun when I'm done with prisons, cops and the entire lack of empathy for our fellow human beings.

Right now all I can think about is eating. It must be because I arose at 8am when I usually sleep in on Tuesday mornings. I don't have to be at work until 2pm and there is something sad about showing up too early. It's not bad when the weather is consistently pleasant and I can lounge about outdoors until I have to report for duty, but lately the weather emphasis has been on cold rain. Blah. Right now the sun is shining, but, as we all know, the sun is such a tease.

I've been on a hip-hop binge lately, expanding my "High End Hip-Hop" playlist. Latest editions are "Fuck Yall" - DJ Quick & Kurupt, The Humpty Dance" - Digital Underground and "Young, Wild & Free" - Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa. You are not likely to see me driving down the street in my Subaru Forester, with those tunes booming out of my car stereo, with my hat on sideways and such; but if you see me ambling to work with my headphones on , I am most likely not grooving to Fleetwood Mac and Billy Joel. Instead, my ear drums welcome the sounds of De La Soul, Ludacris, Lupe Fiasco and more. That is when I'm not listening to Cake, or QOTSA, or Foo Fighter, or Kinski, or BRMC or..........

So, lesson for the day: Talking is overrated, but music is essential to our daily emotional survival. What is also essential for overall happiness is lunch. That's right, lunch. I think I might just go for the always-reliable bagels from Bagel Oasis. Go with what you know.

Peace, love and neck kisses.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A New Day

It's Thursday, which means it's not yesterday! Like everyone else on this blue earth, I have the advantage of having a fresh start with each day, unless -- of course -- my heart decides to seize up in the middle of the night. Today is rainy and gray like yesterday, but I need to keep the emotionally gray skies out of my head for a while.

With all the willpower I can muster, I must make the intellectual a priority again. I cannot shirk my reading responsibilities and yes, I do look upon my reading list as a responsibility. Part of this is from working in bookstores, and feeling the need to be informed about a variety of titles. The other pressure I put on myself as far as reading goes is for my own education. I will never get the answers I desire, but maybe I can at least figure out how to form the questions.

I also realize that over the recent decades I have begun to speak way too much. What do I mean by that? Well, I've always been almost-painfully shy, and took my parents advice to "not talk until you're spoken to" seriously. I often find too, that my thoughts do not often match up with the people in my life. Sometimes I find that can express myself better through my writings, but only those brave enough to read my writings would be able to tell me that.

I need a night at the movies; I need a week on a sandy beach; I need about $10,000 to pay off the IRS and credit cards. Go ahead, ask me how it feels to need. It feels very human. Needs, cravings, desires...these are all very human characteristics that we could all benefit from squelching to the best of our abilities. Myself, I need medication to even attempt to quiet my inner maniac and even then......

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Full of It

I am just full of plans that never come to fruition. I was initially planning on seeing the film "Her" at the Crest on Monday night, but that fell through. Then I thought that I had a dinner companion for last night, but I missed out on that too. As John Lennon once sang, "Life is what happens while your busy making other plans."

There is a mere 23 minutes left to my shift. I wish I had something planned for tonight, but tonight is a big empty. The rain has been sliding down from the sky all day, so the sunshine will not be there when I leave tonight. Ah well....plans are made to be broken, but I wish relationships were not made to be broken. I am without a doubt a struggling imperfect human being.


Sometimes one must sacrifice literature for the pangs of hunger. For the first time in my bookselling career, I am going to trade some books in for cash. Going an eight hour shift without anything to eat is silly, and I wasn't too happy with the state of my mind last night. So today, I will trade in enough for lunch and maybe have a little left over for a cookie. I got myself into this predicament, so I'll get myself out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I should have known that Coke doesn't make for a very filling meal. Visions of the one burrito sitting in the freezer at home are dancing in my head. If it's still there. Of course, one tiny bean & cheese burrito won't cut it, so I'll have to scrounge something up, like a grilled cheese and soup. It's no fun being lightheaded due to hunger. I'd much rather be lightheaded for other reasons....or even lighthearted.

Old Dogs

I'm a firm believer that you can teach an old dog new tricks, but try to get an old dog to stop growling at people, and you will not have any luck. Genetics or environment: Which one has the greater impact on me being an asshole for life?

I really wish I had the option of seeing my behavior objectively, but I'd probably be horrified. I have a terrible poker face. Sadness and anger are always in clear view. I beat myself up for being lonely, but then I'm not proactive enough to actually make new friends. I wallow in my decades old depression, rather than creating a life that is new and different...and maybe not so hurtful to those close to me.

Fifty-two years old, and I'm don't see that I've progressed as a human being very much. Granted, being a human is the toughest task I've ever faced. I thought I was up for it. I joined the military at seventeen. I traveled across the country a few times, and ventured to Europe and South America. But in all those past journeys, I have evidently not improved my worth as a person; as a compassionate human being. Beating my self up is just a vain act meant to assuage my own feelings of guilt.

There are plenty of good reasons that I have not found success in life, whether is be through writing or high technology. Lack of confidence and self-esteem are always major factors, but the inability to see beyond the horizon and make the necessary adjustments; the seeming lack of emotional control and direction.

I want to shed some tears, but they would only be for me. Tears in the dark are only wet. The methods I used to utilize to keep myself stable are long gone. I still use weed to de-stress, but I don't take my walking, or conscientiousness very seriously.  I'm full of good intentions, but I'm also full of shit.

The important item in all of this shitty mess, is that I am not intentionally cruel or malicious. That would make me a psychopath/sociopath, and I don't think I'm criminally insane. I honestly feel that I have good intentions, but then something triggers my deep-seated hurts and I lash out like a animal in a steel trap.
Well, another Tuesday and I managed to scratch out another blog post. I'm not going to bother to post a link to this one on Facebook, because this is a post that some of my FB peeps may not understand, not that they shouldn't read it. It's just that they would be reading it without context. 

It's still sunny outside, so I guess the walk will be pleasant. I'm missing someone terribly today though, and that feeling was brought on by my own actions. I wish I knew how to turn back time to a certain day at Half-Price Books, and had the ability to start things over, but I only have today, and I don't even have the morning left anymore! I best get to work and try to put some good books into reader's hands.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Some Sun Sometimes

Today is a full-fledged spring day. I would need to put sun screen on, if I was going to lounge under today's sunny rays. Of course, I am due to walk to work in about a half hour. I'll only be able to enjoy the sun through the bookstore's windows, and through customer's comments: "Oh, it so beautiful out there! You should get out in it if you can!"

I finished reading Seeing Red last night. As with most books on consciousness, comprehending it is like trying to grasp mercury. Perception vs. sensation. That was the gist of it. Also, that smudge of time again. The fact that we don't experience things as they happen is a tough fact to understand, but the fact is that our past overlaps slightly with our present, as does our future. We live in a smudge of time, which helps us to use our consciousness to reflect on this amazing world.

So next in the reading queue is Blood Will Out by Walter Kirn. It's considered a true crime book, but --from what I've heard -- it ends up being more about Kirn and his constant craving for a higher status in society. His contact with Clark Rockefeller was yet another one of those attempts. Kirn will be reading at the bookstore in our Pub Series, and it can't hurt to read his book ahead of time. The only other thing that I read by him was Thumbsucker, which was quite good. I have avoided seeing the film version of Up in the Air, because I want to read the book first.

I'm trying to make this Tuesday morning post a habit. Sometimes the task is finding things to write about. Oh, I could rant and whine all day long about what irks me in life, but I wouldn't foist that on anyone voluntarily. The amount of "news" that I take in these day is miniscule compared to how I used to soak up information. After the Bush years, I just decided that spending time fretting about world events that I have no control over will just put me in an early grave.

The same goes for religion, as much as I despise the tradition of religion being used to control the subservient masses. These little clubs of fantasists should really be taxed, and they shouldn't be exempt from criticism. But these are my feelings and they are not necessarily shared by the people I know, no matter how much they may care about me. My biases are entirely subjective and I shouldn't hold others responsible for the anger I have built up over the years due to the widespread ignorance I see around me. That being said,............

The sun is still shining. No sudden claps of thunder to prompt us to jump out of our skins. No hail intending dents on various car hoods. The birds are happy, because the insects have woken up. "Food!" And I have 45 minutes until I have to "clock in." Forty five minutes to make believe that I can stay ensconced on my sun-warmed deck, and read, read, read. Life wouldn't be half the fun without my mind.