Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Just So Ridiculous

Sometimes I swear that this society of ours is hanging on by a thread. We're all supposed to believe in the existence and value of paper money and coinage, otherwise they are worthless. We are all supposed to support the institution of marriage, otherwise the concept will just fall apart. Laws! Don't even get me started on laws! Sure, we need to make certain things illegal, such as murder. That's a no-brainer, but why is it that law enforcement can murder with impunity, and soldiers are formed into murderers and then, after serving their purpose as cannon fodder, they are sent back home to fend for themselves.

I am convinced that the world has lost its definition of love. Nobody cares about you or me, just the bottom dollar. For instance, the owner of the bookstore where I work, owns a Tesla automobile. These cars start at $100,000! Yet he somehow is not able to see the sense of paying his employees for Thanksgiving or Christmas, during the time of the year when we bring in the most money. We were once told that our store hasn't really been turning a profit in the beginning, but when you own 15 shopping malls across the country, along with other investments, I think you can afford to throw your dogs a few bones.

Anger doesn't do anything except remind me that I feel out of place in this time and location. It's beginning to dawn on me that the reason that I don't have more friends is that I am a misanthrope through and through. I've had friends over the years, but they were never the kind of friends with an ear to spare for my problems. They would never ask after my family, or my health. For whatever reason, I attracted very self-centered friends, probably because I'm a good listener and polite and I've always found time to listen to the needs of others.

Now I'm fifty-three. My family is about as far from me emotionally as they are physically. I still feel like an outsider in my own house (forgive me, but I do.) A lot of this has to do with thinking differently that those I surround myself with. I have to expect some static if I choose to have relationships with people, whose beliefs are the polar opposite of mine. It's saddening and tiring.

Now I have nine minutes until my dinner break. I suppose I will eat at Vio's cafe here in the bookstore, but only because I have zero other options. I'm pretty damn tired of chicken souvlaki. I'm battling a virus of some sort, which means that I would rather be at home in bed, than trying to decide what to eat for dinner. Oh well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Troublesome Sleep

Ah sleep, wonderful sleep. Everyone enjoys a good night's sleep, or stealing a nap on a rainy afternoon, but not everyone sleeps so soundly. I've always considered myself to be a fairly light sleeper. I used to be proud that, after a night's sleep in a hotel, one could barely tell I had been in the bed. Now the blankets and sheets are tossed every which way ("...but loose." Come on, sing it with me!), and I usually wake up soaked in sweat.

Now anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis, knows that I smoke the ganja. I have always smoked a little before bedtime to help me sleep, and one apparent side effect was that I never remembered my dreams, or rarely so. Now, not only do I remember my dreams, but I have been acting them out. I have fallen out of bed, from being sound asleep to on the floor in zero seconds flat. The last time left a little bump on the back of my head. Lately I've taken to placing a floor pillow at my side of the bed, in case I fall out again.

Jeez Louise! What's with the troublesome sleep! I've read quite a few books on the brain, and have learned that dreams are so emotional, because the reasoning part of our brain is asleep (or busy doing other things.) Everything is so intense. I also recently read that as a person gets older, they may start to act out their dreams, and this may accompany the onset of dementia. Oh please Louise! (Or Weezie! Whichever. Whatever) Don't make it dementia. Detention? Okay. I'll be happy to stay late after school. Dental tension? Sure, I'll get my teeth worked on. But dementia. That's just crazy man!

Of course, there was that night months back, when I slipped on our wet deck and knocked myself out momentarily. Actually, it was more like mere seconds. That knock on my noggin might have jarred something that has caused me to rave like a wild-man, and pound my fists in my dreams. It could be stress and anxiety that I stifle during the day, coming out at night to rip into my pleasant dreams with a vengeance.

All I know is that I'm tired of it. (Pun intended.) Early Sunday morning, I woke myself up screaming, "What are you talking about?!" and thrusting my arms out in front of me. It was a little freaky to wake up and see my arms straight out in front of me. My first waking thought was -- of course -- what are my arms doing out in front of me?

So, I've taken to drinking large quantities of Scotch whiskey before bed, while standing on my head. Actually...that's not true. But I have been tackling the problem mentally, and I'm starting to do things such as relaxation exercises before sleep, and maybe not listening to the Queens of the Stone Age right before dropping off.

Other than going nutty nocturnally, things are going fine. I'm having some success on the new friend front. That's always nice. Everyone needs friends, old and new. Even cynical old curmudgeons like me, who can't seem to stay in bed. It's less than a month before my wife and I scurry away to a tree-house retreat before anyone can realize we're gone. Naturally, time seems to slow down as one approaches a vacation. It's just physics.

Well, I hope my faithful followers and random readers have a good night's sleep. Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

This is My Path

It was a week ago Monday when I returned from my sojourn. I am trying to keep in mind the tidbits of Zen I ingested during that camping trip. The main idea is this life is my path. Not some other life, but this life with it's crappy paying job, and debt collectors knocking at my door. The key is not to wake up each day with the expectation that everything should turn out a certain way. When our expectations are not met, then we (I) tend to get moody and upset. It's much better to realize that each day is a new start with infinite possibilities.

I am not drowning in my depression, but rather I'm trying to see my path more clearly. I am certainly one, who has developed certain expectations in life, and I'm often disappointed in the position I find myself in when those expectations are not met. I need to wake up with a clear head, uncluttered by ugly memories of past wrongs, or stresses from the events in life that I have no control over.

That being said, I need to make camping a part of my regular schedule, in order to feed my spirituality. (I guess I prefer the word spirituality over soul, because the soul is nonexistent, while spirituality can cover a number of states of mind.)

It's just about time to put together a trusty PB&J sandwich. I am missing my Cool Ranch chips, which are the perfect side for the PB&J, but I have some type of cheesy crackers that will be a poor man's substitute. After that it's work, work, work, shelve, shelve, shelve. Oh, that's right! I had forgotten that there is an author event tonight. That is my path today....

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

To Verlot and Back

I got started a little later then intended on Friday (isn’t that always the way?), so the traffic was post-work, pre-weekend, I-want-to-get-the-fuck-home traffic. I skipped any preliminaries, such as stopping for firewood and made a beeline for the campground. Driving through Snohomish, I saw a gaggle of Canadian geese, rising from a field in formation. They seemed enormous against the evening sky. My father would have exclaimed, “I wish I had my gun!”

Once at the campground, realizing that there were no good riverside spots left, I opted for a site off by its lonesome; just perfect for me. I ended up with just enough time to get my tent up before the deluge hit. It became a meditative experience, lying in that small tent, with the rain beating mercilessly against its surface. I could distinguish between raindrops versus the bigger drops falling from the evergreen boughs above. At points the rain would sweep across the tent from one end to the other. Soon all the taps, drips and drops washed together and I feel asleep.

Sitting at campsite #20 on Saturday morning, watching robins tugging worms from the earth and black squirrels scurrying about as if they had something important to do, I was surprised to see that the campground was nearly full. There was the requisite barking dog and crying baby (aka bear bait.) The river sites were all taken, but then again, everyone was on top of their neighbor over there, and I preferred my semi-solitude on the highway side of the campground.

They’re not kidding when they call it the Mountain Loop Highway; Cars and trucks whizzing by all day long. I was surprised by the number of campers and hikers who had traveled out of the city to spend some time in the forest. I shouldn’t be too surprised though, since that was exactly what I was doing. But I had specifically waited until after Labor Day – nearly October – before making the trip...as did many others apparently.

I did appear to be the only one who had taken Monday off, because the campground was practically empty Sunday night. I felt like I had the river to myself and it was singing only to me. I laid beside the river and gazed up at the starry sky. I always enjoy watching the night skies in the city, but I knew I wasn't seeing as many stars as I would farther out. The multitude of stars was dizzying, and when I peered through my binoculars the sheer number of dead suns was too much; like looking at the eclipse without the proper pinhole. 

I need to travel to the center of the state soon to binge on starlight. It's enlightening! Now it's back to work, pressing my favorite books into the hands of readers. I've returned to my Zen practice, which was part of the purpose of my little getaway. I'm too old to be hanging onto damaging thought patterns as if they were keeping me alive, when in fact those ancient regrets and resentments are cramping the style of my present moment. So, be gone stress! Before somebody drops a house on your too!