Sunday, January 11, 2015

Life and How to Live It

It would be a tad presumptuous of me to instruct one on how to live life. I can't say that I know how myself, but I somehow manage. I instinctively cogitate, ambulate, masticate, and masturbate. I work and play. I sleep and sometimes I don't sleep so well. Maybe I could use a little remedial sleep training. Last night I had a dream, wherein a man smashed a ceramic ashtray that I had proudly made. I just had to respond by kicking him repeatedly in the face. This translates to me kicking out in bed, and my wife having to rouse me, so that I won't injure her. Another dream segment included me hiding deep in the scrub brush, just beyond the fence line in the horse pasture, where I played when I was younger. I was hiding from construction crews. I remember looking up and seeing a great tree, that had stood by the path for years, being felled with a thundering crash. But my hiding spot was comfortable and no one would find me there.

Jeeze Louise! I think I need some meds! Stat!

It's a Saturday afternoon, and my music is blaring from the stereo, and by my music, I mean something loud and crunchy. Emphasis on loud. I'm home alone, which explains the volume on the music. (Yes, my 21-year-old stepson is downstairs, but sometimes that's as close as I get to home alone.) I've been lounging about, doing some writing, taking a few selfies and posting on Facebook. In other words, practicing the art of being lazy, or as I like to say: creative. A plus of being a writer, is one can be writing, while walking, or while shelving books at work. Not the actual physical act of writing or course, but the collation of intentional thoughts to be written down later. Sometimes the thoughts are jotted down in my cell phone notes. Sometimes in my computer, on a blog or just put into some file, maybe to be retrieved later, and maybe not. Kind of like the workings of my of memory. Some things are better unremembered.

Lately I have been putting a lot of thought into ideas of choice and free will (thank you very much Sam Harris.) I've always had a natural empathy for others. I saw a few people, sleeping on cardboard adjacent to the exit ramp in downtown Seattle. They've fenced off the areas under the highway, so that the homeless cannot sleep there. My thoughts are not, "Look at those bums. They're just kids, who could be working blah, blah blah..." My thoughts don't go there. Instead they go to, "That must be an uncomfortable place to sleep and cold; never mind breathing in the exhaust constantly. Why do we treat our poor worse than our pets?"

There are days when my thoughts are slogging through the stressful caverns of my mind, and I'd like nothing better than to stay home and make my feeble attempts at letting things go -- maybe watch old black & white movies all day, or finish the latest novel I'm immersed in -- but I seem to have no choice but to arise and put on my customer service face. I go on with the routine, face the day, and even try a little carpe diem while I'm at it.

There are days when I look down into that dark abyss of my soul -- the collection of memories, feelings and urges -- and my habits of the past would have me staring into that black hole, until I couldn't resist it's pull. These days I'm a little better at peeking in, and then going on my way, finding blue skies, and gentle breezes. Friendly neighborhood cats, who just want a scratch behind the ear. Time for my son, and his litany of questions.

There are no stars to help me gaze into the past tonight. Only a fine mist, that is more like a heavy fog than rain. Time is broken up into weekends, father and son time, and work days. Vacations are few and far between. Free time must be used wisely. Should I read, or watch that Scarlett Johansson I've been meaning to get to? I try my best to slow the hands of time, but it's all relative.

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I spent more time than usual today, editing and reworking this blog post. Usually, I barely have time to check my grammar before dashing off to work. ("How is old grammar anyway?") And I'd have to say that I'm still not really satisfied with the end product. Maybe the key is to just write a quick post, without thinking about it too much, and be done with it. When I spend time with it, I tend to ramble, and go off on tangents, and then go back, and add and subtract ad infinitum. That's the danger with any writing I guess. One can revise forever. Not like one's life. I cannot revise my past. What's done is done, and all the participants have different recollections anyway. It's like the phone game of the past. We're all faulty witnesses to our own pasts, so maybe I should keep my eye on the present and be careful of my footing. Stability and structure is a must, but also an illusion in this ever-changing world.

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