Saturday, March 28, 2015

Midnight Angst

I've had to listen to this song at least three times in a row now, so the least you could do is give it one go.

Yes, it's another one of those nights. The deck and the sky above are my welcome companions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Me and My Punk-Ass Attitude

I feel like yesterday's post was a sham. It wasn't about lying at all. If anything, it was more like truth lite. Holding back is never healthy. Take it from someone, who takes high blood pressure meds, anti-depressants, and has old man bowel syndrome. (TMI for sure, but that's what blogs are for.) My thoughts yesterday afternoon were Well, that blog post didn't make me feel fulfilled. I wasn't aware that I was going for fulfillment, but that was the word I pulled from my internal data banks. I think my wife was more correct when she said yesterday's post was "Not as soul exposing or cathartic as others."

This is my day off, to make up for working last Saturday. I slept in until 9:30 and then arose to face the grey day. If I had other outlets for my angst, I probably wouldn't be sitting inside, tapping on this little black keyboard. I'd be out in the garage, working on the heavy bag, listening to my post-apocalyptic playlist (Rage, QOTSA, BRMC, and some select Foo Fighters.) One of things I enjoy about the act of writing, is that I'm able to listen to music while I do it. I don't find it distracting to listen to Zach de la Rocha singing "Rally 'round the family...with a pocket full of shells," while I create phrases and paragraphs.

There was a day when I listened to artists the likes of Lyle Lovett and Van Morrison. I've seen Pat Metheny more times than I can number. I've left those guys behind for music more fitting to my times these days. I was musically weaned on Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Clash and The Jam, but not The The...go figure. These days my ears are rarely touched by the notes of folks like Steely Dan, or Tom Petty. It's not like I'm being influenced by the radio. Corporate radio sucks ass, but that's common knowledge. I just listen to what works for me.

Back to misanthropy: I think some of my anger issues stem from birth, and the fact that I was taken from my mother and kept in a secret lab underground somewhere in the Midwest until I was adopted at six months of age. Hey! That's something that Jesus and I have in common -- besides the beard -- we're both bastards! It's a pretty large club that no one is really happy being a member of. You can sometimes spot us by the look of desolation in our eyes. That look never truly disappears no matter how many times a bastard encounters true love and compassion. It's like an emotional birthmark.

I stew in my anger about the ignorance that surrounds me, my prideful ego assuring me that my questions are the correct ones, and everyone else is waving answers that are non-existent. The reality is that I am as ignorant as any other ignoramus. I fifty-three and I still have to constantly remind myself of the priorities of life. Breathing. Presence of mind. The uncomfortable truths are that no person or object can be the cause of our happiness or sadness. It's our attachment to those people, objects or ideas that keep us unhappy.

It's all transitory anyway. Relationships come and go. Buildings are torn down. Newer, uglier buildings with underground parking are erected in their place. No more drive-in movies. No more ponies in the back pasture. These days it's about toeing the line, and trying to restrain myself from revealing myself for who I really am. Nobody likes to be unmasked. When I was younger I attended pro wrestling matches and whenever the opponent wore a mask he was in danger of having it pulled off to reveal his true identity.

What is under my mask? What is my original face? Hell, I don't know! I probably have too many layers of persona built up to ever get down to the real me, but I keep peeling back the layers. When I sit with my pain, and let the tears flow, I am pulling back another curtain, feeling more of that deep-seated pain, that has infected me since my early breaths. The me I show the world is a construct built from the detritus of childhood, military service and multiple marriages. The pain in my eyes is real -- don't doubt my depression -- but the rest of me is just a big fake. Not a fakir but certainly a fucker.

The bastard known to the blog world as Hayduke, is still here. He's hanging on by his wits, looking at the tiger below and the tiger above, and then to his side, wondering where the hell that ripe strawberry is that he's supposed to be enlightened by before he is killed and eaten.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lies Lies Lies

It's Tuesday, and like every Tuesday, I feel compelled to write a blog post. I try to come up with a topic a few days before my Tuesday deadline, but lately I've been struggling to come up with something that I want to expound on, besides my own dark days. Even I'm tired of hearing about that!

I consider myself to be an honest person. Hell, I even claim in big letters at the top of the blog, that the reader can be assured of honesty and openness here, at low discount prices! We all lie, fib and stretch the truth no matter how much we may pride ourselves on our true blue honesty. It may be something as serious as where you hid the body, to something as trivial as how many of the office donuts you ate. (Come on. Fess up.)

To me, honesty is most important as a parent. My son is very bright and perceptive, and he knows a bullshitter when he hears one. I don't want that reputation with him. I have been an imbiber of the sacred herb for years before Justin entered my life. Like some parents, I was not going to give up big hunks of myself on this new adventure. Especially my weed smoking. (Go ahead and judge me and I'll try and forget that you live in a glass house. Deal?)

When I step outside to smoke a bowl, I just tell Justin that I'm taking a break. As he got older, he got more curious about my "breaks." He would sometimes ask to come out on my break with me. "Not this time buddy," I'd respond. One day he parted the curtains covering the sliding glass doors to the deck. I was sitting out there, exhaling my yesca vapors to the wind when I hear a knocking on the glass behind me. I turn to see Justin looking out.

Later on that day, he asked me if I was smoking on my break. My first response was to lie in an effort to protect my son, but what was I protecting him from? He already knows that cigarette smoking is bad for you, and he's stated his opposition to that. I made the decision to be honest. I told him that I don't smoke cigarettes, but I smoke something called herb. I smoke it to relax, but it's not cigarettes. He seemed satisfied with that answer. I'm sure he didn't know what I was talking about when I said herb, but he could sense that I was being straight with him.

I still continue to take my periodic toke breaks, but Justin doesn't show the curiosity he used to. I'll say, "I'm going to take a break buddy, and I'll be right back to play Jenga with you." "Okay daddy," he responds. Now, if I have no issues with my marijuana use -- and I don't -- then I should have no problem admitting it's use to my friends and family. As I said, if you want to judge feel free. It's not like you're going to be able to resist judging me.

I've never even told Justin the age-old myths of Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. How can I truthfully tell him that the god believers pray to is fictional, but then try and tell him that some freakin' fairy rustled his bloody tooth from under his pillow and left him a measly quarter in exchange? I've heard tell that those milk teeth go for big bucks on the fairy market.

So, today I'll go into work, and I'll most likely immediately start my day with a lie. "Hey Mark. How are you doing today?" "I'm fine," I'll reply. Liar! I'll listen to my co-workers inane stories and quotes from nerd movies and I'll feign interest, which in itself is a lie. I keep to myself how hurt I am, by recent events in my life, and keeping truths to oneself is lying by omission.

Lies, lies, lies. Some of us are compulsive about it, and some of us beat ourselves up ad nauseum for one tiny fib. (That's me! That's me!....he lied.) It's Tuesday, and I'll soon be heading into my job. I find such joy and fulfillment in my job, that I have a hard time waiting for my two o'clock shift to begin. I want to just skip down to the corner of 65th and 20th ave NE and start to please people. (OMG! You are such a liar! You consider your job to be drudgery and you often call your co-worker idiots.)

The truth can hurt, without a doubt. Tearing down someone's false beliefs can be a cruel exercise. If someone's lies to themselves keep them content, who am I to piss on their petunias. I believe enough lies myself, such as I'm a decent person who does my best to be open and honest. My actual opinion of myself is far different, but I'll save that for my blog about honesty. (As if we'll ever see that!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Definition of Loneliness

Sad and lonely. What a lovely pair they make. Everyone gets lonely periodically. Those who are perpetually lonely dwell in this dank little town called Depression. It's a tough town to leave once your find your niche. My niche in depression always felt so comfortable, but that was just surrender. I gave up on the fact that the sun shone for me also, and not just everyone bouncing around with smiles on their faces

I have looked for happiness and have finally realized that their is no map. It's a never-ending quest meant to make me realize that happiness is just one side of the coin. The yin to the yang of sadness. They both must be accepted, because -- like it or not -- all these emotions must be dealt with. I don't need to hang onto these moments of sadness, or happiness, for that matter. Change will always come...unless I can't find my way out of Depression Town.

Even without my map, I've managed to walk in the sunshine quite a bit in the recent decade, even when it's raining. I have to constantly remind myself that my states of mind are just temporary and with effort I can let go of the more weighty thoughts that tend to act as an anchor in my sea of sorrows.

Why so sorrowful? Oh gosh. I really could give you a list, but boredom would set in awfully fast. Besides, lists of emotional maladies are worthless. Just like any other list, it's just so much mental masturbation. Like any other human on this earth, I can feel lonely in crowds. I can feel lonely in a loving relationship. I can feel lonely on my birthday, and especially on Christmas eve. My loneliness makes itself known at work or play. It's like the goddam river Styx is made of mud! And me without a paddle!

It's Tuesday, so I have too much time on my hands (speaking of Styx) and it's never fun to enjoy oneself before work. At least, I don't enjoy that feeling. It's like contentment interruptus. This outsider never did want to be an insider though. I never even made the attempt to fit in, unless you count me becoming a member of the U.S. military and a clone of every other soldier (or airman in my case.) There fitting in is mandatory.

The person who tends to take on the pain of others, along with their own, ends up doing time in Depression Town, whether they want to or not. Take it from me. I own property in Depression Town. It's easy, because it doesn't cost money there, just heartfelt tears.

So, what kind of state of mind am I in this Tuesday morning? Seems like I am trying to pull my boots out of the mud, and get myself out in this sunny weather. Work is work. There is no changing that. It's one of those societal constructs like marriage and money, that can feel very annoying at times, but one cannot live very well without adhering to those constructs. It's all about fitting in, whether it feels right or not.

The pep rally starts in ten minutes! Followed by a performance of "Up With People." Say cheese!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Broaching the Topic

What topic am I going to broach today? What sacred cow shall I take the machete to, and spit down the middle, exposing it's contents to all (or at least my half dozen readers out there.) I can think of many topics I'd like to hammer away at, such as marriage, parenting, willful ignorance, corporate wars fought by the working class. I could tackle taboo subjects like the sex practices of 53-year-old stoners living in the Pacific Northwest; or I could poke holes in the religious beliefs of others.

Maybe the only subject I'm knowledgeable enough to bite into today is sanity or the more pointedly the lack of sanity. There really is not any normal bar when it comes to sanity. The "sane" are those in the middle, who tend to do okay in society, get married and have puppies. They drive cars and have jobs. Maybe they protest a war, or invest in Google, but they are still considered sane by their peers. They're one of Us.

Then there are those individuals, standing on street corners, mumbling to themselves and vigorously scratching their unwashed groins. There are the shouters, barkers and howlers, who us normal people shy away from. We'll cross the street to avoid the looney at the bus stop. I was thinking last night about nervous breakdowns, and what constitutes a nervous breakdown. Is it a panic attack, when one feels immobile in the middle of the grocery store, feeling death at the door? Is it a day in bed, spent crying and manically twisting the sheets?

Too many questions. The answer is actually C.) All of the above. Too easy I know, but the truth is that we're all a little crazy. As soon as we awake, we start to believe all sorts of nonsense, like news headlines for instance. There is no news, except that you are still alive and viable and you may or may not have a choice about what you are about to do today. We believe that the sky is blue, but the color blue is just certain light waves being interpreted by our neurons as blue.

Your mind is just a big hallucination machine, giving you all sorts of reasons to behave "normally." This means believing that it's best not to run red lights, or say "Good morning shithead" when you first encounter your boss. It's impulse control, plus believing what we see and hear, when we know deep down that our senses are faulty, and we're all just trying to be on the same page of this freaky fantasy novel we find ourselves in.

If you wake up and find difficulty following the societal rules set before you: driving the wrong way down the freeway, spitting at passersby, and just generally being a nuisance, then you may be crazy. You may be labeled as looney, out of your fucking mind, and just a little batty. Otherwise, take your seat please.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Brief Respite

I may have used that title before actually. It's one of my favorite phrases. I'm always on the lookout for a brief respite. They say that one should stop and smell the roses, but I prefer the fragrance of evergreens. Seeing a slug doesn't make me cringe and run out to buy slug bait. I make friends with spiders. Crows, on the other hand, still give me the cold shoulder.

So, tomorrow will be a mental health day. I have received permission from the powers-that-be to use March 4th to engage in personal activity. I will get paid to be myself for a day, and that's always nice. What's even nicer is that the giant nuclear furnace in the sky will not be obscured by clouds tomorrow. I'll take a brief respite any day, but it helps when it's sunny.

My family and I were away last weekend, invited by acquaintances to share their time-share condo by the water. I say acquaintances, because using the term friends would be pushing it. I don't like to lie, especially when the truth is more convenient...and funnier. This was a plush fancy resort...in 1965, but I enjoyed walking by the water, and taking toke breaks under the moonlight without hearing the 71 bus pulling up across the street. My hosts were very respectful and gracious in that they stayed out of my way the entire weekend. They politely kept themselves glued to their respective iPads, iPhones and iEgos. When they did speak it was to inform us of some superior position that they hold.

I don't mind writing -- and, yes, judging a little -- about this family we stayed with last weekend. They both work at Amazon, so technically they are the enemy. I should have been trying to obtain company secrets in an attempt to bring them down. Amazon will fall on its on some day, because anything top heavy will eventually teeter and crash to reality. The rich among us -- you can see them by their glittering baubles -- always forget this fact. Material objects and greed will suck your soul dry, but since I don't believe in souls, I'll just say that that type of consumerist materialism makes one an asshole. Don't we have enough of those around already? Just look behind you.