Let's be honest about it: the world is made for doers, not for thinkers. All that time you spend with your thoughts is self-serving. Doesn't really make you useful if you never do anything with those thoughts. I always felt like an outcast with all my perpetual thinking. Not that I was shunned by others so much as I felt like I couldn't relate to most people. Couldn't relate to all the busy bodies wandering around, trying to decide what they're gonna "do" in this moment, what they're gonna "do" with their lives. The people who make a point to not think about certain things. I feel bitter about feeling so alienated. Sometimes I just wanna put myself at odds with everyone.
Drunk on the streetcar line, a few blocks from Carrollton Station. Sitting on the pavement leaning against a pole. It'd be nice to recline all the way back and stargaze but the lights are too harsh in the city. I craned my head up and saw the streetlights instead. "Lights of the city are the stars on the ground." (When All the Stars Were Falling) Yeah, right. As I looked up through my fading late adolescence I caught a glimpse of just how great I could be. Then I squinted and saw just how great I wanted to be. Took another drink.
"You waiting for the streetcar?" Huh? Someone talking to me? I turned to see a very large man in a very large white SUV. "You waiting for the streetcar?" he repeated. "Yeah." Not really. "Where do you need to go?" I thought about it. "St Mary's? In the Garden district?" There's no way I wanted to see Susan right now. She might not even be awake. But it was the only place I could think of.
"I'll take you for ten bucks." He's a hustler. Hmm. I guess I have to respect that. Seems like a dangerous way to scrape together some pocket change around these parts. Then again, maybe he's the dangerous one. Whatever. "Alright. What's your name?" "I'm Lou, nice to meet you" he said. I took the passenger seat without reply.
When I run don't chase me
I've always had this sad feeling that even if I did choose a path to follow or a dream to chase that I was doomed to be a waste of potential. Like I could never repair my foundations, turn myself into a focused and motivated person all of a sudden. I'm prone to wandering. Which means I'm quick to abandon. But are my expectations of myself causing me to just accept things fatalistically? Am I a coward for that? Or does the fact that I'm so indifferent in the first place mean that everything else doesn't matter, that it can't matter?
Lou's going on about something. I really am listening, I just don't care much. He talks about this little runaround taxi service, trying to save up some money before he moves back to Atlantic City. He talks about making his own way as a poker player. He talks about his daughters, about the mother of each one, about how often he gets to see them. I sit and courteously fill in the blanks, we go back and forth a little bit about poker (I've always had an interest in that very psychological very human game) but for the most part I just listen, drifting in and out of my own thoughts.
"You been pretty quiet, you doing alright?" he asked.
"Yeah. This is kinda just the way I am. Don't take it personally."
"Oh, I don't. I come across all kinds of people. I'm just trying to make sure you straight."
"Yeah, I'm good man. Like I say this is pretty normal for me. To me, having a good day is almost like when most people have a bad day. I tend to notice. Know what I mean?"
"Yeah." He didn't. That's alright.
I keep moving
I go from house to house
I stay committed like
One foot in one foot out
I don't hate Lou. I can't pretend like I don't have any interest or sympathy for people and their stories, their decisions, their baggage, their mistakes. The human condition. I also can't pretend like I would go out of my way to interact with him or any other stranger. Especially now, I'm way in my own head tonight. One can spend a lot of time trying to determine whether or not they're a total waste. It's ok, I'll take my time.
Lou drops me off in front of Susan's place at a quarter to 1 in the morning. I give him a 20 dollar bill and tell him to keep it. He's measured with me, stoic and distant, the way so many men tend to be towards each other. But I can tell he's grateful. A man like that can make that money stretch a long way. He can just as easily piss it away on a gutshot straight draw. But it means a lot to him to have it in the first place. I feel like I've met this guy a hundred million times. But every time I say farewell it feels like the first time.
Ever know that what you fear is what you find
I walk up the porch steps and take out my flask. Evidently I'd woken up Jane before I got to the porch. Jane is the lazy chocolate lab that Susan brought down with her from Baltimore. I don't think she handled the move very well, or that she ever really got over it. She's too old to go through a major change like that. She sulks over to me and plops down at my feet, as if to say 'Yes I see you. I know you're here. But I'm still really damn tired and your presence isn't going to change that.'
I wonder, isn't it a sort of ambition in its own way, to want nothing more than to be a grand, elaborate waste? Jason Molina said that "no one gets it right" (Farewell Transmission) but is he right? What if that's only half the story? What if no one gets it wrong? What if being born in the first place is enough? And the only way by which you can be measured, the only standard you have to meet, the only judgment that you have to live up to...is your own. Whatever you expect and demand of yourself.
So then what do I want? What do I want to be? This disconnect is killing me. Can I try to find people without feeling disgusted at how much they waste? Can I be willing to allow myself to be found if I know I'll only be lost again, eventually? I look into Jane's uninspired eyes. She just sits there. What she's telling me is so hauntingly clear. As if she was lounging semi-consciously representing all living creatures. I do not want anything, she tells me. "Wow," I spoke through the alcohol. Through all the bitterness. Through the static and distance. "Wow. There really is nothing and no one and nothing more than me, is there." I sigh, toss the empty flask into the bushes. Forget about it. I crawl up onto the porch swing on all fours, wondering what Susan will say when she finds me. But I don't really care. I need to sleep it off.
October, 2012 (edited since)