"Welcome to your life. There's no turning back."

Had another dream about her. It was a nice day, but by the end of it in the late afternoon, in a house resembling my grandparents' in Oklahoma, I wanted to reach out to her. I wanted to move in to her space, be close enough to touch, just to show her what she meant to me. I guess I wanted to be with her. She seemed like she didn't want to be bothered.

Coming to realize I have a lot of problems in dealing with judgment. I think a lot of it comes from my nuclear family, from being the baby of that family. They could be so pretentious and condescending and judgmental in their own ways. I know they thought highly of me, still do, that they want the best for me and there were just so many things they thought that I was above. But still, I've underestimated how damaging that judgment has been for me and my sense of privacy and confidence. I've grown into such a self-conscious person, so reclusive. I find it almost impossible to really be myself or feel myself unless I'm alone, or at least unless I've pushed everyone out and made my own sense of space.
This is what led me on a spiritual journey to find a god who was not looking down upon me with judgment. To believe that judgment was a fault if not a sin of humanity, and that along with prejudice and vengeance and greed and so many other ugly human things, that judgment is something left behind as part of our transcendence into the afterlife. But I'm not there yet. And it's still not easy to be myself any time I feel like I'm being observed. Which is, of course, all the time.

Coming to realize that the more I'm able to open myself up to any given person, the easier it is for them to hurt me, even unintentionally. Seems like a straightforward logical concept but it's only just now sinking in. It's a little hard to not let that dissuade me from letting anyone in. But Hood told me that to love is to feel pain. And Ryan told me don't give up on love. I look up to these people. I guess I'll choose to learn to live with being delicate.

Coming to realize that I haven't shaken off the case of escapism I picked up when I was a teenager. I've ceased to use mind altering chemicals as a way of feeding that need the way I did when I was younger. But the need itself hasn't been reduced, especially since moving back to the place I was living when I was in high school. The place where that seed first grew. You can't underestimate the things that happen to you in your adolescence. That time when nothing seems to matter? When you're basically invulnerable and you can get away with almost anything? Those days set a template for the rest of your life. It can be altered, changed, it will change naturally without your consent in some ways. But in a lot of ways the person you become in those days really establishes the person you'll continue to be in a time when the stakes are raised, when priorities shift, and when it becomes more and more difficult to make changes.

Coming to realize that I have a real problem with authority. That it's not easy for me to be under someone's thumb, taking orders from a moron. But it's hard to imagine making a living any other way. It just feels like I've barely been able to find any kind of work to do that doesn't have me muttering to myself after a few months that I ain't gonna work on Maggie's Farm no more.

Coming to realize that I don't think I was meant to dedicate myself to any one thing. That I'm prone to wander. I don't just love to travel, to constantly explore other places and to fuel my desire in order to escape. I need it.

Coming to realize that I'm in a worse place in my life than I think I am. It's easy enough for me to tell myself oh, I've been through so much worse than this. I need to count my blessings and be gracious and this isn't so bad. But no. I've been here for too long.

Coming to realize that I actually no seriously do need to get out of here.

Coming to realize that I still have a lot of dissonance inside. Everything in my waking life seems to be telling me that I need to try harder. That I need to push forward, to be confident. But my dreams are all telling me not to try so hard. Care less. Let go. Maybe I'm confusing my past with my future. Maybe there isn't a difference. Echoes always take the same shape, regardless of the patterns of time.

Coming to realize that I can't make anybody want anything. I can't keep anybody's attention. My only options are to work within the limitations of the medium, or to choose to let it be. This means abandonment. Letting go of all grand schemes, all visions and aspirations of evil genius and grand conquest. I guess it means growing up.

The second dream I had about her was more calm, warm, simple. We shared a meal together. The universally necessary human activity that's done so much to connect us to one another over time. She was relaxed, she felt safe. She didn't want anything. Niether did I. As I was driving home I heard the sun whisper to me "I'm dying." Yeah, so am I. So is everything. But I didn't say anything.

It was a long, strange, and completely crazy week. The guy I rely on most was out on Monday, a personal family emergency, the details of which I am still unaware. It was a day that was very busy, yet dragged, I felt conscious of every second that I spent at work. The guy I liked wasn't there, and I wondered why. It felt like all of my support systems were MIA, and I was so grateful when the clock told me that it was time to go home. All three of us were there on Tuesday; Wednesday it was just me and the guy who sits behind me. I screwed up enough courage to ask about the guy who wasn't at work and found out that he is attending some class on the East Coast. I asked a few questions, got some unsatisfactory answers, and let it go while missing him in ways I hadn't suspected I could until now. I once read that you should know if someone likes you, even if you don't like them back, at the time I thought; who cares? Now, I get it.  

Perhaps I have written about other departments; but I happened to be alone with one of the guys in another department and we ended up having a really interesting conversation. I was surprised by the depth of it, he mentioned having a girlfriend who showed the world her; 'everything is fine' face, but ended up being seriously unfine. I left feeling uplifted, and not just because he had passed along a comment from someone I care about that gave me a new insight. It felt; not nurturing exactly, encouraging maybe? As if I had an ally I hadn't known about previously. I had a feeling that his manager liked me, and pretty soon I started seeing him everywhere. I don't understand him, and I don't really want to either. A past version of me would be flattered, curious, and probably able to convince myself that I was in love, or loved him.

Now I am mostly annoyed by the third person in that department since he is very insecure, and routinely makes comments to demonstrate how stupid and foolish I am for caring about others, and trying too hard to be Polly Positivity at work. His message is that I should adapt for others, but they aren't bound to do anything to better understand or get along with me. I finally snapped at him, not my tone exactly, although perhaps I am giving myself a pass I don't deserve. I simply said that I was happy (or in a good mood, the exact words are lost to history), until I walked into that department. And I think they thought that was funny, or that he had somehow gotten to me. I had done a painting for someone on the other side, they told me that I had forgotten which side I worked for, and blamed all the wine I hadn't drunk while painting. 

I'm not much of a drinker, and I'm sure that they would say that they were just teasing me, but it wasn't funny, and I'm still mad at them for being immature, and for the uncomfortable atmosphere I'm facing every time I have to go over there. I thought about calling, or emailing, but it is a chance to get away from my desk and the phone for two seconds, plus I see other people I do like, and there's always that off chance I could run into someone I would rather be talking to, for now I haven't changed my habits, but I am much frostier than I was. The final scene on Friday was especially disturbing. I brought over some pictures that they couldn't use, the guy standing next to me looked my directly in the eye, told me that matches and gasoline were the answer to my problems, and I was honestly legitimately scared for a moment since I felt like I could see down into and through him, and it was not anything I ever wanted to experience again.

I left a few minutes early on Friday. I'm not sure what the protocol is, but I drove to the art studio, and made a stop at the hardware store to get some tracings of various sized wrenches for a painting. When I was done I was happy with the background, but the wrenches seemed childish, flat, and wrong. I made the decision to stop painting, sometimes I overpaint things, but as one of the women there said, every time I learn something, and get better. The wrenches are on a coppery background that shimmers. I came home, set the piece down, found my stash of art supplies, and put some googly eyes on the middle wrench. Immediately the painting looked better. I could have taken it in to give the wrenches more personality, but decided I had been painting too much, and left it at home. I had every intention of driving out to the outlet mall because I am super cold at work and need warmer clothes, but turned around after getting halfway there and went back to the art studio.

The other day my friend at work said something about liking abstract painting, and tonight I decided to stop pretending I was going to do well at anything concrete. I was going to do a romantic layering of reds and pinks, and immediately bitched it up by painting on corner black and another blue. There was a group of younger women painting mugs, I felt someone out of place, a couple of them made comments about the piece I was doing, I probably should have left the reds, pinks, and oranges alone, but then I added some blue and turned it into some sort of a sky piece. I had done a piece for a guy at work and made the decision not to give it to him after the guy who sits behind me told me that he was a (I forget the exact word; jerk, ass, prick, you get the idea). I'm not sure if he was trying to protect my feelings, he didn't feel as if the guy deserved the piece, or what, but I listened to him and shoved it into the back of my trunk after throwing away the card I had written to go along with it.

Some people try to hide their feelings about another. Others express things much more openly. I was walking toward someone else the other day and he made a comment. He started singing part of a song another time I was in the vicinity. I felt like he was around more, but that could have been my imagination. Regardless, I was in another department, saw him in the hall, and started walking behind him when he opened the fridge in back. We keep soda and water in there, it's an honor system setup, and I'm not really sure how it works since a lot of people seem to help themselves. When I first started a guy told me I could feel free to do that since he put money in at times and never took anything so I have done this several times. I have also paid for things, I only take without paying when I am not feeling well and think a soda might help settle my stomach, and I am out of cash/coins.

So I'm walking past this guy, and as I am nearing his left arm, he hands me a bottle of water. It was really a well timed and perfectly executed move on his part, the drink appeared at the precise moment I would be ready to take it from him, it felt super charged and meaningful, like it was just a water bottle, but also so much more. Without really missing a beat, maybe I thanked him, I really can't remember, then he said that it was for me unless I would rather have a soda instead. I felt reckless when I said that it was Friday, and I was going to treat myself to one. He gave me this funny smile, I popped the top open, he went on his way, and I walked back to my desk in a state of confused shock. I mentioned that he had given me a drink, and wasn't that nice of him, and the other person agreed, yes, that had been a very nice gesture. He was really nice when I gave him the painting too, his reaction wasn't what I might have predicted, and it was cute when he asked if the painting was specifically for him; as if that wasn't his first initial on it.

He's married, but I have seen this type before. I'm not a threat to his relationship with his wife. I make his work life better, and he appreciates that. I love people who are secure enough to be themselves and don't feel the need to hide anything or sneak around. The admiration is mutual, there are things I don't like about him, but I also feel like I understand him. I'm not sure what tipped the scales in my favor; but the other night he and another guy were working on trying to hear a sound that a customer was complaining about, and I got a bit of an education when I stood back there watching them try to replicate the noise and isolate it in a noisy shop environment. The other day I told one of the managers that I wish I could learn more about car troubles and basic maintenance, I'm not sure he really took me seriously; he had asked how things were going, and for once I was pretty candid and gave him an earful. Mostly I try to stay quiet around management, but this day was special, and he had asked me outright.

Hopefully you were wondering when personality theory was going to appear. I'm wondering if he is either an ENTJ, or an ESTJ; I tend to prefer the latter so I'm leaning that way, especially since his job is so hands on, but I could be wrong. He worked on my car, and the service advisor who wrote up my repair order said that he was good, and I don't think he was just saying that to appease me, and if he did, I'm okay with that to a certain exent since I know that if he was terrible, I would have heard that by now although that is certainly a subjective term. I have heard a lot of criticism of guys on the other side, but nobody will come out and name names other than one brave soul so I'm wondering how many layers I will have to go through before the truth emerges. I haven't even gotten to the scene where two people were fighting, a woman through a muffin at one guy, missed him, and hit another when he was going through the door. That led to her firing and the promotion of a friend of mine, but I will have to save that for another day.

At the art studio the owner was telling me about her daughter going to Homecoming with a male friend, that led to a more intense conversation where she revealed things I never expected to hear from her. She is such an interesting woman, and I am never totally sure how she feels about me, not that it totally matters since I am a paying customer, but I like to go to places where I am liked, respected, and appreciated. Work has become so much more fun ever since I accepted a new position. I'm probably marginal in some areas, killer in others, and competent in some. To circle back to the thought I had started with when I was in the shop late that one afternoon; we had been talking about the schedule, I made a comment about the three of us being on the same page, and I'm wondering if that was a bonding moment of some sort. Three separate beings coming together over a mutual desire to show ourselves as well as others what we are capable of as a team.

I have always had a competitive streak, and I think he sees it in me. We have some similarities, some differences too. He's a Marine, and I wonder if that's one of the things that I admire about him, and one of the reasons he likes me. They are trained to take the place of another, they function as a team even when they have different roles, and hopefully he has noticed that I've listened to some of the advice he gave me when I first approached him and asked what he thought about the schedule. At the time I had been told to take 12 - 15 appointments a day, and he challenged that. He wants as many cars in as possible, and both of us who were standing there were mostly in agreement. I asked to have the limits changed, was given permission to raise it to 16; we've consistently been writing over 20 tickets a day, and I am really proud of how far we have come. Our service drive is so much more efficient than the other side that is clogged with cars, it seems as if we are living on another planet rather than just the other side of the wall.

Just like the butterfly guy and I worked well together, this man also believes that love is an action verb. Work is still stressful, upsetting, and hectic, but I can hardly believe how much enthusiasm and excitement I have for punching in first thing on Monday morning. It so helps to have a cheerleader and supportive team member at work. I'm sure that there will be comments and people will assume that there is something between us that there isn't, but I have dealt with that before, and probably will so for the rest of my life. I was telling the woman at the art studio about my dad, and how he could bring a group of unlikely persons together. I feel like I inherited some of that. I invest in those guys without expecting anything in return, and it has really paid off for me in the form of great respect. I feel it whenever I set foot in that shop. Sometimes it's a nod, a smile, a grin, someone stands up straighter, waves, makes a comment, goes out of their way to say something to me, or otherwise acknowledge me. It's so cool and fun.

Being loved is so worth it; I'm indescribably grateful for this opportunity. Regardless of what the future holds, we have come this far, and will always have these moments and memories.



P.S. I've found some condos, but haven't been able to ask for a showing and I'm not sure what is up with that.

  1. Painting, like any art form
  2. is a risk, you don't know
  3. what the brush will do when
  4. you are inexperienced, and
  5. sometimes, it is painful to
  6. look at and see; like the 
  7. child who starts learning
  8. how to ride a bike, there
  9. are a lot of ugly bumps &
  10. bruises before beauty...


  1. Hey, I just wanted to say
  2. thank you, for the drink
  3. the other day. It feels like
  4. I learn something new
  5. every time I watch you 
  6. work. Thank you for 
  7. being nice about the 
  8. painting, I was not
  9. expecting that. 
  10. P.S. I respect you. 

I miss the days when we learned of strange doings and sub/urban happenings through living social networks, word of mouth, cheap photocopied zines and ads in the local alternative media, and other places that seemed cool when I was twenty-one. Notices posted on wooden poles and the sides of buildings and over the urinals in the men's rooms at trendy clubs and dive bars.

I found out about the Night Market from such an ad, posted to a hydro pole downtown. They had an online presence, sure, but if I'd learned of them through Facebook or Twitter, I doubt I would've gone. Nostalgia motivated us as much as anything, fifty-somethings looking at our younger days through sunglasses at night:

A Strange, & Curious Night Market.

An old building housed it, storeys of red brick outside and yellow brick walls within. The first floor felt like a loft or a basement. A witch market, my wife dubbed it, because of so many neoPagan elements and people in black, looking for a Scene to emerge. Mostly, the vendors dealt in art and crafts. The organizers hoped it would grow. I appreciate the fact of its existence, but it felt somehow dated, something that would have been interesting in another era to a younger me. One browser resembled uncannily Elvis Costello, circa 1977, just waiting for the end of the world.

It's a university town. We have local artists and several celebrated summer festivals. Given time, the Dark Harvest might grow.

We left after a short visit, to chilly streets and drinks before closing. And we saw them, among the market-curious and the rowdy, club-soused students:

Long dark cloaks and broad hats, and those masks that resemble demonic birds. Were they going to the market? Had the organizers hired them? Were they testing their costumes for Halloween? What had seventeenth-century Plague Doctors to do with us? They were visitors from the past, and, though neither we nor they could know it, the shadows of things to come.

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