While regret is still looming over last night’s wacky antics, I find myself in a kind of daze today. I have already begun to stare contemplatively out of windows, and I believe that I have discovered the key to teaching math (it’s about 70% positive reinforcement). My stomach is relatively empty, and the jeans that I am wearing fit my hips in a way that makes me feel quite good about them.
Circumstances have fosaken me, as a man that I once used to share hilarious encounters with has officially deleted his e-mail. Our lives are now severed; we both had outrageous schedules and could never afford to keep in communication beyond flighty, scrambled e-mails of passion. I understand how irresponsibly vague I am being, but you really musn’t worry. I only ever enjoy my times outside of school work and school chums. I’m multi-faceted. I’m a chameleon without the skin problem.
Things are starting to look up. They do that often here in Chicago. I can look up and be enamored by the clouds one minute, and the next minute has me on the floor with my head wrapped around the idea of light pollution. I am to be fulfilled here. It’s places like this that make me think about airing laundry and making moves; everyone knows what everyone is up to, but there is still good left to be found. It’s just big enough, you know? I’ve got the ease and comfort of my little big town here, but when I want something more risky and frisky, it’s always just a couple of blocks away.
I am now going to research how one adequately writes their own obituary (not for the reasons that you think, but then again, perhaps for all of the reasons that you think). When I am not being cryptic, I cannot say that I ever am truly being myself.
Okay, fine. I’ll admit it. I have a love for irrationality.
Real love. The kind that makes you want to have sex without a condom on.
I long for the day that I meet the one true person that I am meant to be with. I’ll be shopping at an airport and through the boring magazine stands and cheap souvenirs, I will see. I am going to go up to hir/her/him, and let them know at first sight that I am enamored by the way that they chew their gum and how clothing clings to their static body. They are going to look me in the eyes, release their bags from their shoulders, and cry out to the heavens, “Thou hast forsaken me! I have finally crossed paths with this conscious flesh after years of personal crisis and painful indifference to all other potential mates.” Our lips will meet, and we’ll be shredded at that point. We’ll fall gracefully into paper pieces on the relatively clean floor. Once the last strand hits the top of the pile, primordial ooze will emerge from the pile and it will slowly dissolve and reconstruct what it ever meant for the two of us to be human beings.
A classical rendition will take play instead of the security warning announcement. Perhaps a little zest of jazz will be thrown in towards the beginning to make the ooze all the more meaningful. There will be some synchronized dancing occurring; the airplanes all pull in at the same time that the flight attendants pick up the phones to confirm with one another that passengers are now free to exit the cabin. Pilots will pop sweet champagne, and plan magnificent trips to their local zoos from the cockpit. The passengers on-board will make haste in their travels off of their planes; the passengers that normally wait with fervent anticipation will be more relaxed and calm. The parents waiting will cease to wait, tag their kids as extra baggage, gladly pay a fee, and enjoy the cabin without the worry of whine or babble. The elderly will order sarsaparilla and place their dentures in the little slot meant for their cups on the tray. The planes will leave.
We’ll be put back together again. Looking a little different with a little more appreciation for nothing, we’ll nod or wink or gesture something foolishly and go our respective ways.
Such is the life of the individual. Rationality is just so limiting.
Where am I? It is so hard to pin-point at any given moment.
A thought occurred to me yesterday: the story of Atlas is absolutely pure genius. Now, I haven’t read anything about Atlas in quite some time, but I know the basics.
Weight of the world?
To be forced to keep the weight of the world on your shoulders is no simple punishment. What goes into that? We can strip the story and just take a look at the image of Atlas. The image, simplified.
How does one conceptualize the implications that are being made with one simple visual like that? What is a potential influence that Atlas has in life? This is where I could veer off into subjective significance. He could be an explanation for gravity (he holds the sky in place). There is a chance that the basic idea behind him could be that things don’t function on their own, that everything is dictated by how willing someone is to take on weight and live with it. Culturally, he serves as a delightful metaphor. I feel so abstract looking at this stick figure, pulled hurriedly from where I was in front of my computer.
I have had encounters with people that have so much unconscious familiarity to Atlas; they carry around their own world and know it to be so. Interactions are what are key here; they way that people communicate is what weighs on them so thoroughly. Conversationally, I feel continually more understanding of other people when they let me know how their respective worlds are growing, shifting, revolving. I thrive off of allowing other worlds to clash with mine, in hopes that from their union a livelier system of planets can flourish. When I am stripped of conversation with another person, it really is as though we are existing in separate planets. Sometimes, when I close my eyes and I am around people, I can literally hear the silence that a planet hears in orbit.
We are all pulling in all sorts of directions. Some personalities come off on us with a more appealing gravitation; others exist for the sake of comfortability within one’s universal context. I really relate to this feeling: I’m outside of my body, my world, my universe and I am bent forward, arms above my head and the weight of this familiar existence looming down on of my shoulders. I can sometimes breathe, after having finished an interaction or sorted out a tangle of tasks, in unison with my Atlas persona. We work in the same way all the time, and there are people that are detached with this character that takes the initiative to stand strong.
I find a sense of peace in the story of Atlas. He has got his burden to wear, and I have got mine. I might be tricked into taking on more weight as my world grows, but there is ease to be found in the fact that we’ve all got our own worlds to maintain.
I’m working from such a second-hand story; I am not referring to the text that has been written about Atlas. The spoken word tale about him and Hercules is what I am attempting to relate to, and even though Atlas wasn’t the best kind of person in text, I always used to think of him as a kind of martyr. Haunting, surely.
I usually watch television in the immediate moments before I fall asleep. When this occurs, I am often analyzing the dialogue that I am listening to, and I am attempting to determine whether or not it is worth listening to or not.
So, I am at my desk listening to Apex by Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green with a stack of blank paper in front of me. To my left, there are two empty bottles of Gatorade (the good kind), and to my right, there are wrappers that used to contain tacos from a brilliant restaurant in a bag that says, “Have a Nice Day Thank You” with a big yellow smiley face on it. There is sweet lighting going on right now, as all the lights are off except for the warm desk lamp. I’ve got deodorant, unused allergy pills, a painting that I worked on last year, a small stuffed walrus, overdue library books, assorted cassette tapes from a dumpster, and my miniature Buddha that I’ve had for five years at arms length. I am thinking of watching 30 Rock (instead of listening to it play as a secondary background music), and I can feel the two caffeine pills in my stomach weighing down my organs and causing my fingers to tingle.
I feel good about today.
I say that all the time. Is it because I really feel that way? I like to think so.
About a year ago, I remember going through a similar sort of miniature break time. Last year, it was with a lot less optimism (but then again, that could just be my memory). I remember walking the streets of Chicago late at night. I was walking, always. Thinking, of course. But I remember walking more. I had more of an active passivity keeping me warm during the winter.
That has retreated from me this year. My active passivity seems to have gone into hibernation and the passive passivity has exposed itself, and I am constantly fending off the urge to both vomit and sing every time that I feel stimulated by the world around me. I keep growing more and more curious about how things will play out. I feel like that sort of comment really summarizes how I feel about my life right now.
I’m waiting to see how things play out, and I shouldn’t be.
A psychological issue, I am sure. I feel mentally stunted, as though the motivation that I once had to inspire massive amounts of future heroes has drained from my body like these two bottles of Gatorade. It’s such a process: thinking. I feel like I am starting to get that. I feel very confident that it is mind over matter, but in order to really get the mind, you have to become the mind outside of the mind. A post-postmodern perspective, indeed, but I don’t quite care for these disturbingly popular movements in the artistic world; they are used, in my terminology, for attempting to map out that which is abstract and seemingly tough to talk about.
It’s haunting. Everything is these days. I cannot tell whether I am learning or forgetting at any given moment. I constantly reach out to look for my keys and find them in boxes that I don’t ever remember having crossed. I shower like I want the world’s water to become my soapy outer skin scrubbings.
"I need to wash my sheets before I go insane." That lyric from a Discovery song just played as I typed that out. Fucking odd, this place is. This time is.
I can remember a year ago what I wanted. I can remember what I wanted five years ago. What is another year to bring? What if there is no alignment? I am so young, but I feel so aged. I’m going to be 30 before I know it, and I will feel as though I am 60. I want to have children today. I want to be finished with school and begin teaching today. I want to be depressingly boring and sit at home with a glass of wine, criticizing the news with a dog on my lap and a fire keeping my toes toasty. I want to purchase and polish cheap bronze knick-knacks, savoring their nature as an inferior metal of significance. That’s exactly what I feel like.
Unpolished, thrift store-stacked bronze.
I feel great about today, metaphorically commodified and otherwise. A little extreme passivity is something that everyone can learn from: DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING.
I’m going to find a pen now, and I am going to draw. Today is going to be just as splendid as yesterday was, as last year was, as five years ago was, and how my 30th birthday will be. I may feel aged, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a life to live.
I found a child wandering around the streets of Chicago the other day. He was sobbing with gloves on both hands and a bright red cap on his head. I walked up to him and asked what he was doing, what was wrong. He told me that he was looking for his mother. He asked me if I could help him.
I pulled my headphones out of my bag, and I continued walking. A few steps later, my iPod drowned out my memory of him altogether. Until now.
I did that thing that I always do when I get on airplanes: I sit anxiously in my seat, bobbing my legs as I am full of excitement. When the plane’s conductors make their way into the sky, I feel the pressure of the air around my eyes and my eyelids fall heavy and I knock out. No, I don’t fall asleep; it’s always deeper than that. I literally knock out asleep until I don’t feel the pressure again, which is usually when a flight attendant tells the rest of the plane to please exit the airplane with care.
Without fail, it always happens to me. I’ll be in Chicago later this evening, after I face another round against the pressure of the sky.
P.S. - And seriously, the pilot that I had this morning was absolutely gorgeous. GORGEOUS. When he greeted us at the end of the flight, I thought that the man was a model. He had a feminine face with a really interesting body shape, but his voice whipped out this really light snarl of masculine appreciation. When he shook my hand, he shocked me. And we were outside. As it was snowing.
A little shock every now and again is really great.