A perfect amount of less time

I certainly didn’t expect for this to happen. It wasn’t planned, calculated or intentional in any way. I’m entirely a victim of circumstance, and it was so organic and clever in the way it took over my life that I didn’t even notice it happening. It took the days hours, divided them up loosely so that I still felt I had control over the profound inertia of my life & wouldn’t notice until it was too late, and without even bothering to check with me, all of the sudden there is something of a schedule that dictates my days. Goddamn, it was sneaky.

The odd thing is that in the past I tried, tried desperately to have some kind of structure in my days, but the more strict I tried to be with myself & my time, the more a different part of me rebelled. My subconscious mind teamed up with my instinctive and astonishing ability to procrastinate and all my meticulous planning and promises to myself that this time, dammit, I will DO it – was inevitably shot to hell within a few days.

But then the schedule happened to me. I’ll get to how in a minute.
I’m still able to wake up & fall asleep at any odd hour I want, but once awake the gears are set in motion, and I have little choice but to just go along for the ride.

All I needed to do was write. That’s all. For a few hours each day, I would write, and the rest of the time I was free to fill with all the apathy & indifference for life that I could fit in.
The problem was that since I had so much freedom with time, I figured that I could write whenever I wished – when waking up & still in bed, or at one of the cafés that I would write on my “to-do” pad the previous evening (which held such gems as “Walk Ruby”, “take shower”, “call or write… anyone”) or if I had food, I could write after a dinner of tater-tots or rice & beans. I could write anytime – so I never did. I didn’t write, I didn’t go anywhere, didn’t do anything, with the exception of reading.  I even tried to make it exciting by actually going all the way over to my little couch (calling it a “love seat” would be depressingly misleading) – but I couldn’t ever seem to make it the six feet it would take to get all the way over there.

Then one day, while shopping on Amazon for the medicinal herbs I would be able to buy in a few weeks when I got my disability check as well as other things like knives, books, a new belt for my umbilical hernia, books, and anything else I could think of to fantasize about, I looked on the side of the screen and saw that Amazon figured that I might like a bag of around 4000 shiny aluminum jump rings. Because that made perfect sense.

Curious as to why in this empty grey existence of mine their bots would think that, and though I had countless other much more important things to search for like wing tipped tuxedo shirts, extension cords and creepy doll heads, I clicked on the picture.

Hmm. Chain mail? Make chain mail? You’ve got to be kidding me. There is absolutely no way I would have the patience to sit there for hours, weaving ring by ring into something that looked like anything good, unless some poor idiot somewhere could be convinced that what I created with the three rings I had the patience to sit down, open, connect, and close again some sort of brilliant minimalist art. As blindly optimistic as I usually am, sometimes even I need to open my eyes and see the reality of something so unlikely. I mean, it takes all the willpower I have just to write for 15 minutes straight – who am I do have the nerve to think that I could sit for hours and hours to make just ONE piece of jewelry?

But then I saw the book that people apparently bought when they bought the rings. And the pretty pictures, right there on the cover. The pictures of things that the book would show me how to make and that I would make and people would like because of my innate and incomparable sense of style, and I would sell them and be flown around the world with my dog in private jets to create amazing things for only the coolest famous people – or at least the ones that aren’t dead yet, I figured. It’s fun to think about, and while I could definitely see the cool stuff, I couldn’t see me doing anything that involved sitting at a desk for so long. Perhaps the biggest fear was the knowledge of how many things I have begun & never followed through on. Those things continue to haunt me, and I was terrified of this being another one…

I got a little sick when I ordered the rings & the book with pretty pictures instead of a couple bottles of the herbs I need to keep me alive & healthy-ish, but looking back all these weeks to the beginning of when all this began in January, that was a small price to pay – and besides, the infection seems to nearly be gone.

So now I have a schedule – or more accurately, I was mugged by a schedule which sneaked up on me from behind, knocked me unconscious, and when I woke up, it had already made itself at home in my life.

I find it interesting that when I have absolutely nothing to do, I can’t even find the time to sweep up the dog hair in my apartment. It’s like there is too much time to do anything. I’ve never been able to figure that one out. Is it just me? Do I have some weird mental disorder concerning time? Is it like a buffet where there is so much amazing food that I can’t choose anything, or an enormous bookstore filled with so much that I wander the endless aisles for hours and walking out with nothing?

Now my entire world has changed. It’s as if after years I finally thought of the last line to the best poem I had written. It’s the torn-out chapter that brings the entire plot together, found in another inmate’s cell a week before I’m released. It’s the rug that really, like, ties the room together, man.

I get up, read for a bit, write nearly without fail for a few hours, while drinking coffee in bed. When I feel either like I’m at a stopping point or mid-afternoon is creeping up far too quickly, I get dressed, take The Beast out while I do errands, and have even been taking her to the park more frequently. I get home, putz around briefly and nearly every-other day run my Swiffer over the floor to gather the nearly unbelievable amounts of dog hair that it acquires. I stretch a bit, sit down at my work desk (which unfortunately never lived up to its name of a “writing” desk. It feels far too strict and demanding when I actually try to use it for the purpose I bought it, like it’s secretly judging me) – and get to work on chainmaille. After a few hours I have an insatiable urge to take a nap for an hour or so – but the nap is the slippery part. When I started, the nap would fall at a vaguely decent hour, usually 3-4 pm, and I’d wake after an hour or so refreshed and ready to get back to work – but as the days progressed with the fun & challenge of making more creative pieces, I ended up feeling better and as a result worked later into the night, I sometimes not being able to put the pliers down until 4 or 5am. There was a glitch brewing.

I still follow the agenda, it’s just that the actual time of day has no place in it, and as the rest of this silly world has the audacity to run on their time instead of mine – that makes the time I have for writing sometimes unbearably short, and now that I’m regularly doing it again, I need my fix. Seriously. It’s like a drug. If I don’t have time to write when I wake up (which after a late night could be 1pm), I find myself being irritable, miserable and easily pissed off the rest of the day. I imagine that the people driving in traffic who can’t help but lean on their damned car horns when there is absolutely nowhere the person in front of them can go must feel this way – I just don’t have anything to honk.

I haven’t tried it yet, but if it ever does happen where I find myself around someone I’m just being a plain bastard to for no reason, maybe the solution is pulling out my notebook & pen while I ask them to wait for a moment? Of course, what I write may be something like “I think this person is an ignorant, idiotic, pathetic little subhuman whose cartoid artery I would like to puncture repeatedly with this pen.” – but the irony is that after I wrote that (then quickly closed my notebook I shoved it back into my pocket before anyone could see it), the urge would likely be gone and I could stand there silently, looking them directly in the eyes with a diabolical smirk on my face until they felt uncomfortable enough to go away.
Or I guess I could write something like “Chill the fuck out, Flux. They’re probably really nice, and it’s you being the asshole because you didn’t get your writing fix, poor baby.” That just wouldn’t be as much fun though. Did I happen to mention that there’s a somewhat wicked streak in me?

In order to make this “schedule” work inside the time frame set by those “other” people, I have created a reset button – which is why this morning’s therapy is edging up to nearly 1,500 words. All I need to do is take a break from the post-nap chainmaille creation for an evening, and get to bed at an absurdly early hour – such as 7 or 8pm – then wake up at 3 or 4 am, microwave the coffee I make much more than enough of every few days so I don’t have to wait for it to brew, light some incense, crawl back into bed, and start the day – with plenty of day left to enjoy this new life where, for the first time in far, far too long, I feel like I’m beginning to live a life of doing things I love again. I’m writing, I’m creating, I’m making things that people really seem to like and are eager to buy, and instead of days full of emptiness and ennui, instead of feeling valueless and insignificant, I feel good. Hell, I’m even getting some real work done on my book – something that is solid and workable, instead of the 5 years of constructive procrastination that I’ve been using to pretend that I was doing something on it.

I really should offer classes on professional procrastination. I don’t think that anyone can compare to my level of self-deception when it comes to that.

So yeah. Because of some shiny rings and the remembered courage not to let my fear stop me again, to at least try, and if that didn’t work, fucking try harder, things are looking up in my life.
I might even be able to honestly say I’m happy – at least with this part of it… and considering how I’ve felt for the past few years, that feels really good to be able to say, and mean.

Here are just a few of the things I’ve made, because I know you’re unbearably excited to see some of it. Mind you, I’ve only been doing this for about seven weeks…

The Friendship Farce

There’s been a melancholy that’s been surrounding me lately, a darkness that roots itself somewhere inside of me and reaches out like thorned and poisonous vines to nearly anyone who has the audacity to enter my mind. Of course, it’s not them, not really, not entirely, not if I get down to the bones, but I’ll blame them for it anyway, because that’s much easier – and gods know I’ve tried multiple times in the past, only to be met with their same bullshit.

I’ve been making the mistake of watching – or at least semi-watching as I sit at my work-desk making chainmaille, the types of TV series that involve things called “friends”, which seem to be other people that you can call at anytime and ask to go get a drink or brunch or something that doesn’t have to be planned days or weeks in advance, and seldom ends up with the other person cancelling unless they’re in a life-threatening situation, at which point of course I jump up off of my bed & go save them or vice-versa, and even in the midst of all the excitement, we are able to make jokes about the other person where we both laugh and come back with even a funnier dig, because we know each other well enough and are close enough not only to know that the other person is just playing, offering some levity in a horrible situation, and we know that we can say these things without the other person getting offended because they aren’t a lily-white boring piece of shit, and understand that there are much more important things to contend with in daily life than getting upset or hurt by something our friend said in fun and being able to laugh at it, because they’re, y’know, our friend.

I remember having friends like that when I was younger, mostly when I was working as a Harley technician. It was a simpler time, a time when people could not only dish shit out but take it without taking anything personally, and as we tested each other’s limits, it brought us closer. We’d see each other nearly every night at a bar called Stinger’s or at one of the Harley shops I worked at, and if someone needed something, needed out actual presence, we were there for them – we were never “too busy”. Hell, I even got my ass kicked (& quite well, I might add) because fucking Billy didn’t realize it was time to shut his damned mouth when there were suddenly 7 of them to our 2, standing up for a girl we didn’t even know because a friend of his said her ex was hassling her. After, with black eyes & swollen faces, we laughed about it – then laughed about how much it hurt to laugh.
Or when I lived in Austin Enchanted Forest as recently as 2005, when friends would come to the door of my tent and ask through the thin material if I were there, simply because they wanted to say hi. There were a few, but the one that holds the deepest place in my heart, and always will, was a woman named ‘Tea’ who would sometimes come in even after I told her to go away – especially after my dog Bean was killed by a train. She knew that as much as I didn’t want to see anyone, as much as I wanted to wallow in some of the deepest pain & desolation that I have ever felt, I needed a friend, if only just to hold in comfort and silence

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I don’t know this world anymore. You can barely say a fucking thing without someone ending up acting like you just pissed on their sand-castle… but that’s not really what I’m here to get off my chest today, even though it did feel good to drain that particular poison out of my fingers.

A couple nights ago I posted on Facebook looking for a person or three to simply meet me at a dive bar, any dive bar in the City. Just meet for drinks, conversation, laughter and maybe even fun. That’s all I wanted.

I didn’t want to go to one of the many social “events” happening, where inevitably I go alone, wander around alone, save for a few mundane and worthless encounters with people I hardly know and am supposed to somehow be happy to see (though admittedly, on rare occasion, there actually is someone I’m happy to see, but all we do is talk for a few minutes then go our separate ways) …until I realize, yet again, there are much more fun things I could be doing – like walking home alone.
It’s far too easy to feel isolated, to feel friendless, even in large gatherings that are built primarily of people I call “friends”, in the loosest sense of the word.

I just wanted to meet at some random place where nothing was happening except “us”, the anonymous bar-crowd swirling around us, our only purpose being to hang out with each other, take the time to listen and talk and maybe even find out things we didn’t know, things that might bring us closer. (“Really? Your sister only has three toes on her left foot too?” “You got arrested for WHAT?”)
I posted on Facebook because I knew if I tried to call people I would just get increasingly angry & depressed with each fruitless call, every person saying that they couldn’t for whatever bullshit reason – and besides, not only do I not have most people’s phone number, but was only able to think of two people who would likely at least be interested. One just recently moved to Seattle (& doesn’t drink anyway) while the other is out of town – so I opened it up to everyone. Who knows, maybe someone might respond that I would never have thought of, and maybe we’ll actually have something to talk about. It was worth a shot.
What I got in return were about 7 or so replies, each one from people in an entirely different city saying “I would, but…”  While I forced myself to appreciate the sentiment, words aren’t worth shit when actual physical presence is wanted. I don’t give a fuck that you would “like” to come hang out. Hells, I’d like to be able to give thousands of dollars to some people I care about and charities that need it, but saying “I wish I could” is worth less than not saying anything. You can kindly shove your “I wish”s & “I would, but”s up your ass. I would much rather hear the honesty of your silence.

Okay, enough of my rant. Letting some of it out through my fingers did help a little, as always – and the disgust I feel with myself & this world had been alleviated a bit, the load lightened as each whiney word was vomited out of my head and onto the screen – and though I have much more to bitch and whine about, I promised my dog I would get us both to the park today – her for some running & playing, and me for the laughter & smiles she brings even when I’m in much darker places than this.

I guess that I do have one friend I can always count on to be there- I just wish she were old enough & had the language skills to hang out with me in a bar or over brunch or just someone to try to figure out how to get through this life without ending up detesting nearly everyone, and perhaps even make this darkness fade to a lighter grey.

old and bitter

5:13 in the morning and finally I have stepped away from my desk, making chainmaille and on a whim more listening to than watching “The jerk”. At this time, whatever time it falls on I usually just take Rubes out to pee, change from my jeans into worn and comfortable pajamas and snuggle up to sleep, but tonight I change things around, no particular reason with the exception that I always feel better after I write, and I haven’t been feeling so hot in my heart or soul.

It’s been hitting me hard how few friends I can count or count on in the many people I know. Though many have offered kind words or money when I needed it, I have no one that I feel is my own.

Is this the world I have created fro myself? I have no argument that it isn’t, but for months a little over a year ago I contacted people I have known, people I wanted to know better, and only an occasional coffee and time were offfered, more of a single shot than something that I felt I could follow – and I feel if they wanted to, they would.

Something needs to change, but I don’t know how or what. I am writing now about earlier times and in those times I had lunch with a friend, received a beautiful email from another, and had dinner with others. As it sits, I’ve only seen one person for more than five minutes in over a month, maybe two – and I wonder what is wrong with me… but I know where the distrust comes from.
This life has already been to long, I’m thinking.

old and bitter

5:13 in the morning and finally I have stepped away from my desk, making chainmaille and on a whim more listening to than watching “The jerk”. At this time, whatever time it falls on I usually just take Rubes out to pee, change from my jeans into worn and comfortable pajamas and snuggle up to sleep, but tonight I change things around, no particular reason with the exception that I always feel better after I write, and I haven’t been feeling so hot in my heart or soul.

It’s been hitting me hard how few friends I can count or count on in the many people I know. Though many have offered kind words or money when I needed it, I have no one that I feel is my own.

Is this the world I have created fro myself? I have no argument that it isn’t, but for months a little over a year ago I contacted people I have known, people I wanted to know better, and only an occasional coffee and time were offfered, more of a single shot than something that I felt I could follow – and I feel if they wanted to, they would.

Something needs to change, but I don’t know how or what. I am writing now about earlier times and in those times I had lunch with a friend, received a beautiful email from another, and had dinner with others. As it sits, I’ve only seen one person for more than five minutes in over a month, maybe two – and I wonder what is wrong with me… but I know where the distrust comes from.
This life has already been to long, I’m thinking.

Accidental becoming

In the years that I’ve been contemplating, organizing, printing out reams of old blog posts and ripping them apart for the words that might matter, in all the years of such meticulous procrastination that I even impressed myself, I think that now, at long last, I am actually doing it, word by word.

I’m writing my damned book. From page one this time, instead of from any and all of the 600 or so pages of stories that I’ve compiled over this life, bouncing around in the absurdity of it with the intention of re-writing all the stories and them putting them together into some sort of intelligible masterpiece. This time, I’m starting at the beginning – and it seems to be working. It is working.

One thing I’ve realized though – there is no way that this could possibly be only one book.

I’ll write more in here later, as I’ve done my morning book-writing and need to get my ass in gear since I got a bit caught up in not wanting to stop, but seeing as that feeling – the feeling of not wanting to stop instead of trying to hook and rip every word out of my heart like they were swallowed by a fish – that’s a welcome sign.

I think I’m back.

Into the Storm

Sitting in my bed, comforter pulled up to my waist, warm and… not happy, not blue, but if I had to think about it (and it seems I need to now that I wrote that) – feeling… what? Perhaps something of a positive indifference, if that makes any sense.

Grey skies, scattered rain & the wind howling through my windows which I intentionally leave just a crack open for exactly that reason. I like the feeling of safety & warmth inside, the storm not able to affect my life, as much as it beats against the barriers that surround me.

But I also miss the exquisite storm, the way my blood pulsed feverishly, passionately through my veins feeding off of the uncertainty of every day. I miss the directionless path, trusting that it would take me where I needed to be and it always did. I miss the way the words would rip themselves out of me, tearing me apart & puttin me back together like a puzzle that always found a place for the extra pieces.

I miss the feeling of the feeling of the road under my wheels.
I miss the fever.
I miss the storm I once was.

The wind screams & moans through my windows, calling me, summoning me.

It’s time to join it.

The Complications of a Kiss

For hours we talked. We talked of the Sun & the Stars, of everything around & under them. We talked of writing and authors, of our pasts and present. Of herbs and addiction, of friends and difficult relationships. We talked of romance. She said she was a hopeless romantic, I told her I was a hopeful one which made her smile. She talked about lovers, of past boy & girlfriends, but not having anything current to say from my side, I mostly kept quiet.

I looked into her ice-blue eyes and I could only think of clichés to describe them, and worried about a piece of the glitter surrounding her eyes falling into one. I found it kind of dorky and cute the way sometimes she stifled her laughter by pressing her tongue against her upper lip. We talked outside of time, the world moving on around us.

Although we could have sat there enjoying each other’s company for much longer, the growing soreness in our asses had something else to say about it. It was time to stand, to go. It had been a lovely time together, getting to know each other, finally meeting a decade after she had first heard my name from a mutual friend.

Instead of parting ways outside the café, we sauntered down Market Street, side by side weaving around the people & construction, enjoying the continued conversation & moving slowly, more as if we were strolling through a park on a warm spring day than in the rush of San Francisco as it left work & headed home. As far as I could tell, we were the only ones there.

“This is where I turn. I’ve had a wonderful time.”
A warm hug. I answer, we go our separate ways. On the way home I walk faster, at my normal pace, the hint of a smile playing on my lips as I hope that it actually will be soon, and, newly inspired, think about what I’ll write.

At least that’s what I expected to happen, but we kept walking, taking now about hidden treasures in Golden Gate Park. She says she’ll take me to the “Faerie Door”. I imagine her being able to take me through it to her true home. Now walking through Civic Center Park, I begin to wonder where she’s going. My mind starts spinning. Maybe she has an errand to run that just happens to be in the direction of my apartment. Yeah, that must be it. If it were ten, fifteen years ago, if we were walking away from a bar a little tipsy, if pretty much everything were different, then I could accept that she might be coming home with me – but these days? A lovely woman I just met coming home with me? What a silly thought. That just doesn’t happen to me anymore. She must have someone else she wants to visit close to me. Maybe she wants to get some Vietnamese food to take home. Quit having such foolish thoughts, kSea. You know better.

We wander up Hyde Street together, each step getting closer to my home and she is sill by my side. I start to get nervous, confused, trying to remember how to do this… this boy/girl thing. The game, the ritual. I can’t. Hell, the last lover I had was three years ago, and I don’t have the slightest idea of how to read all but the most blatant & obvious hints anymore – and those I’d likely even have trouble with, looking around the room for someone else and wondering if they were actually directed at me.

I need to calm down. This could be, and most likely is, entirely innocent. I don’t know what I’m thinking. Really. I have no idea.

We turn the corner to my apartment, which is now about 20 yards away. A friend of hers once looked at an apartment in the building next to mine I find out, and then I’m opening my gate. I apologize beforehand about the mess & dog hair everywhere. I refrain from saying that I wasn’t expecting company, thinking it might come across poorly and accidentally give her the idea that she isn’t welcome & make her uncomfortable.

I quickly grab the clothes off of my couch & toss them in the walk-in. “That’s your closet?”
“Yeah! I have another one right there.” That’s it, kSea. Suave as ever. Christ.

She sits on the couch without asking or waiting for me to say anything, and I like that. It makes me feel like she’s comfortable here. I offer her anything, and thankfully she’s happy with water. I can do that. I have water! I pull my finest ex pickle jar out of the cupboard for her & make sure it’s company clean, not just “me” clean. It passes. Must have been a good day when I washed it.

When I come back into the room I notice that she’s taken her hair down and nearly drop her water. It’s beautiful. She’s even more beautiful. I sit down beside her, leaving a good foot & a half between us. It’s a small couch. I mentally take the word “loveseat” out of my head.

The talking continues, she likes my knives (are you fucking KIDDING me?) and says she used to have one exactly like this one. We talk about knife throwing. (I can’t even make this shit up. Dear gods.) I tell her stories o fme as a child, crashing my mom’s car into our house at 11, setting my mattress on fire at 8. We laugh. Compare notes of families, talk about adoption & blood.

I’m terrified. This is what I’ve been doing my best to avoid every time I went out, and doing it very successfully for over three years. With clothes on, I look okay, but I’m reminded at the times I have to look in the mirror what I look like without them. Scarred & discolored legs, the umbilical hernia looking like a fetal twin sticking out of my abdomen, the inguinal hernia less horrible, but at the top right of my pelvic bone. Even if you know what to expect it’s hideous. I try not to look at it unless I have to. I don’t want anyone else to have to.

Even as rusty as I am, I know I could have swayed our conversation with a couple questions to a place where I could have found out if it was alright to kiss her, if she would allow me to, if she wanted me to… and I would have loved to. But everything inside of me wouldn’t let it happen for fear of the possibility of it going further. After some time she puts her hair back up. I feel like an idiot, just wishing I could get past all that’s inside of me. A warm hug, and we take the elevator downstairs. I bring Ruby so I have a reason to walk with her just a little more.

My Dr. had called me that morning, telling me that the surgeon still won’t agree to do the surgery on my hernia’s, now two instead of one. He says that there’s a 30% chance of complications due to the ascites (fluid retention) in my abdomen, but I can’t help but call bullshit. Though there may be some fluid, I work hard keeping it as minimal as possible with teas & herbs, and if he did do the surgery I’d work even harder, agreeing to even take the prescription diuretics they want me to. But still, he won’t. He’s afraid, he’s concerned, and he doesn’t have any idea how strong my will can be to live – when there’s something to live for.

It’s been nearly three years since I’ve even kissed a woman romantically, hoping that one day, with all the fighting to get the surgery done, he might give in – but still, there’s that 30% chance that I could die hanging over everything, hanging over a life that I now don’t even have the morphine to mask the oppressive loneliness.

What he doesn’t seem to understand is that, as my will to live fades, the chance of dying without the surgery keeps growing – with each memory of a kiss that never happened.