Too many excuses. I'd say that there are a million of them, but I've already been called on using that number too often. It's just another excuse. So, instead, I'll say lots.
And when one or two or a hundred are disproved, there are scores more waiting to take their place. Or, even easier, memory becomes conveniently optional.
I'm supposed to be having fun. Everything is supposed to be a lark.
But it doesn't work that way. Not for me.
For me, this is too important to take lightly. It's my life after all. The only one I have.
And this, this whatever-it-is that keeps me going. I don't even know what to call it sometimes. Stupid hope is usually the term that I employ.
But is hope ever really stupid?
Everyone On Earth tells me that it is, in this particular case. That doesn't make them right.
This is hurting nobody except myself. It's my choice, and I do choose it. Choice is something I didn't have for a very long time, but now I do. Now I have a choice and nothing else has changed.
Anyway, in a little less than 20 hours, this year will end for me. This year in which everything fell apart. This year in which everything continues to fall apart. Constantly crumbling into smaller and smaller pieces.
I can't fucking wait for this year to end.
This really blows. But you already knew that, didn't you?
Again, why are you here?
Oh, because you're stupid, that's why.
I almost forgot who I was talking to.
I'm not really sure what my mood is. I mean, I'm angry, but it kinda feels normal. Like this is how I'm supposed to feel.
Angry, and a little sad.
It feels like the real me.
Also, I seriously doubt that I'll sleep at all tonight.
Also, I should just stay home tomorrow night. No good would be served by my presence anywhere else. I think that's been proven enough times.
No, I really haven't abandoned this journal. No, I'm not dead. No, I'm not in prison.
I guess it's just the same old same old. The things I want to write, I can't. The things I don't want to write? Well, I don't.
This too, shall pass. Eventually one dam or another will break, and everything will start pouring onto my keyboard again.
But, for now, here's an entry from July 2007.
I've decided to try an experiment. I'm just going to type. Whatever comes into my head, I'm going to let it flow out through my fingers.
I don't expect this to be anything good. Or interesting. I suppose that I do expect it to be real, though. And that's gotta be worth something.
I'm a sucker for tears from a woman. Wait, that doesn't sound quite right. Because the word sucker implies that I'm being deceived. That I'm being naive. And I'm not. At least usually I'm not. Usually the tears are real.
They cut right through me. Make me want to drop everything else in my life and do something, anything to help make the tears stop. Even if I don't have a fucking clue what I should do or say, the need to do or say something is almost overwhelming.
That's pretty normal, I think. To want to help someone in need.
But then there's the other thing. The realization that something special is happening. The realization that I'm seeing a girl at her most open and honest, and that she feels comfortable enough to share that kind of intimacy with me. It makes me feel a little bit special, and a part of me actually wishes that it would continue for a while longer, so I could feel special for a while longer.
If I could somehow milk the tears. Control their pace and their ferocity to something manageable. Ride that wave for as long as I can, and carry the intimacy that we're sharing along for the ride.
I think that tears are a lot like orgasms. A woman is never more real to me than when she's crying, or when she's climaxing. At those times, she's her most primal self. Her most authentic self. No bullshit. No games. No doubts. Just her. The real her, and she's sharing it with me, of all people.
I want to help. I really do. To turn my back would be just incredibly selfish, and that's one thing I'm not. But what if I can't help? What if I shouldn't help? I mean, maybe I'm just supposed to listen. Maybe I'm just supposed to be there for her, offer a shoulder to lean on, lend an ear, say a kind word every now and then.
I want to help, I really do. But if I can't, if I shouldn't, then I'd still want to be there. I'd still want to share that intimacy. I'd still want to feel special for a while.
I don't think that makes me selfish. I think that makes me human.
Human. Imagine that.
'Twas three nights after Christmas, and I sat at Rich O's.
People asked me, "Where's HatGirl?"
because nobody knows.
So I told them, "She's ill,"
and they said, "Take a pill!
and get better soon,
because we're sick of seeing Dave being so fucking sad all the time."
There are some things of which I'm sure. Those things require zero thought or consideration. I just know. What to say and when to say it and why to say it.
This isn't one of those things. This is different. This is hazy.
What should I say? What the fuck should I say?
Something simple and predictable, and therefore safe? And also stupid?
No, I don't think so.
Okay, how about something bold and ballsy and maybe even a little scary?
How about the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Is the truth ever inappropriate?
About four and a half years ago, my life changed. I didn't know it at the time, but I guess I at least suspected it. Something happened, on that day and on most of the days that have followed. I noticed, when it happened. I most certainly noticed, and I've continued to do so, for four and a half years.
I know the word. Fine, I'll say it.
How does a simple word like that manage to mean so much?
I knew, from the moment that I met you, that you were so very special. Because you did what nobody else, before or since, has managed to do. Without even trying, you distracted me. Made me become unfocused. Unclear. Unsure. Unsteady. Uneasy.
Nobody understands what it's taken to distract me. Yet you've done it so many times, without even trying. To the point when a distraction stops being a distraction, and it takes on a life of its own, and it becomes its own thing. Its own incredible awesome thing.
Happy birthday, to my dear dear friend HatGirl. You, more than anyone else, have made this bullshit I use for a life bearable. I want to breath because of her, but in actuality, I continue to breathe because of you. The strength that you demonstrate to me, and the faith and trust that you've placed in me...
I will do my best to follow your example of strength. I may fail, but I will do my best.
And I promise you this: I will never ever ever ever ever cause you to lose faith or trust in me.
In me, of all people!
So, again, happy birthday to you, my dear friend HatGirl.
I'm missing your birthday. I'm 1954 miles away from you on your 30th birthday. I may never forgive myself for this, but I'll try. Because I know you want me to.
Words never seem to be enough, but I've done the best I could do with what I have.
...41 to go.
I know what's supposed to have happened by now. I get the emails. I get the texts. Questions, and reasonable questions all. I don't ignore them, even if I don't reply.
There are, despite the platitude, such things as stupid questions. Undeserving of an answer.
But I'm feeling cooperative tonight, so what the fuck?
What was supposed to have happened follows.
Wow, a little over a month by myself. With zero hope for a respite, for another forty-one days. With nothing to anticipate, for another forty-one days. That's what it took. When willpower wouldn't suffice, and when intelligence wouldn't further, and when experience wouldn't ease, a month alone has finally accomplished.
I'm not going to sit here, in my hotel room late on a Friday night, and write that I was stupid, or ignorant, or blind, or unrealistic. Perhaps I was all of those things, but I'm not going to admit to any of those shortcomings.
I'm going to admit to one thing. One and only one thing, which should excuse everything I've said and done and felt, and everything for which I've hoped and yearned and waited, for the last six years.
If only people would have believed me.
I was in love. Absolutely and beyond a shadow of a doubt, I was in love.
Now, the use of the past tense in that last sentence is interesting, to say the least. It hurt my brain to write that sentence. It hurt my heart even more.
But I'll survive. It seems that I always survive, even when I don't particularly want to do so.
Thirty-two days. That cured me. Who would have predicted that?
Besides Everyone On Earth, I mean.
Maybe that would be nice. Maybe you people could move on, go about your lives. Maybe I should lie.
But I won't.
I'm likening this to some books I've read which were written by prisoners. Incarcerated and isolated bodies and souls, forced to look inward for entertainment. Face to face with themselves. Finding themselves. Finally emerging better than when they went in.
That was supposed to happen to me. Everyone On Earth thought it would happen.
But I won't lie. I didn't expect it to happen, and it didn't happen. Not to me. Not to what's left of me, I mean.
I haven't found myself at all. For a simple reason. I'm not here in Northwestern Washington.
I'm almost two-thousand miles away. I'm in Southern Indiana. I'm with her.
...44 to go.
Today was a pretty good day, considering the circumstances.
I got this strong urge to shoot some pool. I don't know why, I just did.
I didn't even want to shoot against anyone. I just wanted to knock some balls into some holes. Sometimes, like tonight, that's all I want to do. Simple, but effective.
So I went to this Royal something-or-other place. It sucked. It was a nightclub with some pool tables. I wanted the exact opposite, except without the nightclub stuff.
I can't even remember the name of the place I went. The something.
That narrows it down.
All I wanted to do was knock some balls into some holes. But I was not about to back down from a challenge. Not this time.
It took about 10 seconds for one of the local "sharks" to detect me. It took about 60 seconds for us to negotiate a game, with a "friendly" wager and a "fair" spot.
It took about 5 minutes for me to realize that, in that particular little pond, I was the big fish.
The pussy quit me after a couple of hours and several hundred dollars. I don't really blame him except that he'd originally acted like he had money to burn.
The thing is, nobody up here knows how to play banks. Oh, certainly, people know how to bank, many of them much better than me, but to play the game of banks requires a special mindset. One that I possess, and others up here don't.
Like taking candy from a baby.
...45 to go.
Today was a bad day. Not that they're not all bad, but today was especially so.
Abandoned by one, or maybe two. Ignored by both, certainly. Real or imagined transgressions have made me the way I am tonight. Alone. Physically and mentally and chronologically and emotionally.
I'll get over it, most likely. I always do. I always forgive.
But what if I don't want to forgive?
What if I want to stay angry? Can I force that particular emotion upon myself when other, less selfish emotions, constantly claw and climb their way towards the surface of my mind? Can anger be strong enough to defend its position? It's never been strong enough before; that's for sure.
This bullshit I use instead of a life would be a lot more bearable if I could stay angry. At the lies. At the teasings. At the broken promises, both implicit and explicit.
I keep waiting, expecting even, for something to push me over the edge. To make forgiveness impossible, even for me, of all people. It's going to happen. Eventually.
I can't fucking wait.
I've always wondered what I would write if I were to give up.
Soon, perhaps, I'll find out. Soon, perhaps, we'll all find out.
I think I'm finally starting to adjust to this time zone. The adjustment isn't complete, but I can tell it's happening.
I pretty much go to bed at a "normal" time. For me, that's somewhere between midnight and 1:00 AM. And to me, it feels like it's between midnight and 1:00 AM. This isn't what it felt like when I first got here. Back then it always felt like I wasn't going to bed until after 3:00 AM. That part of my brain was still stuck in the Eastern time zone.
I don't have any problem getting up at 7:00 either. I'm sure that's partly because the time to get up part of my brain is still in the good old EST - it thinks I get to sleep until 10:00 every day - but the fact that I go to bed at a normal time certainly helps. This helps me on weekdays, but it's a pain in the ass on weekends when I want to sleep in but my circadian rhythm wakes me up before 8:00 AM.
Another place where the adjustment is far from complete is between the hours of, say, 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM. The last three hours of work. My EST-accustomed brain is convinced that my work day is over, and it's a real chore to stay awake and alert.
And it doesn't help that it gets dark so soon at this latitude. When I left Indiana, sunset was probably around 7:00 PM. In Bellingham, it's dark by 4:30.
Anyway, I guess that's it.
...48 to go.
I want to write about eggs for a minute. Groan all you want, I don't care. I hardly ever write about eggs, so I'm way overdue. If you don't like it, feel free to go here instead. Have a nice time there.
There's a bar/restaurant/casino right next to my hotel. They have food, and they have a couple of good beers. It's handy-dandy. Unless you try, as I've done for the last two days, to order fried eggs.
These people don't know how to make a fried egg. They have some kind of mental defect that prevents them from understanding this simple concept:
Break open an egg. Dump it onto a hot surface. Break the yolk. Once it's cooked for a while, turn it over and cook it some more.
This is called a fried egg in every place on Earth, except at this bar/restaurant/casino next to my hotel. In this place, they cannot figure it out. The closet they can do is over-easy.
I don't want over-easy. I don't want over-medium. I don't want over-hard. I don't want sunny-side-up. And I don't want scrambled or poached or hard-boiled. I just want a fucking fried egg, or two, or three. I want the goddamn yolk broken, and I want everything to be cooked solid.
Is that so hard to understand?
Apparently, it is.
On Saturday, I asked for three fried eggs, and I got three eggs over-easy. A federal case ensued.
On Sunday, I told the waitress that I didn't want another federal case. She assured me that it wouldn't happen again. So I ordered three fried eggs. I explained what I meant.
A short while later, the cook emerged from the kitchen. He explained that the waitress was confused, and he asked if I would explain to him what I wanted.
So I explained to him. He said he understood.
A few minutes later, I was presented with three fucking over-easy eggs.
So, I give up. I ended up eating three pieces of toast - they came with my eggs - that cost me $8.00.
I watch it happen, because that's all I can do. I cannot stop it, and I cannot slow it, and I cannot...
Uncoiling, unraveling, falling, piling in a haphazard tangle at my feet. The contents of me, the essence of me, they spill like...
I watch, because that's all I can do. And because it's what I must do.
Something has gone terribly wrong.
I die, but I live.
Why? To witness? To pay homage? To...
49 to go...
That's the word I kept telling myself tonight. Over and over and over until I started to actually believe it.
See, I know who I am, and what I do. When I'm being myself, I sit at a bar, and I drink, and I think, and I smoke.
Last night, and tonight, I got to do all four things at the same time.
Washington, like most places these days, has an anti-smoking law in place. But Washington, perhaps unlike most places, also has Indian casinos in place. That's what they call them. Indian casinos. Not native-American casinos. Politically incorrect, maybe, but it's certainly their choice. They can call the things whatever they want.
Anyway, as near as I can figure it, these places and the reservations which contain them are not considered to be part of the United States. That's why the anti-smoking laws don't apply to them.
So tonight and last night I got to be more like myself than at any other time since I came to Bellingham.
It was almost bearable.
I'm 1954 - I looked it up - miles from home and from my life. I miss my friends and my family and my cats. I miss some people - they know who they are - more than I'd thought possible. More than is appropriate and more than I'm allowed. But even more than that, I've missed myself. Tonight and last night I found myself for a while.
All is certainly not perfect. I still search for that elusive writey mood. I dig around in my brain and my heart, my fingers grabbing and grasping at anything and everything. But when I pull my prizes into the light to examine them, they're never quite what I'm looking for.
I have so much to say. Too much to say, perhaps.
It sometimes seems that I'm needed the most when I'm unavailable. I was afraid this would happen. I even knew this would happen eventually, if I was gone long enough. Well, I've been gone long enough. And I'm needed. But I cannot help.
I'm too far away.
...50 to go.
I keep waiting, expecting, hoping to get into a proper mood. A writey mood, I call it. I doubt that's really a word, but I don't care. I'm going to use it anyway. It fits, and shit.
Besides, every word in existence was coined at some point.
But anyway, the writey mood eludes me. It's a slippery bastard.
It's all such bullshit. I've been told a thousand lies. A million lies. I want the truth. But nobody knows the truth. Not even the liars.
The truth, it's also a slippery bastard.
I get so sick of people tiptoeing around me. Treating me with kid gloves. Beating around the goddamn bush. Fucking protecting my feelings.
It's all such bullshit.
My feelings are nothing but scar-tissue. They're fucking indestructible.
Even now, even after everything, I don't matter even to myself. I will not, can not, put myself first. Second, maybe, but not first. Not before her. Or them. Whatever.
It was a horrible idea. I wanted it so much, but I wanted it for the wrong reason. So now, now I get to be alone over the holidays. I get to feel sorry for myself.
All will be as it should be.
This is my fault. I'm the one who messed up. I'm the one who can't or won't face reality.
Maybe they're really nothing. Nothing at all. Not leftovers of a reality almost gone. Not even echoes of a reality gone for months. And not even inklings of a future promised yet denied.
Maybe they're nothing.
Nothing at all.
Perhaps it's all in my head. Perhaps that's where it's always been. Perhaps that would make the most sense. Perhaps that would explain everything, to everyone but me.
He screams and he moans and he groans. Sometimes, he cries. His agony is as unimaginable as it is inevitable.
He will not die. He will not starve and he will not drown and he will not suffocate and he will not take his own life. He suffers and he endures.
Somehow, he survives.
I pity him, and I admire him. I worship him.
People like to spout platitudes to me. It makes them feel wiser and therefore superior to me. One such platitude is, "God will never give you more than you can handle."
My response to that is, "Tell that to my friend WomanRepellant."
They're not leftovers and they're not echoes and they're not inklings. What the fuck are they?
Seriously, I want to know. I need to know.
I fucking deserve to know.
The light streaming through my window this morning made a mezmerizing effect.
There is no audio. I figured you people didn't need to hear the heater blowing at 100 decibels.
This is my 14th day here. I guess the newness is really starting to wear off now. I’m feeling more and more homesick with each passing day. Some people told me that it would get easier. That I would get used to it. Some people were wrong. This sucks.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I have managed to enjoy myself, just not as often as I’d have liked. Going down to Kent this past weekend was a lot of fun. It was really great to see some of my old friends and visit some of my old haunts. I’ve really missed living there, even more than I thought.
I’ve noticed that I don’t like to write anymore. It always seems like such a chore. And when I do manage to bang out some sentences, nothing flows. Nothing has rhythm. This is especially true when I try to write about the mundane events of my days and nights. So I don’t write about those things. I hardly write about anything.
It’s all I can do to keep from packing up my stuff and flying home. Is this job worth it? I haven’t seen her for over two weeks. And it’s going to be another two months. How am I supposed to function with that knowledge constantly beating away inside my head? Breathing is a chore, and yet I’m expected to work, eat, sleep?
I just don’t know.
Who am I going to be when I finally return home? Will anyone even recognize me? Will I recognize myself?