He wakes up and he is in San Francisco Airport. He had so many plans in his life when he was 19. He wanted to be Orson Welles. He will never be Orson Welles because he is now 35, he is sitting in San Francisco airport, his attempt at rekindling the love of a woman he treated poorly as failed and failed utterly. He had hope it to have gone better but he had expected it to turn out as it did. How could anything other than what happened happen? It had all started at the end of last year. He had finally left his wife, not thinking it suitable that he live in the same house as her, her boyfriend and their new child. So he had been alone and started bible study and wrote many letters to the woman he loves but he keeps getting no replies. He even, eventually, sent flower to her on valentine’s day but he hears nothing back. He should have taken these hints as hints but he does not take them as hints. He learns that there are cheap tickets to San Francisco. So he writes her poetry in a book and draws some pictures pouring everything he can of his love into one little book and he leaves work early and he is still writing on the plane which arrives late in San Francisco on the same night. He gets the train to Berkeley and a man points him in the right direction to his hotel. He gets there too late to walk to her house. He is excited and nervous and he goes to sleep hoping for the best for the next day. He wakes early and bathes and has breakfast and he calls her number and leaves a message. He hopes that she will call back but she does not call back. he was very nervous on the phone on the message and he could hear his voice shaking. Something deep inside him knows that this was a ridiculous idea but he is committed now. He puts the book in a large envelope with a letter and checks out of the hotel. He walks the five minutes down the road to her apartment and he thinks of all the happy memories he has associated with the place. He happens to check his gmail on his smart phone and is shocked to see a message from her. Apparently she deleted the voicemail so didn’t get his number. He calls again but she doesn’t answer. He explains he has a gift and that he is standing outside her apartment. Nothing happens forever. Then ever so slowly the door to the balcony opens and he sees her looking round for him. He smiles as she is so incredibly beautiful and she glows in the San Francisco air. Then their eyes meet and he collapses. It is clear that she hates him. Nothing but contempt and disgust emanate from her. She signs for him to open the gate but he doesn’t know how. She rolls her eyes and makes her way down the steps and opens the door for him she then turns without even a greeting, why should she give a greeting, and walks back into the flat leaving the door open as a polite greeting. He walks into the apartment the envelope clutched in his hand. He looks round for evidence of a partner. He sees medical text books and he sees shoes. She disappears into the bathroom as he keeps standing stock still and awkward at the door. She returns and sits in a chair, as far from him as is possible whilst still being in the same room. She hates him. She asks him what he wants. She can barely look at him. He tells her that he wanted to give her this, pointing ineffectually at the envelope he has placed on top of the medical books. This is a mistake. She says thank you. He should be on his knees begging forgiveness and for another chance but he is frozen. He asks if she wants him to leave and she says Yes. He says he’ll go then and as he does she says be safe and he says I’m sorry. There is nothing more than that but there is so much more. He walks away. Is that all he thinks? He takes breaks on each bench on the way to the station. Maybe she will read the poems and call him back and it will all be okay and love will be fruitful and bountiful. It is at the third bench outside a bookshop that he gets the one and only final text message that he will ever receive again from the only woman that he has ever really loved. It reads along the lines of Sorry, too little too late I’m with someone who respects me. It is a pummel to his heart his soul is crushed. He has no way to respond. As a final goodbye she asks that he stop sending the letters. At least she was getting them, he thinks, but he is bereft of hope and over the course of the next few hours sends three text messages, each of which he intends to be the last ever text message that he will send to her. What was he thinking? he realises that he has been having a one sided relationship with his imagination sucking this poor woman who used to love him into it and no doubt his arrival this morning terrified her. He has lost her. He feels terrible. Life will never now have the option of being with her to old age and this thought crushes him. He sits. Then he goes to Mission and 24th and walks around noting the memories of the time they were there together at night arguing and she poked him in the chest and he told her not to do that but he had meant to be light hearted but she had not taken it that way and had shrunk inside herself and they had eaten at a Colombian Restaurant or more like a cafe and then went to make fun of pretentious art then walked into Radio Habana Social Club ann drank coffee and been in love again. He remembers all this as he walks in the hot sun as hot tears roll down his face at his loss at the loss he made, curated, grew by his abandonment of her when she needed him most. He keeps walking until his legs ache, his stomach aches and his soul is dead. One final time he stands over from Radio Habana Social Club, looking so different yet the same in the daylight and snaps a picture of the scene and a bicyclist is caught in the amber moment and the people with their lives who are insignificant to him share, unknowing, in his self-pitying tragedy. He walks back to the train he has heard no response from his messages. She really does not want to see him. So he goes to the airport and he waits for nine hours for the plane and sleeps and eats sour patch kids and drinks soda and writes and draws and tries to empty himself of the terrors that assail him and the blankness that smothers him. He sends one more text but there is no response. His plane is delayed but not by much. he gets on the plane. He flies home – to his empty house where he curls up to sleep.
He wakes up. He shaves. It hurts. It’s cold and his skin is dry, flaking off with the stubble. He eats some meat with barbecue sauce for breakfast and has three coffees. Is that too many coffees for breakfast, he thinks. He does not know the answer. It stops the headaches so it must be enough. He draws more animals and writes more poetry and prepares himself for his one day trip to San Francisco to give her a gift that she probably doesn’t want and she probably doesn’t live there any more but Philip K. Dick used to live nearby so maybe he will go and visit his shrine, his nondescript home. His old boss arrives and it is good to see him and he goes out for drinks and he has two glasses of wine but then he has to go home. Earlier in the day he thought about things and then he stopped thinking about them. He wondered what it would be like if all his fingers and toes were penises and all his orifices were vaginas. He didn’t know what to do with that thought so he made himself a coffee with some chocolate in it and drew a picture of a golden eagle and tried to make cafepress work so he could put his pictures on t-shirts but he couldn’t make it work so he went to sharpen a pencil. He realises that mechanical pencil sharpeners are more work than hand held ones and he now has a circle burnt into his palm from where the end of the pencil spun as he held it into the end of the sharpener, like the body being pulped at the end of Fargo. He is tired when he gets home and he falls asleep before The Daily Show.
He wakes up. He has no car so he has to walk through the cold but it isn’t cold but he still manages to run and miss the bus no point in even running he was never going to make it anyway he isn’t Superman. He eats his lunch. He does some drawing and some colouring. He hasn’t done it for years but he started at the weekend. Drawing cartoon animals and cartoon George Washington. He is enjoying himself and feels like a child again and his back aches because he has been doing it for too long sitting in a bad posture at his desk then he realises he has to do real work so he does real work. Then he goes home and eats some left over Chinese Food and some macaroni cheese and some salad all in one bowl. It tastes like victory. He is reading more of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He is enjoying it more and more. He supposes this is why it has become such a hit with people who read. He lies in bed for a while and then animates a hand drawn flag of the United States of America which he finds himself happy at. Then he animates a whale tearing itself off a piece of paper. This day is a good day. He falls asleep with the light on and wakes at 1am to Lawrence O’Donnell talking.
He wakes up. Then he falls back to sleep and he dreams he is on a boat that is sailing into a cliff that then becomes a car and in both he is trapped in the passenger seat and at the mercy of the lunatic driver. Everything is pink and then he wakes up and has a coffee and does some laundry because he has no clean underwear or no clean socks and he needs these things if he is going to be a productive member of society. He helps a child make a diorama of The Lorax which is rather good. Then he draws some cartoon animals which are also rather good. Then he reads some of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which he enjoys then he goes to Target to buy toilet paper because toilet paper is important for many things and there is none left in the house and tradition dictates that toilet paper be used for one very important function. Then he watches a bit of Ghost Rider which seems even more ridiculous than Air Force One that he saw a bit of yesterday. There is a lot of face acting in both and they are very hard to watch. He can no longer suspend his disbelief and he is sad about this. He reads some more of The Puppet Masters which is now using nudity and sex to save the world and there are two chapters where the hero gets married and has a honeymoon. This does slow the drama down a little. It is a brave choice for Heinlein. Odd but brave. He wanders into sleep.
He wakes up and is late for bible study. He has some issue with the reality of Armageddon and the fact that Satan is a lesson for the angels. It all sounds like nonsense. He listens to Car Talk on NPR afterwards and that improves his equilibrium. He has no interest in cars but the two hosts are very affable and he enjoys listening to them. He does some laundry because he has no underwear and then has a coffee and some cold chicken which he enjoys eating. He reads some of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which he is enjoying. It seems to be a compelling detective novel but, as yet, he does not understand why it has been so incredibly popular. Perhaps it was promoted well and it happened to appear at the right time, as with so many things. He goes for a walk in the woods. It is a beautiful day. The sky is all blue. The trees are still naked fingers stretching upwards and the earth is slightly muddy from days old rain. The heat from the sun is intermittently paused by cool breezes. It is a good day for a walk and he feels the depression that gripped him over winter slowly releasing it’s hold on him. He eats some pizza and watches The Goonies. He enjoys the film but never realised that, for a children’s movie, it has an awful lot of cursing by children in it. It reminds him of childhood and that gives him mixed emotions. He makes some paper ice skates with paper, tin foil and coloured pencils. It is fun and he is proud of his work. He only makes one. He thinks that Rick Santorum is slowly working round to accusing President Obama of being Satan on Earth. He has a glass of wine and because he hasn’t drunk wine for a few weeks it makes him feel drunk very quickly. He goes to bed. He still has laundry to do but he goes to bed anyway.
Hear me knocking at the door
Soft shoed footfalls on the floor
Blinding angels distant seen
The sun, through clouds, spears out between.
He wakes up. He has short hair which is unusual for him. He has also shaved which is also unusual. He had finished reading Portnoy’s Complaint and then posted a review on his goodreads page. A page which nobody reads. Why is he posting reviews that no one will read? Is it because he thinks his views have value? He doesn’t think too hard about it and as he stands on the metro staring at the man next to him who he is sure is Timothy Geithner the Treasure Secretary but why would the Treasury Secretary be on the metro just standing there reading a book, hanging from the loop that helps you stand when you have to stand? He keeps staring at the man who he thinks is Timothy Geitner and imagines that if it is Timothy Geithner what would he say to him? Does Timothy Geithner like being on the metro? Does he feel like he is a man in a world of zombies pretending to be a zombie in case they all smell his power and attack all at once asking for their jobs and the taxes? What can you say to a man like that? Nothing. There is nothing to say because he is a cipher, a representative of something else. He stops thinking about this and starts reading more of The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein. He is enjoying it despite even because of the casual unashamed 1950s sexism, brutal unapologetic machismo and the fact that it seems that world will be saved from alien invasion by full scale compulsory nudism. It reminds him of thoughts he had as a child when he wished that everyone would be naked because he wanted to see boobies but then he realised that if everyone was naked then nothing would be special about it because the mystery would gone so he decided he liked that people had to wear clothes because the element of mystery was more a more powerful aphrodisiac. In the way that a small alleyway that you have never walked down is always a more compelling location than the one that you have walked down thus taking the potential for mystery and swapping it for the tedium of the everyday. In the evening when he walks back to the metro he sees Zalmay Khalilzad just walking round Dupont Circle on his phone. Who would have thought that the previous US Ambassador to Afghanistan could just walk around without guards or retinue just walking and talking on the phone living his life without any problem whatsoever. Life is strange and relentless and not neat like story books. He eats pot roast when he gets home and cleans the kitchen and does the recycling and then goes to bed and watches another episode of Birdy The Mighty the anime he had started a few days ago. It is getting weird. He sleeps.
The Totem lashed upon the shore,
By lapping Sea of Evermore.
The glinting sun did sparkle bright
On lonely shore
Of Never Night.
I love this video and you should love it too. Great music. Great video. Great Cate Le Bon.
He wakes up. This is interminable he thinks. Every day the same. Every day he wakes up. Then he has a coffee and then he has a shower and then he brushes his teeth and then he puts on his clothes and then he watches some television and then he has some breakfast and then he reads some of his book and then he gets on a bus and then he waits of a train and then he gets to work and then people compliment him on his haircut and then he does some work and then he has a coffee and then he has some lunch and then he browses the internet and then he does some more work and then he goes home and reads on the bus and is misdirected to a meeting that has been cancelled and then he had some food and then he does some flashcards for mathematics and then he goes to sleep with the light on and keeps waking up all night but doesn’t have the energy to turn the light off. That is his day.
The swan hiss echoed.
The dead eyes burrowed.
The thick river flowed.
The empty boat rocked
For numberless lonely days.
He wakes up. He staggers around naked his erection uncomfortable and pointing at all the furniture. He puts on his robe and goes to make some coffee. His eyes hurt a lot. He stumbles into the shower and turns on the taps and adjusts the hot and it is too hot and adjusts the cold and it is too cold and then tries the hot again and it becomes too hot and then cold hot cold hot cold he curses under his breath clenching his fists and hissing air through his mouth quietly so as not to wake up anyone else in the house but he is so fucking angry he can barely think and he wants to smash all the glass in the room and tear out his eyes and lungs but then he calms down because the temperature of the water is suitable and he washes his hair and he feels a lot better. He drinks coffee and he eats a blueberry pancake that he put in the toaster for too long so it now tastes like a blueberry beer mat but it’s not the worst thing he has ever tasted or ever cooked if calling putting something in a toaster and burning it is called cooking which by definition probably is. He writes some of his novel that he is basing on the work of Dante and feels proud of the one sentence that it takes him an hour to write but he spends most of his time looking at the book cover that he has made for his unfinished book. It is a fine minimalist cover. It will sell lots of copies on the internet and in fine independent bookstores and he will be famous now he just needs to write the book but first he toasts himself a bagel which is more successful than that blueberry waffle. He finishes reading The Philosophy of Mathematics. He did not understand a word but he did enjoy it. He realises that he understands nothing about the foundation of the framework of reality. How can he live his life like that he wonders yet somehow he manages and makes it through day after day after day each one like the last as he continues on his journey to where we all go in the end. He watches open mouthed as Rick Santorum manages to put the word rape and the word gift in the same sentence. He was only half listening so was he talking about the gift of rape or a rape-gift or that the gift of life can come from rape? He isn’t sure but it seems that he really really really doesn’t like abortion and given that he uses magical thinking to define when life begins and he has clear views of what life means and what conception means and what abortion means and what and when human life becomes so he is clearly in a position where he feels that it is okay to abuse a woman sexually. He thinks that he may be twisting Rick Santorum’s words but he feels that he doesn’t like the glassy eyed zealot and therefore given that he seems to want to create an American Theocracy it probably doesn’t matter what he himself thinks about Rick Santorum. There are lots of donuts in the kitchen at work the new boss who he forgets the name of has bought them all for everyone is piles high like a pile of mayan sacrifices or a heap of bones or a pile of donuts and he eats many and drinks coffee and thinks that it is Valentines day and he wonders if the girl who he loves received the card that he sent and the flowers that he sent but he is too cowardly to call her because of how it was left before and maybe the letter is on fire in her cooking pot like last time and the flowers are flushed down the toilet not like last time because it is the first time he has ever bought her flowers. He thinks for a moment that this might have been the problem but he really knows that this was definitely not the problem. So he hopes that everyone is unhappy and bitter just like him except for her she hopes that she is happy and fine but wishes that she was happier and finer with him. Then he thinks about the sham of the day and thinks of the things that were spent and how they are spent and the candy and the flowers and the meals and the bears oh so many bears and the fake twitters sent from accounts from Obama and his wife by interns who created accounts although maybe they were real tweets either way it is embarrassing and undignified. The modern world strips dignity from all of us maybe we didn’t have dignity in the first place because it’s just another holiday to buy things like Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day each day a sale to buy we must buy and purchase and spend and consume for we have to consume to keep the engine going because we are consumers and we are 80% of the engine so we have to even if we don’t want to because we power the world as it is as it has been created not by one person or many but everyone and from the small acorns great oaks do grow and from small equations beautifully complex mandelbrots are created so too the economy is all interlinked and utterly complicated and reliant on everyone else but mainly it relies on Americans buying things so you have to buy things I have to be things we have to buy things or it all breaks and collapses and the terror of the responsibility to consume and gorge and gag on every swollen object that we buy and break and discard and buy and break and discard is more for one man one woman one group one people one race to hold on to we are all mad. Madness is our normality because everything is normal to someone. Then he starts reading Portnoy’s Complaint and it is full of masturbation which is apt because he likes masturbation well not likes it but does it too much and still stinks in the guilt and revels in the joy of pumping himself to lonely creamed breach squatting in solitude as he wraps himself in guilt and fear and shame and then does it again and he wonders about the families of the people he watches and knows that they were all children once with mothers and fathers and what happened how did they make it here and then realises that probably nothing and that they are all normal and we are creatures of lust and passion and posting ourselves in our paradise garb and plunging and licking and sucking and teasing and biting is all normal it’s all normal and fine yet why does he feel so ashamed and guilty and tired and afraid. He does not know but it does not stop him because he is a slave to his lusts and his passions and his thoughts and his body is not his own it belongs to his drives and urges and he is merely a bystander. He has another cookie and some ginger ale and that makes it all better. He wishes himself a Happy Valentine’s day and then masturbates himself, gently, to sleep.
This t-shirt is not a real t-shirt but if it were a real t-shirt I suspect that hipsters would love it.
He wakes up and then he falls back asleep again. He spends the morning giving out financial advice that he himself never follows. He reads some more about the Philosophy of Mathematics and still doesn’t understand a word or a symbol or a line of it. He spends the afternoon making covers for books he will never write. The covers giving him a sense of joy and are entertaining to make. He is getting grey hairs everywhere. This has been happening for a while but it perturbs him that they are now growing on his balls. He has his lunch which is fish and spinach and tabasco sauce and pepper. Then he thinks about how when the sun rises in the morning it does not really rise but the Earth is rotating at a certain speed around the Sun and the position of the Earth that we find to be our home, for half of every twenty four hour period, will be blasted with sunlight and each time this begins, our rotation gives the appearance, because we are on the rotating object, that the Sun is rising up out from some subterranean exchange with the Moon to take it’s rightful and commanding place in the sky. Then he stops and thinks about something else that is also interesting to him. He reads more Proust and eats a cookie and eats another cookie and drinks some coffee and trawls the internet for information any information about anything but doesn’t find anything that he wants. This is how it is always going to be.
He wakes up. He watches Up with Chris Hayes. He used to hate it and find it really abrasive but now it is his favourite show and he hopes that it keeps going. He likes that it is on Saturday morning and Sunday morning and that there is heated discussion whilst he snoozes in his bed. It is the best morning show. He has a toaster strudle for breakfast and a coffee. He is living the American Dream. He helps with a couch that is ordered but it is too large to fit into the apartment and up the stairs so the movers have to take it back. During the move the President of the Condominium officiously appears and reminds us that the elevator is not to be used for moving furniture. He replies that the sign specifically and the order directly talks about moving in and out of the apartment. There is no moving happening just one piece of furniture. The President leaves smiling wrapped in his worthless power. He will probably write letters. He watches more anime and reads more Proust. They blend magically together. He does laundry and has lustful thoughts about every woman he has ever met. Every woman. I’m every woman it’s all in me he thinks as he remember that Whitney Huston has died and that people are blaming Bobby Brown. It is the faceless people of the internet. Perhaps they think he murdered her. Maybe he did but it is probably some reference to drugs. Sleep.
He wakes up. He drinks coffee with peppermint creamer. It is a luxury that he enjoys in the modern world where everything is available to him – peppermint creamer. He goes to bible study and doesn’t have the energy to argue with the poorly set out views that make him think that he is on the wrong track but then what is the right track? He does not have an answer that is why he is studying the bible being asked to, for one hour, forget everything that he has learnt in his life about science, philosophy, history and human nature. He goes home and reads the chapters of the book he is writing and a smile plays across his glum face for a moment because he actually enjoys what he reads like it’s been written like a proper writer a real writer so he thinks that there may be some hope after all. He is in the kitchen when he hears bed springs rhythm through the ceiling as he realises his house mate and the housemates girl friend are grinding. There is no noise other than the bed like a metronome that continues for what seems like hours. No human noises and then it ends. Maybe they were just testing the springs because they were unsure of the quality of the bed and maybe it went on for so long because they were unsure of their testing or maybe they were just unwilling to admit that their joyless sex was giving neither of them any joy, wrapped in their silence, marking time until death by each creak of their bed. The woman on the television looks like she is about to have an aneurysm as she pleads with her eyes as she reads the headlines please watch please watch me watch my show I want to be Primetime but I’m still early morning. Her eyes are glass beads. He walks in the snow and his hair blow dries in the wind so that it ends up looking like a Russian hat. He eats macaroni cheese and broccoli for supper. He sits with a friend who is playing GTA who tells him he is going to wax some bad guys. He doesn’t want to tell his friend that he thinks he probably means whack, slang for murder, because he will appear superior because he is superior but he doesn’t want to appear that way. So he remains silent and smiles to himself as he imagines Scarface polishing his enemies to death. He watches an anime called Birdy which is about a young boy who is sharing the body with a young woman who killed him whilst working as an Intergalactic Federal Agent. It is more ridiculous than it sounds. He goes to sleep.
No puns. No witty comments. Just the opening credits to the best show that HBO never got to make the final season of, when the town would inevitably, and as history tells us, get burned to the ground before being rebuilt for the modern world. (I apologise for that sentence but I am not going to change it.)
He wakes up. The room mate who he hasn’t met yet wakes up earlier than normal and gets into the bathroom first. This throws his entire morning routine off by three minutes and it irritates him for precisely 32 seconds. Then he is thankful that he gets to lie a few more minutes in bed. Work lasts all day and is uneventful. He eats some sushi and cheese fries and some kind of chicken for supper. Then he goes to bed. This day was not a day of legends.
You may not be as trapped as you think you are.
This is a couple of years old but as it’s never a bad time to play a video game based on one of the greatest novels in
American literature, here it is again.
Then read the book.
Then look forward to the Baz Luhrmann motion picture coming out this year.
Then become disconsolate and filled with an unnameable sadness.
Then play the game again.
He wakes up. It is 2am. He thinks it is later. He goes back to sleep again. He wakes up at 5am. He tries to read Proust but after a page describing an aristocrat’s jealousy at her husband’s affairs he stops reading and falls back to sleep. He finally gets up and has a shower and washes his lank hair and a spot bursts on his nose and the fluid goes from white to red. His eyes hurt but it is Thursday so he only has one more well two more days before he can rest and do even less than the nothing that passes for the week. The roads are pre-rush hour empty – tense – ready for the flushed rush of morning engorgement that will last for hours then just as quickly cease. He drinks some coffee from a New York Taxi Yellow mug that has New York Taxi written on it that he bought in New York. He drinks too much coffee but he doesn’t like the headaches he gets when he doesn’t drink coffee and he just had his medical year check up and he is told he is very healthy and he had a colonoscopy even though he is only 35 but the doctor said his tube was clean only one polyp was removed and it was no threat anyway but he was up there anyway so he thought he might as well clip it. He doesn’t know if this is reasonable but he is no doctor so he has to trust the doctor because it is either that or webMD or becoming a doctor himself which he doesn’t want to do because he doesn’t trust himself and if he becomes a doctor he wouldn’t trust them either. He is happy for a while when he sees that people are following his posts but when he clicks on them and sees their blogs he realises that he is being liked by mostly bots some people but mostly bots so he smiles and goes back to his indifference. He reads the Philosophy of Mathematics on his way home and doesn’t understand a word of it. He keeps reading because he thinks that maybe he will eventually understand it. He goes shopping and buys frozen vegetables and frozen fish and blueberries and yogurt and nuts and some coffee creamer because he used all of his landlord’s coffee creamer and he feels guilty about it. Then at home he eats the remainder of his pot roast, sits silently on skype for a while and then tries to watch Fellini’s Satyricon. It is difficult so he takes a break after half an hour and reads some more Proust. He feels ill from the meat he has eaten so he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is late. He rushes through his already bedraggled grooming regime and prepares his lunch of one piece of fish and carrots and olives because that is all he has in his fridge and he cannot afford to eat out for lunch and anyway it is expensive and less healthy if he does so. It seems to him like he just closed his eyes to go to sleep a blink ago. He runs out of the house for the bus and realises too late that he has left the lunch he has made in the fridge. He will have no lunch today but he will compensate by drinking extra coffee too much coffee with chocolate in it. He listens to NPR on his little radio and they are still talking about Planned Parenthood and the government interfering in the right of religious groups not to give abortion rights or contraception help to their employees. It seems like there is no argument to him but he is from Europe and things are done differently there. Not always better, just differently. He goes to CVS to get some lunch but ends up buying a blueberry yoghurt and some Hershey’s cookies and cream drops and a toffee bar the name of which he cannot remember and some granola. He eats the granola and the yoghurt for lunch and feels good about himself and then eats the chocolate as well and feels indifferent about himself because it’s just chocolate and it’s not like he has raped or murdered a stranger he has just eaten chocolate. There is no need to feel guilty about eating chocolate at noon on a Wednesday. He waits for the rush hour to end so that he can spend less money getting home so that he gets home later than he wants to and he reads on the train and the bus and he eats the granola that he bought whilst reading rabelais and listening to npr and he marks himself in those actions as a particular kind of person but he doesn’t think he is a particular kind of person. He gets home and he eats some meat and potatoes and he gets into his pyjamas and he thinks sadly that btjunkie has closed down because he really liked free information for his kindle and his ipod and his hard drive.
He wakes up. He still tastes beer from two days ago in his mouth even though his mouth is dry. He reads some more Proust but doesn’t understand any of it even though it is written in English. Lots of old French women seem to be sniping at each other because they all feel socially inferior. He drinks coffee because it is available and the test is especially fine today for reasons he does not understand. He watches Morning Joe and they are all annoyed because of religion and politics being mixed but then they all discover that the have found a solution to an intractable problem so tha they are all friends again. He reads Gargantua and Pantagruel. It is a lists and lists and lists of amusing words and perversion and farcical versions of real world things and he is near the end but will probably not remember anything about the book after he has finished it except for the fact that it seems to have been a book that Jonathan Swift was inspired by as it contains the kind of grotesque sweep and verbose scope that he also embraced when writing about the Human Species. He listens to techno music. He has been listening to a lot of this and he is enjoying it more than he expected to. He is happy that he finished Ulysees and it was probably worth it. Is he a better human being? No. Can he pretend that he is? Yes. He writes some more of his book. It is a different one than before but he has a good feeling about this one. He eats some meat and potatoes for supper and then before bed tries to ignore the desire to trawl the internet for webcam poon. He goes to bed.
He wakes up. He has problems with the shower again and swears a little more loudly than the day before. He does not have time to wash his hair and anyway he hopes to get it cut today so they will wash it for him the assistant slicking on shampoo and rubbing his scalp and then conditioner silently washing a strangers head ignoring the sensuality of touching a strangers head as he sits there vulnerable head backwards in the specially designed hairdressers sink but that has not happened yet because it is still the morning and he is getting dressed. Then he realise he doesn’t have the car and will have to walk the route he normally takes to get where he needs to be so he is now late and rushes out of the house and forgets his lunch and returns and then is more late but makes it still with time to spare because he always plans to leave early. Then he sorts some laundry into different piles. None of it is his laundry but he is trying to be helpful because no one else seems to want to be helpful. He drinks coffee and eats a bagel and reads some more of Portnoy’s Complaint. It really is, as rumour had it, an extende ode to masturbation: the guilt, the fear, the shame. He thinks he enjoys it but feels that he is probably missing the deeper point because there must be a deeper point because otherwise it would be so lauded would it, he thinks, or maybe it would because at heart perhaps everyone loves to masturbate, everyone and everyone feels the shame but a book about it means everyone can blame Roth for his perversion and then get back to fingering, stroking, strumming, pumping. This is what he understands when he reads. He is fascinated still by Rick Santorum a man who wants a theocracy and everyone on his side seems okay with that. He goes to a hairdresser in the evening and he gets his hair cut. It seems to go okay and he is happy with the result. Now let the ladies overwhelm him as they try to stroke his hair and make him their own special toy. This is probably not going to happen to him, he thinks, but nevertheless, he can hope. He doesn’t really want that. He just wants love. For now he will settle for a cup of coffee. He has other thoughts but he cannot remember them. His brain hurts so he goes and lies down.
He wakes up. It has been snowing. It soon turns to ice. He read Ulysees, the James Joyce version Ulysees: remix – Ulysees: redux. He reads 100 pages at a time then breaks the stress on his brain with an episode of Archer which is a cartoon and pretends to be above such things as racism and sexism whilst embodying them. Look how we all laugh and wrap ourselves in irony as we commit the same social crimes as those people we are criticising. Then he has some toast and too many coffees with mint creamer so he twitches for a while in bed. His head hurts. It is too cold to go anywhere. He misses the woman he loved and ruined. Then he watches a documentary about Fela Kuti and then about Martin Luther King and James Earl Ray. He writes some of his one sentence novel about revelations about the disappearance of his father. He wants to write more but he is depressed so he stops doing that and sleeps the uncomfortable sleep of the morose. He considers what of the big books he will read next. He thinks that he will tackle Proust. He realises now that he does not need to understand these books. He simply has to put in the time, work the man hours at staring at the pages and absorbing the words because no one reads these books he can say what he likes about what they mean because we are all individuals and it no longer matters what the author intended because he let the book escape into the world and not it belongs to him and everyone else. Actually having read it will bring added cache to his opinions to the book none of which will change significantly from those opinions he had in public before reading the book.
He wakes up late. He slips into the clothes from the night before. There is no time for breakfast for showering for teeth brushing. He is caught in the thick traffic oozing like tar along the roads reeking of the morning crisis that he usually misses. He feels himself imploding as he rides the elevator. There he feels himself in the room so safe and comfortable that judders it’s slowly journey upwards but four floors away is coffee. A man talks about Climate Change economics on the bus but he barely listens because he is still reading Plato and understanding little and disagreeing with what little he does understand. The day stretches out in coffee breaks and shuddering self-loathing. Explosions, Marines pissing on corpses and children drawing self-portraits make up the bulk of his day. There is nothing to be done with this information except funnel it through consciousness letting it drool out the side of his mouth. He goes to sleep.
His body aches. It is a tired body. Shaved now from the night before. As he lies there in the stink of his morning bed he considers the lady on the train the night before who shouted at him in the contempt that only a crazy person can project onto another crazy person. He was not sure what prompted her outburst because all he wanted to do was to have a seat to rest his weary legs on the train on his way home to the bus and then wherever he might be going. He reads some Plato to calm himself. It doesn’t really calm him. The Republic is confusing. He is confused. He goes home and shaves off his beard. He has been told that he looks like a hobo. There is no problem with looking like a hobo, in his mind, but he is going to see a Doctor tomorrow and he feels he should at least make partial effort to appear presentable in public. There are no thoughts he thinks that are worth anything more than the loneliness of all the other people who sit out alone in the night thinking into the dark of the moon and the stars. He finishes Mason and Dixon by Thomas Pynchon. It has taken him three years and he read it so intermittently that he doesn’t remember what happened at the beginning or the middle. The end was confusing but now, in polite company, he can tell, when asked, that he read the book and enjoyed it, along with all the other works of Pynchon that he has read. He goes to sleep staring into himself.
He eats some yoghurt mixed with granola drizzled with honey and mixed nuts. He feels sick and buckles over in the mens’ cubicle for fifteen minutes. He doesn’t know if it is because of the yoghurt or the granola or the honey or some other cause. Yoghurt – Yog. Hurt.
He wakes up. It is early. The sun is not up yet. He stumbles in his monkey pyjamas that he got for Christmas to the bathroom to have a shower. It takes a long time to get the temperature right because neither tap works properly. He dresses. He makes himself his lunch. He is still proud that he managed to finish War and Peace at the weekend and has a real desire now to achieve to read the book again to write his own book to succeed and grow and learn and improve himself. Then he goes to the bathroom. The walk in the dark is a long and cold walk. No one is up when he reaches the house but he wakes up those who need to be woken, makes breakfast for them and makes himself a cup of coffee with coffee that he didn’t buy but feels he deserves. He reads some Nietzsche. He realizes that Nietzsche is a complicated man. It is cold outside when he walks outside. He walks to the bus stop and gets into the bus. The bus driver is pretty. She doesn’t smile because his beard scares her, he can tell. He continues to read on the bus. Nietzsche is a complicated man. He manages to make it through his day of work doing very little work. He then feels incredible pain in his eyes. It feels like they are bleeding but they are not bleeding. His eyes then feel better. He reads some more Nietzsche on the bus and the train. He is squeezed into a corner by a man who ignores him. He eats some macaroni cheese. Then he drives. He drives in the snow and the dark of the night in his car. He watches The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. He enjoys it. It is sad. The Revolution has been televised. He thinks it was lost. The Revolutionaries lost. He hopes that they have not lost.
It’s always delightful to find new and different versions of songs that you love. Even if the new and different versions of the songs that you find are not new and different to the rest of the world, or indeed, to those who have always been lovers of particular songs by particular musicians. I just heard this version of Anything But Love by Ella Fitzgerald on Hot Jazz Saturday Night on NPR. It is, at this moment in time, to me, perfect, so I thought that I would share it with whoever is out there right now.
Father Christmas had still not got the hang of Privacy Laws.
He wakes up late. He does not want to get up. He listens to slam poetry on the bus. Some of it is good. Some of it is not. It was 105 degrees yesterday. That is a lot of degrees. He is tired. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He falls back to sleep. He wakes up again. He makes a toaster strudle and he eats some pasta and drinks some black coffee. He had one glass of wine last night or no, he remembers, he had two glasses of wine last night. His head hurts. He can’t drink like he used to. On the way into work he listens to a lecture given by Maxine Hong Kingston that is five years old. She is talking about Poetry and Peace. He has not heard of her but she seems very nice and eloquent and she reads some of her poetry. Poetry about Peace. In one ironic moment he learns that her novel about this historical figure Mulan that Disney made known to us was being used by the USAF as a foundation for the influx of women warriors they now entertain. He records a religious program. There is a lot of talk of God Guiding. The Newsroom is bereft of God. He does not have a pass to enter here. He talks about the inability to ever trust anyone because how can you trust anyone when you cannot even trust yourself. Questions left hanging in the air. Our trick conciousness filtered through eyes which only imbibe a small section of the spectrum of light of the universe and spaces that are filled in with the brain using memory that is always shown to be fallible. Our indelicate olfaction that can distinguish between only 10000 different smells. The Universe is thick with odour. What is the smell of Martian Night? What is the whiff of Lunar Dust? Trapped in our bodies. So it was, all in all, an upbeat day. So far. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. His shoulders are sore this morning. He swam 10 lengths of a small swimming pool on Sunday and choked his way through half of them but, fueled by pride, he struggled on so that the lifeguard did not think that he was a poor swimmer. He was fooling no one. He could not find his ipod this morning. He is glad that this is the kind of thing that he has to contend with as major obstacles to his day and not guns and bombs and slaughter. He reads the end of The Grapes of Wrath. He thinks that the book is incredible. He also read the beginning and the middle of The Grapes of Wrath.
A boss was over from London. One of the many bosses. He seems the clearest so far and all does not seem doom and gloom. He will still prepare myself for the worst. The German Foreign Minister came into work. He was pleasant and had a large serious entourage. There was a lot of German Smiling. He is not sure what German smiling means but it seems to define a particular kind of smiling for him so he calls it German smilnig. He learned more things and he read about rationalism on the train home. It was hot today. The air was hot syrup. He drank a glass of red wine. He had some chicken. He tried to watch Rachel Maddow but she was not on form tonight – too much whining about Republicans acting like Republicans. Lawrence O’Donnell was also a touch off. He had a segment where he pretended to report on the Bill Clinton/Gennifer Flowers scandal of the 90s. It was a segment that was five minutes too long. It was tedious. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. It is 6. He enjoys his bed for a moment longer before he switches on the radio. NPR is playing. There are stories about Dominik Straus-Kahn and about Syria and about business. Garrison Keilor interrupts, as he always does, with facts about authors who are significant to the day. This section in turns fascinates and infuriates him. He makes breakfast. It is a blueberry toaster strudle, a bowl of blueberries, four rashers of turkey bacon and some pink lemonade. It meets with success. He takes a shower. He misses his beard, his beard that he shaved off on Saturday. He finishes syncing his ipod. It is now full of Spanish lessons and lectures on computers and anthropology and social studies and politics. It is interesting to him. They are all interesting to him. He prepares lunch for himself. It is a salad containing various vegetables and some cold chicken. He also prepares a fruit salad for dessert. It is very healthy. He reads The Grapes of Wrath on the bus and on the train. It is a good book. He has nearly finished it. He is reading it on his kindle. He arrives at work and He is greeted with responses to his lack of beard. This is usual when he has shaved his beard after having a beard for a long time. Many people seem open mouthed. Jokes are made. Fun is had. The day drags on. He has lunch that he have brought in. It is healthy salad and meat as he wrote earlier. The show goes well. He learns more about himself and his limitations. An important boss appears for the second show. He is impressed. He likes that. Congressman Anthony Weiner admits to lewdness on national television. Hippocritic indignation from news room and from networks and cables and everywhere. He sees what he does and he sees others do it every day. It is human and the internet is human and even though he hears that he is an asshole he hasn’t done the worst thing in the world. We want to eat and fuck and sleep. Everything else is window dressing. he returns home and eats supper, then he has two glasses of red wine which he enjoys. He reads some Naseem Taleb. It soothes him. Then he watches the Daily Show. He snorts laughter. He thinks about doing as Congressman Anthony Weiner does, as usual. Then he sleeps.