get passionate

what can i get passionate about? i ask myself repeatedly throughout the day. my students, and the place where i teach, swear by this language learning software that only costs about five hundred dollars. i think of learning chinese, and going off to china to do something vaguely businesslike and powerful. i am not going to live forever. i think about death more each day, but not as much as someone old or dying does.

i’ve gotten passionate about guitars, writing, painting, politics, bicycling, jogging, drinking, karaoke, computers, web development, buddhism, astral travel, popular science and denser scientific texts, drugs, sex, memoirs, rock and roll history, baseball, nihilism, dogs, cats, nature, san francisco, new york, florida, camping, hiking, art museums, graveyards, jazz and blues nightclubs and music festivals, magazines, women, Jesus, God and birds.

none of these alone can satisfy my desire to throw my passion into something. i would love to learn to be a healer, but am unsure if this is something i was really called to do, or if i just made up in my head one time that it would be neat to learn to heal with some type of technique like reiki.

i could never get too passionate about sports again, or rock climbing, or wakeboarding, or seadooing, or what have you. i could never get passionate about drinking or nightclubbing again, because those things seem so limited and limiting in what they have to offer someone raging with passion that has got to get out.

i would, honestly, like to develop an entirely new profession out of thin air, one where i am downtown all day in a much bigger city than austin, and i am simply walking around with a big grin on my face, eyes and heart wide open, and i just let whatever is in me come out. and, people give me what they think it’s worth. if they are mean, i simply turn and walk away. if they are nice, i talk to them as long as they want to.

i also need to try harder not to critique people so much. i need to realize that if i am truly bigger and better than they are, than it is pointless and stupid to pick apart their faults.

all that was grand and beautiful

i wanted to reach inside of myself today, and pull out all that was grand and beautiful. i didn’t want to give it to my employer. i didn’t want to keep it for myself. i didn’t want to let only one person have it, or leave it with my dog, or put it online for nobody to experience.

i wanted to talk to each of you a little longer, as long as you would let me, and figure out how to work this grand and beautiful stuff into the conversation. i wanted to scream it from my open car window to all my fellow commuters who were yakking on cell phones with their windows up.

i wanted to see it beheld by millions on tv, or in a library all its own, a million books dedicated solely to the experience of this grand and beautiful stuff. i didn’t need you to know that it came from me, because it probably doesn’t, but i wanted maximum exposure of it.

written words are such a clunky medium for it, but then again, so are paintings and video, music and talk radio. i’d like to wake up and be the sun, but never burn anyone. it isn’t fame or immortality that i seek through expressing it, anymore, it is simply maximizing the expression of it i seek.

sleep will grab me soon, and take me down, pull me into a place where i am useless. i will wake up selfish, greedy, grumpy, wanting to take from others in a small, childish fashion. at some point during the day, though, i will be bursting again, and nobody will be listening.

you knew me as someone so quiet because inside my head it was so loud, and i was afraid i would deafen you if i started to speak. inside my head, the words moved rapidly at high volume, and i had to crank them down to communicate with you. you thought of me as being slow.

i wanted to give nonstop, and take only what my body needed to live so i could keep on giving. i gave it to my employer, because i was there. i kept some for myself, because i couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. i dumped it on some poor girl who smiled at me. i smothered my dog with it. finally, i took what was left and posted it to my blog.

middle east dream and maria

it is hot, sticky, and i didn’t set my alarm to tell me when to wake up. i look over. 5:15. oh, gosh, i need to sleep more than this, having just dozed off six hours ago. the dog, who shares a piece of the bed real estate on top of an old mexican blanket, shifts about uncomfortably scratching herself. be still, i say, a bit irritatedly. i doze off.

i dream i am in some place in the middle east where there is much wealth and business like the uae. i am walking along with a group of coworkers, but recognize none of them from real life. these arab businessmen kidnap us, and begin communicating to us in their language a new technology they are developing. they are time travelers from the 70s, who have actually stolen our wifi and mobile technologies, and are trying to insert it into their existing 70s communication infrastructure. i have been able to secret my cell phone away, and steal a moment in the bathroom where i’m being held. i prepare a text message to send thirty plus years into the future to my neighbor andrea. i settle for one word, help, and get ready to push send, then realize i don’t know her number or have it stored in my contacts list. i begin scrolling through all of the stored recent calls, frantically trying to find her number, and in the process, encounter a bunch of text messages that the arabs have sent each other, testing their new technology implementation efforts. for some reason, these messages are in kanji and latin scripts, not arabic.

i wake up, and am seriously dried out, even for me, which means i’m practically dehydrated. it is now almost 7 am. i take the dog out to poop, and a cop car goes by into the apt parking lot. the dog poops. i see andrea’s car out of the corner of my eye as i am tossing the poop bag in the dumpster, and for some reason, have completely forgotten the dream at this point, and don’t even feel like waving to her, so i pretend to be so focused on getting the poop bag to land in the overfilled dumpster that i don’t see her. the cop car is parked in front of her apt, but since she’s already left for work, i know that the incident had nothing to do with her. that’s when i remember the dream.

last evening, i was scheduled to go for a jog with maria. it was going to be the highlight of my day. i looked forward to it all day, but she slept through both of my calls to see if she still wanted to jog. she at least called me back to tell me this, and was apologetic. i wasn’t really feeling like talking at that point, with beer in one hand, dick in the other, but i chatted briefly. she’s okay, but i’m starting to wonder about the flakiness of it all. saw gwen lilly at work. as usual, i felt my little crush flare up again. she’s full of warm energy, athletic, and has a softness and gentleness to her that maria doesn’t. maria has been raising kids and operating in a more nightclubby kind of world for ten years, and gwen has been likely doing more of that collegey kind of path–you know, lotsa time on campus, getting the master’s degree, working those jobs where you sit in meetings all day and talk to lots of people, and delegate, and direct. the point is that i’m not necessarily saying the real maria would turn out to be a deadly psychopath and the real gwen would turn out to be a sweet little angel, once you get to know them–just life experiences probably have shaped those demeanors that give you those initial impressions. gwen lilly, though, is moving on. which is just a matter of being on par for the course for me. if it’s someone i like, with tons of chemistry appearing to be there, she’s got a dude and/or is moving on.

maria is nice, though, and is one of those people that doesn’t totally believe in western medicine, which i like. you can’t really trust a profession that was performing clueless rituals less than a hundred years ago. for me, on that, if something works and the benefits outweigh the costs, keep doing it. if not, don’t. and, by costs, i mean is harmful to you AND others. so, i certainly would never find myself seeking out african witch doctors for some ground up albino powder or anything, but i might end up in an acupuncture clinic or a reiki class.

i think i am really starting to experience those levels of high dissatisfaction with life again, those levels that urge me to do more of something new.

i dash off to work so i can sit in the cold dark closet

i dash off to work so i can sit in the cold dark closet all day, staring at blinking lights, manipulating the controls with my hands, communicating with my thoughts via a clunky medium, receiving mostly no feedback, sometimes strange feedback, never feeling completely human.

it is time to declare myself officially uninspired and passionless again with my profession.

humans are working all around me, having conversations, laughter. they typically don’t seem very happy to participate with me, but often later chide me for being so quiet. many of these may not be real humans, just extensions of the computing grid that is an extension of my fingertips.

my friend maria goes off every night around 9:30 pm to walk the halls of a nursing home full of people spit out by state run homes, and others living on medicaid, medicare, social security. some of them are old, some of them are just confused about how to interface with this reality, and gave up long before they started. she has fun. she loves them.

my coworkers are nice, mostly, but they are all college educated, and thinking mostly about their next career move, a move no doubt destined to be some place else. college educated people are comfortable to talk to, not the least bit challenging, not the least bit fun after months and months of talking only to them.

my students are more fun to talk to. they are not all pc about not mentioning religion, especially if it is the Christian religion. they are mostly Catholic, and it is as much a part of their lives as the food they eat. they don’t quite seem to grasp the finer nuances of atheism and agnosticism, and why Catholics are Christians but not all Christians are Catholics. it’s really kind of nice not needing to tiptoe around some stuff.

my boss is a nice guy, but he can be a bit of an insufferable ass, sometimes. you’ll hear him freely interrupt you and everyone else, as they are rattling off without pause something he’ll need to know, and then he’ll open his mouth and plod along methodically, pausing frequently, repeating himself often with the same stuff rephrased, and if you interrupt him, he gets this pained look on his face at the rudeness of it all and just as deliberately and forcefully will wind back up again in the middle of your interruption, even though you didn’t do it intentionally–it’s hard to tell when he’s finished. he once was describing someone he knew that was from back east, and said something to the effect of, “and she talks almost as fast as i do,” and everyone in the room just kind of looked away, puzzled.

he’ll raise a topic of conversation that isn’t work related, like a movie or a band, and hold that same air of needing to command the room and be the authority, even as others in the room might have something to contribute. it’s all very…i want to say passive aggressive, it’s not loud and pompous, but it just seems like arrogance turned down at low, steady volumes.

i am now running late to work.

back to work today

back to work today, and let me tell you, i didn’t want to go. on the surface, it being monday, this seems hardly worth mentioning. who ever wants to go back to work on monday? well, i did, for the past several months, with the exception of some mondays. weekends spent wasting away the hours in bed or wandering around outside with the dog. or drinking. but now, something is changing. work is becoming more and more just work, like it is with most anybody else. even there, where i work.

people are leaving all the time, people have always made it priority number one to shut off the iah once outside of the office, with the exception of that occasional after hours or weekend event that mostly the volunteering team is a part of.

but, things went okay. olive was nice to me when i told her that i was buying the brand of protein bar she moonlights for now. she is so pretty. god. anyway, my boss truman told me that i was getting my bonus, not quite as much as the full amount they’d described two months ago, but close. it will be sitting in my bank account, along with my paycheck, on the first, waiting for me to decide how to spend it. i managed to dig in to some of the more menial tasks that had been on my to-do list for months.

i had a sour moment as we are soliciting talent on craig’s list, and i had to communicate with people who call themselves actors. most everyone was nice, but one person was an asshole, and called me unkind, which made me angry, because i was being nice. i have to learn to avoid people who are not nice to me completely, and just gravitate toward the nice ones. not nice people are just eager as fuck to drag you into their slimy pits.

i showed up at my esl class, and nobody was there. after two weeks of only one or two people, i was almost ready to call it quits, but three of the students showed up, too. i taught them. i enjoy that.

i talked to maria on the phone. i’d forgotten about the class last night when i told her i’d call her to go jogging, but she remembered that i teach on mondays and wednesdays. i love talking to maria. i love hanging out with maria. i just need to kiss her, and when will i do that? it feels like high school, and i’m not sure why. but, maria and i both enjoy each other’s company, i think. i seriously doubt she is just hanging out with me because she feels sorry for me and needs to feel needed, or is lonely, or is trying to get away from someone or something, or wants to use me for money or free friend-psychotherapy, or any other number of things a gorgeous woman will pick to hang out with an average looking man for that turn out to be anything but simply mutual appreciation. i sincerely believe at this point that mutual appreciation is there.

the day ended on a much higher note.

then send one demon? angel? to bring him comfort

deprive a man of any hope and then send one demon? angel? to bring him comfort. see how long he holds out before he loses himself inside of her, loses sight of his God, loses his ambition and his hunger. he goes from having a perspective and a point of view to having hers.

in my tiny little world there were only demons. all of the angels had departed. all of the humans were sleeping in the ground.

if you smiled at me you were out to trick me and steal my soul. if you scowled at me, i felt a kind of peace, knowing you were simply showing your true colors and business as usual was taking place.

a man walks through the day with a head full of demons balanced upon the head of a pin they call reality. he is very careful and deliberate in his steps and words, because what could slip out could send him away.

he approaches people with safe things to say, and runs away if the conversation grows and expands beyond banalities and formalities and trivialities. when the conversation becomes a game, a contest, a battle of wits to see who holds the most power of personality, he’s gotta go.

music doesn’t bring him comfort anymore, because he sees it as an energy grabbing him, pulling him this way and that, taking him along for a ride he can’t control. it is very much the same with the drugs and the drink, the nightlife and the movies. sometimes some of it is amusing just because he can at times hold himself back, stay in control, and watch others losing theirs.

he shrugs and says to himself, doesn’t matter, they are all demons, because demons are nothing more than former humans who sold their souls for a few earthly baubles.

lucy wrote me for the first time since she’d declared she would no longer be even my friend. she was asking me to be a reference, a long with several other of her exes who she didn’t bother to bcc. a reference to her character so she could adopt another dog. even though, she barely could take care of her own dog, tried to kill her cats when she wasn’t busy ignoring them, and had no money at the end of any month to feed even herself. if i truly cared for the well-being of that poor animal about to land in her home, i would have said no way. if she’d been asking for money, or some other assistance that required me to actually lift more than a finger to answer my cell phone to respond to the call for reference, then i would have said no way.

part of me was just a little tempted to write her letting her know what an arrogant, selfish human being she was to ask this of me, and what a careless thoughtless fool she was to bring a pet she could hardly care for into her home.

but, then i thought, you know what, she needs to see clearly that i am a good guy she shouldn’t have given up on so easily, and can never have again. and then i thought, i just don’t care anymore.

so far, the experience of getting to know maria has been like night and day compared to lucy, with maria’s boundless optimism and positivity. i feel like i am waking up from a deep sleep of cynicism, mistrust and negativity around maria. maria, who has no doubt had as rough a life as anyone, and as many things to complain about as lucy did, never complains or whines or makes it sound like she would be living a grander life with a better man than the one next to her if only.

so far, maria has shown herself to be totally crazy, but in a happy, good way. it’s nice.

this alternate universe where everyone knows me

walking around town lake trail, and my imagination places me into this alternate universe where everyone walking by knows me from some event or another, and says hello, how are you doing, each in his or her own way–all friendly, neighborly kinds of hellos, but not generic ones–ones that match a person–como estas–hey buddy–hi koheleth–oh, hello–howdy–hi, good to see you–whats up–you know, how each person says hello to his or her best friends, because i am one of them in this universe.

it makes me feel very good to imagine this, and i smile a lot. because, with the exception of a scant few of them, everyone has a friend or two, and their faces will light up for those they know and trust.

in my universe, everyone knows and trusts me, but people aren’t trying to vie for a piece of me, either, because it’s not like i’m the mayor or lance or somebody rich and famous. i just happened, out of some twist of awesome luck, to become everyone’s pal. it doesn’t get complicated, either. i’m not ever forced to choose between josh’s son’s bar mitzvah, and kelly’s daughter’s piano recital. everyone respects those necessary boundaries, but we’re all still great friends. and, they invite me because they like me, but they don’t get crushed if i can’t attend.

the women smile at me warmly because they know that i am not trying to fuck them, and the men smile at me warmly because they know that i am not trying to kill them, and the kids all smile at me warmly because they know i’m a nice, decent fellow, and not some creepy pervert.

back in the real universe, the trees already love me, and i them. as i walk around the trail, if i keep my eyes and heart focused on all that is to the right of me, there are nothing but warm, beautiful souls sending me all their love. but, they are trees, and as a human, i crave the same from some humans.

the dogs all love me, too.

down at the auditorium shores, some chubby, homely lady sits on the steps between the field where they have concerts and the place where the dogs all get in the water. my dog, little buffy, runs from the water up those stairs and brushes up too close to this woman. she gets this look of complete disgust on her face, even though she is sitting in the direct line of dozens of dogs coming from and going to the water, and actually turns out to have a dog of her own.

meanwhile, a tall, skinny, tanned brunette with bug-eyed sunglasses insists on making what passes for eye contact with me, smiling for an extended period of time. why are more beautiful women smiling at me these days? what has happened? this is weird, i think. i smile at everyone, and the homely, chubby girls who used to be the only ones who smile at me, turn away shyly or frownily, while the hot girls smile at me, almost with interest, whether they have a dude in tow or not. maybe i have a little confidence back, what with the gorgeous maria still wanting to hang out with me, and smile at me, and look at me with those amazing blue eyes of hers that flash mischief behind her curly, chaotic bangs.

i don’t mind this recent phenomenon, it’s just taking a while for my brain to process and get used to it. it happened for a few prolonged periods while i was walking in sf, too.

i weigh myself at my dad’s, and i’m down to 175. i was up to 195 back earlier this year when i was pigging out and working out and hoping i could look like vin diesel. now, i just run a good short run, eat lots of protein, and do a light weights and crunches workout.

i still feel like there is something terribly wrong with me, though, so i jump back to my beautiful alternate universe, where everyone is my friend.

large beefy dudes give me light jabs on the arm, or slaps on the back as they go lumbering past. they say my name gruffly, briefly, in a manly fashion–displaying the camaraderie we all feel as men who are real men out on a summer evening knowing that it’s great to be a man. women all send me looks of love they send their brothers and sons, and to them, i am like either a brother or a son. all that stupid sexual tension we once felt between each other is gone, because i am happily married in my alternate universe, completely spoken for, and every woman knows i’d sooner jab a hot poker through my guts than cheat on my wife–so it isn’t even an issue among us as we smile at each other and exchange warm hellos.

my dog is a lot nicer to other dogs and people, too.

the homeless walking about love me, the cops love me, all races and ages and sizes and classes love me. people who smell nice love me, and people who smell awful love me. and, i love them all back. a few hate my guts, because i suddenly decide that my universe can’t be perfect, but i decide that i love them back, too.

my wife might be maria, or it might be the second russian who came to work at ahmis, or she might turn out to be gwen lilly or brenda afonse, or sarah reiss, or even olivia or vera or deidre or lucy–probably not karen winthrop–no, hell no, this my alternate reality, after all.

my wife might be doing her thing with her girlfriends while i am running with my dog, because we cherish and value each other’s independence and space, and we have no need for some kind of adolescent codependent relationship where we, at first, feel like we have to be by each other’s side 24-7 only to discover after the infatuation wears off that we really never want to hang out unless it is wednesday night or saturday morning, which are our duly appointed times for having obligatory, maintenance sex. which is to say, none of that latter part is in my alternate reality, because i am an adult, married to another adult.

it’s sunday evening in my alternate reality, just like in this one, but tomorrow i will be going to do something i am 100% passionate about, dedicated and called to do. seriously.

i will be going to my studio to paint, or going to teach blind kids, or off to dig in the dirt at some mayan ruins, or designing high fashion, or building the next microsoft, or just wandering around austin, making new friends.