Well, I woke up this morning at 5:30 and didn’t feel any lingering affects of the sleeping aid. I am one night away from finishing my supply, and don’t think I’ll be going back to it. When I first started taking it, I found that it made me a more agreeable fellow throughout the day. I didn’t get as worked up over little things. But, after a month or two, the recommended dosage of two wasn’t keeping me asleep throughout the night, and so I bumped it up to three. And then, that ceased to keep me asleep, as my wife in her third trimester began snoring loud enough to fill the house. I was also starting to see my short temper return.
What’s the purpose of taking anything if it’s not going to get you through the night or day?
I woke up on the couch and it was hot. The a/c had stopped kicking on, because we’d left the temp on 78, and that seems to be the perfect temp to cause the a/c to shut off around midnight and make the air go stagnant while the house fills with the distant sounds of her snoring and ceiling fans running.
What is the dream these days, you ask? Is the dream still alive? Is there anything left in me at 38, other than to finally have a kid or two and raise them in such a way that they aren’t a burden to society and a shame to my family name? I missed all the other ships that were setting sail, from age 12 on up to today.
I was all out of coffee this morning. Damn, but I thought I’d saved one K-cup for today. No, I guess not. I guess I’d gone ahead and popped it in late yesterday afternoon to propel me through the random work crap that was hitting my inbox. I made myself a glass of iced tea. Nothing fancy, just two bags of Lipton steeped for 30 sec in water heated in the mic for 1.25 min and then poured over ice made from our serviceable icemaker that came with the fridge that came with the house. Yeah, tea wasn’t cutting it. I was elated to discover that the nearest Starbuck’s opens at 5 AM on Saturdays, and so I grabbed the dog because the dog loves to go for rides and I’ve been mostly too lazy to walk her.
The reason I’ve been mostly too lazy to walk her revolves around the fact that I’ve not been getting up before 6:30 most mornings, thanks to the sleeping aid leaving me feeling especially groggy when it’s actually time to get up. So then, I kind of don’t feel like walking her when everyone is going to work because I can’t really stand most of my neighbors. I am always uncertain if I should be waving at them or not–at first, I thought yes, because this is a small, bedroom community and the neighborhood seems a little more tight than most, but most of the time they never wave back.
Then, it starts to feel more like an obligation to wait for the wife to leave, since she and I don’t see each other that much except for a little bit in the morning and evening. After that, I had been taking the dog out, but then this old lady that lives across the street and over one house started appearing every single morning at the same time we were out, and she always wants to talk at length and continue talking even after we’ve said our goodbyes. So, I’d been putting off the walk later and later to try and avoid her, and yet she seemed to be on the lookout for when my dog and I would come out of the house. Finally, it got to the point where it was above 95 before we even got the walk started, and I’m really just too old to deal with this Texas heat anymore. I’ve been watching the weather in SF for the past several weeks, and it has been highs of like maybe 70, and I’m thinking, damn, but what I wouldn’t give to live there.
So, anyway, the dog comes along because she hasn’t been walked much throughout the week, and of course, she has to stop and poop before we get in the car. Then, I remember that I’d left the tank on empty with the fuel light on, so we have to stop at the gas station. And, there are a remarkable number of people already about. Of course, some old lady is tooling down the first main stretch of road in a minivan, and we have to wait for her. At the Starbuck’s there are already two cars in front of mine, but their orders are mercifully brief.
I remember that I haven’t watered the yard in over a week, and so I go out to the shed to turn on the sprinkler system. This neighborhood, at least on my little stretch of the street, is full of yards that are maintained mostly by the yard guys–the endless number of little lawn services run by an American and his three undocumented workers. Everyone keeps their lawns bright, golf course green in the dead dry heat of summer, and edges them neatly so that no Augustine grass runners go crawling out into the street. I am convinced that if the amount of time, money and resources were spent making each yard a vegetable garden, we would be a self sufficient neighborhood within a few years. I imagine that my little middle-class neighborhood is hardly the bastion of excessive lawncare, though, as most of the yards aren’t show-stopping yards or anything.
Anyway, I’m in the shed looking at the paintings I did a month ago, and thinking, damn, but I really like my work. I know it’s not for everyone. Someone in the art world would critique the hell out of it and call it messy, incoherent, unfocused–a bad, amateurish attempt to imitate artists from the 40s and 50s who have already done what I’m trying to do in a crisper, more precise execution. It’s Abstract Expressionist-type stuff that most people who aren’t that familiar with art or art history would simply say “I don’t get it, are these supposed to be alien landscapes, or what?”
But, I like my work. I don’t look at all of my paintings from the past and say that. There is a lot of stuff I’ve done that hasn’t held up to my scrutiny after the paint has dried and I’m shining a lot of light on it. It looks incredibly unfinished and mostly like stuff I was doing in high school. I am pretty sure, though, that I just don’t have it in me to take pictures of it and submit it somewhere for consideration to be accepted at an art fair or show.
What is the dream?
The dream I’ve chased every single year of my life was this dream of me being a person that moved about comfortably in a large city like NYC or SF and interacted easily and naturally with the passerby. I have a network of dear friends in this dream, and these are not just people that I can count on to show up at a dinner party with wine that isn’t the cheapest. I am busy making stuff, too. I might be making music, artwork, novels, graphic design, plays, speeches, architecture, sculptures–doesn’t matter, I’m just making something that I will leave behind that at least 100 people will appreciate at least 100 years from now.
No huge ambitions when the dream is faced and renewed honestly. Of course, there have been plenty of times when the dream was distorted beyond all recognition, and I was the most toasted and feted author in NYC for a few seasons, with every person in every bar recognizing me and buying me a drink.
Is the dream still alive, or has it become a comfy place to escape to when life becomes too real, boring, mundane, commonplace, without magic or surprises, etc.? Yes, the dream is still alive, and probably will be until I die. I’ve tried to kill it by declaring that I’m just not meant to do this or that thing, but it comes back.
My dream is to write a novel.
The novel will be of the Great American variety, and full of characters at odds with each other because of generational, religious and political differences. Some of the differences will find resolution, some won’t. I don’t want the characters to all be unlikeable, perhaps I don’t want any of them to be completely unlikeable, but I don’t want any of them to be completely sympathetic, either, with the exception of the dead son that has brought the family together.
Since about 2000, I’ve tried to get my brain around the problems facing the U.S. In some years I’ve been strongly Liberal, other years, strongly Libertarian. Sometimes, I would just like to see a sensible, pragmatic person who is open to an idea from any side of the political spectrum as long as it works and doesn’t cause harm. Every time I think I have America figured out, something happens to prove me wrong. Something happens that indicates we still have a long way to go before we actually believe all men are created equal and that we should take care of the least of these. But then, something less obvious appears to be happening on a larger scale that makes me optimistic about America, and says we are headed in the right direction, and that my children will have better, healthier, happier lives than I did.
I’ve always longed to be someone who helps solve the problems of others. I have slowly made the discovery that receiving help to actually remedy problems isn’t always what people are looking for, even if they are complaining about their problems from the rooftops. Individuals often just want sympathetic ears to listen. Managers at companies don’t want all of the problems solved, because they fear it will put them out of a job or get you promoted over them. Other leaders would never dare let a good solution get in the way of putting their egos first. Political parties don’t want the problems solved unless they are the ones who are holding all the power and getting all the credit for the solution.
So, maybe the way that problems are solved is more mystical and unexplainable than one would think at a glance. When stuff goes right, does it go right due to dumb luck, the invisible hand, God, or some great Elite at the top of the pyramid pulling the strings? Or is it like how one of my Poli Sci professors like to explain it–simple pockets of order inside chaos thanks to the way patterns emerge and stabilize?