Saturday, March 10, 2018

Delirium? Episode 2: Mixed Pleasure

As I said at the beginning of Episode 1, I’m no James Joyce but I like the idea of experimenting with free-associative writing. So, unedited, uncensored, I offered the thoughts that flew through my head as I sat here at my keyboard. 

I was fearful that Episode 1 would yield more opprobrium than the benefit justified. I’ve been pleased to see that there was been only positive comment—all on my reading of it on YouTube. 

So, here is another dose:

God, I’m fat. I can’t believe I have a pot belly...after a lifetime of all that exercise. All the attempts to be “good.” Fuck!

How can a person with a 150 IQ who has accomplished a fair amount in a number of  domains be unable to fix anything more complicated than to change a light bulb and who can’t draw more than stick figures, even though my dad tried to show me both.

So here we are at the end of International Women’s Day. It should be called International Anti-Men Day. Then again, increasingly, every day is anti-male day or at least anti-white-male day. Can you imagine what would happen if you proposed an International Man’s Day?

Why do people spend hours shopping and cooking time-consuming recipes when—if there was a pleasure meter attached to your taste buds--you could prepare tasty, healthy food in just minutes, for example, oatmeal with a handful of trail mix, a tuna sandwich or salad, fresh fruit. And if you want something elaborate, even low-income people can, every so often, afford to go out to a hole-in-the-wall but yummy restaurant.

You can buy a comfortable-riding, safe Toyota with 150,000 miles on it for $2,000. It still has at least another 100,000 reliable miles left on it. Yet so many people choose to buy a car that costs 10, 20, 30 times as much, often for a car that breaks down more often—Beemers, Mercedes, Jaguar, etc. There’s no status in standing next to your luxurymobile on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck. And their “luxury” ride isn’t that different from the old Toyota’s. Are people so insecure they’d pay so much more for a nameplate that screams conspicuous consumption? And people who make such purchases usually don’t limit it to cars, so their materialistic lifestyle often makes them take a job they hate--for example, corporate drone or insurance broker when they’d rather play in a rock band, be a craftsman, or splatter paint on canvas. 

You’re so damned practical. Is there no room for some irrationality, for spending too much, for idling too much, at least for a while? You’re old, or at least rapidly getting old. Isn’t it time to let down the guard? You’ve earned the right to be a little wasteful. Oh but that’s capitulating, throwing down the gauntlet and entering that staging area for the hereafter, pre-drooling, sybaritic silliness: wine, women (alas, my sex drive and my morals preclude looking further than Barbara,) and song. Ah, song. But even that, my greatest talent, piano playing, holds little interest any more. I am in decline even there. I look forward most late nights to, like my childhood friend Joan Klein’s father, reading while listening to the stereo. That felt so old-man when I was a kid. Now it’s me. It’s one of my few pleasures. Damn.

Pleasure. So little gives me real pleasure. Eating does, for that moment on the lips preceding the lifetime on the hips, or I should say belly (more dangerous) but my constant awareness of that taints even the pleasure of eating. Yet the awareness doesn’t seem to stop my overeating, or should I say over-inhaling. I eat so ridiculously fast, like a wild animal scarfing it down lest a competitor wrest it away.

Okay, back to pleasures. Reading--Alas, literature, always largely beyond me, especially Shakespeare and the like, is getting harder. Often, I read Chapter 3 or if I’m lucky Chapter 4, without remembering enough of what went on in Chapter 1. Damn. Articles, short-short stories, not so bad.

Come on, Marty. What else is pleasurable? I like writing this. I like my doggie, yes doggie, Einstein. I like digging in the garden—I’m still strong. I also like getting on my knees and weeding. I am in awe--the word “awesome” has been cheapened--but is deserved for the miracle of growth, whether plant or animal.

Roses, the ones with that classic form, are among life’s most beautiful objects. I’m especially enamored of the mini roses you get in the supermarket or big-box store. In the Bay Area, I can grow them in my garden, not just use them as throwaway houseplants. I like that I’m cross-breeding those with healthy rose varieties (all of which are bigger plants) in hopes of creating a miniature rose plant, a mini flower factory, covered with those perfect flowers and that never needed spraying, as easy to care for as a coleus. I doubt I’ll live that long—It takes a decade or more—if you’re lucky.

I’m compulsive. Actually, that’s the artificially self-effacing term for what I believe is harmlessly thorough. For example, in the name of efficiency and not forgetting a step, my sequence in the shower is quite invariant. (I’ll spare you the details.) I actually enjoy being hyper-efficient. So what? Or is that a manifestation of being too self-abnegating, too pleasure denying? Screw it. We should be allowed such deviations from the norm. Well, this is getting too self-absorbed but I hope that this much was interesting enough. 

So I’ll end here, at least for now. Episode 3 is here.

I await, with some trepidation, your literal or figurative thumbs-up or down. 

I read this on YouTube.

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