Thursday, December 26, 2002

My hypocrisy...

Here I sit trying to make up excuses. Like I'm just laughing away while trying to beat that bad ol' world that tells me what to do.

But the question...'Why can't I merely rest easy as a person who is trying to do as little work as possible and still appear to be a hard worker who is very successful' arises.

Again. And again.

Here are some possible answers
(a) Even I, the most irrational person I know, realize that I may not get away with it. The likelihood is that I will not.
(b) Work is good.
(c) I am afraid of wasting my whole life doing weird-ass things like writing in blogs and looking for strange names in phone books and reading the NY Times cover to cover and reading out of print books of short stories.
(d) I tend to be racked with guilt for no reason
(e) My mind is often on those people who suffer and slave and don't have it easy. I owe it to them not to be a goldbricker.
(f) All of the above.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Longest Entry in History of Blogorrhea

Once again, I am forced to plagiarize from Past Miel...who never intended her bla bla-s to be used in this way...

Past Miel had a tendency to blab on and on (to herself) and now Present Miel will pass her bla bla onto you.

Future Miel will do nothing...but just so ya don't forget me while I am out of the country I am trying to use the groovy Blogger Pro feature of posting to the future....So posts will occur in my absence...Like a deist God I will cause things and then claim no responsibility...

Chico and I thought up a good name for my Utopia tonight...Egalistan...

Well, it will have to do until something better comes along.

Please try and remember--if perchance anyone does read the longest post in the history of bla bla...that I do make a lot of shit up...pretty much everything. You will see if you happen to read the up and coming post: "Why Does Everyone Love Me So Much?"

In a future post I also answer the pressing question: "Why Are Babies Evil?"

See...I know this post will frighten you....But don't you want to come back and see what happens later?

The whole point in all my journal writing was to amuse my future self.

While the thought that someone might read my blog seems to increase the output, the knowledge that someone actually did read it changes my writing. My writing has become regrettably lucid and some of the insanity has been toned down for a wider audience. The thing is—all my journals—even since early childhood—were highly fictionalized. I would start writing ‘the literal truth’ and it would somehow morph into an exaggerated version…one bearing only the most tangential relation to my actual life.

I recall one of my diary entries from 3rd Grade: “When I die, I want to be buried in my house. With all my stuff. Like the pharaohs.”

I also noticed that I’m becoming ashamed of the length of my entries. You see, I speak, type, read, think, write (even eat) at an accelerated speed. I was the most coveted temp ever…No dinner companion has ever finished a meal before me. But I realized from my brief teaching career that this isn’t normal. I would tell students to read Hamlet over the weekend thinking that I was doing them this big favor. As if I was saying: “Hey! Watch ‘Friends’ and tell me what you think.” And they would moan and groan and envision my severed head bleeding on the edge of a pikestaff.

So that made me realize that if I go on page after page I will lose ‘readers.’

Or if I just bore you and go on and on and on and on and on and on…you will all go away. Well, did anyone get to this part? I didn’t think so.

Oh good. I’m talking to someone who really understands me deeply.

But just so I don’t get any expressions of concern—If you do happen to read this I only ask that you remember that almost everything I ever write has an element (often many elements) that are completely made up. I don’t hate myself. I love myself. My friends also love me. Really. They do. I’ll post later how I am almost disturbingly loveable. I’m so loveable that I often feel incredible guilt at all the unjustified adoration I receive from everyone.

Composed: Monday, October 15, 2001

Part I: The Janet Jackson Moment

Something came along and sucked the soul out of everything. I have no evidence for the former presence of the soul in things. Well, there is literature—there’s a historic trail pointing to another form of life. It was only a whiff of something and a made-up whiff at that but it is enough to fill me with permanent longing that never seems to abate. A focus on my life can be a record of the end of this trail maybe in this sad—but artificial even in its sadness--era. A made-up motif only but they reveal the most. The tragic MTV program—heartbreaking tale of the girl who wanted to look like Janet Jackson—to be Janet Jackson in drag, to be filmed in a fake car Janet was filmed in, with Janet’s hair, and then on the jukebox which touched Janet Jackson. I was very frightened by this. I was afraid what would happen to the girl later. I was very afraid they would introduce her to Janet Jackson. That might have been the death of her. A quick death though, might be better. I think being in the made-up Janet Jackson was a kind of slow spiritual death for this girl—just when she had become so alive—it was so brief. As the moment ebbs, so does the life from that girl—God, I can only pray she becomes famous, she wins the lottery, she finds the greatest lover of all time. I know that none of this will help of course. But I can only pray.

That’s the thing I suppose I can’t reconcile myself to. It’s only a moment one has—that Janet Jackson moment—

Now, the key here is to reconcile oneself to everything that is. It amazes me how impossible this is. What is the point of any other type of attitude that isn’t reconciliation?

It will all end in tears.

Part II: Fuck You, My Lousy Ex-Friends!

Sudden loss of friends…

Now is the time when I especially need my friends. Well, one always needs one’s friends I guess. At this time it seems particularly important to me to have connections with others but just when I seemed to need this my friends have disappeared. All of them. All at once. It is a strange experience to lose all your friends all at once.

I try to figure it out. Something has happened. I know that I am particularly exhausted from my job most of the time. I don’t sleep normal hours. This results in an inability to hold coherent conversations—I often say foolish things. My fatigue makes me self-conscious. It’s sort of like being stoned much of the time. You try to hold up appearances but you are too out of it to know whether you are doing an adequate job.

I think, however, if you really do some kind of self-examination you could always find some flaw which would give someone a reason to dislike you. This was my ideal, I suppose: Friendship will often involve—but not always—someone’s overriding his ordinary reasons to dislike you. And then it is also luck—That the person will not happen upon the one thing that will be particularly glaring at some point in time or develop some kind of special antipathy toward your own traits and tendencies. And that you don’t develop traits and tendencies your friends will be antipathetic to—that will also be a matter of luck. I imagine if we have the concept of loyalty, of time-developed bonds that can’t be broken, these things must have existed. I’d hold them up now but it seems to hold them up in my current context would only make me ridiculous.

If I am lame politically, forgive me. This was one of the things I thought could be overridden. I don’t back away from my basic ideas—I can’t—Even if I will admit many of my ideas/most could very well be wrong. Probably are. I’m sure some of them I’ve brought up lately just result from my attempt to make conversation when I’m always tired and distracted. But some are basic to me and I suppose I have to just admit that as much as I care about my friends and a friendship is not very meaningful with someone who would require elemental change of all one’s intuitions, leanings, unreflective thoughts. You’d have to give up in that case.

Still, I think I’m just writing this letter to say: Fuck you ex-friends! You suck! While I may be stupid and annoying I’ve never done anything to any of you that was cruel or uncaring. And now I have come to see that life is basically empty and meaningless…It’s barely tolerable. Lots of you, my former friends, probably got used to this soul-sucking void. But remember how I was always deluded? (At one time you found this charming perhaps. But not anymore!) The disillusionment—the realization I lack free will, my life is a hollow gong of torment waiting for death—well, it’s just too much for me at this point. I’m overwhelmed by it. Of course you can’t help me by comforting me in facing what you—for I was always attracted to your cynicism—knew all along. Would I even bother to ask? When I have asked you for anything? But you could help simply by distracting me from the complete idiocy that makes up this life by your charm, your warmth—even relating mundane details of your daily life might be enough.

Your abandonment of me is not immoral—for you owe me nothing. I wanted to owe you something, I wanted to be loyal but there seemed to be no context for that and I gave up. I don’t condemn you for blowing me off. This isn’t moral outrage because I’ve lost my taste for moral outrage. It’s merely the cry and complaint of the person who had everything unimportant go wrong all at once—she forgot her umbrella and it rained; it rained so hard her wool suit began to shrink and tighten prior to some important event requiring dignity; the mud in her eye scratched a cornea,; blinded by indignance and a very small piece of gravel, she tried to cross the street—the cab didn’t get its brakes checked last week because the cab driver had the flu and now she is just a lump of flesh and bone on the asphalt. I added the ending there because it could make tragedy out of what is only misfortune…The reality was she simply went on, lacking dignity, rumpled in body and soul throughout the day and while she couldn’t rid herself of her wish for connection—it only served to make visible that she was always alone.

Part III: Why I Hate Myself

I am my own worst enemy…I hate myself…yes, you’ve heard these before. Perhaps you’ve never hated yourself. It seems almost an impossibility. You are yourself and the same person who is doing the hating is the person being hated. Is this paradoxical in any way? Like self-deception? Self-deception: How can you both know and not know at the same time? If you take the trouble to deceive yourself we might say, you must at least know the thing you are trying not to know.

Not at all. Hating oneself is quite easy and leads one into no paradoxes whatsoever. I can tell you in my own case how it came about although I cannot tell you how it will end. An uneasy truce? A catfight? A sprinkle of arsenic on the corn flakes? I don’t know how it ends but I can tell you how it starts. At first I thought that perhaps it was sort of like the inconsiderate roommate problem. You think the minor friend or the ad-responder might have great potential. She likes Star Trek; you like Star Trek. You are taken in by her active listening skills, her sense of irony mixed with enough compassion to be unthreatening. Then there is the unruly boyfriend, the loud Madonna music, the dishes left in the sink for days on end. In my own case of self-hate there are these elements. I come home from work exhausted and what do I find—day old magazines, newspapers litter the floor. I barely use the trash can. In fact, I have a terrible habit of throwing little bits of paper on the floor. When I wake up in the morning have I hung up my clothes from the night before? No! They lie in a jumble costing me many hours of ironing or dollars for the drycleaner.

But it’s more than this. It’s more complex than this.

Part IV: Hating Yourself Can Have An Upside

Now this is your sudden opportunity. The lost self might be regained through some kind of pain and introspection. Well, not the lost self since you have no self—the loss awareness of subjectivity…or the lost voice of subjectivity. The lonely voice of self-entertainment that was your companion through all those years.

Sure there’s the inevitability of decay but you have something to say about decay. Saying something: Is it intrinsically valuable? Or does it simply add the polish of aesthetics to your day? In this whimsical rant you have in the pages above—do you show that you’ve moved a little past your singular obsession over your relationship into a more far reaching set of gripping fixations? You might be no less a slave to these but they add some variety and are a refreshing change to the sad terror you live as a person who loves someone you are not sure you actually know…

The loss of distraction that you bemoan, the sense of unworthiness that comes from rejection is a strange opportunity for ??? Growth. Growth is such a silly word! A strange opportunity to restore the illusion of invulnerability, to come up with new and more serviceable illusions about yourself and your life. Original and amusing ones. I can’t say growth. I’d have to say…an alternative veneer…a new set of interpretations. Yes, it hurts your friends abandon you but why? Well, a fascinating aspect of this has to do even with exploring what it is to be rejected by one’s oldest friends.

First, there is the sudden realization that there are literally thousands of things a person might dislike about you. There are hundreds of minor and dozens of major flaws and many combinations of inadequacies thereof.

Next, there is the light these ruminations shine on oneself. E.g.: “Yes, I did say that! Yes, I am that idiotic! How could I have been so disgusting and unfair?” And so on and so on.

Then comes the defense: Well, I object because I am sure I could respond to their charges if only by pleading for mercy and mitigating circumstances. Finally, in recognizing my guilt (although because I am unsure of the charges, I must cast a very wide net catching many fish and probably letting the real ones go) I come upon the last and final defense: Hey! These people don’t really know me. (No one knows you when you’re down and out. No one knows the trouble I’ve seen.) They don’t realize the true brilliance behind my sloppy ideas and the real consideration behind my unkindness—or at least the many excuses I could invent for these.

Finally, they will never see my remorse and willingness to change—see the first problem—Friends do not ever reveal to you the reasons for their sudden disinterest—You don’t get to hear the charges against you.

Then, a cultural realization: How terribly cut off we are from one another! There are so few things we are allowed to say without being gauche and embarrassing ourselves. The slightest display of vulnerability and one faces an awkward silence like wolves. No words exist to heal the many, many rifts, etc. And then! The truth: No one knows anyone. And that most clichéd of truths: No one knows oneself. We are strangers, all of us. I think there is a Billy Joel song about this.

Yes, it will take months to unravel this…No, I think I’ve pretty much covered it all in one paragraph. But I haven’t gotten into the details of self-examination that are sure to come. It is like a spotlight has been shown upon all my terrible character defects. I finally see myself from the outside, with a critical eye. Perhaps it will prompt me to change! Perhaps it will prompt great progress—moral, spiritual, political, intellectual. It is like the cultural revolution and the absent friends are the reeducation camp confidant/commandant. They don’t tell you what you are to confess—you must figure this out for yourself! And in figuring it out, doesn’t everything come worming its way out of the woodwork? Yes—the bourgeois upbringing, the tiny remnants of prejudice and unenlightened thinking, the attachment to expensive coffee and certain brands of running shoes, the desperate need for approval, the inconsiderate or incorrect word that reveals all that one lacks, and so on and so on. (Thank God these friends are orthodox Marxists of a kind or else it would all run to who picked up the check, who forgot whose birthday. The reasons they have can only be good ones—good for me in the end as I struggle myself and become a better worker and community member-to finish up that analogy.)

Sadly, they will never witness my brilliant progress. The confidant/commandant eventually praises (I don’t know this for sure but in my current mental state I can see they’d have to for it would work like a charm). I will have to find proxy friends to praise and admire my newfound state whatever-it-is. It will never be as good, it will never be the same, alas.