Saturday, June 30, 2007

Feelings of mortality...

...and sheer, overwhelming frustration.

I don't know why I'm feeling as if I'm on the final downward slope. A fresh muscle ache, a small change here or there in the way I feel?

Whatever it is, the clock is ticking and I am morbidly aware of it.

My colleague D., the photographer, called this evening. He wanted to talk about work, in fact wanted me to go with him tomorrow to a work-related event. I told him to call me tomorrow if he felt like doing something unrelated to what we spend too many days doing for money that comes in too slowly, and in increasingly unprofitable amounts.

Somehow, I doubt he'll call.

Earlier today, I was struck by a wave of nostalgia, and decided I would drive 300 or so miles each way to the tiny town of Bridgeport, California, for their Fourth of July celebration. Haven't done that for 17 years, when my then-girlfriend and I more-or-less stumbled on it. They observe the Forth the old-fashioned way, with various kinds of bands performing in front of the local courthouse, home-cooked food and an invasion by a band of friendly "outlaw" bikers*. It's a mix of patriotism and very mild partying.

Can't go. My pet-sitter is out of town -- in fact, I have to watch her cats this week -- and the so-far late arrival of some checks means that I must choose to pay bills over fun.

This brings me to the resolutions I make each year. You know what I'm talking about: "next Fourth of July -- or Christmas, New Year's, birthday, you name it -- I won't let myself be sitting at home sipping Jim Beam and wishing I was not alone/here/poor/whatever." I'm sure each of you has similar resolutions....

Each time I make such a resolution, I dive in energetically to Turn Things Around.

But it never seems to work out.

I'm rambling. Maybe you should just click on the next journal....

I'm painfully aware of each time I've screwed up. I can drag every faux pas, every foot-in-mouth incident, every foolish moment of honesty out and replay it. Over and over.

And, yes, I can remember each person who has helped me fail. Those who say it is all up to one person -- meaning me -- are just flat wrong. I especially remember the most recent ones, of course, who promised much and gave nothing.

The ones involved with my work are, because they made me sick of what I do, now publishing material that is far less than what I could do -- and have done -- whether they realize it or not. They don't care, I guess. My words still fill blank spaces on their pages.

Those who have wandered in -- and out -- of my real life will never know what they missed.

They don't give a happy damn about that, I'm sure.

If any of the latter had bothered to stick around, I would have found a way to take them along to Bridgeport, to revel in an old-fashioned holiday, replete with fried chicken, fresh apple pie, and a local country band, followed by a magical, incomparable excursion to a unique place the next day....

But it's not the same when one goes alone.

So I say to hell with it.

I'm too damn old to go anywhere that I can't share with someone else. There is no joy in solitary exploration for me any longer.

There is only one person from my past whom I would welcome back with no questions and no anger, and I have reason to know she is so immersed in a scene I couldn't get with that it will never happen.

The other, whom I loved equally -- or perhaps more -- is no longer trustworthy. If she ever was.

So I am alone. And likely to remain so.

And going out to find solace and distraction in familiar places holding happy memories, to create new happy memories, no longer seems worth it.

If you've read this far and are bummed out, it's your fault. I warned you.

You ought to see it from this side.

On second thought, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

* I like bikers. They are patriotic as a rule, dedicated to riding their putts and being free. While I have no desire to ride a Harley and let my beard grow long, many/most of those who do are good people. I'd rather hang with them than blow-dried poseurs in their leased Mercedes-Benzes.


DAL said...

How come you don't write op-eds for other publications? You do have opinions, and you express them well, cuttingly and humorously.

MrScribbler said...

dal -- my opinions don't fit any mold that would entice anyone to hire me. As soon as they thought they'd hired a wonderful conservative, voice, I'd support some liberal cause. Or vice versa.

Most people don't want to read the truth. They want affirmation of their beliefs.

And no one wants to read the words of some old fart heading toward oblivion....

Birdie said...

I still think you could write for something local, like Jappee does in Charleston... lots of pictures with history backgrounds.

I'm sure that, after 17 years, the celebration is not as you remembered it and may have turned into another disappointment. And I know very well the "joys" (not) of doing things alone.... :-(

lowandslow said...

I've been alone for prolonged periods before, and I'll agree it does "sucketh". But I will always believe good things happen to good people, and you definitely fall into that latter category.

Sunny said...

I remember back when...back home in Michigan in my small town. The 4th of July was celebrated just like you said.

Yes, I agree with Dal and Birdie about you writing your own column. I think I have said that before somewhere in here.

Anonymous said...

Afraid I still take issue with your basic premise that all of your misery is other people's fault.

It isn't. You are responsible for your own happiness. Period.

And when you stop being such a self absorbed miserable old sot, you will likely attract the company you now repel.

Your friend