The Process

Month: May, 2015

Escalator Music

They said a dog in a crate feels safe, and my cave is a scatterbrained dwelling with a quiet guitar.

If I was Alice in Wonderland, I would fill it up and cross from girl to dog to feet out the window, and then I might be grateful for a kitchen with no pots and pans, but maybe wondering what I’d meant to do with rolls of

beeswax, and Sparkle Horse is still there, in his medieval tankard hot tub, and can you get the smudges off my glass with the ink?  STABBED

IN THE STOMACH WITH A SHARP KNIFE LIKE A NINJA SWORD, that’s what the sign says, thou shalt not pass or rip it off the wall when my shoulder can’t

fit and he’s screaming SEA MONSTER SEA MONSTER so I laugh, “smoke me out, old man,”

and come back into my body and the only takeaway Is what do

a fishing hook, a marionette, and a queimada pot have in common or which one does not belong until I look in the mirror and laugh, ‘there’s your answer,’

and frogs defrost alive like the time I thought I lost my feet to the snow and all the beer going down warm wouldn’t kill the furor of the burning back to life like the starfish pulled their arms off;

maybe they heard my joke about amputees in Weight Watchers, the one I told to my quiet guitar like a Thunderbird car drenched in nostalgia but mostly gone, like anything, really, or my beat up records; they must’ve been a raging lover, scratched as they are–

is that it, all the love dashes your music, makes it repeat itself: makes sense, senility, now, all the ardor, now all the stories that come again and again, saying, once, I was a virgin with a lot of new material.  Once, I had a loud guitar, and I filled up my cage.

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Overheard (As Perceived by my Train Compatriots)

-When you were asleep, I got my nose ring caught in your underwear, and I thought I was gonna have to cut my nose off 127 Hours style-

-The real question is what was your nose doing near my underwear while I was asleep.-

-I woke up like this.-

-Well-

-You were waking up.-

-Right.-

-Wait…are you…?-

-Ha.  Like last night at the bar, when you got there, that girl was like, “Wait, I didn’t know you were!”  And I was like, “That I was what?”-

-That you were 100% corn?  That it’s totally natural and part of any normal diet?-

-Ha.-

-Next time-

-True.-

-THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT A NASHVILLE PARTY!-

-IT’S ABOUT TIME FOR MY ARRIVAL-

{GONNA GET DIRTY!  AND THE BRITNEY SONG WAS ON!}

-It’s a party in the UAE.

-Hm.-

-Wait, can anyone drink in the UAE?-

-I don’t know, actually.-

-Well, that’s definitely not a Nashville party.-

-Right.-

-I had strange dreams last night.-

-Me too.  I was gonna kill myself in my dream, but I figured everyone would get the wrong idea.-

-Because it wasn’t out of sadness?-

-Right.  I was just over it.-

-No child left behind, please.-

-No beer left behind.-

-No behind left behind.-

-What if there were not butts in the afterlife if the afterlife existed.-

-Eek.  Chocolate corn nut?-

-No thanks.-

-It’s so hot here.-

-I know; it’s gross.-

-Cheese?-

-Was that in your pocket?-

-Sí.-

-I guess.  Thanks.  Oh, it’s actually the perfect temperature.-

-Right?-

-End scene.-

-End scene.-

100% Corn

The Good Light

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Twas Brillig

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Portrait of a Young Boy (Just Kidding)

Asleep Standing Up or Awake

Are You Comfortable With Your Mortality?

So the other day, I was massaging my girlfriend’s back, because she said it hurt from work.  “Am I dying?” she asked.

“Well…” I began.

“True, we both are.”

“Yeah, but it’s OK.”  I’m pretty sure that’s not the normal way that conversation is supposed to go.  I feel like most people would say something sweet like, “no, babe, you’re gonna be fine,” or something.  But we spend a fair amount of time thinking about the philosophy of life and death, and therefore, we build a lot of thoughts on the basic knowledge that we are rocketing towards death at an unquantifiable speed every waking second.  It’s just true.  For everyone.

Originally, I wanted to write about how I perceive a lot of human behavior as avoiding facing our imminent death.  More specifically, how I perceive a lot of goal oriented behavior as discomfort with mortality.  This is absolutely starting to sound like a bunch of hippie bullshit, but bear with me here for a minute.  My philosophy around the topic begins with a couple basic truths.  The first is that we are all humans that are going to die.  The second is that many of us would like to accomplish one or more goals in our lives.  The third is that failure to achieve the goals is possible.  I will use my industry, cooking, as the example for most of this article.

Let’s say my dream in life was to open a cafe and juice bar (this is horrifyingly far from anything I would ever want to do, but let’s just pretend).  There are many possible outcomes of my attempt to meet my goal.  But, assuming I would do whatever it took to open my cafe, let’s say that I worked my ass off, learned everything I could about coffee and juice, became a ninja in the art of the latte, went to business school to learn about running a restaurant, etc.  And I worked at a steel mill to pay my way through school, occasionally performing provocative routines at a local bar when I had the time.  I had a hard life without much time for social interaction, but it was worth it, because nothing would stand between me and my cafe and juicery.

But then let’s say that my business failed and I turned into a catatonic shell of a person and could never perform another flash dance, let alone get out of bed to go back to work at the steel mill.  In that case, I wasted years preparing to live my dream and then, essentially, lost my will to live.  Or better yet, let’s say that my business succeeded, but only enough for me to support myself comfortably for the rest of my life, and no one got much more than some coffee and juice from my shop, and maybe one day I would get tired of running the place and bequeath it to my long time started-from-the-dish-pit-now-he’s-here employee, Raul.  Then what?  Still dying.  There’s something inside of us that makes us feel good when we achieve something, but it’s strange how that’s a natural thing.  And maybe that’s because it’s not survival that is key but rather thriving just enough to be a part of the naturally selected race, at the end of the day.  To me, though, being “someone” or doing “something” is sort of something that people attempt order to deny the fact that one day this will all be gone.  The urge to leave a mark is something I pair with the fear of oblivion.  That it won’t matter that you ever were on Earth.

So, originally, that was my train of thought.  Why not just embrace mediocrity?  Why not just enjoy the days we have and cut out the risk of wasting time trying to achieve something?  The best analogy to explain this is school.  I’ll use my brother and sister as an example, because they’re both freshmen in college.  Say that Grant is busting his ass to get straight A’s this semester and doesn’t have any fun at school, because he’s too busy working hard.  And let’s say that Sydney doesn’t give a flying fuck about school and drinks her way through year one such that she barely remembers it come next week when she moves out of her dorm for summer break.  Now imagine that Grant gets mostly B’s and a couple A’s.  And Sydney gets mostly B’s and a C.  Imagine his disappointment and regret at all the wasted time.  It’s a weighing of opportunity cost.  That’s why I embraced the “let’s just shoot for mostly B’s” mentality in college.  Low-risk, low reward.  But I had a pretty good idea of what I had coming, and I was able to enjoy the time I saved by studying less.  We’re all dying, so let’s just enjoy this time we have.

But I kept thinking about this question…are you comfortable with your mortality?  Am I?  What is the converse?  What happens if you don’t try to accomplish?  What is the other side of all of this?  So what am I doing if I’m not striving to open my cafe and juicery for America’s finest basic people?  Besides ruminating over life’s philosophical quandaries?  Having experiences.  What kind of experiences?  I make art, I like to eat and drink, have relationships with friends and a significant other, etc.  Why is it that I like these things?  Because they’re fun.  Why are they fun?  Because they distract.  Distract from what?  Life.  And that’s the goo right there.  That’s the fucking answer, man (you may wish to imagine me saying this with a beanie on my head and a joint in my hand; none of that is accurate.  Actually, I’m just sitting around in my pajamas).  Digging into experiences as an outlet is an escape from the reality of being a human on this earth that just needs to consume energy and water and air to exist.  All that is so boring, existing without distraction.

So by extension, if I’m an experiencer instead of an achiever (for example), am I fully embracing mortality by constantly attempting to deny that I’m just alive?  Is wanting out of life just wanting death?  Is that why French people call an orgasm “le petit mort” (the little death)?  Because it’s an out from life?  So are experiencers just fucking in love with mortality, or what?  And are achievers and experiencers mutually exclusive?  Is the definition of a well-adjusted human someone who balances these two desires well?  The desire to transcend death but also to die?

Ultimately, I do think it’s fucking naive to be a power-hungry, achievement oriented person who can’t wake the fuck up and realize that at the end of the day, we’re all going to die. Even if we do something as impactful to the human race as inventing the wheel, it still wouldn’t matter, because advancement is sort of so random that the human race would be impressed by most growth, regardless of what it is.  If no one had invented the wheel, someone else might’ve invented a more accessible way to fucking fly or move shit around without a wheel, and maybe it would’ve been better.  The way in which we advance is not only irrelevant to us, since we will be dead in a short while, but it’s also irrelevant for future generations, because they will adapt their needs to the times accordingly, and who cares what we did for them?  However, it is possible that being defeatist and cynical enough to ride a wave of hedonism right into the ground for the rest of our lives is silly.  But it still wouldn’t matter, because Grant and Sydney both got mostly B’s, right?

Legs and What They Call a Bureau

Life passing by as usual

Life passing by as usual

Autobiography of a Skinless Mind: 12: Conversations

“hhmeshhh.”

“What?”

“Nothin’.”

“What?”

“No…nothing.”

“Hmatsh.”

“What did you say?”

“Hero’n scratch?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You’ve got the hero’n scratch, you know.  I see it.”

“What the fuck.”

“It’s OK…I know.”

“Know what?  You know nothing.”

“If you didn’t do it you would be more offended.”

“Maybe I think it’s funny.  But you’re wrong.”

“I’m not.”

“So you know because you’ve done it.”

“No.  Look–you even act like a heroin addict.”

“I’m flattered.  Are you drunk?”

“Obviously.  Why else would I say that?”

“Well it was a smart pickup line.  Why don’t you take your messiah complex and head on home.”

“That’s funny…a messiah complex…You may have me there.  It’s just because I’m right.”

“Well you’re not.  You look familiar, by the way.”

“Come on, I mean, the bugs?  They don’t get to you?”

“Ha, the bugs.  They’re only in my dreams.”

“And?”

“And what.”

“You told Rick you think you go somewhere else when you dream, right?”

“How do you know I said that.”

“I’m right, right?”

“I was sitting on a serpent and there was a huge larvae and these skittery spiders.”

“Told you.”

“Well it’s dreams…you’re about one for two.”

“You barely remember them anyway; who’s to say you didn’t do the drug while you were over there.”

“Over where.”

“In dreams.”

“It is another place.”

“You said I looked familiar.”

“I heard everyone in your dreams is a person you’ve seen in life.”

“Or visa versa.”

“Fucking A.  You know it’s probably true about humans evolving in non-physical ways at this point.”

“You’re at the stage where you can’t imagine having anything in common with–”

“Christopher Columbus.”

“Exactly.”

“Well?”

“Well?”

“What is full circle when suddenly one could go back to arguing the world is flat and all imaging is illusion.  Or even that maybe we’ll find a new planet to trade up to.  Like I never questioned the fact that my neighbors are noisy and that I can hear them, because my wall is thin since our apartments used to be connected.  And then someone said ‘well that’s annoying,’ and I thought…’well, maybe it actually is annoying.  And maybe I deserve a quiet place with privacy.  And suddenly my mind is on thick walled, air conditioned paradise…yet maybe I like knowing someone I’ve never met has to hear me have sex every once in a while sort of like if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it or this innate desire to impact…and what I’m getting at is imagine we found out there was another planet with some bounty on it and all the fun and everything you need…and we all wanted to leave Earth…but maybe I would miss some of the grime and filth and dissonance.  I would, you know?  I really do enjoy being surrounded by some degree of a society where..everything is sort of like…they wear their genitals on their sleeves, you know?”

“It’s all a bit more vulnerable.”

“Right…like I saw a man in a shirt and slacks after work and he looked so tense and caught up in his life of–and I assume here, because I have no idea–making money, possibly saving up for a nice apartment, etc., but it made me laugh because it seems so unnatural and role-play-ish to act like something more than a wrinkly, purple baby covered in shit and bodily fluids…it seems so presumptuous that the ability to speak gives us anything like a right to have convictions and suppose that we know something about this place we live in…and I learned to pretend I also know what is happening as a survival mechanism.  Or a mechanism to thrive.  The facade of confidence is calming I guess.  Like you have the cow people and the steel people, and if you choose to put on the confidence facade, you get steel, and all the cows feel calm and you tell them where to go and how to feel before the slaughter.  Which is death.  Which is what life is, helping each other to the end, right?

“And you presume this with your words.”

“Touché…I guess it’s a postulation.  Like I don’t fucking know.  I laugh sometimes thinking how the dumb cunts trying in earnest to do everything the society way might actually be right about not thinking about it.  Like maybe they’re the true existentialists.  Maybe everyone else already left the existential crisis behind and chose life while I stayed behind to waste my time thinking about it.”

“Maybe we’re all cows, and then when you sleep, and you go there, you could think about it a little more.”

“This other place we go.  Why is it dark lately.”

“You mean the time when she had your whole outfit on and no one knew you had it first and she was taking your identity.”

“More or less.”

“It’s just not that simple.”

“We can’t lie there, can we?”

“You can, but it’s just a place where there are no dress shirts and everyone has their genitals on their sleeves, as you so eloquently put it, before.”

“You understood.”

“Of course; I always understand you.”

“Why the drug accusation then.”

“You said it was a good line.”

“Dick.”

“Are you going to eat the rest of that Cookie Monster cupcake?”

“I thought you knew me.”

“I can still have manners.”

“You like the bottom?”

“My favorite part.”

“Why don’t I know that,”

“We forget things.”

“Like ourselves.”

“…”

“Am I wrong?  Are they watching us all the time?”

“Who.”

“Nevermind…Or also, is every person a true person or just a simulation to entertain me.”

“Are you a simulation to entertain me?”

“I don’t know.  I can think and feel…Whatever that means.”

“It’s so cold.”

“You look like Matt Damon; has anyone ever told you?”

“You look like David Bowie.”

“Strange…I did always think I was the only one who didn’t know me, but I thought at least that’s what mirrors were for.”

“Did you just–”

“Hear myself…haha yes.”

“Mirrors…”

“Shut up.  Ugh I feel the diabetes coming.  Take the rest.”

“Your mouth is blue.”