Thursday, April 21, 2016

THE OUTSIDER

Though training is coming along, I am a little frustrated because I don’t think that my strength levels are close enough to where they were prior to my gout flare.  Yes, I get that being off from weight training for nearly six full months is going to be bit detrimental to my fitness goals, and my training plan is going well and I shouldn’t be concerned.  But I do want to make a respectable showing for my first (and only?!?) competition.  Are the levels where I am at now going to be enough for me to make an event that I can be proud of?  We will know in June for sure!!

Prince’s sudden and unexpected passing has taken over the interwebs.  Twitter, Facebook has become memorials for him.  I remember when he first took to “American Bandstand” and my Aunt mentioned something along the lines of his being “confused” with respect to his androgyny, which by today’s standards would barely be noticeable in most metro areas.  And if it was notable, it would only be in passing, whereas at the time of Prince’s national ascent, a person would have been placing themselves in harm’s way at such an expression of their identity.

I won’t be sharing any particular memories that are associated with my memories of Prince.  There will likely be a number of people going on about their imagined relationship with their fandom and heartbreaking loss.  My sense of what Prince meant to me just doesn’t motivate me to wax melodramatic about him.  Real life, it seems, can often be melodramatic enough for me!

“A insincere and evil friend is to be feared more than a wild beast;  a wild beast may wound your body but an evil friend will wound your mind.” -Buddha

The frequency of my grumbling about my need for solitude and my desire to be alone has finally been settled.  As much as I once looked forward to the possibilities between Nebraska and myself, in my mind, I feel that I communicated how likely things would be between us should things go astray between us.  And it isn’t that because we did not get on well that we don’t get on now… though it sort of does.  What I mean is that I never denied that I was an “either/or” type of person, that for those who want to be intimate and close to me that there is an unspoken commitment that is expected, no, REQUIRED of said individual.  Acolyte or infidel… I MEANT that.  This isn’t a demand… I don’t think that it has to be spoken, given the kind of commitment that I am willing to give one in return.  I would think that it would be understood, particularly after one sees my level of enthusiasm to a relationship.

When I look back and consider how my dwindling relevance in Mookie Dee’s life played in my decision to leave her, the way that my relationship with Nebraska has developed is not at all surprising to me.  I don’t fault her for anything, just as I never faulted Mookie Dee for making the decision that she made regarding us.  It is more that our directions and best interests did not align and this would keep us from finding a harmony were our relationship could co-exist with our individual paths and how we choose to pursue said paths.  This schism between us, is representative of the pondered complexities of life, especially when the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat…

One of the things that I feel has allowed me to comment expressively on relationships is my iconoclasm.  For years I have been reminded that my perspective on living runs counter-current  to the flow those others locked in the matrix of mass appeal and thought.  I can still see my older cousin as he explains to an adolescent Mark that, “... the world moves at a certain speed and you have got to either get with it or fall out”,(or something to that effect..!) while I was bullheaded enough to believe that between focus on a direction and random causality would guide my way.  And in many ways, I believe that it has done just that.  At any rate, it is because of where I sit in life, hidden partially in shadow, that I can make as-close-as-it-comes to an objective observation of how people get on, intimately, through the sexual binary of standard relations.  See, while much of my personal journal has been about my “so-called love life”, the fact is, being IN something matters little to me.  The urge to be “in” something is, for me, a mix of curiosity and instinct.a posteriori experiences, that has beckoned to me since I became a fully conscious entity and being.  It is this area of my human experience that I feel the sensations of unreasonable ambivalence.  I don’t think I have ever said that I “wish I was dead” or some other selfish statement of nullification because of my interactions with people.  But it is with the child-like inspection of a scab on the knee or that of a lifeless pigeon lying on the lawn of a neighbor, that I see relations and my role in the lives of those whose paths I’ve crossed.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A SIGHTING

TACTICAL

It’s been a peculiar time around here.  I have not been blogging or reading many blogs lately primarily because I have not been healthy for the past 6 months.  My gout has cleared up but I now have either a cold or maybe “walking pneumonia” that I picked up about a week and-a-half ago.  It isn’t any close to being anything major but I am weary from being unhealthy for so long and my current congestive issue is more annoying than anything.

More on my health highlights … I will have my liver checked out next month.  Moving into middle age has been slightly unnerving, from having intense concern over my HDL numbers and cutting back on certain foods to avoid fat  cloistering around my internal organs!  Next thing you know, I will be eating cottage cheese and making all the early bird dinner specials at restaurants!!

One of the more intriguing changes in my life and something that I have written about before is how unimportant sports have become in my life.  I have not followed the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament since State’s shocking 1st round loss to Middle Tennessee State.  My lack of interest isn’t due to my being a poor sport but in having grown and matured, I don’t follow any level of athletics, amateur or professional, the same as I did when I was younger.  Also, the media saturation of all the outlets surrounding sports that are available is kind of overwhelming as well.  The paradox of choice -- so many sources of information are available that it paralyzes one’s ability to make the best decision in almost any area of life, much less as something as inconsequential as following sports.

When I begin to start my journal entries with a “Tactical” section, it was to separate my random thoughts from what I was actually dealing with.  The inspiration for the journal itself was born out of the stifling isolation that I was suffering while I was living with Mookie Dee and how critical it was that I got myself to a better place, mentally, physically and spiritually.  The process of my journal’s evolution led me to assign a section to what was directly happening to and/or influencing my life versus the random thoughts that occupied the deficit between where I was focused on going and wherever I actually was.  

NOW THAT I AM HERE

I think back to the early days of my journal and I would write about how much I was looking forward to moving to Omaha.  Primarily because of the amount of attention that my relationship hopes got, the expectations of what would finally happen between Nebraska and myself once I finally got here may have been outsized.  But that is from my perspective, thinking that there were those who saw the hopes of a possible romance as being a primary motivation for my moving here to Omaha.  At any rate, I understand if (my relationship hopes with Nebraska) there were some readers who thought everything revolved around finding love with Nebraska.  I have always included disclaimers to that effect, but I was never sure that if they ever had any impact… most critically with Nebraska herself.

At some point in the near future, I do expect to have a sit-down with her.  I am interested in hearing what she has to say and how her life has been going.  But I don’t have anything really to share with her, and by that I mean there is nothing going on in my life that I can’t share here in my journal that I would have kept specifically to talk with her about.  I don’t mean anything untoward by saying that, but I do think that I had indicated that I am not really as sociable as I may seem on the internet as I am in person.  Not that I am deliberately opposed to interacting with people and those around me, quite the contrary.  But when it comes on deciding on how I will spend the only concept of any real and intrinsic value to me, time, involved with a person, the bar is simply far higher than it is for someone that I am engaged with in passing only.  Similarly, I figure that if someone is unable to find time to spend engaged with me, that I too, am not of any real value to them as well.

Lastly, being in Omaha has ultimate provided me the opportunity to make sure that I remain free from the things that were the distractions and antagonists in my life.  For instance, for me to rant and rave on relationship would be a contradiction as I am no longer an observer to such things.  The different failings between men and women are of little concern to me, so why would I comment on such things?  

Right now, I am looking forward to going back to school in the fall, my daughter KT visiting me this summer, as well as a road trip to see my friends in Indiana.  Though I still find myself fretting about the the presidential election in the fall, I will not temper the my hopes for the future.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

AS YOU CAN SEE ...

…  I AM VERY MUCH ALIVE!

GETTING RIGHT INTO IT


I have been dealing with gout for the past 4 ½ months.  This week, the pain and discomfort has subsided into the tenths of degrees, which is why I am able to use my laptop for more than looking at pictures and things!!

One of the things that I have noticed is that I have lost some readers!  I don’t know if the attrition of readers is due to my inactivity or just people deactivating their Blogger account, but it is interesting to me nonetheless.  It was one of the small joys of keeping a public journal when I reached the triple-digit plateau.  With the way that my dashboard has changed, I doubt if I will be able to generate any interest in my journal, and that isn’t so bad.  Measuring from where I began my journey from, the feel of a near-cosmic level of space has been covered, materially and spiritually.  Other than some health concerns, I am good!

Me and my Carolina ladies have been in touch and KT wants to come out west… she volunteered to spend some of her summer with me!  Right now, the plan is to road trip through South Bend, spend a day, then move on to the Motor where she has a granddad, aunts and uncles, and a slew of cousins to meet.  Of course, the cherry on top would be to introduce her to Skye, which would be quite the coup.

Other than scuffling along because of my gout (which traveled from its home of 4 months in my hand to my right ankle, thanks to a fall off my bike..!), there has been little going on in my life.  I did, however, get a few communiques from people that I did not expect.

The SFC called me and that was a very good thing!  I have missed hearing from her dearly, and it was quite the boost to my self-esteem.  She sent me a photo of me and another friend from the Motor (who I have mentioned but have lost her name at the moment), taken with one of the DeBarge’s who were on a morale tour in Korea!!  I hope that we don’t lose touch this time… it would mean a lot to me for us to stay in one another’s life.

Nebraska sent me a couple of emails that when added to all the other complications in our relationship along with the time of said emails… well, did little to advance the state of relations between us.  It was quite mysterious as to what her motivations were, but I shrugged it off as a “one-off” kind of thing, where she had thoughts swirling around and they created a pressure that resulted in her emailing me.  While I was inspired to began to “ponder life’s complexities” by what I think were part of her reasoning, the last phone call that I received really left me gobsmacked.  But first…

I recall being warned about being “another one of those brothers” who date outside of their race.  Being open to all manner of relationships between human beings, I shrugged it off, because my happiness is MY HAPPINESS.  And even if it the warning could be applied and taken under consideration, it would not have mattered because.... IDGAF..!  Not only do I not care what people who still abides by the miscegenation codes of the past, I really thought that my personal fate would keep me from even worrying about being a part of a mixed relationship.  Of course, though I have been to a lot of places, I had not been to Omaha before and the social environment here is one where such relationships seem to flourish.  But the one relationship where I “swirled” in, with Princess, always had issues that I had to keep in consideration. The upshot of this warning being that there were too many single black women in Omaha that would make a great partner for a cat like me.  Or so the Germans would have you believe…

My personal experience with black women in Omaha has been one of frustration.  I haven’t made a big thing out of my observations of the sisters in Omaha, and I am not going to begin now.  But what I will do is note the kind of frustration that I have put up with and let the last phone call of note be the example of the “confustration” that I think exists among the sisters here.

The first woman that I dated after Princess, was a woman with whom not only did we meet cute, but our first date was THE best ever!  Not only was it the best ever, but I don’t think I will EVER go on another first date as special as our first date was.  It was electric from the moment we met each other and until the abrupt end to our set-to, it was an electric relationship.  Or perhaps the Germans simply had me fooled again.

When we were on the phone I was more than civil.  I was surprised, blushing, and a little intrigued by it all.  See, other than Tee Jay, and I cannot stress this enough, I had never even considered trying to see how someone who was a former flame was doing, much less want to re-ignite a flame with them.  So the blushing faded soon enough and I had to ask the question… “Why?  Why did you dump me?”  And her answer..?

I remember being told that I carried myself on the immature side during my 20’s.  But that was an opinion held mainly by great thinkers like my wife, who had a worldview that begin at Telegraph and ended at Woodward (though she lives in Farmington Hills now, if you are from the Motor and of a certain age, you get it).  She saw things in absolutes and if things did not fit her particular understanding, then it must be incorrect, even if I provided evidence to the contrary.  But were a credible and independent third party to come around and validate my view and/or invalidate hers, she would not acknowledge my correctness, but worse, accept her incorrectness in view of that correctness as a lack of understanding or comprehension on her behalf.

Well, anyway… so I am talking with this woman who left me wounded and confused and who is NOW wounding and confusing me.  But rather than think back about what never could have been between us, the lyrics of “Jesus Built My Hot Rod” (borrowed from a movie) seems to accurately paraphrase my emotional state.

        Soon I discovered that this rock thing was true
Jerry lee Lewis was the devil
Jesus was an architect previous to his career as a prophet
All of a sudden, I found myself in love with the world
So there was only one thing that I could do
Was ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long

Whatever it is that I either found, discovered or was born with, is tied to whatever I heard when I first listened to those words.  Maybe it is the same thing that Patrick Swazye’s “Nobody put baby in a corner”, line from the movie “Roadhouse”.  All I know is that those words and the song “Jesus Built My Hot Rod” is what has reliably moved me past emotional calamities such as,

    -My marriage
    -My relationship with Mookie Dee
    -My disappointment with Nebraska
    -Whatever it was with Princess

And a couple of other interludes that ended in the same fashion as this one with the “good black women of Omaha”.  I will have you note that I used the plural pronoun “women” to characterize my dalliances with the fairer sex here in the land of the “Good Life”.  Heck, this entry alone mentions “two” sisters.  So for anyone to think that I have abandoned black women really need to get a grip.

...AND I LIVE BY THE RIVER

Okay, so by now you should get that I no longer give a f*ck about the “this and that” that are a part of talking about relationships.  Not that I cared much before, hence my inflammatory rhetoric directed at African-American women, as well as the paucity of my voicing similar observations about women of other ethnicities.  I mean, I as much as my experience is being recounted here, prior to my living in Omaha white women ignored me on levels not seen since high school.  I did not comment about white women at length before simply because I did not have enough field data to blather about with regards to the paler skinned sisters!

The last call I got during my gout flare did crystallize all that has taken place between me and the black women of Omaha… and even that owes a lot to what might be a general rule in relationships here.  But again, and I cannot stress this enough… I DON’T CARE.  I don’t care about your reason for dumping me… and all questions regarding our past are merely incidental and are only for historical reference and nothing more.

The hypocrisy in the call from the local women are why this entry has meandered so long.  If there were any other reason for either Nebraska or my best first date to call me, I think that they may have deluded themselves into think that maybe they were giving me an opportunity… that they were being genuine and caring.  But whatever the reason they had for their calls, I wonder why they didn’t tell me so when we were more than what we are now?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

ON BEING ME ...


TACTICAL

Nothing of any note has occurred lately.  Still looking for a copy of Sartre’ “Being And Nothingness”.  The Jackson Street Bookstore in the Old Market did not have a copy, as I hoped to make the purchase from and independent bookstore.  The lady there was friendly, as I came just after closing time.  She even suggested another indie bookstore out in West O (I have been here long enough to use local references to areas around here, right?), which does not sound like a fun late fall bike ride!  So I will likely go to Barnes & Nobles at the Crossroads Mall and see if I can find it there.

Right now, I am on the tail end of a minor gout flare… nothing really troubling as far as my dealings with gout goes.  Just a couple of observations:

First, I tend to get very sleepy when a gout flare begins to set in.  I mean, sleeping through alarms and getting out of bed groggy.  Second, there is the HEAT that comes with it!  This flare, in my left wrist, makes my forearm feel as though it is being boiled from the inside out.  Sometimes the sensation wakes me up and causes me to toss and turn in bed.  Finally, there is the general sense of malaise that is attached to every waking moment during a flare.  It is all-encompassing and constant aggravation.  My second observation is the timing of my flares.  As much as it troubles me to say, I think that the weather plays a VERY big factor in when my gout flares strike.  The literature is unclear about gout’s relationship with weather changes… and because of it being unclear, the room for weather to be a factor increases.  Finally, I think that the flare is just what it is, a small flare and not a raging brushfire thanks in part to my increased diligence in training and improving my diet.

And lastly… saying that my gout flare is a “minor” one is also something that should be up for debate.  I am not really good at objectively judging the intensity of the discomfort that I may actually be in.  When I was diagnosed with my condition, I made a change of how I act on my levels of discomfort and the observations of that discomfort… to wit-

A couple of years ago I had gout really bad in my left hand.  It had been around three weeks with NO improvement (though I was treating it homeopathically).  My then-manager happened to observe my swollen hand, asked how long had I been walking around with it swollen as it was, and then she conspired to get me to an hospital for treatment.  It has always been a quality of mine to take the advice of someone who can both be objective and have my best intentions at heart.  Unfortunately, I have not had many people who were willing to take  the additional steps to make “things happen”.  What I mean by that is, if you observe something that needs correction or demands attention, then you should take ownership of that situation.  I have no patience for the kind of people that are “Kitty Genovese bystander’s” to/and in my life.

AND WHY IT IS IN THE DETAILS …

...because you were off your guard.  And it is often the truth that when someone is not concentrating on the projection of who they want to be believed as to others, when their true character is shown.

I read “Counsels And Maxims” by Arthur Schopenhauer in junior high school.  One of the reasons that I was into philosophy as a kid is that by studying character and the thinking of men in large groups, that you gain critical insights into what shapes the behavior of the individual.  This is true whether the individual is conscious of the influence of outside forces on them or not.  They may believe that their thoughts are their own when the truth is that what they think is an amalgamation of societal and social mores that are in line with a behavior a certain culture.  Reading books and taking in information that was “above my pay grade” with regard to being able to command and own what I was reading, did not either dissuade me from trying to grasp the material nor did I think that it gave me any advantage, i.e., made me believe that I was smarter than anyone else.  Still, the thing that was annoying about being a reader was that “reading” was looked at with scorn and that knowledge that I had obtained was another way of being my being brainwashed by “the man”.  Schopenhauer changed that for me.

 ... {If one} is inconsiderate and seeks only what is advantageous or convenient to himself, to the prejudice of others’ rights; if he appropriates to himself that which belongs to all alike, you may be sure there is no justice in his heart, and that he would be a scoundrel on a wholesale scale, only that law and compulsion bind his hands. Do not trust him beyond your door. He who is not afraid to break the laws of his own private circle, will break those of the State when he can do so with impunity.

Whenever I look back at the moment I first read Schopenhauer's discussion on “the trifles of life”, my being grows lighter.  From that naive, adolescent perspective, I no longer had to ask myself “why” someone was being mean or rude to me.  The answer was evident; they were a d*ck!  Not only did this discovery free me from the typical social anguish of the adolescence, but as I grew older, my interpretation and understanding of those words became more refined, or “tighter”.  With my Aunt’s words bolstering my self-esteem and “Uncle Arthur’s” advice constantly in mind, I don’t have any compunction about “X-ing” people out of my life.  And using my most recent episode with gout in mind…

As I mentioned, the level at which I register discomfort has always seemed to have changed and adjusted to the upper limit of whatever pain episode I am enduring.  When I was an amateur boxer, I remember a match during which I broke my right hand and continued on with the bout, winning a decision.  Then in the service, there were many episodes where I pushed myself to a higher tolerance for injury, primary example being my last week of training to get my Air Assault tab.  It isn’t that I thought then, nor do I now, think of myself as being tough or anything.  It is just that I don’t have the “ouch” gene in me.  To remedy that, since I have been disabled, I have allowed for outside observations to carry more weight than before with regards to my health and well-being.  For instance, when my then-manager at the health club where I work conspired to get me to the hospital, that was an example of my letting an outside opinion mean more than my own judgment.

My thoughts, my cognitive abilities are impaired.  I have personally confirmed this through my pursuit of a degree, if there has been nothing else in my life to make the effects of my injury clear to me, it is my academic pursuits.  At any rate, since I know that my judgment is slightly skewed, so I do not rely upon the observations of “unqualified persons” in my life.  “What”, you may asked, “do you mean by an unqualified person?”  This is where the judgment I make on how a person approaches or behaves when dealing in one of life’s “trifles” comes into play.  Having heard enough through the regret of others about things that they should have “known better than” when it comes to relationships, because the behavior trait that has caused the upset usually is one that was already observed and noted.  There have only been two noteworthy exceptions to this concept, one during my marriage and the other coming when I decided to revisit a past relationship with Mookie Dee.

...and if anyone is wonder why I don’t entertain many people as friends, take these words and apply them to your relationships, familial as well as others, and ask yourself “Why are you with such people?”  And if you find yourself stretching to accommodate their presence in your life, then you will have your answer as to why I am so “Ok with that”, when it comes to having just anyone in my life...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I DON'T CARE WHAT THEY WRITE

TACTICAL
We have been doing well, training hard and work has been as good as it has ever been.  I have decided to go on and purchase “Being and Nothingness” rather than reading it for free online.  If anything, it is always going to be a good book to have on the coffee table and I just feel better holding the material in my hands than I am with on a computer screen.  Even if you can use some devices to highlight key or memorable passages, the adventure in flipping through pages, finding not only what you are looking for, but also stumbling on other points that may have been overlooked previously is one of the treats that I have always enjoyed about reading a book.  Using a computing device simply lacks the tangibility of a book.

I think that one of the reasons that I have never thought of myself as an existentialist has been the image that I developed of the philosophy in the 80’s.  As a teen, I thought of existentialist thinking of being mopey and one where nothing matter because nothing was “real”.  Apparently, I was guilty of typecasting those who questioned the meaning of life as someone who was simply finding an excuse as to why they were unemployed and still living with their Mom in their 30’s!

What I took for interpretations of Nietzsche back then was shaped by comic book fantasies of what his words meant.  This is not to say that the interpretations of his work that I drew an understanding from were inaccurate… just that my understanding of Nietzsche was not as well rounded and developed (to say nothing of my own ability to comprehend the depth of human character that the works of others’ outlined) it could have been.  There is a very likely chance the same thing will happen as I explore existentialism, but that is precisely the point of it all, in my opinion.

BAD FAITH

The title of this entry owes itself to the anti-intellectualism that I experienced growing up.  Though I have mentioned it before, particularly when I first began to journal, I came to much of my knowledge through reading, which was dismissed as “trying to be white” among many other insults that were hurled at me.  But was always more troubling was the lack of substantive arguments that were made against what I held as a more fact-based position.  I mean, conformation of your opinion cannot be based solely on the coincidence that you are surrounded by those who believe similarly.  Neither can an opinion be dismissed because it is not shared by those around you, either.  Is there such a thing as “the extrapolation fallacy”?

When you have a question between you and another person, with said person being unable to support their belief and being unwilling to accept your ideas that are more concrete, where do you go from there?  Are you supposed to concede to their articulations because of THEIR ignorance?  Though I understand how a little knowledge can become dangerous, how much more so then, is that same lack of knowledge in the hands of someone without the will to pursue the question further, whose curiosity is done with the first idea that confirms what they were told?  I would rather find the information myself and draw my own conclusions.  And I am going to do this now, very prematurely, with Sartre's idea of Bad Faith.

Much of the collective ignorance that I have ranted on in my journal could collectively, I think, be used as examples of bad faith.  My observation of many walking around in today’s world is one where people carry the weariness of resignation, an inevitability to an image of one’s self or condition that they can’t meet or even bring themselves to believe that they are ever capable of meeting.  Rather than meeting the challenge brought by the responsibility that comes in making themselves into the person that they could be.

Because of my solitary nature, I have no real idea on how close I am to making sense.  All I know is that my theory makes sense to me.  If Sartre’s “Bad Faith” is filled with self-deception and a refusal to accept the responsibility one has in making oneself who they are/could be, then maybe intuitively, there is the projection of bad faith unto others, stitched together by false equivalencies, fear, and anti-intellectualism.  For instance…

Recently I came across a paper from the NIH on “Adult Neurogenesis in the Mammalian Brain:Significant Answers and Significant Questions”.  One of the more significant questions dealt with the possibility that adults can create and grow new brain cells.  Now if this is true, then it is likely that I can grow and create NEW brain cells… and with that, extend the limits of my future possibilities.  But I did not think to save or go into my history and try to find it… though I prolly could keyword search for it and have it auto-fill.  But in a previous era, information that I stumbled across from nigh-unimpeachable sources, such as the paper from the NIH, would always be called into question.  And it left me baffled, especially when it would come from those who knew that I would not repeat something that I could not have verified.  Even were I to do so, would it have matter?  The information I came across was through “something that I read somewhere”, which may have well been something that I conjured to make my tale more believable.  F*ck that.

Now the point of the previous story is to show how I have learned to avoid offending the taste or intellect of others.  The question that I have for myself is, does my behavior somehow fall into Bad Faith, or is the Bad Faith present in the relationship condition more of a projection of the other person’s own illusions? People believe that they are rational actors in a world that is clearly irrational.  Their senses define for them only what their minds can interpret and so, are limited by their own vision of reality... Anywho, I will purchase a copy of “Being and Nothingness” from Barnes & Noble, as well as hopefully find the movie “Nausea” somewhere on the internet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

THE PURPOSELESS SENSE OF EMPTINESS YOU GET WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING SOMEONE HOME

TACTICAL

One of the things I am going to practice during my sabbatical from school is mindfulness.  Being more aware of my presence in a spiritual sense is of critical importance to me... and never was that tested as it was last Thursday afternoon!  But before I get to that, what facilitated the subject of this entry, the test ride of an electric-power assist bike, a Specialized model that will be named Hemingway (because he takes you places). 

For a long time I had been considering purchasing a moped, used, rebuilt or whatever.  The biggest drawback from owning one is storage.  I would not be comfortable leaving it outside for any length of time unattended and the gas engine keeps me from being able to bring a moped inside the building.  I was spending time wandering around the Greenstreet Cylce Shop, relocated from near the Ameritrade Ball Park.  It is between my apartment and the fitness center where I work, further away from me than it is closer to the fitness center.

Greenstreet Cycle has an adjacent coffee shop with Wi-Fi, so I occasionally go there just to hang about, taking my laptop with me.  The compulsion to ask about the electric bikes that they have was at the back of my mind for quite awhile... now it was nearer to the front of things in my queue.  The shop owner, who has always been very personable with me, was there as well.  We got to talking about the bikes, and he was able to disarm the drawbacks that I had perceived that e-bikes come with.  Finally, he suggested a test ride, with me on the high-end model and he on the lesser but just as capable bike for a test ride.  And then, it is near the end of the ride that the meat of the entry occurred, which is why I am jumping to Monday afternoon and my down payment on a previous year model of the top end e-bike!

Meanwhile... I am already hungry for school!  I wake up each day with a gnawing inside of me that is driven by my want for purpose.  With one of my stated reasons for being in Omaha is to get a degree and further my education, it is not the only discovery I had hoped to make.  My purpose, the search for which has brought me to Omaha, is another motivation that is driving me on. But purpose is not found just doing... purpose is about discovery and revelation, and I am willing to find out what there is out here to be discovered and revealed to me!

WASTING ALL MY TIME

I used to envy the kids in my neighborhood growing up whose parents allowed them to get mopeds.  I did not know then what I know now, that not only should they not have been operating them without restriction (the Honda Spree fell in an ambiguous area; the Honda Elite required an motorcycle endorsement), but that most of the kids I saw and including myself, lacked the maturity to operate one.  Nonetheless, I was transfixed by the notion of puttering around on a moped and it never left me as a desired mode of transportation.  As an adult, I did own one that sputtered around for a year or so in the late 90's.  There was prolly more use in it than that, but I was not (and still am not) skilled at things mechanical, and so that moped died a quiet death. 

E-bikes never really caught my fancy.  The early permutations of them always seemed more trouble than they were worth and did not have the power to lug around a medium-sized Mark, much less this tub o'humanity that is using that name currently.  But when I asked the owner of Greenstreet Cycle about the e-bikes on his sales floor and told him I had never taken an e-bike for a ride, he told me that I just had to test ride one.  And that is what we did.  We took off from the shop on Harney, a half block north of 24th street, and rode downtown.  And I had my breath taken away!  The performance of the bike was beyond what I thought was possible, and the technology with the ride assist has come so much further than I could have hoped.  Turning north on 13th Street to make our way back to the shop (this after making a loop around Midtown), a little black Ford Focus darted in front of us, making the shop owner a little nervy.  But before we could begin talking about how crappy the drivers in Omaha are to cyclists, a VERY familiar face appeared out of the driver's side window.

Sometimes I wonder how much is my shows boisterous enthusiasm is due to my lack of maturing v. knowing better in my old age!  There are times when I find my mind slipping back to my younger years and the hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities that I let slip by in my life, never to come again.  The moments where I could have possibly made the jump, "level up" and be something more than I was... and that would have resulted in my being more than what I am now.  I think, and I did think then, that taking accountability for actions include being honest with oneself and recognizing the consequences of those choices, in the past as well as in the now.  Realizing that it IS up to you, chasing hopes and dreams, and that if you fail to pursue them with all of the energy of your being, that it is your lack of commitment to those hopes that will be responsible for falling short of them.  Not only does this apply to career choices, but in love as well.  I believe that this is a universally applied ideal, and it is one that swallows up those unused opportunities like objects falling into a singularity... gone from the universe and off into a place where even imagination fails.

Having this understanding of what was at stake in our life choices has always with me.  I mentioned quite a while ago on the moment when I truly understood the separation between those who took up the challenge to be something was during one of my turns as a sparring partner early in my career.  The cat I was being a living punching bag for was, at the time, a pound-for-pound champion (which is to say that even among the champions in different weight classes, he was considered the best of them all).  Me and my ambitions, hoped to show that I was up to the task of running with him, and for a half-mile, I was.  Then, I wasn't.  As I said when I mentioned it previously in my journal, I knew not only then, but was granted awareness that was clear to not only me of the present, but the me who I was, as well as the "me" I was yet to be.  Riding on the electric bike was one of the small, almost unnoticed transformative moments in my life where kindling from "unkept promises" ignites and becomes a small, determined, flame.  Kinda sorta like when I first met Nebraska online.

While we were zipping along 13th Street, heading north towards Harney(???), I heard a voice that I literally hadn't heard in years, but one that has been in mind almost exactly after my first year here... PRINCESS.  The conversation was a blur, but not for reasons that may seem obvious.  I asked her about her boys, her love life (in a relationship), as well as my admission that not unlike Morrissey, there is a light for her that will never* go out.  We parted without much ado, and I babbled some to my companion about Princess being my ex-girlfriend.  He replied, "Oh, so THAT'S why she almost hit me getting across our lane!"  We gathered ourselves ( he more so than yours truly), and we made our way back to his bike shop.



Dismounting the bikes after our arrival back at the bike shop, we began to make arrangements surrounding my purchasing an electric bike.  In the meanwhile between the details, there was some discussion about seeing my ex-girlfriend and what it did NOT mean.  Even though I did ask about her love life and included my "always willing to give us another chance" statement, that was just me "following the rules".  That is how the dumped and heartbroken are supposed to react to seeing the person that they loved with all they had after years of wondering about them, aren't they?  I don't think I am that much different and I am  human and I need to be loved, just like everyone else does...

But after the initial response, the surprise of the surprise chance encounter fading with the setting of the autumn sun, the actual reaction, the actual assessment, takes place.  The memory may be a little hazy (though it is only so when I admit to such... when you do it, well, F*CK YOU), but there are some questions that need to be answered, some accountability must be taken of the "who's having what".  "After the ecstasy, the dishes", advises one koan, and in returning to a state of mindfulness, it is time to tidy things laying about.

My "Rules To Live By" makes it hard at best, for me to really entertain the idea of a relationship.  Though I meant what I said, I also said what I did to fulfill the "what if" aspect of my relationship with Princess.  "What if I had the chance to see her again and I did not dare to ask her about us?"  Thinking about how when I still "maybe could have been a contender", and realizing how instead of digging in and going after what may have been the best of any chance in my life TO BE ME, I shrank away from, I could not have let this coincidence of life go by without my honest and truest reaction, as well as without my saying those words.  How they were received did not matter... but almost as with my pining for Tee Jay ended after our date, my flights of Princess and all that we could have been, too, has become like the scent of forget-me-nots, become one with the atmosphere and dissipated into the background.  What was, isn't anymore.  But still, I wonder...

Having a tangible philosophy to guide me, it would not surprise me if there is some parts of this entry that would confuse anyone who is familiar with my personal ramblings.  That is part of the reason this entry has ran on.  The other reason, quite simply, is that I have something that I want to say.  Speaking on my enthusiasm earlier, I know that there have been studies that show when enthusiasm, particularly smiles, are relieved as authentic.  in fact, there is a biological marker in the eyes that indicate to others whether or not a smile is authentic.  I bring this up because throughout my life, I have been taken by the people who after crossing my path, smile back.  Along with my iris gleaming, people have been drawn to me because of the realness of my mood.  I never have to "force" my mood.  It is almost always just under the surface of any mood I am in.  Now, I do find myself asking if I am getting too old to be "shining one".  Then, last Thursday happened.

It did not matter to me if anyone paid me any attention after I recognized Princess.  No matter the what, she is someone that I care deeply for, even if we will likely never talk as friends again.  I did take away that she still finds me as attractive as she did the first time she saw me, and that was a "half-credit" ego boost.  Remember, sometimes being pretty doesn't count for enough and with Princess, it proved to be the case.  Then, there are times where being attractive doesn't matter at all.  That is what I felt was the case the first time I met Nebraska in Chicago back in '10.  Admittedly, I was a "mess" when we first met, telling her so prior to our meet.  But more importantly, I never promoted myself as "all that" to her, even while being "all that" was my goal!  Going back to our earliest internet conversations, I told her that it would be up to her to find me as "this or that".  And even if I did think of myself as "this", after we met, she clearly thought of me as "that", and I could dig it (and I thought you could!!).

After getting on my computer during the weekend, I got an email from Nebraska.  She was nearby when she and some companions heard my exclamations after I recognized Princess.  She had told her group that I prolly had seen someone special, and in truth, I had.  But there have been times where SHE was the person that was met with my effusiveness previous to Princess ever, and it always felt as if it seemed to her as a burden.  So after enough encounters, the electricity that I feel when I recognize someone in my life, particularly someone who is dear to me, began to fade.  Not to say that I would not be surprised and happy to see her again, but would I be as uncontrollably excited and glowing to see her as I SHOULD be..?

Maybe we will have that discussion.  Maybe one day we will sit down and be open to hearing and listening to one another.  You never know... so you better watch!

Friday, October 23, 2015

...AND WHEN IT HAPPENS ...


 TACTICAL

It is different journaling from the perspective of having  begun an achievement-filled ascent of a mountain.  Nearly all the troubles that plagued the climb prior to the organization of a climbing party, the difficulties in bringing together the material, the planning that was fraught with the concern of “what if” (like lies, I don’t believe in dealing in doubts, either) and the ever-looming shadows of uncertainty disappear in the bright lights of the climbers’ intention.  So it is with my journal, which was never intended to look for pity or plead my case of the injustices of my life, that the direction of my current tacking should reflect the truest state-of-being of my consciousness.


The things that I am looking forward to are all things that I have, in a sense, been looking forward to.  Bringing KT to the Motor with the intention of finding her older sister is one.  I have never wanted any of my daughters to be kept from each other.  That the girls have not met is very ironic, at least when you consider some of the experiences and professed beliefs of both Pecan Sandie and my ex-wife.  And though there are some reservations in the case of things going badly, I am sure that whatever the result, it will be one that is fulfilling and spiritually expansive.

One of the things that I will accomplish with this break is that I will get into tip-top condition.  I have started back running, taking baby steps, and I don’t know how far I will get into running for distance.  I have seen articles saying long-distance running causes scarring on your heart.  There doesn’t seem to be much information on whether altitude affects that particular condition - I would think that folks in higher altitudes and/or better air quality are not as affected.  But regardless of whether or not air quality is a factor, I will be doing more HIIT training to burn calories and increase my aerobic capacity.

Finally, I am going to purchase several books that I will be reading this academic year.  One such book is “Being And Nothingness” by Jean-Paul Sartre.  I hope to immerse myself in books of the like and see if there is some “room to grow” left inside of my mind.


IT’S ALWAYS AROUND ME … ALL THIS NOISE…

For me, it was more of a “static”.  That is what I described the feeling of trying to get my thoughts together when I was with Mookie Dee.  It was not because of the desperateness of our situation, her losing her job and my diagnosis of brain trauma.  For me, it has always been more about how you think about a problem that is the bigger issue than the problem itself presents.  All too many times people look at things and think that there are monsters lurking among the shadows that lay before them when all they have to do is take one more step to reveal the thing that they once feared was a trick of the lighting around them -- there was nothing for them to fear!  Anywho, whether it is called “noise” or “static”, the significance of being able to name that thing which keeps my from actualizing the vision I hold of my best self cannot be measured.  Instead of being at a loss at my state of being, I could now take action against something that was tangible and less of an ideal beyond my grasp.


The Tame Impala song, “Let It Happen”, is the anxiety of life set to music.  The accompanying video, takes the mindless spinning that we believes separates us in the modern world from one another to another level.  As the video closes with the harried, wrinkled-suit subject ascending to who-knows-where, I think the parallels with the stresses from living finally being enough, and he is freed from the insignificance of his life.
Believe me! The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously!” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Maybe this is from “Metaphysics of Morals”, I can’t be sure.  I know that I once possessed the book from where this quote is from and these words need to be hung on a plaque somewhere in my apartment!  Now I don’t interpret Nietzsche as encouraging reckless, amoral behavior in the name of expressing the meaning/meaninglessness of life.  But if you never take opportunity to experience “something” when it comes, you risk never having your life happen at all.  And this song, along with its accompanying video is what you inherit when you play it safe through life.
It is only in the drift into eternity is fully realized.  I don’t think that is what our existence is meant to be, an evolution of the Hobbesian perspective where life, even in the then-modern world, was about a level just above primal survival.

So I contrast my interpretations of the music/video and statements of perspective and form my own personal philosophy.  There are enough of the “play-it-safers” going through life striving in vain for meaning of their lives.  Me, “I think that I am nonsense”, and that all around me is nonsense as well...