Angry, angry, always angry

I’m angry at everyone and surrounded by nothing.

I woke up last night after only two hours of sleep because I was dreaming of an ex ripping up my environment with no regard for my comfort or safety. Upon waking my mind rode the theme into a tirade of arguments both pointless and frustrating. I was left to lie awake, drifting fitfully in and out of increasingly negative daydream scenarios, until the persistent sunlight out my window convinced me I should just get out of bed and try to start my day.

I was tired enough that I had to consciously dictate terse commands to my conscious mind to get the most mundane things done. Undress. Shower. Shave head. Scrub Feet. Pick Socks. Pick Underwear. Choose a shirt. For fuck sake get dressed. No, put water in the pot WITH the eggs before you turn on the burner.

It’s exactly the kind of day I’d dread going to work, taking mental bets on just how many stupid mistakes I would make.

Luckily (sarcasm) I’m unemployed so I was able to take a much needed nap in the afternoon. That didn’t stop my brain from dredging up yet more nightmare scenarios.

Late in the afternoon I convinced myself I needed some chicken in order to give myself an excuse to get out of the house. I stopped off at a coffee shop for an hour to do some reading then continued on to the grocery store. I picked up my chicken and then noticed they had my favorite orange juice on sale. Loading my backpack with a couple of heavy jugs of juice I began carrying my bags home. I took a slightly wide route home to pick up some Pokestops on the way, grabbing the inevitable Zubats and Drowsies on the way. I guess I’m going to have to be hunting much further afield if I want to find anything else. Maybe some night when I can’t sleep I’ll take a trip to Prince’s Island Park.

As I stopped at one of the popular corners, the one with four Pokestops within a dozen steps of each other, I noticed an ex’s boyfriend sitting nearby playing too. Although he was probably playing Ingress. He loves that game so much.

I resisted a very real urge to walk up and punch him and, instead, walked along pretending to not see him. I was extremely disappointed see him there. I had thought he had moved away from they neighborhood to move closer to her and I was grateful to see him go. I was just walking past his building yesterday and sought out his balcony to reassure myself he was really gone. Then he goes and shows up on my virtual doorstep, as it were.

I did comment to her, many, many months ago, that he’d be miserable out in the middle of nowhere without his precious game to play. But he moved out there anyway. I guess he’s found an excuse to come back into town.

I really just want him … all of them… to stay away. I really prefer being lonely to facing these people again.

I attempted to vent my anger at a Pokemon gym on the way home, trashing it twice, when the game decided my frustration was high enough to cause it to lock up. I frequently do this with complicated electronics. If I’m stressed or frustrated beyond a certain point there’s a good chance whatever app I need to use will freeze up and need to be restarted.

Arriving home I put my groceries away, changed out of my sweat soaked shirt, and crashed for another nap. No more bad dreams, this time, just rest. And now I’m drinking water and doing my best to keep my laptop from locking up.

Maybe I’ll go back out tonight when I’ve cooled off.

Shadow and Jacquel

I’ve been re-reading American Gods because I’m looking forward to the TV show next year. I’m encountering some very interesting quotes. I’m thinking of making a collection.

 

“Back in my day, we had it all set up. You lined up when you died, and you’d answer for your evil deeds and for your good deeds, and if your evil deeds outweighed a feather, we’d feed your soul and your heart to Ammet, the Eater of Souls.”

“He must have eaten a lot of people. ”

“Not as many as you’d think. It was a really heavy feather. We had it made special. You had to be pretty damn evil to tip the scales on that baby.”

 

Maximum Effort means Maximum Anger

While the declaration is instructive, I’m not sure I’ve put out Maximum Effort in a long time. The last time it might have happened was on my 2012 road trip where I rode my motorbike down to Portland and back. That was a great trip, and it definitely took some effort. Not sure if it was Maximum or not.

The one time I am certain I put out Maximum Effort was back when I took my motorcycle riding course. I was working very long days at Purolator, physically exhausting days, and racing from work to get to class on time. Then I was learning to ride the bike in the dark cold March evenings where we contended with fog, snow, and patches of very dark ice.

My entire week consisted of waking up at 5am to get to work by 730 so I could inspect my truck and plan my route. Then I spent the day hauling boxes on and off my truck. I had two hours between my last delivery and my first pickup, so I inevitably found some way to get in a nap somewhere, but it was never more than an hour and it was never enough.

Right?

It sums me up so well

I would get back to the depot at around 530, having put in 10 hours, and would then have to race to McMahon stadium to start my class. The only reason I was off work that early was because I’d made special arrangements with my manager to have someone make my last few pickups. Normally I wouldn’t be back at the depot until 6 at the earliest, but my class started at 6.

The class was a total of 20 hours, 6 to 10 every night of the work week, and we needed ever minute of it. Riding a motorcycle is actually fairly easy. Riding it slow on an obstacle course with fewer than three mistakes is fucking hard. Harder when it’s dark.
I’d get home at about 1030 with just enough time to make my lunch for the following day before crashing into bed.

That was a challenging week, but I managed it. I think the only way I managed it, however, was with anger. Anger brought me to determination. I’m not sure I’m capable of any other path. Years ago when I was working out regularly the only thing that kept me going was anger. Anger at my body for wanting to quit, anger at my lungs for burning, anger at myself for being so weak.

And now I’m reluctant to be that angry with myself ever again. After this hard relationship deterioration that left me angry nearly every day I’m now weary of it.

Over the past couple of days I’ve been feeling ill, some kind of incredibly brief flu virus. One day of intense all-body joint pain with zero appetite, and a second day only half as bad. The one thing I noticed through those days was how easy it was for me to get angry at the slightest things. I was angry with sudden noises, I was angry with slow lines, I was angry with people being too happy nearby. I was angry at some of my favorite music. Clearly, I was not in my best frame of mind. Luckily for me I noticed the disproportion and managed to not act on any of it. Given I stayed home through most of it this was relatively easy.

But anger is important and appropriate at times. And I need to be able to focus it properly again. I need to be able to dedicate myself to required writing without having to resort to anger and I’m not sure that’s possible.

We are what we do. Excellence, therefore, is not a goal but a habit.
Be excellent to each other. Be excellent to yourself.
Write the good stuff. Write the bad stuff. Write the stuff.
This is the stuff.

Proximity warning

We’re crowded in pretty tight here at the Purple Perk. Apparently this is a fairly popular place for laptops. I’m not surprised. The tables along the wall have soft bench seating and power outlets spread out periodically.
I bought myself a piece of cake and an iced coffee. I might as well have ordered supper for the price I paid for it all but to be fair the “slice” of cake is big enough for three or four people to share. I will be taking the majority of it home with me when I leave. It’ll probably last me three days.

Cake at the Purple Perk

The cake here is huge.

I’m at the last table in the row, in a corner, so I have two walls of privacy keeping me separate from the crowd. My only neighbor is a young woman writing some paper about how HIV in children affects their family. (I peeked. I admit it. I was curious. In all honesty I just managed to see the title. She could be writing about horses for all I know. )

At one point said neighbor straightened up in her seat and stretched. Her left arm reached straight out from her shoulder and I suddenly had a proximity alert going on in my head.

Her hand was inches from my head an, in all honesty, there wasn’t any real risk of her touching me. But it would just take a quick twist of her shoulders to firmly plant her fist into my head.

Here’s the weird thing: I wasn’t concerned for myself. I was worried that she would feel awkward with me being that close to her. She was the one stretching and infringing and I was suddenly trying to figure out how to distance myself socially to keep her from feeling uncomfortable in my presence.

This is my conditioned response to being a huge man in a small world. The automatic response to physical proximity is a feeling of guilt at taking up too much space. Even when someone reaches out towards me I feel responsible to being too close.

I wounder how long it would take New York to crush that out of me? Probably just a day or two.

The truth is that we’re not crammed in like sardines in Calgary and normal personal space is generally possible outside of specific situations like buses, elevators, and movie theaters. Our sidewalks and supermarkets aren’t so crowded that people are forced to brush against each other. At least not normally.

So when we are forced into physical proximity it’s usually because I’m bigger and take up more than a single person’s space. I’m often big enough to take up two people’s space. So when I ride that train or that elevator I’m encroaching into people’s space more than usual.

And because I can see people’s discomfort with this fact, particularly women, I feel rather guilty about it.

So guilty, in fact, that when someone else chooses to encroach on my personal space I still feel like it’s my fault.

251 plus words

Went to my writing group tonight and had a great time. The writer we were critiquing had developed her character enough that we could see her maturing in the text. She was extremely please we all “got it”.
I always leave the group charged and ready to get back into writing. By the time I get home, however, I’m ready to just roll into bed and go to sleep. By morning all momentum is lost and I’m back where I started, wallowing in indecision and regret.

Today I have all but given up. I stand for pro-choice, equality, feminism (redundant, perhaps, but worth mentioning on its own), rational responses to climate change, and freedom from religion. Every day I express my support I’m faced with passionate, verbose individuals who feel I have it “all wrong” and am giving in to some crazy sub cult that’s set on destroying their religion, their jobs, or their desire to control others.

And I’m near to giving up. I just don’t have the energy to point out the obvious every single day to people who have set up very deliberate blinders to ignore even the most hard core facts. I just can’t argue anymore. I don’t have enough ammunition to get through their calcified skulls. I don’t think anybody does.

The answer is, of course, more guns. We must give out guns at church and in every bar and restaurant. We must provide them as a bonus to every car, motorcycle, boat, quad, and bicycle purchase. Because, honestly, who could possible survive on our roads and rivers if they’re not sufficiently armed? And could you possibly eat or drink in comfort knowing you might be the only person in the bar or restaurant who isn’t packing?

Bullets should be available in schools like pencils and erasers. How else are children ever going to learn to make, and eradicate, those really BIG mistakes?

A gun should be provided with every new driver’s license so those new drivers can properly defend themselves against the road rage tyrants in their beefed up trucks. Little Timmy isn’t going to make it prom unless he can shoot back at that oil exec who’s tired of Timmy hogging his lane.

Guns should be provided to every new mother to help her properly protect her children in this dangerous world. What could possibly be better to convince little Janie that there isn’t a monster under the bed than the ability to empty a clip under the frame and let little Janie know that, if there were any monsters (or family pets, for that matter) under the bed, there sure as heck aren’t any now.

Big guns should be part of every property deal. Nothing says “I own this!” like the ability to murder anyone who comes within spitting distance of your land.

A gun should be given to every released convict to ensure their ongoing survival. After all, nobody is going to hire them, so they’re going to have to get their food somehow. And how are you possibly going to keep those prisons full if you don’t give them every chance to re-offend? Besides, they’ll get a gun themselves anyway. Let’s just streamline that process.

Teachers should be packing at all times to help protect our children, and to keep those degenerates in line. Little Johnny isn’t going to be talking back after you’ve put one through his foot, now is he?

I could go on for days…

250 plus words

Changes are being made, have been made, and will be made.

I have lost weight over the past month. I have no idea how much I’ve lost, but it is noticeable. One belt notch smaller and skin hangs just a little looser. The biggest change, however, is the ability to walk more than five blocks without feeling winded. No, seriously, it was getting that bad.

When my leg was damaged and I was just barely starting to recover I would get myself out to walk at least 5,000 steps each day. It was relatively easy for a number of reasons: 1) the illness caused me to loose over fifty pounds, 2) it was summer, 3) I was off work and had very little else to do. Also, my pain had abated so I could stand without wanting to scream.

Since then I’ve gained all that weight back plus a lot and work a sedentary job. And it’s winter. So I have very little desire to walk at all.

Honestly, though, a significant factor was my anti-depression medication. I’d never felt so huge in all my life and it was a serious chore just to get to the coffee shop. I was literally bursting at the seams.
Now I’ve been off the medication for about six weeks and noticing a huge improvement. Nothing much else has changed. I still work a sedentary job and I’m still adverse to walking in winter and I still eat more or less the same food. But yesterday I took myself out for dinner to a local Vietnamese restaurant and, afterward, went for a walk around the neighborhood. I not only felt like taking a walk, I honestly felt I needed to take a walk. I put in my 5,000 steps and, when I returned home, I was tired but not winded. The difference is a bit difficult to explain. Merely being tired I was still able to put together my lunch for the next day and perform a few other chores. Arriving home winded, as I did when on medication, it was all I could do to get my shoes off and dump my coat before collapsing onto the couch.

It’s a small difference, much like the belt notch, but it’s having a dramatic effect on my mood. It has improved the perception that I might actually be able to make more significant improvements with my life this year.

Now, I haven’t been keeping up with the walking in general, and I’m obviously pretty far behind on my writing, but I have been going out with friends at least once a week, often twice, and that has been getting me out of the house.

The truth is, of course, that I’m still lonely. And that will remain so long as I’m alone. The difference, though, is that I can cope with being alone. I’ve done it before. And now I’m dealing with it better than ever before.

Random. This was random. But at least it hit my daily quota and wasn’t just endless lines of profanity.

Oh, and I’m also drinking a hell of a lot more water lately. Because I’m craving it, not because I’ve decided to make any specific health changes. My body is telling me to drink, and the only thing that satisfies is water. I’m just going to let that continue to happen.

Wonton continues to grow more intelligent and curious. I fear for my material goods. I bought her a food ball, kind of like a kong ball for dogs, in which I place a measure of dry cat food and let her play with it. It has a number of holes and you can adjust how many are open, changing the difficulty level. It took Wonton less than a week to figure out how to open the thing completely. This worries me a great deal because, as best as I can figure, it requires two hands and at least one thumb to be able to open it. Yet there it is, open and empty.

New Year

Okay, so here I am at the coffee shop on my first day off of my vacation. So far my laptop has been fighting me every step of the way. I have my touch pad set to turn itself “off” by default IF THERE IS ANOTHER POINTING DEVICE ATTACHED. I have unplugged my mouse but my touch pad will not activate. I’ve tried using the button specified for activating the touch pad (FN + F3) and it does nothing. I can’t get to the control panel to adjust the setting because any time I attempt to use the Windows menu my session crashes and I have to log back in.

So far Windows 10 has been a huge disappointment. Actually, disappointment is too light a word. Aggravation might be a better word.

And the coffee shop environment on a Saturday afternoon is very nearly combative. The noise is incredible. I’ve actually dug through my backpack to find a set of earplugs, the kind I use to help me sleep, and shoved them in my ears as deep as I can. That cuts most of the noise but also serves to highlight the more annoying sounds, like the one idiot’s forced laughter in the corner and the constant high pitched whine of steam from the coffee maker. Still, the earplugs do dull the impact a bit.

Obviously I’ve become that old guy who’s hyper sensitive to noise. All the more joy to me.

It is the second day of the new year and the more logical day to sit down and set some goals for the rest of the year. New year’s eve and day are both too full of themselves to allow for quiet, sensible contemplation. That’s why people make grand plans impossible to achieve on New Year’s Day. They’re pumped with the adrenaline and dopamine of the holiday and convinced they can lose fifty pounds while learning Russian and Portuguese while simultaneously saving up for that world wide cruise.

Brace Yourself, New Year Resolutionists are coming to a gym near you.The second day is considerably more subdued. We’ve gone through the rush of partying (well, some of you have) and we’ve survived the following hangover. Now we can sit down with a bagel and coffee and take a realistic look back and a sensible look forward.

“I never look back, dahling, it detracts from the Now.” Edna Mode has some excellent philosophies to think about. However, while that’s an excellent sound byte it really isn’t practical. If we don’t keep mindful of the past then we will keep making the same mistakes in the future… like having capes on our costumes.

Looking back at 2015 I can honestly say it was a year of some significant change, and quite a bit for the better. It wasn’t a “good” year in the sense of having lots of pleasant memories and grand achievements, but there were definitive improvements and achievements to be proud of. And a lot of lessons. NO Capes!

I endured six months without a kitchen. It sucked hugely, and I hated it, but I managed. I admit I managed better with some help and advice, but I managed. I’m so very glad it’s over, and you’d be amazed how important something as simple as a kitchen sink can be. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look at that simple water tap and marvel at what a convenience it is. Water, cleaned and purified, delivered directly to my home in temperatures ranging from nearly freezing to nearly boiling. Miraculous. Incredibly miraculous.

I switched from a job where one person actively and aggressively hated me to another job where I deal with customers who are justifiably angry at how their services are being performed. This is an improvement in two significant ways: 1) the people I work with at my new job are all, without exception, fantastically wonderful people. No backstabbing or negative attitudes, a general willingness to help and get the work done, and support, support, support from every direction, even and perhaps ESPECIALLY from the top. 2) I have the potential to do something about those angry customers that will make them happy again. And I have. Repeatedly. I am constantly thrilled at the satisfaction I get from turning a angry, helpless feeling customer into a happy, satisfied, and GRATEFUL customer.

The previous job I had at the beginning of the year had good people in it too, and there were chances for achievement an reward, but that one poisonous viper intent on very deliberately ruining my day made it impossible to enjoy anything between the hours of 8 and 5. A few months after I left my former co-worker texted me and asked if there were any chance they could hire me back. The venom woman had caused two other shippers to quit in as many months. I replied that I would need more money and the assurance that I wouldn’t have to work with that woman again. He said he could work on one of those requirements. I asked if that meant he could keep that vile woman away from me. He said no. So I told him there was no way they could ever afford me.

And you have to wonder at a company that can keep a person on staff that makes every single subordinate quit within a year or less. From all accounts I lasted the longest of any of them. And I have to wonder how horrible that woman’s life must be for her to be so gleefully willing to ruin someone else’s day, every single day. I shudder to think of it.

But I digress.

I had also entered into therapy for depression and began trying out medication to modify my moods. My emotions had been out of control and led me to self harm and seriously suicidal thoughts. The medication helped keep the worst of these thoughts at bay and I was able to wake up in the morning without crying through my entire shower. The therapy sessions that went along with it served to highlight that, while I was going through some stressful points in my life (like not having a kitchen for six months) there really wasn’t anything worth dying over.

I ended a ten year long relationship in a fit of anger and spite. She suggested that my emotional reactions were ruining her days and that perhaps we should take a break. I agreed with vehemence, cutting her off from all forms of communication save e-mail. I feared I would regret such a rash action but, as it turns out, not only have I NOT regretted it, but everything in my life has since improved.

Gradually, my therapy sessions got brighter and my general demeanor lightened. I wasn’t happy with the weight gain I was fighting due to my medication and decided to try something else. All the other medications my doctor suggested, however, had the same potential side effects with a few worse tacked on: seizures, vertigo, blackout, and potential death. Since things had been going so much better I decided to find out if I still needed the medication at all. With my doctor’s instructions and my therapist’s support I reduced my dosage to half for two weeks, then a quarter for two weeks, just as Christmas was in full swing.

I have had a few moments of loneliness and tears, but nothing even approaching the self loathing that had me punching my own head and contemplating whether it would be more considerate to cut my wrists in the tub so that there would be a much easier way to clean up the blood.

In short, I’m doing much better and feel much more positive about the future. Without the drugs. Which is a significant improvement over not feeling I had any kind of possible future at all.

I’ve even gone so far as to clear off all my debts save my mortgage. A vast improvement in itself.

So, the second day of January and a calm, rational look at the year ahead.

It couldn’t get much worse, could it? And there’s every chance it could be so, so much better. If all I manage is to keep myself from going back into debt and get some weekends of riding in I’ll already be much ahead of the year before. Everything on top of that will be gravy.

Walking. This will not be a goal of weight loss, although it would be a nice side effect if it happens, but I do need to become more physically active. I’m not talking about working out at the gym. I’m talking about walking around my neighborhood.

Writing. Daily. Something, anything, to a minimum of 250 words. 250 would be rock bottom but would at least be more than a Facebook status update.

Getting out of the house. Daily. And not just for work. If I can get into a routine of walking this could solve itself.

Reading. I’ve immersed myself in the Internet far too much over the past few years and have forgotten the wonderful escape of a good, or adequate, book. I’ve rediscovered some of that literary joy over the past few months and I fully plan on continuing. Walking to the local used book shop should solve three criteria at once.

Budget. I have a working budget in place and I need to stick to it. The budget managed to dredge me out of a significant hole last year and I ful

Wonton rests her head on a pillow

Wonton getting comfortable in her new home.

l intend on staying above water from now on.

Pet. I have a cat now and her name is Wonton. She is demanding and loving and always there. She has given me someone to talk to when I need to talk out loud but not necessarily to myself. She’s also a lot of fun.

Friends. Combined with the insistence that I get out of my house more this is another goal that will effectively contribute to a few others along the way.

There, reasonable goals firmly set. If I manage to fit in a motorcycle ride down the coast this summer, that will be the massive cherry on top of it all. If I manage new relationships as well, even more cherry and chocolate sauce. But those aren’t goals. They’re opportunities I’m open to.

Happy New Year everyone.

I love that … what?

“I love that…”

This is the writing prompt that Dianne has provided for me, the initial spark to inspire me to write a blog post starting with those words. I know what she’s trying to do, and I thank her for it.

Dianne is doing what she can to get me focused on the positive, and I understand her reasons for doing so. I’m sinking deeper and deeper into the negative and losing the fight to come back.

I honestly feel I’m resting in a bog of quicksand and the only thing keeping my head above water is doing my best to Not Move. For the past year it seems that every move I make just sinks me deeper and deeper. Deeper into different jobs that I like even less than the previous one. Moves that are ostensibly meant to provide me with more income either provided me with less, or pretty much the same. Financial failures finally breaking through the levees of minimal payments and adding water to the sucking bog. The dawning realization that I’m worse off now than I have been in over thirty years, and it isn’t going to get any better.

So what I “love” now are those fleeting moments that bring me temporary relief.

I love that moment before sleep, when I’ve set all the pieces in place for me to rest as best I can, when I can set my mind to pretending I’m somewhere else. Closing my eyes and trying so hard to come up with a dream of escape, or release. Daydreaming in those final moments numerous fantasies of flight or superhuman durability. Daydreaming of just not hurting anymore. Daydreaming about being rich enough to not only feel secure myself but to ensure the security of those I care about. Little figments of distraction to trick my brain into calming down and giving in to sleep. So far it’s still working, but I’m waking up earlier and earlier each morning with reality reasserting it’s crushing presence.

I love that morning hour on the weekends when I wake up with the usual tension and urgency of another workday to be faced, only to realize it’s the weekend and I can sleep in.

I love that moment over lunch where I can lose myself in a book, and I love that moment when I can pack up the remains of my lunch and close my eyes to crash nap for ten to fifteen minutes. I love the furtive little dreams that crash through my head as I let the pain medication sink in so I can make it through the last four hours of work.

I love that feeling of settling into a new show, watching numerous episodes each evening, getting to know the characters and watching the drama unfold. I love that sensation of getting lost in a well crafted fantasy world where the problems are either easy to solve, exciting to work through, or both.

I love that feeling of putting word to line, of etching my own fantasies onto paper, although I haven’t had the drive to do so in a very long time. It has been weeks since I have felt that desire and I’m not sure how to get it back.

Wait! What was that?! Bring it back!

Wait! What was that?! Bring it back!

Lastly… lastly I love that moment with friends where you can shed your armor and relax. I love that moment where laughter comes easy and it doesn’t matter what you have or what you do, they genuinely love you for who you are and are just as happy to have you there are you are to be there. I’ve missed that so very much in my little world, and it was so very nice to have it back last weekend. It’s so very nice to have that back in my world.

Gratitude and Achievements

Midnight in Revelstoke as we stop to pick up more caffeine

Midnight in Revelstoke as we stop to pick up more caffeine

Things I’m grateful for today:

1) A pipe and some tobacco turns a walk into a Walk
2) Dave’s Lounge podcast on my headphones during a walk turns the city into a Movie Scene
3) Hand drawn lunch bags worthy of framing

My recent achievements:

I wrote a 1,200 word scene describing the character’s living quarters and her prosthetics. During this writing I determined the map of the pacific NW of the United States pinned to her office wall needed to be placed upside down for story specific reasons. I also determined why her right arm and left leg were replaced: she’s right handed. If your right hand is your primary hand then your left leg is your primary leg.

I managed, with assistance, to drive 12 hours to visit love, light, and reassurance, and managed to drive 10 hours back to home.

When faced with demons at home, demons who had not spent the weekend driving but had instead spent the weekend resting and honing their sharps, instead of battling them alone I went for a walk with my pipe and reached out to others. I did not make any connections that evening but the simple act of reaching left me out of the demons’ reach for a number of hours and set up some social appointments for the near future.

I have sat down with my keyboard and written words.

I have slept well enough, and deeply enough, to have some very intense and fantastical dreams. Unfortunately that’s all I can remember about them: that they were intense and fantastical. I may need to start keeping a dream journal by my bed if I’m going to have more dreams like those.

And today I managed a full workday of constant activity, dragged my ass home to a nap and food, and attended one of those social appointments I made. Then I made another.

I managed four successes in two days.

Forward, with steps and intent.