Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Daily Update #24: Journey To The Center Of The Mind

Rereading everything from the late spring and early summer of 2010, I have to say I really was a bit of a mess. It's funny now to look back and see how all that rambling about Sikhism and trying to find "the answer" rapidly devolved into me staving off loneliness with my daily updates. Those really were some weird dreams that young man was having during that period...poor fella.

It's interesting to note that as soon as he/I found some solace in a steady girlfriend, he/I fell off the map. Don't feel bad, readers (all zilch of you - and for the first time I'm not saying that as a joke, I'm convinced that literally no one is reading this), I didn't just abandon you. I abandoned a lot of places and people, for better.

No "for worse." It was all for the better. Even with the blog - spend too much time in a venue like this and you'll find yourself way too far in your own head...which is fine every now and again as a way of confronting oneself with some difficult, introspective, and even existential questions. But do it daily and you'll become a monk - and I'm too much of a fan of the world and its inhabitants to endorse asceticism. Deep thinkers, whether religious or otherwise, belong among the people.

It got bad for a while there...casual hookups, drinking and smoking a little too much and a little too often...I'd seen people with real problems and I always knew that I had some control over myself.

And that's what they all say.

After a casual hookup on a Saturday afternoon that turned into a sleepover (my guest missed her ride home for the evening), I drank and smoked...let's just say a lot...that Sunday evening. Long story short, I'm convinced the Reaper himself tapped me on the shoulder, panting, to say, "Hey, man, you gotta slow down." I fainted.

At the top of a flight of stairs.

Lucky for me, I fell backwards instead of forwards. All I can remember before it happened is that I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. During what I simply perceived as a prolonged blink, I remember opening my eyes and everything being a shade of yellow. I saw Shelley. She said something to me, but I can't remember it.

Then I opened my eyes for real. I had a throbbing pain in the back of my head and neck, realizing I'd fallen backwards, hit my head on the brick wall, and had been lying on my back. I slowly sat up, shaky and sweaty and probably concussed. Clinging to the bannister like my life depended on it - and it probably did - I made my way down the stairs to the bathroom, where I puked until only water was coming up.

I told no one.

A friend gave me a ride home, and still slightly high I decided to watch The Magic Christian. I got about 35 minutes into it before I finally went to sleep.

Not to propose a true delusion of grandeur, but my fall reminded me of Bob Dylan's motorcycle accident - details vary as to how badly he was hurt, but he clearly used it as a way to escape the public eye for the better part of 18 months. It was a wake-up call of sorts for him, to lay off the speed and settle down.

It's not the same at all, but evocative enough that I felt it bore mentioning. For me, cracking my head (and still getting chills when I think of what if I had fallen forward) was my wake-up call. This all happened between Daily Update #14 (6/9) and #15 (6/15).

Just a couple of days after that, I got a message on OkCupid from a girl who used the handle "filmstress" that started "Valley girl, she's a valley girl...I grew up loving that song!"

That was Chelsea. She's the girl I was glowing about those last couple times we spoke - an "unknown unknown." I can't believe I even tried to be so strategic about finding a steady girlfriend. She came out of nowhere, and the more we got to know each other, the better it got. Like many young men in love, I let this preoccupy my world while I continued working for the Census Bureau throughout June and July.

I promised myself I would do things differently, and at that point in my life I felt that included putting an end to maintaining this blog along with the one with album reviews on it.

For another cliffhanger, I did gain an outlet for my writing...more on that later.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Daily Update #497: Another Day Of Living

Hello, how are you?

Here it comes, the standard "it's been too long!" intro before I wax poetic on how groovy life has been these past 16 months, like a prolonged conversation I'd have with a former high school classmate, the one you never expected to bump into, but there you are, making a run to Wal-Mart to get some small grocery item for your mom and then you make that inevitable crossing of paths.

"So, how are you?"

I'm good, man. I'm good.
<Nervously swills beer, takes last gulp>

Aaaaaaaaaaand scene!

Too much has happened between that July afternoon and today for me to get you caught up to speed. Not just in my world, either, but in the world as a whole.

Today, a pizza magnate is going on a book tour masqueraded as a run for the White House, Wall Street has had protestors camping out on it for two months, and this spate of revolutions in the Arab world is fulfilling Guru Townshend's prophesy of "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss," with the Egyptian military still firmly in control, the flag of Al Qaeda fluttering in Libya, and the highly probable invoking of Sharia law in these newly "liberated" countries.

Oh, and Osama is dead.

And me? Oh, you know...this and that. I work in Tribeca at the main office of a company that offers music lessons four days a week and one day a week I'm an adjunct professor at St. John's University up in Queens. Chelsea and I also cover the arts and entertainment beat for a women's website called Woman Around Town. We've done a lot of restaurant reviews, but the past couple weeks we've been branching out and doing press junkets. This usually means free entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, and drinks in exchange for some forced (but generally smooth) conversation. It's an even sweeter gig than it sounds.

How did this all happen? I don't know...right place at the right time?

Anyway, I'm coming back here because I've found myself oddly inspired. I write a lot about other people, other things, other places...but rarely about me. Over the past month and a half (give or take) we watched the entire series run of Six Feet Under, and to be frank it kind of changed my world. It gave me a new lease on love, friendship, family, life, and death - and not a minute too soon.

We'll go into details some other time. The pot of gold is that I've truly come to value my existence - "I just want to celebrate / Another day of living / I just want to celebrate / Another day of life."

How did I get to that conclusion? Well, let's just hope the suspense is enough for you to come back later.