I am sorry Steve has been such a shit lately. I am sorry to have to dismiss him as a friend. We are not enemies in my book; we are simply competing for the same role, and frankly Steve loses, just as Howellnyms lost in the starving artist department around here.
As I put it to Tim: I don't know all that is going on here (although that Jack Johnson & Celestine Prophecy thing about manipulation & psychological control pretty much sums up my interpretation of recent events), but the slacker conspiracy he inspires is old hat, and I can no longer tolerate it on my turf at this point in my own life. He is a decade too late for those shenanigans. It pains me awfully, but our relationship has been severely corrupted. Not beyond repair, mind you, but certainly far beyond the normal protocol of hey what's happening think I'll drop by tonight for yet another sloppy weekend routine that has ruined my earlier expectations of finally a friend to whom I can relate on more than a goddamned drunken orgy level. He either wakes up to understand my own despair in these matters and quits thinking you and I are here to validate his own chaos, or the whole friendship thing will simply fade away. He is NOT acting like a friend. Nope, in a desparate move to cast his own harried quest for sanctuary from a restless and shadowy mind, he's acting precisely like (who predicted it, and called IT by name?) Yet Another Steve Taylor... and he can do THAT anywhere, and in this case, SOMEWHERE ELSE. Unfortunately I've got My own ancient problems to combat. They don't go away simply because the unSETled one presumes he's entitled to hang out and reap the benefits of OUR labors...(while he fidgets).
It's lamentable that they each could have had the entire keychain to friendship if they weren't one by one too damned selfish, presumptuous, and lazy to put in around here even a fraction as much as they took. Despite the occasional rough edges and loose threads, we at least know how it is supposed to work, don't we?
What would our life had been like without these aggressive friends of ours? Less interesting? More so. More productive? I can't imagine being any less productive than I am with these friends. Friendship among the slacker classes is wretched. I can finally admit that I'm not all that comfortable around the self-satisfied stooge, the petulant bottomfeeder, the repeating rifles of nothing new under the sun types, and the poised for popularity or punishment crowds, although I know they exist at every strata. I've always been an eye to eye, word for word, work by work, across the bow kind of guy. There's no doubting that, so why diddle the nurse while Washington burns? Steve has truly been the best friend I've had in terms of intellectual compensation for my own presence here, and I love him above all others in a solid kinship of amazing minds, but his need for creative loafing and victory chaos at this point in our own lives is way past its appropriate use by date, and he just doesn't seem to understand that we are just too old and otherwise pre-occupied to waste ourselves away like this much longer.
So, these have been the days (and nights) of our lives. Why concern ourselves with what might have been, when there's nothing there anymore, especially since I am at least encouraged by faith and by curse to concern ourselves with what still might become...
Tomorrow is another day. These are merely my most recent thoughts to my sweetie.
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1996 14:59:59
Cool page dude. I think finally with the Soho/4447 effort an earnest pattern is now visible to outsiders hinting at what you are trying to accomplish in the way of chainthinking and chainthinkers. Keep on pushing. And on another note, with the disappearance of the old Teacher's Pet alias at Soho, the lesson for today is gone, so lemme get it down again for you:
Lesson for Today. Picture reality. Picture something else. Describe the difference.
Yo Steve, your gnat is gnawing at my forehead. Was too depressed, especially after re-reading your clutch notes yesterday to respond with anything worth a van Gogh ear. Did get back to Tom Howell, however. He's a practicing HTML author now, quite proud in his jest, and sent his brag to "Gabriel" just like family. He always manages to bring a smile and leave with sarcastic froth in his mouth.
Your job as literary mariner, erudite barrister of science, and master of the elements of conventional style, often paint you as a strange man on a high horse. Both creatures of signature bombastdelight in sporting the absolute finest in men's Italian shoes and scarves, dark shades and French lidsbut the only one of you whom I love dearly is however, combining three parts incredulity and two parts wrecklessness a fifth at a time in taking its existential toll on me. A small justifiable toll, I grant, so is one I recognize and simply weather, like you do the gale storms I sail your way just to show you I know we're both bobbleheading in the same pernicious seas. That's just the price we pay for playing ourselves in real life. I'd sweat doughnuts to have your job in some office working on the best Mac in the land laying out a century-old nationally-subscribed monthly magazine. So there's to gravy, now to the grease.
Wish I could help you in your continuing status search, but one quick glance into the mirror in the age of the button down suit and cleavage bearing white blouse or comfortable sweater is solid evidence I have failed to measure up in the corporate fashion department. Just color me uncomfortable in my own clothes, skin, and genetic slingshot. You are well-groomed, great teeth and jawline, always have a domestic parachute with two active parents of immediate and sustainable pedigree, and are riding a career path with options in both the here and now and then whatever else opens up down the pike worth pursuing, but you slum like a rogue, fester in cubicle culture disputes and self-imagined feuds in the corporate world you actually own in character and candlepower, so as a result it is your fate to have stumbled all the way down to us. Gabriel the post-engineer stay at home white cracker punk rock pin-up stooge from a crumpled past, and then there's Tim, the drug-infested slum child, roll your own bicycle hop, pick 'em up, put 'em down, broken collar bone shipwreck reeling from such a farce of family unity that we, Tim and I, stand front and center as those two imaginary sticks of dynamite you keep in your saddlebag for blowing yourself out of this job and into another because you imagine the game is all in jest, a jovial antediluvian joust, a sealed with a handshake junket to the top rungs of the corporate ladder in a few hops or less. Been there, done that, mister. Only the entertainment savant can come out of nowhere. Everyone else waits in line because there are far more people chasing your job than there are struggling for a record contract, as queer as that sounds.
There is still some confusion in my box whether she knew her spanky new luggage was due at the house yesterday. It came, but was delivered across the street to house no. 110. Don’t even know those people, but I do know the neighborhood and let’s just say we were lucky to get our package. Insert racist remark here.
So here I am. A captive of my own mind at ease. Took a rusted out old cargo boat straight to the bottom of the sea that will never be. Trust you'll grip the bow tighter for a better aim than I did. Be careful in whom you hustle with your wrinkles and your rhymes, your jokes and your throwaway shines. And once you leave the game, you can never get back in at a level you think you deserve. Not from these chambers. That sort of hopscotch is reserved for those who have already beat the game once and earned that immunity, that pass, and never really left their circle but just took a sidebar. But's let's not kid ourselves, once you've embraced the deadbeat, the deadbeat will never embrace you.
Friendly messianic impulses recoil as we try to separate the body from the mind, or the mind from its redeemer, commander, or jolly hat sized mimic, accompanied by the same long checklist of equivocating characteristics we've known about ourselves from the earliest memories of our own precocious lives, characteristics and traits we name just so we can slap them about the therapy room, traits we probably called by different names then, but as we begin to learn that words have consequences only when backed by power structure assets that reject language as important, do we embrace the paradox of greater understanding. It is then that conservative idea must come to pass in out lives again. This is the genetic or scientific approach we sense as the true path, or else we stumble across it like hobos, remember hobos, crossing over the rails for a better view of the same thousand feet of track, and figure we don't have a white man's chance in Harlem to actually re-invent ourselves to suit the new opportunities we find writing code in flipping mash upon our former world in word and picture, skin and tragedy, speed and oblivion, frick and frack. We clutch for hope that our highest aspiration remains our surest fallback position as we dally with a strengthening opposition. Yes, just like that rolling stone you admire, no contribution known...
My own most glorious excitement of the day was Sue allowing, even offering to keep the whole house cool today with air conditioning. She never sets rules, never makes demands, or bemoans her fate with me, and I mean never, never chooses what meal to cook or restaurant to choose (God, I hate that she is so inert), so I was a bit tickled yesterday when she told me with an unfamiliar authority that it was too early to turn on the AC. There is still some confusion in my box whether she knew her spanky new luggage was due at the house yesterday. It came, but was delivered across the street to house no. 110. Don't even know those people, but I do know the neighborhood and let's just say we were lucky to get our package. Insert alleged racist remark here.
Do we ever avenge past failures? Acquiescence to this chain in life, however fragile an acquiescence, is to accept one's bland experimental kinetic placement in this whistling dixie of a world. Doing due diligence in all matters is the only path I can recommend from one moment to the next until breaking away and deliverance is within grasp. Acquiescence. It's a role. A puzzle. An almighty gig just as big as anything we played in the game thus far.
Thus, baking in the raw configurations of cause and effect seeking motives & derivations of man, and god, and country I had to face the repeated crisis of being home yet again, just upstairs with only a small fan compensating for repeated delivery failures posting an argument against me. My half-deafness may also contribute. More than likely the air was blasting at that point. I turned it on around 1:30 yesterday in the computer room, and around eight last night as I nodded out with QUE's Netscape 2.0 in the sofa shortly before Sue bounced into the room and removed my glasses. I slept another few hours there in the royal chair before sliding myself into bed just after midnight. A long & heavy dream sequence followed me after I pounced up slightly dazed at seven oh nine. Still depressed. Alienated by having to growl in sweat past the courier's light knocking on my door, yet once more again.
Missing a delivery irks me enough. Knowing that I didn't even know to expect a package that day had me twisted in knotnumbing speeches to myself. She surprisingly got on the phone and gave that piece of mind that almighty customers are supposed to inspire. But knowing a delivery was coming hasn't kept me from missing eight to a dozen deliveries over the past few years. Ah, but what is missing from this picture? Sue must have known it was coming but she neglected to tell me, or remind me because this transaction was initiated on her order. Yes, she surprised me by harrassing UPS (it turns out; I mistakenly thought it was a JC Penney's direct delivery with a glance at the delivery paper. UPS is not mentioned anywhere, but Sue obviously called with knowledge.) Anyway, I've let go of that issue until it pops up again. Her luggage is sassy, and bless baby with baboon oils, it's obvious her Carribbean cruise is shaping and tidying up in her mind as the calendar drills onward.
That brings us full circle back to you. I can't respond to your unSETled or UNsetLING loops except by running it back onto you. I figure you figure Tim, Sue, and I are your set. But while each of us chagrin in general challenges to what appears to be each of our individual, and better or worse for it, our collective fate, we surf day to day realizing each wave and splash will take care of itself one way or the other just as you do. So you seem stung by the most grievous tentacle in the sea, as you wing it touting credentials of full blown vanity.
Would Colin Powell really think he would be any different a man whether he is president of the United States or simply a retired soldier, a self-confessed Republican, a busy and influential party member at that, good husband and father, and distinguished symbol for an amazingly broad spectrum of people?
All we are saying is not give peace a chance (although that too), but just face up to the fact that "life" ain't gonna like us if we don't like it. So now let's figure to solve in the equation: Life=x, where x is whatever ONE can achieve. A second equation: (Good)Life=(Good)x may first appear redundant, and needs to be reduced to its simplest form, the linguist feeling unserved by pure mathematics would insist words are self-modifiers, and not to its own finite standards decipherable like numbers in a numbers racket. Seeing goods in stores one once lusted after but which now seem plastic and faraway does not change the relative value of the goods, or does it?
Has x changed, or has the quality quotient changed? What caused us to change?
This is a mystery I suggest the philosophers, the mathmeticians, the psychologists, the theologians, the aarTvarks, the united we piss paragons, and the warbugles get together to solve, but then again, the word fails us also. Until the word can mend as well as it melts the flesh as mind, we cannot rest as advocates of full knowledge, and replicated consciousness in those who would be anybody's avengers. Do we ever avenge past failures? Acquiescence to this chain in life, however fragile an acquiescence, is to accept one's bland experimental kinetic placement in this whistling dixie of a world. Doing due diligence in all matters is the only path I can recommend from one moment to the next until breaking away and deliverance is within grasp. Acquiescence. It's a role. A puzzle. An almighty gig just as big as anything we played in the game thus far.
To actually have done this over here ain't much different from having done that over there. To achieve anything without factoring in this finer evidence stoolpigeoned up against our biases and our prides is to fool ourselves of our misplaced recognitions. It's not about value or unvalue. It's about both, and there is no separation of state and status. Would Colin Powell really think he would be any different a man whether he is president of the United States or simply a retired soldier, a self-confessed Republican, a busy and influential party member at that, good husband and father, and distinguished symbol for an amazingly broad spectrum of people?
And communication boils, hot springs we flock against in hordes still wet behind the ears from our last visit to the sources of good
riddance and circumstance lockjaws rifled by the word timed riddles still waters
flooding our echoes flames filled and felled as the woods the would nots
and the teachers resort to tears comic fears basic hogwash mister to clean our stripping
canons of doubt figures in between the couch the clue and the closet
salvaged for memories lost pretension segregated ifs
Date: Sat Feb 10, 1996 9:56:24 AM America/New_York
Space, as a follow-up on that friends dilemma, I know my assessments can appear harsh and wicked at times, but as much as I would like to detract or sugarcoat them, my perceptions are as real as snow on top of Mount Fuji.
Sue spent a couple of hours on the phone last night with the seventy year old mother of one of my closest "friends". He is 29, and except for the two quarters of Wooster College partying til he dropped and flunked out, and a three-week stint in a crack house he fled to after on our advice his parents kicked him out a couple of years ago, he has never left the roost. He was educated at the finest catholic highschool in the city, studied Latin and Philosophy. His father is a retired attorney and a daily drunk. They live only a few blocks from us in a hell hole dominated by two stupid dogs, a Rottweiler pup as huge as he is moronic, and a hapless, mixed female shepherd. The son is a complete mess. Used to work as a bike courier until his own drunken ways led him to fracture both collarbones in separate accidents, and a few other minor breakages, all during after hour blackout events. He is the penultimate sponge because he is always borrowing on money he'll never make, as he soaks up the little he does make shooting heroin junk. He worked a year with me on a land surveying crew as my rod and chainman after I convinced him to leave his carpetlaying job he despised back some eight years ago. He was already a hardcore drunk and pot addict at the time, but he managed. Now he is seemingly without redemption.
Name is Shipman, but we call him Shipwreck when the fevers run high. He actually prefers to answer to Satan, a moniker slapped on this fellow by his courier buddies years ago. I refuse to oblige him with that one, and sneer when he boasts of it. I've tried to interest him in my world of computers, as he told me he had considered the writer's game when I first met him about a decade ago, and while he feigns some level of interest, he is always plotting for the next hit of whatever he can get, and soon enough just becomes a bothersome irritant in my coif as he fumbles for a beer, his can of tobacco and papers, and then some punk rock tape he brought over. Don't get me wrong. I am not badgering anybody about their chosen lifestyle, and my own list of alienated turbulence has gotten me banned from more than a few places, but there is a time and a place, and Tim, like a few others who stampede over to our house once what little money or excitement has expired in their own sweep, seems to think that my domain is simply an extention of his own. I just don't get it. I can scream and yell, politely doff my cap, or post my 95 theses on the door like Martin Luther but all I get is resistance to my way of doing things in my own house by a bunko squad of starving for sanity goons who embrace the full & feisty shadow of decadence unlike you or I ever have or ever will. Is just not my scene. Each to his own. I moralize, but keep my judgements to myself, as I try to get along just to get along.
Why do I continue to greet them as friends? Because they are simply here tracing the same circles in the air as I do? Because they "act" like they care about me? Because they suffer me and in fact rally around my own deficiencies and eccentric dalliances, applauding me as some kind of skewed pied piper while they simultaneously try to trash what gives me strength? Because I am painfully needy of friends even though I'm not shy about drawing heavy lines in the sand to distinguish me and my psychological inheritance from theirs?
Why do I continue to associate with them? Well that questions hints at some earlier post you made concerning the definitive parameters of what we generally call friends as you were searching for a word that indicated a relationship less than friendship but more than acquaintanceship. Perhaps the word we were looking for was indeed "associate" which implies to my reckoning a deeper involvement than one might expect from a periodic acquaintance.
All of which leads me into the topic of my second (or first closest, longest?) "friend" in DC or anywhere for that matter. Jack is a guy who lives to enhance the facts and residuals of his own life. The guys is as sharp a wit as I've ever known, and not too shabby with an occasional keen insight. He's scientifically grounded, knows electronics, and music. But he embellishes way beyond any reasonable doubt anything he says about himself with absolutely no hint of shame or embarrassment that a knowledgeable someone standing right next to him could ever contradict his version of the truth.
I have a brother and a mother EXACTLY like this! We're not talking about slightly shaded differences of opinion, or faint fuzzy details reshaped by the moment at hand, no, we're talking full blown unadulterated lies and exaggerations no one who knows him, and we all do after a few weeks, can believe he has the gall to utter much less try to convince us or some stranger is the dyed-in-the-wool truth of the matter. And Jack is a "friend" to every star he's ever laid eyes upon. Bosom buddies who'll do anything for him, and with that kind of power he'll make any newbie coming down the pike into a star. Oh yeah, Jack's the great talent manager wannabe. Another on again off again pal of mine Scoot suffers the same delusions. These are not mere exaggerations these guys deploy. They spout off spectacular impossible schemes as a conquering device, so as to enhance their own self-images as a way of manipulating those they wish to conquer socially. Final word? They tell lies. And those lies spread from the obvious image-manipulation techniques into other areas, all of which trouble me beyond resolve. Why do I continue to greet them as friends? Because they are simply here tracing the same circles in the air as I do? Because they "act" like they care about me? Because they suffer me and in fact rally around my own deficiencies and eccentric dalliances, applauding me as some kind of skewed pied piper while they simultaneously try to trash what gives me strength? Because I am painfully needy of friends even though I'm not shy about drawing heavy lines in the sand to distinguish me and my psychological inheritance from theirs?
It's a queer world I know here in DC. I hope I survive it.
"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""