Perspective Shift

Robot Brain

I guess I just needed to hear it in a voice I understood. “Hey, Asshole, Smarten’ the fuck up, would ya? The only problem here is you. The only reason shit is ‘unacceptable’ is you refuse to fucking accept it! Chill the fuck out!” They say, show myself some compassion and not to beat myself up but I think I needed some tough love.

I visited my daughter’s family Monday and it was great. We have never had same day Christmas because I didn’t want to be the guy who shows up at 2pm whiles she is having fun with her family and say, okay, party’s over, time to hang out with me. (Whatever)

We had fun. I got to see everyone, talking, joking, leftovers, the dogs, it was like I never left. Then it was time to leave. My daughter drove me home. I’ll tell you what happened and what my mind did with it.

Her mom asked her to pick up some things at the store and on the ride my daughter asked if I would mind if she stopped at the store before she brought me home. Yeah, no problem. She was supposed to get bread and a couple others.

I followed her into the grocery store and she took a hard left towards the deodorant? I didn’t think anything of it, I was just walking along talking. She stopped in front of the Old Spice and they have like 40 different flavors now. She grabbed one, pulled the cap off, stuck it to her nose and then under my nose, “Do you like this?”, “Not really.”, “Me neither, what about this one?”…. I asked when she started wearing Old Spice? She told me her boyfriend does and sometimes she forgets hers and has to use his when she is at his house. (TMI)

So for 20 minutes we stood in the aisle sniffing all 40 flavors of Old Spice, talking about whatever we talked about. She picked one and shook her head and put it to me. My eyes immediately crossed and I got that intense pleasure feeling at the base of my brain. “Yeah, get that one!”, “No, I don’t like it”. I know they study the chemicals and know why they appeal to people. But why didn’t they put that chemical in every stick? Some of them smelled good, some were okay but This one! Was it just me.

Anyway, this is what I’m grieving. I know it’s stupid. Nobody died. I knew I was going to see less of her when she got her license. I asked for a therapist before all that, yada yada. She wasn’t an accident. We talked about having a child and tried for 2 years. This is what I wanted. I knew I would see less of her when she started driving but I couldn’t figure out why I was having grief pains in my body last August.(Another story)

Monday night I was home, nothing happened but my narrator is telling me nobody likes me and that is the last time I am going to talk to anyone again etc… I can’t understand why. I kept telling myself it was a great day and knowing going to the grocery store for a loaf of bread wasn’t an emergency. She didn’t have to take me to the deodorant aisle. She was sharing her weird with me and it was fun! It was the most present I’ve been in a long time. I had no thoughts other than, yeah, that one is okay… I don’t know, it doesn’t really smell like anything, What is that smell? Bubble gum? Yeah! bubble gum… You know?

I’m lucky I went to sleep, I had an elaborate narrative going to counter all of the positive and I don’t know where that story ended.

Tuesday I woke up and had reminders on my phone, (another story) It said, 5 minutes breathing and then gratitude. I was going to trash the day but remembered there was a reason I had my phone sitting next to me telling me what to do. I did the breathing and made my self sit down at the computer.

I wrote about the deodorant and thought I should go back and read the list. It’s not the first time but it was just after, “Hey, dumbass! You can’t accept what? Life is going too well? Your daughter is all Aces? What?”

I found a good way to do a gratitude list on (no compensation). I googled it last summer and the first one I saw made a lot of sense to me. Don’t put a million things a day. Write a few things and describe why it makes you happy. You don’t even have to do it every day. I wrote, “My daughter took me scent shopping”

I went back to September and one of the first entries was her mom said it’s L===’s first day off in a week and the first thing she is doing is coming to see you. That evoked an emotion. One line made me feel better. I did the same for my cat. He’s lovable and and handsome and an generally an all around nice guy.

(2 hours later) I had this all thought out, But I will just skip to the end. What do I wish my best friend would say to me? “Dude!” Cuffs me upside the head. “Acceptance?! You are lucky anyone is accepting you! You are lucky anyone is even talking to your right now! You are ‘the crazy ex’, Stop doing stupid shit and Chill. The. Fuck. Out.”

I spent the past two days in bed trying to chill the fuck out.

I’m doing pretty well. I realized my daughter didn’t want a text from me at 8am during school vacation. So I waited til noon. Back to normal. Good morning, Good night, I love you. “Thanks for taking me scent shopping. That was a good gift. I love you.”

Yesterday, N=== texted and said it was great to see me doing so well etc. (???) “Thank you, I had a great time seeing all of you.”

Why do I still feel like everyone is mad at me?

every time a bell rings

Photo by Mario Wallner on

“Mim” died this morning. N====’s Grandmother. She was 98. She has been in a nursing home for a few months so it’s good. She told me a little bit ago. It was sad and I cried a little. She says she is fine.

I didn’t see any of N===’s family for a long period of time but they were all great people. She was very nice.

I put her on my gratitude list today. They used to stay with us in the summertime and live in Florida during the winter. I think she only watched the Red Sox because her husband was a fan. She was funny, when they would show a replay of a home run, she would say, “Oh look, he hit another one, good for him.” She always had a package of Kraft Singles in the drawer of the fridge and she would “accidentally” drop a slice on the floor for Kelsey, the Boston Terrier. She would rather die in her sleep before she ate a Kraft Single. I swear Kelsey would gain 10 pounds every summer. She was a good cook and the only time I would eat fish is when she made baked stuffed haddock. But that wasn’t her specialty. Lemon Squares, blond brownies and OMG 7 layer bars!

My favorite was we had a thing at the house and everyone had a couple glasses of wine and a a few of us in the living room were joking about they are in their 80’s do you think they still do it? “Mim” walked in and N=== asked her. She said, “Of course! We’re old… We’re not dead!”

Take Advice From Fools

Robot Brain

Don’t listen to anything I say. I go on like I got this sage wisdom. Nobody is talking to me today. I’m afraid I messed life up with my daughter. I woke this morning thinking I texted my daughter a little about the music we both like. That was Tuesday! Today is Friday! I was texting her non stop crazy shit for days. She wasn’t answering. I imagined she was responding and we were having a conversation. This morning I texted, Good morning, (heart emoji) like any other morning. She said, I love you, heart emoji) It was her first reply since Tuesday.

Since I started telling everyone about SuperUnknown and Chris Cornell killing himself at my age. I am thinking there is some incredible coincidence. No! Millions of people listen to that album. I was fucking delusional!

It wasn’t only her, it was her mom, she sent a text, saying don’t text after 10 pm go back and read what you wrote. She telling I am not trying to help myself. I didn’t argue but my doctors been telling me for years I am going to get progressively worse. I”m taking my meds, I’m keeping my appts. I was even sleeping and eating on a fairly strict schedule. I asked for a therapist months ago and after a long time I finally said to my case manager, what the heck is going on with the therapist??? Now I have one.

Then my mom thinks it’s cause I drink. It’s true but I”m not drinking all the time. She is getting back to her place in an hour… I want to ask her if she thinks I was drinking Thanksgiving weekend? I was with her 24/7, I don’t keep booze stashed in the house. What was I doing? Talking to her non stop and sleeping for an hour or two and talking to her. She can see all I have is water and Pepsi?

I want to ask, was I drinking that day I spent crying in Panera? No… The day I did the crazy 6 hour meditation and wouldn’t stop raving about it? No.. I can’t meditate for more than 30 seconds if I have a beer. I was drinking this week but I stopped When I ran out wed/thur am… I know it makes it worse but mania causes euphoria and lack of judgement and the delusions certainly don’t help!

Everyone else on my phone! Fr—- M—-, I was pissed at her and I wanted her to come over and have sex. I know she wouldn’t I just wanted to get back at her for lying to me. I know that would piss her off but I exlained it to her. She didn’t remember she explained it to me years ago. When we first met, I told her we couldn’t ever have sex and then we did a few year ago one day and that was when she disappeared. She siad she forgot all about that. I hope we are done talking.

I don’t care about any of that shit. I don’t know how much my daughter knew about me before but she didn’t know I was this crazy! I tried to explain today, but felt like I was making it worse and I was. I am going to wait until tonight and say, “goodnight, I love you! She is 16 I don’t want to scare her!

Crazy is as Crazy Does

“Now it’s time for me to make my impression felt
So sit back, relax, and strap on your seat belt”

“Nuthin But a ‘G’ Thang” Dr. Dre

My mom and I just had/are having? The best Thanksgiving ever. I don’t know… I can’t get rid of her. (I’m not trying) It is 8 o’clock on Sunday morning and she finally woke up. She never sleeps this late.

The week before, I was worried because I asked her what she was doing for the holiday. She said, “Your brother is working.” That is not what I asked. Getting a straight answer out of her is like trying to nail Jello to the wall. I told her I was asking a week early because she always waits until Wednesday night to ask if I want to go to my brother’s house and gets upset when I say no. (I don’t want to be stuck at my brother’s place for four days.

She thought it was funny…. etc… She asked if I wanted her to come to my place, “Sure!” I guess she did have plans. She immediately said, “Great, I can bring all the stuff down Wednesday and stay the night and your brother can come down after he gets out of work. I didn’t like it but, hey, it’s only one day, not four.

My mother loves holidays and cooking all the food. Wednesday she kept me updated by text as she packed her car. She was warning me she would be a little late. Late? It’s 11am the day before. I can’t remember; I think she got here around 2pm and that is when the party started. (No, no drugs or alcohol)

I started busting her balls about the Turkey breast still being frozen and her trying to kill me. She told me the instructions gave it 1-3 days to thaw. After nailing her to the wall, I found it had been thawing for 3 days.

She came prepared, but in her usual fashion. She forgot half and remembered half, but she had the essentials Ziploc bags with a dozen plastic spoons? She bought me small glass Sea salt and and Pepper grinders. The kind you find at the grocery store for a dollar. Good for me but I don’t know why she thought I was lacking. I opened my closet and showed her my doomsday prepping situation, which included a pound of salt and a container of rough ground pepper.

I say I busted her balls, but that is what we do and she likes it because she knows she is a little fucked up but she is on top of her game, she just plays by different rules. I was in rare form. I don’t think she was prepared. I had been texting her all year about what I had been doing but editing myself so she wouldn’t worry. But there was no pretending in person. It was fine because I have been in a great mood and I kept her laughing non-stop. She likes laughing loudly and tears were coming out of her eyes and she couldn’t catch her breath.

I don’t remember many of the specifics. I kept her laughing up past her bedtime. The first was peeling the potatoes. She brought a peeler from home and also bought me one from Walmart; it looked like a toy, I said, what is this? “Barbie’s First Potato Peeler?”

Finally got Chinese Food I’ve been craving since Covid started. Feng Shu. I found it when I googled Chinese food near me and it was the only one in town. It had rave reviews on Yelp but it shared a building with Dunkin Donuts, It really is fucking good. They don’t cook until you order and it is ready in 15 minutes and now they have a plexiglass Covid window. We were waiting and my mom had set the 15 minute time on her phone, it went off at the same time owner was yelling our phone number. We were slow and she got pissed and threw the bag through the window. My mom and I were laughing about Seinfeld and calling her the Chinese food Nazi. We spent $40, stuffed ourselves silly and only ate less than half.

She went to bed around midnight and I didn’t want to sleep but thought maybe I should. I opened my eyes not believing how well I slept, went to the living room and it was 2am. I tried to be quiet but woke my mom up and I got her laughing about she is the one to do that at 3am and I can’t get back to sleep. (long story)

I starting telling her how I had to wait for the store to open to get my “eye opener coffee” and I wanted her to try a small cup. Then I wanted to stress the whole “thing” I got going on with the lentils. “mom, mom, look, what am I doing?” I’m measuring out a quarter cup of lentils and a cup of water. “See? I got it down to a science. You think I was kidding? I’ve been doing this every day for 5 years! See? Setting the timer half hour. Then 20 minutes to cool and 10 minutes to eat. I never put this much effort in to eating anything! I never miss a fucking day! Do you think they taste good? They taste like dirt!” “I thought I was doing it to lose weight, I didn’t know anything about what they do for my brain until I googled, “Why do they call mac n cheese comfort food?” I didn’t want to know about asparagus and spinach and… lentils? Fucking lentils?

I told her I don’t do much googling but after eating 2 pounds of Brussel Sprouts like potato chips at midnight, you know, “Stupid me” Lentils came up again! I’m telling you I ate so many Brussel Sprouts they were falling off the plate and I was picking them up off the floor and eating them! I’m not googling shit anymore! I’m just going to eat whatever crazy shit I feel like eating at the time. She thought it was hilarious but she finally got I was serious. I told her I’m not a health nut. Some mornings I go straight to the store and buy 2 greasy sausage and egg sandwiches no problem but I still cook and eat the fucking lentils.

My brother (Buzz Killington) showed up Thursday and my mom cooks her whole life but she is having trouble since I kept her awake the past 36 hours laughing but she is still on top of it. I kept checking in and setting the timer on my phone to remind her, she was staggering around looking confused, but doing pretty well. The good thing was my brother kept his comments to himself and actually had a good time and had to leave early.

I kept her up late Thursday laughing but let her go to bed. I stayed up, I remember talking to myself and laughing in the kitchen. Thinking she is where I got my sense of humor. The funniest thing I kept thinking about was people my age at meetings. The most common concern was how to tell people you don’t drink? What is this high school? I came up with a good answer, “alcohol can have plenty of fun without me.” Then I ate all the chinese food and went to bed laughing.

I woke up in the morning and didn’t hear my mom. I was really afraid I imagined the whole thing. I’m thinking, watch me walk to the living room and nobody will be there and the room will be full of empty beer bottles. Nope. She was sleeping in.

Friday she woke up for a bit and went back to sleep. When she woke up her phone alarm went off and she said it is set to remind her to get out of the house before my fucking brother gets home from work. She is on vacation at my house! It was raining and we kept laughing and I told her how I felt like there was something wrong with me living in this fucking town, I gotta get out of here… when I go to another town people are friendly and smiling and acknowledging I exist.

I had her so daffed out telling her about the store still left in Exeter from years ago and we were going back and forth until she started asking me about if I remember the laundry place next to Woolworth’s. I said, mom, you are remembering things from before I was born.

Saturday we went to Plum Island Wildlife Sanctuary. We’ve been doing it for years but she really loves it now since her sister got her into bird watching. I like it too, we’ve been daytripping there since I was a kid. It’s beautiful. (Daytripper? I remember telling her how everyone loved the Beatles when I was a kid but I was the only one in first grade who knew what they were singing about!) She is a trooper, we drove out to the end and she got out of the car and walked 20 minutes to the ocean. It was below freezing and she was wearing a light jacket. I stayed in the car.

On the way out we saw a group of people with 3 foot long telephoto lenses trying to get a picture of one bird in a tree. We kept driving and saw a flock of at least 30 of the same birds and pulled over and got good pictures with our cell phones. Too funny.

She came up with the idea to get beach pizza (Square slices and “extra cheese” is a slice of provolone. It’s really good. (Childhood memory) We sent to Tripoli’s and she thought we would stand out in the cold and order at the window. Da Fuq? No, let’s go inside they have desserts. Really? Box off eight and two slices of carrot cake. Oh yeah! She said she didn’t know you could go inside, I told her she has to get out of her car once in a while.

Meanwhile, back in the world. This morning she asked if I wanted to go for breakfast at Red’s and see what it is like. Sure… She looked up the menu online and read it out loud, when she got to the “Everything omelette” I said, “That’s what I want, let’s go!” She said, “You know me, it takes for ever to make up my mind, I would rather know what I want before we go.”

We parked and she wondered if she should wear a mask, I said, I don’t think so, you know where we are and she started laughing. “Somebody might punch you in the face.”

They sat us in a booth, the waitress brought us coffee and asked if we knew what we wanted, I told her I do but she (my mother) might need some time. My mom surprised me by knowing she wanted French toast. But the waitress threw a wrench into the works by asking if she wanted powdered sugar. My mom wasn’t expecting that and looked to me confused, I thought oh, no it’s going to be another hour long decision. I told the waitress to stop asking questions and she said, “Okay, I get it, French Toast with powdered sugar. She asked a few waitress questions and if we wanted jelly on the table? I said, I didn’t know it was that kind of place… ha! She got the joke! (I’m thinking, this is why I go out in the real world, I get ghosted for making G rated jokes on dating sites… I don’t want to bang the waitress but it was more fun than saying, “No, thank you.” )

The guy behind me got up to leave and my booth slid across the floor, pressing me into the table. We went off again, posing hypotheticals, (Hostess asks, “Would you like a booth or a table?”, “I don’t know? Which one is bolted to the floor?” Or “Would you like a chair with wheels or would you rather be seated in a stationary position?” etc.. ) I don’t know, shit’s funny, we were the only ones having fun in the place and we were the only ones not drinking. People need to fucking relax.

The food was pretty good and she saw saw a kid with a Patriots jersey and talked about the game being on today. I went off on my rant about people thinking I’m a bandwagon fan and I have to tell them I started watching them 40 years ago on a 13 inch black and white screen filled with static because we were using rabbit ear antennae and we were lucky to get channel 6 out of Maine. It was the only way to watch a game because they sucked so bad the affiliated station in Mass. did a 60 mile media blackout to force people to buy ticket and go the stadium. People may be tired of seeing them win but I say, I watched them suck for 20 years every week hoping they would win at least twice that season, I am having fun watching them win for 20 years.

I said I tell people about life before the internet when they had to print the Boston newspapers at 11pm so they could be delivered to stores by 5am and you could only read about what happened in the first 7 innings off the Red Sox game because it went on until midnight. I tell people I knew how many hits every player had the night before and added them to the stats in the morning paper and kept track of their batting averages and that is how I taught myself percentages. People look at me and ask, “Percentages?” WTF? She was dying!

The waitress asked if we wanted to take anything home and my mother was seriously considering it even though the only thing left on the table was one and a half sausage links. I stopped her and said, yeah, I can imagine looking in the the fridge and seeing those. That got the waitress started about having leftover sausage and onions and how she doesn’t really like it but she cooks it once in a while and as she walked away, she looked back at my mom, “I don’t even know why I bought it that day, I must have been in the mood… ” OMG! I almost slid under the table.

My mom grabbed the check and started calculating 15% in her head, I threw $30 on the table and told her to leave $10 for the tip, it’s worth it because she laughed at my stupid jelly joke and then she made that joke to you about the sausage. She looked confused again, “Sausage joke?” I couldn’t believe I had to explain it to her, “Sausage?”, “not sure why I bought it?”, “Must have been in the mood?” Then she got it, I don’t know how she missed it, that is her kind of joke, then she was laughing so hard she was crying and told me she wet her pants! I said, is that why I have so many stories to tell? I am the only one who keeps his eyes open?

Out in the parking lot. (This is what I bust her balls about and she knows it is funny) I asked her if she parks so crooked so she can find her car in the lot. She said, yeah that’s why I bought such a small car. We go in and I pointed to the cars on both sides of us and told her, it worked they are parked as far away as possible.

Anyway, she went home. I am still laughing.

I left so much out. The best part was none of us have good silverware. She had to bring some from her house so there would be enough for three of us to eat. We joked about she had to keep it separate because my brother would count it and make sure she brought it home. He did! He sorted through my kitchen drawers and asking where what came from where.

As we were leaving breakfast I asked, what is wrong with our family? You were just thinking about spending $1000 on a new phone you don’t need but you will go to yard sales and negotiate a price on used forks!???

I joke about her but she is not senile. She has been off her whole life. She had trouble cooking for three Thursday but her summer job was at a camp cooking three meals a day for 600 kids. AND, she had to have a regular meal, a vegetarian meal and gluten free. Her kitchen crew was exchange students and half of them spoke little to no English. He bosses fucking loved her because they did not have to give any thought to the kids being fed. She made the menus, ordered the food, cooked it, assigned jobs to the workers depending on who could speak English and who could translate, etc… Also extras like 100 bag lunches for kids going on a day trip on top of the regular schedule.

I also kept thinking we get along so well because we take life so seriously but we also recognize how completely fucking ridiculous it is!

No Apologies

It took me all weekend to write my last post and I finally figured out why… The story didn’t culminate until 6am this morning. I got in the part about my daughter picking me up early to go to her brother’s flag football game. That is what got me started. It was fun! It was exciting! No, not just because I was manic. (Which I was) I was the quietest person there. But I love that kid! He knows he is good but he has low confidence. He is a talented artist, but I think he gave up drawing because his twin is a phenom. L=== has her own thing going on, It seems like he thinks he is the only kid in the family without a talent. But his talent is his athleticism. Back at the house I told him, what the other coach said and I described all the plays he made in detail, (the ones I saw), I showed him what I texted my mom during the game about, I keep trying to text her but every time I looked down at my phone, everyone starts yelling his name!

Then my daughter tripped me out on the ride home… Listening to Hendrix, and taking all the back roads I used to drive.

Back at her house I was getting more excited, my mom showed up, first time I have seen her since Covid. All the kids lover her.. Everyone is talking at once… Five freakin’ dogs! They love me too! Roxanne, glued to me, how does this dog remember me? I haven’t been there since July.

Portsmouth… Bigger than life! I haven’t been in years and it is better than I remember. We are doing all the same shit I did when I sixteen with my best friend, but she wants to show me the town like she is the one who discovered it. The first place she brought us was Bullmoose Music. I used to go there looking for old vinyl and now she is there for the old CD’s. I feel so lucky she wants to share her life with me!

She takes us on a tour of the consignment shops. (I wrote about the girl of my dreams… There is more to that story) I can’t believe I found the only dress she liked in the entire shop. She went through every rack. I really wanted to buy it for her because I wanted an excuse to talk to the owner.

I kept kicking myself, she says she loves my t-shirt, where did I get it? I can’t remember the name of the fucking place online! I know the name, it is the only place I buy shirts online. I tell her I like it because you type in a word or phrase or band name and if an artist has created anything related, it shows you the choices. You can choose from a million colors and they don’t print the shirt until you order it. Obviously I typed, “Breathe” and chose blue for this one. I have another good one, “Eat Your Vegetables” but the pink color looked more faded online. When I got it, it was the hottest pink you have ever seen! (Fuck!) Why can’t I remember the name? (I didn’t drop any “F-bombs” in there)

[ If you want to understand the thrill and excitement I was feeling, refer to “An Unquiet Mind” by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, she gives a better account than I. ]

We visited one more consignment shop and she went straight for the rings. She has good taste in rings. She has a silver filigree and a silver bee on a flower. She is asking me which one to get and I tell her both of them. She tried to put her own cash on the counter but I wouldn’t let her. She said she didn’t want me to spend all my money on her. I said, I like to buy you things. I know, but… I said, L===, I’m not paying for the dress and the rings, I”m paying for the experience, earlier you said you wanted to try the Indian restaurant, if we had gone there, I would have dropped a 100 bucks there. This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time… If I’m home I’ll spend the money on stupid shit I don’t need, 20 bucks at Panera, 20 bucks at Walmart, you know?

We were driving down Islington St., leaving town, and my mind is really flying… I’m quiet but inside I’m thinking, “Fuck this shit! They want me to forget all my good times? I’m gonna die soon… I’ve been here 3 hours and I had more fun than I had all summer! I’m taking an Uber back here tonight! (This is called “Euphoric recall” and it is dangerous for me… I remember all the good times I had partying and being manic but I forget all the horrible shit but I had already made up my mind.)

“Back at her mom’s house, we were sitting on the porch, and I’m trying to explain the last two months in two seconds! N=== says, “You are wicked fucking manic! You have been like this since June.” I try to slow down… Later she asks me if I”m drunk? “I didn’t go to a bar with my mom and L===, today!” (But I felt like I was drunk! Even now I remember it as if I was drunk but I didn’t drink until later.) We had a lot of friction a few years ago when I was doing this… She was getting pissed because she thought I was visiting my daughter while drunk.

L=== asks if she can give me a ride home. On the way, she puts in the Blind Melon CD, I told her, I think I got all of my crying out last week, now I am enjoying it. She is singing along. I keep remember the song by Cake though, she was sing that earlier, “As soon as you’re born you start dyin’, so you might as well have a good time… ” It’s been stuck in my head for four fucking days! But all the songs and all my writings and all my words are coming back to haunt me!

[Something, something, blur] I’m texting L=== in the middle of the night, asking if she noticed what happened in the store? Isn’t it weird, she asked me if I wanted her to email or text a receipt? (Okay, now I know stores always try to get your number, but I was convinced) I texted my daughter, the Grace Jones scene where her eyes lit up when I said, I had the hugest crush on her, and she said, “I STILL have the hugest crush on her!” etc… My daughter gave that a thumbs up. I went through my phone, I was still coherent at that time. I text my mom, Same thing… She didn’t notice anything… What the hell were they doing? They were standing there the whole time?

I remember flashes, I keep going back to my story, trying to find the perfect lyrics to match. Each time it is a new song and the story changes and I know why, I had my foot on the brake but I was still rumbling! I should not be allowed on the internet when I am like this! I looked up the website to the store and found the contact form and started writing crazy shit. I only remember, the first one, I apologized for forgetting my manners and not asking her name and on and on.. I hope I didn’t send too many emails. I know it was at least two… I was all over the place, contacting everyone. If anyone reading this got any crazy emails this weekend, no you know why… I put the brakes on, by deleting addresses but probably too late. I’m not sure what I wrote. But my most well received poem on here, I wrote in a blackout, “Forgive and let yourself live.” I woke up and the document was still open on my desktop. I”m not glorifying it. I rarely write while I am drinking because it’s not good writing. I have no idea where that came from but I’m not looking to make it a habit.

The worst was sometime Sunday, I sat at the computer and saw google was open to a Real Estate agent in California and I remember thinking I had to make the call and I did and she answered and I guess I tried explain my (???) She was not impressed.

Late night Sunday, I try to rewrite the post twice (looked through my phone and had 20 barely intelligible texts to N===, Nothing bad, I remember seeing the words, “overwhelmed, happiest, Luckiest” but most of it I had no idea. WTF? she is going to be pissed at me) and gave up and just hit Publish. Didn’t sleep.

Monday: Gotta stop! I stopped Sunday afternoon I believe. Now I’m back to trashing myself again. Do I really hate myself so much I don’t believe I deserve my daughter’s love, I have the best day ever and I ruin myself? I text N===, saying, I wasn’t drunk at your house, L===, keeps playing that song, ‘soon as your born… So I got drunk but that is not a good time for me… (Still no reply) Good thing, I forgot about Uber. Luckily, I must have remembered, Portsmouth used to be fun but not a good idea. Calling myself all the names. This was the same thing when I joined SMART, the first meeting I asked the guy do I commit to never drinking and if I do drink, I”m a failure and a loser, etc..? Or do I do the “everyone makes mistakes” route and give myself an excuse? He said it sounds like you need to work on Unconditional Self Acceptance.

Makes sense, it sounds like me, I read what it is, but they don’t tell you how to do it. I got pissed at them a couple weeks ago and quit because I was in bed grieving the loss of my daughter and they are talking about Acceptance. Fuck you, the point of life isn’t to “endure suffering” so I can stay alive until tomorrow, to do it some more with a bunch of assholes tomorrow! And, “The opposite of addiction is connection”, I don’t feel a connection to these people.

I shut down Zoom, I got drunk but also did some positive things, I believe were healthier than lying in bed crying. But I could have done that without the alcohol.

I guess I really should try getting back into meetings but I can’t get one all day.. Around 7pm I do and the topic? Unconditional Life Acceptance! Some guy is saying he finally got sober when he got that. But I can’t wrap my head around it. I can’t forgive myself for all this fucked up shit… I’ve got some evil in me, right?

I log out, and come up with the idea to search for books on the topic on my Hoopla app. I found a few and fav’ed them to check later, but one of them I had already borrowed… When? It shows I listened to the first chapter and stopped. I probalby didn’t like it but the description sounded okay. (“Unconditional Self Acceptance” by Cheri Huber) I go to the beginning and hit play. It is like she is talking directly to me, listened to half and it was like a 3 hour therapy session, childhood emotional conditioning, slips into a guided visualization, think of an emotion, where do you feel it in your body? What would it feel like if it didn’t have a label? More little lectures, a guided imagery, picture four people in your life, I knew she was talking about my childhood, picture them acting in a typical manner, I had the four people as soon as she said it and she went through one by one. Okay, I already knew a lot of this but it really makes sense the question she is asking and the thought and feeling she is suggesting I imagine. It is starting to make sense. I”m not saying I’ve found redemption but I felt a lot better all night.

I texted my daughter at 3am, “I just heard something it mad me think when I apologized for crying the first time you played Galaxie for me in the car. I don’t want to teach you to apologize for your emotions. The way I was taught. However you feel is the right way to feel. I was so happy when you said, it’s okay, I’m glad it makes you cry.

I stayed awake until 6am until she gave me a “heart”, and I got up to finish the story.

Letters to the Future

Robot Brain

Jesus Fucking Christ! She did it again! My daughter asked if I wanted to take a ride to the thrift store in Kingston. Yes, that sounds great! She picked me up and we went to get two “perfect bagels.” We were sitting there talking and I’m like, alright Bill, keep your motor mouth under control, you just told N—- you calmed down and she said, no you’re not, you’re manic. I asked her about her car because she just got her license and I’m also jealous. It’s a 15 year old BMW with power everything and it all works like new. She likes it because it has a CD player and her favorite things to do is find “new” old bands and drive around listening to them.

I told her about the ’87 BMW we had when her mom and I were still married. I asked her if she knew what a tachometer is and she did. I explained to her how it tells when to shift gears in a car with a standard transmission. She gets it. I told her, don’t tell your mom but one of my favorite things to do was take that care down the twisty, turny coast road and bounce the tach between 3,000 to 6,000 driving as fast as I could while hitting the apex of the turns. I didn’t tell her I had to drive on the wrong side of the road to do it.

We left the bagel place and she started searching for a CD in the door compartment. She put in the friggin’ Violent Femmes! one of the few bands I have the full album in my playlist. The rest is just mix and match choices of my favorite songs. So I guess we’re driving to Kingston and singing along to the Violent Femmes.We both knew all the words to every fucking song.I didn’t even realize we drove past the house I lived in with my grandparents when I was ten. I was too busy telling her this is my favorite line and listening to her tell me her favorite lines. I tell her the songs meant a lot to me back than but they hit a lot different now that I’m older. You think this is the fucked up part? I’ll get to the fucked up part.

I told her I love that album because J— played it for me when we first met and I said, “these chicks are pretty good.” My daughter said, they are guys, I told her my girlfriend said the same at the time. She thought it was funny. Then she told me her boyfriend bought it for her. (okay) I started telling her about J— and hitchhiking around the country and living in a van for a couple years. My daughter said, “You didn’t really work at a circus?” I said, yeah, for a year, world’s largest traveling big top. She said where did you go? I said name a city in California, I’ve been there. I start remembering all these stories I haven’t thought of in years. I told her a guy wrote a newspaper article about us, titled, “The Notorious Nomads of The Night”, because we would show up in your town at 4am and set up a huge fucking tent, and a mini city full of RV’s and travel trailers and elephants and everything in what was a vacant lot the day before.

She said, oh, I thought were in the circus? No I set up the tent and the bleachers. I was telling her about Steve and I would climb on the top of the tent and watch the acts down below and the only people who notice were the trapeze artists because they would smile and wave when they swung up towards us. I told her about Gerardo teaching me Spanish. He was this drunk homeless dude but he was a walking encyclopedia. I would ask him what a word meant and sometime he would ask, well, how did they say it? If they said it this way it means this and if they said it that way it means that…, (I completely forgot he was the one who gave me the name “Pinches Rojo” because of my hair.) She said so, it’s the same with words in English. I said, that’s not what I’m saying, he’s this drunk homeless guy and he could do it with every word in both languages! But, he would get shitfaced and want to fight the world and start screaming, “I am one hundred percent motherfucking Aztec!” Because he was. (I’m thinking should I be telling my daughter this? It’s okay, she is totally against drinking and drugs)

I told her they did an LGBT benefit in Chicago and back then it wasn’t a very acceptable thing to do. The city didn’t like it and tried to stop it by pulling some “building code” bullshit about “enclosed structures” so we tore the tent down and set it up with just the bottom 12 foot high skirt wall and left the roof off and there wasn’t a damn thing they could say about it. It was now an “open air structure.” She liked that.

I told her I didn’t hang around with many of the white guys because they were all racist assholes, calling the Mexicans lazy and shit. (I didn’t tell her it was also because a crack dealer was following us around and half the white guys were hooked the shit.) But when was the last time they learned a second language just to get a job? Were they saving half their paycheck and going down to Western Union to wire to their families? No! I led a crew of illegal workers that set up the left half of the tent and and we always finished way ahead of the white guys who set up the right half of the tent. Does that sound lazy? (am I getting to the fucked up part yet?)

We got out of the car and while we were walking up the ramp and I asked her if she had any songs she wishes she had written? She said, yeah, I have a ton, but I really likes “Galaxie” by Blind Melon. I said I like them but I have never listened to all their songs. We got to the entrance and she said she would play it for me later.

Inside the store were two old women, I guess they were the owners and they said, excuse the mess, we are under construction, just kidding, it always looks like this. I said, that’s okay, I’m used to places that always look like this. They laughed. We wandered around and my daughter was browsing and I didn’t see much for me, I don’t care, that’s not why I’m there. I’m talking with her but being restrained because my emotions are out of control and I have three trains of thought racing through my head. We got to the back room and she pulled a men’s jacket off the rack, new looking and too big for her but she likes that. She said she wasn’t sure and I told her she should get it, and she said, no, and I said are you sure? (I was hoping she didn’t want it because I was going to buy it for myself. I knew it would fit me perfectly and it’s my style) I asked her again and she said she didn’t want it. I said good, cause I’m buying it. I tried it on and it fit, I asked her if I should wear it, she said it looks good. (every time I go into a thrift store I find the one thing I need, this time it’s a fall weather jacket) I told her about finding the shoes last time and the jacket this time and doesn’t she think it’s just a little bit weird? She didn’t seem impressed. (this is just the everyday stuff, not the fucked up part.)

Out in the car she hand me a few CD cases and asks me to find a CD with a picture of cigarette butts on it. I found it and asked who it was. Blind Melon, I’m going to play you that song. Okay, I slid it in the slot. The song starts playing and she starts singing along with it and she sounds exactly like the guy and he’s singing, “I’m entering a frame bombarded by indecision,Where a man like me can easily let the day get out of control” I said you wish you wrote a song about a man like me? She said no, she loves this album so much because the first time she heard it she had to leave school because she was crying so much and she went home and listened to it all day. I wasn’t going to tell her but I had to tell her because it was going to be obvious in a minute. I said this is the first time I’ve heard this song and it’s making me cry. She said, I’m sorry, I can take it out. I said, no, I like it, You can take it out if you want me to stop crying. She said, it’s okay, I’m glad it makes you cry. (This is just the kind of fucked up part)

Her gps took her the way she didn’t want to go but we could still get there. I’m still crying but not balling my eyes out, I can still have a conversation. I didn’t realize but we ended up driving through Exeter and I told her I lived there and went to High School there. I said they had a lot of cops because people spent a lot of money to send their kids to Phillips Exeter Academy and they wanted them to be safe. I started talking about how I started messing with the cops when I was a kid because they didn’t like anyone out after 9pm. There was no curfew. I wasn’t drinking or doing drugs then but I liked to stay out all night and walk around town. They would stop me and ask, where are you going? Home. Where are you coming from? A friend’s house. What is your friend’s name? Uh, none of your fucking business… I told her I was just a kid walking down the sidewalk, it’s brightly lit, wtf? Then they would drive until they got out of sight, turn around and drive by again, get out of sight, turn around, until I got home. I knew they couldn’t patrol the Academy property and it takes up half the town, so I started cutting through there. I could get anywhere I wanted to by cutting through, school property or the railroad tracks, or the cemetery because it was locked to cars.

While I was talking, Blind Melon was still playing and it was a song called “Bernie” and it had a line in it something about, 1983. I stopped and said, oh my god, I’m telling you a story about my life that happened in 1983 when I was in high school! (okay, that was the fucked up part. I guess the whole day was the fucked up part.)

I stopped talking and she is talking about her dogs and anything that was on her mind and I’m still talking to her and I’m not crying too much. But I keep opening one of the CD cases. It was empty but on the inside it said it said, “Sent to the Future.” I knew what it meant but it hit me and I said I gotta tell you something. I don’t want to be a poet but for a few years around 2000, I wrote a lot of poems. I didn’t know what they meant, well, of course I knew what some of them meant but some of them didn’t make sense. I would start playing with words in my head and I would have to find anything to write on and scribble shit and stuff it in my pocket and go home and turn it into a poem. A while ago I found my folder full of them and now they all make sense. I was writing messages back then for me to read now and they are hitting pretty fucking hard.

Then we went back to talking about normal shit. She brought me back home, I said, I love you, thank you for taking around, it was so good to see you, I had the best day. Sorry for crying so much. She said it’s okay, I love you. Normal good bye stuff,, everything is good.

I got inside and saw I had a voicemail from an unknown caller, like who the hell is this? It was a new therapist calling to make a first appointment. I asked for one back in June and slipped through the cracks and asked again a couple weeks ago. I’m going to do it on Zoom.

Maybe this isn’t fucked up. Maybe this shit happens to everyone. Maybe this only makes sense to me? I just spent the day with my daughter doing all the same shit I did when I was her age.

I texted her mom and told her a little about it. She started out saying, “She has a deep soul” and it reminded me of when she was really into Twenty One Pilots but the only song I put on my playlist was, “Heavy Dirty Soul”.

A few minutes later her mom texted a picture of my daughter standing there with a big smile and another text that said, “We r talking about singing in the car. My fav thing to do with her. Her face. See she loves seeing u”

I am drained.

Pleasant Valley Sunday

Robot Brain

“You’re not as messed up as you think you are
Your self-absorption makes you messier.
Just settle down and you would feel a whole lot better.
Deep down you’re just like everybody else”

“Reasons not to be an Idiot” Frank Turner

It happened again! I woke up to my alarm. 8:45 but it was only supposed to be a reminder. I never sleep that late. I just wanted to catch that zoom meditation. I got a text from my daughter from 7am asking if I want to do something today. Yes, that would be great! Cool, I wasn’t too late. I don’t really have time to do the meditation session. No time? What else am I going to do? It starts out with gratitude then they hit me over the head with self acceptance! All I said to the guy was how excited I am about my daughter doing so well. When I read about self acceptance it sounded overwhelming. I can’t do that. Can’t? That sounds like negative self talk. Maybe I should hit that first. Broke it down into small steps and found out I already have the tools for that. The more people talked about it I realized I misunderstood self acceptance. I am already starting that, I just didn’t know it.

I don’t care, I’m so happy about my daughter. She could do anything she wants today and she picked me. I knew I had plenty of time but I didn’t really because I couldn’t get anything started. Back and forth, back and forth, I still haven’t done anything. I’m feeling like I’m getting ready for a first date. What should I wear? Um…. A tshirt? Slow down.

I keep thinking, I don’t see her very much anymore. I gotta say this, I gotta say that to be a good dad. Finally, I said, chill the fuck out. I already said something really great yesterday. I’m not worried about you, you make good decisions, keep doing what you are doing. It was better than that. I didn’t make it sound like I was saying it just because she’s my kid so of course she is the best.

I was right, she rolled up in her 2005 black on black, power everything, BMW, Cake was blasting out the window, I got in and she tilted the bag towards me and asked me if I wanted “the perfect bagel?” Sure. “This guy has the best words.” I pointed at the CD player. “Actually, this is the perfect bagel.”, “It’s asiago with garlic and herb cream cheese. Can we get to Salisbury if we go to the right?”

We shot the shit on the way to the thrift store in Salisbury. She knows them all. She asked to see the rings. She wears a lot of them. She picked up the best one but didn’t want it. I kept pointing it out while she looked through the rest. She found a two finger ring and I told her she has to get that one. She picked a couple more and the woman working there soft voiced me, “She has the rings?” I nodded, “Yeah”, like I brought my daughter in to klepto $11 worth of jewelry. The perfect heist!

She said she needed a new receiver. Hipster, looking for 40 year old electronics in a thrift shop. The place was pretty cool, though. “We’re lucky my mom isn’t here she would buy all 20 of these lamps.”, “I didn’t know she likes lamps.”,”Yeah, just because something is old and broken doesn’t make it an ‘antique'”.

Another little thing happened. The only new thing in the store. Sneakers. Never worn. The only thing I need right now. My style, plain, I don’t look like I think I’m a pro athlete or about to skateboard. I don’t even need to look to know they are my size. I hold them up to her, “Eleven”, 5 bucks, sold! I walk around the corner, someone had just laid a pair of pants on top of the rack. I like those, I wonder if… My size! Sold, 5 bucks.

I find my daughter, she doesn’t think it’s so exciting. This woman…. She’s just my type, I don’t have a type, but, yeah, she’s just my type. My daughter asks if I like something. Not really, you like this? The woman is standing right next to me. I don’t care. It’s a small store. I’m there with my daughter anyway. We walk away and my daughter is going through another rack. The woman is right on my elbow again, sifting through. I don’t know, I’m not out with my daughter Sunday afternoon trying to meet women in a thrift store. But the way things are happening. Whatever, stop being a stranger.

My daughter carefully checked out a bunch things but put them back and we were still talking about this and that. Then she grabbed a weird pair of pink pajama bottoms without looking really looking at them and said she was ready to go. Really? Okay. We went towards the register and my fantasy woman was walking out the door with her boyfriend. Okay, good.

We got out to the car and She puts Chris Cornell in the CD Player. I’m like, “Oh, come on!”, “What, I can’t like this?”, “No, I like him.” I know she is Retro but these two particular bands? She took a wrong turn and pulled into a trailer community to go back. I told her she was going to get a ticket because the people put up a sign saying it is electronically surveilled by police. Like people are dying to go into their dump. She said, like it’s illegal to get lost.

We drove past the place and I asked her if I should start playing bingo? “NO! You’re old but you’re not a hundred!” I know, I’m not going to start playing bingo, I just mean, I’m too old to hang out with the people I want and too young for bingo and I don’t want to hang out in a bar with people my age who also have a drinking problem. I had fun in the thrift store. Did you see anyone like me in there? So, lot’s of old people shop in thrift stores. I know, but you know?

Started talking about coffee and other until we got back to my place. I told her thanks so much for taking me out on the town. I am so happy now. Of course I told her I love her.

Later her mom texted, She is so happy right now. I told her what I texted her yesterday and why. She stresses herself out so much, I just want her to give herself some credit. She does all the right things. We don’t put any pressure on her to get the best grades or anything. I know, me too.

The reason I freaked out when she quit her job wasn’t because oh no she’ll be whatever? It’s no big deal, she’s just a kid. It’s because working in a thrift store was her first choice. That’s what she likes. Her favorite part was dressing the mannequins. She just didn’t like the people being assholes to each other. Every business is around here is begging to hire people for more money and set your own hours. She doesn’t want to work at McDonald’s or the grocery store. I don’t want to tell her that is what most jobs are like.

She has just always had a strong sense of self and what she likes or not and what she thinks is right and wrong. When she was in first grade they had a halloween parade at school. That morning her mom had 2 costumes for her to choose from and she would not do it. She pitched a fit! Her mom gave up and sent her to school. When she picked her up after the little parade, she asked, “Did you feel weird being the only kid without a costume?” She said, “But mama, I was wearing my hair clip, I never wear my hair clip. That was my costume.”

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Robot Brain

“I’m on the outside, I’m looking in
I can see through you, see your true colors
‘Cause inside you’re ugly, you’re ugly like me
I can see through you, see to the real you”

“Outside” Staind

I texted a link to this song to my ex-wife, N____, Saturday morning. “This had me ugly crying”, It’s not like it was, “our song” or anything. I’m sure she has heard it before but I don’t know if she likes it or what. It stemmed from the text conversation we had Friday afternoon, after/during my outdoor, public panic attack.

“I’m having a meltdown” I know it’s not fair. She isn’t responsible for me after all these years apart. “What’s going on”, I told her about my freaking out after the simple job of changing the tire on my bike ended with me overfilling the tire with air at the store next door and it exploded. It’s pretty funny, but now I am still without my bike and summer is coming to a close. The bike expands my travel range 20 fold. The worst was the loud bang made like ten people at the store turn and look. I threw my hands in the air to say, “Yes, it was me” and picked up the tire to leave.

“Take a shower, it will calm you down”, “I’m in bed slowing down my breathing, my arms and hand are numb, It’s okay, I just fucked up, it was stupid.” “oh, good.” “The worst part was walking past all these people crying and hyperventilating.” “That’s okay, I’ve seen you like that before and I still love you, fuck them!” “Ha ha, Thanks.” “Listen to music, it helps me relive things.” “I haven’t been able to listen to my music, never know if it will bring up good memories or bad.” “That’s what I like about it, I’ve been listening to Pearl Jam, Ten, it came out 30 years ago today.”

Oh my fucking God! 30 fucking years. What happened? “I can’t do it, I can’t listen to anything with lyrics, I get too emotional.” “okay.” “I got Chillhop streaming on youtube no words just beats.” “….”, “How have you been doing lately?” “Pretty good, just today.” “You seemed pretty manic last week.” (I can see through you, See to the real you) “Just anxiety.” (I lied)

Saturday, I woke up and said, “Fuck this,” I hit the power button on the radio/docking unit that holds my iPod classic for the first time in months. Jesus Christ, how old is this thing? 2005? Still fucking works… No bluetooth, no wi-fi, plugs into the wall, charges the iPod but 4 D cell batteries if you want to go “wireless”. Ha ha, What the fuck?

It was okay, I don’t remember the songs that came on first. They brought back memories, but of course, they are my songs, I chose them. Then it came,

“Just last night I was reminded of just how bad
It had gotten and just how SICK I had become
But it could change with this relationship
De-de range we’ve all been through some shit…”

You know the rest. Fuck, The Violent Femmes… My first “true love” put it on my turntable the first night she spent at my house. It was new to me, I didn’t know how popular it would become. I liked it. I remember after it finished, I said, “Wow, these chicks are pretty good.” Ha ha, pretty funny. I didn’t really need to hear that, but not too bad. I think the Black Eyed Peas after. Something I downloaded the whole album cause it didn’t have any meaning to me and it was upbeat and funny. Good break. A song I got from my daughter, “Come on Over” Royal Blood. Good… First song she learned when she got really good at playing the bass. She was so excited the day she got the Big Muff distortion pedal so she could sound like him. She recorded herself playing and sent it to me through the phone. She is good. I recognized the song within the first few notes. She had it down.

Then I started thinking, this was probably a mistake. Every song I heard was hitting me harder. Then Staind came on and I hit “POWER” off when it finished. I was a wreck. I don’t know why. I mean, I like the song, I’ve heard it a million times… It never meant anything special to me. I texted the link to N_____, a while later she got back, “I can’t listen”, “Sorry”, “I can’t remember it, I just don’t want to feel sad today.” Okay, it didn’t mean anything to her either. I just wanted to give her an example of why I can’t listen anymore. Why was I so overwhelmed.

I figured it out. It wasn’t the song. It was what I was doing all last week and still thinking about. I was still planning on going to that party with the meetup group. “STICK TO THE PLAN”. I don’t understand. That wasn’t the plan. The plan wasn’t to blow up my own spot! Meet new people to go out and get shitfaced? Put it all on my credit card? The credit card is buy groceries at the end of the month if I need. Or something small I can pay off immediately. Going out drinking is not an emergency expenditure. And it would certainly overrun my budget by a large amount. I don’t skimp on partying!

The party plan was over anyway but I was still hanging onto it. Friday night I was changing my mind then I got an email from the woman I was texting about getting a ride to the bar. Okay? I’ve been downgraded to email? And it was an email sent through the website. I guess? The last I heard from her was Thursday, Her, “Great, I will text you Saturday and let you know.” The email said, “Sorry, I am going to the beach in the morning, post on the site saying you are looking for a ride.” Umm… Wasn’t that what I did Thursday? Isn’t that why she gave me her number and said, text me? I replied, “Thanks for trying Karen!” Whatever, some bullshit.

Saturday I was still hanging on the PLAN that wasn’t the plan. I was still thinking of ways to follow through. Even taking an Uber and possibly ending up wasted and stranded at Hampton Beach. Or worse, waking up a week later. “Where the fuck am I?” “How did I get here?” “Good, still got my wallet and keys, phone.” “How do I get home?”. I made up my mind after some serious debate. What debate? How was there even a question? Of course I’m not going anywhere. I’m not leaving the house this weekend!

My depression had hit just in time. It made the decision for me. I still thought I should be polite for some reason. I don’t know why? Karen wasn’t. The last I heard of the main guy, Ivan, was Tuesday when he posted, Remember, if you can’t make it be sure to let us know so someone else can take your spot. He was the first to mention carpooling to the general space. I never heard from him when I floated the idea. Maybe it was a good idea I changed my mind. I went to the website and posted, “Sorry can’t make it, really would have like to meet you all.” (I think I lied.) Doesn’t matter, a few hours later I got another email from the website, “Karen C. has cancelled tonight’s event.” That was it. No explanation. She cancelled? Still no word from Ivan, the guy who runs the group. Would he be in charge of cancelling? She is just a co-organizer. I guess that was fortuitous. Fuck that shit. I’m supposed to let them know ahead of time but they cancelled on 15 people at the last minute. I’m done.

I was lucky. After all my machinating, providence saved me again. I stayed inside for the rest of the weekend. Anxiety ate me alive. None of my techniques alleviated. Sunday I fired up the google machine and typed in “CBT for cognitive distortions” I’m no stranger to the concept. But fucked up’ed’ly, None of my therapists had ever worked on it with me. My last therapist handed me a printout early in one of our sessions about 5 years ago. It listed the cognitive distortions but said nothing about what to do. I told her, yes, I do all of that. I have a shitload of anxiety. She never mentioned it again. 5 years. Every time I talked about anxiety she said the same bullshit. “Just stay in the moment.” What the fuck? What if the moment absolutely sucks so much you will do anything to get out of it? My favorite was, look around the room and count 3 things that are yellow. Okay, That will help. My anxiety is going to triple cause there is nothing yellow in the room. Whatever, she was nice enough to talk to and I’ve had worse therapists.

(Got sidetracked) I found the “Three column layout.” I realized I have already been doing that in my head. One person said it helps him if he actually writes it out. I’ll try anything now. I got a blank page and divided it into three columns. I wrote my worst thought on the left. The middle was for cognitive distortions. I wrote, “Ha ha, all of them, no, seriously… End of the world, I’m evil, Worst person in the world, I ALWAYS do this! etc…” On the right I wrote out the logical thought. It was pretty lengthy but it made sense even if I didn’t believe it. It helped! A little… I went back and read it each time I started ruminating and it stopped. While I was doing it I thought, this will never help. Now I’m wondering why nobody ever mention this to me. Its not like an obscure technique. It was all the results that showed up on Google. It’s been used for years.

The plan in ,”STICK TO THE PLAN”, Is focus on my daughter, focus on my family, and don’t fucking blow up my spot! If I blow up my spot the plan goes out the window. If any of you reading my posts sees me making other plans, could you do me a favor? Please leave a comment saying, “STICK TO THE PLAN!” Thanks.


Pendulum clock

Lunch with my daughter was fabulous! She is brilliant! I am biased, but it is true. The best part? We went to Five Guy’s! She asked me as soon as I got in the car, I hope you don’t mind… I said, Actually, I was kind of hoping… I got that big greasy, double cheeseburger I had my mind set on. I didn’t care what we did. She is a joy to be around. She is a person who makes other people feel good. It’s her nature. Delightful!

Afterward, I took myself on another bicycle ride. I was amped and lately it seems that every day is the best day ever. There was no way I was going to waste it. Third day in a row… 85 degrees, full sunshine, slight breeze, low humidity… Hampton Beach is 5 miles away, saying, Come see me! Intoxicating.

I burned the fuck out of my face the last two days. I’m like a a little kid. I hate putting on sunscreen. I relented because it would have meant certain death. I closed my eyes and sprayed. Hey. It worked.

I am really digging this riding as slow as possible thing. I enjoy it more than ever. I am still getting the hang of it. I catch myself pedaling as fast as possible in low gear. I am in no hurry. I will be going downhill, still pedaling. I’m not going any faster. I don’t want to go any faster. Why am I trying to go faster? I catch myself and slow down. Look around. Enjoy the view. There are so many new things to see and I have lived here most of my life.

For the past few weeks I have been noticing some unusual happenings when I leave the house. People have been smiling at me, saying hi, giving me waves when I pass, starting short conversations in the checkout line. Like never before. Speaking to me before I speak to them. I didn’t pick up on it at first but for the past three days it has been very obvious. I’ve been riding my bike down the central beach forever and I’m always making eye contact and smiling, but now instead of people avoiding my gaze, they are reacting in a positive manner. I couldn’t figure out what made the difference until today. My smile is real! I am genuinely happy and people can tell! I can tell. I can feel I have a big shit eating grin on my face and I’m cruising along singing a song!

Another crazy realization. I’ve been dawdling along the waterfront these days and about 3 hundred and 27 times I’ve thought, Who the fuck is this old broad smiling at? Me! She is smiling at me! We are the same fucking age, fer chrissakes! Here I am still thinking I’m 30 years old. Like, I never? These old broads are hot sometimes too. What have I been thinking? Like, What the fuck? What am I going to do though? Pull over on my bike and ask for their digits? I don’t know… I just might!

The clincher was when I got back to my town in the late afternoon where people are just sick of driving in traffic because all there is to do in this town is drive in traffic. I was still in the flow though. All week long I’ve been in the right place at the right time. It’s no big deal for me to stop at a red light and wait but lately I have been pulling “naturals” and hitting all green without slowing down or speeding up. I made it down the length of route 1 to the last light and hit it just before it turned yellow. My ass was sore and I really needed to make it home. I was so happy! The woman waiting at the red laughed at me as I crossed. The biggest obstacle was the major intersection, I coasted to the sidewalk, put my foot at the bottom of the pole and hit the walk button. BOOM! The little man on the light turned green and it was my time to cross. A woman yelled out her window. “You look really happy!.” I smiled more and said, “I am loving it!” and vibed on that the for the last mile.

I know I have had better days, but come on… This has been pretty fucking incredible!

Not So Fast!

Robot Brain

Every morning when I wake up I have to reprogram my brain to manage what I will be listening to for the rest of the day. I do it by listening to music. It replaces the voice I hear. I used to turn my iPod on as soon as I woke up. It works but the problem is the songs are too familiar. I’ve been listening to the same shit for years. I may end up with the same snippet of a lyric running over and over in my ears. It’s too intrusive. I like slow tempo chillout streams on YouTube. It doesn’t really matter which one. All the songs are similar. I won’t really hear a particular one all day. My brain will remember the beat and usually make up it’s own soft melody. It is fairly unobtrusive.

Recently I remembered something I found a few years ago. I searched 60 bpm (beats per minute) music, which is my resting heart rate. (That’s not too esoteric, is it?) I was surprised a million choices came up. The only one I could listen to was “Elemental healing sounds.” There is also some of the 528hz and Alpha waves. I’m not really into that crap but this is just piano set to 60 bpm. An hour is about all I need to do the trick. Listening while I read some blogs and write my own is quite relaxing. Sometimes it can last 24 hours. Yesterday I fell asleep for an hour in the afternoon (which never happens) and when I woke up, the noise was loud and rapid fire. It wouldn’t stop. Anxiety went sky high. I’m not sure what I did to calm down but it did involve eating a bowl of chili. I guess?

The active noise cancelling on the earbuds I bought only works when no music is playing. Couldn’t I just wear earplugs? It makes sense. If I’m listening to music loud enough to to block outside noise, how would I know the difference? It’s no big deal. I only spent 40 buck at Walmart for them. Before I bought them I read a few independent reviews and they all said don’t waste your money on more expensive brands. The sound quality is good but they keep popping out of my ears. Even though I tried all three sizes of silicone inserts. I still like them. I’m not using them for sports. I got them so I can walk around the house and not be attached to a device.

My daughter is picking me up to bring me to lunch in a few hours. Since she started driving she thinks that is the best. I like it. I don’t get to see her as long I normally would. I thought I would see less of her when she got her license. She is always driving somewhere. I remember all I wanted to do was drive. I was never home. I’m still excited and happy for her. She is out there getting it done. It does make me a little sad but I am glad I spent as much time with her as I could when she was growing up. I’m looking forward to lunch! Late last night she texted me to confirm. 🙂 Ha! I didn’t ask her where we are going. I want to be surprised. It doesn’t matter. I just want to see her. I’m kind of hoping for 5 Guy’s again. I could go for a nice greasy double cheeseburger. I haven’t eaten meat for a for a few weeks.

Nice! Now I have my head on straight. I lied. It takes me a lot longer than one hour to get ready for a new day. I hope everyone else has a good one. Try to do something good for yourself.