Though I was miserable, I so loved the thing of being a young adult who believed that I would go far, if only I put my shoulder to it. Oh, my god: the guy I would marry! the work I would do! The success! The success!
Not. Turns out that, at my age, you’re doing well if you can, as Russell Crowe once said to me, “keep up with the apologies.” And the tricky/funny thing is that, as I do more and more damage to my relationships, and get more and more horrendously painful feedback, I just get worse! I think that honesty is a virtue that I will not compromise.
This could get deep, but my eggs are getting cold and I have to practice. Or think about practicing, at least.
So my mind doesn’t function the way it used to, and now, in order to remember anything, I have to be reminded. That is, I go along dumbly mostly, living by habit (set the alarm, sleep, wake up—coffee first, or shower?—get in car, drive, work, come home, eat, suffer for several hours, set alarm…), until someone says something that triggers a memory, and, bam!, the routine is suddenly broken, and I’m back at a time when there was another routine! How nice that they’re different!
Anyway. So the heat was off at the yoga studio this morning (I was home—suffering, but enjoying having a morning), and someone called me to tell me. So I called the landlord, and he said that he’d have someone come over. Then he said that he was going to have them install the “simplest” thermostat, so that we would be able to use it. “No complex switches, and programming times,” which would just confuse us.
Oh, my god, it came rushing back: men in the nineteen-seventies. It’s been a long time since someone talked to me like that—like I was incapable of working a thermostat. (OK, Jim, this is just me entertaining myself—I like you: you’re a good guy.) But it used to happen all the time back then, this assumption that I was…what was it? Stupid? It might not have been so bad if I weren’t actually smart. I told the landlord that I was able to work a thermostat, and he said, “No, no—not you: but the others,” or something like that. The others are fucking brilliant, __________.*
I loved it, back in the day, on some level: all that crazy condescension by so many men I met. On some level it really stoked my own sense of superiority, along with my rage. And you know what? Someday I’d show them.
But, it didn’t turn out that way. Turned out that I had, by necessity, to become a pacifist, and try to learn to tame my mind for the benefit of beings. Sigh. And really, the farthest I’ve gotten is being able to look at my rage sometimes, and not get too, too caught up in it—that is, only a little caught up.**
So. That’s the news from East Marion: where life has lead so far.
**I’m not mad at men as a category anymore, just to be clear (Rod).