Morose meanderings

I frequently have thoughts that make me laugh, which is something relatively new for me. I’m wondering if I’ve developed a talent for humor or whether I’m just going mad. I’ll laugh out loud in my car now, for instance, like last time when I imagined a dog going grocery shopping, complete with squeaky cart. Perhaps a sign of stress?

Anyway, I dig absurdist humor, eg. when Kafka gets ridiculous, with his singing mice & all.

On a similar note, this morning I woke up with an interesting & grammatically awkward phrase in my head: Slip silently by yourself away, which I think I’d like to use for the title of a book. As well, the sound of it reminds me of J.D. Salinger, eg. Raise High the Roof Beam and such. I was so inspired by it that I changed the URL for this site to

There’s a glum & hopeless element to the phrase, as well, like dying alone. But thinking about it, the phrase sums up my life succinctly, because for as long as I can remember, my experience has been all about not fitting in and subsequently going off by myself.

I’m at the point where I more or less feel it a chore to seek someone out to hang out with. Does anyone do that anymore? I’d rather just read or go to the park alone or do solo hiking.

Anyway, la-di-da (channeling Annie Hall here.)

On my way to the mailbox

Two men had the pool to themselves when I walked by earlier. One was at the low end of the water, facing toward the other end as if at the head of a table. He moved his arms as if smoothing a bedspread. The other man lounged on a chaise unabashedly, like he might do in the privacy of his own living room. He uttered things in a foreign language, lazily, matter-of-factly, to which the other man responded as he began moving slowly toward the other end of the water, walking slowly, as if a reluctant giant, then finally a segue into a swim. He made a surprising amount of turbulence for one man. The water slapped against the pool walls. Ripples formed and moved in sine-like fashion, as if jello responding to a bang against the bowl. The sun-filled afternoon topped out at 70 Fahrenheit and everything was quiet, save for the water and their voices. Now I’m listening to Chopin, and his piano notes trickle out of my Bluetooth speaker.

We celebrate dryness in autumn

Pine cones in lieu of flowers. In October we celebrate decay. All things drying out and brittle — colors far different from when the thing was alive. We celebrate spooky. We create bouquets of whatever we find in nature that is emaciated. This goes on straight into November — until Thanksgiving, when we gorge and are OK again with plumpness, the vitality of food consumption and digestion.

A grand wave that came my way

Yesterday I passed a pageant walker. This was on a nearby street during my morning jog. 

Wearing workout clothes and gloves, he waved to me in solidarity as I passed in the opposite direction. He was walking down the center of the road, keeping a temperate pace as I briskly made my way down the sidewalk.

A thirty-something of petite stature with a relaxed and confident smile, his wave was slow and theatrical, not quick and to the point. It embodied stateliness and grandeur, as if he had been among other notables in the Macy’s Day Parade along 6th Avenue en route to Herald Square for some step and repeat to please the crowds.

He wore a white shirt — a rather loud adornment at such an early hour. The sun had not yet even risen.

2nd variation: An unpleasant trip to the post office

The door where patrons waited for their box mail was like that of a prison — thick and made of steel. It was painted dark green, like a dumpster.

The three of us waited there, held captive until the clerk got around to us, periodically peering from the door’s top portion, which swung open inwardly, as if she would serve us a last meal.

The mail rooms at our respective apartment complexes had been broken into, and now delivery was suspended. So we each had to travel off-site to retrieve our mail. And so there we were, on line for box mail at this filthy, institutional-looking post office branch.

The clerk, wearing a blue rubber glove, examined our IDs before handing over our various letters and bills and unsolicited garbage in the form of catalogs and circulars and what-have-you. This wad of paper we each received was our ticket to freedom, allowing each of us to leave and continue on with our day as we so pleased.

— First version of this anecdote is here.

A few words about Spider-Man

Last night while watching the first Spider-Man film with Tobey Maguire for like the third time, it dawned on me that Peter Parker’s aunt and uncle were cut from the same template as Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham from the old sitcom Happy Days, both of who were American archetypes. This seems to make a degree of sociological sense being as the Spider-Man comic was created in 1962. No?

Which would make Peter Parker somewhat of a Fonzie figure — you know, infallible and all. With the exception of Peter Parker being a social klutz, in contrast to The Fonz’s finesse and charm.

That’s about the only semi-interesting thing I have to say today, methinks. It’s hard to have more than just one or two decent observations when all you do is go to work during the week and then restrict your weekend social activities to grocery shopping.

I will say that I like that when you watch a movie multiple times over the course of whatever time period, you start to gain enough original insights and ideas about it that seem almost essay-worthy.

A few ways of writing

There are multiple ways to write. A few examples: a) you already have the story in your head, pretty much in its entirety (this happens to me sometimes); b) you invent a character, put it somewhere, like a store or a cafe or a gym, and let the character take charge of the story; c) and I just thought of this one, you can discuss a topic that interests you with a friend while recording the conversation. Then listen to it and transcribe your more interesting remarks.

I suppose that last one would be better suited for essay writing.

There’s a documentary on Kenneth Koch on YouTube, and he mentions a technique whereby he just gets behind a typewriter then writes unfiltered. The he goes back and edits — or more like, salvages.

I also read an interview in the book The Essential Allen Ginsberg where Ginsberg advised his writer friends to do like he does if they want to put out a book: go though your journals and pick/choose/edit.

Empty-headedness and attempts at thinking

What about who I am or what. I’m not sure how many people think in terms of “what” when they consider their identity, but do you think of “what” often, or is it more like “who?” We might consider a little of both. It seems that the what is more like which labels apply, or what do you feel like in relation to them. And who might be ego or your archived past. I can’t find labels that suit me most of the time. Weirdo maybe. Or unorthodox. Or strange. Politically correct I am unique. Interesting.

I feel like nothing. I have empty inside me but it feels nice. This is the joy of dumbness, or being struck dumb. I am dumb in the face of the mysteries of the universe. I cannot comprehend. I “understand” the universe spiritually but it ends there. Nothing else really registers, though a good Thai meal or a noteworthy cup of coffee or a poem will resonate. Good music like the unplugged jazz I listen to or certain classical music, like Beethoven or Schumann piano pieces or Schubert trios. Chopin and etc.

My house is like a religious house. No one here is religious but it is constantly quiet with us reading or thinking or daydreaming or sleeping or eating. My cat is loud enough to make up for the rest of us.

Thoughts on stewardship

Nature can perhaps be thought of as a living thing that is part of our household and family, such as a cat or a dog, meaning that it trusts that we will care for it. And when we do not, this can be seen as betrayal and negligence. I could not fathom forgetting to feed my cat or to give her water and also to otherwise make sure she stays well. Same goes for the people around us. To a degree, they perhaps hope and expect we may act in their best interest, or at least not knowingly cause them harm. At best, we can help all life forms around us thrive, including ourselves.