Too often I fall for hierarchies, too sensitive to where others think I fit, once pegged I discern my generosity. Condescension dries my well. Repetition exhausts me. Checking messages amplifies my restiveness. Never do it—especially when it’s raining, or if you’re otherwise cheerful, and never ever on a day off. Preternaturally they ruin you.
The stress test said it’s not literally my heart. It can be a lot of things. What about your job? The doctor nods. There you go.
I’m letting go.
Were I ever to make an autobiographical film it would involve a lot of walking, beginning on Commercial, in high season, with a friend or two, passing various street musicians. Conversation shifting to echo the music’s tenor—Rock-n-Roll, bluesy, folksy, the soundtrack to 1970’s Italian porn—until finally reaching the horrid opera singer. I’d scream, resonant with her assault, dropping notes, wandering from passage to passage, and we’d cut to opening credits.
The opera singer was hard to love. She’d bully others from the sidewalk and every night hold forth, until past curfew, blasting Fleetwood Mac from their windows, neighbors shooed her away. This is what happens when you try to do something in life, she’d complain to cops who came to talk about complaints filed against her.
With practice, I thought early in the season, but narcissism can’t see itself.
Now old people eat ice cream, blocking that sidewalk. Oblivious. Or maybe they’re over stimulated? There’s some excitement about the Dahlia Festival, opening ten days after their bus returns to Indianapolis. Rushing to the bank to make a deposit before closing, I don’t have time to figure it out. The account is my concession to being here five years. It wasn’t easy to open, having to prove my place, apparently too many queens want checks that say Seamen.
It’s autumn. Again.
People like the season, but they’re wrong. Matthew thinks I’m cranky because it means back to work, but my job never ends. Gone are the nights when six hours were enough sleep. Seven-thirty and pitch dark, the last boat trails toward a wine dark horizon. Momentarily Provincetown seems an island, though I’ve never sailed across.
We’re captives of excessive night.
Mars is exalted in Capricorn. Mercury’s gone direct. And Pluto, also direct in Capricorn, exhorts the Sun and Jupiter in some house that governs my career. Signaling a pivot, Astrologers say over seven weeks I’ll make up for lost time and missed opportunities. It’s time to thrive.
How do we change?
The past is tenacious. I want to dismiss my grievances with a clever relativism, but scorn relieves nothing. It’s a problem of vision, identifying that which I am but have not yet become. What I was both delighted and enraged, but now I want to throw in with a new crowd, reinventing yet again. I’m wrong. Running doesn’t help. We have to eat our monsters.
Alas, a pescetarian, my monsters are mammals.
If I were ever truly captive, could I find tranquility? A dream of peace standing still, the exercise is academic, relying on surrender.
Something impossible now.
I do most of my walking on the bike trail: thirteen miles on a good day, sometimes only six. My body’s acclimated to its undulations, shedding complaints at familiar intervals. Still I fret. It’s not until the bend where I’d been schooled on walking etiquette that I realize it’s been a month since I’d last made the trail.
It would be easier for bikers if you walked on the other side, he said. Easier to get hit, I replied.
Muscles seize recalling the affront. It puts me to stride and everything seems possible. Is that what Larson means by optimism? It’s been pretty dark. Still, I don’t want to be brightsided. Or impulsive. But critical doesn’t have to mean negative. And leaps of faith needn’t be peripatetic.
What a bad day to open, I mumble to a rose blossom battered by gray sea breeze, as if opening were a conscious choice. Writing, I’ve decided, is essentially melancholy, depression making better copy than joy. Painting is something else. My best paintings come on hot days, which is something I need to change. As if Earth’s tilt were a conscious choice.
I’m in love with my profession in ways no longer productive, avoiding divorce like a spouse who can’t imagine living outside a horrid marriage. Who will I be if I can’t be that self? Rick calls and I admit to being okay. Is that what’s left? How do I give up this story and start another?