Dropping out of the societal Tarantella is so much easier than I would have thought. All one has to do is spend a few months refraining from public expression and voila! Just like that, I have achieved the near-total obscurity so few seem to believe possible in this age of insecure high-tech self-promotion.
Sometimes– rarely, mind you — I miss hearing from some of those once-familiar voices, but then I remember that communication is a two-way street and that I have nothing to contribute to such exchanges.
Conversely, Jesse and I seem to understand each other better every day now that I’ve adapted so fully to speechless interactions. We communicate through grunts, wheezes and nuzzles, and that’s sufficient.
I contemplated making this post a series of grunts, wheezes and nuzzles to be more illustrative of my current lifestyle, but I don’t think that would have made for a very sensible transmission.
The last time we talked like this, Bob Saget was still alive, and nobody cared. Now he’s dead and everyone is singing his praises. The moral? There are some fates worse than death and being Bob Saget might just be one of ’em.
The mountain air is invigorating, the wildlife gives Jesse plenty of critters to chase, and I took my first trip to Burger Boy last week when my niece and her boyfriend came through town. A top notch burger, as expected, but the fries left something to be desired.
There was an episode of the original Star Trek series wherein Spock took charge as commanding officer after Kirk disappeared on some unknown planet inhabited by an aggressive and bloodthirsty man in a silly monster suit creature. As CO, it now falls upon Spock to decide which crew members to beam down to the planet in search of The Cap’n. Of course, he approaches the problem with what he deems to be “pure logic”, yet time and again, those unnamed crewmen lose their lives due to Spock’s inability to factor emotion into his decisions. You see, since the creature itself was potentially guided by emotion and his human shipmates unquestionably so, failure to factor in the possible emotion-driven reactions of all involved wound up killing quite a few very temporary Enterprise denizens whose names you won’t even find on IMDB.
I talk a really good game with the logical, Stoical nonsense, but like anyone and everyone who ever has paid lip-service to this dubious ideal, I’m full of shit. In fact, what is the common impetus for the intellectual “endeavors” of history’s Stoics, logicians, Zen masters, and stone-faced semi-statues? That’s right: an emotional distaste for uncomfortable emotions. By claiming that I don’t experience such emotions or even that they affect me to a lesser degree than they do most people, I am ironically admitting that at some point in the past, I found my own human emotions to be so intense, not to mention anathema to my implausible worldview, that they had to be eradicated (impossible). In this sense, all those years sitting on my ass in front of a shrine of pewter Buddha statues actually represented an emotional outburst, not a pragmatic training of my mind. What’s the difference between the calmness of the “enlightened” mind of the Dalai Lama, for instance, and the defeated stillness of Al Bundy? Very little. One of them actually believes he’s doing something important while the other believes quite the opposite, but the end result is more similar than any of us would like to admit.
On a completely different note, I got a remote job transcribing recorded interviews for insurance companies, which is the same exact occupation I held 30 years ago, but without the commute. And as you can imagine, it turns out that “wasting” a year and a half of my life composing the utterly ridiculous shit show that is Notes From The Avalon served as indispensable preparation for this particular occupation.
It’s also a Stoic’s dream job.
And now, for no logical reason whatsoever, here’s Kage and Jaybels utterly slaying the Beatles:
I officially “moved in” to my new place on March 28. At the time, I figured that at worst, I had about 3 days of being beholden to my antiquated DVD collection before the DirecTV installer showed up on the first of April.
He never showed up. As soon as the 9 to 5 window had expired, I called DirecTV and was informed that the driver “couldn’t find” my place but apparently hadn’t bothered to call me for directions. So I heard myself do something of which I didn’t think myself capable: I told them to go fuck themselves.
I spent the next 3 weeks essentially TV-free. Sure, once in a while I would throw on an episode of the Trailer Park Boys or Bob’s Burgers to watch while I ate dinner, but I was pretty much left to my own devices when it came to entertaining myself.
Last weekend, I picked up a Roku TV and now I have Hulu and Amazon Prime and all sorts of shit I never had before. Problem solved.
But was it really a problem that deserved a solution?
My point is that despite what I would have predicted, the psychological effect of a sudden pulling of the TV plug after years of constant consumption really wasn’t all that significant. My brain simply looked elsewhere for occupation. There’s plenty of wildlife up here, not to mention foliage the likes of which I’ve never seen before. Oh, and one hell of a great local cannabis dispensary within half a mile of my home.
We feel beholden to media consumption because we’re told that we are by the very media that we consume.
Old movies have something of the taste of the familiarity of an old friend. We know the dialogue inside and out and there’s no chance of being unpleasantly surprised by the outcome. But of course, old friends are better than old movies for the simple fact that they’re not static. Surprises are assured. And even when those surprises are unpleasant or contrary to the image of that friend we’d cultivated in our minds, they still contribute to the vitality of life while re-watching old films does quite the opposite. That’s not to say that I won’t re-watch my favorites many more times before I slip off this mortal coil — it’s just to say that when I’m engaged in such an activity, it has about the same effect on my life as a good nap.
But one good thing came of my 3 weeks of nothing but DVD fare on my TV: Letterkenny introduced me to yet another kick-ass band called The Tune-Yards. Check ’em out:
Oh yeah, if you haven’t yet watched The Goldbergs, do so immediately. Thanks, Hulu!
Where were we again? Oh, right — I sold my car, they raised my rent, ain’t got no job, oh woe is Mudge!
Hey, if you’re going to publicize your troubles online like you’re writing a bad country and western song, you gotta own it, right?
Speaking of country and western songs, I must once again paraphrase the late Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (who, in turn, was famously paraphrased by the late Neil Peart): plus ça change plus c’est la même chose.
That single-wide trailer up there is my new home. Jesse’s, too. My dad bought it for me and it’s situated in the mountains about 10 miles outside of Albuquerque. That white shit on the ground is snow because Cedar Crest, NM is 6,500 feet above sea level. The trailer park looks like a campground and my place is all the way at the end with a rock wall encircling the back yard that overlooks the Sandia and Manzano Mountains.
And I’ve just enough to spare to buy myself a shitty used car so’s I can journey into Albuquerque when I need to forage for groceries and, um…*cough*…supplies.
For the time being, I won’t be inviting Bubbles to move into a shed in the yard with his cats nor will I let Ricky sleep in his car in the driveway. Leahy and Randy are watching.
So I’ve nearly achieved my dream of becoming a mountain hermit. And this is but a scant mile away from my new mountain hermitage:
Whether we employ philosophy, humor or barbaric yawps of self-righteous indignation, it’s all just noise. Distraction. A source of temporary comfort, perhaps, but pragmatically impotent. That’s just fine with me. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you know of a better way to pass the time amidst this vast American Confederacy of Dunces, I’m all ears.
Covid has ensured that Thanksgiving is a wash this year, which is also just fine with me.