One of the things that has contributed to the crack-up I’ve experienced (publically, now, and I’ll let you know eventually whether I recommend that) is a lack of patience. Conditioned by years sitting as I am now at the helm of an Internet-wired computer, I’ve gotten used to leaping instantly from wanting-to-know to knowing. The future, however, doesn’t send much e-mail.
It’s been hard to write this. I’ve been thinking a lot about being nuts, but for the past few days I’ve been feeling so not-nuts that the topic seems pointless and uninteresting. I keep testing myself with the various stimuli that for months fueled the darkness and confusion in my head, and while I still get twinges sometimes, they’re not making me stupid.
It’s definitely the case that I’ll never dismiss claims by my female friends that body chemistry is affecting their behavior. The only chemicals I have to worry about are whisky and cheese, and I don’t think they had much to do with most of my issues (though behavior-wise the drink hasn’t done me any favors). I’m such an emotional wimp that I can be driven into a bad state by a little world-is-changing stress, so I imagine that scary hormones would make me a complete wreck.
So this inability to know what’s going to happen – the natural state of existance, of course – gets on my nerves. Other stuff does too, and I know now that I’m really a giant baby. I don”t know how to improve that situation. I’m getting used to it, maybe.
Anyway today I went to a concert, sort-of. I think really you’d have to call it more of a church service fragment. I don’t know what you call those. I don’t consider myself a religious person, or a spiritual person, but I do consider myself a person. Being a person is strange and hard and amazing. For a while I was doing a really bad job.
Then, during this concert, a segment of poetry reading included the lines
I can only agree to open arms
of acceptance to imperfect friends,
explain as cogently as I can
that they are most certainly
alright as they are.
As the beneficiary of such commitments over the past few weeks, I found it suddenly very hard to keep my composure. I’m one imperfect friend, let me tell you. Sometimes I don’t even know why I feel I can think of myself as a “friend” to my friends. They’re such nice people, and I’m humbled by their support for me. Years ago, my home was often a focal point of activity among a circle of friends. I like cooking, and I cooked for friends who couldn’t or wouldn’t. Sometimes we’d just do nothing. For whatever reason this happened a lot less after we moved to Austin: I was working harder, maybe, or just getting older.
Having children of course changed things. It’s pretty easy to focus inwards, particularly in my case, gaining a complete clan in one step. The feeling of distance from people is something I got used to without even noticing it. I’m tired, my wife is tired (and her ears ring from every long day with three kids around), and it’s just so easy to be insular. What has that cost me?