What do you value?

I just missed the train. Close enough to touch it almost. 12 minutes of frigid air but it is invigorating in a way.

My family thinks there’s something wrong with me, which isn’t news. They want me to be normal, I guess. A normal apartment with a couch, coffee table and end tables. A bedroom with a bed. Everything neat and orderly. Curtains and drapes.

Nothing wrong with that. I’d like a model home type of living space.

Where I Left Off

I wrote that this morning on the iPhone waiting for the train.  Let me pick up where I left off.  I’d love to live in one of those model home type places.  Of course, I’d need to hire some cleaners if it were going to stay that way.  Otherwise, there’s no chance.

Over the years I’ve heard things like this from my family:

You’re weird.

What’s wrong with you?

It isn’t natural.

What is your problem?

Psychoanalyzing aside, my apartment is not … normal.  When I’m walking Leika I can sometimes see through the windows into other people’s apartments.  They’ve got the big TV, nice couch, love seats, end tables, plants, dining table and chairs.  Guests.  In their bedrooms they have beds, chests of drawers, nightstands and so on.  You know.  Normal.

When I was 14 or so my mother asked if I wanted to go see a therapist.  I said, “For what?”

I mean, I may be, I dunno, different but I never thought I was f’ed up.  Not that you have to be f’ed up to see a therapist.  I learned that from living in California.  People go to therapists the same way East Coasters go to the grocery store.  Fascinating.  I couldn’t for the life of me understand why you’d spend good money to go talk to someone who’s more or less indifferent to you.  I mean, is it supposed to be a process with a goal or just an outlet?  Do therapists offer advice or solutions or do they just allow you to psychologically release?

Those are not rhetorical questions.  Please elucidate.

Another relative suggested recently that I shouldn’t be hesitant to get a prescription for anti-depressants.  And I was like, “For what?”

I’m sure there is some pill out there that would make me less introverted.  A pill that could change my head space.  A pill that can change my personality just enough.  To feel confident.   To be more of a doer instead of a thinker.  To not dwell on metaphysical ruminations and philosophical rhetoric and instead … I don’t know.  What are guys supposed to do?  Drink beer, talk cars, watch sports and chase tail?

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I know a thing or two about depression, loneliness and boredom.  I’ve written poems and songs about it.  Well, not about it.  More like from the depths of it.  Like draining a wound so a deep cut can heal.  And I know about some familial history.  And I’m aware of many artists, musicians and authors who fell into the suicidal singularity of the black hole of depression and addiction.

But I figure, when depression abounds it’s the symptom of something.  Medication won’t correct the problem.  Won’t fill the void.

What it’s lookin’ like, is this:  It’s normal to medicate the symptoms of our unhealthy lifestyle, whether we self-medicate OTC or via prescription.  If you’ve got a problem eating and craving sweets, use a chemical made by adding chlorine atoms to sugar molecules and you get sweetness and the chlorine-bounded sugar molecule passes right through your system, more or less.  Eaten to the point of being morbidly obese?  Get a lap band around your stomach.

I’m not anti-medication.  But, let’s face it.  We are collecively so messed up.  We are intensely unhealthy and all of these chemicals aren’t curing a damn thing.  We’ve got a pill for everything, though.

What we need is community.  Locally grown fruits and vegetables.  Jobs that don’t steal hours out of our day just to get to.  Family and friends who value each other’s time and presence.  Parents who interact with their kids.  Less passive thinking and entertainment and more exercise.  A hobby that reflects our talents and sense of purpose.

Richest country in the world, most medicated country in the world, fattest and unhealthiest country in the western world.

Go figure.  Oh.  Whoops.  How’d that get there?  Didn’t realize I was standing on my soap box.  Let me put that back under the desk.


Living Room

My living space is more like a computer-centric console/sleeping capsule equipped with the optional musician’s package.  The bedroom is a storage area full of boxes.  And I’ve been here for, what, three years?  Five years?!

I want a big, comfortable bed.  I do.  A female friend told me once that I’m going to have to get furnished if I expect any play from the ladies (which I don’t).  I want a comforting, inviting space to come home to and retreat to.  I mean, a plush one.  I want good, durable furniture.  You know the kind.  Heavy-ass wood that’s a pain in the butt to move.

I want it spotless and organized.  Thing is, chances are it’s not going to get that way if I have to do it.

I was trying to explain to another friend how I find it really hard to get the place straightened up and normal.  Or how I want to move but moving is a pain.  She didn’t really sympathize.  Of course, she can start looking for an apartment on Sunday, find one by Wednesday, be moved in by Saturday and mostly furnished by Sunday night.  No joke.  I wish she were here.  I’d hire her to help me sort this mess out.

All this got me thinking.  What does your life say about what you value?  For better and for worse.

Don’t get me wrong.  I could get this place taken care of but it would take a tremendous amount of energy and focus.  If someone’s visiting I can get it in order and clean in a few hours.  But the daily routine.  When I’m commuting to work or at work, I think about making music and writing all day.  And mountain biking if it’s Summer.

When I get home, I’m bushed but I want to create something.  That’s where my time and energy goes.  By the time the weekend rolls around I savor the chance to sleep in a little.  If I do the Baltimore commute I go hang out with the family.  And of course, that’s the time to really catch up on all the ideas ponging back and forth in my head.  Or Blockbustering.  Space invading. Missile Commanding.  Tanking.  Yar’s Revenging?

All that doesn’t leave much time and energy (in my current frame of mind) for domestic stuff.  So I suck at it.

I realize that everyone has 24 hours a day.  Some people do amazing things with it.  Some people do next to nothing with it.  Most of us are somewhere in between with some days being more constructive than others.  If I were really organized I’d do something like … like one of my cousins suggested.  Pick one room per weekend.  Or every day take 10 minutes to clean up something.

Of course, if I had the discipline for that it’d already be clean.

Homebody or Nomad

Which are you?  Archie Bunker or Kwai Chang Cain?

I was trying to explain to a friend why I don’t want to buy a house.  Why I don’t have the energy to maintain a house.  Go through all the rigamarole.  Furnish it.  Tend the yard.  Repairs.  Property taxes.  In that moment, I felt like a slacker.

Tim the Tool Man or Jack Reacher?

It is my contention that our society jams a lot of square pegs into round holes.  Give me freedom and give me life.

What About You?

So I can’t be the only weirdo out here.  What does your life say about you?  What kind of things do you let slip?  And what do you invest that energy into?


A Perfect Circle

Bobby Hutcherson

Our Love
Brian Culbertson

The Love You Save
The Jackson 5

Isn’t She Lovely
Stevie Wonder

He Is
Heather Headley

Tears of a Clown
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

Smoke And Ashes
Tracy Chapman

Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
The Temptations

The Bird and the Bee

Goodnight Elisabeth
Counting Crows

Modern Love
David Bowie

Me Gustas Tu
Manu Chao

When Morning Comes
Dianne Reeves

“T” Thyme
B Shart Jazz Quartet

Just One Last Look
The Temptations

Til the Clouds clear

Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check
Busta Rhymes

Stone Temple Pilots

There is Always One More Time
B.B. King

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