DIARY OF A GUY WHO CAN'T RELAX, FEARS REJECTION AND HATES EVERYTHING
Or: Six reasons not to follow civilization out of the plane
(part one of an endless tirade)
MONDAY - My neck hurts like the muscles and bones have rusted together. Happened
as I slept. Need a new mattress. My whole life feels that way, like I've been
sleeping on a pile of rocks. Can't move without thinking about it. I still believe
I'm a good person and I love everybody (in the abstract) but now my life is
driven by tedious jealousy and a bitter sense of hedonistic failure. ("I tried
living for pleasure once. Wound up in a neck brace.")
Had a dream last night that several bicyclists had gotten flat tires in the
middle of the Arctic and were being torn apart by polar bears. We called the
bears grizzlies in the dream even though they were white. Dreams are like that.
Haven't gotten enough sleep for several weeks. I'll be busy for the next four
nights, meaning I'll be tired until Saturday at least. All evil in modern civilization
is nurtured by the fact that It's hard to give a shit about man's inhumanity
to man when I know I'll still be exhausted the day after the day after tomorrow.
Nobody understands my problems.
TUESDAY - Bitch bitch whine. I'm a swell guy during the day, then at night I
write in my journal just before I sleep and so I'm exhausted and the real me
comes out and pisses on everything. I hate people who are attractive while they
sleep. I hate the vile human phlegm that started a 900 number to "poll" people
about their opinions on the OJ case at $1.95 a minute, like taxing the retarded.
The wrong people are being punished.
I hate every comedian on cable TV, mistaking nauseated moans for laughs. I watched
cable at Evan's for an hour today - I know I was surrendering to the drug of
television for this brief experiment, but it all looked so alien and eerie that
my hour's viewing felt like the sociological study I'd hoped it was. There was
a Spanish-language "Gong Show" with eight-year-old kids as the judges, each
proudly speaking with perfect enunciation, like smug, miniature newscasters
in bright dresses and suits. The lumbering middle-aged host curled over to speak
to them like he'd been dropped through the basement of broadcast television
into the pit just below Satan's bathroom, crouching down for fear of bumping
his head on the hot floor of some slightly higher plane of Hell.
Watching game shows in a language you don't understand is a good way to jump
past the pretense that something relevant is happening and skip right to the
realization that you're watching an enactment of our contemporary misinterpretation
of human sexuality, all the participants standing far apart and spinning wheels
and pushing buttons and screaming with televised excitement and kissing people
they've never met before without considering whether any of the insane ritual
is necessary because they're convinced it's their only hope of getting the money
and cars and washer/dryers and other orgasmic capitalist vibrating pulltoys
they need to lift them above the lonely impoverished sewer that is the rest
of their lives.
Cable standup-comedy shows are worse. The fact that they're so redundantly unfunny
- the suburban audience howling like electrocuted monkeys at yet another masturbation
reference, ha ha - makes me suspect that these shows mask some covert hypnotic
psychological agenda that's already drugged most of the country. It's the people
who never put down the remote control who end up watching the most appalling
broadcasts, thinking they can "quit any time they want to." (Most heroin addicts
will tell you that after a while, the ritual of injecting the drug is more exciting
than the drug itself.)
I used to think I wasn't one of the zombies until a friend told me about the
High Expectation Trap: McDonald's knows that if you expect a great hamburger
and you get a mediocre hamburger you'll keep coming back forever, still looking
for that great hamburger you almost got last time. If you got the great hamburger
you expected, you'd experience closure and you wouldn't need to come back. That's
why I used to stand two feet from my parents' television watching MTV at three
in the morning, waiting to see one good video. That's why I keep buying stale,
tasteless chocolate bars. That's why I've always pursued unattainable women
- because I haven't completed the experience by ever succeeding with one. Tomorrow's
my birthday. I need to grow up.
WEDENSDAY - I turned 28 today, and life is no different. I get furious at those
idiots that joke "Today I turned 30 and stopped paying attention to traffic
lights. Guess I'm depressed, ha ha." It's only an anniversary, moron. It's a
coincidence that we count years in groups of ten. If we counted in base eight,
the sixteen-year-olds would be twenty and they wouldn't be happy about it. The
twenty-four-year-olds would be thirty and they'd wonder why they were supposed
to be so depressed about their age so soon after they were allowed to drink.
Adolescents are depressed because their hormones force them to be, while "adults"
get depressed because People Magazine says we're failures if we don't each have
a miniseries and a triumph over amphetamines to call our own.
"I thought my life was right on schedule until I figured out I'm a complete
failure in dog years."
THURSDAY - The 1944 Boy Scout Manual has a section on masturbation. It takes
sixteen sentences to describe what it is, then it says not to do it about five
times, then it says to take a cold "hip bath" every night before bed, then it
says "Seek advice from wise, clean, strong men." I looked for comforting advice
about homosexuality, but I couldn't find any. Maybe that's what the "wise, clean,
strong men" thing was about.
Every male American should be required to tongue-kiss another guy before graduating
high school. Taste his saliva or repeat your senior year. Accept that just because
you haven't done it doesn't mean it's not worth doing. The Boy Scout pledge
says every scout should be loyal and honest and courteous, etc., and the only
scout I ever knew who managed to completely uphold that pledge was gay. We must
learn from this.
Went to Club Bondage-A-Go-Go last night. (Nothing about that in the Boy Scout
Manual either, and so I faced this new experience without proper moral guidance.)
I dunno, maybe I have a gift for looking at people in patent-leather leotards
getting spanked in public and seeing goofy smiling folks roasting marshmallows.
The illusion of an enveloping world of sin and sensuality was not complete.
The problem is, that "world of sin and sensuality" is the "reality" I'm so afraid
of losing touch with...the "illusion" is that the inarticulate, flaccid civilization
of our everyday lives should be considered our "natural state". And yet real
excitement and emotions only come out when we're on camera, gleefully accepting
the fabulous prizes we've just snatched away from the other contestants. I hope
I'm making all this up.
FRIDAY - Thought about Christine for over an hour, how stupid our breakup was
and she's the only person I could ever have a relationship with and my life
is a lonely pit and I blame her for my suffering and all that. I won't call
her again - if I've learned anything in the last seven months, it's that this
breakup was permanent.
Saw Lara's play. She was supposed to set me up with a friend who didn't show
up. "Be warned", Lara said, "she's gorgeous...scorching." She said it like she
was warning a blind man not to drive. "I'm not saying she's too attractive for
you, Marty. I'm just saying she might not appreciate the real you until you're
trapped together in a filthy prison where no one else speaks English."
Dreamed last night that they was asking for brave volunteers to be declared
beloved and popular, torn to pieces by the adoring crowd and reassembled by
modern surgical technology. Only a strong, healthy volunteer could hope to survive
having legs torn off and ribs pulled apart, whole body chopped into cold pieces
and sewn back together. It would be passing through the eye of the needle, through
the portal no living mortal could successfully navigate.
There's got to be an easier way to find fulfillment.
SATURDAY - I didn't buy the custom kickass stereo I saw for $40 at a garage
sale today and I'm an idiot. I wasted $60 last month on speakers I'll never
use because I don't have the right stereo and now I could have bought the perfect
stereo but I didn't want to spend the money and I'm an idiot. For the rest of
my life I'm going to think of that stereo, how I could have not bought the speakers
and bought the stereo and I'd still have twenty bucks left. Whenever I need
twenty bucks I'm going to think of that stereo and those speakers and I'll decide
never to have children because I wouldn't want to pass my bitterness on to them.
"I felt bad because I had no shoes, then I met a man who paid $40 for the stereo
I knew I wanted but I was saving for some shoes so I didn't buy it and now I
don't have a stereo or shoes. Pity me."
Later realized, scrambling across Geary Boulevard, that getting hit by a car
would put all this in perspective. There's something really stupid in human
nature dictating that we need a constant stream of increasingly monumentous
disasters to make us realize how great life was last week. Human beings are
the dumbfucks of the universe. Unsatisfied with life, we leave the places we
know and the people we love to go out and cross the Earth in search of wisdom,
wisdom we could have gained in simply getting hit by a car. Lying broken on
the street, we'd gain sudden insight: life is the process of falling out of
bed onto a greasy block of ice, over and over and over. To understand life is
to enjoy the comfort of the bed, not the comfort of the fact that you'll still
be in bed next week. Tomorrow, you may be lying bloody and broken on Geary boulevard,
abandoned and unloved, wishing you owned a stereo.
1996 Martin Azevedo
ej@templeofdominoes dot com