Friday, part 2

I admit to feeling a great deal of stress these days. This is not unusual for me, though most characterise me as someone seemingly free from it. Last year I felt a particularly type of dark stress. I felt as if my rock after another was being placed upon me. I thought I would survive, but it was not pleasant, nor easy. Though it was very hard – the hardest 12 months of my life – it could have been worse I think. If there is a virtue in hitting rock bottom it is that you have nothing more to lose. You find yourself possessed of a fatalistic resignation. Even when bad things continue to happen you find yourself wryly smiling even as you feel the body blows.

It’s very different now. I’ve come out of that and feel strong, but I’m aware also that now I have much to lose. It’s a scary responsibility, particularly when you choose to take to the high wire, as I have. Don’t look down is the tip, but it’s hard not peering into the dark depths every so often.

Since taking over the massage shop – a venture of great promise, as well as great risk – my thoughts and feelings have taken on a daily cycle, from hope and optimism to fear and frustration. Each night I sleep with thoughts racing through my head and the worse case scenarios not far from my conscious mind; and each day I wake to a new day thinking just do it, can’t worry about what has happened. As the day progresses I find myself gradually ground down by the frustrations of doing business.

This is pretty reasonable I suspect. My frustration is easy to imagine. If we look at the last week I’ve forgone about a $1,000 worth of massages because I didn’t have the people to serve them. Most of that is profit. The glass half full perspective is that the business is there if I can get reliable people in place. The glass half empty view is that it can’t go on like this, and what’s to say that my staffing issues will ever be properly resolved?

As the day goes on then I feel a rising tide of frustration. I’m like dog tethered to a stake. I strain at the leash wanting to free myself, to charge ahead and just do. Or else I’m that same dog circling one way around the stake, and then the other, wondering what to do.

This is where I found myself last night, once again.

I had my dinner, I watched TV, all the while feeling this in the pit of my stomach. It’s an ever-present tension. While I watch the TV my mind goes off trying to figure things out. I don’t truly rest, not ever, but I think that’s the lot of the business owner. I think of ways and means. I make calls, put ads online. Dark thoughts shadow me. The buoyancy of earlier in the day is gone completely, replaced by what seems a pragmatic and reasonable fear grounded in reality. I know it can be – in the morning I know it will be – but for now I don’t know how. Then the mind shifts again.

It’s tiring to be like this. And pointless after a while. It’s dark outside, the weekend is here, life is more.

I flick between stations on TV. I stumble across Eyes Wide Shut. I watch for 15 minutes, the story well known to me. Now my mind goes in another direction. Dream Story – the story which the film is based on – is one of my very favourite. And sitting there after 10 on a Friday night I suddenly wish there was someone I could talk to about this. There is no-one. For one of the rare times I feel a kind of loneliness, more intellectual than emotional. Still, I wish I could share. I wish I could open my mouth and just speak. I wish there was someone there to listen fondly, to understand, to interact in the conversation. I wish there were someone for whom this was important as well.

By now the massage shop is a thousand miles from my mind. The Nietzschean man of destiny is far away. In the dark there is no will to power. Instead I imagine myself going out into the world, in sitting across the table from the girls I date and dispensing with the usual round of chit chat and flirtation and asking instead, do you know who Arthur Schnitzler is? It’s to my despair that I meet so few people, female or male, who do, or might even care. As I prepare for bed it feels like a bitter joke, but I’m not prepared to leave it there. I realise how much the Schnitzler’s mean to me, and the life I have built around them, a life of contemplation, consideration, occasional inspiration and, every so often, a moment of transcendence. I miss that, I think. It seems something that in all the to-ing and fro-ing of the last couple of years as if it has gone by the wayside. Not tonight then.

I pour myself a glass of Rutherglen Muscat, and then hunt through my bookshelves for my copy of Schnitzler – in fact I have two. It’s virtually the first book I see, and I pluck it from the shelves and take it and the glass of Muscat to my bedroom. In bed I reach out to my iPhone, to the Sonos controller app, and scroll to the classical music genre. And I begin to read once more – for perhaps the eighth time – Dream Story, while Bach and Beethoven play in the background.

Today is another day. I woke with a hard-on, always a happy and well-received portent. Yes, there are problems to be overcome, but so be it. Now, as I write this, Rachmaninov plays, soon I will walk down the shops for my weekly groceries, and afterwards will head into the shop.

Next week, perhaps, I quest for the mythical girl who knows Dream Story front to back, like I do.

Writing about H

English: Old Reading road Not too clear but wa...

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Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been given cause to revisit much that I had previously posted to this blog, going all the way back to the start. The catalyst for this has been a person far from here who has cottoned onto this site and has been reading it with an almost obsessive zeal. I watch, bemused, as the stats wrack up. Occasionally I’ll get a message from the person about one particular post or another, to which I’ll politely respond. I’m curious and also fatalistic. I don’t know what they’ll find or what they’ll think, but that is no real cause for concern. In a way this blog puts me on the public record, and I can’t expunge what I’ve already committed to writing, and have no desire to censor the story – erratic I’m sure – that is occasionally presented. It is me after all, for good or bad.

While I have watched this feat of reading I have myself occasionally clicked on some of the links from a sense of curiosity and occasional nostalgia. I find myself reading wondering how other people take this in. I am always writing for myself – but how does the audience receive what are often quite self-indulgent posts? Gradually as I read I find that curiosity recede. In place of it I find myself recalling moments that had slipped from me. I read things and surprise myself now realising that while often enigmatic, my words frequently have the veneer of deeply considered wisdom. If only!

It’s probably not the done thing, but I find myself appreciating the man who could think and feel so deeply before attempting to transcribe those thouse thoughts and feelings for the world. Much of what I wrote may be mysteries to others – I am coy often, and archly reticent – but even if I have forgotten some of the people I refer to, the sense of what I write is always clear to me.

As I read I recall the different stages of my life the posts reflect. Unlike any reader who stumbles across my blog, I have the benefit of complete context – I lived it after all. And so as I read I recall the moments and the incidents that prompted me to write. I remember the things about it, often incidental, which go unreported here. You get the high notes here, but in my mind and my memory I can still recall the tune whole, the slow movements as well as the dramatic.

Reading again gives me context on the present also. I realise, or remember, that I have experienced most things at least once before. The good things you never forget, and the bad – often forgotten – you’ve obviously found a way to survive. That’s a reassuring note. We all know when trouble looms how overwhelming it can seem, so inescapable in fact. There’s no guarantees of anything – even escape – but given you’ve done it before countless times, have taken on adversity time and again and survived, there is sense of perspective and confidence. She’ll be right.

Reading back too it seems to me that my blog is a mix of things I’ve reported externally – from politics to movie reviews to commentary on my travels; and, more significantly, reports on my internal movements, the things I think, I feel, the torturous road I’ve followed. It’s very clear in re-reading that I’m strongly heterosexual, motivated by a combination of powerfully insistent lust, all the way through to a tender romanticism that makes the present day H blush. There’s a lot about women here.

I don’t know what it says about me, but the things I’ve forgotten are often incidental contacts, some of which appeared to be far more at the time. As an exercise the other night I lay in bed and tried to figure out how many women I’d had sex with in the last 12 months. It was a figure I found myself revising by the moment, recalling banal and insignificant encounters that had faded to the back of my mind: sometimes sex is only that. In another year I’ll have forgotten some of those encounters altogether. You remember what is important, the rest drifts away.

I thought that this morning as I woke up. I had dreamt overnight of a girl I used to work with and like. We still have some incidental contact via Facebook. You know how it is sometimes you feel surprise at the events unveiled? So it was in this dream with the girl making a b-line to me in a public forum and making it clear she wanted to be with me. Ok then, fair enough – she’s cute after all.

I thought of the dream and then thought how many times have I had such a dream and written of it here – or even not bothered to write of? Likewise moments when I’ve met with, or flirted, or even bedded some woman? It’s just normal, just life, just another small blip on the radar. Ultimately this is what this blog has become: it charts a journey, the small things, the big things, the sorrow and joy, the angst and desire, failures and successes, the map that has led me from there to here, and ahead a road uncharted but surely to be described.