Winter continues and so does life. I am looking out onto a shiny wet Bloor Street. Cars pass by in the dusk and I feel so close to them I could almost reach out to touch their sides as they slowly float by like fish gliding against an ocean current.
People walk by packed up tight due to the cold temperature, steam puffing out of their mouths as they hurry along somewhere important. It all looks very common and somewhat uninspiring. The kind of scene we see and seen on days we will never remember. I push my thumbnail against the top edge of my bottom front teeth and wear away at it as I look out half at my translucent reflection and half at the movement outside. It’s Friday and busy in the city. With my back to the interior of the coffee shop I type knowing there are a few older homeless men taking refuge from the unfavourable temperature outside. I pull my phone close and feel sort of on edge for no apparent reason. I stop typing, rest my chin on my open hand and daze out the window again for a few seconds waiting to see what might come into my head. I am looking for an idea, a notion, a feeling, something that might infuse purpose to this post.
No story. No inspiration. Just time, and the effort of the mundane. This is not a problem or a complaint. This is just where I am right now. In a coffee shop with a computer typing something.
Same shit different day.
A bright sunny cold morning sitting in an old cold metal chair at a place called Darkhorse Coffee on Spadina Ave. I am drinking a hot glass tumbler of rooibos tea with caramel. The windows are fogged up enough to make it look like we are all sitting in an over-humid terrarium. I leave my coat on to stay warm. Outside bikes are buried sprocket deep in snow, people squish through the slush. I notice an old Asian woman ambling along with what looks like a new pair of red velvet slippers with a thin black sole. It makes me think of the time I was in Beijing and witnessed a construction worker operating a jackhammer with dress pants and black patten leather dress loafers with shiny gold buckles.
The sky is blue and all is well in the world with exception to the creeping draft of cold air that encircles my legs pulling me out of the moment and the comfort of my hot tea and warm coat.
Again I find myself sitting here with no purpose to write. I want to write, have a need to write; but have nothing to say as of yet. It may warrant why my posts have been sparse lately. For me it takes something to make me write something in most cases. When there is nothing to say I guess I could always resort to fiction but lately I find it somewhat hard to tolerate. Lately the idea of writing fiction feels pretentious. Reading it is a little better but even at most times I throw something identified as good down in frustration or just non-interest. Sticking with books is getting harder and harder to do. I know it sounds egocentric but they just don’t seem smart enough or interesting enough. It’s me I know. Perhaps just a lazy excuse.
The door opens and another splash of ice-water cold hits my legs. It makes the skin on my thighs tighten up.
I am biding my time here before I head over to the AGO to take a look at the Basquiat installation there. I like to go to the gallery alone. It is kind of like going to the movies alone. You get to experience your emotions and reactions without the influence of others directly. A good way to collect and assemble your thoughts. Just walking through the gallery without any real hurry or agenda, no need to see or look at what your company is looking at. Its like drifting.
I pull a picture off of the web to attach to this post, you saw it already if you have gotten this far. I just realize that the table I am sitting at , its’ surface is made out of an old bowling alley floor. How many times have I sat here and not ever noticed. It’s like making a hidden discovery in the middle of what you thought to be so expected. It flares up my excitement for a few seconds, inspires me. The soundtrack from the film Whiplash clashes out of my headphones. It switches from that to Muddy Waters, then Kings of Leon. Somehow they all fit together.
I like where I am right now. I feel like I am in a good spot. Lately I feel like I have begun to interpret things differently. Things in general, all things. Somehow I can profess that my outlook has evolved more, or lets say I just feel more grounded in the day-to-day. Maybe the radar of my general purpose in life has readjusted or tuned itself to a different, more practical frequency?
I know whopie-shit right, what do you care? Mood is so fleeting. How I wish we could adjust a dial that would make us behave the way we wanted either all of the time or at specific instances. A dial that had settings on it like: super focussed, compassionate, determined, creative with purpose, analytical, brave, caring and sensitive, selfless, selfish, alpha-male, jiggolo, and clown setting. If only we could decide and control our moods at will, rather than depending on our intentions.
We get what we get, but sometimes we do get what I would call breakthroughs, at least I do. Things that seem to inspire or evoke a higher plane of understanding or new way of looking at things – thinking. I struggle with purpose and meaning in life all the time. One random day I asked Daniela how she dealt with feeling purposeful or not and I got an interesting answer/perspective that added to my perception of it. Her answer was in the context of how others rely on her for quality and life enrichment – because we mean something to others she sees purpose in life.
Embarrassingly I never really saw it that way, or never thought to construct such values into my perception of purpose. I was all about the doing and the accomplishing. The curse of having pre-determined defined goals that we choose for whatever reasons like “I am a writer” “I am an Artist” “I am a Cyclist”
We decide on who we are or what we think we want to be sometimes just for the notions and perceptions of what that profile may bring to the party for ourselves or others to view. We set up a roster of things we want to do or achieve and then define ourselves around them – then when they don’t pan out or we avoid or lack the determination to pull off our set up profile we suffer a sense of false identity crisis.
My guess is what we do the most is a closer example of who we are. But to be honest I am starting to confuse myself with all of this, and its getting a little too existential for me. Isn’t our fascination with all things existential supposed to end after our 20’s? Jesus I must be far far behind everyone else. I better redefine myself so I can attempt to catch up. Yes, that’s it. I will become something else.
I confess that after 50 years it does get tiring seeing the same person in the mirror. There are only so many hairstyles and facial hair combinations a person can utilize to add variety. Add to that the aging process and it almost seems healthier to remove the mirrors in your home after the age of 40-45. The problem with this is we would all be going out in public with spinach in our teeth and whatever else wrong with us.
Also after age 40 my guess is most of us are completely different people on the inside than we are on the outside. Too bad all we mostly see of the general population is the shell or hide of all the personalities surrounding us. The shell and the formalities of cordial behaviour.
Time to go mingle with those that are not what they appear.