It’s been a while since I’ve fallen off a bike. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden one at all

I have nothing momentous to talk about, which seems proof as any that I’m coming back down to Earth.

Yesterday was understandably tough. The world felt muted and dull. I’ve heard that’s a pretty common experience when returning from a burn. I went home and made some low rent chicken soup. I played Magic: Arena and watched a couple of episodes of Fleabag. I slept. I dreamed of mundane things like being on a bus. Some old woman walked on and kicked the shit out of the Presto machine. Everyone cheered. In another dream I visited an Air BnB. The host pulled a creepy doll out of a closet and told me how she’d performed a seance to summon a demon. It’d inhabited this doll, which if anything may have toned down its creep factor. The demon decided it wanted to eat my soul. I told it that in dreams I always seemed to have telekinetic powers. I harnessed my telekinetic powers to keep the demon doll at bay, but somehow failed to connect the dots that I was in a dream. One more potential lucid dreaming situation wasted.

Apparently the N.F.L. will fine teams if their players kneel through the national anthem. Hah. What a bullshit rule in a shitty sport composed of posturing. If that ain’t the most ridiculous, ‘MURICA regulation I’ve ever heard. As someone who genuinely likes his country’s national anthem (well, the Maori version anyway), all the hubbub surrounding them is fucking stupid. Going back to ol’ Benedict Anderson, the notion of national pride is pretty absurd. It’s a set of geographical boundaries and somehow that’s grounds to treat them as sacred? The cultural milieu that exists within the landmass of Canada spans the entire world. Not only ethnicities, but religious, gender, sexual and subcultural variation. What does a national identity provide for its citizens, enough that adherence to its tenets is something that requires respect? In most cases, nations certainly don’t respect a wide swath of their citizens. Subtracting someone’s ability to make a stand for what they believe in seems entirely the antithesis of this supposed “freedom” that Americans love so much. I don’t give two shits about the game, but the concept of it having principles while subtracting the harmless rights of its players is a total joke. Is the U.S. identity so fragile that it can’t stand up to criticism or questioning? Poor little shaky male egos.

I got bored at work today, so I went outside to sit on a rock. It was a sizeable rock, this wasn’t some Princess and the Pea kind of thing or an exercise in shelving. I’m not sure what I expected. Did part of me think I was gonna postulate on some deep issues? In reality I went from sitting inside fucking around on the internet to sitting outside fucking around on the internet. The only differences being the rock in lieu of a seat and fresh air instead of air conditioning. Then I went on a swing. You forget how much abdominal work goes into swinging. You need to keep your core taught to maintain movement and centrifugal force. Leaning into the arc. Otherwise you get to the top then crash down. No grace. Without grace, what’s the point?

Let’s be real, there was none. I was just trying to kill time. As I was with that last sentence.

Ciao.

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Anyone need a spleen while I’m there?

Last night I dreamt that I had a rapid onset illness where my body stopped producing new cells. Untreated, I had a life expectancy of three days. We somehow caught it right away. My parents came over to Canada then whisked me away to London so one of the world’s top doctors could figure out what to do. It happened in what seemed like an instant and there was no chance to say goodbye to anyone. When I asked how long I’d be staying in this London lab I was told in an unwavering manner “this is your home now.” I asked about my girlfriend back home, our flat, my job. All my friends. They told me that was all over now, that there was science to be done. I was ostensibly not dying, but it didn’t seem like they had care for my quality of life. It felt a lot more like they were just intrigued by my condition and what a cure could mean for them on the global stage.

I got a message out to my girlfriend and told her our dark family secret. That my real estate parents had hidden genetic clones of me and my brothers in cryostasis, in the basements of three houses they’d sold over the years. She travelled to New Zealand and met up with one of my childhood friends. They cross-referenced every house my parents had sold with all houses currently on the market. They then posed as newlyweds pretending to be buying their first home and infiltrated every open home on the list, sneaking off to try find secret basements and hidden passages where my clone could be kept. Meanwhile I was wasting away as a London lab rat. Still alive, but barely more than a test subject.

I woke up really wanting to know how it ended. Did I die? Did my girlfriend find my clone? Was he an actualised person? Did I ever see her again?

It felt like a weird prescient dream given the events of last night. A friend hosted a birthday bonfire on the eve of Beltane. She read a passage on the Death card in Tarot rising with the pink moon. It emphasised the importance of letting old patterns and behaviours go. Beltane is a time of renewal and growth, part of that being death to held customs and anxieties. That in order to grow, it’s necessary to shed the known self and discover new potential. A time of transformation and the awakening of sexual energies. To discover your fertile self in every layer of meaning. Also we lit sparklers, which was dandy.

My spiritual belief cache has been barren for quite some time. It was nice, however, that the passage was written in a pretty down-to-earth manner that was easily relatable. We all feel stale from time to time, like we’d benefit from widened perspective. The idea of taking stock of where you’re at and questioning what brought you there is rarely a wasted exercise. It’d be no surprise for regular readers to hear that I’ve been feeling like I’ve hit a wall and stagnated. That I’ve been treading water long enough I’ve started to question weather or not my head is still above water. That not being dead doesn’t hold the same place as feeling truly alive.

Maybe the answer is to burn away those things inside me that no longer serve a purpose. Have I been getting in my way this entire time? What version of myself has yet to come out of cryostasis, held in reserve by a simulacrum past its expiration date?

Once I figure it out, I’ll make sure to light some sparklers.

Wait, how much potato are we talking here?

Do you ever remember a dream several days later?

A friend of mine (I’m not being intentionally vague, I feel like it was some homogeneous mash of people I know and love) and I were being billeted by some Texas family. Guns and trucks style Texans. Every single stereotype you can imagine rolled into one. Details are a little bit foggy, but I remember them living in this colossal house. I also know that we seemed to ideologically clash on virtually everything, to the point where staying with them got a bit tense. The house was riddled with guns. I mean, it was all a dream, so it’s only fitting that it got farcical. Still, wall mounted guns, gun cabinets in the lounge. I remember several guns leaning against the corner of the wall in the bathroom. This is clearly what my subconsciousness thinks of Texans.

They had several large gas guzzlers, but the kids had taken them for the weekend. The only vehicle left was my mum’s minivan she’d lent me for the trip. In reality, my mum doesn’t have a minivan. In this dream however, she had a huge pink van tricked out with all sorts of snazzy contraptions. My host dad was mortified and refused to drive it. Said it was the un-manliest vehicle ever to grace the Earth and he wouldn’t be caught dead being seen in it. Also, we needed (does anyone ever *need*?) to go to Costco for supplies. To assuage his fragile masculinity, the car had a device like that dumb Tomorrow Never Dies BMW Ericsson remote control. So this grown man slunk down in the back seat away from prying eyes and drove a large vehicle through the city streets via remote control. He’d periodically peek out the window to make sure nobody he knew was seeing him. He commanded his wife to do the same. We sat up tall and straight, all too happy to be seated in the lap of gaudiness.

Costco was a trip and a half. It was enormous and felt like a city in itself. The aisles were absurdly wide and the products went far beyond buying 12 packs of peanut butter. You could buy cars and shit. Those Tiny Houses you see in all those niche reno shows. I think I saw someone bringing a pony up to the cash register. I don’t remember much of what we bought, aside from the mum grabbing a 24 pack of pre-made pumpkin pies. We stopped off at the Costco café post shop to grab some grub. Notable was the $68 meal deal for two, which came with a mountain of mashed spuds, gravy, two substantial rib-eyes and a pair of rifles.

I’m not entirely sure how removed from reality this all is. Austin was nothing like this, but then again Austin is a weird liberal jewel in whatever four letter word we want to call Texas. Bigg? It’s funny to me that my brain looks at the state as a pair of truck nuts given geographical land mass. I was talking with someone about how much work this next generation is gonna have to put in to make life work. It’s obvious that even without being a part of the political divide in America, I’ve entirely built up such a strong series of prejudices. With the increasing divide in the world, what needs to happen in order for people to come together in a basic human capacity? Jesus, are we gonna need a Watchmen style universal villain to enter the fray and unite us? Hell, is there anything more 2018 than the Korean war possibly ending and a united Korea to be potentially more cohesive than the United States?

We’re living in a world far beyond the purview of dreams.

No sleep till London

Haaarumph. I’m starting this London trip off with a grumbly old whinge. And you know what? I’m waay up in the air, so there’s not a goddamn thing you can do to stop me. Let’s jump in and explore the plethora of things I can complain about.

First off, sleep. I want it. I didn’t get it. I did all the adequate preparation. I put in earplugs. I had a full belly and a glass of wine. I dunno, I saw an episode of Rugrats where Tommy had a glass of warm milk and it made him sleepy, so I guessed the adult equivalent should’ve worked. Did the wine need to be warm? I’m still wearing one of those goofy travel pillow things around my neck. I didn’t even toss on any in-flight entertainment. I just assumed if I was a good boy. did my chores and dreamed hard enough, literal dreams would come my way. Instead I felt uncomfortable in my seat for many hours, squirmed a lot and couldn’t drift off to sleep. I kept trying to sit up, then slunk down unintentionally. I put my socks back on (yeah, I’m one of those trash bags who goes bare footed on a flight) for traction but stil couldn’t get comfortable. Reclined or straight up, it didn’t matter. No rest for the wicked, wicked sick or Wicked the Musical, which is still running at the West End after all of these years. Maybe if the flight were longer than 6.5 hours I could’ve mustered something. As it stands, there’s an hour left and I’ve given up. I’ll just have to let those dreams be dreams.

What else? Oh, I know, everyone around me was watching Kingsman: Golden circle. Maybe not everyone, but enough of everyone to matter. The lady diagonally in front of me must’ve started as soon as she boarded. The lady to my direct right put it on about an hour and a half later. Have you ever tried not to watch the screens of those around you in-flight? It’s a Sisyphean task. You look away, then your eyes dart back to the screens again and that rock rolls right down. Because their screening schedules pincered me in, I feel like I’ve already seen the plot points play out. It looks like a fun, trashy, silly film. I’d love to watch it, but I feel like I already have. This of course was compounded by the fact that the gal in front of me chose to use subtitles. Brutal. I’ll save it for the flight back.

Actually, that’s one more point of contention. The film selection is fucking great and there’s no way I’m gonna have the time to see everthing I want to. Kingsman is a given now, but they also have Shape of Water, The Square, Dunkirk, and Coco. It’s only an 8 hour flight back. How am I meant to watch all those films. Plus it’s a daytime flight, which means there’s zero point in sleeping. What’s the bet I’ll conk out as soon as my ass hits the seat? London, you better have several ass-loads of coffee, that’s all I’m sayin’. Coffee: For when you need to compensate for sleep and a personality simultaneously.

WHAT ELSE? I need to hurry, because the sense of completion I’m getting through accomplishing this entry is rapidly diminishing my (admittedly put-upon) stroppy mood. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a task and a half being bitter when I’m en route to one of the biggest cities in the world. I’ve got over a week of visiting old friends, drinking delicious ales, eating too much and maybe seeing a West End show ahead of me. I hope you appreciate the effort I’m putting in to maintain dourness for your amusement. So what if I maybe managed ten minutes of sleep in the past 24 hours? They’re serving morning drinks! Plus I still have half a manwich in my bag.  Life is defiantly great right now, so any harumph I can muster only has half my heart behind it. I’m trying, folks.

Ugh, sorry. I’m all out of grumbles to give. I dunno, my lips are really chapped or something? Nah, I’m out. I’ll catch you all up tomorrow. Maybe after a decent rest.

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

I’m not sure why, but I’m in a real punchy, combative mood at today. I just feel unsettled, like there’s a crest within arm’s reach and I’m simmering in the boring body of the wave. As if all I need is to break through to what lies beyond and I’ll be surfing on top of the world. Whatever expectations I had getting out of bed, today has fallen short.

Maybe I feel cheated after waking up. I had some bananas party dream. A huge group of us had rented out a mansion on an island and everything was top shelf. We were stocked with high end liquor, the place was spacious, stylish and lavish to the extreme. Pretty sure there were several hot tubs. Even cooler, there were random platforms and hidden areas strewn throughout. Some areas were accessible only by descending ladders or climbing ropes. It was like a video game. Every now and again there’d be a cool looking nook or cranny that required a leap of faith, coupled with pulling yourself up. At some stage during the weekend, a guy from work (who I’ve never hung out with outside the office) tapped me on the shoulder and told me to follow him.

He began an assortment of parkour manoeuvres and I responded in kind, keeping a few steps behind him. We jumped off structures, there were flips, tunnels where we crawled on our bellies and an actual cave. With no trepidation, I jumped down the hole and looked around. It was a glorious video arcade. They had everything. All the Capcom Vs series, the classic MAME consoles, every permutation of DDR you could imagine, a wall of shooting games, pinball and those fairground games where you win tickets to exchange for prizes. It was a dream come true, but as I woke to the real world, my dream had not come true. There was no arcade. Just my bedside table and a clock with twenty minutes until I had to get up. I felt cheated.

It’s silly, because at the end of the day I don’t have much to complain about. I’m going to a space pirate toga party tonight. Knowing the crew (pun actually not intended), it’s surely gonna be bacchanalian as hell. There’ll be a ton of friends I haven’t seen in ages. The kind of folks who attend these events are raucous, but not necessarily inconsiderate. I’m sure there’ll be heaps of awesome costumes, stellar performances and wicked conversation. I’ll have a bunch of drinks then get rowdy myself. My kind of party, my kind of night.

At the moment though? At the moment I’m almost craving an argument. I want someone to come at me so I can snap back and reduce them to rubble. It makes no sense, right? I’m not that kind of person.

Maybe Bumble is making me angry. Perhaps I’m tired of self proclaimed yogis (get yourself a girl who can do this), people who are fluent in sarcasm and dog moms. People who use Instagram as a stand in for a personality. Those seeking a “partner in crime” or “something real”. The foodies, fitness freaks and fun enthusiasts. Anyone writing “Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose” unironically. I’m here chastising people and realistically I’m no better. Before I thought better of it, my profile picture was of me and an errant lynx I found wandering around the workplace. Of course people are gonna see that as me with a sedated big cat and see me as an asshole, even though the real story was far from that. I’m doing the same with them too, right? Drawing quick inferences from a few pictures and words? I hate the system and I want to know more that 500 characters will give me. Also it’s weirding me out that I keep seeing people who work at the same company. It feels seedy and intrusive. Like I now know a side of them I wasn’t meant to. That’s a vulnerable position and I don’t feel right having that information.

But mostly I’m missing my arcade. That’s the worst betrayal of all.

Apparently sweet dreams are made of cheese.

I often have odd dreams. Don’t know why. Last night I had a bunch to drink and ate a considerable quantity of cheese before bed. I was prepped. I think my subconsciousness delivered.

I was on holiday with two of my friends somewhere. Let’s call them Friend Q and X. I’m not sure where, it was a dream. We had to get to our Air BnB but we’d drastically underestimated how far it was. We stopped off at a car rental place to check out their deals, in case it worked out more affordable that way. Q went to talk to the clerk while I looked around. A couple of seconds later, X came up to me giggling mischievously. He had some woman’s magazine with a sealed section in the middle. He looked at me and pulled out the sealed section, putting the magazine back.

An alarm sounded, panels on the walls shifted and folks in hazmat suits walked out. I grabbed my friend at the counter and yelled “we’ve gotta scram!” X called out and told us to follow him. He bolted and we scrambled to catch up. We got outside and couldn’t see him. Suddenly we heard him yell “hey guys” and a huge horn sounded out. He was in the driver’s seat of one of those massive trucks that transport cars. We jumped in and drove off.

The hazmat folks were chasing us Terminator 2 style. We were in reverse and driving up an impossibly steep road (physically unreal roads are a common motif in my dreams. Don’t know why). They started gaining on us. Q said she had an idea. And jumped out to the back of the truck. She began undoing the chains holding the cars in. I nodded and signalled to X to serve back and forth. I joined Q in the back and pushed the cars with all my uncanny dream strength. They tumbled out the sides and down the hill to take down the hazmat people. With the weight lifted, we zipped up the hill and made our escape.

We got to the Air BnB and couldn’t believe how spacious it was. A Japanese house, complete with sliding doors and futons. There were nigh endless rooms and the place was all ours. It was astounding. I congratulated Q on finding such an awesome place on a tight budget. X whispered to me “hey Leon, check it out”. He was holding up the sealed section he’d swiped earlier and grinning like a loon.

A fun, silly, action packed adventure. Pete Holmes is right in saying how cool it is that every night we get to close our eyes and our brain makes movies for us. I don’t know why my friend was so mischievously pervy, but I do know the journey would’ve been far less fun without his odd proclivities.

Ice have my doubts.

It’s easy to forget how miserable winter can be. As soon as the chill passes each year, I’m not thinking back to the constant downer of February snow. It’s hard to recall being totally unmotivated to leave the house, or the bone deep frost that grips your fingers for minutes after you’ve taken shelter inside.

Please don’t think that was a thematically relevant intro. I just wanted to complain about my cold index finger and explain why I’m typing so slowly on my phone. Of course, giving that backstory adds very little flavour. I’m sure you had no idea I was a) typing slowly or b) on my phone. Surprise, motherfuckers! Wait, that was rude of me to accuse you of incest. I apologise. If only my fingers weren’t so frosty, I could’ve averted my muscle movements meandering menacingly, mired in mean moral morasses. My oh my, this went off the rails. Speaking of which, in further unnecessary exposition I’m on the subway. Surprise!

If I sound glib, it’s cause I am. The winter doesn’t merely chill my fingers, but has a numbing effect on my desire to do much of anything. Hah! I bet you didn’t expect me to circle back to the intro, did you? No incest accusation this time, but I hope I’m not without the capacity for left field loops to throw you for. Sentences aren’t supposed to be ended propositions with? I digress (which could’ve been the back up name for this writing project). It’s hard to get excited when the world outside is doing all it can to quash progress. It’s a personal thaw point, if you will. My mood drops with the temperature and I discover hibernation as a method of self-preservation.

The same existential dread that’s making my existence dreadful is seeping into my resting hours. I’m not doing a great job of staying asleep and when I am, my dreams are filled with obvious anxiety. Why else would I have developed this recurring motif of impossibly steep roads. I think I’m up to two or three dreams where the path has followed a gravitationally frightening arc. Even the following day, I intimately remember the trepidation of traversing that track. I’m sure any experienced astral traveller could give me a simple explanation. Maybe it’s stress manifesting. It could be that deep inside I know a way out of my personal rut, but fear the work it’ll take to ascend to that point. Perhaps it’s a fear of failure manifested as falling. If I don’t reach my desired outcome, my brain tells me that I’ll plummet back to earth and crash. In actuality, it’d probably just lead me down another road. All experience is useful in one way or another. So often what we register as failure is merely ourselves taking an unexpected route.

Which is another way to say, I’m at home now and hours have passed since I started that paragraph. The passage of time means so little in this format. Come to think of it, time’s length shrinks in the rear view mirror. So one day this winter will seem naught but a ghost of the past. It’s so easy to forget how miserable winter can be.