|Kaka drawing. "The Thinker," 1913|
5 a.m. Coffee black, no riff raff as I sit in the kitchen, hands in detatched-like motion. I’m wearing a bathrobe, black T-shirt, socks and plaid lounge pants. I guess I could live in lounge pants and drink beer all day if I weren’t so wired with chaotic motivation.
Soon I’m in my car. The radio in my mind starts signaling premonitions of perdition at the worksite. I’m contemplating creation, worrying over what I’ll invent today. What if I endure the stress of achieving something and risk losing my grounding under onrushing vanity? “God, please don’t let me get past myself.”
What would I do without a job to bring needed balance and a sort of terrorism to my life? There’s a moment when I die a little after entering the parking lot across the street from the old building I work in. It’s said to be haunted, as unaccounted for slamming and voices coming from the attic have been reported late at night by employees burning the midnight oil.
Ignition still running, heat on, I pray in a desperate voice much like Jimmy Stewart did in that scene at the bar in It’s a Wonderful Life. “Please God, you know I can’t let anyone down.”
P/C Production capacity
I'm the only one in my department, the others taking time off and it all rests on me. Veronica sits at her desk near mine but she’s of a different department. I play a YouTube video of a horrible song. I’d heard about 30 seconds of on NPR’s Marketplace as I turned left on Fifth Avenue.
“Let’s get physical, physical.” Veronica laughs and unable to take it anymore, I delete the whole thing. It was gross, all those men in the plastic looking gym, their junk hanging out for all to see.
I look at lists, jot tasks on pink Sticky notes, check email, charge my Android phone, study designs.
Sometimes when I feel lots of pressure, I recite the Gettysburg Address: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing…”
And sometimes I sing. Loudly and bad on purpose.
“Umm, have you ever heard Meatloaf’s 1977 album, Bat Out of Hell?” I ask Veronica, thinking maybe she hasn’t because she’s young. In her early 30s, I’d guess.
“Of course,” she says.
I WANT YOU I NEED YOU BUT THERE AIN’T NO WAY (lilting in the voice) I’M EVER GONNA LOVE YOU SO DON’T BE SAD, DON’T BE SAD (pause, breath) 'CUZ TWO OUT OF THREE AIN’T BAD
“We heard you way over here,” Erika in graphic design says jovially.
“When I die,” I say, “they can play this song at my funeral.”
Piano keys. Later I beat my hands lightly against the desk as the song plays quietly. Sing a few words. “You Cath-o-lic girls start much too late…You got a brand new soul, mmm, and a cross of gold.”
Pope Francis is in the news as he often is. (Mom told me when she was a kid, J. Edgar Hoover was always in the newspaper.) Veronica tells me she’s Catholic, but not a practicing Catholic.
“Neat,” I say. “Lots of history in the Catholic Church.”
“Lots of shit in the Catholic Church,” she says.
Then I get lost in work, feeling thrills and agony, not losing myself. I’m told I have grace and good customer relations.
I think what a good thing it was that I took my medication this morning. Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine, a psychoactive class of drugs with amnestic, sedative and hypnotic qualities. It is not Xanax, but is of the Xanax family. One thing I really like is how Clonazepam was mentioned in that zombie show, The Walking Dead. I watch it Sunday nights with Maria and her family, much like we used to gather to watch Breaking Bad.
Sometimes when driving home to Maria, Max and Gabby, the song pops into my head. “..cuz all I want to do is cash my check and drive right home to you,” the theme song to the early ‘00s sitcom, King of Queens, as sung by Billy Vera, a working musician since the ‘60s who also had a hit in the ‘80s with “At this Moment” from the sitcom Family Ties, as regarded the romance between Alex and Ellen before Tracy Pollan was replaced with the wooden Courtney Cox, one of many jump the shark plot lines to befall the NBC comedy, which aired Thursday nights following The Cosby Show.
Back home and I focus as my son, Max, tells me about the report he did on the pyramids.
“The Egyptian pyramids were bigger than the Mesoamerican pyramids,” he says. “The Pyramid of the Sun is on the Street of the Dead in Mexico. The Aztecs started building it in around 100 AD. They think it was a temple for some god, but it’s a mystery.”
It could set the mind reeling.
Bill Murray, 1982. First Letterman appearance. "The new Newton John thing."