What else should I be?

Thank Cat it’s Friday, or words to that effect.

To be honest, I work tomorrow, so it’s not as though it’s really the end of my work week, but I’ll still try to enter somewhat into the spirit of things.  I might as well do that from time to time, right?

I hope not too many people were put off too much by my blog post yesterday.  I was not feeling well at all—physically, yes, but mainly mentally—and I didn’t feel like pretending that I was.  I’ve decided that I’m not going to try to court popularity, or whatever, with this blog, at least no more than is purely instinctual, but will just try to convey the honest thoughts and feelings that spring into my mind.  Unfortunately—perhaps—for those of you who read this, my mind works somewhat a-neuro-typically, and always has, and I also have my irritating chronic pain and a longstanding mood disorder, so sometimes my thoughts and feelings will be unpleasant.

Actually, it’s entirely possible that, at some point, you may witness a full-scale and complete mental breakdown on this blog.  Heck, you may already have witnessed part of it.  In the spirit of Descartes, I can’t be sure that I haven’t already had a full-scale and complete mental breakdown before I’ve even started writing this.

There certainly seem to be weird numbers of people and vehicles about this morning, doing things they don’t normally do, but no one is doing anything that isn’t allowed by the laws of physics (as I understand them), there just is an unusual number of them.  For instance, there are at least three people sleeping or near-sleeping on benches in the train station, and one person lying in the crosswalk bridge, but they don’t seem to be homeless people.  At least two of them are actively using cell phones.  It makes me wonder if there was an Amtrak train that was cancelled late last night or something, and all these people are waiting for one to come in the morning.

Of course, that doesn’t explain the weird number of cars out and about and seeming activity in a place that’s usually only operative on Friday nights and into the weekend.  I haven’t lost track of the days, have I?  This is Friday, isn’t it?  I was wrong about the date of one of the posts I saved earlier this week, though I did fix it the next day, and the error didn’t show up in the post.  My computer says it’s Friday, but I could, in principle, be imagining my computer.  I don’t think so—none of this feels like a dream—but who knows?

I suppose that’s always the question, and it’s a notion that has been raised all the way from Plato, through Descartes, and up to and including The Matrix.  I doubt that I’ll add any particular insights to the exploration.  I just get stressed out when new things happen that interfere with my routines, but none of what I’ve described above has actually done so; it’s all just curious.  If I were still writing fiction, I might even imagine a supernatural story that might involve these curious things happening, explaining them in a way that at first seems just banal—like the actual reality of the events that I am encountering—but turns out to be the first hint of something “unnatural” and possibly terrifying.

Meanwhile, my own mental deterioration, which is real*, is much more banal, and unfortunately, it doesn’t feel frightening.  Not to me.  I suppose the breakdown of a person with paranoid schizophrenia is probably a truly terrifying thing, from within and even sometimes on the outside.  Mine is subjectively underscored by a diminishment of any feeling of engagement or connection, except sometimes in the form of revulsion and irritation.  The irony is that I probably am in much greater physical danger—from myself—than a schizophrenic might imagine himself or herself to be in, but I don’t feel like screaming or trying to escape.  And I know already that my cries for help are ineffectual.

I’m just skimming along in a passenger jet that’s running out of fuel (and which has no apparent other passengers, which is a good thing) over the contours of a wilderness, losing altitude slowly, unable to shift the controls no matter how I try, with a radio that apparently doesn’t work.  If anyone is hearing my calls, they must be getting a lot of it mired in static, because no one seems actually to grasp what I’m trying to say.

Eventually, some bit of the landscape is going to jut up enough that the plane is going to crash—though I suppose it’s physically possible for there to be a happy accident and the aircraft will skid to a halt on a long flat stretch of prairie or something.  It’s an awful lot to expect.  All I can do, or so it seems, is buckle up and see if I survive when the crash happens.

Honestly, I’m not entirely inclined to buckle up.  I’ve been on this plane for a long time, and it’s not got much to recommend it.  The scenery outside isn’t interesting, possibly because it’s dark out.  I can’t even seem to nudge the yoke downward to speed up the crash, though I have tried, and it seems like there might be just a bit of give in that direction.  But habit, biology, and all the people who always tell you not to give up, make me think I’m supposed to wait and see if, just maybe, something will change, or a voice will come on the radio giving me new, useful instructions about how to get out of this situation and even, just maybe, get back to the place I was before, or someplace like it.

I’m not optimistic, though, either by nature or by anyone’s description.  I figure that sooner or later, as I said, this vessel is going to crash.  I don’t know for sure what shape that crash will take in the outer world.  But if, one day, I suddenly just stop writing these blog posts, that’s probably what happened.  I don’t think it’ll be tomorrow, but I can’t be certain.  Yesterday was a very bad day.

The terrain I’m flying over is not perfectly level; there are hills and trees and even the ruins of old buildings, possibly not built by any human, scattered along it.  There may be mountains jutting up at any point in my path.  It’s hard to tell how high above the ground I am—I guess the altimeter is broken—but I’m not as high as I was a week ago, or a month ago, or a year ago.  I’m losing altitude, and there is going to be a point where the air stops and a hard surface begins.

All right, sorry, I’ve pushed that metaphor more than far enough.  It would be a shame to crash it into the ground, though perhaps I’ve done so already.

I expect I’ll write another blog post tomorrow, and if you’re interested, you can read it.  I’m trying to take my masks off as much as I can, and my true face is not pleasant to look at, so I can’t guarantee it’ll be fun or funny or whatever.

But it will be me.  How could it be anything else?  I’ve never wished to be anyone else, though I’ve often wished I could be a better version of me, to quote Fiona Apple.  I can’t even comprehend what it could possibly mean to want literally to be someone else.  If I were to become someone else, then that wouldn’t be me being someone else, it would just be someone else.  And there are already plenty of other people about who aren’t me.

Anyway, I guess that’s it for now, at least.  I sincerely hope you’re all doing as well as you possibly can, which I should have said yesterday.  Do your best to enjoy the absurdity and to surf on the chaos.  I’m sure it can actually be great fun if you have the skill.


*Though today I am in a better mood than I was yesterday, I do not feel at all that I am in a normal state of mind.  It’s just relatively better.  All things are measurable relative to their local environment.

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