I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me โ that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter โ except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
October 15, 2013 - 12:12 p.m.
As I was writing this in my head last night I was excited. The words were frothing out of my head. I wish I could write blogs with my mind. They'd be a lot better. Today's entry should be good, I did interesting things, I thought interesting thoughts, and felt conflicting emotions. Of course it doesn't work that way. Sometimes I'm filled with octarine and sometimes I'm not. We'll see which it is today.
Last week I actually remembered to check the WfUV member line and they had something I loved, tickets to see Dan Bern at Joe's Pub. I think that was on Friday and the show was last night. That' seemed like short notice. It was. I got an email yesterday in the late morning but you know me and email. I didn't notice it till the afternoon. They really should have called or texted. I did leave my number.
I called Katherine to see if she wanted to go with me but she couldn't so I had coffee with her. That seems to be our new thing. I like it. We went someplace new and got to drink it in a courtyard that we had all to ourselves. I love having public spaces to myself. OK is there a good way of saying that? I didn't have it to myself, Katherine was there. So how do I say that? I like having public spaces to ourselves is just wrong. I like it when a friend and I have a public space to ourselves is too long-winded.
But no matter it was a good way to spend a few hours in the afternoon sun. I went home after that as it was too early for the show.
So I had to scramble to get someone to go with me. It was a late show so I knew that Lisa who I've seen Dan with many times wouldn't be able to make it. I didn't ask the other person I've often seen him with because she has been avoiding seeing me for ages and I have finally realized that's not going to change. If she went it would have been because she wanted to see Dan more than she didn't want to see me. I have finally accepted that. It took a long time.
The show was too late for most of the other people I know who liked Dan, especially on such short notice. I had a brilliant idea, someone I knew loved Dan and keeps late hours. I called him. He never got back to me. He is now flying to Europe so that's not surprising. I didn't know that when I called. I called a friend who didn't live that far away. She couldn't make it. I made an open call on Facebook but all I got was people out of town liking it. So I ended up going by myself.
I spent the train ride reading Equal Rites. That pretty much makes the time disappear.
I am never late if I'm in the City. I know I'm never late. I can time things pretty much perfectly. A problem with that is that makes me cocky and I can cut things very close,. That's what happened last night. I got off the subway at Astor Place at 9:23 for the 9:30 show. I then did something idiotic. I walked down Cooper Square not Lafayette. I had to retrace my steps. And so I was not late. I told you I'm never late. I made it just in time. I got my seat. The show started late so I had actually had to wait around a for a while. This is why I get cocky. I factor in late trains and screwing up when I time things.
I only took one ticket., I could have taken two. That would have given me more room. They sold my extra ticket after I spread out to take the space.
I have known Dan since he started out, 1996, back when WfUV played music I loved. I heard him once and was hooked. He might have been a guest on Vin Scelsa too. My first reaction was that he sounded just like Bob Dylan. I no longer think that but there are similarities. He lyrics take the same bizarre leaps that Dylan's did starting with Another Side of Bob Dylan. He connects things that shouldn't be connected, but are. He's not a good songwriter, he's a great one. He's also totally whacko. He's the only performer I ever saw that was obviously stoned out of his gourd. But somehow even then he could make it work. He disturbs the comfortable as well as anyone ever but "Kid's Prayer" is my favorite song to comfort the disturbed.
I have somehow ceased to see every show he does and that's just wrong. Well OK it isn't because the reason is price. But I wish I could see them all. That's why I jumped at the chance to see him for free. Well not quite free as Joe's Pub has a minimum. The "Free" show cost me more than one at the The Living Room. I had fries and coffee and it cost me $16 with the tip. I wonder if they'd have let me get away with just the fries.
So here I was having a great day; coffee with Katherine, a book by Terry Pratchett, and music by Dan Bern. A hug from someone I love, a journey into Discworld and the roller coaster ride on Dan's brain should be a recipe for happiness. Instead I got hit with a major anxiety attack. It was one of those unspecified ones. I wasn't seeing doom everywhere I looked, I just felt anxious. I don't know what caused it. Not being able to find someone to go with me did trigger some bad reflexes. I go to shows alone all the time but when I have a freebie I want to share and far too many times I have not been able to find one. It makes me feel isolated. I don't mind being alone, I often want to be alone, when it's my choice. This wasn't. When I was talking to Katherine I brought up several open emotional wounds. Did that contribute? Did I feel anxious because I talked about these things or did I talk about them because I was already starting to feel anxious? That is not only unclear but they are not mutually exclusive. It's both.
I then had insecurities about writing this. Nobody likes a whiner. But this isn't whing. It's blogging. Like the Fed I have a dual mandate, honesty and being funny. That's not the Fed's mandates but I do hope they are honest. I'm not sure we want our central bankers to be funny.
Good thing that I can enjoy myself even during an anxiety attack. Good thing that Dan knocks my socks off. Good thing I was wearing socks. I've seen shows where Dan has played two hours without a song that anybody knew. He's prolific. This show was a nice mixture of brand new songs and very old songs. Not much in between till the encore. And even that was ten years old. But it was all great. The man can WRITE! And he can also perform. He always feels like he's playing somebody's living room. He doesn't edit what he says. And he IS funny. Much funnier than Ben Bernanke or even Janet Yellen. I was singing along, loudly. This is Dan Bern and even when you are having an anxiety attack you have big balls.
On the ride home I finished Equal Rites and as Esk and Simon defeated "The Things" from the dungeon dimension I defeated "The Things" was fighting. I finished the book and got in my combative/triumphant mode. Oddly, well OK odd for anyone else, I thought about Phineas and Ferb, The Summer Belongs To You. Phineas and Ferb take the challenge of making the longest day of the year even longer by building a plane and flying west following the sun and getting back home before it sets. They crash on a desert island that like a true desert island has pretty much nothing on it. All they have is the seats from the plane and a giant rubber band. Isabella is depressed because she was in Paris, the City of Love with Phineas and he just thought about the mission. All she wants is for Phineas to sit with her and watch the sunset with her. Phineas after frantically digging up the Island gives up. He has nothing to work with. He says that he's going to just watch the sunset with Isabella. And that's where she showed she's a true hero. She wouldn't let him. He's Phineas and that means not thinking anything is impossible. She reminds him how he explained everything on Ferb's giant map. And of course that gave Phineas the solution. He turned the map into a paper airplane, launched it with the giant rubber band, and got them home. And I'm a total sucker for that. I love it when the hero has nothing left but then finds the something beneath the nothing. And that's how I feel when I snap out of these things. I defeated the Things, and that's something even if they only exist in my head.
And I got the thing where my eyes start glowing, metaphorically. I'm not nuts, I'm just a bit dramatic. And I started writing this. And this is where the ideas where bubbling out of my head. And I hope I can convey half of what I felt. And you know what. The anxiety doesn't totally go away. The Things are always there, defeated but not destroyed. They always want to get back into this world but just as I'm never late I can always pull this off and snap out of it. I had a great day, I spent time with someone I love. I read a book by my favorite author. I heard a musician that's been special to me for 17 years. I'm ready to end this with the big production number.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Follow on Feedly