About ten years ago, my life wasn’t going so well. I had a job and a flat and a car and friends and a relationship, but as with most things, the trappings of a good life are not necessarily a good life.
I dealt with this not-good life involved by letting one of my compulsions, normally kept very closely in check, do whatever the hell it wanted for a while. (At the time I likely justified this to myself by any number of equivocations involving this, at least, not being as “dangerous” as any manner of other self-destructive, expensive, hazardous habits.)
The compulsion? Tracking Muni buses.
I spied on the buses. I have … let’s just say several notebooks filled with these notes, and when I was in Observation Mode I remember thinking that if I didn’t write all of this down, something bad would happen.
And yet tonight, while rearranging a bookshelf, I opened one of these notebooks and was thoroughly calmed by the presence of these notes. Because I know my brain, I know that I wasn’t really tracking Muni buses. No, instead I was reminding myself in the midst of a horrific relationship that involved significant amounts of gaslighting that there were things that I liked that I could not destroy.
Maybe it should upset me more to write it out like this. It certainly sounds hyperbolic. For my mindset at the time, a dust bowl of reason, it was a reasonable thought. In a way, these notes are tiny reminders I was leaving for my future selves – although all those selves are far in the past now – little breadcrumbs leading me back to a place in my head where it was okay to exist.
Brains are weird. And amazing. And people are resilient, and buses have arbitrary numbers that don’t bolster the spandrels of existence, and you reading this right now proves that things that don’t make sense can make sense.
Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: “Go Slow” by Tei Shi.
I’ve been in Edinburgh a month already! Really? Really. So I thought it might be time to draw a mental map.
The trees here don’t look anything like that. And I didn’t know how to draw the building we live in without taking up the entire lower-third of the map, so you get a Monopoly house instead.
It took a lot of willpower not to include the tram works, but I didn’t have an iPad stylus setting for “fubar”.
The good news is that my map of the immediate vicinity is very clear. I can now navigate between all places of importance, which is a list that coincides with the places I will find tea.
Additional good news: next week I start my volunteer position at the National Trust for Scotland, which means I will be reliant on public transit once more! Mental map, prepare to be … extended a few miles to the west in a very narrow corridor. With authority.
Brain, brain, brain: offline life has become a morass of the brain. First it was grad school applications, then the short story that took over my subconscious, and now an impending civil service examination.
Then there is the reading list: Enduring Love (Ian McEwan), Tricked (Alex Robinson), and more than a few others. Last night, we even watched a movie, “The Visitor”, so uncommon for us as we have devoted all our DVD time to “Battlestar Galactica” for months now.
Aside from writing, I have lost the urge to think creatively, and have not picked up a puzzle in months, nor have I started one of the myriad knitting projects my mother so thoughtfully sent me. My games lie fallow. I suspect this preponderance of linear thinking over non-linear comes from a sedentary lifestyle. Correcting this is my next order of business.
The details of two important events in my near future remain undecided – graduate school and the wedding – so I rely instead on the certainty that they will happen. For someone as obsessed with the minutiae as I am, this reliance does not come easily, but it comes.
I will close with a few online tidbits: