Well today is my second day using an anti-anxiety medication. Yesterday I felt stoned. The hope that I could have somehow had Michael of California over after dark last night was dashed because I went to sleep as soon as the sun went down, and woke an hour after it rose. It was very strange to sleep for so long.
Last night as if I knew I would crash in the coming of the dark, I hastened as the sun sank to climb an apricot tree and pluck the remaining low fruit from it. A caterpillar fell on me, which I only discovered by an itch. I washed it down the drain of the shower.
I played about with a short story idea for a science fiction magazine, Analog, The First Cat On Venus. It was kind of cool.
The day before I had visited the library with Marc. I am a bit of an advocate of the library system here. Marc got 'The Greatest Management Principle in the World: The Servant Leader" which I copied a quote out of on love as volition. I borrowed several new buddhist books - the latest book of the Dalai Lama's speaking, a translation of Dogen, the Zen Patriarch, a CD of tibetan-inspired music. Yes it was nice and very exciting.
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Yesterday also Robert of Sheffield came to drive me into Town on his 90cc scooter/motorbike. It was breathtakingly dangerous to drive pillon on such a minute mechanism. I refused to get a lift home, as it was too likely to cause me an anxiety attack. Intersections: south road into anzac highway beside a bus, anzac highway into West terrace in multiple lanes - these were challenging. Long stretches: up through Pulteney Street, through Hurtle Square, past a barman mate who I waved to; down through the University with the greenleaf overhead dappled and steeped in lambent light - these were marvellous.
But it was a difficult day overall. I kept eating every few hours which grounded me. We lounged by the Torrens catchment in the Botanical Gardens, he reading the New Independent, I pretending to read the Dalai Lama's new book, but in fact watching a couple having sex ten meters away. When finally my desire that they continue uninterrupted made me turn away and actually read, up they got and left. I felt perfectly giddy and strange all day from the medication. I think I was grumpy with Robert too. He is irritating but honest. He knows next to nothing about science fiction (Terry Pratchett!), so I doubt he will be a good reader.
Andre Gide says (in his introduction to his selection of Montaigne for English readers) that the sentences that are most pleasurable to write are also most pleasurable to read. I do not know if this is true. But I know it is a pleasure to write well.
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I visit my neighbours yesterday to pluck apricots. I walk through a shed stuffed with a faded blue Commodore and endless oily rags protruding from the wall like hands into a tiny sward of concrete with a wire gate.
The two dogs waddle over, unexercised and only glimpsed over the fence.
"Tiny is the big one!" the lady named Coleen snaps. "The little one is Gordon."
Tiny, black and brown, licks my hands with all the signs of owner-induced imbecility. Gordon does laps around my toes.
Coleen like to scream. She does not holler or bitch, but rather she screams. Names usually. She does so now to display her special gift. Normally she had a precise time of day to scream, just after sunset when everything is still; she does it in the backyard in the gloaming. But right now, in her presence, it is reassuring to see she hurts nothing as she does so.
I pick quickly and happily. A weasly eyed man comes out and smokes a cigarette to its bitter end whilst fossicking around to make sure I steal nothing. I show courtesy on the way out. This must be Dad.
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En route to home I return the step ladder to Sue's my other neighbour. Then I get a bag of apricots to give back to them.
Sue says no and I tell her they'll just give me a belly ache. She is about to give them to me (and I really want them!) when she says "Oh well I spose they'd like them at work" and that is that. I walk into my house and tell myself (aloud):
"Well Paul you just built yourself some social capital there. Good on you mate!"