Archive for April, 2012

Little Poor Me 1

Don’t freak out.
This is a fictional piece. Nothing I’m writing actually happened, it’s just a distillation of thought, feeling, and intuition. This is writing. This is the way that it works. Dickens didn’t know Oliver Twist, and I don’t know what I’m saying either. I’m just making it up.
Now that that’s out of the way: Everything I have to say is true.
The pillow is breathing at me. Something about the way I fuzz my eyes out and hold it in the bottom of my vision makes it do this. It’s a battered yellow beauty, with a lion’s-mane fringe, and I’ve got my foot propped up on it. The coffee table is hard on my heels.
The pillow stops breathing long enough for me to get some writing done – or, rather, taking my eyes off it to write makes it stop. Two drinks doesn’t seem enough to account for inanimate respiration. I found an old bottle of Remy Martin cognac today, and applied it to a little egg-shaped liqueur glass I dug out of the back of the bar. Don’t know when I’ve used it before; it still has newsprint on it.
I couldn’t do less with my life if I tried, and I won’t. I’m far too lazy to try to do less. This is exactly as little and exactly as much as I’m prepared to do. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be doing it.
Either one would make me happier. Achievement or complete dissipation. They both seem fine, but I don’t have the stamina for them. I’m a Middle-of-the-Road, like most. It’s the easiest thing there is to be, and easy is all I know how to do well. Everyone knows that greatness takes talent — but really spectacular sinning takes talent, too.
A joke I used to toss off was that I’d never loved a woman as much as I loved a drink. When I’m drunk that bit of cheap wit makes me feel like Oscar Wilde, but it’s probably not true. Maybe. The truth is that I have never been allowed to hold anything that I’ve ever really loved.
That’s not true, that’s the drink talking. I’ve had more since I started. It’s pretty good cognac.
You can’t talk your way into being a better person. You can’t talk yourself into talent. You have to have it, or earn it. My talents lie in small and stupid directions, interesting only to me; and I’m not going to ever earn it. I have a sneaky hope in the back of my brain that someone will one day see me drinking a beer quickly, spouting out truly trivial trivia, making biscuits, and they will use their power to elevate that to the level of fame and art. Many people have that fantasy, but many people are better at more interesting things than I am. I’m worse at less interesting things, and that’s the wrong ride on the life spiral.
It really is very good cognac.
Being alone is never easy. It’s just easier than being with other people. You’ll never be able to give yourself as much as you ask for, but you’ll never want to give yourself less. You may strive for less; you may even think you deserve less, but you’ll never want less for yourself than you want. With other people…well, the math is more complicated. And yet, when you’re with other people, as much as you want to be alone, it’s never as much as you want to be with other people when you actually are alone.
I say you and I mean me. It’s an assumption. It’s probably wrong.
The thing about my friends is that they’ve taught me more about being a human being than I’ve ever learned from actually being one. I keep looking for someone who’s less worthwhile than me to be friends with, but no dice. Some come close: they should try harder.
Something seems wrong here. Something seems untrue; self-serving. That’s probably okay, though. It’s probably okay to just want people to tell you that you’re okay, that you’re not as bad as you think you are. Don’t, though. I’m not, and I am. Besides: This is just fiction.

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