25 April 2015

2001 a Depression Odyssey Complete with a Trip to the Pier and a Fritz Lang Western



“Open the pod bay doors, Hal.” Dave in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I don’t want to chronicle my depression, mostly because I don’t want to have it around to be chronicled. But there it is staring me in the face unwilling to move just a tad to the right or the left so that I can have an obstructed view of life. Weird how utterly immobile it can be. It’s like the monolith in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Looming over me ominous, mysterious and portentous.

And then there's Hal. The computer serving as my brain developing a personality of its own and inflicting upon me anything it damn well feels like. Don't know that I can disconnect it. Maybe I can just find the Hal part of my consciousness -- or is it sub? Anyway there's a part of my brain that thinks it knows what's best for me. I've got to reclaim it.

Perhaps I’m on a journey that will take me — like Dave in 2001 — to places I can’t even imagine now. Through the looking glass and into new dimensions seeing myself aged and as a star baby. Imagine what I might see, how I might feel. Acid flashbacks again? Or could it be that I’m going to start digging. Digging deeper and deeper and burying myself under tons of doubt and pain and regret and soul crushing anguish.

Maybe there’s a middle ground.

Here's one of those damn seagulls who wouldn't talk to me.
Went to the Berkeley Pier with the wife today. Negative ions. Wind. Vistas. Clouds. The awesome perfection of sea waters. The San Francisco Bay and beyond the Pacific Ocean. Talked to sea gulls. Noted the people with fishing poles. Low percentage place to fish. People used to have fishing boats. Still do but they tend to be upper middle class or above. The pier is for working stiffs. My maternal grandfather built his boat. He was a regular on the bay and out into the ocean. He caught a lot of fish too. My dad and big brother and even little me would go with him. All three of them were committed fisherman who loved to dip a pole in the line. My dad was still fishing at 91. Me, I never caught the angling bug. I’d like to take it up again. I’ve got a couple of nephews who could take me fishing if they had a mind to. It'd discussed but the young people today are so busy.

Some would argue that fishing is cruel. Well for the fish, maybe yeah. But if you’re gonna eat the damn thing well then its part of life. I do object to hunting. There’s no call to shoot ducks or deer and certainly not bears or lions (do people even eat lion?). I differentiate and maybe its out of convenience since I’m a pescatarian (no, its not a religion, it means I eat fish but not meat, for crying out loud look it up if you don’t believe it’s a thing).

But the folks at the pier aren’t being cruel to any fish. To themselves yes if they’ve built up hope about catching anything. We did see one chap pull in a net with a couple of crab in it. It didn’t seem as though he was going to return them to the briny so I believe he was in violation of fish and game laws.

The trip to the pier did me a world of good. That and a preceding brunch of huevos rancheros (yummy). We came back to the homestead and I watched Rancho Notorious (1952)
which I’d just DVR’d it having been on TCM earlier in the day. I’d never see it (past perfect tense). Not your typical Western. You can pretty much assume that when you see that its directed by Fritz Lang. It stars Marlene Dietrich, so you’ve got a German director and a German star in a film set in the Old West circa 1873. I’m not here to write a film review so you’ll have to be satisfied with me saying that this is not your run of the mill oater from the ‘50s. It’s a revenge tale that, unlike its characters, pulls no punches. I liked.

So ups, downs and sideways. I’m diving back into meditating and studying Italian and here I am once again scribbling words down and I have not stopped my every other day runs. Running is meditating for me. I get a lot of bad thoughts out, work out my body and my soul. It is empowering.


The end of the pier.
We all like a little bit of power in our lives. There being so much we are powerless over. Our greatest frustrations can come from those events or situations in which we are at the mercy of other people or nature or luck. My greatest frustrations often center around large numbers of people. Like in front of me in line. Or crowded onto a bus or subway car. Or changing in the same area of the locker room at the gym. People as individuals are generally pretty cool, but you put a bunch of them together and they can be a proper pain. And a cause of frustration. Running and meditating can relieve the stress. And I couldn't be depressed during a run if I tried. Nor while teaching nor during sex nor during a hearty laugh. The rest of the time, yes.

It might be that my dark moods will get a little brighter soon and that I’ll be merrily skipping down the street with daises in my hair and a song in my heart. Actually that would be kind of weird.

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