Sunday, April 30, 2006

Wake & Bake

There are a lot of different Sundays people are experiencing right now across the world: blisteringly hot, numbingly cold, easy, difficult, all manner of human situations, but mine is pretty much in the middle. A lazy rainy day. Wake and bake.

Actually, to be technically correct(TC), a wake and bake day by definition is one in which you grab the bong or 1-hitter upon rousing from slumber and immediately medicate yourself(yes this is from High School daze..). Of course subsequent medications would be administered throughout the day. But it doesn't have to involve cannabis sativa to be a wake and bake day, at least honorarily so. A lazy, do-nothing day, basically.

So life is good. Or at least not too shabby. Got an Egg McMuffin breakfast in my belly, taking out a few morning wrinkles, and enough supplies in the house for 3 animals' consumption for the next couple days. So, having Monday and Tuesday off from the rigors of daygigdom, this may be a Wake n' Bakethon..

My dog stops by periodically while I'm on the computer, for his various reasons: just to 'check in' with me, if he hears me losing at Poker(he probably thinks the game's called "Oh FUCK!"), to make sure I still love him even though he just shit on the carpet downstairs in the dining room(something I'm yet to discover). It's all just part of his and my existence here..

The other resident here is a cat, whose arrival followed the dog's by maybe 7 months. She also checks in here. They've both been with me for (wow!)eight years now, and as such are pretty seasoned veterans of the place and of each other. He is the proverbial pesky older brother, who picks on her by blocking doorways and sneaking off into the kitchen to eat(basically inhale)any food left in her bowl.. Sworn enemies, yet I catch them sitting together, mere inches apart, only to have the cat dash off the minute she sees me. Hmmmm..

Such is life today here at chez Roundly. Just me and the critters. And whaddya know, the sun's out. At least for now.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Make the World Go Away

It was just another one of my glib-ass jokes at the office, but I meant it, underneath the glibness(or should I say, glibassness?). Somebody was discussing one of the reality shows on TV, and my comment was, "I don't like reality TV too much. But then I don't like reality that much either".

And I really don't. Well, what passes for reality anyway, most of the time. Or at least what passes through the doors of our office every day. Disasters great and small. Unemployment. Poverty. But then, where I work(an undisclosed gov't bldg--let's just say the same place Barney Rubble worked, they never told you that either..)is a place of concentrated negativity. It's supposed to be that way.

Being a human services place, we take care of problems. Money problems. Job problems. Human problems. My reality from 8:30 to 5, Monday through Friday, is all these problems and their solutions. Not exactly rose-colored glasses, more like the stuff roses are grown in..

Actually it's probably good, in a counterbalancing sort of way, to have a job in which I'm steeped in reality because I myself am not. I can of course tell you who the Mayor of my city is, and the Governor of my state, and the President/Vice-President of my country, but it starts to get hazier from there. Despite repeated resolutions to start doing so, I don't follow current events like I should(I try but seem to lose my hard-on somewhere in the middle of it..) , and am thus woefully underinformed in some areas of life. So at least I get my mandatory dose of reality for 37.5 hours every week. I know it's there.

As a musician, I can tell you a whole lot of musical facts: to do with history, with musical notation & nomenclature, about many musicians and musical movements through the ages. Musical realities. But music itself exists in the realm of imagination. That's where it's created and that's where it's heard and appreciated. And that's where, as a musican(well, as a creative human being)I like to spend a lot of time. My 'alternate address', as it were..

So I suppose I straddle these two realities, inner and outer. During the work-week, I handle situations on the phone and in person and try to give my full attention to what I'm doing, to "live" in that reality, like it or not. But during the lulls in activity, my mind seems to go into that other realm and -well, basically create stuff. I've got some song lyrics to 2 different tunes , and have created a couple cartoon characters just in my imagination. Creative daydreams.

I'm not a religious person per se, but I think I am a spiritual one. And I do think that man's real nature, underneath it all, is one of joy and light. Thus , the creative process, also being a joyous one, can be said to be a "truer" reality than the one we put up with day after day. We often feel more alive there than we do in our 'normal' state.

One thing I remember reading which I've found to be true is that eventually everything becomes your sadhana, your spiritual work, your work on yourself. Everything you do in your life(or, I suppose, don't do- or refrain from doing). So I think I'll continue writing music and inventing weird cartoon characters and coming up with off-the-wall lyrics and concepts. It's a healthy thing. But I'll still continue to make attempts(abortive as they may end up being)every so often to poke my head out and see what the Mayor or Governor or President are up to. Hopefully they'll be the same folks as last time I checked...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Karmic Hall of Fame

Like it or not, we make our own reality. Basically. We don our own special suit, custom made to fit our particular karmic needs in this life. We dwell in our own personal hotel room, designed just for us BY us--often with just the right level of discomfort: too hot, too cold, hard mattress, etc..

Lots of ways to analogize one's life. However portrayed, it's ours and ours alone with all its joys and sorrows. And it's a mixed bag, at least for most of us. Some aspects of your life go along without a hitch, smooth as silk, while others seem to constantly get stuck in the carpet.

It's those sticking points that are the most important as far as our development: those mistakes we keep making over and over and over again. That's where personal growth occurs, where you finally figure out what you were doing wrong, and why the hell you've been doing it that way all this time!

There are several professions out there that seem to tag folks caught in this behavioral trap, really as a condition of their own existences: Law and Law Enforcement, arresting and convicting repeat offenders; and Human Service agencies(whether private or State or Federally funded)servicing habitually unemployed(and some downright unemployable) people. In either line of work, you do have a good number of folks you only have to see once--but you have an equally "good" number you see over and over and over. Their mistakes bring them back in the door again and again.

And again. Having worked in the Human Service biz for the last 15 years, I've definitely seen my share of folks--some one-timers and some over and over and over again since 1991, and probably until I retire! We refer to them(behind their backs of course) as our Gold and Platinum members, which of course is a distinction-in-reverse, since they've screwed up enough times(i.e. had to come to our office) for us to remember them.

Like any sizeable group of people, our "chronics" aren't a totally homogenous bunch. There's some variance going on. A number of them are nice personable folks who just seem to screw up on a regular basis, but come in and work with us when it happens, when the rock has rolled back down the hill(referring here of course to The Myth of Sisyphus, aka the 'ancient futility rite') without blaming anybody but themselves for it. No problem. Sometimes a pleasure--well, as much as this kinda stuff can be..

Unfortunately, about as many of our "chronics" are unpleasant, often downright toxic characters whose "dysfunctional disposition" loses them job after job after job--and of course none of those 278 times they got canned was their fault. The files on them really start to pile up, really start to gain some heft as issue after issue is added over the years.

One such client, who may well be our Ultimate Hall of Famer(at least during my career), has graced our office for my entire time, since 1991.Their file as far as issues is now on par with a couple Tokyo phone books. I'm figuring that by the time I retire in another 8 or 9 years, it will require a fork-lift to transport.

(Okay, I could make a joke here about the client themselves requiring a fork-lift by then if they keep expanding like their file , but I think I'll show some restraint. Nice of me, don't you think?)

You gotta understand, these are people who've come in year after year- and even decade after decade-leaving the stench of their dysfunctionality behind like the mephitic remains of a 3-Sancho lunch. They manage to alienate staff and management to the point where they're known simply by their first name. Star status of a sort. Kinda like Cher. Or Bono. So you really need to get in a retaliatory dig at least once, from all the times you've "taken it" from this individual..

And the thing is the answer to their problems is usually so simple. Just take responsibility for your actions and behavior: 'gee I really screwed up here. I'm gonna have to try and do better next time.' From there, you have a shot at fixing things. But not until then. As long as you're blaming everybody else, you'll just end up circling the airport.

Hm, just like it's their Karma to be screwing up every job they get, maybe it's mine to be taking care of them. Maybe human service type folks were pain-in-the-ass clients themselves in a former life, the bane of some poor civil servant's existence. Well, hopefully I've paid enough back in this lifetime to break the cycle of client-and-civil servant, and move on...