Another Sunday, another trip to the laundromat. I’m a pretty mundane guy, really. I like to go to bed on Sunday night knowing all my clothes are folded and put away or, for certain shirts, hanging in the closet. You know, enough to get me through the work week, to spare. There’s nothing like hitting Thursday and not having clean underwear or socks, or a clean shirt.
There are other things I’d rather be doing during the week than laundry. Not that I hate doing laundry; I’ve developed a bit of an obsession, that’s become a routine, and I tend to be a person of routines. Call it my Asperger geekiness: I often will eat the same thing at the same restaurants, and drive the same routes, and cook the same stuff at home over and over, and I have to force myself to make other choices.
Although it doesn’t really matter what I do, really. I mean, I’ve got no one really vying for my time, so I can get up and do what I want, and not have to plan it out, or argue better this than that, and I don’t have to answer to anybody. Not even a cat, or even a girlfriend. Wife? Forget it. I’ve pretty much figured out that this flying solo is my lot in life at this juncture, and I really can’t see things changing out of the blue, so what I can do is take good care of myself and enjoy life, one present moment at a time.
Lately, a lot of my present moments have been filled with this obsession I have to become a better guitarist. So I hunker down in my tiny apartment with books of tablature, translating the arcane symbols on the page into music via my fingers, the left-hand ones on the guitar fretboard, and the right-hand ones dangling over the sound hole, plucking the strings. Or trying to make music. It’s slow work, really, and the improvements seem glacial.
It’s taken me months to get even a few of Taylor’s songs down, because the arrangements are so deliciously intricate. I can do halting and tentative versions of “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “You Can Close Your Eyes,” and I’ve got about 12 of the 15 pages of tablature memorized for the first guitar (there’s a second guitar part, too) on his cover version of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” I’ll probably work to get those three as “mastered” as I can before I move on to other songs. I have some Beatles and Jobim and Joplin and Bach books I want to work out of, too.
Which is good that I’m such a loner. If I had a social life at all, I’d never learn these difficult tunes. It use to be that I wanted to play music because I thought that might be a keen way to meet women, but now I just do it because I’m in love with the process itself, and there aren’t any women to be found. I also write a lot of songs, some of which I think are pretty good, but the only way I will get people to listen is to be able to play them really well. And I am hoping that some of what I’m learning from sweet baby James will start turning up in my own repertoire as well.
So there’s your update. Hope you’re having a swell week. I am. —Jackson Griffith
Figure no one is bothering to read this thing anymore. It isn’t that I’ve lost the passion for writing. More like, until I can get enough money together for a new computer, I won’t be posting much. This wonderful old ‘puter has been quite good to me (well, except for a couple of buttmunched hard drives), but it’s a tad touchy these days, and the battery life is not nearly as robust as it once was.
I’m just not sure what to say these days. I’m surprised that it’s taken this long for people to get really pissed off in this country, but therein lies the power of shiny objects. We got so lulled into distraction by foist after foist after foist that we didn’t see the foundation and structure of the house we lived in getting taken apart underneath us while we were hypnotized by whatever distractions were being sent our way to keep from noticing how bad things were getting.
So why am I not out there standing with the 99 percent? I dunno. Maybe it’s because when my life fell apart a few years ago, I was relatively alone, while so many people I knew were fat and happy. I lost a wife, a family, a house, a car, a lot of other stuff, a job, and enough of what I once thought was my life that I was pretty sure what was left was going to end soon. And then things started getting better, around the time a lot of other people I know started going through hardships. And now, there’s a job I have to get to five mornings a week, and a lot of things to learn, so I honestly don’t have time, or maybe it’s the inclination, to sit with others in the park.
It isn’t that I’m not in accord. Hell, most politicians, by my observation, seem to spend the lion’s share of their time jerking off contributors to help fund the next election cycle, and most of those contributors seem to be corporations, banks or other vested interests. It doesn’t take a person of brilliance to figure how that’s all going to play out. But didn’t it once seem that banks and other instruments of greed would try to maintain a modicum of sustainability, and would make sure to keep their customers alive enough to pay their notes? These days, it’s like we’re all roaches being fed to assassin bugs, who stab their razor-sharp proboscises into our bodies and suck our insides out like we’re just tasty milkshakes, then leave our dried-out husks by the side of the road as they speed toward the next victims.
So it’s a Sunday night, and my schmattes are in the dryer, and I figured it was time for an update, so hey. Off to work tomorrow with clean clothes. Gonna record some music tomorrow night, if it all works out. I’ll do the next week as well as I can, one day at a time and all that. Life is good, or at the very least okay. Yeah, I’m just your basic loner weirdo, who’s left his dreams by the side of the road with the dead bugs the bankers sucked dry. I’m not bummed to be in this involuntary monk mode anymore; I’ve just let go of all those movie scripts that were clogging up my waking and sleeping consciousness, so now I can just do life without expectation of dreams come true.
And that’s all right. Really, it is. —Jackson Griffith
Heck whiz gosh darn hardy har har. I’m a one-eyed tomcat in a sushi bar. Honey, squinkle my dinkle, hinkle my binkle, crinkle my minkle till the cows come home. Um, went to a party last night, took my guitar, it was mostly couples except for me and this other guy whose sweetie is in New Zealand or somewhere. Thought we was gonna sing and play guitars and I brought mine, but then the vibe was all wrong and when I was trying to run through this original acoustic number entitled “I Am Almost Fixing to Get Ready to Rock and Roll,” one of the husbands, I’m sure reasonably well-lubricated on whatever it was they were quaffing, decided a little pianistic accompaniment might be in order. So his Cecil Taylor on PCP ivory tinklings completely overpowered my music, and I got the message and put my guitar away. Did not get to try out “Squinkle Mah Dinkle,” or more fluffy romantic fare like “Morning Glory,” or anything else. To hang with that crowd, I’d better bone up on classic rock fare that everyone can sing along to, rather than my own stanky repertoire of tuneage that nobody knows or gives a hoot’s patoot aboot.
So, over it, or what I was on about last time. Fuggit, really; life is not fair. Well, to be honest, I have had spells of plenty in the past, but as my middle age segues into slightly older, I’m increasingly getting the idea that I’d better get used to my own company, unshared with any fine ladies, and had better bone up on checkers, or chess, or bocce, or even horseshoes. Yes, there are prostitutes available, but if you know anything about the historical Griffith, you’d understand why I’m not really interested.
Anyway, here it is that turn-cold time when we go lurching into the holidays, and I’ll have to go into high gear on practicing the art of not giving a merde that I’m just one of those people who must be better off living a quiet little life on their own, or at least not suited for anything other than solitary. So, the gosh darned heck with it. Even if every little thing is gonna remind me that I’m one of those weird loner misanthropes. Hey, I love people. I love you. I love everybody. Well, most everybody. Just don’t invite me to one of your little parties where everybody’s coupled up except me, or I’ll get all wasted on ginger ale and start in with the ribald limericks and explicitly pornographic haikus. You do not want that, trust me.
Ergo, fuggit. Hey, how ’bout those Niners? What are they, seven and one? Kick arse. About time we got some decent football in this region. What’s that? Raiders? No, I’m talking about sporting events that can be enjoyed by humans. Nevertheless, do rest in peace, Al Davis. Loved your team back in the day, but whenever there’s a Raiders game on now, I try to stay off the road during it, and at least four or so hours after it’s over. No offense, but you’ve got some real hammerheads in that fan base.
Go Jints! And rest in peace, Bob Forsch, Sacramento pitcher who got to see his team win a series before he went off to that big sports bar in the sky. And while I’m no fan of the formerly Budweiser Cards, if you had a manager who was idiosyncratic enough to be a vegetarian and hang out with Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, well, I guess better that team taking the trophy than one associated with George W. Bush.
Now, about that roundball. Still locked out. No season. Which means bye-bye Kings, so my friends and I are already discussing a renewed allegiance to the Golden State Warriors. And as much as I love the Kings, I know the Maloofs will either sell the team or move them to somewhere with more money on the table. I miss basketball, really. I wish these millionaires could come to an accord so those of us who love the game can have something to follow.
Because I still don’t get hockey. Maybe if I can go to a game with some hardcore fans and they can explain a few things to me, I can catch the fever. I still don’t have it, yet.
Other than that, there’s work. Bugs, more bugs, and maybe some rats. Get up in the morning, go to work, enjoy that, come home, play some guitar or go to an AA meeting, eat, meditate, read a little, set the alarm and go to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. On weekends, do some stuff like laundry and shopping, so I can have a less stressful work week.
Life isn’t bad, but it’s boring without the ladies. But because somewhere in there I guess I lost the ability to attract them into my life. So now I’ll just get used to being a big ol’ stinky guy, or something like that.
Go figure. I sure can’t. —Jackson Griffith
Another few weeks, another apology. I guess I shouldn’t have to apologize when the muse goes south, though. So I won’t. Maybe if I can get my high-functioning autistic shit together for like five minutes, I could get some wi-fi in my crummy apartment and then I’d me writing way more. I’d never leave the apartment, even.
So, to paraphrase the late great Elvis Presley back when mama Gladys’ little pink hearts were still a novelty, I’m all shook up. You see, last night I went to dinner with my first serious love from when we were both just stumbling out of our teens, and we’ve developed a nice warm friendship via Facebook and she’s in a nice relationship back in Canadasota or wherever it is she lives, something about lutefisk and hotdish and conniving Oldsmobile salesmen getting fed into woodchippers, so it was just a very golden-burnished evening in an tandoor joint in Davis, talking about old times and all that. Really, it was the first date-like experience I’ve had in at least a year.
It’s just that I woke up today with a massive saudade hangover, because it reminded me of a time in my life when time when I could have relationships with beautiful women, but even moreso because I realized that I’d let a lot of that part of me go to sleep, or even most or nearly all of that formerly irrepressibly romantic and warm part of me that used to bring me such joy. And heartbreak, too.
I don’t know where I went wrong, really. Oftentimes I feel like a ghost walking around the Midtown district of the city where I live, and much of that may arise from the fact that I’m a middle-aged guy in a district that’s now overrun by people a lot younger than me, people who I seem to have a pretty nice rapport with as friends, but as dating material, there’s just that cultural disconnect. Plus my daughter is 23, but most importantly, I prefer the company of women a lot closer to me in age.
But the women I know close to me in age, around here, I just don’t seem to click with them. Maybe it’s because I still haven’t quite recovered from the big washout of a divorce followed by a major crash and burn, and I’ve got an invisible metaphysical “X” carved in my forehead like the door of a 1930s house to signify easy stew for hobos. Or maybe it’s something else. The reality is that, in their company, I feel like that kid who had to wear a helmet until well into his teen years to prevent impromptu head injuries, lurking around the pretty and popular girls on the senior quad at high school who laugh at him the moment he turns his back.
That, of course, is all feeling, and feelings aren’t facts. But there is some kind of major disconnect going on, or at least it seems like it, and I’ve begun to get worse lately. Basically, I’ve been poring over my life with a fine-toothed comb in recent months, and that cursory diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism that I got when I had health insurance before my big two-year wipeout seems to be hitting home pretty hard.
I think that everyone wants to be understood, and validated. It isn’t that I’m craving the sweetness and sensuality of a warm relationship, although that would be nice. It’s just that I need to have intimate friends around me I feel close to that I can talk about this stuff with, just so another human being or two knows what it’s like to feel like when cognition and emotional response with other folks suddenly segues from the familiarity of conversational English to trying to make way in one of those countries where the written tongue is either all vowels or all consonants.
Perhaps I’ve said too much, and I should shut up now. This is like three years to the day when the last woman I really loved, my muse I figured wrongly, said hasta la bye-bye loser boy, and I’ve had a few chances since, but mostly it was me running away for trumped-up reasons like they couldn’t handle my thirst for squigglicous free-jazz saxophone yammering, or I got the feeling I wasn’t in a safe zone to talk about my boundless fascination for eusocial insects or oddball prewar Czech dreamcars like the Tatra T-87, or something. Anyway, I ramble.
And so I will shut up, and let that flowering romantic in me slip back into the safety of slumber. —Jackson Griffith