-93 : Wayfinder

“And now the floodgates cannot hold, all my sorrow all my rage, teardrops fall on every page.” – David Gray

I met an old friend of a new-old friend last night, whose insistent, deadpan delivery of some bit I can’t even recall this next morning started me laughing and then laugh-crying and then turning away from the table, afraid that last poorly-timed mouthfull of salad would come out my nose.

It was glorious; rediscovering that ability/capacity to be helplessly joyful. Like that dream of finding a small doorway in the back of an upstairs closet, and behind it is a secret room — an extension of your dwelling and, therefore, an extension of your self — which had been there the whole freaking time.

Pretty sure I hadn’t laughed like that for a whole freaking time.

Thank you. Grateful to the Muse, or the stars, or whatever. I needed that, and I needed the reminder that the best kind of laughter is when you’re not supposed to laugh. The freedom to violate the pall of convention. The license to stop sailing around and just moor your boat to whichever goddamn piling feels right at the moment.

“hello, it’s me”

A post shared by Scott Cooper (@stearth) on

A morning ritual of wandering would be great for me; is great for me. Actual, physical footsteps wandering, rather than just in my head while seated.

This tiny, infinitely-connected digital map in my pocket is a revelation. Like shedding another season’s skin, it lets me explore without the mental overhead and anxiety of getting lost. Of not being able to get back. Now — provided I remember to set a marker at the point of origin (hint, hint, dummy) — I can just go. Go new places | see new things | try out being a different person on this block than on the next one, or the next. Walk into a shop and not hesitate: Oh yes, I will take these brand-newish half-price recycled consignment shoes — because I was needing to buy some on the Internet when I get home anyways. Oh, and this slightly-too-small neon green gym shirt. (The suggestion that I cut the vertical slit at the front collar to give the chest hair room to breathe. Uhm… no. Not even in Portland.) And this horizontally striped sweater/sweatshirt thing, even though it will be one hundred degrees tomorrow (more likely: because it will be one hundred), and which might not actually fit me, and which seems way too cool and fancy for my usual Old Navy settling. But fuck it: check out and go. None of that usual brain picking and hesitating and pre-emptive regret optimization strategy shit. So fun.

I’m willfully wandering into new territory, too. The M-F barrista, I notice, has a tattoo of California on her right bicep, just below the shirt sleeve line. She seems nice, but guarded. Likely a hazard of the occupation, if not also for a thousand other imaginable reasons. Still, trying to be nice about it — trying completely to be of pure intent — I ask her about it, as she’s making small change. I’m from San Diego, I say, by way of attempted explanation. Bay Area, she replies. And then something something, which I miss as my brain fires off the realization that, oh, duh, standing here in OR, as we are, being from CA isn’t anywhere nearly as unusual or significant as it would be in Bloomington, IN, where I keep repeatedly, momentarily forgetting that I’m not. (It feels like ten Bloomington’s stitched together by quaint little highways.) In IN, the CA connection would have been a moment. Here, not so much. But that’s fine… no, it’s better than fine. Because there’s no harm done; it just doesn’t land completely. Because I’m exploring. Because I’m trying to make connections. And because maybe tomorrow, when I order the exact same thing for the third straight day, we’ll share a smile about it. Or maybe, that faint human moment in the books, on the way out of here a few minutes from now, I’ll say something like, Bye, California. Hope you have a good day.

Probably not. But maybe I will. Because for a former social anxiety-laden, girl-afraid, hiding my truest self from the world, nerdy depressive, I think that’s OK. I hope that’s OK. In a perfect world, that makes her feel good for a moment, or think, “That was weird,” but not bad-weird or creepy-old-guy weird but just good, something-happened-today weird. Hopefully.

Oh, and I bought a third guitar. From a centaur. From Centaur Guitar, which is an actual place, and such a brilliant name for a shop that I went all the way across town — and probably past four other guitar stores — to find it. Dungeon Masters of the World, Unite and Take Over.

I didn’t need a third guitar; I don’t need a third guitar… However, I wanted a third guitar, this one, and I wanted to buy it now, yesterday, and so I did. Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

Also, it’s a hell of a guitar for 275 bucks. That’s the copay on 11 therapy sessions, one month’s amortized propane payment, and/or only half a plane ticket to bizarro world.

What does this one — I wonder, what does this guitar do for me — or what does my subconscious monkey brain think it will do for me — what does this one do that the other two don’t already do? And what I come up with, over my phenomenal breakfast biscuit sandwich, here on my own semi-private gorgeous little alleyway patio, is that if I ever did summon the balls to walk out into a public place and sit down on a bench or curb and sing my song, this is the guitar I’d want to sing it to. It would feel right; and it seems to me there are few things more crucial to a realtime performance than the core elements feeling right. A tool for — potentially — further self discovery. What’s that worth?

“Meet me on the other side.”