The Jaywalker

“Jaywalker!”

This is what my client shouted out her car window as she drove past me crossing the street. I was startled and almost dropped the black coffee I held in my hand and the cigarette I had in my mouth. Like a child caught doing something wrong but still trying to pretend like there is nothing wrong, I smiled and gave a friendly wave back at her as she drove away in her silver Tesla. I then returned to work.

I am the kind of person who crosses the street when and wherever I need to. I just cross. I do not like the idea of being told what to do by two painted lines on asphalt. Crossing in the crosswalk causes me to feel bad about myself. Like I am doing something that I know is not good for me. I often feel no different than a cow obediently following along.

I prefer to jaywalk and will explain why this illegal act is so important for mental health in a bit.

But first….

I didn’t think much more about it for the rest of the afternoon and got lost in trying to help my psychotherapy clients solve some of their unsolvable problems. The good thing about being a psychotherapist is that you can forget about your own problems for a while, pretend like you have none, and focus on someone else’s troubled inner world. I am often surprised when I come home from work and find several problems waiting for me. “Oh, hey,” I say. “I almost forgot about you.”

The following day, my client who caught me jaywalking did not show up for her appointment. Really? This was odd behavior since I had been working with her for over a year. She came to every appointment and would often say that her life depended on psychotherapy. She had no communication with any of her children and lived alone in a large and beautiful home. She was continually unhappy about her life and felt like psychotherapy helped her to work things out and become a better person in her mid-life. I sent her a text asking if she was still going to make it to our scheduled session but did not receive a response that day. Or the next.

I knew that my client had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder by a previous therapist, but I tried not to see her in the light of this diagnosis. Diagnosis helps no one is my general belief. I know that Borderline Personality Disorder causes a person to go from loving you to disliking and being angry with you at the snap of two fingers, but I wanted to believe that our therapeutic relationship was more stable than this. We would work through anything that came up, I told myself. We seemed to get along perfectly well but it is always tough to tell when a personality disorder is present in the room. When I did not receive any response from my text after a few days, I knew that something was wrong. It was obvious to me that she was condemning me for illegally crossing the street.

I realize that many people do not like the idea of being given advice from someone who walks outside of two lines painted on asphalt. A jaywalker has a negative connotation in our much too obedient, rule driven society. Everyone is expected to walk within the lines and those who do not are harshly judged. If I am a jaywalker what other rules do I break? I must be troubled person if I can’t even cross the street within the lines. What an irresponsible professional I must be. My client was a CEO of a large corporation and I knew that she deeply respects rules and expects everyone to follow them. Still I assumed that when she yelled out her Tesla window, “Jaywalker!” she was just playing around with me. A funny coincidence passing your therapist jaywalking in mid-afternoon on a crowded street. I did not realize that her yelling at me was actually an angry condemnation. How dare I illegally cross the street. I should know better. This sort of thing.

I realize that my brain has a tendency to jump towards the worst case scenario. I once had a meditation teacher who told me, “You have the kind of brain that when you walk down the street and you notice a rope in the middle of the street you immediately assume it is a snake. It takes you a few minutes to realize that it is just a rope.” Fair enough. I have done a lot of work to correct this psychological disability but being born and raised Jewish predestines a person to certain amount of self-created psychological duress, which is impossible to correct. The best a person can do is be aware of when their disability is causing them to experience the world in a way which is not true. A person who can’t do this is often called psychotic.

I don’t want to be psychotic. I want to know what I am doing when I do it.

It is possible that my client is not thinking what I think she is thinking. It is possible that not soon after passing me she was in a serious car accident and is now dead. It is odd that she suddenly stopped coming to our sessions and will not reply to my texts but as a person who works with so many people, it is not unusual for a few to every so often be suddenly and without notice recruited out of this life.

I was warned once by another psychotherapist to never work with people with Borderline Personality Disorder. “They will make your life miserable. At first you will think they are the nicest and most interesting people. They will tell you how much you are helping them and make you feel great about yourself. Then suddenly POW!!! When you do one thing that they think is wrong you will be punished.” I have never been very good at taking other people’s advice but now that I am left feeling like I was unfairly judged for jaywalking, I see what he meant.

I’ve had to keep in mind the words of the troubled philosopher Seneca who wrote in exile, “No man is despised by another unless he is first despised by himself.” I obviously have no problem with jaywalking. I enjoy jaywalking. It is my trivial way of saying fuck you to the law-abiding world. I would never want any kind of advice from someone who does not know how to walk outside of the lines. As our society becomes increasingly entrenched within narrow minded laws and mindless conformity, walking outside the lines has become a way to exercise one’s autonomy.

The person who is not continually exercising their autonomy is doomed to struggle with mental illness, often a fundamental symptom of conformity. Therefore, I see it as my responsibility as a mental health professional to jaywalk. It is impossible to conform and have mental health. Conformity to the way of life in our current society creates immense mental health problems. What use am I to my clients if I am unable to do what is best for my own mental health?

As I lay in bed last evening I was thinking that maybe it was the act of jaywalking with a cigarette in my mouth that turned my client against me. I realize that psychotherapists are supposed to be examples of responsibility and health and seeing me cross the street in an illegal way while smoking may have destroyed the illusion all professionals are publicly supposed to create. It is possible that my client could not tolerate seeing me as my authentic self. Maybe it is my fault for being caught with my guard down while out in public. I don’t really know. All this thinking is madness. This is the problem with having relationships with people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Suddenly you are left feeling like you have done something terribly wrong but you don’t know what. They are good at taking the madness that is in their brains and inserting it into yours.

Jaywalking is one of the final ways I have left to protest a society that is all about following rigid and suffocating rules. When I was young I would spend entire days in protest marches but now I do not have the time or energy to do this. I also live in an area where acts of political protest do not exist. So for now, jaywalking is the best I can do to convince myself that some degree of an activist rebel is still alive in me despite living a more professional, suburban, middle-class life. If my client doesn’t like it, to hell with her.

“You are better off without her,” my wife said to me as she sat in bed next to me and intuited that I was still trying to figure out what went wrong with my client. “You are right,” I said to my wife. We turned out the bedroom lights and I placed my arms around her and pulled her into my body. Before falling asleep I thought, I am better off without her. This is advice I am going to take. Just let it go.

The Jaywalker. Part One.

My Sleeping Wife

Every morning starting at 8, I begin the long process of waking up my sleeping wife. She sleeps in the nude and at around 8am all the blankets are pulled off and her naked and supine body just rests there. Sometimes I imagine that this is how she would look if she were dead. The bedroom is completely dark even though the sun is very much new and alive outside.

I tell her it is time to wake up but she does not respond. I go back to reading my book.

At 9am I remind her that she is missing the best part of the day. Mornings are a time of renewal. Everything has a fresh start and is yet to be destroyed by the rest of the day and night. I try to entice my wife with a cup of two hour old coffee heated up on the stove, but her body refuses to move. Looking at my wife I often think how good her body looks in the nude but how much better it would look if she would just move.

Sometime at around 11am I return to the dark bedroom and remind my wife that she is sleeping her life away. By this time her body has shifted into a different position. Often she is laying on her back and I will notice if her pubic hair remains untended to. Sometimes I will receive a response from some part of her that is still alive, which says something like, I don’t want to get up. Please just let me sleep. I love you. She seems agitated but calm and indicates that she wants to be left alone. What kind of thirty-year-old woman sleeps like this? Isn’t this the time when a young person should be most engaged in life? But I keep these thoughts to myself and let her sleep.

At around 1pm I will ask my sleeping wife if she would like me to bring her some lunch and she always answers no. Sometimes she will even say that she needs to be careful with her weight so please do not entice her with food. But doesn’t she need to eat? I will think about all the things which could go wrong from a lack of nutrition but not say anything about it. Not to mention what happens to a body when it goes without any sunlight. It seems as if my sleeping wife just wants to hurry up and be old.

In mid-afternoon I confess to becoming mad. What kind of way is this to live? She is neglecting so much in her life? Why can’t she just get it together and wake up? If she would just start exercising everything would feel better. She needs to wake up and tend to her life! It is just not healthy to be in bed this long. All these thoughts and more start racing through my head at around 3 pm. What I do not seem to understand is that my sleeping wife is tired of life. She can not handle the load of responsibilities she must tend to as an adult and would rather just remain asleep. I don’t think this is a good coping mechanism.

I realize that my wife is a shy person who does not enjoy interacting with most people but this is no way to avoid the world. At around 5pm I will tell her this. I will tell her that being an adult involves doing a lot of things that you do not want to do and this is why most adults are terribly unhappy and addicted to so many things. Rather than sleeping all day I tell my wife that she needs to find healthier ways of being an adult in this messed up world but my wife just continues to sleep. At this point she is usually laying on her stomach, on top of our comforter. I notice how healthy and appealing her butt still looks. I feel my libido spike and I want to reach out and touch her butt. I always abstain because I know she would become violently angry if I invaded her space. I think about masturbating right there and then at the edge of our bedroom but never do.

At around 7pm I go back into the bedroom, this time frustrated and indignant (it is the same every day) and notice that she is not there. She has finally gotten out of bed and is either standing naked in the kitchen or she is naked on the toilet. If the human animal could be in a state of hibernation all the time I know my wife would never get up. But because she exists in a human body she must wake up. Often I will find her standing in front of the refrigerator eating various forms of vegan food. I will ask her if she wants me to make her something and she always says no. I will ask her if she heard about the most recent terrorist attack and she always says no and that she does not care.

At around 8pm, after taking a long shower, my sleeping wife is back in bed and will remain there for almost another twenty-four hours. At this point I no longer bother her even though I am completely frustrated by this on-going situation. I understand that this is how she is choosing to respond to living in the messed up adult world but I feel like there are more proactive and responsible choices that she could make. But what can a man do whose wife has decided to remain asleep? You try waking a sleeping wife up. Any attempt to intervene just pisses her off. I have learned through time and effort to let her be and instead make friends with my own loneliness and despair by reading a lot of books.

I am usually in bed around 10pm and try not to bother her.

The Inventor Of A Place Where The Place Is Not

I am an inventor of a place where the place is not.

I am pleased with the results of my invention.

Outside my back door I have simulated Northern California.

Outside my front door is the suburbs of Southern California.

I grew up in Northern Califonia. I currently reside in the suburbs of Southern California and experience a kind of subtle homesickness the moment I walk out my front door. This homesickysickness has forced me to become an inventor of a place. I call it a homesickysickness to reduce the painfulness of the expereince.

Homesickysickness creates a longing in a person to be somewhere they are not. It is a painful experience, especially when the longing is for a radically different place than the place in which one is.

Southern California is not that far from Northern California. An ambitous person could drive a car back and forth between the two, twice, in one day. But still, North and South could not be further apart. They are two totally different universes with absolutly nothing in common. I often state that a person should need a passport to go from one to the other. They are that radically different.

Make no mistake about it, California is a bipolar state.

The Southern California suburbs are even more radically different than Northern California suburbs. Even the birds, driveways, parks and mailboxes look different here.

In Northern California there is green. Green everywhere. And water seems to be more prevalent. And clean air. The light is different. The food tastes fresher. The lifestyle is more laid back. Artists and readers are not in hiding.

In Northern California I would often spend my days reading and felt fine about it. I would see other prolific readers around town. In Southern California I feel like I am doing something wrong when in a book for too long.

In Northern California my attention span and diet seemed to flourish. In Southern California there is too much distraction to care about these things.

In Northern California the culture is much more progressive and the people are slower, more bohemian and, well I hate to say it, but more well read. I lived in Northern California for forty years and never met a white person proud of their guns. In the Southern California suburbs white people are proud of their guns everywhere.

Televisions are everywhere in Southern California suburbs. It is probably the same up North but I like to think more channels are on public televsion networks up North. I could be wrong.

In Southern California there is brown and some green. My eyes spend an entire day searching for a significant patch of green in LA.

People here move too fast. People work too much. Facades masquerade for the real person. Image is king.

Heat and sun are constant. Style counts most. Culture is visual. Education levels are mediocre and general at best. The norm is found everywhere one looks. Those who are radically different are either in hiding or do not exist.

I never, ever, ever, ever see people reading books in Southern California but everyone is on phones. People tend to dislike each other a lot more in Southern California. It is a hostile place. The political zeitgiest is conservative.

I am a stranger in a strange land.

As a result I have become the inventor of a place in my backyard. I have grown trees and plants that are specific to Northern California. I have created an atmosphere that is Northern California. I even have a small redwood tree that refuses to grow.

My backyard is a laid back place with plenty of different areas to read and a teardrop trailer to nap in. I water constantly to maintain the green. I have built fire pits and hung hammocks from trees. I have captured several birds and squirrels from Northern California and set them free in my backyard. Most have gone back up North, despite being well fed.

I have stolen road signs from Northern California and placed them around my yard. I have taken these road signs down because seeing them just makes me too sad. I always end up putting them back up. And then taking them back down. And then putting them back up.

I am continually at work on creating a place where the place is not.

It has become an obsession. It is what I do to keep myself from becoming too depressed.

My wife gets mildly frustrated that I do not go out my front door as much as she would like. I tell her to please go run free in the world out there but she always prefers to stay with me. Okay then, lets get wine and smokes and go into the backyard, I say.

Why would I go out there more than I must? There is little I want to see, smell, taste or hear out there. Everyone is moving too fast. Normalizing Capitalistic Propaganda has been most successful here and everyone is pissed off about it happening to them. No, I prefer to stay in my backyard where sanity can be found.

Visualizing a landscape in Northern California can put me to sleep in under two minutes. I have not had the same result with my various Southern California visualizations.

I do almost everything in my backyard. I love my backyard in the same way a person loves a beloved dog or a penis or an iPhone. I only go out my front door when I must. I try to go for walks but always return home depressed. As a result most of my life is passed in the Northern California of my Southern California backyard. I prefer things this way. I feel home here. My anxiety is diminished and homesickysickness dissipates.

I am able to invent a place which is not the place I am in by creating an environment which allows me to forget the place I am in. This is the most important aspect of being an inventor of a place where a place is not- the invented place must be good enough that it enables forgetfulness and as a result encourages the imagination to become real.

Come visit me sometime in Northern California if you are ever in LA.

The Pervert’s Guide To A Small Town

Hello there. I have begun a new writing and drawing project on Tumblr called The Pervert’s Guide To A Small Town. I don’t know why I am doing this but it may have something to do with being a pervert living in a small town. Please feel free to come and join me on this perverted journey. Thank you.

This Blog Is Now Blocked!

This blog is now blocked.

WORDPRESS has blocked my blog from the general public.

Now this blog is rated CENSORED, DEVIANT MATERIAL INSIDE.

Make no mistake about it- WORDPRESS IS A RELIGIOUS AND RESTRICTIVE INSTITUTION. ONLY CERTAIN APPROPRIATE THINGS CAN BE SAID HERE.

If you use the word MOTHERFUCKER in the title of a post you run the risk of being blocked.

Very said that a writing platform like WORDPRESS oppresses authentic expression and is so threatened by words like MOTHERFUCKER.

NO authentic/good writing can happen on a platform that will block and restrict your mode of expression if it feels like you are becoming inappropriate.

This is why WORDPRESS had become a main perpetuator of crapy writing in the world. WORDPRESS supports CENSORING writer’s voices if that writer’s voice expresses sentiments that are not in alignment with what they believe is right.

I will no longer have anything to do with WORDPRESS obviously. How could I? How could any real writing ever happen here?

WORDPRESS is like the TARGET for writing. It sells cheaply made products, for lower prices, that look kind of like the real thing but are far from it.

I am grateful to WORDPRESS for giving me a platform to write on. I am grateful that I was able to slide by under THE WORDPRESS BIG BROTHER CENSORING APPARATUS for as long as I did. It was my way of saying FUCK THE MAN while I still could.

WORDPRESS is now telling me I have said ENOUGH on their public platform. Ok.

I have been caught by the religious institution known as WORDPRESS, probably turned in by some religious WORDPRESSIAN disciple who can not handle a few bad words in their daily on-line reading.

There are a lot of very controlling and fascistic people out there who operate under the title of PEOPLE OF FAITH. Sad that a platform like WORDPRESS has lost the courage to stand out from the masses and has instead become an INSTITUTION FOR PEOPLE OF FAITH.

-Randall

Why The American Dream Has Killed My Writing Career.

When my wife asks me how I am and I tell her that I am depressed, she no longer asks why.

I know that all emotions and thoughts are inherently empty and impermanent so I try not to get too caught up in any of it. Sometimes, I just let myself be depressed.

I know that my entire identity is just a phantom passing in the day and night. I try not to identify with much of it.

But still I feel. Still I think. I am human.

My dream has always been to be able to make a living as a writer. A fiction writer. I did not expect this to happen until, and if, I made it to fifty.

Now at forty five I can’t really write. The American Dream has killed my writing career.

My younger self knew this would happen if I gave in. There is no one else to blame but myself.

Depression makes it hard to write. Depression is often the end result of the American Dream.

I have a house now. I must keep my house clean because I can not function adequately in a house that is a mess. Cleaning my house every day takes away from time that I can write. Being stressed out about a house that is a mess takes away from the energy I need to write.

I must work a real job in order to afford my lifestyle. A real job drains a person and does not leave them with much energy outside of work to do anything else.

I own a business, which requires much of my attention, which leaves less attention for my writing. A man can only spend so many hours working. Whether it is my real job or writing, it is all still work. I need a good amount of non-work-down-time in order to feel alright. Down time plus working a real job does not leave much space within which to write. I see now why Kafka continually decided against marriage and the domestic life.

I am married and a marriage often comes with a good amount of emotional drain. There are problems to attend to. Another person in your daily life mix. This takes up time and energy, which was once used to write.

I have a garden, a front yard and these organic entities need my daily watering attention. This takes away time to write.

I have four dogs which are continually needy. I can’t stand to see dog shit just hanging out in my yard, so I must pick this up each day since my wife refuses to. Having four, needy animals around all the time takes away from the tranquility which is often needed to write in. Dogs take up a lot of psychic space.

Then there is the daily meditation that I must do each day to deal with the anger, anxiety, stress and depression, which seems to be a daily part of American Dream life. Meditation makes me feel more at peace and when I am more at peace I have little use for writing stories. I would rather just sit in my garden and watch birds fly by.

As a business owner I have emails to check. People that want things from me. Appointments to make. People to stay in touch with. Bills to pay. Other people’s problems to think about. All of this will drain a person’s creative inner life away. All of this leaves me feeling too preoccupied with the real world to think about fictional other worlds. I am too caught up in this world and rather than write I just engage my iPhone.

Being overly connected is the death of a creative life. A creative person needs to spend a certain amount of time each day disconnected our else their creative energy will be sapped. Great artists and writers, I doubt, check their social media, text messages and emails fifty plus times a day. I do.

Then I need to do dishes, make food, buy food, be pissed about not eating the right food. This food thing takes up a lot of time that could be spent writing.

Then I need to buy things to feel better about not having the writing career I want. Does not seem to work.

Then there is everything else- bills, cleaning car, tending to cars, laundry, exercise and on and on.

This is the standard lifestyle, which is a result of achieving the American Dream. It generally leaves a person overwhelmed, addicted to zoning out on their iPhone and looking forward to that drink they can have when the day is done, so they can get some temporary relief.

This is a pathetic way to go through life. It is completely missing the point in being alive. It is a lifestyle based in comfort and security and it leaves a person feeling trapped, stuck and overly entertained. Nothing good grows out from this place. Especially not a writing career.

I know there is a lot more I could say here, but I do not have time. I must go to work now.

The End.