Trying out the Q10 distraction-free word processor. It’s…well, I’m only one line in to it. But so far its a damned dream.
It’s got some kind of recorded typewriter sounds for each key click, is amber on black, and has a carriage return bell as well.
Sitting here now my brain flashes back to the White Lodge, a time in my life that’s been on my mind of late.
In my early 20s I had roommates. We shared a house in upstate New York for a couple/few years. The social group’s patriarch (wow, yeah I’m gonna need to do a whole thing about Duncan) had lived there with his…err…wife I guess. But when he moved out we figured we’d move in. He pretentiously dubbed the house “The White Lodge” as a Twin Peaks fan, as this was about 1992-1993.
After his departure it became a monicker of self-aware mockery. After all, not ALL pretentions of the past earn authenticity in their futures. Not very many at all.
But hell it was a few acres of land in the middle of no place for $750 a month. The landlord was in Florida.
I don’t remember if anybody’s name BUT mine was on the lease, but I was the one who was in charge of getting the rent to the guy. The other guys tended to be pretty lax about having the rent at all, much less on time. So tensions were higher than they otherwise would be. It was a valuable set of lessons, expensively learned. Aside from a girlfriend or two, I’ve lived alone ever since.
There were between 3 and 5 of us, depending on the season. The White Lodge stories are vast and insane. But we had one guy living with us, Jeff, who was a good 12 years older than us. He was an excellent guitar player and had a reasonable voice, but a construction carpenter by trade. He was easily the most narcissistic piece of shit I’ve ever known, chasing around my guitar playing girlfriend (who thought it was as fucking adorable as it was ridiculous) and generally being a snide cunt at most opportunities. Plus he had the added Achilles’ heel of being exceedingly anal retentive.
He was smarter than everybody he’d ever met and once declared, out loud with his face that there wasn’t anybody at the New York Renaissance Festival who’s ass he couldn’t kick. This is the kind of gem of humanity we’re dealing with here.
I had a magentic poetry kit on the fridge and one day I, knowing how it would play out, alphabetized the whole thing. Jeff came home one day and, seeing the arrangement, let out an audible sigh of relief.
“I’ve thought about doing that.” He smiled and nodded.
“You know why I did that?”
I put my fingers on the fridge, above the top of the magnets and just raked them down, upsetting them and ripping them all out of position.
“So I could do that.” and I walked away.
I could balance out the story from my own filters by talking about his better qualities. But the hindsight of about 30 years doesn’t really leave him with very many.
One day, Fletcher and I were playing chess, listening to the self-titled Bloodline album on the house stereo. Bloodline was, I think, a one-project band with Joe Bonamassa on guitar and a bunch of other guys who all had famous musician parents. Don’t quote me on it. I don’t know.
But the damn music was excellent. I recommend it still.
Jeff came in from work, up the split-level stairs behind me and started commenting on the music. “Yeah these guys are never going to be famous. It’s all just kinda rock 101. Basic 12 bar stuff.”
Fletcher was watching me shaking, my back to Jeff, and got wide eyed at the expression on my face.
I looked at Fletcher, stood up, I’d like to say I winked, but I wasn’t that together.
I turned around and said, in my Outside Voice:
“That 17 year old kid plays guitar with more soul in one note than I’ve EVER heard come out of yours in the 4 years I’ve known you.”
He…stopped. No last word, snippy Lord Baelish quip. Nothing.
Just turned, walked into his room and closed the door.
We literally did not see him for 3 days (he had the master bedroom with a bathroom.)
I’d LOVE to say “I turned around, sat down, moved one chess piece and said ‘checkmate’.” But…I’m pretty sure Fletcher went on to trounce me in my emotional imbalance. Not that I had more than an even shot at beating him otherwise.
I really suck at chess. Always have. I think much too broadly to “do the math” the way I’d need to in order to be any good at it. Chess is a narrow and deep process.
Hell I think it was a week later, after life was more or less normal again, that Jeff approached me when I was doing God knows what in the garage and said “Boy, what you said….that…really got to me.”
I could’ve brushed it off. I could have given him the apology he was looking for. But god dammit he deserved it.
“Huh.” was all I could muster, without eye contact.
He went away.
Call it a massive side-effect of insecurity on my part. But I’ve always, with just about anyone I’ve known that I’ve had any doubt of, had a silver bullet with their name on it.
That’s the only time I’ve ever actually deployed something like that, ever. It’s a security blanket of a sort. Just…something in the chamber that I could call on that would rip someone’s self-appraisal to fucking shreds.
It’s interesting that I’m now far more sparing about who I’ll do that with. It’s the first time I’ve overltly thought about it in years. But there are more and more people I know nowadays that just…don’t require such things. Oh I still DO it. There are a couple people I have now whose psyche I could dissolve as surely as if they were dropped in a vat of acid with a single short sentence.
It’s equal parts an improvement in my personal emotional landscape and the resulting discernment in not associating with people I might feel the need to fucking destroy. Plus, moving to The South hasn’t hurt matters much.
…fast forward past 40 minutes of dicking around on twitter…
The problem with this process is that as much as I enjoy it, I’m…handling it wrong. See, I come sit at the cigar lounge and just blast out a couple thousand words. And it’s good. Pull over the cthar I’m getting ctharthic.
But it’s just the beginning. I read what I’ve written and, posted or not (I only ever post about 1/3 of what I put down here) it’s really the beginning of an idea, almost always. It’s scraping the surface of these ideas that I know have some more depth to them, but being satisfied with any blog-post achievement that I leave them alone, patting myself on the back for hitting publish and posting the subsequent link to twitter.
What I need to do is take some of these pieces and constrain myself to writing more on the topic. What will end up happening is I’ll thrash around, saying the same thing over and over again in the word processor until I find an escape from the foyer of the idea into the next level down, like some twisted psychological version of the old game Rogue.
But…I’ve committed myself to go drink this over this evening, which is rapidly approaching. So I’m going to read this through and post it as is.