Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Long Goodbye

I have lived my life on the edge of nothing.
- Raymond Chandler

That's not a line from one of the novels. That's from a letter, talking about himself.

I always identified with that line. I felt as if I knew exactly what he meant. The sense that your life has no firm foundation, that everything in it rests precariously on a sheet of tissue paper and as soon as a drop of rain appears...

It all falls down.

Why would a sane person arrange their life in such a way? Perhaps a sane one wouldn't.

Maybe it's a sense of fatalism, a feeling that it's never going to last, that you weren't meant to last, that's responsible. Why do some recognize that life requires a bit of effort if you want what you've built to stand? Why are others satisfied to drift, allowing their lives to happen around them?

It's hard for me to answer for myself. Part of it was disinterest, part of it laziness, part of it sadness. I had no idea, no plan, no great ambition.

I had a vague sense of an artist's vocation, but refused to do the work required.

I do know that whatever life I ever had always rested on very shaky ground. I'd look back occasionally and marvel that I had made it as far as I had.

But remove one support...

And I knew that. But I bluffed my way through.

The job was that one support. And the loss of it has ruined every part of my life.

Of course, losing the job didn't do that per se, but it exacerbated pre-existing problems.

Now I have, quite literally, lost everything.

I think I may have mentioned earlier that my future always felt to me like it was a toss-up between a couple of choices. One was living as a homeless person. This never seemed practical, though. I'm a private type and the homeless thing seemed like it required a lot of social interaction.

I never saw myself living happily ever after, or even living in a house. My disdain for what I knew would be required to do so made it seem logical to me that I'd find no home in the world. Maybe that makes no sense, but it made an emotional sense to me.

Perhaps it's just a case of self-fulfilling prophecy. It's what I expected, so I willed it on myself.

The other choice, which folks like me always keep buried in the back of their minds, is...

Well, you know what it is.

It stops the suffering. But I don't have the nerve, you know. I don't even like to get needles.

Right now, though, those are the two most realistic options I have to choose from.

It's no one's fault but my own. I made this bed.

At one point tonight, though, I started thinking, how long can I have to go, realistically? 20, 25 years, if I'm lucky?

I imagine it'll be less.

But I thought, that's not that long, is it? I managed to work at Endless Bore and Tedium that long.

Don't I owe life that much? Shouldn't I fight just a little longer?

How long can I last? Surely not that long. And it would be a nice gesture, you know, like a belated thank you for a gift.

Bukowski wouldn't have given up, right?

Then again, his life didn't go down the toilet at 50, it took off.

I keep waiting to be rescued. I always get rescued.

I have looked into black pits before and always survived. But then I never dreamed they could be as vast and as dark as this one.

But it's the one that I knew was waiting for me all my life. I put myself neatly on the path to it years ago, ages ago.

Now I can see it, smell it, taste it. That makes all the difference in the world.

What a horrible thing it is, worse beyond anything I have ever imagined.

What do I do now?

For the first time ever, I am being forced to make a choice.


Post a Comment

<< Home