involuntary noise

I am only getting 4 hours of sleep because of the stress of work and school and my need to be present, in conversations, in my relationships, in my flagging commitment to exert at least a nominal effort in investing in my reason for being. On at least 10 occasions today, I was simply living without giving a passing thought as to why do I exist and what is my purpose. What a waste of this one chance at life. I envy whichever generation will finally crack the mystery of perpetual youth. I envy how few regrets they'll have for wasting a day in reverie.

This lack of sleep has manifested in a total unpreparedness for setting up my books on tape, even charging the batteries of my mp3 player is 6 months behind schedule, so too often of late I am stuck in the car with my own thoughts, god help me. I've had to disable the dashcam because it would do nothing but record involuntary audible groans and other weird noises as I recall every humiliating incident of the past 40 years. That time I insulted the German side of my family, that time I ruined a holiday by yelling over a stupid political argument, that time I stared, that time I cried, that time I confessed, that time I lied, there is nothing but a multitude of times, it seems, and yet it seems like I have no time left at all.

It's frightening how different I am, so that in reading old journal entries it is almost as though I am intruding on the private thoughts of someone who died very young and unintentionally left his diary out alongside a pair of concert ticket stubs and a medical prescription. My wife dotes on me, my kids love me, my parents are proud of me, and I release that involuntary audible noise and want to tell them they are living with a ghost. Here is who I am, he is in these pages and he is awful. Self-loathing is awful because it's lonely; you cannot imagine that anyone else ever erred on the side of self-absorption and kept going. You give yourself comfort by saying if it doesn't get easier, at least it gets shorter.

When I was very young, maybe around 8 or 9, my grandfather bought my grandmother a tiny shop, where she could sell crafts, porcelain and knitted dolls, doilies, quilts and things like that. It seemed like a toy store for very old people, and the one or two times we visited we were the only visitors, and later I couldn't tell if it was the culmination of a life long dream or the beginning of a dream denied. He was, I think now, trying to give her the gift of self-sufficiency, knowing that he was about to die, and he worried that he had spent so much of his lifetime trying to give her a future that he never considered he might not have one of his own, and oh, I wonder what kind of involuntary audible noises he made driving home from that diagnosis. It's hard to tell, I wonder how many people my age even have grandparents anymore.

Next year is going to be hard, for reasons I would explain but for all the involuntary audible noises, it is going to slip by, and the year after that my son is going to be applying to colleges, and he was just a baby in my journal, which is sitting here out in the open, unattended, written by somebody I barely even know.


For most of this year, I've been making repairs on one house, getting it ready to sell/rent, and then later entering a major remodel of a second house. I've loved every minute of it. However, we share a requirement in that those same minutes be taken up by a constant stream of noise, because I know that if something happens to the player or phone and I'm relegated to my own thoughts, my future will suddenly turn pointless and life becomes hell. The sadness of the necessity to drown one set of voices with others (podcasts in my case) isn't lost on me, but you can't beat the solution for price (free) and options (seemingly endless).
brando said…
i have noticed that I've stopped listening to noise when running, but that's mostly because my runs during September - December are really glorified mushroom hunts, and apparently I can't look and listen at the same time.
Janet said…
You'll be pleased to know that my generation, or at least, I myself should soon verge on some important insight on perpetual youth. That, for example, slowing down time means finding the outside world more fascinating than the inner. Or, maybe, as the distance between the mind's attention and the roses increases, time slides to a quicker tempo... like if you're on the edge of a merry-go-round vs. the center. Or, actually, mushroom hunting. I think mushroom hunting might actually be the key to perpetual youth.
Brandon said…
Mushroom eating definitely has that effect.

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