April 19, 2017 (Wednesday)

by Yule Heibel on April 18, 2018

It’s chilly. It’s just after 6a.m., and I turned the heat back on. The man who lives in the house on E.-Street opposite to the one right below me just returned to his front door and entered. One assumes it’s him – the man who lives there – although I first assumed he was a SWAT team member or a First Responder because, as he walked down E.-Street toward his house, all I could see was man-in-black-with-fluorescent-safety-vest. Now – after first thinking, “Police?” – I’m thinking he was out jogging, but bundled up against the cold (and fluorescent safety vest so distracted drivers would be sure to see him). Isn’t this weird? Eighty-seven degrees on Sunday, baking and boiling, and now the heat is on again. The front of my forehead feels like it might fall off. No hangover (no booze, actually, beyond a small glass of wine with dinner), just a bodily complaint about the early hour.

The sky this morning bends towards the ground. A clear inversion of the usual bowl-shape. The clouds are thick enough to suggest the inclination – or is it a declination? – but on the left, where they’re still higher, less inclined toward the earth, they’re still thinned out enough, too, allowing orange and peach colored suggestions of prodigious light. The rosy-fingered dawn …who turns, on hot sunny days, into a ham-fisted giant that clobbers us.

Again I had disturbing dreams, albeit no horrifying nightmares. This time, they involved hotels and parties and small but very deep, very clear, and very fast flowing rivers, like water pouring from a faucet. A foreign city (hence, hotel). A cocktail party or reception. Abandonment. Wet clothes, with nothing dry to wear. Public nudity (at the reception). Back into clothes, but now hopelessly lost in the foreign city. Possibility of shortcut via blocks and blocks (or acres of parks and buildings, really) of a monastery – where women aren’t allowed. A young man who programs the iPad I suddenly possess so it can “zap,” as in a video game, the heads off any monks who might question my passage through their territory. And so on, in that vein.

My dreams are as confused and stupid as my life. I feel it most acutely right now, how “wrong” B. is – and yet there seems to be no viable alternative in sight. Sometimes, when I think, “This is all there is,” I really do feel incredibly small. W. has his job again. I have this life of trying, trying, and just not being good enough. I feel a bit like a dilettante, a dabbler who’s never had the strength or the ability to stick with one thing and see it through. At some fundamental level, that is my problem. The closest I came was the academic track / career, and there I hit the adjunct wall. But I also (curiously) sought a career track I wouldn’t especially like (namely, teaching: specifically, the extroverted, performative aspect of teaching and having to gain popularity). And I avoided – because I bought into the idea still peddled in my doctorate studies days at Harvard that it was less serious, less worthy than being a “professor” (who teaches, professes) – a career that would have allowed my “backroom boy” / researcher skills to play the main role. I’m referring of course to museum work, at the time poo-pooed by [adviser] and all his coterie. How interesting that I would set my sights on that which would kill me, or kill it for me. The gulf between me and people who actually enjoy being on the podium or at the center of a seminar discussion, directing things, channeling other people’s energies, and playing with those energies to achieve some kind of result is very wide indeed.

The sun is up a little higher now, but Rosy Fingers has nearly disappeared, replaced by a clouded, mostly indeterminate mass of clouds, shone through weakly. Except at the very center of this blob, a still-blinding silver orb beams out the light we are about to receive today. Another day in B., on the North Shore, in Greater Boston.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: