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Today I’m writing at the dreaded 3pm time. Usually no good comes of this. Writing blog posts at 3pm is not a good idea. Which is why I’m implementing two things to make it go better: 1) I won’t post this until after proofreading it tomorrow, and 2) I’m just going to do a little stream of consciousness. No editing. No going back and reading what I’ve already written.

I’m on the boat, as you might’ve guessed, since usually when I’m writing I’m on the boat. I don’t usually write in cafes, because if I’m in a cafe with my computer it means I’m working. And lately there hasn’t been any work. So I haven’t been going to cafes. One of my supervisors said work was supposed to be picking up soon but then it just….doesn’t. I don’t know when “soon” is. Maybe “soon” for her is 2024. Today I accepted one task, for a tour somewhere in India. Tomorrow I’ll complete the task, and then Wednesday I’ll submit it. Good start to the work week.

Slash.

I’m not doing keto today. I did keto for about a week, and I felt great albeit hungry af, but today I’m not doing keto, partly because I wanted to be able to get a more fun cafe beverage with the person I just met up with, and partly because when you do keto you just slowly starve, and partly because I have some tortilla chips on the boat I need to eat. I mean, today won’t be a CRAZY carb day. I’m going to try to have my “crazy” carb  days still be quite healthy. But eat two servings of chips and you’re at like 70g of carbs, so, like, you’re not doing keto.

I did just have some MCT oil. Which will probably rip a hole in my stomach.

I don’t know what to do this evening. I could work on the novel or the novella. I worked on the novella a bit this morning. I CAN’T climb, absolutely can’t climb, cuz my elbow feels effed from going really hard a couple sessions last week. Tendonitis. So frustrating. Medial epycondilitis. Why doesn’t the spellcheck work on WordPress. Why do I have to pay $4.88 a month for wordpress. It’s so dumb. Stream of consciousness. Typing. Elbow. Coffee. Whole Foods. Tortilla chips. Kraken. Blackhawks. YouTube. Bouldering. Cell phone. Green sludge. Keto.

I should do a cold plunge, but there’s not way I’m doing a cold plunge.

It’s so silent at the boat right now. I can hear the ducks and the geese outside and that’s it. Can’t hear my neighbors. Don’t hear any boats going by. Don’t hear any planes. I hear a car in the distance, some kind of souped up Honda or something, probably crossing the ballard bridge. I hear a crow cawing. Again, a duck or a goose flapping its wings against the water. A crow cawing again. The sound of my fingers typing. The boat sways gently side to side. I could clean the boat, clean my car, maybe that’s what I’ll do. I need to drop off a bunch of books at the little lending libraries. I have too many books. And I’m not reading them, so they’re not getting used, just taking up space in a place where space is limited.

I could clean out the bilge compartment.

I could do yoga.

I could take a long walk.

I could take a nap.

 

The Geese

After more than two and a half years of living on a boat on the freshwater side of the Ballard Locks I’ve become better acquainted with the local bird species. Many I recognize and know the names of but there are also plenty i dont know the names of too. There are mallards and mergansers and herons and canadian geese. There are what I think are loons. There are these little black duck-like things that I think are pretty good divers and are much more skittish than the mallards and also have stunted beaks. There are the kingfishers with their trademark call. And the seagulls, of course, oh the seagulls. I can hear one screaming right now. Usually the birds aren’t TOO loud, but lately the geese have been having some 3am or 4am skirmishes, though of course I can’t be sure of the time because I don’t actually stir enough to check my clock, just to get mildly annoyed and go back to sleep.

Oh, and there are cormorants, too. How could I forget the cormorants. I love cormorants. And more in the summer there are bald eagles, usually when the salmon are running.

Weirdly, the species I’ve come to love the most over the two and half years are the canadian geese. At the beginning I wasn’t super fond of them because all they seem to do is poop and get pissed at you when you get near their young. But the more time I’ve spent around them the more I’ve developed a tender spot for them. How do I describe how this tender spot came about? Well, they’re so….dumb. And it’s not like i like dumb things. I usually kind of abhor dumb things. But in the case of the geese with the dumbness comes a certain kind of innocence, a certain earnestness. The mallards are a bit dumb too but I’ve seen them be vicious, the males trying to drown each other. And I guess now that I think about it the reason I like the geese is that even though they’re dumb and scared of humans they can also be quite curious, too. today for example I opened the curtains of my boat upon waking up and there was a pair of geese just staring at me through the window. I opened the hatch and said hello and they continued to stare, and then started making honking noises, and i did my best to make honking noises and we had a bit of a honking match. Then there was the night I got home late from being out on the town and I walked (as I sometimes do) to the end of the dock before getting on my boat to appreciate the stillness. And there chilling at the end of the dock, like little ghost fowl in the water, but a troupe of Canadian geese, looking like little grey shrouded sentinels. What they were up to I have no idea. They’re a weird bird, and that’s why i love them more and more.

I would probably love the more exotic birds too, the loons and the mergansers, but they never get close enough to hang out. The only ones that really get close are the mallards and the geese.

And so that’s what I was thinking about this morning, as I try to decide what to do today. I made a resolution yesterday to get off the boat, but I don’t know where that’ll take me. Maybe I’ll just go over to my parents’ house, or maybe I’ll drive to Portland and then Bend. Maybe I’ll go out to the Olympic Peninsula.

No need to rush. In the event I can’t decide maybe I’ll just look at the geese for awhile, for though they are dumb they’re also somehow wise.

Or actually maybe just dumb.

Fight for Living (Loneliness #2, sort of)

My Chilean mentor/friend told me the other day she thinks I’m wasting my life. She also said if I continue wasting my life I’m going to hell, which is funny because I don’t think she believes in hell.

She then told me to write down the kind of person I want to be, and I tried to do it, but it was hard. I realized by the end writing I wasn’t sure if I was writing the kind of person I actually want to be or the kind of person I think she wants me to be. Basically when I imagine the kind of person I want to be Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations come to mind, but I don’t even really remember what he says in Meditations, other than things like, “Remember, always, that in 10 years time, or 50 years time, all of this will be smoke.” And things like, “You can’t demand of others what you don’t demand of yourself,” though it might’ve been my Peruvian teacher who told me that.

But the main thing I took from her latest letter in which she told me I was wasting my life was, A) it might be true, and B) I can fight to stop this from happening. For awhile now my philosophy has been, “Just let things flow, don’t try to force anything, whatever will be will be.” This stems from the belief that there are two camps when it comes to self-improvement. 1) You’re a piece of shit who needs improving, and 2) You’re fine just the way you are, and personal development is just a dumb American phenomenon that makes you feel like a piece of shit and prevents you from accepting yourself.

I’ve oscillated back and forth between the two camps, much like a messenger boy. Well, no, that’s not really true, because even when I’ve tried to be in the “just accept yourself” camp I’ve actually still been in the other camp, them make yourself better camp, but just loathing myself even more because I’m not ACTUALLY doing anything to make myself better. If you can truly accept yourself that’s great, but those of us who can seem to be few and far between.

The hardest thing for me to deal with has been an inexorable decline to where my life is today. The thing is, if something happens fast and it’s impactful then you notice it. But what if things detoriate, slowly, imperceptibly almost, over the course of 10 years? Then one day you wake up on a boat that smells like urine with no job, no girlfriend, and no plan. I’m not talking about no plan as to what you’re going to do with your life, but no plan for what you’re even going to do THAT DAY. Kind of like today. Though actually I do have a job. I just don’t have a girlfriend, or a plan. The point I’m trying to make is that when things get worse slowly it’s easy to not notice them, and sort of accept them, until five or ten years down the road you find yourself with a life you’re really not happy with. And people tell you from the outside your life looks great. You’re living the dream. But you’re not. And other people tell you that, too. Like your Chilean mentor who tells you you’re wasting your life.

Chilean mentor/friend.

So I’ve decided to fight. To fight for living. I’m not sure exactly what that entails yet. So far it’s entailed setting an alarm in the morning instead of just sleeping in till whenever. It’s also involved eating well over the past five days, though I made that decision before I decided to “fight.” Anyway, what I’m going to do now is get off my boat, walk into town, get tea or mate, and think about how I can fight today and over the next few days. And I’m also going to leave you with this video, because it’s sort of on topic, and definitely inspiring:

A Moment of Presence

I had a moment of presence this morning. Normally I wouldn’t comment on a single moment of presence, but this one was more significant because A) I haven’t had many moments of presence lately and b) it was easy to define what made the moment ‘presence.’

I’ll explain.

I was sitting on a bench by the ferry terminal on bainbridge island waiting to go to seattle. It was sunny. I wasn’t in a hurry and had time to kill because they’d just switched to a one boat schedule, meaning I had more than an hour to wait. I got a tea from Commuter comforts and then was just sitting on the bench, enjoying the sun, soaking it in since I hadn’t felt sun that intense since probably some time in october.
The moment of presence came when i was focusing on my breaths and then when I focused on the individual granules of the sidewalk in front of me, and also the tree in front of me (a maple), and also the blueness of the sky and how the air smelled. Suddenly i was jolted into the moment, all the qualities of the moment, and I noticed things like textures and smells. Most of all I knew I was present because I felt a certain joy at just being alive, and a connection to the presence of my youth. When I was young I was present almost all the time, so when I get that feeling again, which is rare, I know it’s presence.

I also realized some other ways to tell presence. For instance, I saw a car getting off the ferry, and I realized that when not in presence, the car is so much more than just a car.

Non-presence
– they’re unloading the ferry. How many cars are on it? How long will it take to unload? When will they make the announcement for foot passengers to load? How crowded will the line be to get on the boat? What will I do when I get to seattle? Will I take the bus to my car? Will I walk? Will I get food on the way?

Presence
– it’s just a car

In the latter, the car is just a car. In the former, it’s as if I almost don’t see the car. I only see what the car means, and I spend the next few minutes processing the barrage of thoughts that come with it.

In presence, you notice things like: What color is the car? What does the car sound like as it moves over the pavement? How big is it? Who’s in it? What does the air smell like right now? Can I smell the car? Can I feel the wind moving because of it?

This is why whenever you do meditation to connect with the presence or watch some eckhart tolle video they’re always telling you to notice the sounds around you, and how your body feels against the ground. And then they tell you to count your breaths, because any asshole can do that.

I’m not present anymore. Or at least not like I was sitting on that bench. It’s a bit harder to be present while writing. It’s also just not my default mode of experiencing the day. I go through most days in a haze of thoughts and anxiety. But this morning! A moment of presence! Triumph!

Teotihuacan

…Candor offers no assurance that one’s beliefs about the world are true. — Sam Harris

I’m confused as to why YouTube thinks I need to be confronted with a barrage of grammarly ads. I’m listening to the song the twist by metric, and it reminds me of the early 2010’s or late 2000’s or some time period like that, specifically of a trip to whistler in which we saw Metric perform and were also told by Canadian police to pour out a 24 pack of kokanee on the slopes of whistler.

“Sorry, guys, know it sucks to pour out a two four.”

Meanwhile.

I couldn’t get on the flight to Guadalajara this morning, and I’m not entirely sure why. It might just be that I wanted to sleep in more. I think it was also because I knew that the trip to Guadalajara was me falling into the familiar trip that things will be better if I just go somewhere else. Instead of improving my life here in seattle, or learning some kind of acceptance so I just appreciate my already kickass life, I think I need to go somewhere else. The grass is always greener, unless you live in Arizona, in which case the grass is yucca and scrub brush.

A few minutes ago I was doing pushups on the ground and screaming. I’ve discovered better form that makes them not hurt my shoulder and elbow as much. I simply position my hands lower down, closer to my belly button. I keep my elbows in. And after I’m done with a set, I let out a guttural scream.

It wasn’t just Guadalajara. I was going to go to Mexico City after that, and that I’m actually cool with. “I love Mexico City,” seems to be a popular sentiment these days, whereas 20 years ago no one would ever say that. But now most millenials can recount some kind of trip they went on to Mexico City where they went to the pyramids of Teotihuacan and ate “real tacos al pastor” and it was “life-changing.” This same trip inspired them to come back to Seattle, do precisely two months of Duolingo, and then give up.

Where did you go in Mexico City? La Condesa, Roma. We went to a lucha libre one night.

Matador, estocada, you’re my blood sport.

And so I’ve postponed the Mexico City trip for now. It is grey in Seattle. It was just raining. The days are getting longer and there is beauty to be found here. My succulents are still alive. I climbed yesterday and it was terrible but I sent a fun orange.

And now I’m going to go pee on a keto strip.