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On the way to work in the morning light.
October 18th, 1999

I feel a certain drift, a retreat into the mental caves as fall approaches. I set up the portable photographer's background over the weekend and a couple of tripods, but fell short of actually shooting any pictures. Which maybe is or maybe is not a good sign, cause I'm going to need more photographs to feed this meat eating journal of mine. Photographs of the cat. Photographs of the people I have lunch with every day, all four of them, over and over and over again. I am sitting here feeling ambivalent about this, but the reality will strike home soon enough.

Ambivalent: "A simultaneous attraction toward and repulsion from an object, person, or action." So Having Sushi at the Chinese Cultural Center. says Webster's Seventh New Collegiate. My own definition would include the stipulation that the attraction toward and the repulsion from weren't very strong or, if they were very strong, the overall effect was a feeling of neutrality, a feeling of not caring, of disinterest, of numbness, of not recognizing the forces within. That's how I use the term ambivalent, a term describing a state of being that has been, I have a fateful hunch, the Achilles heel of my existence. I don't care enough or want enough or run down the road racing after the brass ring enough. I have interests and pursuits, but bottom line I am as content fidgeting on my balcony watching the paint on the building next door as I am late afternoon driving through Yosemite with the light just right and the eagles doing loop the loops. Most people are willing to get off their butt for loop the loops. I, on the other hand, resident of the San Francisco Bay Area for thirty years, have never visited Yosemite Park, do not, unless prodded by friends of impeccable purpose, cross any of the local bridges without a fight.

This does not bode well for my declining years.

Pink Floyd has a line in one of their songs: "I have become, comfortably numb". Nice little guitar riff follows it. Trite statement. Maybe everybody's comfortably numb, ambivalent. I've treated many of the more significant events in my life from the comfortably numb. A potential marriage or two never pursued, hearing I had something bleeding inside with years of searching out a cause: "It isn't cancer because you'd be dead by now." The hint of a spot on an intestine. We want to cut. An operation, ten days in the hospital and two weeks at home alone in bed. No luck. Wrong spot. Year in and year out without any idea what might be happening, except I would become unbelievably tired for months at a time. Transfusions in the day of AIDS. No secret why. No blood. Hard to think or plan or loop... the loop.

Now you might say, well, tired for lack of blood is not the same thing as disinterest, ambivalence or whatever it is you're trying to ramble on about and although that's true, there was something else, a kind of distance from the whole business, a lack of interest in pushing harder for a solution. Same with this operation on the jaw. They talk about going with the flow, but going with the flow over the cliff is usually associated with true love or a raging drug habit.

I could give other examples, times and places where better judgement might have said hup! get up! grab! and I'd worry more about those times and those incidents if I weren't so damned ambivalent about the results. Hup what? Grab whom? Youm?

I sit here feeling tired. Why tired? I got plenty of sleep last night. Maybe I'll finish this entry in the morning and post it from the office. Plenty of blood in the veins and, I think, plenty of sleep, yet here I sit feeling pooped. Ambivalent.

The banner photograph was taken on the way to work. The photograph of Ola was taken recently when a group of us went to lunch in the Oakland Chinese Cultural Center. Japanese restaurant. Nice atmosphere, good food.