Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Road of Excess Leads to the Hospital Corridor of Sinister Boredom

I'm two weeks now into my trial separation from booze and blunts, and I haven't missed either for more than a few moments here and there. Interesting, after 25 years of dedicated--if, on the blunt side, sporadic--indulgence in both. My mind is clearer, my perception is sharper (though not necessarily my perceptions), and I've lost weight too. Well, obviously: the lager I like to drink goes straight to your belly and stays there; and the blunts make you eat more too.
Of course, I'd put myself on a diet around the same time I gave up boozing anyway, so it's hard to measure how significant the impact of either is on weight loss. I was, on top of the drink and the weed, stuffing my face with chocolates, doughnuts and eight rounds of bread a day too.
Most people I know are rather freaked out by all this abstinence from someone identified (probably incorrectly), as the premier self-gratifying hippie freak of the nation. What's it all about, they ask?
BOREDOM. (And mid-life crisis, as Domestic Empire correctly guessed.) I've been doing what I wanted whenever I wanted in whatever quantities I could afford ever since I was a kid, thinking there was some kind of freedom in that, some depth too that those people hemmed in by responsibility and duty, or by self-imposed discipline (which I condemned as puritanical), couldn't possibly understand or achieve. "The road of excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom," as Blake learns in Hell.
It doesn't. My excesses--and I'm talking about emotional excesses too--have only led to selfishness, a world view as narrow as those I condemn, depression, paranoia, loneliness, a bad back, and knees that don't like going up the stairs.I probably have low quality sperm by now as well. I haven't acquired any wisdom while I've been drinking , smoking, sleeping till dawn on the sofa with the tv on, meditating in the woods. All I've acquired is a gradual alienation from everything, especially the pleasure that I used to take in life (I know the 15-year-olds won't believe me, but it's true: freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose).
None of which is likely to be restored by quitting alcohol and marijuana. But it's different, at least, and for now that's enough.

One time, when (Joan Baez) was on an aeroplane with Dylan, she said," Bob, look out the window." "What?" he said. "The sunset," she said. "I saw it yesterday," snapped Bob. ( Sylvie Simmons--"Another Side of Joan Baez",MOJO September 2006).

Like most supposed rebels, all I've ever been really is a middle-class kid trying to prove to myself that I was interesting. Ironic that in doing so I've bored myself literally to tears.

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