Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nightmares by the Sea

This post is going to violate all of my own rules, I try to keep a great deal of "personal" stuff out of my posting, and I rarely mention my job, this post is going to violate both of those sensible rules. As I mentioned in the previous hero post the song "Nightmares by the Sea" by Jeff Buckley is extremely poignant, and it usually makes me sad to hear it. Since I made him my hero for today, I thought I would give it a listen, and that is when this post "starting writing itself" in my head, and I had to come back and write it down. That is how my creative (using the word very broadly) process works. An idea hits me, and then I "hear" the lines I need to write down in my head, maybe I am a lunatic just hearing voices, but I prefer the term creative genius. Even now I am trying to write down the first lines I "heard" while trying to keep the next lines from overwhelming my overtaxed brain. This is going to get interesting, and it might get ugly.

As I wrote in the previous post, the lines "stay with me under these waves tonight, be free for once in your life tonight" have a spooky quality about them given the nature of Buckley's death. But, until just now I did not realize that perhaps they hold a different meaning to me. You see, I have the idea that I am not free. Now, I realize the stupidity of that statement on many levels. After all, I am not a victim of human trafficking, nor am I am slave. I am free in the broadest sense of the word, but I like to deal in narrow senses sometimes. One of the reasons I feel unfree is because of my present location. I am typing this from "my" living room. In the 4500 square foot lot that I "own." This land, this house that I call "home" that I bought when I lost my single-ness (and my mind), and that I had to keep after resuming my bachelor status. It is the place from which all the evil plans I hatch to rule the world originate, the place in which I am waging my unending war with Mother Nature (the bitch), the place that I consider an albatross around my neck (Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner anyone?) It provides me shelter, but it also is something that I can not get rid of. It is not going away, and it ties me to this place like a shackle around my ankle. There is no escape, I am paying for my own bad judgment (which is justice in a way I suppose). To keep it, I have to stagger to my job five days a week.

And this is where I break rule two, my job. The job that allows me to keep the (twice replaced) roof over my head. I am an attorney, not a particularly good one, but I do manage to do my job with a reasonable amount of competence. One of the reasons I am not a good attorney is because it bores me a bit, sad to say but the intellectual content of the majority of my days would not keep a donkey interested. That is bad enough, but my situation is made worse by the subject matter of my job. I work in a certain unit of my office that deals with a certain type of case. Domestic violence, say those words around the courthouse, and you will hear a groan. These cases have their own special issues, and a lot of them are pretty emotionally charged. I have been doing it for over 5 years, I am, and sort of proud of the fact, the longest serving member of the Domestic Violence unit in my office. My stint in DV is the record, everyday I go to work I set the record. It is an achievement or a punishment, I am not sure which. Other attorneys ask me how I "put up with DV cases, they are the worst." To which I generally reply "I drink, a lot." That is mostly true, I drink, not as much as I used to, but I drink (I am having a beer now as I write this). It is one of the ways that I attempt to stay sane. I know it is not the healthiest thing to do, but I do it anyway. The past month my case load has been littered with one train wreck after another, and my drinking has increased accordingly. I consider, at least three times a day, running away from it all and joining the circus. A colleague of mine, when I mentioned that I am tired of train wrecks, mentioned a solution, "find other employment" she said. Easy to say, hard to do, and I am not sure that the grass is any greener anywhere else. Nevertheless, I am trapped, not free, unable to say "you win DV, I have had enough, I can not pay the emotional toll you demand." It is a high toll, and I pay it on a daily basis repeatedly, and I worry that I might be becoming (more than just morally) bankrupt.

I can relate to Buckley father's song "I Never Asked to be Your Mountain." I do not remember the moment, if it happened at all, that I signed up for all of this. I am not a mountain. I might be big, but I am not that big. Besides, even mountains get worn down over time, and I am not a mountain. I am not free, or I am too afraid to be free. Buckley, in those last few moments he spent on this mortal coil backstroking in the Wolf River, was free. Singing Zeppelin, and being free if only for a few minuets before disaster struck. There are times, and this is clearly one of them, that I long to take him up on his offer. I ponder the idea of staying ". . . under these waves tonight." In the (vain, I am sure) hope that I will "be free, for once in my life tonight." I know it is fool's gold, and I know I lack the moral courage to do it, but it is a siren's song for me nonetheless. I am quite certain there are other ways to be free without any waves being involved, but certainly that path is by far the clearest path to freedom that I can see.

This is not some sort of "cry for help." Even if I needed help, which I do not, I am much too proud (i.e. stupid) to accept it. It is merely a totaling up of a grocery bill that I will one day have to pay. I ran up the bill, and I should be the one to pay it, it is my burden I will shoulder it. Moments of weakness aside, I might not be a mountain, but I am sure as fuck going to give my best impression of one. After all, I can not swim.

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