A repairman came to fix my oven. In the process, he confessed to being an empath who walks around secretly healing people. He’s still getting comfortable talking about it. After completing the repairs, he asked if we’d like him to psychically clear the room for us. I said “If you’d like”.
He sat down at the kitchen table, closed his eyes, and began taking deep breaths. Only in New Orleans. I was grateful for his originality, his desire to open up, and his lack of fear in sitting in my kitchen breathing like an pneumoniae afflicted airbender, but it took everything to stop myself from laughing. Not at him perse, just at everything. The humor of it all.
About two uncomfortable minutes in I started realizing that this is probably what I’d have done with my day anyways (I’m unemployed), so I might as well relax. Sit here breathing, thinking, clearing my head. Trying to break the toxins down and center in on a healthy version of reality. I thought back to a Miami bar I’d been in a month ago, where I met a 60 year old kindred spirit who left me with the advice “don’t let the buzz distract you. It’s all around, pulling in every direction. You know where you want to go, what you want to be. Just go there.”
I wake up still not knowing where I am. It’s dark. What state am I in? What apartment? Who is laying next to me? That’s all part of a transient, experimental life. But it’s easy to get lost. There is no roadmap or rule book. Just your mind and your instinct.
In the past two years I’ve lived in 20 different states. I got married and separated. I put to rest a good career because it no longer aligned with my heart. I don’t own anything; no property, car, dog, plants, furniture. Only a bicycle, two pairs of pants, some shirts, and recording equipment. I might move to Mexico. Or Europe. Or stay here. I’ve broken down my own taboos and built them back up, just to shatter them again. I’ve had multiple lovers, befriended people from all walks of life, and learned countless lessons. And while most of it has been incredibly healthy and I am a much purer and more honest human being than ever before, it gets confusing. Again, there is no roadmap. The further off the road you veer, the less people there are to talk to, or relate to. You’re left at a table in the woods by yourself, speaking aloud and rushing to the other side to listen, understand, and respond.
The repairman keeps breathing at the kitchen table of the now. Deeper. He touches the notepad, my notepad, as if the contact means something. I think of the people who’ve used that notepad. What they wrote down. How they ripped it out. My relationship to them through that. I’m not having any kind of epiphany. Just sitting in a room with a man breathing with all his might. And trying not to laugh.
I’ve been trying to break it down. Untangle the loosest threads and put them to the side. New Orleans is a wonderful city. But it’s easy to get distracted. Everyone is outgoing. Anyone can be an acquaintance. Half of those could be your friend. Half of those could be a lover. But as with anywhere else, only a very small percentage could be truly special.
I had a moment of jealousy the other week. Over a woman. One of a few who had used the notepad the airbender now touched. In that unprovoked jealous flash, I caught a glimpse of a metaphorical mirror. I saw my life now, and the ways in which I’d grown ugly. You get what you give. A piece of static, drifting in the current of the buzz, will only ever attract other pieces of static.
I’ve been here 5 months now. I can get out of the cycle of road life and begin setting roots. Focus on those that are most important to me, who I see the most in. Give real friendship, and see who will foster it back. At some point the pain of things had gotten too much, and my focus shifted from helping those around me to just helping myself. Numbing myself. These things happen when you fall out of balance – when you give more than you’re comfortable with you must ultimately take more than you’re comfortable with. It’s in that backswing that you’re unable to focus on those around you, when you’re preparing for a slow drowning. Hedonism 101.
Rick, the man hired to fix my oven, pushed out with his arms. Slow, smooth, Klingon calisthenics style. He opened his eyes. I was still holding back laughter, but he had my respect. He’s honest, unashamed, and even though he could be judged as a fool for doing it, his interest was only in giving something to those around him. All hail Rick. All hail the raw, honest life.