Updated: May 21
Whatever day it was in early April, I invited a friend over to help me load up a UHaul with the couch and a couple dressers and handed him a box full of old grindcore memorabilia telling him he could keep it.
I rinsed myself like this before, a few times actually. As I think about it, I've lived in 7 different places over the last 11 years counting only from the time I got out of treatment since I didn't really live anywhere directly before that. But each time would be an opportunity to look through my stuff, and being the impatiently detached person I can be sometimes this process would often lead to be questioning my relationship with personal items often making the decision to throw a lot of it out.
See I had a spiritual experience with a squirrel one time which is a story I can save for a whole other blog or perhaps never fucking tell again. It was a real thing that happened to me that in telling the story publicly I became somewhat of a recognizable figure at the treatment center where I was when the moment occurred (you can put the pieces together yourself...). Either way, I had collected a ton of squirrel related memorabilia over the years being known as the guy who told "The Squirrel Story" in the places Chapel Service and during some inpatient lectures. It was a really valuable and anchoring thing for me and opened the door not only to becoming employed back there once I had maintained some abstinence and good behavior for a while but also to me more deeply contemplating what it meant to have a spiritual practice and to "be spiritual" as some say.
There were squirrel shaped candles, coins with squirrels on them, little plush things and like model figurine squirrels. There started to be like squirrel adjacent things like I had a acorn shaped set of salt and pepper shakers and poems about chipmunks and shit. I don't think I was totally free and clear of resentment, there certainly was present the fact that this stuff had been most closely associated with the place from which I had just resigned more or less awkwardly if not rudely.
But in telling the story over the years, I could tell that the audiences reaction was slowly changing away from the joyous eruption of laughter that it used to get... most of the time. Ok some of the time but definitely over 50% of the time. Listen the point is people stopped getting the joke, or the connection. And frankly I know I have a penchant for thinking my buttcheeks emanate frankincense instead of youknowhat but seriously I nailed every fucking performance so I know it wasn't me. What was happening was that the organization was changing, that the environment that used to foster a sense of being apart of something bigger than one's self was in a very noticeable contractionary phase I'll put it that way.
All the squirrel shit went in the dumpster. All my books. A lot of my maryland deathfest and other show things like wristbands and memorabilia. Notes and shit for jobs and all kinds of personal information that was probably important for me to keep. I took it down two flights of stairs and tossed it haphazardly into the dumpster in Allentown.
Oh and holy shit how about getting this letter from my landlord in the fucking meantime through all of this. As if I didn't already hate the idea of landlords despite the fact that for the most part most of them or even the corporate property managers have been pretty nice at the places that I've rented. That really made me start to lose my shit; not that I thought the motherfucker was at all going to come and get me out of my apartment but that now just being there had become associated with this letter that went against every anarchist principle in my body, lol.
So, molting, as I sometimes look back and call it, through tossing a majority of even the most attached items into a sloppy allentown pa dumpster allowed me really to feel like I was going to be able to keep hustling in the right direction. It felt like I had ankle weights on but now I was going to be able to take them off and hit the sleds with just my now almost weightless feeling full momentum. I have absolutely sunk deeply into solitude, restraint, discipline, gratitude,.. effectively just deep minimalism before and so this pandemic thing that I was learning about more and more each day wasn't going to be anything I wasn't going to be able to handle in some way.
The day that I got to Ocean Gate with the first truck load of bigger things was the day that it struck me that I was going to be needing to assume a larger role in my parents lives and life together. As an only child, that was always talked about having to be understood as likely however the presence of it wasn't really felt until that moment because heck I had been living 100 miles away for the last decade. We would see each other at family gatherings and we would do mutual visits back and forth about once a fiscal quarter being generous, so it wasn't really apparent to me how much time had gotten around to being passed.
So thinking of that in context of this absurd fucking virus thing (and the absolute witless and self fellatiating public displays put on by the the goddamn president and the band of cretins he had sucking if his awful, awful teats hoo lorttty)..
My father had always been good with his hands and his back. He was always doing something or moving some shit under the house or hanging some kind of asinine fixture somewhere and so when it came to moving furniture and unloading trucks the instinct was to hand him the reigns and let him lead the way. But shortly after pulling a nightstand down off the truck and eyeing the way he needed to adjust to carry it, noticeably less skillfully and, well, older frankly than I was expecting. I wouldn't necessarily say it was jarring, but it stirred some emotion and left me with the distinct signal that I needed to come back to reflect on that circumstance some more.
That day I unloaded the rest of the truck and got back in it, drove the 2 and a half hours back to Allentown with my father in the car, went and loaded as much as I could of what was left in my 2010 Nissan Xterra and made the trip back again to Ocean Gate NJ. This was homebase for the foreseeable future.