Like a pillbug, I hide in my psychic retreat


Perhaps it speaks something of my day to consider that the moment of truest, most joyous splendor was the moment following my healthy evening constitution (eat a whole grapefruit right after lunch if you seek such an epiphany) when I sat on my bed and took of my pants and pulled off my Adidas which are overly tight around the top of my heel. I’m not sure why this is. The shoes are the proper size and I’ve tried loosening the laces but the shoe itself clamps down uncomfortably on the top of my foot, and by the end of the day taking these shoes off is an exhilarating respite. Anyways, this moment of coming home and disrobing was the highlight of my day. Build your presumptions from that if you’d like.


My day was like a Tale of Two Cities. Almost.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Although, more fitting would be: it was the less worse of times, it was the worst of times.


Today was my lump of {fill in the inert substance} day. I have days like this but today was, and is, extra bad.
My estrangement from humans was thoroughly unprecedented. My mind is plagued, my soul is ravaged. Today and this week I’ve been of the human race, but not with the human race. I can find no reason or motivation whatsoever to join this rabid pack of bipedal gluttonous and spiritually vacant creatures with their vain fixations and ignorant certainties. My patience is always tested. In fact, my life is a constant stream of patience exertion. Lately, the test has worn so thin that I’ve torn up the Scantron and stuck the #2 pencil into the bowels of Fate himself. I want no part of this.


When I say today was my lump of ___ day, I mean this because I’m entirely non-reactive to my world, to my environment, to others. I would say lead is probably the most fitting material I can come up with in my my chemically untrained minerologist mind. See, I’m trying to convey that days like this I am entirely dead. I’m lifeless. I cease to belong and join; a pall of numbness and indifference coats my interactions. Each interaction is troubling and a bit unfathomable. I watch the world skitter by with a bemused and uncomprehending sense of WHY and HOW. I do not understand, but worse, I do not wish to. I retreat into the darkest recesses of my alienation. How can I compare myself to a material in such a way that would portray beautifully what I feel courses in my soul? “Lump of coal” is a popular phrase, but I wouldn’t say that. Coal is flammable. It is potential energy. Iron is magnetic, it is a vibrant element. Rock is not nearly as dead as it sounds. Rock is molded by the eternal whims of nature. Rock is life, life lives in it and energy buffers it. No, I thought lead was better. As far as I know, lead is relatively inert, does not ostentatiously interact with the environment, and left to smolder in a dark corner where it will not greatly evolve or experience chemical changes in the race with other elements.


Today I was lead.


This week I am lead.


Inert. Neither attractive nor unattractive.


My lump of lead was me. Distant and unreactive.


Friday frivolity was in the air. People get so worked up over the stupidest shit. Friday, whoopee. What does that mean anyways? Two days of no working. Wow. Like it matters, you spend most of the 2 days sleeping, watching television, shopping, jacking off, spending more money per hour than you made the previous week…yes, the weekends are fabulous. Let me have more. Weekends are unstructured and undisciplined nuggets of hell. We don’t know what to do with ourselves so we wallow in some delusional enjoyable activities and then pretend to dread the return to work on Monday. Today was Friday and people would not shut up. Like the dude at the bus stop the other day, no one at work seemed able to tone it down today. Blah blah blah. Even normally busy people could not shut the fuck up about carmageddon. Carmageddon is the worst humanity has to offer its heirs. Carmageddon is cultural smalltalk scribed blatantly across the psyche of a bored culture. How does this shit even begin to seep into our consciousness? it is a non-event, a non-issue, a non-thought. Yet it has possessed the minds and souls of people in this town (which ain’t saying much) and even across the country. Carmageddon…god, who cares. I don’t even live on the Westside, I do not care. Too many white people there….you’ll never see them shut down the Long Beach Freeway for repairs. LOLZ. The Long Beach Freeway is a piece of shit freeway that services cargo trucks going to the Long Beach Harbor through the poorest (ie, Hispanic) parts of Los Angeles. No one cares what kind of shape that freeway is in, and it’s bad, believe me.


Today, the estrangement.
People talking about carmageddon and about the weekend and foodie lunchtime treks.
I just wanted to vomit.
On the way home, it wasn’t until I was near home, I realized I had sat on the bus without moving for almost one hour, lizard like!


There were a couple of women next to me chattering in Spanish and as I prepared to disembark, the realization dawned on me…I had been sitting there like a lump of lead for 30 minutes. I had not moved or spoken or turned my head. In this resolute social paralysis, I completely purged my mind and thoughts of all superfluous garbage and simply existed for the bus ride. This was my solace, my Zen descent away from this maddening civilization and artificiality. The dystopian inertia was drained from my body. This is how I resume life.


There are days I cannot swallow people and their ridiculous remains.


My estrangement enclosed me and wrapped me within a self-contained armored ball of misanthropy, like one of those pillbugs that crawl like little spindly tanks until you touch them, then they turn into little balls as if to fool the world they are not really living balls. When I was little, I would sometimes take a rolled up pillbug and toss it across the lawn as if to prove I hadn’t been fooled.


And I doubt, in my metamorphosized state of reclusive physiological armored retreat, I fool many.



  • Pingback: Like a pillbug, I hide in my psychic retreat | Optimum Awareness()

  • Anonymous

    >> Carmageddon … says that of the 1.2 million visitors the museum receives every year, mid-July is “one of our busiest weekends.”

    this many vacationers clogging the roads indicates that the price of liquid fossil fuels is way too cheap.

    • Amy

      Yikes–the cost of food has already gone up so much on account of the cost of fuel! Given the likelihood of entitlements being cut, if you add higher fuel costs to the current levels of unemployment, people will start rioting.

      I have seen one bright side to higher fuel costs, however–locally-grown food is relatively cheap. (I live in rural New England, surrounded by family farms–“buy local” is a big deal here.)

      Though back to the curmudgeonly bent of this blog–if your own livelihood doesn’t depend on tourism, I suppose another bright side to higher fuel costs is fewer tourists and less traffic….

      • David

        Travelling is overrated.
        People travel to escape and to live up to some public ideal.
        They come home, resume their pathetic lives and stick magnets on their fridge and inane photos on their Facebook wall.
        Travel is fun and if undertaken for sincere reasons, quite cool.

        This dude hated travel but he expressed it much more poetically.

        • Amy

          I’d never heard of Pessoa–he’s fascinating.

          When traveling, I like that so many little details are different in a new place. Different slang, accents, architecture, plants and wildlife. Even if you go somewhere with, for example, the same sorts of trees you have at home, they grow differently in different places.

          • David

            I travel to escape myself.

            My favorite cinematic perspective on travelling was William Hurt’s in The Accidental Tourist. A man so consumed with order and predictability that his idea of travelling was essentially soulless.

          • Amy

            Traveling to escape oneself reminds me of a line from _Buckaroo Banzai_:

            “no matter where you go…there you are.”

          • David

            Heh heh. Or maybe we can travel to know ourselves.

            I have this urge to go to Yosemite or even the mountains north of L.A., like Lake Arrowhead. I want green, I want water, I want wood :)

          • Amy

            There’s plenty of green, water, and wood where I am. I’ve been missing salt air. Been inland too long!

      • David

        “curmudgeonly bent!”

    • David

      Hotel lodging is too cheap as well.

  • Amy

    Lead fits into your analogy another way–used as a shield (against toxic radiation, and also x-ray vision if you include fictional uses of lead).

    “cultural smalltalk scribed blatantly across the psyche of a bored culture”
    = viral memes

    I admit to enjoying that kind of thing. (I also laugh hysterically at the idiotic “LOLcats” at There’s an enormously silly/playful aspect to my personality. Life would be far less enjoyable without it.

    • David

      I long for the days of leaded gasoline as well. Where have all the good times gone?

      Funny, I was thinking of this damn post all day and one of the snippets of that ran through my mind was essentially “viral meme” and I forgot to conjure it during the composition.

      I admire people who can be silly and playful because I realize now that I’m terribly incompetent when it comes to displaying this behavior. I always feel like something will fall through the cracks if I don’t pay attention.

      • Amy

        I tend to think of being silly and playful as a matter of one’s temperament–like being coordinated or clumsy, introverted or extroverted, optimistic or pessimistic, sensitive or thick-skinned. Very difficult to change that type of thing even if we want to.

        I had one parent who was silly and one who was not. Dad was a big old goofball (as are my sister and I), but Mom didn’t enjoy that sort of fun at all. She appreciated other types of humor, but the silly stuff was too “stupid” for her to enjoy. She could be a bit of a killjoy now and then, but maybe she felt left out sometimes.

        Seems to me if goofballs refrain from accusing non-goofballs of e.g. having a rod up their rectums, and non-goofballs refrain from calling goofballs e.g. retarded knuckleheads, we’ll all get along better. But that’s because I’m a big softy.

        I’m curious–are you also a non-dancer? Someone who never dances at concerts, clubs, etc.? (Seems to me that non-silliness and non-dancing often go together!)

        • David

          I don’t dance anymore, but in the days of yore, I did when I drank. Drinking actually loosened me up and made me “silly.”

          My basic temperament, however, is one of absolute stern seriousness. Light-heartedness and glib verbal shenanigans bother the hell out of me!!

          • Amy

            I’ve never been a “light-hearted” person, but I do enjoy the glib verbal shenanigans. (Hell, I’m still giggling at the word “shenanigans.”)

          • David

            Shenanigans is a great word! It sounds as silly as it signifies LOL