A Stranger

As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself—so like a brother, really—I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate. – Albert Camus

My alienation is self-inflicted.

Which is merely a self-congratulatory way of me saying I’m in control of my own pit of social ostracism. I’m telling you, I choose this pathetic fucking existence. I came to that conclusion the other day while driving to work or brushing my teeth or making an over-easy egg. I don’t know what I was doing. But I know what I thought.

Whereas some people are tormented by a deranged and helpless pall of alienation, my alienation is all my own doing.

Some people inherit peculiar character defects which render them unsocialized and interpersonally helpless. A pathology of character bestows upon them the inability to relate to people in a normal every day context of mass interactions. Many times, their aloofness betrays a chilling lack of warmth or humane cohesion.

No, my alienation is self-initiated.

I’m not alienated for lack of social skills or friendliness or even warmth; my alienation is carried on the wings of a set of rigorous lifestyle rules and principles which do not allow me to partake in the common physical and mental comforts of the normal civilized person.

You see, life is like a very large adolescent group of high schoolers which form a self-perpetuating herd which systemically but obliquely creates its own mores and expectations of behavior and mannerisms. The herd shapes culture and society. The herd designs the blueprint which all conforming members are urged to follow by insinuation; a road map guiding these unthinking and diligent followers and “sustainers” of the paradigm. As such, members are expected, at the very least, to fulfill and mimic a certain measure of behavioral requirements in order to solidify their tenuous standing in mainstream society.

My focus is at odds with the high school herd.

I suppose I could find the common ground and plant myself there. If that’s what I wanted.
I might easily locate it and lazily follow the worn path and relinquish my principles (wrong or right is not important) in order to wear the weary facade of popular culture. I can like and enjoy what others like; or I can act as such. I can move like others move and recite rote reactions as learned on MTV or expressed from the disjointed pseudo-intellect of a modern celebrity shining vainly in front of the humming camera.

This alienation pains me, believe it or not.
I do not bask in it nor do I proclaim it with pride.
It’s a lonely road, full of sharp stones and puddles of murky water.

This is no life for the noble.

Generalizations about buses

Yes, it’s true!
The Generalization Chronicles makes another appearance tonight!

*****

They are long, hard, and solid.
They seat many people and are eco-friendly.
In Los Angeles, the only people riding them are the poor, the license-impaired, or the plain-out psychotic (me).
Can you imagine if they were the preferred mode of transportation in America?
If they maneuvered like they do in backwood rural areas where they pick schoolchildren up at their front doors? Sometime, beginning in old Fordian America, the personal automobile became a status indicator. I try to imagine growing up in the early 20th Century and witnessing the advent of the automobile. Such a new technology, so fascinating and its incremental advancement baffling to the mind and troubling to the wallet! Every year, a new model which relegated the previous models to social obscurity. The minute you drove that pile of bolts and and iron off the lot it lost as much worth as the innocent virgin you deflowered on her 16th birthday. Sucks.

Buses are communal. They are egalitarian.
Hence their failure in urban areas and other communities where the personal automobile signifies a superlative sense of achievement. And the archetypal layering of social class which is a must for the modern sophisticated animal.

Buses are dirty. The seats are covered in godawful multi-colored assemblages of gross one-size-fits-all palate vomit schemes that you can also find on the MTA (underground) Red Line. Yeah, the textile factory cranks that shit out cheaply, hence the utility and savings communities can enjoy by coating their unglamorous seats with that shit.

The seats hide boogers. That’s important on buses because I once saw a man pick a booger, study it, and rub it back on a bus seat which a commuter would most likely plant his fat ass on later in the ride. Yech.
The rear of buses are hot and fumy and during the summer, almost unbearable. In the winter, they are fumy but wonderfully comforting.

Did I say buses are long and hard?

Buses come in many shapes and forms.
Buses hold rock bands.
They hold frizzy-haired gray old Asians on their way to Las Vegas.
They hold large groups of unruly and vomiting schoolchildren.
In L.A., they cut the top off in order to make a convertible bus and cart tourists around town where they can view, unfiltered, the carnival atmosphere of this stuffy company town behind the camera lens.

Buses hold prisoners, or those on their way…
Buses, in black and white, with bars on the windows, shuttle groups of down-and-out chumps serving time at L.A. County’s finest institutions.

In fact, in 1993 one of them carried me to jail when I served time for my first DUI. I turned myself in at the Alhambra courthouse. I sat in a courtroom’s backroom with a bunch of other scumbags while we ate free apples. Finally, we were called and we filed into the black and white bus. A bunch of ragtags ready to do their designated time in Los Angeles’ incarceration hell. In the front, behind impenetrable barriers, sat a couple of armed Sheriffs. All I remember during that sordid ride to County jail was the fact they were playing goddamned “I’m Not In Love” by 10cc, some lame-ass 70s syrup. Most likely intentional because it had a dampening effect on our vicious prisoner persona. We just wanted to get checked in and out.

Buses do this.

Buses are where women sit with other women for safety, or in the front, near the driver, who represents sane authority, because the back of the bus is the anti-authority zone and only the hardest women with balls of steel dare to sit. And many do. When a hot chick (preferable 16-17) sits in the back, you can sense a mass chorus of erections springing to action simultaneously, including my own.

And of course, the back of the bus is where people were involuntarily forced to sit in eras past.
Funny how now some people (like me) choose to sit in the back because we hate the orderly repressed civilization of the front.

A bus is like civilization.
The front houses the responsible, the uptight and the tidy.
The back is everyone else, and the degree of antithesis to the front ideal correlates to the depth of the seating placement.

The internal furnace

I’m a strange dork.
Dorks for the most part seem harmless playthings for the mighty and powerful.
Dorks are pliable and can be pressed in all manners of speaking. I’m a dork, but I’m not pliable. Someone once said I’m a strange and evil little man. That is not the sparkling praise I seek, but it is kinda…true?

For many reasons, my horrid evil personality conveys itself as nonthreatening. I’m a bit forgettable. But I’m a dork and I have many strange habits and thoughts.

This morning it was about 35-45 degrees Fahrenheit in much of the L.A. basin. I realize many of you in truly cold climates are laughing at my portrayal of “biting cold” but in SoCal, that is some cold shit. People walk around here dressed like they are heading into a blizzard. It’s cold for us damnit. So this morning, I took my cold shower which in this weather means that the water is 40-45 degrees, tops. It’s evil but it’s great! I take my normal warm shower, you see. Then I slowly downgrade the hot water knob until it is completely shut off, and I’m tormented by a heavy stream of undiluted cold fucking water. It is evil! It takes practice and you must accustom yourself. I’ve reached the point where my body acclimates within a minute. My physiological thermoreactor kicks in and warmth begins seeping into my limbs from the bloody nexus of my bodily core. Warm blood pulses to my exteriors and for those few moments, the 45-degree water does not affect. My face, my feet, my biceps, they all go numb. But I’m not cold. I do that for about 5 minutes, turn the water off, shake myself, step out. Oh, and during this time, I open the bathroom window so all this cold ass air is blowing in. It’s petrifying but…refreshing. Enlivening.

Cold is a wonderful sensation.

I’m addicted to cold and my cold showers invigorate me and turn me into Spiderman.
They unleash my muscle fibers and lead me to triumph over mortals. Roar. By the time I burst into the 40 degree air this morning, nothing could chill me. By the time I got off the Red Line at Vine, it was fucking cold and I thought, “Hmmm. Let me try this.” You see, when you publicly commute, everything you carry is a burden. I dread winter because of my jacket. If only I could bear the cold without a jacket. During the summer I travel so light. Hmmm.. Right there at the base of that godawful consumerist and wasteful nightmare, the W Hotel, I took my jacket off and stuffed her in my backpack. I walked to work and it was cold. Actually,by the time I got to work, I checked the weather report and it was about 38 in the brazen armpit of Hollywood. It felt it as I walked to work in my t-shirt. As I waltzed along the side streets, I looked down and saw goose bumps. What the fuck are goose bumps? Oh lord.

Goose bumps on Wikipedia

Goose bumps are created when tiny muscles at the base of each hair, known as arrectores pilorum, contract and pull the hair erect. The reflex is started by the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for many fight-or-flight responses.
As a response to cold: in animals covered with fur or hair, the erect hairs trap air to create a layer of insulation. Goose bumps can also be a response to anger or fear: the erect hairs make the animal appear larger, in order to intimidate enemies. This can be observed in the intimidation displays of chimpanzees,[5] in stressed mice[6] and rats, and in frightened cats. In humans, it can even extend to piloerection as a reaction to hearing nails scratch on a chalkboard, listening to awe-inspiring music,[7] or feeling or remembering strong and positive emotions (e.g., after winning a sports event).[8] Some people have learned to will goose bumps at any time they please.[9]
Piloerection as a response to cold or emotion is vestigial in humans. As we retain only very little body hair, the reflex now provides no known benefit.
In humans, goose bumps are strongest on the forearms, but also occur on the legs, neck, and other areas of the skin that have hair. In some people, they even occur in the face or on the head.
In humans, the areolas of the breasts of females typically show piloerection because of hormonal distribution, for example, when aroused or inside the maternity cycle.[citation needed]
Piloerection is also a classic symptom of some diseases, such as temporal lobe epilepsy, some brain tumors, and autonomic hyperreflexia. Goose bumps can also be caused by withdrawal from opiates such as heroin. A skin condition that mimics goose bumps in appearance is keratosis pilaris.

The key here is the “sympathetic nervous system.”
It’s cold, my body reacted.
Your body reacts, the primal, physiological reaction to the environment. Can your mind overcome that?
If someone asks me if I’m cold, am I supposed to say “yes?” Does the presence of goose bumps mean I’m cold or do they mean my body is cold but my mind is not?

Do goose bumps denote discomfort or suffering?

At a certain point, I developed goose bumps on my walk to work.
I was cold but I denied it. It required effort, which essentially, is discomfort. I suppose.
Your autonomic bodily systems react and your body sprouts an extra layer of fur which is not there. Ha. Beautiful. So in the absence of fur, can you defeat the sensation? Do you allow cold to defeat you? Can you rise above it? Can you summon the internal furnace?
If someone sees my goose bumps do they assume I’m “cold” and all that it denotes?
Better yet, if someone asks me if I’m cold, how do I answer?
Do I say yes?
And it’s up to them to cast a value judgment?
Or do I elaborate?
“Yes, I am cold. But it’s OK. The cold slides off my back. Cold is like an itch to me. If I don’t scratch it, it can be annoying, but I am not perturbed. Yes, I am cold, but I refuse to lend it value or worth. See that chap over there with a scarf and 3 layers of jacketing, or that office worker with the artifical environment set at 78 degrees? They are the ones who are perturbed and weak.”

Asian drivers!!!

Well you know, these HBDers carry on with their pet generalizations and heap ’em aplenty on their choice morsels…namely NAMs. The seedier and more loathsome the generalization, the more crazed the HBDers become in their fetishistic frenzy to pin that shit on the lowly NAM and embellish it with all manner of statistical allusions to innate intelligence. IQ correlations erupt. Generalizations are the lifeblood of the HBDers and I’m not here to argue with the principle of generalizations. Hell, I embrace generalizations as much as any HBDer. However, I find many of these chaps seem hesitant to expend much of their vocabulary and Bell Curve graphic flotillas on generalizations when it concerns their own treasured intelligence models. Whites, Asians, Jews…groups redolent of sordid generalizations as well, but you’re wont to find much in the way of statistical dissection of such traits in the HBD world. The HBD crowd’s essential fixation is a class elitism which is manifested as a proxy for intelligence and IQ.

Which brings me to this. Or is it this that brings me to HBDers?
Who knows.

OK, generalization time.
All Asians are shitty drivers, aren’t they?
Of course not. Any more than all Mexicans are gang members or all blacks like rap. Generalizations serve to gleen a common trait when examined statistically, and this is what the HBDers appreciate. HBD provides the non-humanistic and asocial tool by which we can know people without really knowing them. Statistics, cold hard figures. Not all Asians are bad drivers. My ex-wife, who is Korean, is not a bad driver. I believe she’s been in a couple of accidents, but nothing that is revealingly symbolic of bad driving skills. I had a friend in college by the name of Tony. Chinese fellow…he sucked balls when it came to driving. Whenever he drove, I cringed. Always getting flipped off and cussed at by offended drivers he annoyed as I retreated into the invisibility of the car seat in order to avoid the guilt by association syndrome. He was a shitty driver.

This generalization, when viewed within the context of what a typical Los Angeles commuter endures, is suffused with the air of accuracy. Asians are bad drivers. How do we define bad? Well in my book, they are bad drivers because they are appear to be oblivious to their immediate environment which I would assume is important for anyone licensed to maneuver 2 tons of metal around the streets and highways of this city. Asian drivers fall into two camps: the extremely timid or the flailing aggressive. But in both cases there is still the typical and attendant disconnect with road environment. The bad Asian drivers I’ve witnessed are bad because they drive like their car has no windows. They will make a move on the road before they consider whether it should be made, and unfortunately, before they use their neck or mirrors to ascertain the move is wise.

Look, I’ll tell you what happened here with 90% conjectural accuracy.
Sung approached the driveway where her mom stood. Distracted by the standing presence of her mother (who she was picking up, perhaps?), did not pay heed to the street. Focused singularly on her mother’s figure, she failed to mentally capture her environment. And she turned left, despite the fact a car was headed directly at her.

I’ve always been puzzled that most Asians possess above average IQ, evidenced by advanced degrees, lucrative professions, and automotive luxury (ie, Audi A5’s, on the low end). Why the contrast of such strikingly disparate qualities in the same population? Brilliant students, doctors, scientists; conjoined with a rather clueless and pathetic driver. I began to wonder. Can we correlate IQ with driving?

Hell yeah, I say we can. Driving a car seamlessly through a busy city requires immense doses of awareness…but not only awareness, which in and of itself is useless unless it exists in perfect union with recall and application within novel situations which still require mental dexterity as was called for in the aforementioned incidents of experience acquisition. In other words, intelligence is the ability to combine conception and perception, to unravel these input streams, store them, and summon them for use in future situations requiring such experiential knowledge. Intelligence is the ability to recognize a situation’s similarity with enough accuracy to withdraw the tool set needed for the “unique” occasion. So fuck yeah. Driving is an IQ test. Those who fail still continue making the same stupid driving mistakes, they cannot envision the traffic flow as an experiential test; they cannot comprehend the cohesive formula all cars present; symbolized as thousands of simultaneous data points which must be interpreted while making an on-the-spot decision regarding its potential and likely behavior. Intelligence is the ability to multi-task, and I believe all the schooling in the world cannot train this. Driving well in busy city traffic is a stupendous exercise in multi-tasking in which you are called upon to consider every concurrent aspect of your environment and sieve them all into one arrow of action. The archetypal bad Asian driver is not adept at this feat.

Is there another kind of intelligence overlooked?
The one-dimensional ability to focus on a fixed set of data and interpreting it studiously and the ensuing skill at reciting it for equally one-dimensional exams is one sort of intelligence (and ostensibly, the type favored in today’s academic environment).

But there is another sort of physical, holistic intelligence that I believe IQ does not witness, for its invisbility transcends a unidimensional existence.

Lost spirits

 

This post is very private. Only one other person in the world would recognize it but I doubt ****** is reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we leave behind, cloaked in cold concrete angles.

 

We touched, we lurked, we danced. Long after we left, long after we dissolved, long after our laughter died.
Long after.

 

In the days, month, years…does stone contain remnants of our souls? We walk away, we leave behind, and live and argue and love and hate and that stone stays behind, fixed against the emotional elements of time.
Ghosts.

 

The life force we once brought, the disruption in the cold night our warm bodies tendered to the cold monotony of the stone, the concrete, and clouded its infinite view of the sky.

 

Did its coldness utter a warm wisp of delight as we decorated this forlorn spot with our boundless and blind optimism. We had hope and it spurred us on. Did it remain, that flickering sense of hope, fighting the persistent breeze of our dawning fortune? Did we leave the weakening embers?

 

Does the stone recall that warm moment we visited before leaving it forever and before we cast the possibility of ever returning to the dead embers of eternity?

 

Those memories torment, rage like a fire in my soul.
The memories, the faintest inklings of our residual embrace…do they still carry the weakest and most minute ounce of warmth to comfort the cold stone’s lonely despair?

 

Where do our forgotten souls linger, and do our ghosts, murmurs of the past, still dance upon the hardened soul of the stone?