Empty Days

Saturday, May 14, 2005



Far away in the past.

Today many russians regret that perestroika ever happened and USSR was made to collapse - they want past glory back and prefer to blame the whole debacle on american intrigues. But it is helpful to remember (as few of the younger generation do) that in the early 80's Moscow the capital was actually on ration cards - yes, just like in WWII - because of a near-dead state of the soviet economy that has been mismanaged practically to extinction. This is why party bosses initiated perestroika - because there was no other way out, and the usual lethargy was not going to help while it away either.

USSR went bankrupt - economically as much as ideologically. "American intrigues" must have helped but it can hardly count as the primary cause of death.

But few of the american-dreams materialized in that new post-soviet world - so today russians hate everything american almost as much as they used to long for it only a generation ago. And of course they tend to idealize the now safely gone and burried USSR - oh what a wonderful fair idealistic society it has been!

Yes of course. There is always a paradise lurking somewhere in the misty past. But USSR up to its last days actually closely resembled the USA of the 1950's - self-conglaturatory, officially optimistic, and thoroughly rotten on the inside. It carried on almost solely on the force of its propaganda and public mythology - but it also tried to keep up appearances, even despite those embarassing ration-cards... The 1950's ended in a cultural revolution in the USA for a reason - the myth got too far removed from reality, nobody could keep up with the goddam american-dream anymore. Just like nobody in USSR could keep up anymore with the soviet myth of fast approaching communist dream of happiness.

Of course there was another solution beside perestroika - just pretend that nothing is happening and slowly starve the whole country until it collapses of its own - which is the solution adopted by North Korea at the moment. But for this a truly dictatorial regime is needed, with enough fear of purges inside the ruling party to eliminate all sensible protests. Russia didn't have a dictatorial regime in the mid-80's - it had a senile group of men at the helm and a lot of people in power who believed in nothing due to a life-time of personal experience in corruption. So it's really very unfair to blame the collapse of USSR on extremely clever american intrigues imagined by the sly mind of the polish-catholic Brezinzski - rather it should be blamed on those people who believed in nothing, which would be about 99% of russian population including those in the upper crust who actually tried to reform the system.

The big problem with post-soviet russians is that they think themselves superior to all other nations just because they're so desillusioned with their past-future-present that they can't put any faith in anything - yet for some reason they tend to believe that this utter moral shoddiness is somehow a sign of intelligence and even wisdom. But the depth of their pessimism is examplified by almost universal desire in Russia to see "a strong leader" come to power that would bend them all over with an iron hand and straighten out all their national woes - no matter at what cost. Which is an admission of helplessness and hopelessness. Russians are a weak people by nature - but they have a big idea of themselves and are able to create pretty impressive mythologies and seem very strong and powerful as a result. Which is about enough as far as international relations are concerned. So right now they're badly in need of some such mythology and they naturally regret the passing of USSR - it was a huge scarecrow indeed.

Interestingly enough younger people are particularly big on these ideas - going so far as to claim resurrection of Stalin and his time - and I am going to meet some manifestations of that on my trip to Russia. Revising history in the anti-democratic anti-liberal vein is all the rage at this point. I hope I won't get into arguments over these things - self-righteous pessimism is not something one can argue against.




And finally some pre-revolution russian-life snapshot - very archaic this one :)






Some more russian female pilots from WWII:








Actually I am going to suffer on my trip to Russia because I will be perpetually confronted to a cultural and genetic type that is so very different from anything in the West - and these archaic faces and bodies will be so poignant and will tear so much at my softest childhood spots that... I might want to stay in Russia with all the poverty and hectic madness of that place instead of going back to Canada which I reluctantly call home to continue my surrogate existence within the reach of our small family - and nothing else.

Two more "dangerous" pictures from that site:http://heritage.sai.msu.ru/history/sai_history/pic/mirolubova.jpg
http://heritage.sai.msu.ru/history/sai_history/pic/smirnova.jpg

I am afraid of something touching my heart too directly - after all I will be going a bit "too close to home".




While browsing on russian internet found this picture of a sort of Russian Female Kamikaze - but actually she was a war pilot and died on her 645th mission (seems like she's done a lot of killing) and got a hero's medal for it - this bully of a girl was only 24 years old and I find her features scary and fascinating and animal.




Eugenia Rudneva 1920-1944





Anxiety has returned today - I had none in the clinic for some reason. But today it is back again in full force and this seems to have to do with the upcoming trip to Russia to which I am not preparing in any real way - not on the inside, that is.

I don't know what eats at me. My father said yesterday that he's been experiencing some similarly pointless anxiety lately - and he does look tired and ravaged from it. Given the fact that both I and my father are on the telepathic side (especially my father, actually) - there is a possibility that we are both made to feel some upcoming disaster, not yet knowing what it will be. Sounds wacky as ever, but this family here is made of weirdoes.
However I do hope this is nothing so significant - but I just can't tell.

Perhaps I should try to adopt a pro-active attitude and start buying things for the trip - then I'll see if the anxiety is at all related to the preparations or not.

Oh Lord - take my bikes but don't take people from me...




Beauty and the beast.

Grey hushed morning - early rain. I had to go give a blood sample before 7am and used my garbage bike to do so. The ride was not unpleasant on account of this being saturday and large streets being deserted at such an early hour. It's a bit too cold though for this time of the year.

*

I am like a kodak film gone bad: can't record the rich colors of the world, everything gets mangled and loses depth. In other words, I can't see - I am perpetually looking at a painted screen, suffering from its shallow senselessness, losing all hope to ever see through again or even to taste any of life.

This is what I mean by "losing a sense of perspective", emotional and imagined before all things.

*

It's not mysterious but it is one of those things really hard to express and describe - but it's very real and I still remember the time when it was not so. I think what made the difference is that I still saw myself as an ascending member of humanity, with some potential and thus some power to open up the world. I was "connected" - behind every given landscape I saw (or sensed) a wooing succession of other landscapes to which I had access through my connections among people and their affection and esteem of me - both past and present - the warm blood of childhood still circulated in my veins unempeached. I never thought I might lose that depth of power in the world. But I did. And with it the world became a very small place to which I suddenly had barely any access (or right) at all.

The reason I can't see any life or beauty in all the bloom and color and zest around me is because there's nothing behind - it's completely flat and foreign and I can't enter - I am not welcome.

*

Maybe I should re-read Nietzsche - it was he who said that all of Nature is nothing but the reflection of the onlooker - a romantically existential variation of the "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" quip.

Friday, May 13, 2005



Post-clinical.

So I am back from the first half of that clinical study. The stay was thoroughly uneventful except for the pretty predictable disaster of having my bike stolen right from under the 6th floor windows of the goddam clinic. It happened on the second night so I didn't witness the deed but watching the empty spot for hours thereafter was unpleasant.

I decided to take this "lightly" because I actually expected this would happen - there were various tell-tale signs. First of all the day started badly: I was called up on courier duty and agreed to go along despite a strong sense that I shouldn't. It turned out the day was not nearly busy enough for my presence to be really necessary, so I felt my time was being wasted and I got extremely upset and angry. I know from experience that when I get in those nasty bitchy moods, something bad always happens to me in the material world - it's not that I am less careful or am taking more risks, it's just that there's "a cloud of evil" around me and it really fucks up my environment. Sounds wacky - perhaps. But once again it's observation and if no shit had ever befallen me in such states I'd say as much.

Because this whole courier thing is related to biking, it's obviously related to bikes too - to me these are not only practical but somehow sacred objects because a lot of my life depends on them - a bit like horses used to be viewed by hussards, knights and cavalry men. And because of this privileged relationship to bikes, whatever happens to my bikes has a special symbolic significance for me.
For example in an old Russian saga a prince meets his doom when he happens upon the bones of his beloved horse long dead and gone; stepping in sorrow on the skull of the dead horse he sees a poisonous snake come out of its empty eye - it bits him, he falls dead, but not without having understood the deadly connection between his horse and his fate. This is a perfect example of my relationship with bikes and what happens to me through these.

There were other tell-tale signs but they were smaller and thus harder to make clear in here. Like the fact that I had to buy another cheap bike-lock because I left the one I've been using at my parents' place (I made some quick repairs on a garbage bike still lingering in the locker downstairs, as either my father or brother would have to go feed my cat in my absence). Changing locks is always hazardous because no locks are ever really safe in any case, so there is some element of good/bad luck present - quite beside caution and good sense.

To top it all I didn't even plan to take the bike to the clinic, I feared to leave it in an unknown place for so long - because of bad experiences in the past. But things conspired against me. Just when I was preparing to set out for the clinic and looking for bus tickets, I got a call from ukranian ambassy who were supposed to be doing my visa - with the news that I had to renew my passport or no visa would be delivered. So I got all entangled in this new shit, had to make emergency phone calls, and finally left much later than planned and in a hurry, without those goddam bus tickets - and I took the bike instead.

And to hell with it.

I'll be using the garbage bike instead though it still needs more work. All my newer bikes got stolen.

The problem is not that I don't have enough locks for all my bikes - it's that I really can't face a world full of thieves - I lack goddam realism - I still can't get it through my head that there is so much shit walking on two legs out there - and that I need to protect myself from this ambulant crap.

Or maybe I am just too cheap to buy three u-locks in a row.

What this means however is that I can't do courier work anymore - which fulfills the wish I expressed in my nasty anger on Tuesday.

*

I read a lot of Quentin Crisp at the clinic. Almost too much in fact. I found the book a bit too high-pitched for its subject and often incomprehensible in its desire to sound allusive in a witty kind of way. Hopefully the Opium Eater will be better. But Crisp is a pretty memorable character in any case, even though he has hardly any idea how to write what he means :-/

*

Another thing I have to mention: the feeling that associates with the place where something has been lost for me - the moment I saw the bike was gone (6am) has a flavor now, I only need to think of or encounter this flavor again to remember the event. It's the force of impressions: they leave an imprint.

Monday, May 09, 2005



I am taking these few days "off" - in the sense that I am not thinking about anything and not worrying about anything and not trying to make money or planning the trip - I am just trying to get back to myself, find some inner dimension that seems to have evaporated lately.

This is one way of combatting anxiety.

There is silence in the flat because there are no upstairs neighbours and those next-door are always away these days. I love silence, it's a gift from gods in my opinion. I will never forgive the landlord for cutting down the big tree over my balcony - even when I move out of here, I will not forgive because the next best thing after silence in my opinion is nature and everything it produces in its wild state. Those who destroy and "rearrange" nature should go to hell: this includes nanotechnologists as well as those narrow-minded assholes who never stop mowing their lawns. Maybe it's the same people - I wouldn't be surprised.




Courier dreams.

I had a strange dream tonight - some athletic-looking woman was walking around in the streets looking for me with a very strange bike: apparently she wanted to sell it to me specifically and to no one else. I saw her but for a while ignored her, since I couldn't imagine what this strange gal could possibly want with me. Finally our paths crossed and she told me that she had this fixed-gear bike for sale, and that she was told that I would be interested in acquiring it for my courier work. Well - this bike was very spare and had no breaks, you had to break with pedals as in the old times, and it's front fork was extremely agile, a bit too much even. Basically it looked like nothing but I knew it was a very special courier bike and that this gal used it as such herself. So I asked her how much she wanted for it and she said $300 - which was of course way too much for me. So I refused - and by doing so also refused any future in the courier trade as well.

Sunday, May 08, 2005



Q.C.

Today I read some stuff about Quentin Crisp on the internet and I especially liked one story about him: that he supposedly left his name and address in the NYC telephone book for all to see and felt it his duty to welcome anyone who cared to contact him. Not a small challenge even for such a notorious socialite.

Three years ago I received a tentative post-card from an old classmate of mine who used to admire me for my culture and I don't know what else. I didn't have the guts to respond, partly because I was really depressed at the time, but mostly because I was afraid she might be disappointed at how I've changed. And of course that was a very wrong reaction - I should take up whatever opportunity the winds of life bring about, it's not up to me to judge how it might turn out or why people want me around. Quentin obviously was brave enough to realize that it was never up to him to judge these things.

But I am not known for my courage, to say the least.

And another thing: hospitality is a form of humility.




All this anxiety feels a bit like stage fright: what play am I meant to perform in?




I changed the email contact for this blog because those blasted hotmail and yahoo accounts keep expiring as I forget about them for months on end. And this blog will stay around for a while - it's a good place to come unwind in from time to time.




At 9pm I am supposed to stop drinking tea because it has caffeine and I need to be caffeine-free for the clinical trial and I will have to desist from tea or coffee until next sunday. This is going to be hard because I am really hooked on this stuff.

Goodbye, dear Earl-Grey tea... :-/




Wacky mysteries.

I think I know where my mysterious anxiety really comes from: it's not about money for the trip to Russia, it's the fact that I am going there with my mother... I told her from the start that I won't be seeing much of her there, but she's been acting up about this ever since.

I wish she wasn't in my way on this occasion, with her judgeamental attitudes and little tricks to control me - in fact ever since my infancy she's always been a real bully towards me without ever realizing what she was doing - she thinks it's just the way things should be between mother and daughter - and up to this day I have to deal with all this unsaid oppression, and I can't just shake it all off and ignore the damn thing. It's really too deeply engrained in my psyche, all these reflexes and reactions to my mother's unconscious power-games - I am like her marionette emotionally, all she needs to do is to pull a string and I am shot with some mysterious reflexive pain and I can't stop it even in my sleep.

It's all completely subconscious and thus unmentionable. I even have had repeated evidence that my mother's mood directly affects my nervous state - telepathically, without our meeting even (I know it sounds wacky, but it's an actual observation I made). It is said that people and other living creatures when they live together in the same place impact on each other symbiotically in the most physical ways - dogs start to resemble their masters and vice-versa. But the same must be true of people who are kept entangled in a life-long relationship. In other words, I don't have enough of a life of my own to shield me from my mother's intense influence and thinking about me - it gets at me on the subconscious side, outside of space/time limitations. Karl Jung would be damn happy to hear this: it'd prove his theories once more.

What it means is that my mother's irrational will is more effective and stronger than mine, and she bends me just by the force of her thoughts about me - I don't even need to talk to her or see her to feel her influence inside my body.

Is this wacky enough yet? But it's true and real - and I don't know why it is this way and what I am supposed to do about this mess. It's all unconcious. Maybe my mother is a witch or has the powers of a witch or something similar - and doesn't know about it - so I can't really blame her. But how am I to protect myself? The reason I am so vulnerable to her regarding this trip to Russia is because this directly concerns my childhood there - it's a common ground of contention between my mother and me - and there's is no question that she's long won the battle on that ground and that my childhood has been under her control entirely. The unconscious struggle here is that my parents effectively block my relationship towards the russian-world and my past as a whole - they're like monstruous dogs guarding the gates of a forbidden kingdom - and I can't enter this land without breaking their rule and doing symbolic violence to them as figures of control.

I am anxious because I have to "kill" my mother over this. I have to overpower her inside my mind - and put her in her place. But she's bending me and I can't lift a finger.

It's all completely insane.

*

Today I biked all over town at high speeds like crazy - because I had so much anxiety boiling in my body I didn't know what to do with myself. I feel a little less nervous now but not by much - still very tense, unable to concentrate, out of control, scared of something (I wish I knew what *exactly*).

Perhaps it's just my imagination re my mother - maybe it's about something else, I just can't tell for sure.

I didn't bike aimlessly - I went to used bookshops looking for something to read in the clinic during the week. My first choice was Quentin Crisp's "The Naked Civil Servant" (suggested by a reader of this blog) but I couldn't find it at first and bought DeQuincy's "Confessions of an Opium Eater" which has long been on my mental list of books to read. I hope I will calm down enough to be able to read these two books before I leave.

*

No, I think the fabulation about my mother is just an explanatory trick - the source of this painful anxiety is more global. It is the same anxiety I started feeling early this year - and it has something to do with a sense of dead-end in life and having no future and no power to turn things around. Perhaps I am just terrifically depressed and don't even know it - as with all deeper things, it comes in strange unclear forms but it comes right from the bottom.

All I know is that it hurts and makes me pretty ineffectual. I wake up many times a night and can't go back to sleep. I can't pull myself together. I am being agressive with people and disproportionate in my reactions to things. What the fuck is going on??

*

Last attempt at explanation: maybe I am made to prefigure some bad things that will happen and that I don't know about yet. The fear can be due to my worrying about being caught as a fraud by social security - then I won't be having any security at all, so I am worried for a reason. Or perhaps I am sensing that my father will die while I am away in another country or something of the sort.

I just don't know. What on earth am I so terribly anxious about? My whole body hurts and I can't do anything - what the fuck is that.... :-0





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