The Bubble Bursts Eternally

Here from scratch we start anew
i can't even sleep i'm so mired moreover in the resolution of this especial humor game, almost all contingent upon the diffident sadism as emanating from the hood of corporate persons.

here i shall detail the perversity of this cascading mangle:

it starts with a (sort-of) good thing: as i was diagnosed with mutiple sclerosis during my last semester of grad school (even though i'd had it for more than a decade prior to that), i was eligible for student loan forgiveness. i was psyched, as it was all on me to pay them (having insisted from the first upon responsibility for funding my education--mostly so that i could exercise poor study and attendance habits [i.e., spending beautiful days being youthful and chastely enamored of everything] without risking subsumption by the colic of guilt).

all well and good, but the lender reported me, without notification, as being in DEFAULT on my credit report. when i attempted, years later, to purchase a house, a co-signer was needed because of the resultant drubbing exacted upon my credit score. my brother volunteered, gladly. this was a huge deal, because he had a security clearance (the very existence of which depends upon its holder having a "good" credit score).

anyway, this was all in august of 2008, just as the economy was sounding its death rattle. i found myself unemployed. i have since applied for over 1,400 jobs with little-or-less luck (maudlin tales of same are all over this blog). i would've just walked away from an ever-moribund maine, but i couldn't do that to my brother. everything that has occurred since has featured an undercurrent of agonized fretting. i have done odd jobs wherever possible, but have had to borrow a preposterous amount of money from my parents (the total of which is almost exactly as much as i owed in student loans).

anyway, when our current president took office in 2009, i was thrilled at the prospect that he might initiate some home-financing improvements. if i could refinance my home, then i could free my brother from any responsibility pertaining to the mortgage. i wanted to be first in line. i kinda was, and you will see now a long story abridged deftly into a list of events:

* i wrote wells fargo (my lender) in march for information about mortgage modification.

* in may, received a phone call from wells fargo; i was told about a "trial period" of 3 months (to start that july), during which i'd be obliged to pay only 50% of my mortgage. i was asked to inform them if i was still without lucrative employment before the end of 3-month period. i agreed to this only with the guarantee that my brother's credit would not suffer.

* everything seemed to be okay.

* come october, finding work seemed even less possible than it had before. i wrote to wells fargo well before the trial period ended. minutes later, i received (justly) irate communications from my brother, whose credit had been destroyed. now, he had to change career fields on account of his clearance being jeopardized.

* i fought this development with both vigor and rigor, through my congressperson and all sorts of pompy others, until i reached someone way up high in wells fargo that coud help. he said that he would rectify the fallout from the misleading entreaty that i had been given over the phone, and that he would remove all late-payment history from our credit reports.

* there was no evidence of his having done such a thing, but i was unable to reach him in the 2.5 YEARS that followed (although i tried rabidly to do so).

* meanwhile, my student-loan errors were removed (so i didn't need a co-signer after all?), only for me to be ensnared in this situation that not only was derailing my relationship with my brother, but also was instilling a perpetual panic within me that precluded my "getting it together."

* the car that i had to purchase in vermont (when our brakes failed as we descended a mountain) was almost denied us (because i was such a "high risk"). the ONLY company that would finance us? wells fargo, with a hulking interest rate because that's what they do with "us types".

* on several occasions (and at considerable expense), efforts were made to refinance our home, but the owners of the property adjacent to ours walked away and have allowed their house to sit vacant, thereby extinguishing the equity that we have been building slowly in our residence.

* last week, in the deepening pit of yet-another refinance attempt that remains in process, i called wells fargo. this time, i got that guy! and he remenbered our case! and, looking at wells fargo's credit reportings, i heard him say, beneath his breath, Ohhh my God. six late payments stared back at him from our payment history. we discovered, eventually, that a clerical error had prevented his order of december 1, 2009 from being realized. all of that. my goodness. and my poor brother all this time had thought that i didn't care.

* they appointed a new, shiny person to my case, and i told her that "wells fargo, in no uncertain terms, drank the bongwater." also, "y'all really stepped on it." and, finally, "you're lucky that i'm nice."

* they erased the negative information from our credit reports (HOORAY!), but it's up to the bureaus, i guess, when they decide to give you props. this world is vile sometimes.

* so, now i wait another few minuteshoursdays to see if they'll finally let this refinance go through.

one more (or maybeven less than one) mistake of this magnitude and i might have the fortitude to say, "no more. i will live life, and i can find beauty everywhere that you're not, and eff you forever." and then be with my family and my friends in the enormous present moment, and we probably won't even die in any real way.


Knowing What (and Why Not to Bother)

sheesh well i have so much that i have written to post that it's too much and my time is better (i.e., more constructively) spent saying hello then it would be to spend the remainder of this sunny morning to complete a telling of the taling because it's in the past and in this case is not veryvery subject to change. i know that you understand. plus, my fingers are considering unionizing at my expense for all of the typing that i've tacitly ordered them to weather.

so, there will be more to follow, for sure. it's already been written, but it's in little snippets of ribbons all of over the damn floor. see you soon!


Flying Leaps

Good morning, everybody!

I hope that it's all going nicely today. It's Thursday, which always amazes me because, with a twinge of synaethesia, I always think of days like today feels. It's a color like this: 

Now, lest anyone think that Thursday's perceived liaison with this color is a complaint, I can assure you that it is not. It’s distinctive. The sun may be visible on days like this, but it’s not terribly relevant.

So, I started this bit of writing for the blog yestereve, and it went on for hours, but I realized after a time that I likely had other things to do, and I was getting a bit worked up about my subject (about redneck America and the blight of our economic and cultural imperialism and the disgusting depths of our respective and collective sanctimony and how the paradigm of scarcity cripples imagination in worse ways than we’re no longer capable of imagining), typing rapidly and incorrectly, holding my breath through entire sentences (though not this one, thank goodness, because I’d’ve lost consciousness by now) and feeling very motivated, entering something of a self-imposed exile, when Molly came to see me, at which I saved my nearly completed post and we ate berries and talked past midnight until we started to fall asleep and I love her more constantly and I awoke this morning and approached my post to finish it but it was a snarling and seething blob of invective in which I was just getting ready to give those Baby Boomers a piece of my mind and when I remembered:

I quit smoking (for like the bazillionth time) yesterday. Ugh.

No wonder consumerist conformity pisses me off to an unmanageable extent!

I had almost 8 years of being quit, but not really, because I was a social smoker. So, I’m sad that I lost my mock-control of my ongoing low-level nicotine fit.

And I can’t be placated, which is sorrowful, because I’d like to take a placation (NEW WORD ALERT).

Oh, and this is good, and it pertains to the strident post of last night that did not tumble into public view: I’m going to post some writing (later today) that I did (back in 1999) about the town in which I lived as a child (Frederick, Maryland). (Sorry about all of the parentheses. I’m disorganized.)



Sentimental Entropy

I’ve got a peg on a singular trust: that sequence is either everything or a passable facsimile thereof, and that "correct" collisions of matter and meaning and relative relevance will, in the sweetness of chance, befriend this still-arcane saga.

Select any unit of time—it does not, evidently, matter what the interval—and the chosen amount will amount to a single frame in a film that is recklessly sluggish. I continue, as ever, to strive for improvement of our fortunes, but it actually, well and truly, seems not to matter. A change of perspective, or the addition of for-now-italicized perspicacity, has been, and still is, the “thing” of it.

In response, I have come not only to realize, but also to accept, that I'm fastened to the overarching/underpinning conviction that there's a punchline somewhere. In frustrating proximity, probably. And furthermore, I have observed—with more humiliation than humility—that the extent to which I’ve aggrieved myself may have, at the end of all of this, served as my undoing. Like a scuba diver, surfacing with breath instinctively bated, developing an embolism. That's grim. 

It’s funnier than that, though. I have, in my rather-teensy lifetime, gone from being a person whose “success” was never at issue—my promise was such that I was regaled with hyperbole from all ilk of well-meaning adulty types (themselves incapable of accommodating the fact that I was merely biding my time with trifling muck until I could commit suicide)—to an adulty type whose legion attempts at establishing the level of self-sufficiency requisite to Life These Days have each and all met with ignominy of some sort or another. It seems nasty, but is more accurate than not, to say that, in the actualized primacy of this very-basic capacity, I am a failure.

But, dig this—what I’m saying is that that’s okay, because that definition of failure was tailored for those in situations like mine (certainly befitting me, by existing standards); it is seldom wielded publicly, because it’s divisive and rotten, and I can see a real argument for the thinker’s self-serving reluctance. Be that as it may, such discretion is not of any value to me—why not be frank? To consider today’s underfoot underclass as having failed is rather liberating, as it is not a treatise on anything but nomenclature, honest self-appraisal, and the obsolete values of an amorphous capitalistic thought virus. This process has been hell for untold numbers—sufferers and bystanders alike—that it's devastating to comprehend, but seeing myself as a failure actually EMPOWERS me. It allows the punishing yoke of boorish and reactive reeling to shift into revealing what life is rather than what life isn’t.
“Well, that’s great and grand and groovy, Benb, and now we know that you’re a frayed wick or something similarly screwy and ineffective,” says my projected Peanut Gallery. “But,” I protest, with immediacy, verve, and aplomb, “that’s the beauty of it—I haven't any choice but to forge forwardly! I've exhausted my own elastic in response to the vagaries of whatever contortion of my identity is demanded at a given moment. So, all that I can do is my best, in the devout service of maintaining what little stability we've managed to eke from the vast opacity of                                              ."
          (ABSTRACT NOUN)

I have always loved surprises, and ever have I shuddered at the plodding and prosaic attrition that lurks with rattling ubiquity in pockets and envelopes the world over. I can almost hear it breathe, slinking around me when alone in my car, on the toilet, or in the kitchen watching the mercury drop on a perfunctory thermometer. It was such an indelicate certainty that I had identified time as the antipode to spontaneity.

Anyway, I know (and will someday-maybe accept) that I’m in school, and I’ve had to acknowledge that the pervasive presence mentioned above is THE SAME INGREDIENT that

-         makes you so uncomfortable upon hearing certain music that you HAVE TO DANCE.

-         pushes swear words out your damn mouth at the dinner table when the exquisite experience of the food that you’re eating unbinds you and confiscates your manners.

-         turns sentences into paragraphs, for no reason other than that you are capsized with joy at being near the person with whom you’re speaking.

And this fact—that the niggling currents in and out of a day are the feckless eddies of a second, that it is not only a surprise, but the surprise—is a gargantuan surprise. Which is a scorcher of a punchline.


Unfinished vs. Undone

Momentum mustn't waver at this most crucial of junctures.

You see, it is too typical that, when I write about a niggling bit How Things Sometimes Are, I get sidetracked. By children, by circumstance, by this-or-that that I've forgotten to do. But not this time. No, sir and/or madam.

The secret to avoiding this, I surmise, is brevity. Starting with the premise: it is patently uncool for shows/movies/plays/productions that are set in a specific time to use music (for "atmosphere" or "legitimacy") that had not been written or released at the time that HAS NOT [expletive] BEEN WRITTEN OR RELEASED YET. This sickens me. It punctures suspension of disbelief, and constitutes an utter ignorance for what anything was ever actually like (inasmuch as that can be depicted anyway).

I think about the if-you-must climactic scene of 1987's "period piece" Dirty Dancing, set (as we all-too-likely know) in 1963. Johnny and Baby (Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, respectively, although it'd be great if they switched) perform a dance for somebodies (I forget whom).

Anyway, the chosen soundtrack? A duet of Bill Medley (once, but never truly, a "righteous brother") and Jennifer Warnes (whom didst Jennifer warne?) that was written and recorded in 1987, and sounds like it. Granted, the movie is full of stupid selections (e.g., 1964's "You Don't Own Me" performed by The Blow Monkeys), but that's neither here nor there. To end the movie with a non-anthem from Reagan's second term is an abomination.

Agggh. Children, whom are lovely, need my attention. More very soon.


Same Old Novelty

I'm still in Baltimore, but I'm going to make it home. I tell myself that, in and from the throes of a barrage of contrary obstacles. It's humiliating, but the net effect is somehow even more destabilizing. I have done everything "right," and everything has responded by malfunctioning grandly.

And I miss my family A GREAT DEAL.

What is the synthesis that is lacking from all of this blasted life-and-living thing? At the risk of drowning in a stale puddle of metaphorical fluid, I will say through my resigned grimace that it's like an arch minus the keystone. So much will seem during these times to be going so well, and as my stride grows more assured and comfortable with that awareness, I encounter a snare that is (or at least appears to have been) designed for people that dare to be that way. Then commences the horrid cascade of thorny consequences, with trite-but-ever-truer results.

(Like, dig this: since we live in a world of cellphones, it is expected that the owner will be available at ALL TIMES. They take umbrage at your lack of complete, drop-everything accessibility. Why? When things happen faster, people become even more impatient? Fools.

And, as if there were somehow an insufficient basis in the miasma du jour for keeping poor people in perpetual states and senses of lack, there's always a line of profiteers that are interested in exploiting any mistakes that could possibly made. No "trust" or any similar liability--merely unmitigated greed. And suspicion! For instance, combatting "abuse of the system" is a central aspect of political lip service [in this country, at least], and finding help in general is a dehumanizing procedure in which the person seeking assistance is subjected to constant monitoring, viewed as being somehow less than an actual adult. Yet, as this happens and happens, there is no accountability for iniquities that bring people to where today finds or has found them.

And for all of the heartless, stratified hogwash about an "ownership" society being bandied about in these last years, I've seen nary a shred of detectable ownership regarding privilege. It's anybody's privilege not to recognize his or her own privilege, but it's a prison that separates a person from people. And does so ever more with the passage of time; as the true consequences of an impropriety reverberate through decades, that betrayal is ever more likely to be dismissed as something from the past [blame for the victim's struggle with residue of the past], and is less likely to be examined authentically [disenfranchisement]. THIS IS A FLAWED SYSTEM. It's dripping with the very privilege that survives in the absence of its acknowledgment, and nobody at all actually benefits.)

That was indeed a lengthy digression.

Anyway, I'm happy with my negative bottom line, but just because that's the way that things have gone lately, and I owe it to every person that cares about me to have a happy life. So, I dedicate my only self to that premise. It won't deter me from looking, but it might enhance the quality of my family's life in this awfully meantime.
I hope that everybody's doing great today.

Love, Benb xoxoxoxoxo


Adjective Heavens!

It is April. Welcome to that, for all that it may be (but, in my experience, typically isn't) worth. It seems nice enough outdoors, and it is, here in Baltimore. Not that I'd really know, having sat in uncomfortable proximity to my feelings over the weekend.

Sunday was Glenn's memorial service, and I attended. It was jocundity in the face of tragedy, with tenderness and laughter and uncharacteristically articulate accounts of Glenn when he was among us. New friendships were forged, by way of connectedness unearthed by the common vulnerability of our grief, that will doubtless span and endure decades. And, from everything that I could tell, none of it softened the precipitous sense of loss that we felt. But we all seemed to realize that there was little, if anything, that we could do to address that pain, so we tacitly agreed to transcend it with our unique respective love for our dear friend.

And here we sit, among the setting and trappings of April. Life is not moving as deliberately, nor with as much alacrity, as I would choose (if ever I were faced with a choice). I wonder if there's an April equivalent to the axiom that's wielded in concert with the idea of March. You've heard it a nauseating number of times, I'm sure: "in like a lion, out like a lamb." That's a very beautiful concept, and I do love beauty so, but what if the lamb gets eaten by the lion that will no doubt say, in arrogant Lionese, "April Fool!"?

I'll tell you what if. Everyone would be revealed as an outright sucker in that equation--including lions, dwellers of the jungle, having been left to suffer the failed fruits of their hunger with cold weather.

Having just said all of that, I am completely unaware of the current temperature or climate or whathaveyou. I long to see Molly, Desmond, and Ivor, I ponder just how I'll return home (awaiting a delinquent paycheck), and I'm reminded with maximal poignancy about all that I've learned to accept NOT having in life. This neither implies nor infers anything about what I DO have, as all of that is totally amazing. But it seems labor-intensive in a way that it shouldn't be. So, armed with some-or-other strength, I would like very much to declare the following for myself, I hope that you're ready. I am not ready.

1. I am not disabled. Yes, I have a disease and all of its accordant issues, but I remain aware of the world around me, am desperate to contribute to it,  and won't (although I'd love to) mail satchels of barf to all of the purveyors of abuse and hapless judgment that I have encountered regarding my health. To them, I have only to say: YOU ARE MAKING THIS INCALCULABLY WORSE.

2. I need a reliable job. This is more serious than it's possible to imagine. While it may seem reductive to say that this is all that I need, it is the agonizing truth. The stress that my family and I feel from the relentless drip-drab of freelancing and unpredictable pay cycles is positively lethal. I am able to work. I want badly to work. This New-Age bullshit of visualizing a bountiful future is all well and good, but I have applied to 1,400 jobs. It has been said (by Albert Einstein or Benjamin Franklin [or another person of far-greater financial means than meager old me, no doubt]) that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Well, does that mean that I should refrain from applying for jobs?

3. I am committed to parenting. This supersedes everything else in my life, and the level of resentment that I feel toward those that have ignorantly drawn conclusions to the contrary cannot be exaggerated. I do not wish to inundate my children with television or plastic or sex-role stereotypes that will instill them with the same hinges and buttons, the same onus of irrelevant privilege, that I have worked tirelessly to surmount. My goal with my children is to help them be, without shame or fear, exactly themselves. And, despite, or even because of, my health, I am a capable and conscientious parent.

I have become so incensed with the well-meaning attempts to corral me that are actually deleterious that I am quite sure that I need to end here and possibly sleep.