I had vaguely remembered dreams again last night about speaking. Earlier dreams involved my speaking and then realizing that I shouldn’t be. Last night I was trying to speak but it was very difficult, I couldn’t make my voice work. Thus do my dreams track my hopes and fears. I don’t put much stock in dreams but these have been interesting. My life became odder late last week when I had dental surgery and the left side of my face swelled like a grapefruit. Now I have to explain, pen and pad in hand, first why my face is swollen then why I cannot speak about it. I had another of those walking in the street experiences today. In this case I was very aware of a lot of people staring at me, which they may have been doing a few days ago when I was carrying my daughter’s school paraphernalia home but I had not noticed. I was forced to park a distance from the bicycle repair shop to which I was taking my daughter’s bike. It’s a fabulous Hot Rod, banana seat, red like the red that is simply the only red for a bike, Easy Rider handlebars. I had to wheel it to the shop, it’s chain hanging loose, the reason for the needed repair. Quite a few people offered to buy it from me. I got it repaired and wheeled it back to the car but on the return journey no one offered to buy it, though many stared. Again I started to get worried – did they think I’d stolen some poor child’s bike? I am becoming paranoid because I know that I cannot tell people what’s going on and I have been taking a lot of drugs for the throat surgery and now the dental surgery. Do steroids make you paranoid?
This is all getting tedious. I no longer want to go to enter a monastery, even as a notion. I have had one insight confirmed. We should all take a moment before flying off the handle. It seems very simple but for someone such as I, whose approach to life is aggressive and deliberately provoking, it’s only simple in the abstract. One of the effects of not speaking is the need to summarize what you wish to communicate. When able to talk I can go on at great length about the source of my frustrations, about the opinions which everybody secretly agrees with, which is even more frustrating because I just know they see it my way but won’t admit it, the fights with family are long drawn out exegeses on my rightness and their wrongness. When all your emotions have to be expressed in a short written note it all becomes less embellished. Long words, which, let’s all admit, we use just to show that we know them, will not do. What this pause to write helps with is the moment of reflection. Stopping to realize that maybe the root of the problem is really quite insubstantial or petty. I really am going to try and use this strategy after the pad and pen have gone away. It will all come to naught, I will still be charging about the house yelling up a storm, browbeating with the long words, endlessly circling the drain of my anger. What people don’t get about angry people, at least about me, is that we like being angry, at least in the moments when we are venting. It feels good. Endless psychoanalysis has led people to ascribe reasons for anger or insecurity or cruelty. I have news. Most of us are just born that way. If I were a calm and reasoned person this silence would have been easier I expect. I wouldn’t be sitting in places thinking: What that person just said is utter garbage. I would be on my high, but very well informed horse. I would be dismantling their theory or pointing out the flaw in their logic or their misleading interpretation of whatever text they were referring to. The problem for people such as I is that we know we make little difference, we don’t really change people’s minds that much, which is in itself frustrating. Now and again I can see a crack, mostly in religious arguments though it is hardest of all to get through to a believer because there is no logic upon which belief is founded. We can argue economics or mathematics but how can we argue with Faith? This silence has not made me any more willing to see the other person’s point of view, though I do see it more than my friends realize, I just can’t admit it because I’m a man and we can never lose, either the argument or face. I’m also a very angry man and that reinforces all the mess of maleness. Isn’t it fortunate that I grew up in a country with almost no guns?