Twisted Logic

Smokey's

I was sitting in Smokey’s Cafeteria enjoying a coffee when the bad feeling started to come up on me. It came out of nowhere and sat down right next to me like an unwelcome visitor. At first I thought I could just ignore the unwelcome bad feeling but it kept pushing up closer and closer until it was practically sitting on my knee. It kept nudging me and nudging me and then it would wink at me suggestively when it caught my eye. Eventually I could bear it no more – draining the last of my coffee I got up and left.

 

I know it sounds stupid but I somehow imagined that I could escape the bad feeling as easily as this, just by walking away from it, just by the simple precedent of changing my physical location. “Go somewhere else!” I thought to myself. It was as if that rotten bad feeling actually existed there in that particular spot in Smokey’s Cafeteria and all I had to do in order to get away from it was to take a bit of a walk and go somewhere else. Somewhere new, somewhere fresh, somewhere untainted…

 

It sounds so ridiculously simple-minded, I know. It actually sounds unbelievably dumb and yet at the time it made perfect sense to me. I think in retrospect that it was very important for me to be that simple-minded, that dumb. I needed to be so unbelievably dim-witted that I actually thought I could solve matters by leaving the table where I was seated and simply going somewhere else. That was my way of coping, my way of handling the situation. What am I saying – it still is my way of coping, my way of handling a difficult situation. I don’t know of any other.

 

So I left Smokey’s and headed off, more or less at random, more or less without any goal in mind. Eventually – maybe an hour or so later – I found myself in town. I sat down on a bench by the side of the park and what do you think, straightaway that rotten old bad feeling starts to creep up on me again. I had only been sitting there for five minutes, enjoying an unexpected interlude of sunshine. The bad feeling comes right up and sits next to me – I could no more ignore it than I could ignore someone poking me in the side with a sharp stick. Reluctantly, I get to my feet and relinquish my place on the bench. The chance to sit down is taken away from me, just like that. It is denied me. I’m not allowed to have it. I’m not permitted.

 

Full of seething resentment to the bad old feeling that was dogging my footsteps, I started off walking again. The bad feeling had turned me into a walking machine, I realized. Great, I commented sardonically to myself, now I’m a walking machine. I’m not a person anymore, I’m a machine. I’ve been turned into a machine and now I have to go and be with all the other machines. In the machine world. Doing this and doing that. Doing machine things. Not being allowed to stop. Not ever. Because that’s not permitted. Because that’s a no no. Doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs, does it? Not exactly what you might call a desirable type of existence. I wasn’t just a machine, it occurred to me then, I was a bitter machine. Now that was really great…

 

As I walked it came to me that what I was running away from wasn’t actually the bad feeling, but the promise of the bad feeling. I was fleeing from the suggestion of the bad feeling, the hint of the bad feeling. That’s as far as I would let it get to me. The hint was enough for me – I didn’t want to know any more. But at the same time that I didn’t want to know, I couldn’t help seeing that a part of me already did know. A part of me already knew only too well what it was that I didn’t want to know about. What the bad feeling was about was something that I both knew and didn’t know, therefore. What I really didn’t want to know (and yet at the same time did know) was simply this – that I didn’t actually exist. That I wasn’t actually real. That my existence, my reality, was entirely fictional. In short: the awareness that I was running away from was the awareness that I wasn’t really here at all.

 

Not existing isn’t bad in itself, of course. How could it be? It’s simply ‘not existing’. There’s no issue about that. No real big problem. What causes the bad feeling is ‘wanting to exist when you don’t’. What causes the bad feeling is not existing, but being mortally afraid of not existing. You might say that this is screwed up logic. That its twisted. That it doesn’t actually make any sense. I know that. I know it but that doesn’t help me any. I know it but I’m running just the same…

 

 

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