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Category: thoughts

01/26/06 12:21 - 17ºF - ID#22034

Thoughts On Insomnia

The problems inherit in being an insomniac are not as a normal sleeper might expect. One does not get tired or weary. Instead one is spent wondering what to do with their time, and indeed the very idea of time becomes very convoluted and confused. For a normal sleeper it is easy to keep tract of time. For most people yesterday was the time before they slept, the morning is the time immediately after you wake up, mid day is when you âre half way through your day in relation to sleep, and finally evening is the time just before you go to bed. The normal sleeper eats breakfast in the morning, lunch at midday, and dinner in the evening. All according to a normal sleep pattern.
This method of understanding time simply does not work for an insomniac who does not follow the sleep pattern of normals, and has therefore fallen out of time with the rest of society. Being such a timeless entity is quite disconcerting for the modern man so the insomniac is forced to recreate a new method of understanding time. This breaks insomniacs into two camps. The literal timekeepers and the subjective timekeepers.

The first of the two, the literal timekeepers, keeps tract of the days in accordance to the actual time. The exact numbers change from person to person but a general idea is as follows: one refers to mornings as 12am-11: 59am, midday as 12pm-5:00pm and evening as 5:01pm-11: 59pm. Yesterday is anytime before 12am and tomorrow anytime after 11:59pm. One who keeps literal time is often at odds with normal sleepers because they prefer the mornings to begin when they wake up, or when the sun rises.

The second of the two, the subjective timekeepers keep tract of the days in accordance to their sleep patterns ignoring all clocks. This is always very different depending on the person. Morning remains the time after one wakes up, midday is never talked about because one never knows what the halfway point is in a period of sleeplessness, and evening is about the point one knows they are going to collapse of exhaustion. Yesterday for these people maybe as far off as two days ago for normal people, or as close as an hour ago. Similarly, tomorrow may not be for a couple of normal days from now.

So if you should ever been confused by someones referral to a few days ago as yesterday or upset by someones dictatorial methods of noting when tomorrow has arrived, remember they may be insomniacs who have fallen out of time...

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Permalink: Thoughts_On_Insomnia.html
Words: 436
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: fiction prose

01/25/06 11:41 - 23ºF - ID#22033

The Odd Story Of Bryan Green: Part III

He turned around slowly, pivoting on the heel of his left foot; he took in a little bit of the car at a time. Oil lamps in polished brass holders, glass windows with curtains, and a wooden table where an Amerindian in a feather top hat was dealing cards for a poker game. A Zulu Warrior, with spear leaning against the wall, picked up his hand of cards and peered straight faced across the table at the long white bearded man in medieval monks robes. The long rectangular shape of the car forced Bryan to take in the rest of it all at once.
A bar ran almost the full length of the dining car on the left hand side. A fat bartender, who resembled Teddy Roosevelt without glasses, was pouring a drink for an organ grinder, whose monkey was filling its pockets with beer nuts. Up the right side of the car were a series of square tables with chairs, and to Bryans immediate right, next to the door, was a wood-burning stove, the cordwood was stacked neatly under the window. Half a dozen greasy men in blue uniforms and cloth hats sat around two tables sipping steaming cups of coffee. The rest of the tables were inhabited by other single passengers, each stranger than the next.
As Bryan made his way to the bar to take a seat, he passed by a table on which two cats were sharing a saucer of milk. He realized that he must have looked a moment too long because one of the cats spoke up.
"Is there something we can help you with?" The offer seemed to be kind enough, so he asked the first thing that came to mind.

"Where am I?"

"You are in the dinning car," The cat said as though it believed that that much should be self-evident. Bryan thanked them, but on the way to a stool at the bar he could have sworn he heard the cat snobbishly ask what his companion expected of a man who had obviously attended Harvard. How did that cat know? He might have asked had the bartender not been prompt to ask what he would like to drink.

"Ummm...actually, I was wondering if you might have seen an odd fellow come through here."

The bartender laughed heartily. "The only odd fellow to come through here lately is you. No offence to you, mister."
Bryan blinked at the bartender, and then, after looking around a second more, chuckled nervously himself.

"I suppose you're right. It's just that to me...I mean if you...oh never mind. I was looking for a businessman, with white hair, and dark eyes. He was drinking a can of Dr. Pepper, and I followed him to this car." Bryan was surprised at how quickly he had come to accept this clearly irrational situation. He did not know if he was proud of himself, or worried that his sanity might not be salvageable.

"Oh! Yes, yes," The bartender nodded, "you mean Mr. Vanderbilt. He has been after me to try to find a way to stock this beverage of Dr. Pepper for some time now. He is quite enamored by it. You will find him in his personal car, next one back." The bartender pointed at the wooden door at the back of the dinning car.

"Thank you." The bartender nodded and smiled, as Bryan walked to the end of the dinning car, opened the door, and disappeared again between the cars. He was prepared to meet another trip through endless darkness, but was confronted again with something he did not expect, a normal two-step distance in a generally well space between two ancient passenger cars. Two area lanterns illuminated the stylized wooden door and brass knob. The sound of the train wheels on the tracks below seemed to be rougher than they had been the...normal part of the train. They sounded as they had when he had taken a ride on an old steam engine as a kid.

The door had a hand carved image of an approaching train on it, and a knocker in the shape of a signal lantern. He lifted his hand to the knocker, as the door swung open leaving Bryan looking into the dark eyes of the white haired businessman.

"Do come in Mr. Green, I have been waiting to speak with you for most of this trip."

"Would you care for one lump of sugar, or two, in your tea?"

"One, please." Bryan said, he was trying to coming to grips with everything around him. The old man had a private car at the end of the train. He was clearly very rich, and given over to arranging strange set-ups for people to stumble into, which seemed to include hiring another passenger car full of strange anachronisms as well. But what about the talking cats? The voice of what-if did not have an answer for talking cats. Perhaps I'm drunk, or dead?

The old man brought the sterling silver tea tray over and placed it on the table before the small fireplace, between the two wing-backed chairs in which they sat. The rest of the car was outfitted with a desk, two bookshelves with locked glass doors, and a smooth, forest-green, carpet. The oil lamps in the car also sat in polished brass holders, but the curtains on the glass windows in the car were more expensive. Out the window next to the fireplace, Bryan could see the dark wintry landscape of Central New York quickly passing.

The old man sat in the chair across from Bryan, and for the first time he was able to see his face clearly. It was wrought with many years of wrinkles; his dark eyes spoke of an eccentric wisdom that Bryan could not fathom. He had a forehead that went clear up to the top of his head where a wild mane of white hair began. His suit was well tended, and without a spot of lint. The white collar was done up in a complex fashion that made Bryan glad he was not in business two hundred years prior. As the old man poured Bryan's tea he did not shake, but instead seemed to go about his business with, careful, unwavering, attention to detail.

"Now, Mr. Green, I have no doubt that you are overflowing with queries about the bizarre adventure you have just experienced. Please feel free to ask anything you wish, then I will explain myself in full."

Bryans mind lurched forward with every question that it had acquired since he had decided to chase after the old man. The talking cats, the tribal card game, the unusually long causeway where he had run into the brakeman, and his lost luggage, "I'm going to loose my job!"

"Precisely!" The old man smiled jubilantly.


"I intended to hire you, and you will have to leave your old job in order to be in my employ. How did you know you would have to quit your job?" The old man looked mildly concerned, and somewhat suspicious, "You aren't a mind reader are you?"

"Are you crazy? I am not going to quit my job! I am going to loose my job, because some nut job ran into me between the cars, and made me loose my luggage off the side of the train! It has everything in it, my clothes, my laptop, the numbers, even the address of the meeting!" Bryan waved his hands wildly as though he were drowning in the reality of it all.
"Oh, good, you're not a mind reader." The old fellow looked relieved.
"What? Who are you? What are you talking about? I've been kidnapped by a mad man!" He put his face down in his hands, surrendering to his fate, "I can't believe this is happening to me. I wish I was back home."
"Now, Mr. Green!" The old man said indignantly, "As my name is Cornelius Vanderbilt, I will not be called by other names, nor have my character assaulted by a man too clumsy to keep a hold on his own affairs. You have come fairly well recommended, and I was going to offer you a job, but it appears that your advocate was incorrect about the core of your character. You are not the strong free willed man that I had hoped to meet. Instead I find that you are a confused man who thinks that the world is happening to him. When presented with clear evidence of the fantastical, are you always in the habit of hiding your eyes with your hands, Mr. Green?"
"But don't you see? You can't be Cornelius Vanderbilt! He's been dead for over a century."
"And yet, here I am. No doubt you have also noticed two talking cats in the other car? Are you so insecure in your cognitive faculties that you will now deny that those cats exist too, or will you begin to make use of that mind of yours to discover what has changed to make this possible? Mr. Green, you are in a position to do one of two actions. The first, you can continue to believe that the world is happening to you. You can return to your life where you have chosen to be a victim of reality. In that case you will never know what is going on here. You will probably spend a good portion of your life in denial of your own mind. The second, you can decide, as you did when you choose to follow me to this car, to take responsibility for your life. You can take control of your life by choosing your own direction, rather than being moved like a weathervane by the events of the world. In that case, you may choose to take my offer of a job, and join my expedition to discover the strange principles that govern this strange world into which you have crossed."

Bryan stared at the old man. In his mind the word impossible was what the voice of what-if offered, over and over again. None of it could even been considered as reality. It was just another impossible nightmare that he couldn't wake up from, like when Lisa left him. No, he thought, that had been real. Bryan looked at his watch; it was nearly three in the morning.
"My stop! The train is going to reach my stop in a few minutes; I have to get back to the rest of the train. I am going to have to try to explain to my boss how I lost my luggage." He was speaking to himself more than to the old man, "I'll tell him that it was stolen. That's more reasonable. Maybe he'll let me stay with the company then." Bryan stood up in a daze, and began to walk towards the door.

"Very well, Mr. Green," The old man got up, and put an arm around Bryan, "take my card in case you change your mind, instructions for how to contact me are on the back. You will have until noon today to decide, but before you walk out that door I think you should take a look out this window. So you will know what you are missing."

Bryan bent his knees slightly so he could peer out the window. The train was rocketing along its tracks through the outskirts of the city. The landscape around the city was dark, the ground was covered in a blanket of light grey snow. The clouds covered the stars in some places, and there was no moon. Yet he could see that there, in the clouds, was something very large. It was flying in parallel with the train, and was descending with its wings spread wide. Bryan gasped as the great flying creature came into focus. It was a giant bird with red and yellow feathers that seemed like flames. Its ruby like eyes gazed down as the train broke through the edge of the city.

The Great Phoenix flew low over, and burst into flames illuminating the city with an ambient golden light. The imperial height of the awe inspiring buildings on the shores of the lake were unlike the city that Bryan had come to know on his trips to Buffalo. Out the window they were majestic in the light of the Phoenixes renewal. They seemed to him to rise upward like a dream of love for what was, and hope for what might be in the future.
The train began to slow as its tracks lead it between the buildings towards the station downtown. The light of the Phoenix became the light of the electric lamps that edged the street, and headlights of cars, old, new, and never seen before.

"How could this be?" Bryan asked Cornelius Vanderbilt.

"A fine question, Mr. Green - a fine question, indeed. You have nine hours to determine if you want to help me to discover the answer. Now, please, do remember my card...This is your stop, buddy."
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Permalink: The_Odd_Story_Of_Bryan_Green_Part_III.html
Words: 2186
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: fiction prose

01/24/06 08:16 - 35ºF - ID#22032

The Odd Story Of Bryan Green: Part II

The woman's child was awake by the time that they reached Albany. In any other circumstance Bryan might have thought the kid cute, but as the little tike made his fiftieth dash down the center isle of the train shouting Mary Had A Little Lamb, he had to admit that the kid was getting on his nerves. The woman had moved to another pair of seats to sleep, when most of the people had gotten off at Albany to board the train to New York City.

"Hey, Whatchya doing?" Bryan looked up from his laptop to find the kid had come to hang on the armrest next to him.

"I am working on a sales pitch for a client in Buffalo, I sell insurance." He had hoped that boring the kid would help him get back to work.

"What's in-sure-ants?"

"It's..." He looked across the car at the kids' mother, stretched out over two seats, sleeping. How did it always work out this way? Why couldn't this kid just leave him alone? "I have work to do." He said stoically to the kid.


"Because I want my paycheck, so that I can buy food to eat."

"What's a pay-check?"

"It's...Why don't you go sit with your mommy?"

"She's sleeping." The kid said, with a tone that really said isn't that obvious mister? Why else would I be running around unchecked? Bryan was beginning to hate that woman. She seemed like the kind of person who would unload her problems on the world, or in this case, unload her child on him. The kid grabbed Bryans digital voice recorder from his open luggage, and began to press buttons. "Sweet!" the kid giggled, as Bryans voice began to play:

We can expect to have a real risk of about...

Bryan stood up, and took the recorder. "That's not a toy," The kid's eyes were beginning to squint, but before he could so much as whimper, Bryan had packed all his work into his luggage, and made his way to the door that would take him to another car, far away from the disaster waiting to happen.

Pressing his hand on the push-pad that opened the door between the passenger cars. The door opened with technological precision allowing Bryan passage into the poorly lit causeway that was sealed in by a flexible tunnel. He could still feel the winter breeze blowing gentle in the passage. The sound of the train on the tracks was much louder in the passage between, and for a brief moment his mind wondered what it would sound like if he were to accidentally slip beyond all the safety measures; would anyone hear that brief pause in the offbeat rhythm of the train? He pressed his hand on the push-pad to regain his hold on himself. The door slid open and he walked into the next car thinking that the passage had taken entirely too long to accomplish.

The next car was almost completely full. A sign above every seat indicated that electricity and Internet access was available along the outside walls. Bryan nervously sat down next to a man checking his mail on a laptop. The whole car was a murmur of independent cell phone conversations, the sound of keys being pushed, and newspapers being rustled with precision - one page at a time.

He pulled down the tray table, and began to work again. This time as he poured over the numbers he began to notice that there were a few mistakes. He looked over at the man next to him, and self-consciously covered the spreadsheet in front of him when the man looked over. Bryan hated the mistakes he often made on the spreadsheets. The sheets always made him look bad in front of Knights of Business like the man sitting next to him. Another part of dealing with the job he hated, which included never seeming to fit in with those types.

He began to adjust the spreadsheet in his laptop so that it would have the correct amounts. As he worked out the mistakes that he had made, the man next to him pulled out a copy of The Economist, and began to read. Bryan looked over at the magazine headline, Technology: New Frontiers in International Finance. Bryan always enjoyed technology columns; they were like reading about humanities dreams for tomorrow. The possibilities were exciting to imagine. He wondered if the accountant-looking fellow next to him was seeing the possibilities for new adventures, as Bryan saw them. No, it was more likely, Bryan thought, that his seatmate found adventure in the business of technology, the new frontiers of finance.

He looked down at his spreadsheet again, and came to a sudden realization. Perhaps business was not his type of adventure? Could that be why he found the numbers in front of him so depressing? What was his type of adventure, he wondered?

The sight of a man coming into the passenger car from the forward car that Bryan had come from interrupted his pondering. The man was a well dressed businessman, and would not have stood out in the carload of business people had he not been wearing clothes that were two centuries out of date. Bryan openly stared at the anachronistic man who, after taking a step into the car, stood off to one side to let a woman pass in the other direction, and then broke the time bubble he seemed to be standing in by clicking open a can of Dr. Pepper.

No one seemed to notice the white haired, dark eyed, man dressed like a nineteenth century railroad baron. No one, except Bryan, who continued to stare, and periodically look about to see if others had noticed yet. No one had.

"Are you alright, buddy?" The accountant-looking fellow had noticed his rapid head movements.

"What? Oh...yeah." Bryan looked back at the strange man at the front of the passenger car. The woman who had gone forward to the next car had returned, and she was placing her bag into the overhead no more than six inches from the odd old fellow, who seemed to be delighted to take the opportunity to peek down her shirt. "Hey!" Bryan almost shouted at the man no one could see, but he stopped himself by directing the word towards the accountant-looking fellow. "Do you see anything odd up there?" He whispered to the man next to him, only adding contrast to the previously shouted word.

The accountant-looking fellow peered forward at the woman stowing her second piece of luggage. "Just that woman putting her bag in the overhead. Do you know her?"

"But..." Bryan's social-awareness stopped him from uttering the rest of the sentence about the odd old man in nineteenth century clothing looking down the woman's shirt, effectively preserving the outward appearance of sanity. " I wish I did," he congratulated himself on the save.

"Yeah," the man agreed, "she's nice looking, but she looks like a lawyer, be careful." He went back to reading his magazine, and was completely oblivious as Bryan watched the odd old fellow walk down the center isle towards the back of the train, and disappear through the doorway between cars.

Bryan's mind snapped out of shock when the door closed behind the odd white haired old man. He was immediately thrown into conflict with himself. He wanted to find out where the old man was going, and who he was, and why. More than anything right now he wanted to know, why couldn't anyone else see him? Yet, he scolded himself, you can't just jump up and chase after any strange thing that you see. What if...

He didn't allow his fears to complete the statement; he tossed his work into his luggage, and unceremoniously took off after the odd old man. He paused only briefly in front of the push-pad, but he didn't let the voice of what-if say a word, he punched the pad with his right hand, and plunged through the doorway.
Halfway through the third step into the darkness he knew that something was terribly wrong. The sound of the train wheels on the tacks was loud to either side of him, and there was no light between the cars. More frightening was that he knew three steps was one too far to not have found the other door.

He held his place clutching his luggage to his chest, in fear of the paradox of it all. Though before he could even ask how it was possible someone collided with him bodily, knocking the luggage from his arms. The other man shouted in surprise, and Bryan watched the shadow of his luggage disappear, falling too far out into the darkness to still be on the train.
The other man opened his bull's-eye lantern, and shined it at Bryan. "What are you doing out here?"
"I was..." Bryan stammered in shock and confusion. It had happened too quickly for him to come up with a better answer.
"Not going to kill yourself by jumping off the train, are you?" The other man asked with a suspicious voice of authority, but a serious voice by Bryan's estimation.
"Uh... no, sir?"
"Good, we brakeman have a hard enough time without your corpse stuck in the wheels."
"Can you show me where the door is please?" Bryan could feel himself shaking. He was too afraid to look down to see how close to falling off the causeway his collision had brought him.
"Oh, certainly," The bull's-eye lantern spun around, momentarily shining on the face of the man holding it. His face was covered in grease and soot; he wore a blue cloth cap, and sported a mustache that was waxed to a curl on either end. "There it is," the door had only been two steps away.
"Thank you," Bryan whispered shakily before quickly stepping past the man. He turned the doorknob, and made his way into the dining car beyond. He was closing the door behind him when he realized that it had a doorknob, and was made of wood. Then in a sudden rush of logic he blurted out, "There are not brakemen on modern trains!" The gentle murmur of the dining car died out, and he froze with his back to them. Bryan looked down at the bare wooden floor he was standing on. The voice of what-if quietly wondered in the back of his mind what would happen if he never turned around. On the upside, he might never have to deal with the impossibility of what was behind him. On the downside, he would have to leave his back to a room full of people who were obviously staring at him.

To Be Continued...

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Permalink: The_Odd_Story_Of_Bryan_Green_Part_II.html
Words: 1796
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: thoughts

01/24/06 04:35 - 36ºF - ID#22031

Thoughts On Swearing

I am between classes here, and quite like any point in which I have free time - I start to think about strange things. Sitting here on the floor with my laptop I have had the pleasure of overhearing a number of people engaging in some recreational swearing. Listening to them, it occurred to me that English, as a language, hates sex.

If you take some time to think about what you're swearing you'll find that the number of things that you have to say are few if you exclude words having to do with sex. In fact it would all of the following out of your vocabulary: Cunt, Slut, Motherfucker, Cocksucker, most to all usages of the word fuck, Wanker (for the British), Bastard, Bollocks (for the British), Loose, whore, dick, cock, etc.

The sheer number of words that aim to defame someone's character by making reference to their sexual practices and sexual organs leaves one with the sense that sex is supposed to be this evil thing. Now, anyone with an elementary understanding of history might say, "Well duh! The Puritans were English for the love of Dog! And practically every church taught that sex was a necessary evil." It certainly did, but I am sure few of you have taken a look at how these puritanical ideas are still reaching us today through language.

If you believe that sex is a good thing, or at least a neutral thing, then you must ask yourself if you can honestly defame it with your choice of swear words? (You and I will of course continue to use the same swear words, it's not likely that we will be able to do anything about it, but something for you to think on.) Who cares if someone has sex a lot? Why do we think that is a bad thing? Envious Perhaps?

Yet to further push my point, try to think of swear words that have something to do with things other than sex. What have you got left? Words relating to three topics: various types of excrement (shit), praying that other people go to a fiery hole where they will be tortured (damning people to hell), and Angrily shaking your fist at the universe (damning god).

It is little wonder that we stick to the sex swears in English. Shit is a childish topic to speak on, prayer rarely gets you the results you require, and shaking your fist at the universe is... well just stupid, because if you're a theist because God will get you, and if you're an atheist you don't believe anyone is up there listening anyways.


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Permalink: Thoughts_On_Swearing.html
Words: 443
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: fiction prose

01/23/06 10:56 - 32ºF - ID#22030

The Odd Story Of Bryan Green: Part I

The following is a short story that will appear on here in three or four parts. For the next few days I will be posting one part a day. It is set in part in the real world, and in part in a strange paralell world of dreams and ideas and it sometimes overlaps. I hope you will enjoy this fiction piece. ~E.

Bryan Green stood sipping his hot chocolate, as the blustery frost bits tapped against the glass of the train station window. It was the kind of half-rain, not-quite sleet, that bounces once before sticking to every surface and freezing solid. The makings of an ice storm that might have sent other cities into a panic, but in Boston it only resulted in a delay in traffic, and train schedules. Bryan's train was two hours late.
The city might not have launched into a panic, but Bryan could feel the rise of anxiety in his stomach with each passing minute. He was running behind again for the millionth time in his life. Perhaps he was cursed, he mused, the world conspired against his best-laid plans, and there was nothing he could do about it. The great weight of futility pushed the air out of his lungs in a sigh, and he nervously rubbed his chin.
He had an appointment at noon on the next day in Buffalo. It would be a very important meeting, the kind that can make or break a man's income for the year, and he was woefully unprepared. With all the end of year work he had not been given enough time to prepare for the meeting, and had nearly forgotten he had to go at all. Now his train was late, and his hot chocolate had gotten cold too as he stood brooding, he tossed it out.

He paced absent-mindedly before coming to a sudden stop, at that moment it occurred to him that he could drive to Buffalo. It was only about a ten-hour drive. Doing the math he realized he could get in his car, and get to the other city with time enough to plan for the meeting. No, he thought, he already had a train ticket, and it was too risky.

"What if..." he spoke aloud, startling himself. He did not finish the statement. The words hung there in the air, and echoed in his mind. What if - a thousand times over he had said those words in fear, and then moved on, deciding to do nothing. He chose not to think of it. Introspection was too harsh for him to bear under the circumstances, and the sound of the arriving train gave him excuse enough to pick up his luggage, and stop thinking.

He held back next to the door to avoid the crowd of people rushing out of the heated station onto the boarding platform. A few people stood behind him for a few seconds thinking there was a line before angrily walking around him. He apologized under his breath, and wondered why things always happened to him.
Standing next to the large glass window, near the door, he could see down the length of the train. Looking towards the end of the train his brooding thoughts were interrupted by the sight of something odd. No, but for a moment he could have sworn he had seen two ancient passenger cars attached to the end of the modern train, yet they clearly could not be there.

He made his way to the train, and quickly boarded without taking the offer of help from the assistant conductor. Once in his seat he was relieved to find he could sit alone; he placed his luggage on the seat next to him to discourage others from trying. Then, unfolding the tray table, he set about his work with earnest. On the train, he no longer felt the grave responsibility of having to travel in a timely manner resting in the pit of his stomach.

At the station in Worcester, more people boarded and took seats in his car. He looked up from his work to watch the people. One at a time they took up the remaining seats in the car until only a woman and her child remained standing next to the seat where he had rested his luggage. He moved it quickly to the overhead before she could ask him to move it.

Preparing for the meeting would be simple enough. He knew what they wanted, how much it would cost, and that his company could give it to them the cheapest. Compiling the information into a sales pitch would only take a few hours, or so he consoled himself. His last pitch had taken five grueling hours, and by the end he had hated everything about it.

The woman was not bad looking, perhaps a few years younger than Bryan. He could not help but notice that she was not wearing a wedding ring. This was because she had conquered their shared armrest, and was tapping a beat with her fingers. It did not bother him too much, he pretended, just another sound on rhythm with the sway of the train. Her child quickly fell asleep in her arms, and before long Bryan was working diligently.

As he ran the numbers and created the presentation on his laptop, his mind began to drift. It usually did this when he worked. He would think about how boring his life was, and how much he hated his job. Then his mind would inevitably drift back to a novel he was reading. He preferred to read about great explorers, and people who sought adventure and new frontiers. Which frontiers mattered very little to him; a barbaric land, a new planet, the wild west, all just as exciting to discover as the next. He didn't own a television. When he was not working, he was reading a new novel. That was how he maintained his sanity while wallowing in the series of tragedies that he called his life.

In the past five years of his life nothing had gone the way that he wished. In his work he had become stuck as a traveling salesman, while most of his college classmates have gone on to higher places in the world. The only thing that had gone remotely well for any length of time was a brief period in his love life. He could say that he had met a woman that he had truly loved, though he never did say it.
Lisa was adventurous, quick witted, and funny. Her dream was to travel through the southwest, explore the old towns, and see the Sierra Mountains. He loved to talk about her dream with her, because it was invigorating. To him she was perfect in everyway, and that, Bryan believed, was why it had not work out.

One morning, when he had come out of the bathroom ready to go to work, he had found her standing in the living room with the luggage. She had packed both her bags and his, and had the look of determination in her eyes that he had always loved.

"I can't keep living this way, Bryan," she had said. "The stifling, oppressive routines, and mediocre monotony; it's killing me." She pointed out the living room window at the primly manicured lawns of the housing development where Bryan lived. "The choice is a simple one for me, this is not the type of life I want to live. I am going out west to live my dream. I will not continue to wait for my wishing to come true. I am going to make it come true, and I want you to come with me." Bryan had just stared in wonderment at her strength and bravery, but his appreciation was short lived as he realized what her strength meant for him.

"How could you do this to me?" he had nearly screamed at her hysterically, "I have a job here!" Lisa's answer did not come immediately. She picked up her bags with determination, and made for the door, leaving his in the middle of the room.

"Where are you going?" he pleaded, "Don't leave me here..."

She opened the door, and looked back only once to say, "You hate your job. You hate the life that you're living here. More than anything in the world, I know that you want to go out there and explore. Why do you think you read so many of those novels? I am not leaving you here, Bryan. I packed your bags. You are leaving yourself here." She closed the door with Bryan on his knees. The scent of jasmine was all that she had left him. For weeks afterwards he would turn quickly in the market when he caught her scent of jasmine, but she was never there.

To Bryan it was another potential happiness in his life that was fated to tragedy. What he wished for more than anything in the world was to be brave like her, and that was why it had not worked out. Bravery is not granted to cowards who wish.

to be continued...

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Category: philosophy

01/23/06 08:32 - 34ºF - ID#22029


A few weeks ago, I said that I would no longer be having discussions about my political and social philosophy online. Unfortunatly I have a mental disease which makes me desire to be understood. So I strive to explain myself, as best as text on the net will allow me. This was written in responce to jason he was kind enough to read my ramblings so I am going to be kind enough to furnish him with an explination. ~E.

He wrote the following in responce to my "We Only Have Each Other" Post:

Respect everyone's life and how they want to live it! Oh, and if you believe in God, I am going to do exactly the opposite of what I just proclaimed in statement one.

By what authority do you speak, sir? Is the Government our God?



The argument that you attribute to me in your response is not the argument I set forward in the two paragraphs of my post. I will explain where perhaps my clumsy use of language might has lead you astray. First, your second sentence because it corresponds with what I said first.

You wrote: "Oh, and if you believe in God, I am going to do exactly the opposite of what I just proclaimed in statement one."

My first point is that we only have each other. That is to say that all that there is, at this point, is we humans on planet earth. My second point is that we often use creations like God, Groups, and Government to justify our infringements on each other's right to life. That is, we say things like, "They do not believe in The God, Our God, A God, so we are justified in killing them." "We are in the majority so we can take away the rights of the minority." Things like God, Groups, and Government, have become tools for attacking and justifying the attacks on individual rights. This is usually because there is an inherent belief that individuals are the property of these things. That is, that you belong to God, the group, or the government, and that you should therefore do as they wish. You do not belong to any of those three, individuals belong to themselves. You own you, and only you. My last point in the first paragraph is that taking into account that you own yourself, and realizing that we only have each other here on earth to trade with, and so on, is the foundation of any real social order. That is to say that we need to work from the basic building block of a society to create order, which is the individual, not god, the group, or the government.

Secondly, your first sentence, in which you wrote: "Respect everyone's life and how they want to live it!"

I would like to point out that I did not say what you said above. I said that we should respect each other's right to live our lives. You added on the "and how they want to live it!" The difference between what I said and what you said is vast.

What I said is that we should respect the idea that "you own yourself, and only yourself" as the basis of the social order. What I said is that you cannot justify making slaves of others through God, Groups, or Government, because to do so would presume that the lives of those people belong to something other than themselves.

What you said is that we should respect everyone's life and how they want to live it. This would mean that if someone chose to live their life by making slaves of others, that we would have to say "Oh, but how unfortunate they are a tyrant, we must respect their choice to enslave though." That is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that if you do not respect the idea that a person belongs to themselves, and only themselves. You cannot truly expect others to do the same for you. That is, if you choose to become a tyrant, or a murderer, you should not expect people to extend you the respect of the social order. Why? Because your actions are not in line with the basis of the social order.


Now I would like to address what I believe you see as the implication of my writing. As I am an atheist you might think that I believe that if you believe in God that you should be refused the respect of the social order, or killed. That is not what I am putting forward in my two paragraphs.

If you choose to believe in God, Goblins, or Green Men of Mars, I would not care. I would not agree with you. I would argue that you were absurd. But I would never argue that you should be killed, because that would not respect the basis of the social order, the idea that you own yourself. If you used your belief in God to enslave or otherwise infringe upon others right to the same thing... then, as I said above, you cannot expect the same respect.

Best Regards,

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Category: philosophy

01/21/06 10:55 - 29ºF - ID#22028

We Only Have Each Other

In truth, we only have each other. To think otherwise would undoubtedly lead to the creation of some other fictitious being to justify the infringements we decide to visit on each other's lives. There is no such thing as God, no being known as group, and the only metaphysical justice that is ever delivered is that justice visited upon any fool who so short sighted as to allow his belief in fictitious ideas to supercede his reason and perceptual faculties. If we, believing that there is ground ahead, close our eyes, and walk off a cliff – Have we not judiciously received the punishment fitting the crime? Ignore reality at your own peril. So, I say again: In truth, we only have each other; a collection of individuals, and respecting each other's right to live our lives is the first step in any really meaningful social order.

Ignoring other individual's right to live their life, by believing that they are a slave for you, God, or Society; is believing that there is ground where there is only air. It is most likely that you will hit the ground one day soon, and as you lay dying by the hands of your former slaves, you will open your willfully ignorant eyes to find that you have actually been falling for some many years. You might ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" The answer is that you have forgotten the simple truth, that we only have each other, and that we only have that much so long as we prudently respect each others lives.

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