When I was growing up in Trinidad & Tobago, I moved around so much that I never made friends. The moving around didn’t matter, though, because even moments of residency I was still seen as an outsider. My vision was poor so playing sports was out of the question. And being mixed race didn’t help in neighborhoods where being black was the norm. I was once beat up by a kid for no reason, but in retrospect, it may have been my simple oddness, and aloofness, that may have set him off.
I didn’t receive glasses till I was 10, and when I did get them, they were so thick that kids said they were made from Coke bottles. I tried my best to avoid everyone by going for long walks on Mayaro beach, and that usually worked. It was just me and the wide Atlantic Ocean – pure tranquility. I could’ve done without that burning sting from a Portuguese man o’ war that had been washed up on the beach; still, it was preferable to being among my own human compatriots.
Fast forward to today, nearly 50 years later. Things haven’t changed that much. I still prefer to commune with nature than humankind. Yesterday, i went for two strolls through Magnuson Park. The first was through the sports fields and the second, around 5PM, was through the wetlands. Now that summer is upon us, the wildlife is beginning to flesh out around here. For the first time, and up close, I saw a hummingbird. It could’ve been a black-chinned hummingbird but I’m not sure. It’s back was an iridescent dark green but it’s chest was also dark, not like the white I’ve seen in pictures. I also saw a great blue heron. That was pretty cool. Close up they sure resemble dinosaurs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re one of the least changed descendants of the extinct wonders.
I think I know what my future is. I’ll be that eccentric old man (like billy barr, the snow guardian of the Rockies or Nikola Tesla, the electrical genius) who shuns society and speaks only to the animals. I won’t mind that, actually. Humans can be deceptive, corrupt, dishonest, abominable, frightful and just plain uncomfortable to be around. That’s too bad but it is what it is. Just give me wildlife anytime – just keep the big cats at bay, though. They make me nervous.
There’s an interviewee in a biography about Jimi Hendrix who claimed that normal people used drugs to get high, but when brother Jimi used them, it just brought him around to normal. So it is with me if I don’t drink to excess.
I was talking to my therapist today and told her my mind races so fast and furiously that focusing is nearly impossible unless I have a drink or two beneath my belt. She didn’t say I’m imagining that but she did indicate that I could benefit from mindfulness therapy. I don’t know about that. I think my problem is I can’t fully explain what my non-focusing mind feels like; you’d really have to journey through my head to understand. I’ve tried in the past to write songs, short stories, novels and screenplays sober, but in the end, just came up with uninteresting, throwaway tripe.
Bipolar, from what I’ve been reading, robs people of the ability to sit still and focus. No wonder I can’t sit through an entire movie without drinking. Sober, I usually pause the flick after 20 minutes or so to do something else, like play a video game or surf the internet. After about an hour, I may get back to the movie…may, but that usually doesn’t happen as I’d simply moved on from one activity to the next till it’s sleep time.
The medications I used to be on (really, I was nothing more than a guinea pig as far as shrinks were concerned) either turned me into a balloon, gave me vertigo, made me constantly gnash my teeth, dried my mouth or made me oversleep. Beer is like a ball and chain on my ankles when I need it to be, like writing fiction or watching a movie. It calms me down and always me to focus on the task at hand. Without it I’m just a man with a kaleidoscope for a mind, a jumbled mass of non-related ideas coursing through my skull, never slowing down, always taking flight. What would a snapshot of my manic mind look like? The picture posted above should give you an idea.
Say hi to my little friend. He doesn’t want to shun the world but he has no choice. People are just too erratic, too crazy for him. They’re predictable, pretentious, and phony, and their holier-than-thou attitudes just don’t mesh well with his straightforward, no nonsense, truth-slinging, no bullshit mien. So, from now on, Robin’s going to isolate otherwise people will just drive him back to drinking and drugging. All of his days and nights will be spent in solitude, perhaps playing video games, writing stories or strolling through the park with his headphones on full blast. There will be no more AA or NA meetings or church dinners in his life. All his grocery shopping will commence at 2AM when no one’s around. Wow. Life’s beginning to improve already! Simplicity, what an underrated concept.