shower [shou-er]: a place to think, usually quietly (especially when your spouse is asleep on the other side of the bathroom door).

.raw [raw]: an unfiltered file

.    .    .    .

John says that I have entered a swamp from which I am unlikely to come out any wiser. But where does it leave us if we don’t try? That can’t be right, can it? Heck, look at that Andy Clark lecture. I’m getting a pretty good grasp on it – sure, it has taken me 2 weeks to figure it out. Okay, to figure half of it out.

That did lead me Friston. Adam warned me – too dense, he said (or something like that). But no…I am going to be the one to make sense of it. At least I have that lecture to watch. That might be my ceiling of understanding, but at least it might help. I need to know how it relates to Montague’s book.

What the hell am I doing? 2.5 years ago I was running a search online trying to figure out if Shirley’s approach to pain relief was plausible, now I’m trying to figure out how free energy principles may account for perception and action?

Ha…Shirley. That was a good metaphor I came up with yesterday…wish more people had read it. What did I say again? Oh yeah: “She is  is out in the barn, looking for a needle in the haystack – if she were to think things through clearly, she would realize the best place to look for the needle would be at her sewing table in the house.”

I tell AJ that I like to be the dumbest person in the room so that I can learn – that’s probably bull shit. I just understand that I can’t be the smartest person in the room until I have learned from them first. Of course, they already know a lot more than me and probably won’t stop learning, so am I really just chasing their tails…how much does any of it matter?

I remember playfully telling Eric that I hate him; how he seemed genuinely upset by my confession. Obviously, I did not ‘hate’ him in the literal sense. He gets that, I’m just envious of his experiences and the perspectives that he brings into his life and interpersonal relations. Hate? Yeah, that was an inappropriate use of the term. Maybe self-loathing might have been more appropriate. Nah, too harsh.

Am I really that competitive? With who? To what end? No, that can’t be it. I work a job that precludes me from working with anyone else and is impossible to get fired from with all the ineptitude that surrounds me.

Huh, maybe I am trying to be the smartest person in the room, after all. I found the smallest room possible in my car – is my Corolla the ultimate echoe-chamber? No, if it were, I would be watching sports tonight, instead of watching that fucking-Friston lecture.

Life is a journey right? Shouldn’t my pursuits be directed toward the the pursuit itself, rather than some arbitrary ‘line in the sand’ whereby I can consider myself ‘smart enough’? Where would I draw the line? Could I draw a line? Do I need to be smarter and have this knowledge for myself or just for my patients? Are my pursuits practical to my practice anymore? Will they make a better clinician? A better person? Are they practical at all? If they aren’t practical, what is their utility? Without utility, what value do they have? Is this the feeling of wading through the swamp?

I nobly type on my computer about how everything should be patient-centered, helping the patient understand themselves, but is it all just a ruse? Am I really just trying to understand myself? After all, I have found a job that allows me to read and study more during the day, not necessarily one that lets me spend more time with my patients.

That’s not true. I do get to spend a lot more time with my patients. Quality time. So, no, I might not be in the clinic working exclusively with patients with chronic pain, but at least I’m able to develop relationships with the patients that I do have in a meaningful way. That has to be important to some of them.

I am so far from where I expected to be. I went into this field to “help children”. Now, almost every one of my patients is over 75 years old and at least a quarter of them have dementia. Did I really get into this to ‘help people’ or – when I was 18 years old and decided to be a physical therapist to work with kids – did I just enjoy playing? Shit, is that what I (or my patients) am missing.? Am I not playing enough? Pretty sure that John would say that I’m not (I think).

Damn, I sure am glad that this pimple doesn’t look as bad as it did yesterday. The thing was fucking huge. And seriously – placed squarely between my eyebrows? I look ridiculous.

Am I reading and studying for me or my patients? It has to be me. I don’t care that much about my patients. 2+ hours a day reading books or researching while sitting at my computer, trying to learn more and more and more…

Am I insecure? Dammit, back to being the smartest man in the room. Am I driven that strongly by my ego? Is it worth it?

Wake up at 5am, read/study. Get ready for work. Put the boy on the bus. Go to work. Come home in time for dinner. Try to be a good dad and a decent husband at the end of the day. Read/study somemore and go back to bed. To what end?

I have more friends on my anonymous Facebook account than I do on my real one. I interact a lot more anonymously too. The best man in 3 weddings in the ‘real world’, I still only talk to one – what else are brothers for? But I can’t talk about baseball for 3 hours anymore. Sure, dick and pussy jokes are still funny, but aren’t they just the same joke over and over again with different phrasings? I still love the guys – would jump in the car and drive 24 hours for either of them if they were in a bind. We just don’t have a lot to talk about anymore. Just the glory days…

No, it definitely can’t be about the patients. I wouldn’t potentially strain my marriage if my pursuits weren’t for myself alone. She fell in love with the guy who made her laugh, made offhanded and perverted remarks and (with a beer in hand) could be the life of the party. She didn’t fall for a near-40-year-old introspective and introverted father of 2 who sips scotch in the evenings while reading 3 articles, simultaneously failing to understand computational neuroscience, philosophy of mind, and embodied cognition. (Shit, remember to add that book that Eric has mentioned more than once to my wishlist, and to bump up the one mentioned by Mick too – pretty sure that one is already on my list.) Oh well, I hope I make it up to her in other ways.

Our 10 year anniversary – 3-months away. Can’t believe it…nobody thought we’d make it this far. No, we don’t laugh as much anymore and I am probably a different man than she expected I would be, but I couldn’t stay that man forever. I need to evolve, progress.

She thinks that we are in a holding pattern here on Earth, that there’s something else beyond, something after this. I used to have a sense of that as well, but it is gone. This is my one and only shot to do something of value with this, my one-time-only life. Maybe these pursuits wouldn’t have value to a lot of people, but at least they have some value to me.

I cannot bring myself to sit on the couch and watch another hour of HGTV, watching people try to decorate a house. I already have a house. It is too big, has too much in and it is a drain on us financially.

An ownership society? What a bunch of bullshit. These networks and television programming are just propaganda to try to convince people to keep up with the Joneses. No different then those brutal bridal television shows. Jesus, when did engagement stop focusing on the marriage and personal commitment between to 2 people in love and begin to focus on the 2 years before the wedding, shopping, partying – ugh, whatever.

Damn, I really have to start exercising again. A few more months of behaviors and choices like these and I won’t be able to see my (censored)…


5 thoughts on “shower.raw

  1. Keith,

    I wish I could write like this and put it out there. I have the same feelings, or, at least did 20 years ago. If it makes you feel any better, parts of this get worse, so you’re living in the good times.

    Like I said, I have the words, I just don’t have the courage.

    You do.


    • Thanks for the reply, Barrett.

      I wish I were more courageous – you know – to put my full name behind it…but I fear that would cross the line into the realm of ill-advised stupidity. As it is, there are about 20 people who read this blog who can put a face to the name…only a small number interact with me in ‘real-life’. To the rest, I am just another person out there trying to make sense of the world while appreciating the very, very limited importance of my own existence; simultaneously trying to craft a life of importance to himself while realizing that brilliant minds are out there arguing about whether I have any choice in the matter at all.

      If there is someone else out there who is having similar thoughts, feelings, motives, question, etc…this is now out there for them to read. In 20 years, perhaps I will reflect back on these as the ‘glory days’ as well.

      Time will tell.

      • Well, I keep waiting for someone to read my stuff and say, “This guy is brilliant. We need to hire him somehow.” I’d also like for this person to work nearby my home.

        We have some choices and we make them as we go along, in retrospect. Staying together in some fashion seems to help. I for one, am glad you’re out there.

  2. Instead of going into all of the different things I felt while reading it, let me just say that this post means a lot to me. Thanks for writing it.

  3. It means a lot to me too- because it’s honest. And I’m so fucking tired of all the bullshit, lying and posing. It’s like we’re all trapped in one of those rooms with Max and 99 in a “Get Smart” episode where the walls start to close in, and then suddenly Max seemingly stumbles upon the solution that saves their lives.

    Max was real, he never lied, not once. And we loved that about him. And it made him brilliant, too, maybe because he wasn’t trying to think of his next lie. There’s an existential clarity in not having to figure out your next act of dissembling.

    Keep writing, Keith. I don’t care what you read, but keep writing.

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