I love having depression. It gives me an excuse to write posts like this. And after all, isn’t that what cynebrspace is all about?

I was able to better understand my natural evil nature this Friday just gone. I was at our usual dance venue – why do I still go? – and many of those I had come to think of as close-ish acquaintances, specifically the female of the species, ignored me. I’m used to this from the swing aristocracy, but not from these people.

Maybe it’s that girls have appalling peripheral vision – one girl passed me three times without even glancing at me, as most girls do: the third time I stopped her and asked if she’d seen me. She was cautious and her answer vague or perhaps, which is likely, I didn’t hear properly – or it could have been because, as one girl said to me, they see each other about three or four times a week and me only once, if that. (I would go to more classes if I had more money and lived closer to the classes or had a newer vehicle than a 1991 motorcycle.) She quipped that at least I had a life outside of swing dancing. How little she knows: I don’t have a life at dancing, as should be obvious by the amount of times I go dancing and become miserable have coincided (and I do posit a causal link, Mr Hume).

I’ve been dancing swing for seven years but only have a couple of phone numbers – and they are guys’. I’ve given my number (my business card in fact) to girls with the invitation to practise together but they don’t reciprocate, and there have been no responses yet. Any skill I may once have had at dancing is atrophying because I don’t do it enough. Now I only go dancing for the little bit of exercise and so I’m not stuck at home doing nothing. They are the same reasons I also go to the local DVD store at least once a week; just to be around other people. It’s better than walking by the beach because there are less couples and more singles at the DVD store. Pathetic isn’t it? (Incidentally I went walking today along the beach – so many young, happy couples together. Even if not a guy and a girl, friends were out together at barbeques and picnics. On the contrary, I am always alone during the daylight hours of the weekend. The bile of my frustration rose quickly and malevolently.)

The odd thing was that as I entered the Mustang Bar, a girl I hadn’t seen for at least six months and hadn’t talked to for a couple of years – one of the aforementioned aristocracy – greeted me by name, with a hug and kiss on the cheek and apparent friendliness. It was the end of the work week, and she’d had a minor health scare (about which she talked as well as of her work when I enquired) and perhaps a drink: she seemed unusually garrulous, although I don’t know her that well.

Even so, and added to my being treated with ignore [sic] of my usual acquaintances, it had a touch of the Twilight Zone, even if it was a fairly lacklustre episode. So through the evening I simmered internally, alternating between rage and despair, wanting to slit my wrists or wondering how I could burn the words b’har b’chayyim (“Choose life”) onto myself – scarring is more manly than a mere tattoo – on what part of my body I should place it, what better motto there might be and whether I should use Hebrew, Greek or an acronym in English. I could never be Peter Pan: even if Tinkerbell, Oberon, Titania, Puck and all their kind were concentrated, desiccated and pulverised, there wouldn’t be enough fairy dust to make me fly. An apatosaur filled with osmium, but not I.

(Which reminds me, incidentally, the lead singer of the band that night – regulars Adam Hall and the Velvet Playboys were away on a fortnight’s tour with Big Jay McNeely – must be a Nobel-quality physicist because her breasts defied gravity in a spectacular manner. Indeed, her dress could barely hold them down. Thankfully I was too immured in my inner Goetterdaemmerung for my natural male lechery to do the voodoo that it can do so well.)

It occurred to me that if I weren’t a Christian I would likely be either dead or in gaol. It’s a pity we can’t compare what might have been with what is: not that my life is a shining witness at present. The best I can do is to not inconvenience others. “I was heading toward a path of destruction. I’d always been overlooked and put down. The only way I could find significance was in hurting others and myself. I’d execute deliciously sadistic torment on anyone who even looked at me the wrong way. But since Jesus saved me my life has totally changed: now I’m a merely a lonely, melancholy, sometime social-misfit. Hallelujah.”

People assume that because I am quiet, skinny, balding, wear spectacles, have acne scarred, fish-belly white skin, and blander than blank cardboard, that I can’t help or hurt them. (At one time, even my best friend would belittle my achievements if he couldn’t match them somehow.) But my quiet façade hides tremendous emotional damage. The years of misery, sense of failure, insignificance and futility ferment, cooking up a rage which occasionally spills over the top of my emotional pot. If ever that pressure builds up beyond what I can restrain, then the media will afterwards be filled with testimonial platitudes such as “He seemed so nice”; “He kept to himself”; “It’s always the quiet ones”; “You wouldn’t think that he would be the type of person to …” and so on. The reason that it is always the quiet ones is they have learned to keep silent because if they do say anything, if they make a stand, they’re laughed at or ignored or otherwise disrespected. So eventually, as I say, those feelings of futility and misery and anger will cause an emotional overload. How big the explosion is depends on the person.

I think of the verse in the Bible:

when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:19-20).

Others, often not Christians, are given this gift; at least, most of those I know. (And some aren’t, but let’s ignore facts for now. This is a vent, not a thesis.) They can live. I, on the other hand, reflect lots but live little. I’d reflect less – and this would now be a good thing – if I had some way to fill my time.

Back to Friday evening … Toward the very end I was talking with a girl who wasn’t particularly happy, she said. Her sister died last year. We talked a little; she apparently only danced with one particular guy because she thought she was a bad dancer and felt too shy to ask other guys. I pointed out that we all start off as bad dancers and it is only practise that makes us improve. I further opined that as she was beautiful – long, wavy blonde hair, clear skin, blue eyes, pretty face, slim figure – any guy would dance with her, and in that way she would become a better dancer. As it turned out, she was a good follower. And she had, of course, a boyfriend. A partner. Someone to share your life with; two people who can encourage and comfort and enjoy each other. Yes, let’s not forget verses in the Bible like “It is not good for a man to be alone”, and “pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up… if two lie down together they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” And then there’s me. I have a cat and a blog.

It’s likely that some reader is thinking, Aw, diddums. To you I say: Look up “ignorance” in a dictionary, while “It’s difficult to breathe with a crushed larynx” should be self-explanatory.

I recall a poem by a well-known Aboriginal lady, whose name eludes me for the moment; most of the poem eludes me too, but I recall parts of a few lines, whose implications (apart from the alcohol reference; my religious ethics serve the same purpose) I well sympathise with:

“White lady methylate,
hold back the hate
and hasten the dying.”

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