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11:57 am - Monday, Nov. 25, 2002
\"Where does he get all those wonderful toys...?\"

"Where does he get all those wonderful toys...?

All the faults of our mind our selfishness, ignorance, anger, attachment,

guilt, and other disturbing thoughts are temporary, not permanent and

everlasting. And since the cause of our suffering our disturbing thoughts

and obscurations is temporary, our suffering is also temporary.

That was some "Buddhist wisdom" Jane sent me in an email...

She sent something else, in a similar vein, that I also meant to copy in here, but I accidently deleted it; The jist of it was that the mind is bright like the sun, and even if clouds of doubt and unhappiness come along from time to time, the sun is still there. Or something to that effect.

(I think Jane and I have a similar take on Eastern philosophy; We're not practicing Buddhists or anything like that, and we don't always get it, but what we do get is very appealing.)

I'm still having a hard time seeing the sun through the cloud cover, but I know I'll bounce back before too long.

Or else I won't, and I'll be unhappy for the rest of my life. Same difference...

I thought this was kind of funny; This past week, when I didn't write anything for four or five days, was the heaviest traffic I've ever gotten in here! I guess it's a case of "giving the people what they want...".

I said in my last entry that I was going to write about "stuff"...

I was thinking about the Mini-Cooper again recently, and it brought up an underlying feeling that I didn't even realize I had...

My first memories of single people, when I was a kid, was that they seemed to have lots of cool stuff. They had expensive, cool things, or even just lots of records and books and fun knicknacks and the like, because they didn't have to spend their money on their kids, and they didn't have to worry about things getting broken or messed up or what-have-you.

Anyway, I was thinking about the Mini-Cooper. It looks like fun to me, as I've said before (And I've read the reviews for it, and it's actually supposed to be a pretty good car, and a lot of fun to drive), and I realized that I feel, at some underlying level, that having a car like that, that just seems like fun and would be a supremely impractical "family car", is supposed to be my "consolation prize" for being a single guy.

I realized that I have a real either/or dichotomy in my head on this front; The way things are "supposed" to go is that you either have a wife and kids and responsibilities, or else you don't, and you have wonderful toys to distract you from your pointless existence.

And me? I'm "None of the above".

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm 41 years old, and moderately bright; I know that "stuff", whatever it might be--Dvd player, new computer, Mini Cooper, etc--is not ultimately what its all about. It will not feed your soul, or sustain your spirit, or what-have-you (Though actually, I think an argument could be made that a library of books, music, and movies is a pretty worthwhile spiritual investment).

But if family/relationship stuff isn't happening, I'd at least like to have cool stuff to play with while the adults are in the other room, doing the mysterious things adults do.

I've thought about it before; I'd like to have money, not so much because I think money would make me happy--though I do think that, when it happens, having money is going to be way better than not having money--but because I'd be very interested in who I'd be with money.

I've spent my life downplaying "stuff". But while it might be spiritually evolved not to be materialistic, I don't think that's what my downplaying "stuff" has been about; I think when I've said "things aren't what's important", it's not because I'm emulating Gandhi or Buddha or Jesus or whomever, but simply out of self-defense. I'm convincing myself I don't want what I can't have.

If I had money, how would I dress? What kind of "stuff" would I buy?

Where would I live? How would I eat? What charitable contributions would I make (I donated $25 to the Red Cross after 9/11, and I occasionally give change to bums--though I find myself resentful of being accosted here pretty much every time I go anywhere--but beyond that, my minimal funds pretty much go entirely to the "Save Jim" Foundation).

I would like my life not to be all-encompassingly informed by my poverty, and I very much feel like it is.

I think money is one of the reasons I didn't come out here years earlier, and it's certainly a major stressor now.

And I know money enters into my thinking every time I ask a woman out; I honestly want the women I ask out to say "yes", but there's also this huge anxiety about what I'll do if they do say "yes".

So I just wonder...what would my life be like with money?

I know it wouldn't solve all my problems, and it would probably create new ones to boot, but folks, I'd really like to take a big pile of money on a test drive, and see what I think.

As spiritually unenlightened as that may be...


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