‘Einmal ist keinmal,’ 2018

There were times I’d walk out into our garage and just stare. Stare at the progress I’d made to restore order which was rare, and worth staring at. The state of the garage is like an ocean beach, the calm that comes when it’s all swept clean. Soon enough there’s more shit though, everywhere. All manner of shit nonsensical and worn, easy to confuse as rare or valuable, but basically shit. I paid 1-800 YOU GOT JUNK $500 to take it all away: the fold-out futon with the piss stains, the recliner from my mom/John’s that looks like a stroke victim sagging, bent: the concrete footer the landscapers dug up that sat there like a broken tooth for what, six years?—but despite all that, for karma’s sake, I included an offering of a few coats that were special to me: I emptied the pockets first, the ticket stubs and receipts…and I tipped the guy and the gal who hauled it away and cleaned up after themselves, and then I went back out later to just look at it, my newfound space.

Not because I’m proud of my body (because I’m not), I’ve started cooking without a shirt on like I remember Bill Murray looked in that film Lost in Translation: one of the first times I remember seeing a male actor bare-chested and normal looking (aka flabby around the hips) which seemed odd, and made an impression on me.

And we watched Groundhog Day again, I couldn’t remember watching it before: and Dawn thought that Sonny/Cher song at the beginning was Bob Dylan, and I didn’t give her shit about it because it does.

The film has been cited for zen/buddhist themes based on the idea of the eternal return, that life is a series of re-workings—and it fits nicely with me picking up The Unbearable Lightness of Being again, from where I left off two years ago, and cleaning out the garage again for the first time since 2015.

Your life is broken down into pieces hanging on walls or packaged up in boxes, or looking back at you through the eyes of your loved ones. Whatever dreams you dream are yours most of all, and will likely go unreleased.

This is a reprise of a post from 2016 when we lived in Germany with my mom.

Categories: death, identity, Memoir, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. Ha! How I know that feeling, of staring at years of collected crap and wondering why you’ve kept it, why you still have stuff both you and no one else will actually want, that’s useful to no man. And what a great feeling to be rid, to clear those decks and not have to look at it anymore.
    I can’t think how many times we’ve watched Groundhog Day together. Even though it’s not set at Christmas, it makes a great seasonal film with its themes of selflessness and growth and redemption. One of Bill Murray’s finest moements.
    That last line about dreams is so true – its a nugget of our real selves, hidden away inside and never discovered by anyone else, not even those closest to us.


  2. one way that i put ‘the stuff to get rid of” into perspective, is to think about all of the things my mother left behind that were just never ‘gotten around to,’ and how my job became doing that for her after she was gone. i try to think if my own stuff is something i’d want my kids not to have to get rid of. i only keep the stuff i need or really love. sorts it out for me quite easily.


  3. There’s something about that movie. You put Bill Murray and a groundhog in one movie, and get Caddyshack, equivalent to your trash-filled garage. Put them in another setting, and people talk about Zen Buddhism. That groundhog has really grown emotionally, and achieved a lot of depth in its performances. I don’t think Hamlet is out of the question, that ferret, can’t think of his name, has been mentioned for Polonious.
    In keeping with your Groundhog Day theme, this piece travels quite a loop, or I’d say a semi-circular arc, from junk in a garage, a stroke-stricken recliner is great, an upward arc! to a lovely last paragraph.


  4. Excellent reprise, and I always remember “einmal ist keinmal” from ULoB, along with “Muss es sein? Ja, es muss sein.” Even though I get the “once is not enough” idea, that whole Nietszche thing about having to live the same life over and over is scary stuff. As good as I’ve tried to be. Heh heh.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another vivid account. I’m interested that how I experience this piece is that your writing style somehow feels, to me, more visceral than other, recent, pieces you’ve written. Something suggesting to me that you had some deep emotional processes playing out back then. Still, I could be wrong. Interpretation is subjective, after all. As ever, thought provoking writing, Bill. Best wishes. Dean.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, that’s a nice comment Dean – thanks for reading. Yes, I definitely go for ‘deep emotional processes’ as you say, I try to convey that as much as possible. It’s hard, right? You know better than I in all the work you do to help people process and manage issues they’re facing. I try to have fun with it. I don’t know that I’m communicating clearly here (likely not), but so be it. Hope you’re well! Bye for now! Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sat down with a coffee to catch up on some Bill. Reprised a couple of the previous ones because I hadn’t really dwelt on the titles and needed the words to remind me. Enjoyed this and offered it to Ms Connection, thinking it would give her a pretty good idea of why I visit whenever I can.
    I’ve read this, she said. I remember the Bill Murray cooking bit and Groundhog Day.
    Oh, I said.
    Eternal return, I guess.


    • Best comment ever. And funny, I shared your Ambient 3 post with ambient friend Loren yesterday. Happy to have my writing there with you in your household. Looking forward to catching up on yours too. Do you know this sensation “Hamilton?” What a queer thing. A rap/hip-hop production about Alexander Hamilton. Feels conspiratorial. We are going to see the show today with our kids. Cost more than I want to know. But excited for a family outing in downtown Seattle, followed by a hotel and likely a board game. Life is good. Happy summer to you and yours, the missus! Bill

      Liked by 1 person


  1. ‘Einmal ist keinmal,’ 2018 — William Pearse |New IDEAS!! – New IDEAS!!

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