How Crypto Saved My Life in December 2017 – Hacker Noon

The Frick

“What brings us together and holds us there?”

What’s going on here and where’s the Intro/Table of Contents?

On Friday, December 22, 2017, I would have missed a visit to the Frick — which always hits the spot — and getting to contemplate a Vermeer alongside a nice woman and her son, who towered over us both. It warmed my heart as I watched them walk away after we shared a few words. Speaking of that organ, at the Baths I would have missed a heart-to-heart with one of my crypto friends and, once again, being able to listen as he shared about his project — as well as the startle that his wife gave me when she remarked that I’ve developed a sort of aura over the past several months, which they’ve both noticed, and which is more “feminine” somehow, and “becomes” me. I would have missed him observing that my weaknesses are: overconfidence, an addiction to drama, and intimacy avoidance — for now I know what I can work on in 2018. His whole-body hug goodbye lasted a little too long maybe and felt mildly discomfiting, but I would have missed it anyway. I also would have missed buying the dip in the most intense crypto crash since 2013.

On Saturday, December 23, 2017, I would have missed lunch at Noho Star — where I first went with that vampire-like friend of mine (“No natural light in here!” she exclaimed when I tried to open the blinds in her dorm room once) during college, some 23 years ago — with a couple of friends from the Spanish book club I used to attend religiously. I would have missed sharing as much as I could about crypto and liquid democracy and all the rest, but most of all I would have missed being included in the get-together. We are not always as invisible as we might think we are, and, to me at least, there seems little in life more remarkable and yet so organic to being human than friendships that endure. What brings us together and holds us there? On the way home, I would have missed walking by one of my favorite buildings in New York.

At the Baths, I’d have missed indicating to some guy inquiring about my thoughts with regard to one of his high school students who was transitioning that frankly I didn’t want to discuss the subject: I don’t recommend transitioning and I believe it should be both difficult and discouraged. I would have missed pointing out that the various “I’m progressive and open-minded” but “I’m not into that” responses are what they are: a load of bullshit. The underlying prejudices here remain so profound that people don’t even realize their own hypocrisy. I would miss feeling strong enough to speak my mind, unafraid of the consequences that flow from being honest. Last but as far from last as could be, I would have missed a Happy Holidays kiss from the beautiful upstairs neighbor: there is just nothing on this earth for me like the meeting of a man’s lips with mine.

On Sunday, December 24, 2017, I would have missed how quiet the streets of New York were, and also how I wanted to stay in the City longer. Even so, I think I would miss my heart fluttering between there and here in LA, where I now gaze out my kitchen window at the hills across the little valley where I live, as I write. I love it there, I love it here. On the plane I would have missed getting sucked into Ray Dalio’s Principles (the book), which I only bought because Bill Gates blurbed it — and possibly also because one of my crypto friends worked at Bridgewater for a while and suggested I download Dalio’s principles (the list) and read them a few years back, which maybe I did. I kind of wanted to keep reading through the whole flight. But then I would have missed somehow timing Risky Business so propitiously that the credits started rolling as we landed on the runway at LAX. A curious Christmas Eve Day indeed, as both the book and the film had me pondering the nature of success. Dalio is so rich, and Cruise, too — and yet they got such quirky starts; early on you might have written them off without much thought. I probably would have missed this dip in energy I’m undergoing, for it bookends a year in which so very much has happened and now life gifts me with a breath of time to reflect. I would miss the uncertain footing I feel — it reminds me lest I slip.

On Monday, December 25, 2017, I would have missed my 40th Christmas here on this earth. I would have missed the sun shining warmly on my skin atop a hill during the morning run, and an afternoon of doing pretty much nothing. I would have missed talking to Mom, and my brother and sister-in-law and the nieces — and also a long discussion with Dad about cryptocurrency, at his request. Also I would have missed dozing on the heated marble floor at the spa, watching bitcoin bounce back over $15K right when I had thought, Oh, hell, maybe it’s all over, and vegetable soup and fish curry at the Indian restaurant over on Fountain. And then there was a nice drive home on the 5 and The Expanse on Amazon Prime, on top of everything. In sum, I would have missed a magically normal day:

On Tuesday, December 26, 2017, I would have missed the frustration of feeling that I had wasted the afternoon chasing after a better understanding of new crypto projects, wondering whether I made any progress at all, and thereby forfeiting whatever movie I might have gone to — but then happening to be in front of the computer when my best friend from seventh grade called from across the Pacific Ocean via FB. I am so, so, so inexplicably glad that the bond between our souls pulses like a heart these 28 years later. I would have missed the sound of his voice, which remains as constant as light from the sun — and being startled how, yet again, I’d forgotten that friendship and love are probably the very purpose of life itself. I would also have missed My Dear Baby-faced Lawyer Friend texting me Wuzzup, and, because being human is staying open to coincidence, ending up at his house just up the hill after Indian vegetarian on Sunset. And oh motherfucker would I have missed the personal essay he shared with me about coming out — especially when I reached the part where he not only wrote about how I inspired him, but included something I said years ago verbatim. Would you believe that he captured forever the moment I verged on tears?

On Wednesday, December 27, 2017, I would have missed finally completing my download of the Monero blockchain and activating my little CPU miner. At the pond atop the mountain on my morning run, I would have missed two young guys tug on my heartstrings — one lay reclining on a bench with his head in the other’s lap; they played with one another’s hands. I totes fucking would have missed wandering around Fry’s in Burbank learning how to build a computer. And later, at the Club, I’d have missed the locker key lady greeting me by name and smiling, Hey, where have you been, I haven’t seen you in forever. It means a lot to be remembered.

On Thursday, December 28, 2017, I’d have missed driving back to Fry’s with the windows down to let in the warm air, another nap on the heated marble floor at the spa, and a plate full of hot broccoli (and some other stuff) at Whole Foods. I took all that warmth and comfort for granted, but writing this entry today serves as a reminder to appreciate every precious moment of it. Yo! I would have missed the surge of amazement that made me gasp as I managed to jump the first computer I ever built — using the band of a watch a former lover gave me, no less, since Fry’s was out of power buttons.

On Friday, December 29, 2017, I would have missed starting to download Geth and commencing the Crazy Zoe Mining Experiment — Phase One. I am glad I didn’t give up and indeed allowed myself to leap up off my yoga mat upon realizing I should try plugging the HDMI cord into the GPU. Duh. I squealed when the monitor went on and in that instant understood the importance of pushing myself to try new things. I can’t tell yet whether I’d have missed getting sucked into the crypto rabbit hole — yet again — longer than I might have wished… but the timing became some LA Love as I ended up wandered around Mount Hollywood at sunset. I couldn’t stop thinking about how many generations of human beings have contemplated that moment, constant throughout so many millennia even before we were materialized as a species on this planet.

I probably would have missed getting caught making my way down the mountain after sundown — but just because the darkness charged the shadows with a touch of danger, and, I have to confess, reveled me into feeling just a little dirty.

On Saturday, December 30, 2017, I would have missed talking about Time with the cashier and bag helper guy at Trader Joe’s. She was, I gathered, somewhere in her 40s, and he was, I bet, in his early 20s. We all agreed how swiftly the year went by — and how it seems as though everything is only speeding up. At Thai afterward, I would have missed exchanging smiles with a waiter I haven’t seen for a year or so. Astonishing how simple it is to fall out of a habit — I had almost forgotten a menu I previously had memorized — and the next thing you know it’s a new life. I certainly would have missed the movie posters in the restroom that I remember often wondering about.

Also I would have missed using a decentralized exchange for the first time, and sticking with it until I figured out how to use the platform. It’s breathtaking to zip around through all these channels and see what extraordinary creations have emerged in the space. Once again, I am so happy I stuck with something unfamiliar until I started to get the hang of it. That experience — I want to remind myself — is gratifying. Maybe I should also mention something from the day before: the fully diluted crypto market cap exceeded $1T for the first time. I would have missed neglecting to focus on prices because learning things has consumed me.

On Sunday, December 31, 2017, I would have missed kissing a girl I have a secret crush on to ring in the New Year. I love that she ran around Echo Park Lake 18 times (that’s 18 miles) earlier in the morning. Hot. Her lips sealed off a day that seduced me with my first (luckily timed) crypto transition (I use “transition” instead of “invest”) to double in less than 24 hours, my first mining rewards on the first computer I ever built, and my first time to happen upon this series of fucking mind-blowing public artworks as I circled back from the 10 to get a shot of some graffiti on the highway sign that I have no idea how the artists even reached…

New Year’s so rarely seems like a fresh beginning, and yet, for me, this one did: On Monday, January 1, 2017, I would have missed a hike that I felt obliged to take so that I could write about it and impress you with pictures. Thing is, the late afternoon sunlight prevented me from capturing Topanga Canyon — its splendor lies in the details — while simultaneously adjusting for such unwieldy mountain shadows. Like film noir, the images tended toward dramatic — but reality got lost in translation to permanence. It was for this reason, I came to appreciate as I continued out toward the ocean, that life must be lived by each of us alone. I can show you the sun reflecting on the water, but I cannot show you everywhere else — not all at once. I wish you could have been there overlooking the Pacific with me. I did not think to make that wish as I took in the experience but I surely would have if I did. So it was all the more startling, you know, when I turned around and the sun came out from behind the clouds and bathed this sliver of the world where I found myself all in gold — at which point I learned that we can in fact share a moment that has escaped, if only we wait.

On Tuesday, January 2, 2018, I would have missed a day that began over contemplation of this passage about a Spinoza quote in Paul Tillich’s The Courage To Be:

At the Club, I’d have missed running into a gal I think is totally smokin’ (why does this aspect of my sexuality keep coming up rn?) and who once shared a story about someone doing a line of coke off her pussy. I dug the energy vibrating between us — and the uncertainty whether it derived from her having caught my FB post about kissing a hot woman for New Year’s or her desire to follow up on the crypto questions she IMed me when Bitcoin first shot over $15K a couple of weeks back. OMG.

On Wednesday, January 3, 2017, I would have missed reading through some materials from a client and feeling much of my work and research in crypto coming together. I love the symbiosis between what I am thinking about (current and forthcoming developments) and what clients come to me with questions on (same). I wish I could shake this lingering sensation that It Could All Be Taken Away — that it is Somehow Too Good To Be True — that I am Nothing But A Dreamer — though I suppose the preciousness would vanish then, too. I would miss the middle ground in between reality and fantasy where life takes place, as well as these damn naps, every fucking one, on the marble floor at the spa following a frenetic day. Oh yes — I also would have missed the crypto market cap exceeding three-quarters of a trillion dollars.

On Thursday, January 4, 2017, I would have missed an existential crisis precipitated by the Courage and Individualization chapter of Tillich’s The Courage To Be. It all began with: “Ontological principles have a polar character according to the basic polar structure of being, that of self and world. The first polar elements are individualization and participation. Their bearing on the problem of courage is obvious, if courage is defined as the self-affirmation of being in spirt of non-being” — and then proceeded to: “Self and world are correlated, and so are individualization and participation. For this is just what participation means: being a part of something from which one is, at the same time, separated.” — and then to: “The courage to be is essentially always the courage to be as a part and the courage to be as oneself, in interdependence.” I nearly lost it shortly thereafter with: “Only in the continuous encounter with other persons does the person become and remain a person.” — because the relativity of being and identity is, of course, the theme of my little essay-book Transgender No More. Although these ideas must be as old as the stardust that comprises the phone screen I read them on, I nonetheless rushed in rapt awe to the end, as the work turned to a sort of apotheosis of the country where I was born: “And this is what makes of present-day American courage one of the great types of the courage to be as a part. Its self-affirmation is the affirmation of oneself as a participant in the creative development of mankind.” With those words I understood that, even though I believe we live in the most extraordinary juncture of human history — straddling, as we do, all prior epochs and the digital age — I might have come into the world before and thought the same thing.

On Friday, January 5, 2017, I would have missed pondering how the genius of religion is also its Achilles tendon: it puts Man at the Center of the Universe. Tillich reminded me: “Doubt is the necessary tool of knowledge.” — and, “Idealism and naturalism are alike in their attitude to the existing person; both of them eliminate his infinite significance and make him a space through which something else passes.” — and, oh, the precious angst: “The safety which is guaranteed by well-functioning mechanisms for the technical control of nature, by the refined psychological control of the person, by the rapidly increasing organizational control of society — this safety is bought at a high price: man, for whom all this was invented as a means, becomes a means himself in the service of means.” — and, oh, my God: “The man-created world of objects has drawn into itself him who created it and who now loses his subjectivity in it. He has sacrificed himself to his own productions. But man still is aware of what he has lost or is continuously losing. He is still man enough to experience his dehumanization as despair.” — and, holy shit, Heidegger holds the key: “I refer above all to his proposition that ‘the essence of man is his existence.’ This sentence is like a flash of light which illuminates the whole Existentialist scene. One could call it the most despairing and the most courageous sentence in all Existentialist literature.” What a cliffhanger:

What I guess I’m really saying here is that I would have missed feeling like I was 19 years old or something all over again. Likewise I would also have missed my first arbitrage trade — on a 30% margin! — though I also would have missed only trying to arbitrage a portion of what I initially intended to, because I was working with rickety decentralized exchanges and now the resulting bitcoin — ugh, I had to convert into BTC to retrieve funds omg — is stuck somewhere in queue and the transaction hasn’t even hit the fucking blockchain yet. Thank my lucky stars I realized I should experiment first, and also that the price of the asset I’m after doubled, so it was fine to just hold it. Anyway, in the parking lot at the spa, I’d have missed looking up and seeing the fog lapping like big puffy greyish white snake tongues at the buildings that towered overhead.

On Saturday, January 6, 2018, I would have missed a day that, while I was living it, seemed like a letdown, but, on reflection, was simply a dip in my own jois-de-vivre rather than some extrinsic deficit. Tillich once again jolted my soul: “Since being in time and space and under the categories of finitude is ultimately unreal, the vicissitudes arising from it and the final nonbeing ending it are equally unreal. Nonbeing is no threat because finite being is, in the last analysis, nonbeing.” I welled up with tears as he concluded: “The courage to take the anxiety of meaninglessness upon oneself is the boundary line up to which the courage to be can go. Beyond it is mere non-being. Within it all forms of courage are re-established in the power of the God above the God of theism. The courage to be is rooted in the God who appears when God has disappeared into the anxiety of doubt.” In addition to that shattering experience, I would have missed starting, initially being enthralled by, and then tossing aside an initially promising but ultimately ridiculous book that a popular Twitter Crypto Guru recently recommended to his tens of thousands of followers. A lot of these guys — even the ones we apotheosize — are not only human, like everyone else, but sometimes are full of shit. After a hearty vegetarian mole bowl at the spot where Jimmy and I go sometimes, I would have missed a walk around Echo Park Lake at dusk. I would have missed gratitude for everything I “own” (whatever that concept means, really?) sparked by the tents where homeless people live sparked, the trees so big and old (having outlived whoever planted them, as they will probably do across the next generation of humans and beyond), the various groups of people smoking pot (and having a nice time), the guy who caught a fish (as everyone walking by exclaimed in admiration and another guy snapped a picture), and the warmth of two friends and their dog (whom I ran into on my way back to the car). I would have missed feeling alone and then realizing I didn’t have to and texting the girl I have a crush on that I thought of her as I took a stroll around the Lake — to which she responded immediately that I only have 17 more laps to go! Walk the Moon’s new song came on the radio moments after I had happened to wonder what they were up to and when we would get to hear from them again?

On Sunday, January 7, 2018, I would have missed at last beginning to conceive my little Cryptocurrencies for Newcomers project, which I hope to share with my friends and use as backbone for a class I’d maybe like to try giving. As Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, “If you hear a voice within you saying, ‘You are not a painter,’ then by all means paint, boy, and that voice will be silenced, but only by working.” Funny how most versions of that quote leave out the last clause. Anyway. I would have missed putting an end to a messy back-and-forth possession-after-possession turnover at water polo — which left everyone exhausted — by scoring a goal right into the corner of the cage, and being invited to play with the women’s team we’re sending to an upcoming tournament, and brunching with some teammates. It’s an LGBT team, but only one of the players at the table for this particular post-scrimmage meal is gay — and so I am reminded again how very lucky to get to live where I do, at this moment in time. I would have missed a hug from one of the guys in the parking lot, after we’d shared a talk over at our end of the table about struggling with mental illness. I have felt something for him for a while now.

On Monday, January 8, 2018, I would have missed drafting the first few portions of my little Cryptocurrency for Newcomers project. No matter what, the effort will have been worth seeing so much of what I have learned — in less than a year! — unfold before me. I also would have missed receiving a bunch of new GPUs and connecting two of them up to my mining rig motherboard at the drop of a hat. Gosh, I was so afraid of technology — and especially hardware — and now it just fascinates me. Often these days I find myself thinking about how I used to take apart electronics as a little boy and how I started reading the stock pages every morning (on the toilet, after the comics!) during high school. If only I had pursued those interests… But, I guess: (1) I can never regret the life I went on to lead, exploring books and all ends of the world, working in theater and film and education and journalism, living in other countries and studying languages and making art and love, and, (2) WTF, I get to do it now! My mining project is, I admit, kinda laughable — and it will likely always have been the least “profitable” aspect of this crazy foray into crypto — however, even If It All Goes To Hell, I will always relish the memory of building my own computer and setting up this operation, an endeavor that has felt pretty much like rock-climbing blindfolded.

On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, I would have missed being startled by Will and Ariel Durant in The Lessons of History: “Democracy is the most difficult of all forms of government, since it requires the widest spread of intelligence, and we forgot to make ourselves intelligent when we made ourselves sovereign. Education has spread, but intelligence is perpetually retarded by the fertility of the simple.” After that eye-opener, I got to run in the rain and complete a working draft of my little Cryptocurrency for Newcomers piece! I very much would have missed giving the plumber one of the more sizeable bonuses I could afford for his work on the sewer line. It was the biggest he’d ever received, he said. I wish I could go around passing out money to people. Oh hey: I would have missed a final women’s league meeting over at the Club, for listening to those ladies’ struggles in 2017 and hopes for 2018 helped me to see, pretty much in a series of ongoing flashes, how happy I have become.

On Wednesday, January 10, 2018, I would have missed one of my favorite experiences: running up Mt. Hollywood after a two-day rain.

I also would have missed publishing the Newcomers piece and receiving some very encouraging feedback — there’s nothing quite like appreciation for work effort! — and downloading a relatively new song from Walk the Moon. (I feel somewhat distressed that I was so swamped with crypto and trial prep and traveling in November that I missed the latter — but we’re all good now.) I am not sure how I would feel about missing — or, rather, not having missed — dinner with an elementary school friend who’s visiting from Seattle. He showed up in women’s clothing and launched into what was going on and I was like omg whoa. I would have missed being there for him, but — can I say it? — I also would have missed the relief inside over having gone through all that stuff earlier on in life. I am very lucky.

Well, Thursday, January 11, 2018, was the day that the President of the United States referred to countries with people of color as “shitholes,” so this entry is going to be incredibly difficult — and all the more important for me personally. If I had not been here on this earth, I would have missed — in an almost painful irony — waking up and starting Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary, Joe Jackson’s portrait of the Native America holy man. I would have missed restarting the online computer science course that I now need to work through again because I am an iterative learner. I know I can get there — I just need to keep trying until I do. Oddly, I would have missed battling to the bottom of the bureaucratic mountain of hell that piled up in my mail stack in the kitchen when I was busy with my last trial and then recharged my batteries over the holidays. I also would have missed fighting with my medical insurance company and the state agency that stands in the way of reinstating my policy due to a payment that lapsed after the credit card set up for recurring payments had to be replaced following a fraud incident in November. I am re-energized to achieve self-sovereignty and vanquish the many obstacles masquerading as financial institutions that are weighing down and corroding society. And now here we go. I would have missed another dinner with my childhood friend because this time I was able to tell him what I really think: gender transitioning should indeed be hard, most people should be dissuaded from toying around with it, and, even while I am happier and would have things no other way, anyone who proceeds should do so accepting that they may be alone for the rest of their life. And then I admitted I don’t really like to discuss all this stuff anymore. I would miss being honest when I have the chance — even when the truth is rough.

On Friday, January 12, 2018, I would have missed guiding a client through a legal matter and earning my keep in the process. I am concerned about what will happen to us all as humanity continues to lose jobs to automation and efficiency, since so much of gratification — at least in my experience — comes from contributing to society through work. And, on that note, I also would have missed assembling the first draft of my Cryptocurrency for Newcomers presentation — which I hope to give at some point. I would have missed the dip in my mood — from Friday night loneliness, I think — because it made me tired, which in turn made me sleep a little more, which in turn made me dream — and, omg whoa did I need to dream.

On Saturday, January 13, 2018, I would’ve missed one of my favorite hikes — up to Eagle Rock in Topanga Canyon. There were other experiences and thoughts, too, but, you know what, I’ll just let them float away into the sea of memory where I think they want to be.

On Sunday, January 14, 2018, I would have missed telling the detective who showed up at my front door that No, I did not hear any commands prior to the three or four shots — fired by a policeman — which killed that poor young man on the driveway two houses down. I would not have missed being on lockdown as officers lined the street with cocked pistols — but I would have missed coming to an ever so slightly deeper understanding of what life might be like for human beings who must live in unstable environments. I hope that the experience makes me a better advocate on behalf of my indigent clients who had to deal with this type of shit growing up on a regular basis. I wonder how many kids are out there right now, nosing around on the Internet because they cannot go outside. Nevertheless, if all that mayhem had not happened and I had gone to Malibu for a bike ride as planned, I would have missed happening to see a friend’s post on FB and ending up next to him at the Russian Baths in West Hollywood. I absolutely love men. I love everything about them. I love their personalities and their minds and how they think and speak and move, and I love their bodies, especially when they sweat. Most of all, I love what men and women do together — on every level. I would really have missed flirting with him, but not really, and stroking his ego, while also swiping at him playfully, just a little, maybe ever so much, with words like a cat’s paw, claws outstretched. And I would have missed him towering over me at the desk as he extended his arm over mine and thrust his credit card into one of the receptionists’ hands, and the giggles from him/her and the other one as I joked about how, if a 6’1” man insists on treating me, I can hardly resist. As you can already guess, I’d have missed how naturally he gave me a kiss Goodbye when we hugged outside.

On Monday, January 15, 2018, I would have missed returning to the computer programming problem in CS50 that made me throw in the towel last summer. This time I solved it in minutes!

Not the most graceful execution (and it needs to be cleaned up), I realize, but it fucking works! How wondrous. Yo yo yo, I would have missed hanging out with a gayboy friend of mine and the tanned sexiness of little him — my Dear Baby-faced Lawyer Friend, the subversive and lovely squirt — plus running into a colleague at the grocery store and getting to talk to her for a while. I feel less alone in the world again now. I also would have missed starting to mine ether.

On January 16, 2018, I would have missed a delayed reaction to Dolores O’Riordan’s death, which culminated in tweeting this memory:

Sitting here listening to The Cranberries’ “Put Me Down” — the song on repeat as I rode the bus through the Sinai Peninsula at dawn for the first time aged just 19 years old and the world was blue like a lunar landscape and my entire life lay ahead — and it’s omg almost too much

Wouldn’t you know it, My Dear Friend From College happened to see the tweet immediately, and, the next thing I knew, I would have missed her replying that she felt one of my replies with all her heart:

I do not want to be old, I do not like it at all

Even though I absolutely love being 40, which is weird

Whatever

Anyway everyone says I’m crazy but I would give anything to be 19 again

Fucking anything

I miss soft eyes with which to see the world

Mostly I miss first times

Meanwhile, it would have sucked to have missed getting my fourth GPU up and running — sometimes all my frustration needs is a decent night’s sleep — and installing a “cooling system” (ha!) for my little mining experiment… and watching my hash rate jump.

I would have missed Jimmy taking me out to dinner for a reunion at the Indian vegetarian on Sunset, catching up with him about crypto and life, and getting to reply to a text later with this picture (from before this project but okay whatever):

I’d have missed smiling at how the number two circle shows my first six shots ever — except for that time I fired at a can in gorgeous, long-haired Cristian’s backyard in Guatemala when I was 18. The guy who invited me out to the range and took this photo (his shots are all over the targets elsewhere) is no longer in my life but he remains a fond memory.

On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, I would have missed getting like nine hours of sleep. OMG. Ahhhhhhh. (If I were dead, I would miss the extraordinary knowledge of the body and its ability to self-correct so many of my brain’s problems by dreaming.) I also would have missed seeing a very interesting correlation between the cryptocrash of the past two days and a similar bloodbath last summer.

Later in the day, I finally got back into my legal work and focused on a brief the thought of which has been weighing me down. I always forget how good it feels to start making progress on a task. Maybe more than anything I’d have missed texting my crush, and her texting me back. Can I also just say how much I would have missed having begun my day with this passage from the intro to the Cambridge edition of Critique of Pure Reason, which struck me as so beautiful I wanted to tear it asunder:

On January 18, 2018, I’d have missed realizing that, just as I must soften my eyes to see the world, so must I soften my mind to receive thoughts. I’d also have missed talking to Jimmy twice about crypto — once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. It was just like old times, back when we were gaga over the crypto news in April and May, all over again — except this time, instead of spiraling into depression over how much we adore each other yet how far we will always remain apart romantically, I got to respond that Sunday might not be a good day for him to help me build my mining rig case thingy-ma-bob because I have a date with a woman. Surprise! Also I would have missed the candles that stand vigil on the spot where the police’s victim was shot last weekend, for they flicker as a testament to the humanity of love.

I did not check cryptoanything for several hours after I left home for the spa, went to grab a bite to eat, and then returned. During that time, I’d have missed not only seeing but also hearing the real world outside of my phone: at dinner there was I Want to Make Love by Akon; at Gelson’s Video Killed the Radio Star came on; and Trader Joe’s had Brand New Lover by Dead Or Alive.

On Friday, January 19, 2018, during my morning run, I would have missed greeting the cute dogwalker who finally introduced himself to me a couple of days ago — it is progress for me to remember a guy’s name — and petting one of the dogs with him, who I swear to God was such a spitting image of my previous dog Basil when he was young that it was just eerie and made me feel like I was floating. I would have missed approaching the angry pit bull in the vacant lot across the street where a family are squatting in their RV, and, within a minute, smiling as he snuggled up against my hand from behind the wire fence. I’d also have missed a discussion among my friends on Facebook in response to my post that they just don’t make movies like The Breakfast Club anymore and our generation was The Pinnacle — which culminated in something I think I’ve been trying to express for quite some time and finally managed to:

On Saturday, January 20, 2018, I would have missed a windy day spent mostly inside, tinkering away on my mining rig and finally getting a riser card to function, and working some more on a programming problem that has had me stumped. I’d also have missed treating Jimmy to Thai (on Sunset, of course, in Hollywood), and the feeling of his arm around me to say Thank You, and, once back at his house, poking through his TIME magazines from the 1930s and 1960s and gazing down at him over the pages of instantly recognizable America capitalism as he talked to me from his knees on the carpet. I started, ever so much — pleasantly — when he flicked my knee with his finger to make a point. We kicked around what we’d do and where we’d go if civilization fell apart, and then I stood next to him — there is just something so natural and right about standing next to a man who is a few inches taller — as he showed me his arsenal. I love the way his house smells and I love being able to love him without being in love.

On Sunday, January 21, 2018, I would have missed my heart pounding as I texted her that I’d arrived and then as I waited for her to come downstairs. I would have missed brunch together and all her questions. I would have missed walking around Echo Park Lake with her, and I would have missed how immediately she said Yes when I asked whether she’d like to go on a paddle boat ride. I would have missed confessing to her that I had barely been paddling at all when she remarked that she hadn’t expected it to be so hard, and also hoping she’d steer us out further instead of back again just yet — which she did — and, similarly, I would have missed how our conversation kept unfolding and how I kept wanting to make sure I caught each and every word and the urge to kiss her kept welling up the whole time. I would have missed how she was a little coy and I struggled to discern what she felt and she made me work to deserve touching her and spending more time together. I would have missed walking her to the ice cream truck and wanting to kiss her then, too — when I finally knew I could because she had just asked me if I was a cat or dog person and then sighed in relief when I answered. I would have missed missing the chance to kiss her before we left the park, and also on the way to the car. I would have missed driving up the 5 with her — and realizing, as I write this, that I totally did not even think about how shitty and potholed Glendale is on that stretch from Alvarado to the 5 onramp, because she was everything in my mind. I would have missed her face as we made our way under the spaceship crashing into the wall above the entrance to Fry’s, and also each time she saw another of their enlivening, ever-so-creepy but nevertheless tongue-in-cheek quasi-gay-BDSM retro displays. I would have missed finishing her sentence, “It was like you’ve been waiting all day…” (which I think was about buying new mining equipment) with “…to kiss you.” I would have missed tossing my new power source unit in the hatchback and then going up to her and kissing her finally — and I would have missed making out in the Fry’s parking lot because she was leaving from the Burbank airport — literally across the street — so soon. I would have missed picking her up again five minutes after I dropped her off because her flight was delayed, and I would have missed her almost climbing over the armrest to make out with me when I parked so we could search our phones for a restaurant to go to. I would have missed flailing to patch up a disclosure I made too swiftly and flippantly, and I would have missed telling her that I would never ever mean to hurt her and all I want is for her to feel safe — and I would have missed her “I do.” I would have missed her cuddling up to me and how I sense we both felt in each other’s arms. I would have missed often looking into her eyes and once or twice seeing her bra strap and also her lips and her hands and her hangnails and bitten fingernails — and always watching her move, especially in the car after dinner as she sat up and slouched back and came at me and drew away and then came back again. I would have missed her buzzcut. I would have missed her hand on mine and mine on her leg and the walloping she gave me now and again about wearing Vibrams on a date. And I would have missed everything she told me about herself and her life and discovering that we were both into each other from the instant we met in My Dear Baby-faced Lawyer Friend’s living room two years ago — when I wasn’t ready yet and she was seeing someone else.

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