It's early morning and I am sitting down at the railroad tracks after a long bike ride. As I listen to Coast to Coast AM on the radio, I watch a policeman sitting in his patrol car across from me in the parking lot of the railroad museum. His arm is propped up upon his open window and he is talking to his cohort beside him as they drink coffee. Soon, an unsuspecting motorist comes flying by, speeding on the highway. The patrol car's lights turn on and shine brightly into the night and the police car tears off after them. "Got'cha," I think. "Most likely drunk." Nothing is more stupid than to go speeding through this small downtown on an early Monday morning when the police are bored and listless and the rest of the world is asleep. It's like smoking marijuana at the policeman's ball -- you're bound to get arrested.
My attention and focus turns back to my thoughts. These sleepless nights are a time for me to gather myself. I think of Rosa at home in her own bed. We spent the day apart yesterday after a small fight. I was already struggling with the alcoholic aspects of my life and our little spat didn't help. Wanda and many in Alcoholics Anonymous always told me to wait until a year of sobriety before starting an intimate relationship. I can see why they would say that now. Excessive drinking is the ultimate in self abuse, and I wanted to abuse myself yesterday for my quick temper and rash words during my and Rosa's silly argument -- a kind of poor man's atonement.
A glimmer of hope in yesterday's gloomy unveiling was the discussion I had with my father about painting. "I want to paint grand railroad scenes," I told him. My father grew excited and we both drove down to the railroad tracks late in the evening to look around and find possible scenes for my oil painting endeavors. "You can sell paintings of the old 1887 depot," he said excitedly. "People would love that stuff." We stood next to the old semaphore in front of the recently restored caboose as we talked.
"I want you to turn your attentions to something positive," he said. "You are brilliant in a way. You have a talent that none of the rest of us possess. You could always draw anything."
My father saying such things has always made me uncomfortable. I don't think of myself as brilliant at all. I think of myself as rather mundane. Actions speak louder than words.
"Don't you think most schizophrenic people are creative?" he asked as we sat down on a bench.
"I think their extreme creativeness makes them crazy sometimes," I replied. "Us schizophrenics are so sensitive and aloof about life. A minor setback for a normal person sends us into a tailspin. Where one person will throw themselves into their families and work, we will throw ourselves into something where we can express ourselves abstractly like art, math, or music."
"Interesting," my father said with a thoughtful look upon his face.
"Of course," I furthered. "Most people can't make a living painting railroad scenes downtown."
"That is where you are lucky," My father said. "You have your blog money and your disability money. You have an income so you have the time to paint and be creative. It is all rather bohemian when you think about it."
I smiled. I loved my father's use of the word bohemian. I have always longed to be an artistic vagabond -- wandering from place to place, painting scenes of small town Southern life.
"You promise me you're going to start painting?" he asked as we got back in his car.
"I promise," I said. "I just need some help with the initial start up cost of paints and supplies."
"I am going to be your benefactor," my father said, driving us home. "Like the Church was for Michelangelo and all the other great artists and musicians."
I laughed and patted my father on his leg. He can be so grandiose at times. Like the time he gave me the book on how to be the next Einstein. He means well, but he can get a little carried away. I haven't painted in years and really don't know if I still can. My father thinks I will be the next Van Gogh. It is the stuff dreams are made of, and it is good to have a dream for a change.