11 March 2013 ~ 16 Comments

Going Through the Motions

Yesterday, suddenly, I remembered why I quit my job in NY and eventually came to live in Japan. And how I learned about my heart’s wayward behavior.

I remembered that one day I was at my desk in Midtown Manhattan, looking around at the people I spent day after day for 7 years looking at, and suddenly I realized I didn’t really know any of them. I remember feeling that I existed but I wasn’t really alive, just going through the motions of being alive, like a spectator watching my life through my eyes, experiencing it vicariously through some stranger who had inhabited me for some purpose, neither good nor evil, light nor dark…in fact, it seemed quite natural. Like this was the way it was supposed to be. And everyone around me was in on it or were similarly strangers with front row seats to their own lives, unwilling or unable to affect change.

ny peeps

Sounds paranoid, I know, but it scared the shit outta me, it did!

I wanted nothing more than to live again.

I would put in my 2-weeks notice the next day.

That night, while I was typing  up my notice, trying to find just the right way to kiss off a job while I was on top of my game (I was one of the top salespeople, definitely being groomed for management), I panicked. I had procrastinated about making such a move for the past couple of years. A five-figure bonus for an outstanding year was due the following week. I’d saved up a nest egg in anticipation of finding the huevos to do it. And if that weren’t enough of an incentive, I’d even written a novel and found an agent of some notoriety with an outstanding track record. By all appearances I was not making a mistake, I was not about to undertake something I would spend years regretting. I was making a change the way wise people make changes: with forethought and preparation.

But, apparently, my heart hadn’t gotten the memo because it was racing like I’d just pulled an Antonio Montana and hoovered up a mound of cocaine, reminding me of how stable I was, how comfortable I had become with a steady income, toys at my disposal, a circle of support filled with friends and family nearby, a girl or two poised to make a commitment to accompany me on my path to greatness.

I snapped, aloud, “What the fuck am I doing???” fell to my knees and prayed.

My christian roots tend to find their way to the surface when I have a crisis, though I’ve rarely found my way to a church.

I kneeled before my queen-sized cherry sleigh bed with the posture-pedic mattress, fingers clasped, head bowed, mind and soul open to answers from the powers that be, from the Creator I wholeheartedly believe was looking out for me, and waited.

He (or She) didn’t answer.

Someone once told me that coincidence is the The Creator’s way of remaining incognito, so I waited for a coincidence.

There was silence in my bedroom. Nothing but the buzz of the fluorescent light above and groans of the century old Brownstone I lived in, and the thumping in my chest. I broke the silence:

“If I’m doing the right thing, Lord, don’t say anything. ”

The Creator, in his consummate wisdom, said nothing. No coincidences occurred, either. I didn’t suddenly receive an email or text message. The phone didn’t ring with some caller bearing an ominous message vaguely connected to my plight. The door bell didn’t ring prompted by a visitor with a message of ye or nay, little to his or her knowledge. Not even a bird budged outside the window, or called out in that avian language of theirs that I seem to understand at moments like these. It was the kind of silence that only the Creator could produce, I told myself as I rose, sat at my computer and completed the notice.

Flash forward to today.

I woke up this morning feeling…lonely.


What’s left of my friends and family are far away, literally, emotionally, physically…I hardly know them anymore. It’s a phase, I know. I’ve been here before. It’s not homesickness, though. I hold no more illusions about where and what home is. The cliché is true. Home is where your heart is.

The problem is, my heart is on furlough, on an excusion to points unknown.

It’s not in NY. It’s not in Yokohama. And, it’s not inside of me where it ought to be. It’s on a walkabout leaving me to my own devices for a spell. It does this from time to time. A little heart appreciation period. And during these periods I am quite inconsolable. Unreachable. I survive on heart memory. I go through the motions of having a heart, which is unfortunately enough for most of the people I know here in Japan. They don’t know me. Maybe some of the more perceptive of them can see through the amiability and passivity I display during these heart-free periods. They go through the motions of admiring and adoring me and I perform as I’m expected to, mostly because a paycheck hinges on this performance.

But, they don’t know me. None of them do, really. And that’s OK.

Who really knows anybody anyway?

My heart has been MIA for a few weeks now. I really don’t mind him taking off like this. Only, when he does, the major drawback is: Writing becomes a chore because I write from my heart. When I can’t write I feel useless. It’s hard to forgive my heart (and myself) for putting me through this.

So, I spend my days alone going through the motions with my Japanese friends and colleagues; watching them. Everything appears to be on the surface. Often, there’s an artlessness about them that I’ve only experienced with real friends and yet these are people I don’t really even know. There’s an openness and a vulnerability that I feel totally undeserving of. I had never really experienced such un-sophistocation before coming here except maybe with children.

Sometimes I’m even tempted to reciprocate.  But, when my heart is MIA I simply can’t. I have very little to share with them. I only have platitudes and the verbal equivalent of flatulence.

It’s enough to make you afraid. Sometimes, if you let it, if you’re weak or vulnerable or predisposed, it’s enough to make you hate.

It was enough to make me think about those co-workers I deserted years ago back in NY. And the feelings that prompted my flight to Asia.

Someone once sang, “You can’t run from yourself. Everywhere you go, there you are.”

No one ever told me my heart could depart.


While my hearts away, I spend my time occupying my mind with mind-numbing stuff…reading novels, watching TV, overeating, over-drinking, over-smoking and over-analyzing everything to the point where the point of the analysis becomes moot or exaggerated beyond recognition. Colds feel like cancer. Hangovers feel like Leukemia. The city feels like a Jungle. Home feels like a cave, sanctuary or a monastery.

Nothing I think or feel is worthy of being recorded in any way, especially in writing.

Not while I’m going through the motions of being a real person.

But, I’ve been down this road before, and I know when my heart will be back. It’s waiting for my call. It comes when I really need it or rather when I demand its return through action. Its obedience is absolute. Its allegiance is unquestionable. It only leaves because I secretly, sometimes unconsciously, command it to go. When I need time away from it; time to see the world without feeling the world. Time to collect myself, my thoughts, my energy.

Time to appreciate time, to remind myself of the gift each day is…


For I know one morning, I’ll be walking down the street, and an idea will pop into my head…not necessarily a brilliant idea, just an idea; one with promise. And, I won’t lay it to the side to be addressed later, and promptly forgotten. I’ll stop wherever I might be and whip out my handy pen & pad, or rush into the nearest café to grab a seat, a cup of caffeine, and jot it down.

Or, like today, upon reaching my office, I’ll head directly for the computer and begin writing a text message (in the form of this post) to my heart telling it that it’s time it came home…

 sakura 21
…with utter certainty that, like Spring, it will soon be here.


PS: And if you haven’t read Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist yet, what are you waiting for? A personal invitation? Check it out! It’s available in paperback and E-book version here.

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16 Responses to “Going Through the Motions”

  1. John Paul Catton 12 March 2013 at 12:09 am Permalink

    I could be wrong but you seem to be saying you are where you need to be, and you’re doing the things that need to be done, Loco. Good to know! Not many people are out there doing it!

    • Locohama 12 March 2013 at 12:40 am Permalink

      Really? I guess I am at that! Thanks John!

  2. Chris 12 March 2013 at 1:30 am Permalink

    Cuz you don’t know me..
    a thousand posts couldn’t tell ya,
    How so many prayed I’d be a muthphukin failure..

    (hacked N.W.A)

    I am always 300 layers away from folks even when I’m standing right next to them. I know what they will say before they say it. I see what they will notice before they notice it.

    “”Tony: “Is this it? This what it’s all about, Manny?””

    Yeah, Tony…this is it. *sigh*

    **Walks outta view and shoots a person in the fucking head for no reason……thinks only kids and cripples are truly innocent anyway**

    • Locohama 12 March 2013 at 2:36 am Permalink

      You said it man, 300 layers! Sometimes it feels like there are layers between who I think I am and who I really am, you know? Layers that diffuse so that I rarely get a glimpse of the real me., so accustomed am I, especially since I’ve been up in this piece, of gong through the motions. And I has to write from that place. Cuz then my writing, while it might be good, I feel like that same stranger is writing it, like this non fiction is just a cover story. Anyway, thanks for the shout yo! I’ll pull through…hopefully before I take someone out for no good damn reason aside frm the one I created in my head..l

      • Chris 12 March 2013 at 12:45 pm Permalink

        Don’t listen to the superficial rah rah cheers Loco. Don’t be a fool. These folks could not care less about you. You know that. Remember what we said about misery and company? They loves some pain. They can relate. They are talking to themselves via You.

        Happy Loco got no comments. Me too. I was on my own trip of misery. I do it to myself to wake myself the fuck up…only to confirm that yes..yes indeed…I have nothing in common with these folks. My life is the stuff they only read about…they cannot imagine. They …lie …to….you. It ain’t gonna be O.K. till you stop expecting everyone to “see” you. You ain’t like them.

        Drink a beer, look in the mirror….say it out loud..”I ain’t nothing like them…never was…never will be”

        Then raise a toast to the almighty and give thanks….for making that so.

        • Locohama 12 March 2013 at 12:59 pm Permalink

          You had me at “they are talking to themselves via you” (-; that’s it! Im lime you, man. Damn did I need to hear some truth. THANK YOU!

        • Locohama 12 March 2013 at 1:01 pm Permalink

          Man I wish you were in these parts! I should make a trip over there…just to buy your ass a beer!

  3. Meg C 12 March 2013 at 5:31 am Permalink

    Openness and vulnerability that you feel totally undeserving of ? Really. Because your writing is 100% open and vulnerable, and beautiful. So I would say that you are really much more open and vulnerable than you know, than you have the slightest idea about. But the feeling of going through the motions is not all pleasant. I’d venture a wild guess that a source of new inspiration, a new adventure is around the corner. Perhaps you need to go on a real walk about soon. But I also hear you about being far away from friends and family. I lost my Mom three years ago, moved from NYC three years ago and have felt weightless ever since. Yes, it’s only a car drive away but in terms of mind-set it might as well be on the other side of the world. Hang in there xx

    • Locohama 12 March 2013 at 1:08 pm Permalink

      I know you’re right, Meg. Sorry to hear about your mom )-: mine is aging quickly as I sit over here bleeding from stab wounds in my back. I haven’t been home since 2010, and I think thats a BIG part of any issues I’m having now. I gotta get off of this ferris wheel. See that guy in the banner? Sometimes I forget That’s me. I get to thinking I’m the one trying to help him climb back in the compartment. You know? Anyway, spring is almost here and so is my vacation so I think I’ll be alright. Thanks again XOX

  4. kamo 12 March 2013 at 10:17 am Permalink

    ” I had never really experienced such un-sophistocation before coming here”

    ‘Un-sophistication’? Interesting choice of words, that 😉

    Ain’t nothing wrong with going through the motions every so often. What’s wrong is going through the motions and being satisfied with that. It’ll come buddy, it always does. Long as you’ve already put in the groundwork, which lord knows you have.

    I’ve been kicking around some pretty similar ideas, just far less eloquently. It’s the time of year, I reckon. Winter’s gone on too long and spring isn’t really here yet. School’s almost done and it feels like so much is ending. Get over the hump of March, the blossom’ll be out, the kids’ll be new and eager, the cycle of life will continue yadda yadda. Trite but true.

    Chin up, Loco.

    • Locohama 12 March 2013 at 1:11 pm Permalink

      Kamo San, thank you!..march is a hump and a half. It feels interminable. I don’t even think I can make it til Friday with three, count them, three back stabbed sitting here smiling in my goddamn face. Think ii feel a back spasm coming on. But yeah spring is almost upon us so I’ll keep my head up and my optimism intact.

  5. Will 12 March 2013 at 10:54 am Permalink

    ‘Hook to Lunacy’

    Going through the emotions of loneliness while solitary has always been more serene… for me.

    Although the ‘rhymes of yesterday’ might sing that ‘one is the loneliest number’, that single sum is so close to that nothing I’ve ever felt, the number of naught that holds it all together; one is so close to zero, while further from two and all the others than any single number can be.

    When I think I’m walking this dark earth alone, maybe just to have some space and a place to breathe when the moon is waning, my stars remind me of where I am.

    What I’d like to say reveals itself through my lack of schooling in any kind of Mathematics, returning to the transpositional title of this comment.

    • Locohama 12 March 2013 at 1:15 pm Permalink

      I dunno what the hell you’re talking about, but I do dig the way you say it. (-;
      It’s like a codex wrapped in an enigma, like doonesbury meets Monty python, and I dig that. Lol

      Thanks for the shout yo!

    • Locohama 13 March 2013 at 2:19 am Permalink

      Got your email. Thanks for the clarification. I get it now (-;

  6. Wheeltolive 12 March 2013 at 2:15 pm Permalink

    I wish we were close friends. I could have used you to talk to while I was there. This post really talks about the feelings I had before I left. Every year I felt this interminable loneliness. There were so many reasons why. I could count them and keep counting them. You have a gift.

    • Locohama 13 March 2013 at 2:18 am Permalink

      Awwww, me too boo, god knows this place is lacking in the people of interest and substance department. And you did the right thing. I think for me lonely might not have been the exact word. Maybe more like lonesome. I mean I spend a lot of time lane writing but I don’t feel lonely at all. It’s ostly when I’m feeling uncreative or being lazy that this lonesome sets in and starts effing with my thought and behavioral patterns.
      When im in chitown I will definitely fholler.
      Take care love and and thanks for checking in. Mwah!

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