The other day I went down the street a bit to a local Chinese
restaurant slash bar type place called Chan's Dragon Inn. It's not the
same Chinese place I normally go eat at, Ming Wah, which is excellent.
In fact the so-called "San Francisco Style" Chinese food they serve
at Chan's is I think terrible. To be honest, what drew me there the other
day was the bar. I wanted a good Bloody Mary. And the couple places
that were closer to my apartment I knew didn't serve good ones — I
has already tried them on prior occasions.

As it turned out the trip wasn't successful. Chan's turned out to serve
just as poor Bloody Marys as the other places. I hadn't been to the
place in about one year. These days seven blocks from me isn't a short
distance. In any case I sipped on the Bloody Mary, disappointed with
the drink but at least glad to get out somewhere for the first time in
3 weeks.

The placed seemed to creep into my soul, and not in a good way. After
about an hour it occurred to me that the people around me at the bar
that early evening were all scumbags or somehow brain damaged.

I know that sounds like a terrible thing to say. It sounds very
judgemental, elitist perhaps, or just plain egotistical. But that's the
way I felt about it. And in fact it seems that I have been increasingly
surrounded by people like that lately. Not being unfamiliar with
psychology I know that if you look around and everybody seems crazy,
then chances are they are fine and you are the crazy one. Be that as it
may, I will stand by my own personal sanity.

I know that a bar is rarely a positive environment in most cases. But
even though I don't get out very much a bar is not my only environment.
Yet when I do, it still seems the scumbags and the brain damaged abound.
Eventually it occurred to me that the environment that had been best
for me over the past years has been out at school, Eastern Washington
University. Looking back on it the whole educational thing was more
than mere scholarship. It was a very positive general environment —
what you could call good for my soul as well as my mind.

I'm not in school these days. And though I sometimes fantasize about
going back I doubt, realistically, that I will. Everything unto it's own
time. There are a few clubs here in Spokane that I might be interested
in. There's the Spokane Photography Club and also the Spokane Astronomy
Club. But those clubs are geared to more normal people with cars — the
meetings let out late and I couldn't get home on the bus at those hours.
And I'm not a church goer nor do I subscribe to any religion — or at
least no religion known these days.

My few friends, who are a positive influence on me and who are
definitely not scumbags or brain damaged, I don't see them much any
more. I know that it is tough for them watching their friend practically
dissolve before their eyes from heart failure. So it seems that, for
the most part, my friends are a thing of the past also.

But then there's Opera. The other day at Chan's the only relief I got
for those few hours was when I got on the Blackberry and went to my
blog and looked at a few funny Comments that my Opera friends had
made. In fact this place, Opera, seems lately like a breath of sanity
compared to what I experience elsewhere these days.

Just today I read some very uplifting posts here. I read one by
Richard, a biologist, who wrote about his new job and about how it
helps people. I read one by Allan talking about his world of social
education and the learning patterns of a little girl. Star had a good
post on the daily exersize of freedom of speech. And besides these
Darko had a good one on the moon in Belgrade, and there was a sad but
ultimately uplifting post by Angeliki on animals with disabilities. And
this is only a small sampling, of course. My other Opera friends also
have contributed to this great experience on a day-to-day basis, in
many areas — art, mythology, music, poetry. [All of which, for those
who might not be familiar with things here, you can find on the Blog
Roll on my Sidebar.]

Strangely, not a scumbag or a brain damaged individual in the whole
lot, at least as far as I know.

And for that I would like to thank all of you so very much. As I said
to Angeliki lately — "You make my life better."