Meeting Fred

Nov. 19th, '98 – Fred is my middle-aged neighbour about three doors down across the street. He lives in a nice little townhouse. I don’t remember the first time Fred and I saw each other but he does. Apparently he was driving around a corner, locked eyes with me for the full rotation around the corner, and this struck him as very unusual, to maintain such singular eye contact in such an unusual position of motion. I guess since then he’s wanted to know more about me, but has maintained his distance.

He’s been extremely courteous about the whole thing, even when he pursued me leaving the corner store once. Another time he saw me get off the transit bus in front of him when it wasn’t even at the stop, and was duly impressed. I did end up meeting him the night of the fencing fight (fought amusingly at around 4:00 am in my honour in a parking lot), because he used to come out and jam with my roommate’s band.

When I walked out of my Stats test and was biking home I ran into him on the street and he said, I just finished making a Halloween card for you, do you want to come and get it? It was a collage on a card, the envelope was done too, and it must have taken him at least two hours. It was very cleverly done. Talk about having a booster to your day.

Last week I had quite a hangover as I had gotten into a shooter competition with the owner of PCI Computers the night before. (It was on the house. I don’t know what possessed me but I paid.) I had to smoke a tailor-made of shake just to get to class that morning, and seeing as Fred has always invited me for tea I decided on the way home that this was the day to do it. Running into the owner of PCI was handy, by the way, seeing as I bought my computer from there and I got to complain personally about the little hiccup it’s having. He said he’d walk me through fixing it over the phone the next day. I did have the satisfaction of having the call respondent, John, tell me in a condescending tone that Steve, the owner, had gone home early with a “cold”. Oh, that’s too bad. John provided assistance. My computer’s fixed.

-So, back to Fred. Fred is a great dispenser of medicinals. He told me to take a second bath with Epsom salts. He gave me A, C & C tablets, which he said worked magic for hangovers. “What does that stand for?” “Aspirin, Codeine & Caffeine.” “Oh, that would do it.” He told me you have to ask for them from behind the prescription counter but that they’re not prescription and that “as long as they don’t think you’re grinding them into powder on a spoon, they’ll give them to you”. He also gave me Vitamin C tea, and then one that was a relaxant, and pot besides. He also discussed how to supplement nerve fibres using a diet of poppy seed wafers (only the blue ones are effective), because they supply lecithin, which builds the fibre walls. He said it was a nervine. I had enough biology to recognize what he was saying.

He also gave me a full description of what it was like to trip on E, and offered me some as his supplier gets it from a lab source. I’m getting two hits tomorrow, though that is not what they’re called, they’re called flaps because the powder comes in an origami envelope. I am going to get to do E for Depeche Mode. I tested it at the rave in the Memorial on the 28th first, using a complementary hit. The other thing was that I could talk to him frankly about my circumstance, and he didn’t bat an eye. I laid one aspect on him, then another, and then a third, at which point he responded, “you’re talking to an empath, you know”.

“You are a novice, you are just beginning to discover what you can do.” I had to get him to define empath for me, cuz I wanted to know what he meant, and I discovered it was rather similar to how I operate; the encounter with Thomas being a precise sort of circumstance an empath would have issues with. Empathy is a condition which Fred says has been clinically defined in psychology as occurring in a margin of the population, but is not considered a mental illness. (I took this with a grain of salt.) He said empaths sense and automatically absorb the feelings and states of people around them. He said that empaths can induce and influence behaviors in crowds, and that what an empath tends to experience in a crowd setting is the crowd or group mind mentality. (I considered the raves, and some of the concerts and gatherings I’d been in, and this did not surprise me at all, seeing as I felt this way, though I would not consider myself a true empath as he defined it. I don’t think I’m near that far-gone.) He said he had a job as a radio talk show advisor once and that he was very good at it cuz he could get to the bottom of people’s problems almost intuitively. He talked about influencing crowds of people on the street while on E with a companion. He claimed that empaths could direct the behaviours of the crowd mind. He said empathy could be very dangerous, because you could end up being taken in or influenced by other people’s states, into states or behaviours where you yourself as an individual would normally never go.

Having encountered this little issue many times, on a personal level with strangers, on drugs, and perceiving the danger in Rave settings, never mind in my 65 pages, I started defining the issue back to him better than he did. I’ll give you an idea: here was what I thought about it, just in terms of my artistic theory, and what artists straining you through their own perceptions could do.

"I have not yet gone into why relying on the music, [or even just letting it influence you] could be very dangerous, but seeing as this was the most important reason for its avoidance, it’s rather worth mentioning. It would cause you to slip into responding [rather than acting], and this would, in fact, alter what you were doing in accordance to other people’s views, or in other words, [it could take any negative path you were in, such as depression and send it to "suicidal depression/crucifixion complex, or delusional self-importance", acceptance of personal divinity, and distort your original state fantastically, by putting it through a form of feedback]. It would speed up and exaggerate the process (-into a momentously accelerating downward plunge!), as well as potentially altering it. It opens a whole Pandora’s box of wrong endings, and the irony of it would be that they were not actually “your own doing” at all. (Meaning you did not actually act in accordance with your own natural character.) Nor would these courses be in accordance with God’s original purpose, the thing would become bastardized, and hence the complete inverse of its original holy purpose. Hence, it would actually become evil."

Now stars encounter this little self-destruct problem in their relationship with the press all the time. When it is an internalized process, or you perceive or assimilate group dynamics and states automatically, it is much more difficult to detect and avoid. This is the empathic danger, acting on those states or responses without detecting that they are not your own. It used to put me in fantastic dilemmas I found excruciating, because having such a perceived awareness can accelerate situations past normal behavioural boundaries rather quickly. I have been tested in that arena many times.

Everything he was saying I could identify with. He went on to say that empaths were anti-social, they tended not to talk much. They operated below their level in school and tended not to excel, but stayed average. (Yep.) They were never extroverts and they were never at the center of groups. (Yep.) If a group gathering was viewed as a circle, the empath would be on the edge of that circle. (Fred’s drawing circles in the air.) (Yep.) If the gathering or context could be modeled as two circles, the empath would be in the space where the two circles intersected, at the edge. (Exactly. Considering I had just written of the experience with Thomas the day before, and had written down nearly precisely the same model for my analogy on dance for the first time the day before, placing my state at precisely such a nexus, where the semi-circles touched, this was what you call a f***ing mind-blower.)

So Fred listened to the whole circumstance of my situation, found it refreshing and was extremely pleased with it, and said that the only choice for me was to go to London. The only hiccups I had with him were due to his “New Age” philosophy, the “we’re all God” trip, and that the universal unconscious is God. Obviously I make a distinction there. Also his alarm bells went off at the fact that I was selecting an individual and detecting certain individuals, as he argued that this would invoke hierarchy in a place where there is no hierarchy. I had to demonstrate rather painstakingly that it wasn’t, at which point he apologized and said he had misunderstood. But Fred read the whole theory, had no quibbles about my way for detecting God within the unconscious, and said I articulated these things better than he ever could. He found it to be to his immense satisfaction, and agreed with every sentence. He also gave me several interesting personal vignettes, including a very strange one pertaining to Bowie, and supplies me with a steady diet of good news clippings, tea and sweets. We had been at some of the same raves, namely the one on Sooke River that went for three days in August, 1997, and the ones at Toffers on Cecelia before police shut it down. Funny how when I’m in this situation that nobody around me can cope with, I’m pursued by a complete stranger who has the ability to cope with it. Or maybe it’s just a case of weird attracts weird.