Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My Mind And Body

  • Plasma Money Timely
  • Mom Sends 60 Bucks
  • New Bike Or Road Trip Pondered

Will Somebody Please Send Me One Of These
In The Key Of C? Thanks

Wow, as I sit here on the bus, I am reassuring myself that I turned out alright, my parents raised me well, and "smart is as smart" does. I don't have to work another day in my life. I'm "retired" at 54, if I want to look at it that way.

The red lever, nestled between hoses
I must have done something right.
I think I have this blog to thank, to a large degree.

After starting it in 2006, it has done a couple of things.
One of which was to make me accountable for my actions, since, "at the end of the day," I would have to blog about them.
It started out as a journal.

No matter how boring my life was on the surface, I was going to try to give it an interesting twist.

Even when I was a day laborer, going to the labor pool to make $6.75 per hour demolishing things with a sledgehammer, or digging holes to be stuffed with the root balls of trees, there would always be something humorous or interesting that came up during the day.

Money For The Slow Season

I called my mom with the intention of just saying hello, since I hadn't spoken to her in a while. She must have sensed that I could use money, because, though I hadn't asked, 60 bucks arrived in an envelope Monday.

Not Another Decadence Festival, No

I had "Thanks Be To Thee," by Handel in my head as I went to the mailbox.
"Thanks be to God," mom had put in the letter that enveloped the money.
Now, I am in a position to make good on the promise I made to myself to never endure another "Southern Decadence," festival in New Orleans.

The festival is the first week of September. I blogged extensively last year and the year before about the 10,000 or so gay men that arrive each year and don't tip at all. "Me tip?!? Are you serious?!? People tip me, just because I'm so fabulous; he should be happy just to be able to play for me!," type of thing.....

I have just sold my plasma for the second time, with 3 days in between. The rules are that you can donate every 2 days, but Sunday, after having donated Thursday, the thought of doing so made me feel queasy. I didn't feel like I had replenished all of my blood proteins.

It is recommended that one eat a protein laden meal before donating, but, since I feel best when on a mostly vegetarian diet, I didn't want to throw the baby out of with the bathwater, and feel lousy because of the animal protein, rather than weak and famished from having my blood proteins leached from me.

The staff at the Octaplasma place are 99% black. I'm treated like a second class citizen there, but it is tempered by the fact that the staff at least have some education and/or training and aren't totally ignorant.

There was one worker who appeared Latina, but who hadn't responded to my "hola!," and who spoke ghetto-like language when she did open her mouth.

This makes a woman seem obtuse and retarded to me. This is a throwback to when I was a kid and we were taught not to use words like "ain't" or double negatives like "I didn't get none," with the reason being that it would make us sound uncouth, uneducated and poor -everything we were trying to distance ourselves from.

Offsetting Events

I got to the Wal-Mart with 30 dollars on my plasma card to go with the 5 dollars cash in my pocket. Busking had only been producing around 10 bucks a night.
I was famished, having had my blood proteins drained. I walked through the food section, too hungry to decide what to buy, so I just grabbed some bananas and a mango. Then I went to get Harold a can of cat food. It was 48 cents. The same can is 72 cents at the Quartermaster.

The cat food rang up at 53 cents.

I handed the young, plump, dumb looking cashier a dollar bill. She looked like the type that talks loudly with a mouth full of food.

She grabbed it and then quickly hit a button on her register; the draw slid open.

"Here, I've got the 3 cents," I said, holding them out to her.

 She stood staring at the register, frozen for a moment.

It was 53 cents and I was giving her $1.03. Pretty simple math.

She started scooping change from her draw and handed me back 7 pennies (including the 3 that I had just handed her), a nickel, a dime and a quarter.

"I gave you 3 pennies, so that I could get 2 quarters as change; I have to take the bus," I said.

She stared dumbly at me with her mouth slightly open, as if I had spoken a language that she didn't understand. She never said a thing.

Her register was telling her to give me back 47 cents, and she was going to do so, like a trained monkey. She couldn't seem to comprehend why I had told her "I've got the 3 cents."

I was one of the only white people in the store.

"The reason I gave you the 3 cents is so I could get 2 quarters back," I repeated. "To make it easier for you," I added.

She continued to stand there, frozen and staring at me.

I was about to add: "It's simple arithmetic," but just gave up.

"Never mind, the bus takes pennies," I said, eliciting another dumb stare.

I felt like asking to see the manager; holding up the line behind me, just to shed light upon the fact that a store that would never hire myself, for whatever reason, was employing cashiers who couldn't do 5 grade math. The all black people behind me would be a captive audience as I complained to the manager. The manager would probably be able to do the math.
"I hate that kind of white boy," they would probably say about me and my rocket science mathematics as soon as I was out of earshot.

Gretna Wal-Mart; More Fun Than A Barrel Full Of Monkeys

The store is in a ghetto type location, surrounded by "projects," and of course the plasma donation/selling place.

There had been a chubby little black boy running around shirtless (classless, if you ask me) and another mother with a young boy who was acting up doing karate type moves, spinning and kicking and chopping at the air.
He seemed to want me to notice him.

I ignored him, and looked at the prices on the bags of basmati rice, instead.
He spun and kicked and chopped his way closer to me to the point where it would be very distracting to most people.

"Can't you control your kid?" I was ready to ask the mother. But the mother wasn't telling him anything like "Come over here and stop bothering that man," leading me to think that she was complicit in him "messing with me."

It was as if the 99% black people in the store were emboldened to give the white guy a hard time, due to the advantage of their numbers.

I had gotten in line behind one of the only other whites, a guy about my age.
When was heard a loud shriek coming from the general area of the toy section, I said to him: "Man, if I screamed like that in a store, my mother would have given me something to scream about."

The guy smiled a little and nodded, but didn't say anything. I could feel the derisive looks of all the blacks around me within earshot.

"He probably can't get a toy that he wants and so he's screaming," I went on.
"Of course, now you can't hit a kid because it's not politically correct." More derisive looks, as if the words "politically correct" were fraught with hidden meaning.

Their attitude was starting to accomplish its purpose as I was getting irritated.
"Things need to go back to the way they were back then," I finished with, truly intending to refer to President Trump's "make America Great again," vow, since it seemed like every word out of my mouth had been a veiled code for that.

I had an overall unpleasant experience shopping at that particular Wal-Mart. Every aisle I walked through, I had to either dodge carts being pushed by black people, or else walk right into them, because they weren't swerving. It didn't do me any good to quip "Ess-cuse me," sarcastically.

I can see why my folks tried to give me a good education so that I could be above all of that, and shop at a store in the good white section of town, where things might cost a little more, but it's worth the extra cost.

Time to go out on the road
On The Other Hand...

But, then, that evening a young black lady at Wal-Green's gave me whatever I bought at half price. "I gave you a discount, sweetie," she said. For no apparent reason.
She seemed like a college student.

With the 30 bucks from the plasma, plus the 10 I made, I knocked off Saturday night, thinking that I won't play again until I have a brand spankin' new harmonica and new strings.

That is where I stand now, on this Tuesday afternoon.

I'm at the kratom bar, and will walk a half mile to the pet food store after leaving here.

I am ready to break into the abandoned building to use it as a studio.

Sure, my apartment can be silenced now with the turn of a lever, but that doesn't do anything about my paranoia of being listened to and judged by the neighbors through whose walls my screaming vocals would be audible, musical warts and all.

Now that I haven't smoked pot for 5 days, that is improving.

Eddie Van Halen said in a late 70's interview that he didn't smoke weed because it made him "insecure and insane." I think I suffer from a bit of that, myself.

The irony is that my weed dealer, Lancaster, had been giving me super deals on the stuff, keeping me baked to the point where I was getting up and vegging in the morning, forgetting to take care of things as the days passed, and then overeating and passing out at night, while my apartment became messier and no work on my CD was getting accomplished.

Then, he was the one that turned around and made comments about the squalor that I lived in, and how it was a sign that my life just wasn't working. He told me that if I cleaned my place top to bottom, I would feel much better about myself; it would stave off depression and my attitude would improve.

All of this has come to pass after I quit smoking the weed that he was selling me for cheap. I guess cleaning "my place" from top to bottom begins with my mind and body...

Monday, August 21, 2017

Huge Discovery

I wish I knew why this blog is read
by almost as many people in France, as the U.S.
so that I could give them more of what they crave...

United States
Blessed Silence

In poking around inside my Carrier heating and air conditioning unit, I discovered a lever, which I might not have seen before because from the angle it sits at, it doesn't look like a lever.
"Decibels" is an actual specification on the things!
It shuts the water flow through one of the hoses, which are labeled "in" and "out."
As I rotated it, the pitch of the sound changed and diminished and, finally stopped. A blessed silence filled the room. I could hear the silence.

It was kind of like the silence you become aware of when you are taking a shower and the water is hitting your head and ears full blast and then you shut it off; and suddenly, you can hear yourself breathing...

There was the faint sound of a trolley passing by coming from across the street, and then, as I sat on my couch, I heard the refrigerator kick on in the kitchen. "I can unplug the thing when I record music," I thought. Having all the meat in the freezer go rancid would be a fair trade-off should a recording project be going so well that I lose track of time..."
I am still going to try to get into the abandoned building that used to be a rectory, as I can imagine its top floor being almost professional studio quality silence.

I've seen old black and white photos of The Beatles in the Abbey Road Studios, and a lot of times there would just be a sound baffling board in between John and Paul, so that maybe a tiny bit of each other's vocals would bleed through their respective microphones.

This was most likely compensated for by the "immediacy" of being able to sync up with each other and feel each other breathing, etc.

The proof is in the pudding when you put on their albums.

So, I am kind of ecstatic over the fact that I can shut the valve off in the unit and the sound metering on the Audacity display even reflects the change in background noise.

It was impossible to take that noise out of the music without reducing the "h" sounds in my voice, and any breathing in between. Speaking of The Beatles, I wouldn't be able to do John Lennon's famous breath sounds in the song "Girl," off of Rubber Soul(?) using the noise reduction because it sounds too much like my heating and air conditioning unit.

There is a possibility that the units are daisy-chained so that the flow through mine continues through a pipe to the apartments upstairs, and that, by cutting it off I am stopping the flow through the whole building, but fuck them. My recordings are more important than the comfort of anyone else in Sacred Heart Apartments.

The guy directly above me is a small black guy who wears a shaved head and who originally had Harold, my cat.

He is the one that put Harold out in the parking lot, after taking in a roommate who was allergic to cats, or just didn't like them, or something.

He is kind of mentally ill (or is doing a good job of faking it in order to keep his housing "voucher") and was feeding Harold Vienna Sausages and other things that the cat still has an aversion to. He is always seen wearing headphones. I have thought about doing the same thing so that I could walk around without being skeezed.
If a skeezer has the audacity to tap me on the shoulder while I'm bobbing my head to "the music," then he is in line for a sarcastic response anyways.


I am in the market for a razor sharp knife which is designed to be a self-defense weapon.
I'm going to Google "knife fighting maneuvers," also.
It's a sign of the times.

I walk through New Orleans at 2 AM with a guitar and backpack on me, for crying out loud. The reason I haven't been jumped is probably because thugs assume I'm carrying something protective, otherwise I would never have the balls to just do that...

I might just slash someone across the throat who looks like the insolent piece of shit on the right.
"Close enough," right?

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Day Trip To Gretna, Louisiana

It is Friday, and 90 degrees out.

Howard And I Have Been Through A Lot

I will probably go out and busk. I've got about 11 bucks left over from the money I got for my plasma yesterday.

I was up at 6:30 AM; in response to ? alerts by the alarm on my phone, which was set for 6 AM, sharp.

I have always avoided setting alarms exactly on the hour, feeling that this is done by people who are following a "convention," and doing things such as leaving "an hour before you have to be 'there'" when they have to be anywhere.

A lot of people who fly will leave their house 2 hours before their flight is scheduled to leave in order to allow for any contingencies, etc, even if they already have thier flight booked and are 20 minutes from the airport during normal traffic conditions.

This is the first time perhaps in my life that I set an alarm right on the hour.

When I was in high school, I had to leave the house at 6:54 AM or so, in order to catch the bus at 7 at a corner 2 tenths of a mile away.

I think I started the school year setting my clock radio for 6:07 AM. This gave me 23 minutes to pick matching shirt, tie, slacks and "sports" jacket from my closet, don them, grab my books and be at the breakfast table.

My dad had given me an assortment of least 40 ties from his closet which were draped over the pole in my closet in a bunch so that it was nearly impossible to pull one out without knocking at least a couple others falling to the floor. They were ones that he had probably accumulated over a lifetime of birthdays and other occasions where a tie was "the perfect gift (for under 20 bucks)" and they were all "conservative." He wouldn't send me off to Catholic school with a martini glass and olive depicted on my tie, or dollar signs or any such gimmick.

He retained those on his own tie rack, along with some more expensive ones made from silk and such. The idea was that a $120 tie would not match the standard cotton shirt and "student" jacket etc. that I was wearing; I would need the whole package -single thread hand sewn silk shirt ($100) to tie with it, etc.

I, along with most of my contemporaries needed room to "grow," also. The silk ties were for after we had graduated from good colleges and were making the big bucks, then they would wrap everything up and put an exclamation point on it.

Still, my dad was usually all for me wanting to wear one of the ties off his rack "Sure, be very carefull, though, this is a very expensive tie..."

He was probably pleased that I seemed to be chomping at the bit to dress for success, assuaging his fear that I might end up a homeless street musician.

Little did he know that I was trying to make an artistic statement through the way that particular tie would match my outfit.

But, by sophomore year, I had started to pick out the outfit that I would wear the night before, and lay it over the back of a chair. This allowed me to push my advance my alarm due to the time this saved me, which was quite considerable. I eventually had it set at 6:21 AM, but then backed it off to 6:19 after realizing that the former left me no time to even stare out the window and daydream for even a couple minutes.

WBZ fm was one of only 4 or 5 fm stations on the dial in 1977, before people realized that stereo music with "no static at all" was preferable to AM with its monophonic low fidelity signal and its interference. The trade off was that you couldn't pick up a station 700 miles away, but who want's to be able to hear a report about the traffic in Washington D.C. when sitting in Massachusetts?

But, WBZ FM was just getting off the ground and was only manned by a live DJ during business hours. The rest of the time, though, they didn't go off the air, but just played pre-recorded music. It was the same music for at least my entire sophmore year.

When my clock radio alarm was set for 6:07, it popped on during the intro to "Wheel In The Sky," by Journey, then came a few pre-recorded commercials to pay for it all, before "Blue Bayou," by Linda Ronstadt would begin to play at 6:17 every morning. My mom grew to like that song from hearing it emanating from my room every morning, and eventually asked me what it was.

So, yesterday morning was the first time that I had ever set an alarm to go off on the hour. And it is almost ironic that it didn't work, as I first stirred at 6:30 after the phone had been trying to wake me up periodicallly for a half hour.

This was because I wanted to be on the 7 AM bus to go over the river to the plasma donation place, having suffered through 2 days of arriving there too late to be taken in as a new donor.

I now understand why they had turned me away at 2 PM, even though they are open for another 5 hours.

I signed in at 8:41 AM and was there about 6 hours before I was finally drained of 690 millileters of plasma and had 30 dollars credited to an Octoplasma Visa debit card, which I walked about a mile through the 95 degree heat with, back to the Wal-Mart where the bus stop was located.

I had gambled. If, for some reason, they had refused me as a donor, I would have been stranded across the Mississipi River with nothing but an expired all day bus pass to my name.

This would have occured if I answered one out of their battery of questions "wrong."

It was easy for me to be honest about the fact that I hadn't had sex with another man in the past 12 months, hadn't been in The Sudan in the same period, nor shared a needle with anyone who had, but, I lied about ever having had C.O.P.D., or having visited an emergency room in the past year. The respiratory problem was the result of having breathed in the feather dust of a black caped night heron under a wharf, but I couldn't imagine them saying: "Oh, in that case it doesn't count."

I still felt a little bit disingenuous.

My whole body was checked for needle "tracks" by a nice lady, who had inspirational religious messages hanging in her cubicle. I found it easy to talk to her, and was very glad that I had washed me feet and put on clean socks before embarking upon my trek. It seems like a long journey, but, with a day pass, I really only have to walk 200 feet to the trolley and then another 200 yards from where it lets me off to the 115 "Tullis" bus, and then about a half mile to the plasma place; it just feels like going to another country due to my perception of it.

While I sat there, It dawned upon me that, if they refused me, I could walk about 4 miles to where Howard lives, and he would probably give me the bus fare to get back home. We had shared a blanket underneath a holly bush waiting for a train to hop out of Mobile, Alabama to come to New Orleans and had been through an awful lot. If there is one guy in all of Gretna, Louisianna that I might humbly try to skeeze a couple bucks off of, it would be him.

I still decided to drop in on ol' Howard, who was pleasantly surprised to see me.

He is a rich man now, having realized a 300% appreciation of the stocks that he has held since he worked at a prison as a chaplain for about 12 years.

"I never thought I'd be saying this but, thanks to...that nut in the White House..., I've made a ton of money this past year," he said.

He is about to embark upon a trip to see the Yukon and Alaska, traveling by rail; something he has always wanted to do. "If I don't do it now, I might never have another chance," he commented.

As I sat there, filling him in on the financial struggles which precipitated my trip to the plasma place, it crossed my mind that he might think was was there trying to skeeze him, who is probably worth about 100 grand now, and I had to guard my words, so as not to taint the purity of my motives in having dropped by.

"Money makes everything different," I overheard one guy at the plasma place telling another guy in reference to something.

Howard wanted my advice on the matter of his daughter, who is in California, and who has moved and won't give him her new address. He has been sending her 100 bucks for her birthday and for Christmas for years, and sent her $10,000 a while ago, and never got a "thank you" from her.

She seems to be hiding from him, and he suspects that it might be because she is a lesbian and is ashamed to tell him and possibly afraid that her partner might answer the phone and tell him. Howard is from that kind of family.

He told me that, when he was a conscientios objector during the Vietnam war, it caused a rift between he and his father, "but even though I don't agree with him, I still love him," he said, perhaps projecting onto the situation between his daughter and he.

I told him that, I too have been guilty of not showing gratitude towards my mother after she has sent money to bail me out of situations in the past. "I wound up thanking God that she sent the money, but never got around to phoning her," I told him. "I could imagine her thinking: 'I sent the money on Monday, he should have at least gotten it by now' and worrying that she may have misspelled the address or that someone stole it out of my mailbox or any other concern that I could have layed to rest with a simple phone call, but it's so easy to becomed consumed by the spending of the money '...I'm gonna run to the store and get a Starbucks Mocha energy drink, and quarters so I can finally do my laundry, and then to the dollar store, and...' before you realize it a few days have gone by and you haven't made the call and then you might just forget about it. It's probably an age-old phenomenon; where kids can't appreciate how important those two words are to parents..."

Howard agreed.

He told me about the time that he had encouraged her to go out for volleyball "Because some of these colleges want to see that you have some extra-curricular experiences" and she had retorted: "You're trying to make a jock out of me, dad!" and he still feels bad about that and a thousand other things that he is sifting through in his mind to explain why she seems to be hiding from him.

"I really never wanted a child; now that I think of it. If it was a son, I would never want him to have to go through something like I did with Vietnam, and..."

"Have you tried to find her on Facebook?"

"I'm completely lost when it comes to stuff like that..."

"I'll try to find her, and tell her it's OK if she's a lesbian, and that her dad wants to send her money for her birthday..."

"Ok. Leave out the lesbian part though, 'cause that's just one thing I thought of, I'm not sure..."

"Yeah, I was just kidding about the lesbian part."

He extended an invitation for me to go over there any Sunday, and especially if the Patriots are playing on TV, and I came back home, after I had gotten Harold the cat an expensive bag of Fancy Feast dry cat food and a couple cans in exotic flavors that he has never had at Wal-Mart. I don't imagine he will thank me with even a meow.
You've just read: 2,100 words.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Be Careful Who You Borrow From

  • The Alex In California Matter
  • The Power Of Three
  • Motivation
"You can pay me tomorrow..."

I started doing a shot of kratom just about every day, which cost me 3 dollars initially, and then $3.24 after they decided to put a tax on them, and finally $2.93 after they decided to give me a "local resident" discount.

This was fine, and I thought I could live with a daily bill of 3 dollars.
Of course, then Lancaster, my weed dealer, who is on methadone "treatment," and his roommate, who said he himself "was up to 36 grams at a time of that stuff; trying to get high," began to discourage me from "wasting money" on it.
"Kratom's great," said Nathaniel at the Uxi Duxi after I told him of my friends advice to me.

The kratom that I was taking was enough to focus my mind and give me a desire to work, but at a cost, perhaps. It was work for the sake of work. I wrote stuff that I never posted, and I began to doubt that anyone would want to read it.

I even lost some of my ability to converse with and bond to the tourists who came by when I was playing at an amazing level.

It reminded me of a movie called "Phenomenon," which starred an aged John Travolta and was about a guy who was endowed with supernatural abilities after being hit with a beam of light that came out of the sky. For example, during a short trip to visit a Spanish speaking man who was sick, John's character sped through a Spanish dictionary and then spoke fluently with the guy when they got there, and even cured him. Of course, by the end of the movie he had lost all his friends, and just wanted to go back to being his plain ol' self.

I was connecting the dots and visualizing music in new ways and playing fast and accurately. But, I had much less desire to share the music or to feel that it connected me with my fellow man at any level.
This kind of permeated everything I did. I began to view my fellow man as just animals. Ones that could walk and talk; big deal. Only better than cockroaches in our own opinions.

I still think that music is one of the finer arts, as it comes out of the fingertips and so must be one of the most delicate and intricate things that humans are capable of.

But, the feeling of awe kind of diminished.

In the meantime, one of my longtime blog readers has fallen away from reading, even though I was cranking out 14,000 words per sitting (but only posting bits of it) and my friend and weed dealer Lancaster slams the door in my face now, if I knock, and even Lilly, who had been calling me every other day, hasn't called in a week.

It seems like there is something different about me in their esteem and they don't like it, even if they can't put their finger on what it is.

But, maybe this is a better me; and all those relationships were fostered through my weaknesses. Maybe kratom is what an all knowing shrink would prescribe for me to counter "under performance." 

I would say: "Wait until you hear my CD and how much better I'm playing," but I fear I might record it and never bother to make copies of it, due to a "who cares?" belief.

Tanya Huang; The Last Frontier

Now that I am more like an unfeeling machine, perhaps I'll be partnering with Tanya Huang this fall, and earning 30 times as much money, and sharing her "It's just a bunch of notes to fill the tip jar that don't mean anything special" philosophy.

Had I been spending 6 bucks a day on a double shot, then I could have been accused of doing it to get a buzz, as that amount made me feel the way I did when I was taking the Vicodin that a dentist prescribed a few years ago.
And, the kratom taking entailed visits to the strange place that played strange  Burmese music and was redolent of incense, and where crystals, and mushrooms and things like bundles of sage which can be burned to ward off evil spirits were sold alongside shelves full of books on "divinity" and Wicca and creativity and that discipline that Madonna got herself into (Kabala?) which did wonders for her, I imagine, unless she was going to shed her slut persona anyways due to age and slowing down, and not spiritual reasons.
I think that, by just going to a place such as that, I may have opened the door into the "spiritual realm" which I have always found to be something which, the more you believe in, the more it exists.

So, on the night my bike was stolen, before it had been, I had gone there and tried to pay for a $3 shot off my green American Express card.

The transaction wouldn't go through, and I had no cash.

"You can just pay me tomorrow," said Kia, who looks kind of like Annie Lennox, if Annie were a witch.

So, I left there, owing 3 dollars for a shot of kratom, with a slight dread that I would have a sub 3 dollar Saturday night.

When I encountered the skeezer looking guy sitting nearby the pole where I locked it, I also saw that there was a cigarette box laying in the road near the sidewalk.

I decided to test the guy. I picked up the pack and looked in it to see that it was empty; I also caught a grin on his face, while I was doing it, which told me that he had already looked in it and was probably the one who had tossed it where it lay. Being a skeezer, he couldn't resist the impulse to smile over my disappointment. It also probably warmed his heart to see a man so broke that he was looking in cigarette boxes.

But, it identified him as a low life, and I should have taken extra care in locking my bike, but I didn't.

The next day, after I had bought a 3 dollar all day bus pass and was on my way to pay back Kia for the shot from the day before, plus one for that day, it dawned upon me that, I had incurred yet another daily tab of 3 dollars, as that will be how I will have to get around until I get another bike.

I have half a mind to think that it is a cosmic debt which has to do with the fact that I borrowed 3 bucks from a witch and am now going to have to pay her back every day.
Be careful who you borrow from.
No Great Loss
It does hurt what feelings I have though, to have Alex In California just stop reading this blog altogether, saying that it is "no great loss."
It's like the saying: "Don't fault a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes," where Alex has kind of walked a mile in my shoes vicariously by reading along, and has decided indeed, to fault me.
Nothing To Lose
When I was in high school and ran track, my best ever quarter mile came when I was running the mile relay.

My teammates had fallen well behind, and, when I took the baton, the other runner was already making the turn around the oval.
This gave me a "nothing to lose" attitude, I suppose. I was actually happy about the situation. I think I would have felt silly giving it my all if I were in the lead.
The other team's guy really wasn't that fast, but he had about a 10 second lead on me. I focused on him and was able to block out almost everything else and go into a zone. I caught up to him right as the last turn went into the "stretch" and passed off the baton, giving our last leg guy about a 3 second lead.

I think they said it had been a 56.9 second quarter mile -about 15 seconds slower than the world record.

So, I guess I try to let myself fall behind, or put myself in situations where there is nothing to lose...