Daniel Adler Shows Signs of Schizophrenia

daniel adler schizophrenicI fall in love a lot. Like little loves, beautiful wrists or sidelong glances or fine hair or prominent hip bones or sparkling eyes– they can all make me fall in love. Some loves are stronger than others because you spend more time thinking about them, usually because you spend more time physically with them, unless they leave you with a good memory burn…I fall in love as often as I need to, and sometimes I need to fall in love on a daily basis.

So I’m in love again now, with a woman I would 92% raise a family with and who I think likes me a little bit too, but I’ve been here in Berlin already for what, four days now, and I asked her if she wants to go out with me for a drink and to enjoy the good life, which was subconsciously (or maybe consciously) ambiguous, and her facebook response was fairly prompt, BUT she said I am working these next few days (who works on a weekend? does work mean party? Das ist Berlin, as they say, and as Moritz said, Moritz, who I met last night on the bench outside the atelier after I saw her last, whose name I had trouble pronouncing because of the German R, which I apparently can’t get and kept repeating on my walk home alone, following the huge Sputnik-TV tower for forty minutes up the deserted streets, past the squats and dark empty buildings, Moritz said it’s easy to get lost here– partying he meant, and maybe that’s what “work” is to her, because if she loved me the way I loved her, she’d make time– you can always make time, and putting a few days between us, even if it is a game, when she knows I’m just a traveler, passing through this vast weird Eastern European city, well, I am not quite sure what that’s supposed to mean).

Part of me says forget about it, respond tomorrow with a date and a time and see what happens, make no plans, after all, you can stay in Warsaw for three days instead of a week if you need to, and the other part says, Are you kidding? You’re going to keep hanging out in Berlin, partying, waiting for this girl, who for all you know could be seeing some other guy, denying yourself the pleasure of visiting Poland and maybe even wild Ukraine, all for this girl who you “love?” Are you kidding me? To which I’d respond, I’m considering living in Berlin, this great sprawling city of art and parties, and the extra days here in cafes, writing, are going to be very productive. And plus my intention to stay in Berlin doesn’t necessarily rest on seeing her, although sure, it’s fair to say that she does partially inform it.

Go ahead, stay, while away your time in this city.

Hey, at least my German’s getting better.

Psh. What German?

Hey! I can pronounce broetchen.

You can’t even pronounce Moritz.

And this goes on. This is how I make decisions. The continual conflict manifests itself, often indirectly, by directing me toward another problem or “future-forward” thought which disturbs me so much that I can only alleviate it by indulging myself– reading or writing or having an adventure or getting away from that harrowing mind state through a glass of beer or a cigarette, at which point it begins again.

Like, Do you really need that coffee? I mean, it’s your second cup of the day and it’s bad enough you have to have it at all. You can’t do without it, you need it every morning or else you’re cranky and irritable and you get headaches. Why become even more reliant on it?

Because I like it. Because it helps me focus, and a little bit is good for you. It’s good for your mental capacities.

Well, says the other, you can try to apply that logic to your other vices but we both know that they’re rotten, that if you had any discipline, or any dedication to purity and divinity and true greatness, you’d practice abstinence. Look at the nuns– they don’t have sex because to give into the animalistic pleasures brings them closer to the devil; to abstain brings you closer to god. And right now, you’re looking pretty darn evil.

I think there is something to be said for living entirely for passion, and to living how you want in the moment.

So that you die young, miserable and penniless? Why not practice some discipline and go against what you really want? There’s reward to be found in suffering.

Life is suffering.

Oh don’t give me your Buddhistic copouts.

I’m not Buddha. I’m Daniel Ryan Adler.

And who is that? You don’t even know.

Well perhaps I’ll find out soon.

Yes that trip you have to India, that should help you determine what you can live with and without.

But right now, here in Berlin, I want to eat currywurst and drink coffee and write, and get drunk and go to clubs and have sex and smoke weed and–

God, you’re no better than a dog.

Listen, some of your favorite writers followed my path. Henry Miller. Jack Kerouac, the Great Alcoholics… There are different kinds of happiness and yours could very well be unique to you. Can’t we just live and let live? It’s like whatever we do there’s a battle between us. Can’t we just take turns between living indulgently and living abstemiously?

Clearly not. You’ll have to just go on listening, unable to make up your mind, trying to alleviate your guilt by moving between extremes. Maybe you’ll listen to me more when when we’re older. Because life is very long, to quote Conrad, and older people settle down because they get tired. Now you’re in the bloom of youth, but who knows what you’ll be like and how you’ll have changed by the time you’re 28, Anthony’s age, great sufferer in the Romanian wilderness, miserable, fast-learning man; or Thoreau, 29 when he built his cabin– yes there’s a challenge there, but perhaps you’re not ready for it yet, and that’s what Anthony was getting at when you skyped together and he blessed your choices after you sheepishly said you were afraid to spend half of the total number of days he could make it in the wild at one time– a mere four, before returning to a hostel or pension to recuperate– saying, you know, Daniel maybe you’re okay hanging out in hostels and couchsurfing, maybe there’s a lot to learn there. And that made you happy because it affirmed this thought that perhaps you’re still not ready for that leap into pure abnegation. So right now, Indulgent Daniel has a lot of control, but like life’s ups and downs, this is just part of a larger oscillation.

And what about our love? Well if Indulgent Daniel wins this round, then clearly I’m staying in Berlin, waiting to go out with her and win at least one more sidelong glance.

But why even think about it, why not just do it and let it happen? You’re always so concerned with the future. You should just relax and not think so much, just let it happen.
God I try, but sometimes I can’t even help it…
Well you should, or maybe you should try not to fall in love so much. If you’re going to give in to me, into Indulgent Daniel, I don’t want any half-assedness.

Yeah! Maybe I should just ask her to come with me to Warsaw…

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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