The questions are never lost on me during these adventures in sobriety: Who cares? Does it even matter? Am I too far gone? Does my body stop wanting to be healthy?

The body has responded as it typically does. I eat, eat, and eat. I’ve put on 4-5 pounds since last week. Then the body slows down on the eating, at least by comparison to the first 4-5 days sans booze. I don’t get any more or less work done, though I am finding a surprising joy in listening back to these bags full of old cassettes, some from as far back as the 1980s. I did not expect to take any satisfaction from this pursuit, but it’s been more interesting than I expected. I am going to put the mixed tapes and radio station airchecks on my Plex server. I forgot how much I loved those old radio airchecks and mixed tapes. And playing back the LP records digitized however many years ago is also surprisingly enriching. The sound of an LP record is so much fuller and earthy than its CD counterpart, though I do find it helpful to process the recordings through Audition. I remove the biggest pops and cracks, then normalize, then up the volume a few points. It can do nothing to correct warpage and other imperfections that render some records nothing more than crackling, staticky irritants. But most of the platters sound awesome. I should digitize even more of the records on the shelves.

Thinking about how quitting the booze amounts to severing ties with the people I know who drink. That’s pretty much everybody I know. I’m actually OK with moving on from that crowd, if it comes to that. I doubt anybody has noticed my absence from the world of alcohol the past 11 days. If they remember me at all it might be around the holidays, at which time mention of me will be followed by a sneer. If/when I go back to the sauce I think I’ll just stay here, at home. It’s obviously cheaper. But as I think I said in the earlier payphone call I’ve been thinking again about what the Benzo Buddies say. They all seem to say the same thing about not drinking after a virtual lifetime at the bar. They don’t miss the bars, they don’t miss the women, they don’t miss the buzz or even the cameraderie. All these people miss is the sleep. I don’t know if I’m lucky or just kidding myself but I’ve been altogether OK with the erratic sleep, even to a point of looking forward to it. I am half awake most of the night, putting me in a position of feeling like I am actually in control of the experience. I direct the dreams and decide which ones to wake up from — if only life’s nightmares had that escape hatch.

I spent a good portion of the afternoon thinking I should move on from New York. I’ve been through this discussion with myself before. There is so much more of America out there for me to see, and for to see me. Traveling and emigrating is not all about seeing things, you know, It’s about being seen, and about a new culture’s values and mores projecting themselves onto you for whatever revelations of character that spotlight may produce.

Whether or not I ever move from this place I should certainly travel some more, even if it is just to The Bronx.

Listening to all these old cassettes, I’m going to say again, has been revelatory. In some ways it has compelted a few stories I let get away. My friend Alan moved from his apartment of 20-something years to where he is now on the West Side. It was quite scary for him at the time and his string of steadily more agitated answering machine messages shows it.

Now I am listening to the demo tape of a friend from the conservatory. he is going to be in town in a few weeks. We might DRINK. I don’t know if we will or not, as I warned already I might not be ready to poison myself again by that date. His demo tape, from 1990 and 1991, is quite good, though no one at that age should be playing Beethoven’s Op. 101.

Another demo tape of sorts, from someone I knew at Tower Records, is enchanting. He aspired to be a Broadway director and composer. His songs are formulaic but sincere, stiff but malleable in the right vocal instrument. I should tell him I listened to this tape. We are Facebook friends but that’s no indication of any open line of communication.

And I found a bizarre tape of myself talking in 1992, up in Washington Heights. I got into this thing of talking while recordings of piano music or aggressive orchestral music played at the same time. It sounds chaotic at times but it’s utterly hilarious in its way. If I knew what I was doing my voice would not have been so readily drowned out by the music, but maybe that adds to the inanity of it. My voice almost sounds normal at times, normal by today’s standards. Going to forget about that existential weirdness of hearing a voice coming from a person I do not recognize or even remember.

A mix tape of hillbilly music sent to me by my dad turned up some smiles for me. I remember thinking when he sent it the same thing I thought today: What are the chances I would ever have sent him a mix tape of Horowitz, Richter, Gilels, and others playing Carnegie Hall? Chances would not have been good, and his reaction would likely have been the same as when I bought him a subscription to the New York Times for Christmas one year. He carefully discarded each copy without opening or looking at it.

I’m going to feel better about my little web world when most of it is completely invisible to the search engines. That’s coming along but it is more complicated than I expected, which should have been expected.

I am listening to a lot of sounds these days. Latest discovery, from listening to audio I recorded from the radio 4 years ago, is Alvin Curran. I should do stuff like his. His two-part piece The Works is what I recorded some off the radio. I love it. At present I am in the low-register trumpet cri de coeur passage of Songs and Views from Magnetic Gardens. It sounds like some Pink Floyd influence at work.