Well, it’s Wednesday morning, and it’s sloppy and wet, but the trains are running on time and so is most everything else here in southeast Florida, though the wind is a bit irritating. Because of it, I was only able to write that first sentence while at the train station, then I had to close up the laptop to protect it from water damage, even though the train stations have roofs.
I’m sure it was a sensible decision for them to make the Tri-rail stations basically open-air with only an overhead covering. This is south Florida, where it’s rarely so cold that heating is an issue, but on days like today—when it’s wet and windy because a hurricane is approaching the other side of the state*—I do curse the decision. But I only curse it half-heartedly, because I can’t in good conscience really hold it against someone for doing something efficient and long-term sensible.
There are almost no courses of action, even ones that are clearly the best choices in the long term, that don’t have occasional drawbacks. Life is complicated. The universe is complicated, at least if you look at it very closely. Actually, I guess you don’t have to look all that closely.
I thought about not riding the train today, but I couldn’t justify it. The Tri-rail is running, and at a normal schedule, so I could hardly give myself an excuse for slacking off in any way. Also, given the weather, there are a certain percentage of other people who will not go to work today, and that means the trains will be less crowded than usual—which, so far, mine is—and that’s kind of nice. It’s not as though one gets any kind of extra service, since there is no “service”, but there’s less worry about not getting one’s usual seat, and it’s just generally less crowded. I don’t know if this will be the case on the way home, but it is right now.
I was weirdly pleased to have a reason to get out my rain jacket, which is designed to be worn while riding on a motorcycle, and so is quite snug and water-repellant. I don’t wear it much anymore. I came close to wearing my long, black duster, which is also quite good against the rain (contrary to its name). But the duster is cloth, and it’s heavier, so it’s likely to have been hotter to wear. It is a very nifty coat, though, and I’m slightly sad that I don’t get to use it more often.
I got a slightly better sleep last night than the night before—maybe as much as four hours, though not continuous. There were no issues with power or with cable, but then again, I didn’t honestly expect any. This is south Florida. The state and its utilities are far from beyond criticism, but rainy, windy weather—yeah, they’re pretty well used to handling that.
It’s a bit like Houghton, Michigan, which is on the upper peninsula of the upper peninsula of Michigan, and is where Michigan Tech is located. They get absurd amounts of snow and cold every year, jutting as they do out into Lake Superior, but I’m told that Michigan Tech never closes for snowy weather, despite a reputed more than 16 feet of snowfall every year on average.
I can only imagine what would happen if any significant snow fell down here in the Miami area. If any snow at all fell, it would be remarkable, but if it was a lot, well, it would be stunning in many ways. One thing it would also be would be a problem for heating, since, basically, houses down here don’t have furnaces of any kind. There are a few days early in most years where that actually becomes an issue, and it honestly gets too cold at night. This is made worse by the fact that many of us don’t really have extra-warm blankets or the like.
And, again, here I am “talking about the weather” like the absolute cretin that I am. I suppose that it can be excused a bit, given that there’s a hurricane passing near, but I’m embarrassed. Still, embarrassment is a fairly normal state for me. I’m almost always tense and anxious and uptight.
Twice in my life, while I was still a teen, I was given Valium, the actual name-brand pharmaceutical, for medical procedures—once for a heart catheterization, once when I had my wisdom teeth taken out. I remember feeling ever so remarkably at ease and comfortable, even with my mouth full of gauze and blood, or with a wire going into my femoral artery and snaking up to my heart. I wondered—and still wonder—if this is how some people feel all the time, or more of the time. I basically have never felt anything like that way except on those two occasions.
I almost hit on the hygienist at the dentist’s office after my procedure. I didn’t, but the fact that I even had the urge and would have been able to do it if I had so chosen is so unlike me that it’s astonishing. And while I was having my catheterization, apparently the catheter bumped against some part of the conduction system of my heart and I had a very powerful double-beat, one so strong I could literally feel it up into my neck. The cardiologist was plainly mortified and apologized sincerely, but I just smiled and said, “That was cool!”
This is how I knew I must never, ever get a prescription for Valium, despite chronic anxiety and stress. It would simply be too easy for me to become psychologically dependent on it, for one thing, and for another, I know it would inevitably have diminishing returns, and stopping it would then make me feel worse than before. That would be a true, ironic Hell. No, thank you!
Drugs in general seem to affect me differently than most people, which may be a good thing. I took opioids for chronic pain for some time, and they definitely worked to help the pain, but never for as long as hoped, and the side-effects were trouble, so eventually I had to wean myself off them, though not without some regret for the worsening pain.
I also do enjoy a rare alcoholic beverage—someone as tense as I am would be prone to, wouldn’t he? However, I tend to feel rather unpleasant almost immediately after, and since my back problem, I’ve noticed that alcohol intake makes my pain flare up afterwards.
And I think I’ve mentioned the time I tried a hit of a friend’s marijuana hoping it would help my pain, but instead it left me vomiting for about two hours (and still in pain, though I was at least distracted). THC is supposed to suppress nausea most of the time, for most people. I really am alien, it seems. At least, I’m atypical.
I will admit that mindfulness meditation does help my tension and anxiety in the short-term, but it seems to make my dysthymia and depression worse. Maybe being too aware of my own thought processes makes me realize how unlikeable I really am, I don’t know. It’s weird, but apparently there is some literature about Vipassana not being too useful for actual depression, though it may decrease the risk of relapse in people who are in remission. I’m not up to date on the latest research, but it does disappoint me, because I’m fairly natural at meditation and self-hypnosis and the like.
Anyway, that’s enough for today, I think. I’m getting close to my stop, and that seems like a good indicator that I should stop writing. No, not for good—don’t get your hopes up—but for today, anyway. I’m also, by the way, going to try to stop commenting at all on other people’s blogs and websites, after something that happened yesterday. Apparently, I give minor offense or am rude, even when I certainly don’t mean to be, and then I feel both stressed and mortified as well as angry about being misunderstood. Oh well. Life is hard, but there are alternatives. At least there’s one. It becomes more enticing by the day.
*I added this footnote later to note that, as I walked from the train to the office, the clouds overhead were all moving consistently and rapidly west-northwest, which seems to indicate, if my reasoning is correct, that the center of the hurricane is still southwest of here, probably out in Gulf of Mexico for the moment, though I haven’t checked the reports yet this morning.
[Added note: Since there’s a hurricane a-blowing, I decided to embed my cover of the Radiohead song “How to Disappear Completely” below, because the third verse includes the words, “Fireworks and blown speakers, strobe lights and hurricanes.” I’ll also embed the original below that; it’s one of Radiohead’s most beautiful songs.]