She told me to walk this way…

It’s Saturday.

I say that just in case you didn’t know.  I hope most of you are relaxing at home with your family and/or loved ones as you read this.  As I write it, I am of course sitting at the bus stop.

You may recall that yesterday my back was acting up especially badly.  It did so all day, pretty much without relent, despite copious use (probably to toxic levels) of OTC meds.

In the evening, after I had ridden the train back down south, I was waiting for the bus and watching the app that tracks arrival times at any given stop, with real time updates on delays or earliness.  The timing of the train’s arrival had been such that there was a bit of a wait (about twenty minutes or so) before the next bus.

But the bus didn’t show at the predicted time, and when I looked back at the app, it had just skipped ahead to the next bus time, half an hour later.  It seemed they had simply canceled that bus without notifying anyone.

I waited about five more minutes before getting fed up.  My patience was far from its peak in the first place, after a day of significantly elevated pain, and the lack of notification‒much more so than the apparent bus cancellation‒irked me mightily.  I figured, “You know what, I don’t feel like waiting for the next bus,”  So, I started walking.

Of course, as I’m sure you could have predicted, within another five minutes, the bus on which I had given up went rolling past me.  I guess it had just been ten minutes late, but its transponder, or telemetry, or whatever they call them, wasn’t connecting with the system that updates the app.  That’s irritating, but I suppose it sometimes happens when you put naked house apes (i.e. humans) in charge of technology.

It wasn’t too bad, though.  I decided I would just continue my walk for the 4.5 to 5 miles back to the house.  I took a route through the neighborhoods, some of which I had never passed before, though I knew the way.  It was just after sunset when I started; there was a fairly stiff breeze, and the temperature was in the sixties, so it was a pleasant walk.  It felt almost reminiscent of being out trick-or-treating back up north in my childhood.

Regrettably, of course, there were no Halloween decorations, and no kids in costumes‒I was mainly by myself on the sidewalks, listening to my shuffled “favorite songs” list on YouTube Music‒but I did see, through the large picture window of a third-ish floor “luxury” apartment building, that someone still had their Christmas tree up, and it was fully lit.

That was actually rather nice, although slightly odd and certainly unexpected.  I can understand why someone would want to keep a festive, brightly lit item around even after its traditional moment had passed, especially during the comparative holiday desert that follows New Year.  Sorry, Valentine’s Day does not count as a festive holiday!  And Saint Patrick’s Day, in America at least, is mainly a drinking holiday‒though corned beef and cabbage can be a quite wonderful dinner if one has it!

Returning to the original topic, though, I found that, as I walked, my back began to relax a bit, and before a few miles had passed, the pain had reduced to a much vaguer sensation, then finally it became insignificant relative to my normal tendency even to notice it.  My right Achilles tendon began complaining slightly* by the end of the walk, but it tends to do that anyway, almost since college, after I badly sprained my right ankle while playing catch.

Sorry, I know, this is all rather boring for a blog post, but I felt like having a mild celebration of the fact that I had soothed my back some by walking.  It hurts more again, now, starting as soon as I woke up, but it’s not as bad as it was yesterday, and hopefully it won’t become so.  If it does, I guess I know what to do about it at least.  Just having that degree of available control makes things a little better, even if one doesn’t use it.

I keep thinking about better types of subjects about which to blog‒as you know‒including medical topics and physics and philosophy and psychology and whatnot.  I still owe you all a blog post or audio blog/podcast about sugar.  I haven’t forgotten.  I just have to decide to buckle down and do it.

But motivation, or executive function, or whatever they call it, is apparently often difficult for people with ASD, as I suspect I am, and also, of course, for people with dysthymia/depression, as I know I am.  That’s not an excuse, so to speak, though both are things I certainly didn’t choose.

Who would willingly choose to be depressed?  It’s truly a thing of horror, but it’s not even exciting or interesting or even disgusting horror.  It’s just a lack of any connection, a sense of learned helplessness that precedes any learning.  And, of course, it includes an inability to be optimistic or to feel certain of anything other than how horrible a person one is.

Maybe everyone, if they could see themselves without filter, without excuse, without delusion, would grow weary of themselves, would be disgusted, would end up hating themselves, and hating the world by reflection or projection.

I’ve read that the modern Catholic conception of Hell is not Fire and Brimstone, but merely a state without any connection to God, a complete removal from God’s presence, cut off from the source of life and light.  It’s rather like the Void in Tolkien’s universe, where Melkor wandered and first began having thoughts unlike those of his brethren, and to which he was consigned after the War of Wrath.  Anyway, that Catholic notion feels like a good metaphor for depression.  It’s not fire and brimstone; that’s all too dramatic, even melodramatic, and interesting in its own way.  Dysthymia and depression are much drearier and more dismal than that.  And yet there is pain.

Oh, well.  Maybe even in the Void, a good long walk can help temporarily ease some kinds of pain.  That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

*You wouldn’t think that something named for the mightiest warrior of the Iliad would be prone to whine, would you.  Then again, he was a bit of a snotty character, and he was invulnerable other than his heel in the original story, so he probably would have moaned a lot when in pain.

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