Here we go again, still.

It’s Monday morning, and I’m on the train as I write this, though I had meant to miss the train that I rode on Friday and start writing while sitting at the train station, because that somehow feels better to me.  I’m not sure why it feels better.  Maybe it’s because, for a long time, when I got to the train station early, it was where I started writing my fiction on a given day.  I don’t know.

Anyway, I dilly-dallied at the house for a bit, doing some minor chores that I don’t normally do in the morning, before leaving a little later than usual.  But it turns out that the train was, as the automated announcement said, “fifteen, twenty minutes late”.

I don’t know why it’s not programmed to say, “fifteen to twenty minutes late”.  The way the announcement comes across, one might be excused for thinking that the train was going to be one thousand five hundred twenty minutes late.  That’s 25 hours and 20 minutes.  One might as well take an extra day off today and come back tomorrow!

So, I got on the train I had tried to miss by a bit, after waiting…well, about fifteen or twenty minutes.  And now I’m writing this blog post, for which I have no particular topic, on the train.

I don’t understand why even a relatively well-run system like the Tri-rail in south Florida is so often behind schedule or has trains cancelled and so on.  This is not the norm in many other parts of the world*.  In some parts of the world, they don’t even have to punish people who screw up and make a train system late, thus inconveniencing thousands to sometimes tens of thousands of people and more.  The people running it would be ashamed and humiliated to allow the trains to run late on their watch, and if something unavoidable were to happen, such people would scramble and struggle to correct it as fast as humanly possible, and not rest until it was fixed.

I’m not, in general, a fan of the emotion of shame, but a little bit of shame in the right place can be a good thing.  It exists because it can serve a purpose in social animals, and humans are social animals.  A person should be embarrassed and even ashamed if, through laziness or carelessness or inattention they cause problems that affect the lives of a large number of people.  If that seems like too minor a thing about which to worry, remember, statistically speaking, if one causes delays for enough people, often enough, there will be consequent serious suffering and even premature deaths—deaths that would not have happened if one had done one’s job**.

Speaking of deaths:  honestly, I didn’t really expect to be alive, myself, at this point.  Or, at least, I didn’t mean to be continuing to muddle through on my usual daily so-called life.  But I’m still here just standing on the ledge or the balcony, or the bridge-side, or whatever, looking down, trying to decide what to do.  It’s scary to jump—for good, sound, biological reasons over which I have very little control—and so I hesitate.

But I don’t have a strong desire to turn around and walk away from the edge, either.  I guess, at some level, some part of me is wondering if someone can give me a good, motivating, convincing reason to step away from the edge.  Not a request, not a cajolement, not an emotional appeal, not a pep talk—none of these things are means by which I want to be easily influenced.  I’ve looked at most of them already, and in any case, they don’t really solve the problem, they just push it back a little.  I don’t want to believe, I want to be convinced by evidence and reasoning, or by something that doesn’t rely on the exhortation just to keep buggering on because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

I’ve been buggering on against dysthymia and depression for almost forty years, certainly since my early teens, and against chronic pain for about twenty.  I don’t seem to have gained much ground, if any.

If I were still in medical practice and were treating a patient like me who came in, I might well recommend hospitalization.  I’m certainly a danger to myself—I hate myself, I consider myself my enemy.  But I cannot afford some kind of voluntary psychiatric hospitalization, certainly not in any kind of very good facility, and I don’t have any insurance.  And, of course, I’m not in medical practice anymore.

I don’t know what to do.  But my train stop is coming up next, and since I have to pause my writing at least for a while when I get there, I might as well stop this post now.  I hope you had a good weekend and that you have a good week.

no belief

*Though, admittedly, there are also parts of the world in which this is much better than the norm.  But the US is the world’s largest economy; we like to think of ourselves as advanced and innovative and productive and “great”, but—to reference a cliché that wasn’t even true about the person about whom it was often said—we can’t even seem to keep the trains running on time.  It’s embarrassing.  Or at least, it ought to be embarrassing.  If we are not embarrassed by it, that fact should be embarrassing, too.

**It’s possible, of course, that there are deaths that will happen when the trains run on time that would not have happened if they had been late, but people don’t tend to see as morally culpable on the people keeping things running on time when there are benevolent reasons for doing so.  Running things on time was the intent of the system, it was part of the stated goal from the start, and it was thus because it was potentially useful for many people.  It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.  But when it fails in its promised service, and because of that failure someone dies (or suffers) unnecessarily, it seems reasonable to consider it a morally culpable situation.

One thought on “Here we go again, still.

  1. Don’t go yet, Robert. I’ll miss you in cyberspace. Yes, that’s a selfish reason on my part. Unselfishly, I hope you can find a way out of your pain and still be with us in this earthly life for many more years.

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