Well, here we go again.

It’s Saturday—the one that comes two days after Thanksgiving, though I don’t think it has any special designation—and as I said I would, I brought my laptop with me, so I’m using it to write this post today.

I didn’t play any music or write any fiction yesterday.  Obviously.  I mean, I haven’t written any fiction in months, now.  I’m not sure how many.  And although on three occasions I’ve done a tiny bit of plinking on the guitar and once on the piano, it’s really been nothing like what I did in the past.  I just don’t have the desire to do it, even though I used to enjoy it.

As I’ve said, I used to enjoy fiction, mostly fantasy/sci-fi and horror.  I have a difficult time forcing myself to read any fiction anymore; even the Japanese light novels are getting daunting.  Non-fiction that I would normally have enjoyed, like books about physics, or biology, or psychology, or even politics and sociology, are all just blah.  Most of the videos I want to watch, I’ve already watched, over and over again, and though I am able to enjoy things repetitively, and I always have been, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve just about squeezed what I can out of the ones that I like.  I haven’t even been able to get more than a few dozen pages into Sean Carroll’s new book.

And now, here I am, sitting at the train station on Saturday morning, ready to go into the office.  The person who last triggered my meltdown on Monday*, was off yesterday and will be off today, enjoying his holiday, and will get paid for his bending of the rules.

All the people I love in the world are elsewhere, with the ones they love, presumably enjoying their holiday weekends—I certainly hope they are—or just enjoying themselves in a faraway land, experiencing other cultures and so on.  And I’m here by myself, near the distal dorsum of America’s flaccid, syphilitic penis.

I think I stay here because, honestly, I don’t feel like I deserve anything better, and anyway, this apparent ASD that I probably have—or whatever psychopathology I have that mimics it—makes it very difficult for me to contemplate changes to any given situation, even though it’s far from ideal.

After I got out of prison, I decided to come back to Florida after a brief visit to my parents, instead of staying with them (I was invited to stay), because I hoped to be able to see my kids sometime relatively soon.  That, of course, did not happen, and I don’t give high odds on my ever seeing them again.

I’m certainly no good at being pushy about trying to get my own way in interpersonal relationships.  I didn’t fight my divorce or any related stuff, never fought about how much child support to give—I was happy to give as much as I was asked.  Frankly, there was nothing better for me to do with my money.  I honestly have little to no inherent sense of having any rights of my own, certainly with respect to other people, though I will tend to demand that people keep their hands off of me, literally and figuratively.

So, I missed the last few years of my parents’ lives that I could have spent with them, in the vain notion that I might get to see my children sooner.  And, of course, that was why I pled guilty in the first place, though I consider myself innocent according to the law as I understand it.  I certainly never willingly broke any laws, but was trying to help people who had chronic pain, such as I have.  I’m not claiming my thought processes were clear or ideal, and I was certainly naïve and foolish, but I never meant anything criminal, and certainly made no profit.

But I figured, three years’ plea bargain (with time served counting toward it) was better than a chance at a longer sentence, especially since I’m not a likeable sort with whom a jury might be expected to sympathize; or so I was told by my court-appointed lawyer.

This is the way the state extorts people into taking “shorter” offered sentences rather than going to court to fight legitimately for their side and their rights.

Anyway, I gave all that up for what turned out to be a pie in the sky notion.  I lost my medical license, my community, my use of skills that I’d put years and years of effort into gaining, and I lost the last years of my parents’ lives, and I lost my children anyway.  I wish I were just some selfish prick who was good at looking out for number one and living for his own enjoyment.

Well, no, no I don’t.  I despise such people.  But sometimes I envy them their ability not to care what anyone thinks of them, or what impact they have on others, no matter what they do.  I mostly don’t worry too much what other people think of me, but I do want people I love not to hate me.  I’m not sure I’ve been very successful at that.  I’d also like to be able to be with my kids and I certainly didn’t want to be divorced, or to disconnect from various other people, but I’m not good at people, it seems, though I was always good at being a caring doctor.

Oh, well.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s all pointless and irrelevant, and I don’t expect I’ll ever see my kids again, any more than I’ll see my mother and father again, though for different reasons.  I guess not seeing my kids is my punishment, or whatever the proper term is, for being utterly incompetent at human relationships.

It sucks, but I can’t get the rules changed as a special dispensation for me.  And I certainly don’t want to inconvenience my kids in any way; I want them to have the dreams they want to achieve, to do what they want with their lives and to enjoy the world as best they can.  Same with my old friends, and my ex-wife, and her family, and everyone else I’ve known.  I’m not interested in being the center of anyone’s attention, unless it’s something they feel good about.  For instance, if they like my writing or my music, I don’t mind if they pay attention to that.  But I’m certainly not worth derailing anyone’s plans out of any sense of obligation or anything along those lines.

I have no idea what I’m trying to say, today.  I’m getting bored with this blog, both today and in general.  I’m calling it good for now.  We’ll see how Monday goes.


*I want to make it clear that he was not the primary cause, he was merely the last straw…but he does often put himself in that position.

Calling 988 is NOT painless with T-Mobile

I’m probably not going to write too much this morning.  I don’t feel much like writing.  In fact, I almost just decided to use my phone for this, even though I brought my laptop with me when I left the office yesterday.  But I thought about the pain in my right thumb and decided, you know what, since I have the laptop with me, I’ll use it.

I left work precipitously yesterday, over the fact that, once again, I was being asked to tacitly approve of a bending of the rules that were set not just by me but also by the boss and the other people who were now wanting to bend them, and all at the behest of the same miserable worm that often pushes us into that situation.  And maybe because of my apparent Asperger’s, or just because of my moral code, or just the truly abysmal mood I was already in (just check yesterday’s blog to find out about that), but I just basically said, “Fuck this,” and got up, packed up my laptop, and left the office.

I texted my main coworker to apologize, and told him that I was going to call 988 once I got back to the house, because I’m at my wit’s end.  I also texted my sister, who was also very supportive, and my coworker told me that the boss apologized to me for putting me in that position.

Anyway, I ended up at the house, which I don’t consider home, and it took me some time and a breather to work my way up to calling the helpline.  This is because, the last time I called the helpline, many years ago, while I was out on bail during my personal downfall/debacle, I got picked up by the PBSO, handcuffed, and taken to a place I think was called the South County Treatment Center.  The deputies didn’t know how to use their handcuffs very professionally—trust me, I’m a connoisseur—and did some nerve damage to my left wrist in the process that lasted almost a year.

So, I finally decided to call 988 yesterday, only to find that T-Mobile prepay would not allow the call to go through, even though I’m paid through December 11th.  I got online to investigate this, and signed into the account, just to confirm that, yes, I was paid up, and I was.  So then I got on their chat function, trying to tell them about the issue and asking, basically, “What the fuck?”

But the person on the chat said that I had to call the toll-free number specifically for T-Mobile’s prepaid system, that they couldn’t do anything or even say anything about it on their end.  And, of course, even though I’d said that I was trying to call the suicide prevention hotline, they used their same cheerful but useless prepackaged, computer-generated phrases to say I had to call their stupid other service first.

Well, it occurred to me that if I could call their stupid toll-free number, I could probably call another, so I told them to fuck off (or words to that effect), and then looked up the 800 number for the old helpline, and I found that it was still active and would redirect automatically to the same place to which 988 goes.  When I started dialing it, I realized that I still had that old number as a contact in my phone, having put it in there just in case, some time ago.

Anyway, I spoke to a pleasant woman who was quite supportive and calming, until I had to use the restroom.  One reassuring thing was, she asked me if I had any immediate plan or method of killing myself, or if I was thinking of killing myself.  I told her, I think about killing myself every day, and have all sorts of possible methods, but I don’t want to be rude or make a mess for other people to clean up or to inconvenience them, so that was why I was calling them.

I guess if they think you are imminently in danger of killing yourself, then they would call the sheriff.  Which leads me to wonder, what if that was your plan?  What if you deliberately wanted to call the sheriff and then when they came, attack them and make them shoot you?

That was not my intention, of course, though such ideas have occurred to me at times.  I finally got off the phone and took care of the restroom business, let my sister and my coworker know that I had called, and that I was going to bed.

I wish I could say it had solved my problems and I felt worlds better, but I don’t think anyone expects that to be the case.  Still, I’m here, for what it’s worth*, and I’m writing this blog, though I’m not working yet on the follow up to my initial neurological post.

But I will close with a public service announcement, or two of them:  First, if you or someone you know has trouble with depression or other mental health issues, or what have you, please keep the following information in mind:  The three digit number for the national suicide helpline in the USA is 988, and the 800 number is 1- 800-273-8255.

The second suggestion is, if you think there’s any chance you or a loved one might need urgent mental health help, don’t do business with T-Mobile.  The fact that I couldn’t get through with the initial 988 number was almost enough to make me decide that it wasn’t worth trying to get help, that this was the world telling me I should just die.  Fortunately my combative stubbornness came to my aid, and I had to try to solve the problem because it did not make sense.

Fuck T-Mobile.  But thank goodness for the people at the suicide help line.


*Nothing, in the greater scheme of things.

There is no room upon the hill

It’s Monday, and I was loosely considering writing the second part of my discussion of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc., today, but yesterday (and to a lesser extent Saturday), I got my head thrown for a loop by something that other people would probably consider minor, and because of that, I didn’t do any preparation, such as reviewing some of the latest information on the subjects, so I’m going to put that off a bit.

It’s rather strange how fragile my mental state has become—or perhaps it was always so, but I didn’t know, because my surroundings were such that I was not as vulnerable, or because I avoided the mistake of ever getting used to anything going as I expected or hoped.  In any case, my usual Sunday routine is to get up relatively early and do my laundry in the morning.  It’s two to three loads, and it’s the only day in the week that I can do my laundry, given my schedule, so I’ve kind of carved that out as the way things work.

It was my understanding that the new people living in the outer part of the house knew that; I’d asked the owner to make that clear, and hitherto it’s been good.  It feels like it shouldn’t be much of an imposition on anyone, since the remaining six days of the week are theirs to do what laundry they will as they please.  I do pay for the cable and internet, and for (more than) half of the water and power, despite there being only one of me.

I laid in just a little bit—for me anyway—yesterday morning, which means until about 8:20 am, before going out to do my laundry, only to find that there was a load in the wash and the dryer, just getting started, and the lady was there with some man I haven’t seen before, though he’s not important.  I tried stammeringly to remind her that I need to use the laundry on Sunday morning, that it’s the only day I can do it, and please to leave it free in the future, but I think that I didn’t say half of that, and not just because of my very rusty Spanish.  I was just so stressed out, and felt so angry and anxious and irritated that my words kind of froze up, and I don’t have any idea what my expression looked like.  I also felt almost as though I was going to cry, which is quite embarrassing.  I finally said, “por favor” a few times before retreating into my room.

I know for a fact that my face doesn’t adequately convey my emotions—apparently neither does my voice nor my writing—because I frequently find that I when I am horribly depressed, and having suicidal thoughts, and am trying to send out some kind of request for help, and expect that it’s obvious, and that someone will say something about it, people act just they way they normally act.

I don’t know, maybe they aren’t acting like they normally act, but I’m no good at reading them.  In any case, my experience of their behavior doesn’t seem to change.  Thus, my frequent reference to the line from Brain Damage, the penultimate song from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon:  “And when the cloudbursts thunder in your ear / you shout, and no one seems to hear”.  (It’s followed by what is, for me, an even more poignant and heartbreaking line:  “And when the band you’re in starts playing different tunes / I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”)

Maybe it’s just that people have seen me get depressed and stressed out so often, and I’ve tried to express how horrible I feel so often, but no one has done anything or recognized it or something, but I haven’t killed myself yet, so it’s probably okay just to leave it, he’ll get over it and keep on going, since that’s what he’s always done so far.  But, of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results, as the dot-com bubble, and the housing bubble, and the 2008 banking crisis reminded us, though it feels as though most people had never realized it before, and probably most people have never internalized the lesson even since those big slams.

Anyway, there’s a reason that the reference to the straw that broke the camel’s back became a cliché.  When a rope is fraying steadily, for a long time it looks like it’s still holding—after all, it doesn’t tend to stretch as it frays, especially not if it’s a modern, polymer rope—but when it fails, it does so abruptly, and often catastrophically.

Too many metaphors.  Too much mixing thereof.  Sorry, but I’m having trouble being very organized.

Anyway, just having my laundry schedule screwed up—I had to wait hours for the person’s laundry first to be done in the wash, then for them to clear it from the dryer while my first load of wash waited, finished washing, in the washer—really fucked me in the head.  It didn’t help that I couldn’t go for a walk as I’d hoped to do, since it’s been pissing down rain for the last thirty-six hours or so, with a fairly steady wind that makes umbrellas pointless, since your lower half is going to get wet no matter what.  Frankly, it’s significantly more inconvenient than the “subtropical storm” was a few weeks ago.

So I couldn’t finish my laundry and then go for a long walk or anything, or really do anything else while waiting for the laundry machines to be available*.  Not that I would have done anything edifying or useful, but I had planned (as I mentioned) at least to review some more recent stuff about the diseases I’d begun addressing.

This is not the only thing that stressed me out.  Saturday, I made the mistake of making a slightly substantive comment on a post in a blog that I follow, and another reader replied to my comment, starting the fucking idiotic response with “You’re missing the point”, and then spewing some irrelevancy about something that didn’t pertain to the point I was making; and by the way I had not missed the supposed point this person thought the original post was making.  It just wasn’t pertinent nor frankly in any way persuasive.

Anyway, I felt very angry—probably inordinately so—and made the mistake of replying (substantively, I think, and not rudely) to the comment, trying to make my own point clearer.  But now I don’t even want to go back to that blog, and I certainly don’t want to get involved in the comments section anymore.  Maybe some people enjoy such argumentative interactions, but they make me want to go full Hannibal Lecter, or maybe just full Thanos, frankly, and that just ends up making me feel more horrible about myself than I already do.

I’ve had lots of other little stressors getting to me far out of proportion to their actual importance—after all, nothing at all is actually truly important—and it’s just highlighting for me again, in case I should ever start to forget, that I don’t belong in this world, I’m not a member of this species, I enjoy very little about the fact of being here, and that little seems to be shrinking asymptotically toward zero.

I can feel each straw gathering on my back in such moments.  I don’t have any idea when it might break.  It doesn’t help that my back always hurts, of course, but it does make the metaphor apt.  I don’t know the extent of my endurance, and I guess I won’t know until it breaks.  But it is being worn down.  I can tell because I’m getting more and more stressed out by milder and more foolish things all the time.

It’s particularly frustrating, though in a different way, when someone, meaning well, asks me how I’m doing or “checks up on me” in passing, because I have to either just dodge the question—since I know people don’t really know what to do if you tell them that you’re doing terribly and wish your life would end—or just say, “Meh,” hoping that is enough to get across the message if they really want to know, but noncommittal enough that they don’t have to feel upset if they’re just trying to be polite.

But I’m not doing well.  I haven’t been doing well.  I’ve been trying to tell everyone that for a long time, and it feels like it’s silly for someone to ask.  If there’s no one who can help me get the load off my back, I’m going to collapse, sooner or later, and I honestly hope that it’s sooner.

Anyway, that’s an unpleasant way to start the week.  I’m sorry.  I’m not much fun.  And I’m sorry about that, too.  I’m sorry that I’m such a waste of a person.  It’s not how I would prefer to be.  It’s not who I’ve tried to pretend to be.  But pretense can only be carried on so far if it requires so much energy to do, and if it just makes you feel like a liar and a fake, when you already feel like a stranger and, above all, a monster.

Oh, well.  The universe wasn’t built for me, that’s for sure.  It’s under no obligation to be the way I wish it were, nor do I have any business complaining about the fact that I’m not who I might wish I were.  I don’t want to be anyone else, of course; I just wish I were a better version of me.

Maybe somewhere out there in the multiverse, if there is such a thing, there is a better version of me, possibly an infinite number of them.  Of course, there would therefore also be an infinite number of even worse versions of me, based on the mathematics of the situation.  I wonder if I’m close to the mean, or the median (these are tricky concepts when dealing with infinities, in any case), or the mode, or if I’m an outlier.  It doesn’t really matter, I suppose.  As far as anyone can tell, this is the only universe with which I have to work, and I am the only me that there is, and I am the only way I can have been.

How disappointing.


*I did at least get to watch Lydia Ko win yet another golf tournament, apparently a big one, and that’s always good.  I would have watched that anyway, but it’s still good.

The Monday misadventures of a moribund moron

I’m writing this blog post under rather unusual—but not entirely unprecedented—circumstances:  I’m already in the office (and using my laptop!) as I write this because I never returned to the house last night.

I had boarded the usual southbound train, but even as I did, I felt a vague sense of foreboding.  Well—it wasn’t all that vague, come to think of it, because there had been an announcement flashed up that one of the northbound trains was delayed thirty to sixty minutes due to an accident involving the train.  This never bodes well.  The Amtrak heading southbound had already dilly-dallied in the station about fifteen minutes longer than it ought to have, delaying the train for which I was waiting.  Still, the southbound train came, only about twenty minutes later than usual, and I got on it, foolish child that I am.

Two stops along, the train came to a station and the conductor and guards came around saying that everyone had to get off the train, that there would be shuttles coming to bring us down south to the next station or something along those lines.  I didn’t have much choice but to join the crowd, heading for the rough bus-boarding area of the station, but the noises from the nearby engine, and the crowd, and the tightly packed, noisy bodies—as well as the unexpected change in routine—were all quite stressful.

I waited for a while, texting my sister and a coworker, mainly to try to relieve my tension, trying to figure out if either the house or the office were in reasonable walking distance.  The office was ten miles north (workable in a pinch) but the house was twenty-one miles south.  By the time I reached it on foot, it would have been almost time to get up and leave for work.

A few city buses came and went—these weren’t the shuttles, but some people got on them, desperate just to get moving, I suppose.  I couldn’t really tell what anyone was saying or doing, because the tinnitus in my right ear had been acting up ferociously all day, and I could (and can) hear even less on that side than usual.  In any case, I wasn’t going to get on the bus, because based on my web search, it would take two and a half hours to get to my destination by bus, if they were even still running down my way by the time I used them.

Soon, though, there was an announcement that a northbound train was coming—going back the way I came—and it was coming on the side of the track that I was on.  The fact that I also had to use the restroom, and there are none of these in the train stations (nor on shuttles, which still hadn’t arrived after nearly an hour) made my decision for me.  I got on the train and rode the two stops back north, got off, and walked to the office, stopping for some unhealthy fast food on the way, because why the hell not?  It’s not as though I particularly want to be healthy (though I do want to be thinner—I’m putting myself on a strict calorie count/restriction now, since it would be nice not to be so fat when I die).

And that’s where I spent the night:  at the office.  My sleep was probably as good as I ever get at the house, though that’s not saying much, and the industrial-carpeted floor is as good for my back as the futon/floor I sleep on at the house.  The only real issue is that I don’t have a shower, and I can’t wear my usual Tuesday clothes today, which is a little distressing.  I also have to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row, which is quite annoying.  And, of course, I can’t change my socks and underwear.

At least, as I commented to my sister, there’s no one waiting for and/or worrying about me.  There’s never anyone waiting for me to worry about me.  My presence or absence has no impact upon anyone in the world, beyond the immediate and superficial.

So, anyway, here I am at the office already/still, and I don’t have anything else to write about today but the stupid events that happened yesterday evening, which would be far more tolerable if there were any good reason to bother doing any of it.  But there really isn’t.  There’s no point at all to anything I do.

No one has offered me any ideas for topics about which to write; so far there’s apparently nothing about which anyone is interested in my point of view, nothing of worth or of note in my life anymore.  I don’t have any place that I consider—or that feels at all like—home anymore.  I’m lonely and I’m empty, but I find other people stressful and frustrating and their behaviors borderline inexplicable and irrational.  And they’re too loud and chaotic.

On top of that inherent noisiness, of course, there’s that constant, very high D half-sharp* in my right ear, 24 hours a day, that’s been going on for about 15 years or so now, and which has gotten worse recently.  Every now and then, I get a brief run of tinnitus that suddenly pops up in my left ear**, and when it does, I’m horrified that it might be the onset of a permanent noise such as exists in my right ear.

The right ear tinnitus started suddenly, while I was working at the Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center, where the heavy metal doors were controlled remotely via a buzzing electromagnetic lock system, and they all had to be slammed shut.  One day while I was there, a shriek suddenly started in my right ear, that piercing, steady, banshee sound vaguely reminiscent of the background noise of an old video monitor that only very young people can hear.  It’s been going on ever since.

Thankfully, it’s only ever lasted less than a minute at a time so far in my left ear.  I don’t know what I would do if it persisted.  I’d be inclined to shove pens and/or pencils into my inner ears bilaterally, but I know that, since tinnitus is related to damage to nerves and closely related structures, such interventions might just do harm without helping stop the noise.

Medical education can be useful sometimes.

Anyway, that’s that.  I’m at the office already, and I’ve told you my dull and dreary, but nevertheless very stressful, tale from last evening to this morning.  If you want me to write about something else, than give me suggestions, as I mentioned yesterday.  Ask me questions.  Ask me anything.  I can’t promise I’ll be able to write about any and/or everything anyone might ask, but I do have a pretty broad knowledge base, and I’m good at learning new things as well.  I would really be interested in your inquiries or suggestions.

Later.


*There seem to be some other notes mixed in, but it’s hard to tease them out, and the D half-sharp is definitely the most prominent one.

**It’s never the same pitch as in my right ear, of course—this is only to be expected, since the nature of tinnitus and the damage that causes it involve processes that are utterly unlikely to coincide, pitch-wise, between the two ears.

A call for topics

It’s Monday morning yet again, despite my best efforts‒the beginning of yet another pointless work week in the dreary tail bit of the year, when the sun sets at 5:31 pm local time, thanks to the outmoded “daylight savings time”, making people like me, who are already dysthymic/depressive and are also subject to some seasonal affective problems that much more unstable.  Spread the word: daylight savings time causes significant morbidity and mortality* and does no one much, if any, good.

I’m writing this on my cell phone again, or “smartphone” if you will (though dumbphone seems like a better term given the way most humans use theirs).  I deliberately didn’t bring my laptop to the house with me over the weekend.  It’s not as though I’m writing stories anymore; I’m just writing this ridiculous blog.  So there’s no particular impetus to make the writing process easier for me, as using the laptop does.  I might as well use the smaller, lighter device when I don’t feel like carrying the heavier one.

I had a reasonably boring weekend, which I guess is a good thing.  I watched a few movies, and I went on some comparatively long walks‒I think I totaled about 12 miles over the course of the two days.  I also spoke with my sister on the phone on Sunday, and that was good.

That’s about it.  That’s the extent of my non-work life.  It’s the best I have to offer, and it’s as like as not just to get worse as time passes.  But I was able to force myself to get almost eight hours of sleep on Friday night and Saturday night, thanks to Benadryl and melatonin.  Oh, and of course, I did my laundry on Sunday, as I always do.

Sorry, I know this is really boring so far.  I don’t know what to tell you.  I didn’t really have any subject in mind for today, other than my brief diatribe about daylight savings time and depression/seasonal affective disorder.  Obviously, it’s a topic that affects me significantly (no pun intended), but there’s otherwise not much for me to say about it.

Eliezer Yudkowsky has an interesting bit of insight into it that he gives as an illustrative case in his excellent book Inadequate Equilibria, dealing with, among other things, the reasons why no one has done research on much stronger light-based treatments for SAD.  But you can’t expect depressed people to take initiative to do remarkable things to help themselves, since a major part of the problem with depressive disorders is comparative inability to take positive action.

If anyone out there has any requests for subjects or topics for me to discuss in a blog post, I’d be more than willing to consider them, though if it’s not a subject about which I have any expertise, I may not be able to do anything worthwhile with it.  Still, I have a fairly broad knowledge base regarding general science, especially biology and physics.  I like mathematics, though I’m not that deeply knowledgeable about esoterica thereof‒a regretted failure of my youthful imagination when I was in college.  Similar things could be said about the deep aspects of computer science; I wish I had known how interesting the subjects were back then and so had pursued them more than I did.

Of course, I have a fair amount of personal knowledge in the reading and writing of fantasy/science fiction/horror, though I haven’t read any new stuff in a while.  I haven’t even read any of my own books in a long time.  I think the most recent horror I’ve read was Revival by Stephen King, which was pretty good.  I haven’t read much if anything in the way of new fantasy since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I’m reasonably well versed in slightly older comic book lore, especially Marvel.  And of course, The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings are among my favorite books.

I enjoy Shakespeare, but I don’t consider myself any kind of scholar of the Bard.  I like his works and his words in a fairly straightforward fashion.  I also like Poe quite a lot, as you might have guessed from my recitation videos of some of his poems.

Anyway, that’s a quick summary of some of the subjects upon which I might at least feel justified in opining.  So, if anyone has any suggestions or requests in these or even other, tangentially related subjects, I would appreciate them.  I like to feel useful or productive in at least some way, so I can justify my existence to myself.  It isn’t easy.  I’m a much harsher judge of my usefulness or worth than Scrooge at his worst, and I expect no ghosts of past, present, and/or future to visit me to give me some epiphany that changes my character.

It would be nice if some rescue mission were to happen to save my soul, but I don’t see it as plausible, and I don’t think anyone thinks it’s in their interest‒or anyone else’s‒to save me, in any case.  So in the meantime I’m just stumbling along like a wind up robot that’s been forgotten by the child that wound it up, legs moving and shifting until the mechanism breaks or the spring finishes untightening.  And damn, that’s an annoyingly efficient spring.


*I don’t have the data for this, but I strongly suspect that, if the sun set at least a little later‒say an hour later, even‒things would be slightly easier for people with SAD.  It might be difficult to tease out the statistics, but SAD doesn’t just kill by increasing rates of suicide, though I’m pretty sure it does that.  People experiencing exacerbations of depression have higher rates of numerous other illnesses and accidents beyond the obvious. 

A personal brush with being nonverbal

It’s Monday morning, the beginning of the first full work week in November.  I had the weekend off, so that’s why there was no post on Saturday.  I wish I could say that I had an enjoyable, restful weekend—I did at least rest some, though I don’t feel rested—but I didn’t do anything of value to me or to anyone else this weekend, except perhaps for my minimal contribution to the economy that entailed buying things to eat and some cleaning supplies.  I certainly did not socialize in any way.

I did not edit that recording of mine on the nature of time, so my apologies to anyone who was looking forward to it*.  I did do another very brief recording to myself last night, but this was mainly a reminder to me to try to write or think about something, and since it did work to remind me, I’ll mention what it was about here, now.

I was watching a video by a young woman who was diagnosed with ASD in adulthood speaking and thinking about “selective mutism”.  The kind she was discussing was that where someone apparently loses the power of speech only in specific circumstances, and for her it seemed related to social anxiety.  There are, however, instances of prolonged apparent mutism, or nonverbal state, among people with autism spectrum disorder.  Thinking about that from time to time had made me recall a rather disturbing event from my own childhood, one that I don’t think anyone else has ever known about.

I was very young when this happened.  Possibly it was shortly before I started kindergarten, but more likely it was in the first year or two of elementary school, but I remember one day I was frustrated about something I had tried to say.  Perhaps someone had laughed about my inability to get something out, perhaps someone had told me to be quiet; I don’t recall what or who the specific trigger was.  In any case, I recall deciding to myself, in an almost spiteful way, that I would just not talk anymore.  So, I made myself be silent, and for the next few hours, I did indeed remain silent, not speaking.

Then, a little later, something rather frightening happened:  I decided that I wanted to say something**, and realized that I could not speak.  There was nothing wrong with my mouth or my vocal cords or my lungs.  I simply felt that the part of my mind that produced the spoken word had been flipped into the “off” position; Broca’s area had been taken offline.  It was a bit like having taken in a post-hypnotic suggestion that one would be unable to speak; I learned years later that I was a pretty good hypnotic subject, and I did daily self-hypnosis for years starting in junior high or so***.

But that was years later.  At this age, all I knew was that, having decided earlier in anger that I was not going to speak anymore, I found that, indeed, I could not seem to speak.  I remember—I think—being in the dining room near the back of the house, where the deck door would eventually be put in, though I’m not sure if it was there yet.  I felt very frightened that I would never be able to speak again.

It occurred to me, or it felt to me—if I remember correctly—that if I let this go on, it would only be harder to break over time, and it might become permanent****.  I don’t recall exactly what I finally was able to force myself to say, after several moments or minutes of trying; I think it was something like “Hello”, or some rhyme or something along those lines, something very easy to remember and automatic.  But it was difficult.  I really had to force myself, as hard as I had told myself not to talk anymore, to do it.  I was finally able to do so.

It’s a very strange event, but I’ve never really forgotten it, thought the details are plainly fuzzy.  But I wonder if the fact that I was so close to being able to shut my speech down is related to my (apparent) ASD—according to the many tests and explorations that I’ve done—or if it’s simply that I am, as I noted, a good hypnotic subject and was able inadvertently to hypnotize myself in a moment of frustration and anger.

Perhaps “hypnotizability” is related to some aspects of autism spectrum disorders, such as the tendency to become obsessed with certain subjects or interests, to “zone out” when focused on things, ignoring the world around, and even to do various fidgety stims (I’ve always tended to fiddle with things in my hands in one way or another, from dice, to coins, to pens or pencils, to my fingers themselves, and so on).

I don’t know, and I don’t know that anyone has done much research on such things.  There seems to be a relative paucity of functional and structural neuroscience research on autism spectrum disorders, at least based on my own searches—though perhaps I’m just not deep enough in it to know where to look.  But it is interesting and somewhat disconcerting.  Still, maybe my flirtation with being nonverbal, albeit only for a few hours, is related to the phenomenon overall.

More likely, it’s just me being exceptionally weird, as usual.  I don’t know that I’ll ever find out.  In any case, no matter what, I’ve always been decent at writing, and me being nonverbal would not have spared any of you the existence of this blog.


*As if there were any such person.

**Again, I cannot recall at all what I wanted to say or why.

***I got a book about it from my father, because I had a second-hand book from the same author as his book.  My father is probably the person I’ve known whose mind was most similar to mine in many ways, so I guess it made sense that he and I had books from the same author about influencing one’s own mind.

****I’m sure there are people out there who wish it could have been so.

Fear no more the heat o’ th’ sun Nor the furious winters’ blogs

Hello and good morning.  You should know that it’s Thursday if I use some variant of that greeting.  I got started in that habit early in the course of writing my (then only Thursdays) blog, and got myself locked into the pattern mentally.  Now it would make me very tense and stressed if I were to write a Thursday blog post without that opening.  Likewise with the title being a slightly altered quote from Shakespeare.

I’m writing this on my laptop for the first time this week, because I decided to bring it back from the office yesterday.  It was our first decent business day this week, but I still felt thoroughly rotten, in the sense of being tired and in pain.  I’d been lying awake in “bed” during the night, looking at the clock, deciding when just to give up and get up.  I had seen the time getting to about 3:50 and started thinking about the various three digit numbers coming up.

I knew none of the even numbers were prime, and I knew 351 wasn’t prime, since the sum of its digits is a multiple of three*.  But 353 looked like it might be prime, so I started checking it in my head.  Obviously it wasn’t divisible by any even number, nor by 3, nor by any multiple of 5, so I started trying from 7, then 11, then 13, then 17, then 19, then 23, then 29…by that time I was getting suspicious.  The next prime was 31, and I tried that in my head, but it wasn’t divisible, because after you divide the first two digits by 31, you’re left with 43 remainder, which is clearly not going to be evenly divisible, so I stopped there with that.  And the next prime number was bigger than 35 (it’s 37), which started making it look like 353 might be prime.

I cheated then, turned to my computer and checked with Google if 353 was prime**, and it said it was.  That was good enough for me.  I decided to get up at 3:53, which by that point was about a minute and a half away.

Thus, I got on the first train, and luckily, there were no “trespasser strikes” or any other kind of delays, and my train arrived and left at the scheduled time.  I definitely am not going to kill myself by jumping in front of a commuter train (or probably any other train).  I don’t like hypocrisy, and to be worn out by delays only to cause them oneself would be petty and spiteful in a way that I would prefer not to be in my swansong.  I need to do something less intrusive.

That’s all unless, of course, I give up on trying to be polite and just act on some impulse that comes at the right time in the right place, and fuck all the humans if it causes them problems.

I’m sitting in a different seat on the train than I usually use, because I didn’t feel up to climbing to the top level.  I worry that I’m sitting in someone else’s usual seat, but it’s very non-crowded on the midway level of this train car, so I don’t think I’m causing anyone inconvenience.

It’s probably bothering me more than it would bother anyone else that I’m not in my usual seat, but I just didn’t feel like taking 8 more stairs up.  If it had been a prime number of steps, maybe I would have done it.  Probably not.  I only just now counted the stairs to see, but I hadn’t counted them before deciding I didn’t want to climb them.

It was eighty degrees out and quite muggy when I left the house this morning before five o’clock.  Don’t envy it.  It’s not as though people are going to the beaches or sitting out in the sun and sipping cocktails, or enjoying any other aspects of warm weather.  Everyone is scratching out their livings, going through their daily routines in a grimy, overcrowded urban environment.  One of the only visible effects of the warmth is that you’ll see people wearing things like basketball shorts to work—grownups who are not professional athletes wearing baggy, gaudily colored shorts in places of business.  How is one to take any of them seriously?

At least the people who run the Tri-rail trains all wear uniforms of one kind or another.  They are quite professional and serious—and pleasant and friendly to passengers***—and they do their jobs well and with enthusiasm.  There’s even a conductor who sometimes works in the evening on the train I catch leaving work who, as we approach my station (which is Hollywood) makes the announcement, “Now approaching Hollywood…Hollywood, California, now approaching Hollywood.”

I like this because it’s similar to my own usual thoughts when we approach the station, which is to recite the words of the man on the street in the beginning of the movie Pretty Woman, who calls out to no one in particular, “Welcome to Hollywood!  What’s your dream?” and so on.  That’s a moment or two before we see a young Hank Azaria in a bit part as a detective, investigating the murder of a prostitute, astonished that tourists are taking pictures of the crime scene.  It’s an unusually dark beginning to a classic romantic comedy.

Real romance rarely begins so darkly, though it often ends unpleasantly.  It does always end, eventually, even for those who stay together for the rest of their lives, because life is no more than 120 years (at the extreme maximum) for humans, and usually quite a bit less than that.

Sorry.  That’s dreary, even for me.  I’ll try to turn it around by taking a line from the…I think fifth series of modern Doctor Who, in which the Doctor describes a species of mayfly on some planet I can’t remember, saying that they live only twenty minutes, and they don’t even mate for life!

Time is relative in many senses.  I’ve had more than one day this week that seemed to last far longer than twenty-four hours.  The faster you think, the slower time will seem to pass for you, so it may be worth practicing that, if that appeals to you.  Users of psychedelics sometimes report their trips seeming to last for eons, and meditation and similar states can sometimes produce similar experiences.  We all know that dreams can give that impression.

So, as Tyrell says to Roy, “Revel in your time,” even if all those moments will be eventually be lost like tears in the rain.

TTFN

Hollywood_Amtrak_Tri-Rail smaller


*It’s actually also a multiple of 9, since its digits add to 9, but it’s 9 times 39 (9×40=360, take away a nine and you get 351), and 39 is 3 x 13, so we know that 351 is also 27×13.  The prime factors of 351 are 3x3x3x13.

**I do this sort of thing often enough that when I start typing, by the time I get to “Is 353…”, Google pops up the option (and the answer) for the question “Is 353 a prime number?”

***This is lost on me, I’m afraid, though I admire it.  When the driver waves out of his window toward passengers as he pulls in, I’ve never had the impression that he was waving at me until this morning when, for the first time, I thought it seemed like he might have turned a final wave in my direction after more obvious ones to other regulars—I always stand at the far end of the platform.  I just felt a bit frozen and stressed, like someone who’d been called on in class but hadn’t been paying attention to the lesson.  I tried not to look toward the window, but just kept kind of looking down-ish and toward my entrance to the train, and I felt like a fool.

Just say “No” to vember

Well, it’s Tuesday morning, and against all my considered advice, a new month has started. That month is November, in case either you’re reading this at some later date or you’re really not paying attention. It’s the year 2022. That’s AD or CE depending on your preferred terminology, though those things, like the number of the year or the month or the day are all arbitrary. For all I know, by the time you’re reading this, you may be using something like stardates from Star Trek or summat.

I’m writing this on my phone again, because I didn’t feel like bothering to bring my laptop home. Yesterday was just about the least enjoyable Halloween I’ve had since I got back from being “up the road”. It was a disappointing October in general. I had an almost unnoticeable birthday, then a pathetic Halloween, which was a particularly rotten day for business, also. I put together a pretty cool costume, in case we did something at the office as usual, but we didn’t. I wish I had that money and effort back.

It’s not a big tragedy to have a disappointing Halloween, obviously, but it is one of the only things to which I look forward, so it hits harder on top of my general deterioration than it might for other people. I also had more trouble with the WIFI last night, and my rest was worse than usual even for me. I didn’t get a single hour of uninterrupted sleep. My back/hips/leg/ankle are really bothering me this morning, but that’s partly from worse-than-usual sleep and probably partly from wearing boots to go with my stupid costume yesterday. That was an ill-considered idea in retrospect, but it’s no one’s fault but my own. I always make a mistake when I approach something optimistically.

I did upload that video about perception not being reality yesterday. The content is literally the same as the audio I posted with my blog yesterday, other than the screen picture, but here’s that video, anyway.

You are certainly encouraged to “give a thumbs up, subscribe, hit the bell, comment, and share” if you are so inclined. It doesn’t really matter, of course. I’m sure my YouTube channel has no future of any note.

Speaking of the future, and also about the past, I didn’t even begin to edit the audio that I recorded with my nocturnal thoughts about time from Sunday night/Monday morning. I anticipated there being…I don’t know, something happening at the office. There was nothing. But I still didn’t get any editing or anything else useful done there. I don’t honestly know if I’ve ever done anything useful. I guess it would depend on one’s definitions of usefulness.

I’ve been trying to find books that are intriguing to me, but no fiction or even non-fiction seems interesting. My favorite blog (or should I say “website”) that I follow is on a near-hiatus, with only minimal posting for the moment. That site is the closest thing I come to socializing, so I’m disappointed. Anyway, I’ve curtailed my commenting on it of late, because most comments I make end up coming across as weird or stupid or irritating to me or to other readers or to the writer of the site, and I don’t want to bother people who are some of the only people, and some of the most rational people, with whom I interact in any way. That would really be mortifying*.

***

We’re currently stopped in the train at the station two up from mine, apparently waiting for clearance from the dispatcher. I have no idea why. They haven’t mentioned anything about any accidents or whatnot. It’s a bit frustrating, because I seriously considered not going in to the office today, since I had such a rotten night’s sleep, and I feel so utterly depressed, and in more pain than usual. But I said to myself that since I wasn’t literally sick**, and especially since it’s the first of the month, when rent is due and all that, it feels irresponsible not to go in. Considering yesterday was such a lame day for business, it seems only right to do my part to be “all hands on deck” today.

I’m so tired of always feeling responsible, though, of always feeling like I have to try, to do my best, to do my part (or more), to try to act cheerful and to be a person who can help other people when they come to him for help, as they always do. Honestly, the times I’ve been in the hospital for surgery or relatively severe illness were such a relief in a weird way. Everything was out of my hands, and I could rest.

***

They just announced that there has apparently been a “trespasser strike” north of Fort Lauderdale station; that’s the cause of our delay. I believe this is a euphemism. A trespasser is someone who wanders into the vicinity of the railroad tracks, which is technically the property of the state of whoever runs the railroad system, and by “strike” I don’t think they mean someone is marching on a picket line holding a sign.

This is why I said it would be rude if I were to throw myself in front of the train or in between cars of a freight train. It leaves everyone on the trains delayed and inconvenienced. Of course, it’s very sad that someone was apparently hurt or possibly killed, but little stressors and inefficiencies and backups accumulate in any society, costing money, time, energy, stress…and these effects do wreak costs upon the health and the lives of numerous people, with consequences that are real and tragic, but are not seen so clearly because they happen via the accumulation of disparate forces and events. What looks like a traffic accident due to driver error is really an externality produced by the increased stressors that accumulated to wear that driver down, until the wrong thing happened at a bad time, with tragic outcomes. It’s happening all the time, it’s as real as the cumulative effects of sun exposure that lead to skin cancer over time, or accumulating atherosclerosis leading to heart attacks and strokes when the system finally fails at some weak point, and it’s even harder to pin down. It’s probably utterly hopeless and pointless for me to even try to do my part not to make things worse by not destroying myself in a disruptive way, but I don’t want to make things worse if I can help it. I probably can’t help it, given my nature.

Oh, well. My foundations and load-bearing walls are creaking and cracking and crumbling day by day, and they will eventually give out somewhere, and the whole edifice will collapse. I can hear the creaking; it’s getting louder and louder, growing slowly but with an exponential trend as time goes on. I don’t know what to do about it. I have no personal resources to apply to it, and I have no right to ask anyone else for help.

Anyway, that’s enough of all that. I’m sure you all wish I would finish off sooner rather than later, and just get it over with. Probably a good idea.

In the meantime, I hope you have a good day and a good month, and a good remainder of the year, and a good next year after that. If you’re patient enough to have read this far, then I’m sure you deserve the best.

***

P.S. We had started to go forward, but halfway between one stop and the next we approached what must have been the scene of the “strike” and now they say we’re going back to the previous station, though currently we’re sitting still. I don’t know what they’re going to do from there. Sometimes they arrange bus services or whatnot, to go around the spot. I don’t know if I can handle that. I may just walk to the nearest regular bus.

P.P.S.  I have gone back to the house.  I cannot wait for the shuttle because it’s not there and I’m in increasing pain and stress and am so very tired.  I went back to the station and back to the house.  I have no reliable means to drive to work and back, and I do not have the wit or will to deal with taking the bus.  I just want to go to sleep and stay asleep.  That would be so nice.


*Unfortunately, not literally so.

**In any infectious, contagious sense, anyway. I am sick in the head, and I’m not being facetious about that. I am very, very ill right now, and I don’t have any good idea what to do about it. I think it’s going to kill me.

I hear the train a-comin’, it’s rolling ’round the bend

It’s Saturday again, and I’m going to work today, so I’m writing a blog post.  Any of you who follow me on the weekend may be glad (or not) that this is the case.

I’m waiting at the train station for the first Saturday train, and they just announced that the northbound train, the one I take, is delayed “15…20 minutes due to a mechanical failure”, so I’m going to be sitting here longer than I thought I would be.  I wish I had a reliable alternative means to get to the office, but the buses are also slower on Saturdays, and the trip always takes longer via bus, since the train doesn’t have to stop for traffic lights, and has fewer stops to pick up passengers.

It’s curious that the announcements for delays say, for instance, “15…20 minutes” rather than “15 to 20 minutes” which seems to me to be the more normal way to express such a range.  If one took it as giving an estimate in the way people often read off strings of numbers, one might infer that they were saying the train would be delayed by 1,520 minutes, but that’s 25 hours and 20 minutes.  Surely anyone waiting would just take the next train, in an hour, rather than wait until tomorrow morning at 6:09 am.

Of course, based on past experience, the train may end up being cancelled and I’ll be taking the next train anyway.  It’s not an auspicious start for a Saturday, but one doesn’t do what one does because it’s convenient (necessarily).  A lion on the savannah that gives up hunting because the prey seems too difficult to get and it’s an unpleasant day will have a much lower chance of surviving to reproduce than one that just buckles down and keeps trying.

Lions are idiots.

Ha ha, just kidding.  Of course, lions aren’t that bright relative to the average human, but they’re pretty bright as far as the overall animal kingdom goes.  So are their competitors.  Their prey is not necessarily as bright as they are, but they don’t have to be.  It doesn’t take much brainpower to sneak up a blade of grass, but herbivores still need to be smart enough to avoid carnivores as often as feasible.

I’m a tiny bit nervous about today—about how I’ll be, that is—because I have not taken my antidepressant.  I haven’t mention it, but I’ve been back on them for some weeks now (I don’t recall exactly how long) as an attempt to see if they can help me with my worsening depression.

That hasn’t happened, as I’m sure you can tell if you’ve been reading my posts.  My depression has, if anything, worsened, though that may just be a natural progression that has nothing to do with medication.  Also, I cannot know how I would be if I had not taken them, though perhaps, if the many-worlds description of quantum mechanics is correct, somewhere out there in the omniverse are versions of me that have acted as the experimental control to my attempt.

Hey, they just said the train will be boarding in 10 minutes!  That will, honestly, make it only 15 minutes late, not 1,520 minutes, which is quite preferable.  See, sometimes things go better than expected, even for pessimists.

Anyway, the reason I’m stopping my antidepressants, at least for now is that—in addition to seeming to fail to improve my psychological state—they are giving me side effects that give me even more difficulty interacting with people around me, and leave me feeling more tense, more irritable, and also more dry-mouthed.  That latter bit isn’t such a big deal, but the others are a problem when, possibly because of my supposed ASD, I already have trouble interacting and connecting with people.  And that only makes me feel worse about myself.  I don’t feel worse about the other people; it’s not their job to connect with or look out for me, after all.

Oh!  I got at least some of the editing done on those sound recordings from yesterday.  The one from the middle of the night was really full of background noise, and also, apparently, the microphone on the phone is especially susceptible to breath and movement noise, so that’s required a lot of fine-toothed editing.

The phone app records in stereo, which is interesting.  I’m assuming that means there are at least 2 microphone inputs on the phone, though they can’t be very far apart.  Anyway, I also recorded a brief addendum, which I’m just going to tack onto the end of the first and turn into a “video” which I’ll front with a picture that I’ve manipulated and altered and made, I think, pretty cool.

I hope that having stopped my antidepressants doesn’t lead me to crash and burn today, but I’ve been losing altitude steadily anyway, and sooner or later there’s going to be a hill or a building that I can’t clear, and that’ll be it.  There are rarely survivors of airplane crashes—though I’m not sure what the statistics are for metaphorical airplane crashes.

I think the reason medicines have sometimes worked for me in the past was because I was also getting therapy, and for someone like me, who has trouble connecting, but who can talk about what interests me once I get started, it was very useful to have someone whose job includes listening.  I tried the Better Help website to do therapy late last year, but I think I’ve mentioned that that fell apart because my therapist had to go on maternity leave within a month or so of my beginning, and the online therapy wasn’t a great fit.  I also just didn’t have the strength to start again with a new therapist so soon.

I had to do text-based therapy, since I didn’t feel up to Skype-style talking over the computer, and I didn’t want to talk out loud about my issues in the house where I live, anyway.  Unfortunately, in-person therapy is expensive, and I have no insurance, nor good transportation or spare time.

A lot of why therapy has helped in the past was, I think, because I was just in a better situation then, overall.  I was depressed, as well as being apparently “neurodivergent” without my knowledge, but I was—the first time—happily married, finishing med school and then doing residency.  After that, unfortunately, my back injury and chronic pain and then failed back surgery syndrome and all that jazz made it less effective, as did the failure of my marriage and, later, my professional catastrophic failure.

Prison wasn’t much help, either.  Not because it was bullshit* that I was sent there—I’ve never expected anything but injustice from the world in general, and by that time, with chronic pain and my marriage having failed I didn’t see it as being much worse than where I already was—but because it separated me from my children, whom I haven’t seen in person in over ten years now.  It also made it very hard for me to return to my previous profession.

Anyway, if I get “worse” from stopping antidepressant treatment, well that’s just too bad.  Hell, I may just steer myself toward a hill or mountain if I can see one.  I’ll avoid buildings, because it wouldn’t be nice to injure other, innocent people, just because I hate the world and my life and myself.  That would be petty and pathetic, and I have no patience for people who do such things.

Well, that’s enough for today.  Be on the lookout for my “video” this weekend.  I may do a reading of Poe’s The Haunted Palace for Halloween and put that on YouTube, so be on the lookout for that, too.

Thanks for reading, today and otherwise.  Until we “meet” again (if we do, which is far from certain) I wish you the best.


*Yes, I know, surely everyone who is arrested and then takes a plea bargain because the state has threatened to try to put them away for a minimum of 15 years (and as much as a few hundred) for (naively and foolishly) trying to help others who have chronic pain, but not grasping the societal dynamics of the situation fully (probably at least partly because of ASD) would say that their situation was bullshit.  But I honestly think I’m being objective about this.  It was a politically motivated process, in which I was something analogous to a dolphin caught in a tuna net, but there was no incentive for them to throw me back.  My uncle, who was a criminal attorney for many years, had even said that it was obvious that they knew I wasn’t a bad guy—they barely paid any attention to my case other than to finally offer the plea deal to avoid having to prove anything, knowing that someone who doesn’t have millions of dollars at the ready and so cannot easily defend against a state machine that does, and the risk of getting a possibly very long sentence if found guilty (jurors are unsympathetic toward doctors, apparently, and I was judged not to be a likeable person to put on the witness stand) is going to take it and save the state the trouble of actually trying to prove any crime.  Of course, I figured, three years is better than the risk of fifteen or more, and I’d be able to see my kids again after that at least before they were all grown up**.  But the state wasn’t about simply to drop the case; that would have looked bad and been politically inexpedient.  What wonderful reasons they have for ruining so many people’s lives.

**Insert gales of sardonic, scornful laughter at my own repeated naiveté.  I am so foolish when I’m optimistic.

“A weary pilgrim on the road”

It’s Friday morning, and I’m once again on the earliest train heading toward the office, because I woke up way too early and wasn’t able to get back to sleep.

While watching a video to pass some dead, middle-of-the-night time, I heard a casual statement that poked one of my pet peeves, so I made a quick, five minute, audio essay on my voice recorder* responding to this idiotic verbal excretion.  I’m going to edit that a bit and then post the audio here, and also probably turn it into a “video” on YouTube, though there is no actual video involved.  I’ll probably just put up some picture, hopefully of something relatively pertinent, as the video portion.

An “interesting” thing happened in the office yesterday.  Where I work, they play loud background music all throughout the day** because people are on the phones talking to customers and don’t want to be distracted by other people on their phones.  The music is literally just noise to break up any coherent verbal background.  I’ve never worked anywhere else where people felt the need for such things, but apparently this is typical in these settings.  I’m often tempted to play construction noises, or factory floor noises in the background, since—supposedly—this would serve the same purpose.

That’s more or less what the effect of the constant noise is to me.  It’s like jackhammers and drills and traffic and chaos always going on in the background, and it’s overwhelming.  I need to stay relatively aware of things, because my own job requires responding to things happening in the room, recording and processing and checking various things as they happen.  But I do have a pair of good earmuffs or whatever you call them that I put on occasionally.

At other times, when things are a little slower and I can afford minor distractions, I will put in earbuds and watch a video or podcasts or something either on the computer or my tablet or phone during the downtime.

Well, it’s a been a strange and slow week, with very diminished business compared to last week, but with erratic spurts of good activity, and yesterday afternoon, after doing some decent business during the middle of the day, things were slowing, and I put in my earphone*** and was watching some videos.  Then, at some point, I looked up from one of the videos and realized that everyone else was gone.  They had all left early, since things were so slow, but nobody had made sure that I knew.

For a moment, I wondered if everyone had simply stepped outside for a moment for various reasons, and it had just coincidentally all occurred at once.  Such things are possible.  But I doubted it.

I texted my coworker who is closest to me in the office and asked him if everyone had just up and gone.  He texted me back that yes, they had, since all but one person was off the phone already, and there seemed little point in pushing through for the last forty minutes, with no prospects in sight.  I texted that it would have been nice for someone to tell me, and he duly apologized and said that he’d forgotten I had my headphones on.  I did only have the one, but the other ear is obviously even less useful than I thought.  Also, I guess, when I’m focused on something I can become difficult to distract.

I’m already having worse trouble than usual lately with my dysthymia/depression, and my (apparent) ASD, and just generally a non-existent social life, since all the people I’ve ever loved don’t seem to want to be around me.  But this new occurrence certainly didn’t help my mood even as I made sure the coffee was off and shut off the rear and front lights, set the alarm, and left to office to go to the train station.

I know that my problems in general are my “fault”, in the sense that they arise from my less-than-ideal machinery and programming, so to speak, and I don’t think anyone is out to get me or particularly trying to hurt me or anything of that sort.  But it still does hurt to have that glaring reminder of how different and separate I am, even where I work, before leaving to go back to the house in which I live, in a room by myself, where I don’t talk to or interact with anyone but the stray cat in the back who seems to like me.

I’m allergic, unfortunately, so I can’t take him in, but he’s a pleasant cat, and I do give him food.  I know cats can take care of themselves, but he’s a somewhat older male, and there are a lot of stray cats in south Florida, and raccoons and other creatures as well, so it’s nice to make him as stable as he can be, as well as another cat, a female, who is extremely skittish and timid.

Anyway, it further cements my provisional conclusions that I am not really a beneficial organism to the creatures around me—except a few stray cats—and that I have no connection of any depth with other beings.  I feel utterly adrift and alone, like I’m on a raft in a limitless ocean.  It’s a big raft, and there’s enough food and fresh water for an indefinite time, but there’s nothing else about, and no land in sight.  There may be no land anywhere.  I want just to dive into the water and sink, but the delusion that someday I might see land of some kind makes me keep putting it off, despite the fact that the journey is so dreary and pointless.

That’s a pretty ham-handed metaphor, and it’s not very good.  Sorry, I’m sure this is getting tiresome.  I know it’s tiresome for me, like everything else, so I’ll leave it at this for now.  I’m working tomorrow, so I’m sure I’ll write and post something then.  Have a good day, please, if you can.


*Yes, I figured out how to set it up and use it, which was not hard.  What confused me was the fact that it asked permission to be able to save the recordings on my phone’s memory, and even to use the microphone and speakers.  I don’t recall other such apps needing to ask for permissions.  Why would I record something and then save the recording if I didn’t want it saved on my phone?  It still makes me nervous, just ever so slightly.

**I say “music”, but it’s pretty crappy.

***I mainly put only the left earbud in, because my right ear has badly reduced hearing, and constant tinnitus, and it’s also good to keep at least that, rather muffled and hampered, source of sound input active, so I don’t miss too much.