A passion for timeliness and a late-appearing fruit of passion

Well, it’s Monday again, to the surprise of essentially no one.  That’s just what happens after the weekend, isn’t it?

I’m starting this post while still at the house, sitting on the “piano” bench in my room, because it’s too chilly to sit at the bus stop for too long and do the writing.  This is not merely a “chilly for south Florida”* chilly.  It’s about 45 degrees Fahrenheit out.  I don’t know how windy it is‒I haven’t been out yet‒but that’s not shorts-wearing weather even for snow birds.

Thankfully, fleece hoodies with the hoods up are more than adequate against such modestly cold temperatures, and walking is much warmer than riding a motorbike.  I have more extensive covering I could wear in a pinch‒a long, black duster I got originally to be part of a costume, but which is also quite handy for cold weather.

Anyway, there’s not much going on.  I had thought last evening about writing a topical blog post this morning, something relating to a book I’m rereading, called On Being Certain, but I’m not terribly into that right now.

I didn’t do anything useful at all this weekend, really, apart from getting some physical rest‒well, I walked 3 miles to 7-11 yesterday, but that was because I currently have no better means of travel, and I had some things I wanted.  It was worth the trip, I’d say, though 7-11 is pricey.

Still, the good thing about my current disrupted commute really is how much I’m walking.  Twice last week, I chose not to ride the buses back from the train station in the evening.  The first time was just because I wanted to do it, and was early enough for it to be workable; the second time because the bus that had been scheduled to come just hadn’t shown up, and the next one wasn’t for 30 minutes.

I made a good deal of progress before that next bus finally passed me:  more than half the distance I would have ridden it.  I felt quite smug, as though I were the one passing it, not the other way around.  On each  of those two days last week, I walked more than 8 miles total.  All the other days I walked more than 4.  So my walking really is getting boosted.

It occurs to me that I still haven’t done any of my “audio blogs” or podcasts or whatever one might want to call them.  Maybe I’m setting my bar too high.  I’d been planning to record them using Audacity and a decent mic, at least, but maybe I should just use my phone.  I’m using it for this, after all.  What do you all think?  Which should I do?

***

Okay, well, now I’m at the bus stop, but there’s still a good fifteen plus minutes to wait until the scheduled time for the first bus.  That’s just the way I do things.  I hate to be late to nearly anything, and at least since the time when I was in junior high, I always tended to get to school before nearly anyone else.  I just preferred the quiet solitude before the cacophonic arrival of all the other people into the area.

This has continued through pretty much the rest of my life (so far, anyway), and has, if anything, become more pronounced.  Indeed, my early awakening may well be distantly related to that sense that I can’t stand to be late (and being on time = being late to me).

If it’s related, it is pathologically so.  For instance, I first woke up last night at around 12:30.  I swiftly went back to sleep, at least, but still woke up more or less at least once an hour, and it became harder and harder to get back to sleep‒and it took longer each time‒such that by about 3:30, I mostly gave up.

But there was not too much point just to getting up and leaving early.  Oh, I suppose I could have walked all the way to my old, standard train station, and I would have arrived in time at least for the second train, if not the first.  But then, even given the weather, I probably would have started the day all sweaty.

Ending the day sweaty is okay‒you can shower and change clothes and all that‒but starting it that way can be a bit unpleasant.  And in Florida, at least, it leaves you at increased risk for skin fungus, or at least for mildew smells in your clothes, and there are very few smells that I find more repulsive than the smell of most fungi (though baking and brewing yeast are exceptions).

***

Okay, well, now I’m a bit anxious.  I looked on the “Myride” site and though it shows that there’s a scheduled bus arrival at 5:49 (in 2 minutes now) there’s no “estimated time” of arrival actually given until the next bus arrival time, which would be 15 minutes from now.  It’s really not cool for them to fail to have the first bus actually run, especially on an unusually cold morning.

Getting on the next bus will mean getting on an even later train, and so on.  Maybe I should have walked to the train station after all.  But if I left now for the train station, I’d be much later.  And there’s always extra work to do at the office after a weekend off.  But when one bus (or train for that matter) ends up canceled, the following bus (or train) is always that much more crowded than usual, and I hate that.  If it’s always crowded, at least I know what to expect, and I’m mentally prepared, if not exactly happy about it.  But if it’s a change from usual, it’s stress-inducing.

BCT used to run a pretty good bus service, but it seems they’ve been slipping lately, because this is now 2 different buses in the space of 4 days that are late or canceled.

***

Okay, well, the first bus wasn’t canceled, but it was five to six minutes late, and I can’t say that I’m okay with that.  It’s one thing for buses to be late when it’s rush hour‒such traffic is a chaotic system, and it can be effectively impossible to plan for every contingency when one has limited resources, as everyone does.

But at well before six in the morning, even in south Florida, there is barely any traffic at all, certainly not the kind of traffic that would slow a bus down.  People don’t tend to get in the way of buses, and police rarely pull them over, and the number of stops they make has a theoretical maximum, and they almost never have to stop at every stop.

Oh, well, what are you gonna do?  My boss at work sometimes sarcastically asks if I really think that the other people in the office are going to be able to do things to a level that I tend to do them, but my response is that yes, I do.  I’m not expecting people to grasp science and the like as well as I do, or to have the same enthusiasm for reading, but the things I ask for are things that should be graspable and doable by nearly any “normally” functioning human, since even I can do them, and I’m far from normally functioning, and barely human.  If they don’t succeed, it’s because they aren’t trying, or at least not very hard.

It’s like something I used to say to my kids when they would say they would try: “Good.  That means you’ll succeed, because this is something I know you can do if you actually try.”  Or words to that effect.

***

Anyway, that’s nearly it for today.  The bus arrived‒late‒but it looks like I’ll be able to get on the scheduled train, at least if it’s running on time.  Surely a simple 44 degree temperature isn’t enough to throw off all the public transit in south Florida?  Yes, it’s chilly for down here, but it’s not that cold.

Okay, well apparently the train is running about 3 minutes late.  That’s not horrible, but I still don’t think it should be considered okay.  Those responsible should feel embarrassed, though perhaps not ashamed.  People plan their days around the freely published schedules of the transit companies.  They make the schedules‒those schedules haven’t been forced upon them by a consortium of riders‒so they should stick to them.

The same goes for people at the office, come to think of it.  But apparently that’s just too much to ask of ordinary human beings.  If that’s really true, then ordinary people are not worth keeping around.

But I don’t think it’s true.  “Ordinary people” will for the most part live up to the standards to which they are required to live up, barring disease and disability.  And even people with chronic pain and dysthymia and depression and insomnia and apparent neurodevelopmental disorders can make it their business to get places on time and even early, and then to stay until all the work is done, even if everyone else has already left.  All that’s needed is just a little bit of passion**.


*Well, compared to whatever the temperature is currently in Michigan, or New York, or North Dakota, for instance, it would probably seem nice.  But you still wouldn’t want to sit at a bus stop for 45 minutes with just a hoody for your jacket in such weather.  And believe me you wouldn’t want to drive a motorcycle without layers and gloves and so on…though a good helmet will keep one’s head nice and toasty, at least.

**If that ending seems like a bit of a non sequitur, that’s because it was written in response to the fact that the person sitting in the seat in front of me on the train had a carton of passion fruit juice, and that made me think, “If there’s a passion fruit, why is there no ‘apathy fruit’?” which seems it would be much more an appropriate foodstuff for humans.  I put that last sentence in the main body of the blog solely for the purpose of writing this footnote.

Transport, motorways and tram lines, starting and then stopping

It’s Wednesday morning at less than 10 minutes before 5 o’clock‒indeed, as the day begins, at least for me‒and I’m writing the first part of this blog post at the house, at least for a few minutes.  It’s slightly chilly out, you see, and I’d rather do the writing here to the extent that it’s practical, rather than sitting at the bus stop.  That location has the advantage of having few distractions, and I do rather enjoy writing in such places; I think I enjoy the novelty of being able to write using my phone while just sitting, or even standing, just about anywhere.  But novelty tends to wear off before too long‒though I seem to be more resistant to that tendency than many are.  In any case, though, on a chilly-ish morning, it doesn’t seem worth it to spend quite so long at the bus stop.

Of course, as is probably obvious, I have not sorted out my recent transportation issues.  I probably never will.  My brain never was particularly inclined to deal with such matters, and without any local personal supports or prods, there’s nothing to get me over the very high wall of activation energy of that sort of reaction.  I’m definitely regressing.  And I’m okay with that, because there’s no reason not to regress, and there’s no reason not to deteriorate, and there’s no point in trying to achieve anything.

I’ve done all the achieving stuff in my life, much more so than most, and yet here I am, living alone in a single room in south Florida, about to go wait for a bus to a train to a walk to a job that has nothing to do with what I trained (for a very long time and with a great deal of effort) to do as my career.  What I would like is to find some comfortable ditch somewhere, go there, lie down, go to sleep, and just keep sleeping and let the elements take me.

***

And now, here I am at the bus stop at 5:18, waiting for a bus that’s not scheduled to get here for another 31 minutes.  Thence to the train station and so on.

Interestingly, last night I got on a slightly earlier train from work than I had the previous day, and so I decided to walk the four and a half miles back to the house from the train station.  As you might guess, it took only about an hour and a half, including time to stop and get something to eat (take-out) on the way.  That led me to the realization that I could, in principle, walk to my “usual” train station in the morning and, unless something slowed me down a fair amount, I would be able to get on the very same train that I catch by taking the bus south to the “prior” train station, which is what I’m doing now.

I go south because that’s the quickest/earliest route to catch the earliest potential train available.  I just rechecked all the schedules this morning.

Of course, I could get a bike and get to the station faster and catch an earlier train, but that would entail getting a bike, and then either locking it up at the station or lugging it with me.  Neither one is terribly appealing, and anyway, a bike is sort of an investment in the future, and I do not wish to invest in the future.  I don’t feel that I have a future in which it’s worth investing.

Also, at least if I walk, I’ll be living up to my namesake.

Anyway, right now I’m using the 31-day bus pass I ordered a few months ago in case of just such an emergency.  It would seem a minor shame to waste it.  You see what I mean about not wanting to make investments in any kind of future, right?  They get in the way of choices you might otherwise want to make.

The northbound bus just arrived on the other side of the road.  I’ve figured out that I could, if desired, take it north to the 7 line then go to my usual train station, but given the inefficiencies of transferring buses, it would again simply get me on the very same train…and that’s assuming nothing goes wrong.  At least walking would be exercise.

I’ve definitely gotten in better shape in recent months, as far as that goes.  I walked a total of just under eight miles yesterday, and I only have a mild rawness in a few spots in the soles of my feet, nothing like any true blisters or anything, and though I’m slightly stiff, I’m not truly sore or anything.

We’ll see.  The one downside to walking to the train is starting the day off sweaty, but that’s going to be a serious problem only as we get past wintertime, and I hope that’s going to be a non-issue for me.  That’s my tentative plan, anyway.  I’m certainly too mentally fatigued to want to bother trying to live much longer.  It’s boring at best and thoroughly miserable at worst, and most of the time it’s somewhere between the two poles.

There’s no point, there’s no fulfillment, there’s no joy, and there’s no help.  I probably wouldn’t be able even to accept help if it were offered.  I would freeze up and not know what to do.  Any help would probably have to be forced on me, even though I would want help and long for it.  It’s weird, but it’s true.

Anyway, in about nine minutes my bus is due, so I’m going to call it quits for today, at least.  I’ll do editing when I get on the train.  Enjoy the latest rotation of the planet if you can.  You might as well.

One of my turns…

I’m writing this post on my phone because I didn’t feel like bringing my laptop when I left the office yesterday.  I thought about it, but there didn’t seem to be any point in doing it, so I figured, at least for the evening and then the morning, I’d give myself slightly less to carry.

I keep thinking of ideas of things to get and then finding myself realizing‒or at least suspecting‒that they are wastes of time and effort.  For instance, I keep seeing people riding those electric, stand-up scooters that look like the old-fashioned kids’ scooters, to get to and from the train station.  At first I was merely puzzled to see so many adults using such things, but then I thought they looked kind of handy and maybe even a little fun.  My balance and coordination aren’t great, but many of the people riding them look no more fit than I.

Anyway, I watched some videos about them and began looking at them on Amazon, but eventually I thought, if I’m going to get something to get me to the train and around the neighborhood, why don’t I just get a bicycle?  In Florida, you can use bicycles pretty much year-round.  You have to deal with rain, but that would be the case on an electric scooter, too.  At least they give one some good, low impact exercise.

I had bought a bicycle several months ago‒a nice, good quality, lightweight street bike.  Unfortunately, I discovered that one had to lean way forward on it even with the seat at its lowest point because of the style of bike, and the handlebars weren’t extendable.  You could buy separate extenders for them, but even that didn’t do all that much.  I have trouble with the leany over type bikes because, for one thing, I’m not all that coordinated, and I always feel off-balance on such devices, but more importantly, with my “failed back surgery syndrome”, leaning that way just leaves me in a lot of pain for the rest of a given day.

Thankfully, one day when my former housemate came by to do some work for the landlord, he found that the bike made his back feel better when he tried it out (at my suggestion), so I gave it to him.  At least it will be useful for someone.  But such errors tend to put me off trying again.

Still, I started looking around on Amazon at better bikes for me, something where I could be sure to be upright.  I thought about a hybrid bike‒I guess that term means they can be used off-road or on-road‒but it’s hard to tell if they’re high enough in the handlebars and low enough and comfortable enough in the seat.  I even considered one of those grown-up tricycle things, because they look truly useful for stuff like shopping, and there’s no worry about incoordination.  Unfortunately, they don’t exactly lend themselves to commuting, so that kind of made one of those not a great option.

Then I started looking at those “cruiser bikes” or whatever they call them‒those old school style bikes, with wide handlebars, low, broad seats, and so on.  They’re not as light as a street bike, but they’re clearly more what I would have in mind for my back and slightly better for my balance.  I’ve been looking at some, and they do seem good, though the good ones are no cheaper than the quite nice bike I had already bought and given away.

But as I think about bikes and electric scooters and things like that for commuting and whatnot, I keep thinking, “These are things for people who are planning on being around for a while.  These are comparatively long-term investments.  These are things for people trying to adjust for a prolonged existence.”

And thinking about that just makes me despondent.  I don’t want to be around long enough for it to matter whether I have a bike, or just walk around, or whatever.  I don’t want to have to wait around for when people are in the next Artemis mission to orbit the moon, let alone when they next land on it.  I don’t want to have to endure long enough to see the 60th anniversary David Tennant Doctor Who specials in November 2023, let alone wait until the year after that for the next series.  There are no movies I’m interested in seeing, no books I’m looking forward to reading, no shows I want to watch*.  There’s really just nothing into which it’s worth investing time and energy, not for me.  Certainly I, myself, am not such a worthwhile investment.

So, I don’t think I’m going to get a bike, or rejoin Netflix, and I can’t even get excited about Doctor Who or the moon missions or any of it.  As Lestat said to Louis, the wine has no taste, the food sickens me (though I wish it sickened me more), there seems no reason for any of it.  Even the thought of rereading the Anne Rice stories doesn’t appeal.  Nothing is very much fun anymore.

I feel like I’m just spoiling the party for others by sticking around, so I should take my cue from the Beatles song and just go…there’s nothing for me here, so I should disappear.  In any case, even if I can’t just disappear, it seems futile and draining to do things that seem to look toward some kind of possible future.  I don’t even like buying new clothes anymore; I get frustrated when I have to replace a pair of trousers because another got splashed with bleach, for instance.

Ultimately, I’m just tired, I guess, and I don’t want to have to keep moving just to keep moving, just because it’s what I do and have always done, whether it’s on an electric scooter, or a bicycle, or a train, or my own feet.  I’m not going anywhere.  Putting in the effort is just an exercise in futility and highlights the futility of exercise.

Oh, well.  I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see, unfortunately.


*I will admit that Wednesday looks intriguing; I love the character, and it looks like the actress is excellent.  They have Wednesday playing the cello in the show, which appeals to me as a cellist.  But I would have to re-sign up for Netflix to watch that, and I don’t think it’s worth it.  Plus, odds are I wouldn’t get through it before losing interest.  I couldn’t even get into Stranger Things, for crying out loud.

[P.S. I just had a bad interaction with Amazon because an item I ordered for our office (for delivery between 7 and 11 am, as offered specifically by Amazon) was attempted at 6:43 am.  I was in the office, but the door was locked, because it was not yet time for the order to be delivered.  But the driver did not even try to knock…I’m hard of hearing, but not THAT hard of hearing that in the silence of quarter to 7 I wouldn’t have heard the knock.  I did SEE the driver pulling away after rushing to the door to try to catch them.  I have copied and pasted the text of my interaction with the Amazon customer support chat, and pasted it into a potential blog post for later today.  I don’t look particularly good in the interaction–I probably come across as nearly hysterical, frankly–but it still might be worth other people knowing about this failure, and it will probably influence any decision to buy a bike if I should lean back in that direction.  Anyway, I have that saved as a draft, and if anyone is interested, I’ll post it.  It might do you some good to laugh at my insanity, anyway.]

Though there’s only one lunar day per month, this is the weekly day of the moon

Okay, it’s Monday morning, and I’m writing this on my smartphone, so I’m not going to try anything too ambitious.  I didn’t bring my laptop back with me to the house because, again, I brought home some music (sheets and a book) under the absurd notion that I might play some guitar or possibly “piano” this weekend.  I don’t know if that was me being in an optimistic frame of mind or me deceiving myself‒or if, indeed, there is any difference at all between the two things.

In any case, as is presumably obvious, I did not play or even listen to any music this weekend.  I barely did anything at all.  I mean, on Sunday I did my laundry, getting terribly stressed before starting it that I would find the machine in use already, even early on Sunday morning, but thankfully that didn’t happen.

I suppose I got a lot of rest, which I needed, because I was still pretty wiped out from the virus or whatever that I’ve been fighting.  I watched some YouTube videos of mainly British comedy panel shows, most of which I’ve seen numerous times already, and on Sunday I watched The Accountant again; that’s becoming one of my favorite movies.  And I watched the Gallifrey Gals’ latest reaction video to Doctor Who.  And I took a few moderate walks, during one of which I spoke to my sister on the phone, which is always nice.  That was pretty much all the socializing I did…for the week, really, not counting interactions at work.

I didn’t read at all this weekend‒not a single page of a book.  Nothing gripped me enough to make me even open the Kindle app on my phone, let alone to grab one of the books I have in my room.  Last week, as you may recall, I reread The Chasm and the Collision.  I also reread one of the stories from Welcome to Paradox City, and I reread “I for one welcome our new computer overlords” in the version that’s in Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  They weren’t as fun as CatC, but they were decent stories and I still like them.  But I didn’t feel the urge to read even any of my own stuff this weekend.

I’m on the train on my way to the office now, and wondering what I’m going to do in general.  I keep intending to get back into some kind of better shape, so I don’t die a corpulent grimace of a blob of some kind.  I’m working on it.  I am walking some, trying to work my way up, and I do upper body training to at least some degree every day (except when sick…and after even a few days, it’s remarkable how much more difficult it becomes).  I’m trying to adjust my diet, but that seems to be my most difficult hurdle; eating is one of those rare self-soothing behaviors that’s biologically reliable, and from which it’s difficult to quit cold turkey as it were*.  Still, there are further interventions on which to work.

I’m not giving up on it.  I have something I want to try to do sometime in the relatively near future, and I would need to lose weight before doing it.  I’ve also toyed with the notion, in the past, of perhaps running a marathon some day.  I’ve had difficulties with jogging because of my back, which has at times been sensitive to me running, and some chronic ankle and knee weakness, but since I’ve been walking my two plus miles a day just from and to the train station, I think those areas are getting stronger, and sleeping on the futon on the floor is probably also helping.  Maybe I can gradually work my way up.  I’m not as young as I was in college when I first got into serious running condition, but if anything I am more stubborn.

I need to have something to do with my time, and I certainly don’t “have a life” as the expression goes.  I’ll try to get back to my medical postings soon, anyway, and I apologize for frequently putting them off.  There’s the follow-up to the neurology based post and the discussion of sugar I first sort of introduced last Thursday.

I don’t know what else I might end up doing.  I’m really rather rudderless now, and feel like I’m becoming more so as time goes on.  I have no real sense of a future, just the endless trudge that is the directionless present.  At least the weather is a little cooler down here for walking.  That’s a slight boon.  So much of the year it’s way too hot and humid.

Anyway, that’s it for today.  I hope you all have a good start to your week.


*Ha ha

When Friday night arrives, will it or will it not have a suitcase?

It’s Friday, and the trains are back up and running, and I’m heading in to work, so I am also writing a blog post for today.  Callooh.  Callay.

I’m writing this post on my cell phone, if that term is still strictly accurate to describe the modern “smartphone”, because I didn’t bring my laptop with me when I left the office early on Wednesday.  This was not an accident; I decided that, even though I had a raincoat and an umbrella, it was possible rain might get into my backpack and damage the laptop if the rain was heavy enough.

That turns out to have been a thoroughly unnecessary precaution.  I don’t want to make light of the travails of those who had a worse time of it, but around here, the recent subtropical storm was not that intimidating.  Neither power nor internet went out, I didn’t even come close to needing to close the storm shutters, and the rainfall wasn’t all that impressive.  We’ve had far deeper puddles from a typical summer afternoon storm.

I guess that’s all good, though the trains didn’t run yesterday, nevertheless.  It was probably possible for them to do so, but I respect the decision of those responsible.  They can’t know ahead of time how debris and damage might affect the tracks, putting those riding the trains in danger and potentially derailing‒pardon the expression‒operations on longer and larger scales due to mishaps.  It was a sensible precaution to suspend service for the day.

I could have made it to the office by bus, but that’s a very long ride, and my boss basically told me just to enjoy the day off.  He has commented, in other contexts, on the fact that I’ve never taken a vacation in all the years I’ve been working for him, and that’s true.  The only time I’ve taken off has been on the two occasions when first my father and then my mother died.

As I said to him, though, what would I even do with a vacation?  I don’t have anyone with whom to go anywhere, and to me, vacations are things one does with other people.  I don’t even watch TV or movies with anyone, anymore, nor do I tend to watch shows that anyone else around me watches.  The closest I come to watching something with someone else is watching one of the many YouTube “reaction videos” for shows that I have watched.  I suppose that sort of situation is probably one of the reasons people like these kinds of videos; it feels like sharing a show you love with a friend who hasn’t seen it before.

Yesterday, during my “day off”, I decided to make use of it by going for a nice long walk (I even jogged about 40 paces during it) and then watching some movies of the sort that always used to get me motivated to get/stay in shape.  These tend to be specific kinds of action movies, and the ones I watched yesterday were Hit Man, Man on Fire, and The Equalizer.  Good, clean, violent, revenge-type fun where the strength of the hero is at least as much his cleverness as his physical prowess.

These were the kinds of characters I admired most‒of those in action movies, anyway.  And though the main character in Hit Man is a sort of born-and-raised, brutally trained and modified to be what he is kind of person, he’s still basically a relatively believable, and very clever protagonist.  And of course, both of the latter two movies were made when Denzel Washington was probably as old as I am now, or nearly so, and he’s never been an action star type.

I don’t think any of these movies are realistic, of course, but they tap into a sort of primal motivation that gets me going, and works far better than any thoughts of simply being healthy.  The whole “to live a long and healthy life” thing doesn’t push you much if you don’t even want to have lived as long as you already have lived.  But the feeling of wanting to be able to be a badass, to be able to carry out necessary violence in appropriate circumstances‒even if it kills you‒that can get even a person like me motivated.

So, I did some extra push ups of three different kinds‒it was appalling to me how few I could readily do at once, especially since I can do 35 dips at a time (and that despite being a fat pig).  I guess they really don’t work quite the same muscle groups.  I also did extra ab exercises and lunges and some other stuff.

It’s all silliness, of course, but as the writer of Ecclesiastes put it, all is vanity.  Still, vanity that gets one up and moving and trying to get in better shape is at least a locally useful kind of vanity.

Anyway, that’s how I used my “day off” which was one of the first I’ve had in a while that wasn’t just because I was sick, not counting alternate Saturdays.  Of course, in a few weeks I’ll have Thanksgiving off, but I don’t do anything on Thanksgiving.  I don’t have nearby family or close friends with whom to spend it, and if I were invited to join someone’s family’s celebration, I would probably feel too awkward and tense at the prospect to take them up on it.

It’s a bit of a depressing situation, but I don’t really know what to do about it.  I used to have family and loved ones around me (these are not mutually exclusive groups), but some members of those groups have ended up distancing themselves from me often enough‒and causing a great deal of non-intended pain in the process for me‒that I find that the sense of risk is greater than the urge to try to connect with anyone new.

Also, it’s led me to the provisional conclusion that I’m simply not beneficial to have as a family member or loved one or close friend, since I am the common denominator in all these situations.  So I also don’t want to inflict myself upon other people, least of all the sorts of people who would be kind enough and patient enough to want to be close to me, and to whom I would want to be close.  So, I’m not liable to change things on my own.

Most of the close friends and loved ones I’ve had in the past were either family, who were forced by blood to have me as part of their “in group”, or people with whom I’ve been almost randomly and fortuitously (for me) put together in school or university or work, or who, in a way, sought me out because they found me interesting.  I’m not as interesting as I used to be, though, and even those who most thought me interesting, such as my now-ex-wife, eventually found me intolerable.  She’s a smart woman; I have a hard time faulting her judgment in this.

Anyway, speaking of Saturdays‒and I did mention them not long ago‒I am apparently going to have this Saturday off; my coworker with whom I alternate Saturdays asked to switch and take this one over the next one, so I said yes.  Thus, I won’t be expecting to write a post tomorrow.  If something changes, well…you’ll know because I will have written a blog post.

In the meantime, I hope you have all had pretty good weeks, and that things are going well for you, and that all your potential disasters have turned out no worse than tropical storm Nicole turned out for me/us in south Florida.  Thanks for reading.

Shana Tovah

[When I started writing this, I had completely forgotten that it was Rosh Hashanah today.  I figured I’d at least make the title give a reference to it, though it doesn’t have anything to do with the post, nor am I going to celebrate it, since I am not part of any community or family that does so anymore.  I also added the 10th Doctor GIF about the New Year, since it’s a shame not to waste it, even though it’s a day late.]

Just in case anyone was worried (though that seems unlikely) I ended up not working this last Saturday, and that was the reason I didn’t write a blog post.  I’m not dead or anything*.

I’m writing this post on my phone, today, but it’s not because there’s anything wrong with my laptop.  It’s just that the first train of the morning is delayed due to mechanical trouble–of course it is–and so the benches that have usually been emptied by that train’s arrival are overfilled, and I’m standing to wait.  It’s hard to use a laptop when one’s lap is in vertical mode.

I may actually wait for my “usual” train to arrive rather than getting on the late one, because delayed trains tend to be more crowded, as they pick up some early passengers from the next train.  And, for similar reasons, the trains that follow are often relatively less crowded than usual.  That’s a nice thing to enjoy, and it’s not as though I’m cutting it close on time.

As you may know, I always go to work early–very early–in the morning, because I can’t sleep anyway.  This weekend, I didn’t work, and I took 2 Benadryl before bed both Friday and Saturday nights.  It doesn’t completely stop me from waking up early, but it usually lets me go back to sleep when I do.  I can tell by the effects on my mental acuity that it’s not really doing me good overall, but at least my body gets a bit of rest, which doesn’t happen most other nights.

I’m really starting to get tired of doing this blog; at least I feel that way right now.  I began writing the Thursday posts, initially, as a way to connect with potential readers of my books, to talk about my fiction writing, and potentially to promote it.  As far as I can tell, it has had none of those effects, or at least they have been negligible.

I’m not really socially adept enough to use Facebook or Twitter for self promotion, though I have tried, and I don’t have the money to buy promotions for my posts or to advertise using the Amazon algorithm.  As far as I can tell, thanks to the way these automatic “auctions” for advertising go, I’m effectively just flushing money down the toilet on the occasions when I’ve paid for promotions.

There are networks of mutually promoting authors on Twitter and other “social” media, but they are all far more pro-social than I am from what I can tell.  I can’t even schmooze online.  I get embarrassed when I leave comments on other blogs and on YouTube videos let alone trying to talk myself up to strangers.  More and more, I feel embarrassed even when talking to people I’ve known for years, or for my entire life. I always feel like I’m such a weirdo and a dork.

As for these now-daily, or semi-daily posts, they were meant to be an experiment that was hopefully going to be useful for my mental health, or at the very least to act as a “cry for help”.  I think we can all tell just how wonderfully they’ve fulfilled either or both of those functions (not at all, in case that’s not clear).  I would laugh maniacally if I had that skill, and if I were not in the train.

I did get on the train, by the way, because it looks like they simply cancelled the previous one and ran the one I ride at its usual time.  This is despite the fact that the announcement said that the earlier train was just running 15 to 20 minutes late, which turns out to have been either a deliberate lie or an idiotic error.  I’m not sure which is better.  Probably neither.  I think it would be nice if the world had a greater preponderance of non-idiotic, non-mistaken non-lies.  They seem so few and far between.

Oh, I did mean to say, I at least got some useful walking in this weekend.  On Saturday I walked for about one and three quarters hours, and on Sunday for almost exactly two hours.  So, about 5-ish miles on Saturday and 6 on Sunday.  I’m actually rather stiff today because of it, but I’ve got to get into training if I’m going to go on an epic journey.  Bilbo and Frodo, though both were affluent hobbits, nevertheless were active, going on regular, long walks all the time.  So the sudden beginning of their lengthy quests was mainly felt in their decreased food intake, and of course, their exposure to deadly danger.  I won’t be so foolish as to say that sounds like fun, but at least it wouldn’t be meaningless and dreary and lonely…not for very long, anyway.

And there’s one true thing (at least one) about walking instead of riding or driving, and that is that you take in much more of the details of your surroundings.  Our ancestors all walked pretty much all the time.  Our bodies are built for it, more or less.  Yet the modern world has turned our natural mode into an inconvenience or a luxury.  That doesn’t seem like a recipe for good outcomes, all else being equal**.

Well, then…it’s hard for me to judge the length of my writing when I’m doing it on the phone, but this amount feels good enough for right now.  I’ll spare any dedicated readers the chore of dealing with more of my imbecilic thoughts, especially since you might have thought you were off the hook completely and for good when I didn’t write on Saturday.  No such luck for you, yet!  But don’t worry, that time is surely coming, and hopefully it won’t be long.

New Year


*Whether that’s good news or bad news depends on the recipient and his or her point of view, and also on my mood.  I veer between feeling it to be just neutral or frankly bad news.

**Which all else never is, to be fair.

He’s back…and this time, it’s personal (like all the other times)

It’s Wednesday morning (just shy of five o’clock this time), and I’ll begin this blog post by apologizing to anyone who has been reading my near-daily posts, and was expecting a blog post yesterday, and was worried about me when none arrived*.

I’m afraid that either something I ate Monday, or perhaps the side effects of a rather gooney bug bite or sting that I got on my left forearm and that had swelled quite a bit (or both things, perhaps) caused me to have both some tummy trouble and some general agitation and restlessness overnight on Monday, to the extent that I got—I don’t think I’m exaggerating—fewer than twenty minutes’ sleep, and so I was simply exhausted and washed out Tuesday, though thankfully most of the other symptoms had resolved themselves.

It’s a bit frustrating that I felt so bad Monday night, because during the day I did quite a nice job of being reasonably healthy.  After walking four and a half miles each on Saturday and Sunday, I walked a total of about eight and a third miles on Monday, with only some very minor blistering between the first two toes of my right foot as side-effects.  I think that’s not half bad.  I certainly was more than adequately re-hydrated by the end of the day, because I’d been fairly aggressive about that; it was around ninety degrees here for most of the day, and the humidity was at least that high a percentage, so I wanted to make sure not to sabotage myself.

For those of you who may be wondering about the possibility that my extensive walking had been responsible for what happened Monday night, I can only say that I have considered that possibility and think it unlikely.  The symptoms were not typical of those that I’ve had previously after overexerting myself; indeed, in those types of circumstances I tend to get tired and sleepy, not tense and jittery and belly-achey.

If anything, I felt particularly healthy once I arrived at the house and got hydrated.  It was distantly akin to the runner’s high I used to get when I was able to run a lot, though it was less impressive.  Whereas the way I felt on Monday night was…well, markedly unpleasant and different from any of those kinds of sensations.

Anyway, that’s passed, and now it’s just a matter of getting beyond the minor blistering, which really only happened because of the increased amount of walking I did, not because of any inherent shoe problems.  I think I’ve adjusted for all of those, and certainly I had no shoe/foot difficulties on Saturday or Sunday, which is worth a cheer from me.  In a sense, this is me cheering.  It’s about as enthusiastic as I get for anything, anymore.

I’ve also got a new backpack that I need to test out to make sure there’s no chafing-related or other adjustments needed (though, to be fair, that’s the sort of thing that can be done as one goes along).  It’s pretty neat, though I feel almost disloyal for getting it.

You see, I’ve had the same black Adidas backpack for several years now, using it every workday, and while it’s clearly not brand new—the shoulder straps show that they’ve been used, and are more supple than those of a brand new backpack would be—it’s in terrific shape.  The zippers are all perfectly functional, all its interior separations are intact and effective, it has decent water resistance (it’s not waterproof, of course, but it’s not meant to be), and its computer carrying section is in excellent shape.  I would recommend it to anyone who was looking for a daily use backpack that is going to see reasonably heavy employment.

Regrettably, it’s no longer available, but this is what it looks like.

my backpack

Unfortunately, though that backpack is quite roomy and excellent, I fear it doesn’t have enough room to carry all the things I’m planning to bring when I go on a long trek.  Those things will not be particularly heavy—I don’t want to make the burden too great and thereby create worse obstacles to my progress—but they may be rather bulky, so it would be good to have enough space to work with.

Of course, through all of this, whatever I end up doing, whether on this blog or through any high-risk undertaking I mean to take under, I hope to find either a new desire to live—which I don’t have now—or to die trying to find it.  I’m fully aware, though, that I might achieve the ironic outcome of learning to want to live again…and then dying right after that.  This would in some ways be a shame, but in some ways, it would also be fucking hilarious.

In any case, it would be better than my current daily internal experience, which is one of quiet** disintegration, disorientation***, anhedonia, isolation, neurodivergence (apparently, though I suppose that has always been there if it’s there), and above all, a profound and persistent and occasionally violent self-loathing.  It would be worth the irony of dying right after learning to love and desire life, just to have achieved that love and desire even for a moment.

Of course, I don’t honestly think that’s likely.  I will probably never again have any serious intellectual attachment to my life****, and I doubt that I will ever again feel any real joy in existing, but past performance is no guarantee of future results, as all those investment firms are forced, by law, to say, really quickly, right at the end of their ads.  I hope to find out if I’m wrong.


*Ha ha.  Don’t be silly, right?

**It must be quiet, because it doesn’t seem to disturb other people much.

***Why is that word not “disoriention”?  We don’t say “disintegratation”.

****The biological utility functions that drive one to fear death and pain are not easily shut down, unfortunately.  But they can be worked around with enough determination and effort.

If I could walk THAT way, I wouldn’t need antidepressants!

It’s Saturday morning, the twenty-third of July in 2022, and as I write this I’m on my way to work.  Well…that’s so in a manner of speaking, anyway.  I don’t mean the date, though all dates are arbitrary, and therefore are always only “true” in a manner of speaking.  I mean that I’m on my way to work only in a manner of speaking, because as I write this, I’m actually sitting still (but for typing) on a bench in the train station.

So, I’m not currently moving any closer, spatially, to the office, which I sometimes am doing when I write, if I’m writing on the train*.  In spacetime, of course, I suppose one could say I am indeed on my way to work, since the current spacetime path along which the local pattern which is me is streaming is—unless there is some significant disruption of my plans—going to intersect with the pattern in spacetime that is the office in the not-too-distant future.

I spend more time waiting for the train on Saturdays than during the rest of the week, because the trains only come every hour on the weekend.  Nevertheless, I hate getting to the station at too different a time from my usual one; the departure from routine is stressful.  Plus, to be honest, I don’t tend to sleep very well into the morning, so I might as well head to the train station.

I do sometimes leave an hour later, since work technically begins an hour later on Saturdays, but this week I didn’t, because I plan to get off one station earlier and walk the remaining nearly five miles to work**.  I’ve been adjusting my shoes and inserts and various things, trying out quite a few different pairs and brands (none very expensive!) to see which ones are best for long-distance walking, because I hope to do some of that very soon, and I don’t want my shoes and their effects on my feet*** to stop me.  I’m making real progress, and I think I’ve gotten a couple or three pairs of shoes that do a decent job when I put the correct inserts in.  Bully for me!

Supposedly, this weekend, I’ll begin moving my things into the other bedroom into which I’m supposed to be moving, because (apparently) working six days a week and having to deal with disruptions when I get home from work just doesn’t generate enough chaos in my life and mind.  I’m not saying this is a particularly great imposition, as things go in the world.  I’ve certainly been through worse, and I’ve endured far greater specific, local stress and pain.

But when one has no reason of any kind to endure it—no close friends, no close family who wants even to see one, no pastimes that one enjoys, no remaining ability or will to do the things that used to give one purpose and pleasure—the urge just grows and grows to up and walk away…and to keep walking until it kills one****.

At least that urge is what grows in me.  I wouldn’t be surprised if no one else in the world ever got that particular urge.  But it’s an urge I’ve been having for some time now, and I’ve been working my way toward it steadily.  I’m pleased to say that I think I’m nearly there.  I even have a new backpack arriving tomorrow from Amazon to carry some essentials, including my laptop and the like.  It’s very cool!

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to think of how to arrange things so that other people’s work will be minimally disrupted by the change.  I’m not going to warn anyone explicitly very far in advance before I finally decide I’m ready to begin, because they might think it’s a crazy idea and try to talk me out of it.

Also, to be honest, I’ve been dropping a lot of people a lot of hints for quite a long time that I am approaching my wits’ end, and am at risk for taking drastic action, so if they are caught by surprise—and therefore inconvenienced—I don’t think I’ll feel too guilty about it.  Goodness knows other people don’t seem to worry much about inconveniencing me.  That’s not surprising.  They’re only human, and as history has shown us, that is often a terrible thing to be.


*Or, well, writing while I am on the train.  I don’t think I’ve ever, in my life, written anything physically on any type of train.  It’s barely possible that I’m forgetting some past brief episode of graffiti, but I really don’t think so.

**”Which I did” -future me.

***Blisters, Achilles tendon issues, anything like that.

****Or until one achieves some new state of wanting to live, I guess.  It’s been shown that exercise can be a good adjunct treatment for depression, but I’ve always found that to be interesting but laughable, because when one is badly depressed, one does not have the will to do serious, regular exercise.  However, I may have found a way around that obstacle, by creating a path that does one thing or the other on its own, and I can do the experiment and see what the outcome will be.

Be not disturbed with my infirmity.  If you be pleased, retire into my blog.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, April 7th of 2022, the first Thursday in April this year unless I’m terribly confused and mistaken, and—of course—it’s time for my weekly blog post.

I haven’t been feeling well this last week, or at least for the past several days.  I’m not sure why.  I don’t have any obvious signs or symptoms of any acute respiratory or otherwise localized infection, but my body aches quite a lot.  That generalized soreness, as well as fatigue, is consistent with the experience of fighting some illness or other.  I described it to a coworker yesterday as feeling as if I’d spent the previous day playing tackle football with some of my friends from high school…but they were still high school aged, while I was my present self.

I stayed home from work Tuesday, which is why I didn’t post the next portion of Outlaw’s Mind until yesterday.  I just didn’t feel up to doing much.  I didn’t feel much better yesterday, nor do I today, but I know that staying away from work makes everything all that much more stressful when I come back to the office, since there is so much catching up to do after even one day.  When I have Saturday off—which is every other Saturday—I come in the following Monday and find that there is an inordinate amount of catching up to do.  It’s frustrating.

I’ve likewise done very little guitar playing; whole braces of days at a time have passed in which I didn’t so much as touch or pluck or pick a string.  That’s a fair indicator of how “low-energy” I’ve been.

Given that I haven’t been feeling well, I’ve gotten almost no new writing done, neither on Outlaw’s Mind nor on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  Hopefully none of you find that too disappointing.  In any case, this physical process shouldn’t last too much longer—either I’m going to feel better rather soon, or it will kill me, presumably.  I’m pretty much fine with either outcome, when it comes right down to it.  What I definitely don’t want is to continue to feel so rotten.

My walking and other exercise has suffered nearly as much as has my writing.  This may be useful for consolidating the healing of my old blisters, but I don’t want to lose the calluses that may have formed, because then I’ll just blister again when I go back to walking.

I was going to say “Sisyphus, eat your heart out,” after that last thought, but I realize that would be a gross and melodramatic exaggeration of my current situation.  It’s also more appropriate to say “Prometheus, eat your heart out…or your liver, anyway.”  That, unfortunately, would be an even greater hyperbole* regarding my current challenges, and rather pathetic, though at least the imagery is good.

That last little thought makes me stop to wonder, and to wonder what you all might think, about who had it worse in mythology, Sisyphus or Prometheus.  The former, of course, had to do a lot more work, always only to find that his work led to nothing, so he always had to start over rolling his boulder, supposedly forever.  Prometheus didn’t have to take active part in his punishment, but his was surely more painful, at least in the acute moments when he was being fed upon by Zeus’s eagle.

I’ve occasionally wondered why Sisyphus bothered with his task.  There must have been some force or drive operating that led him to need to push his boulder up the hill, lest he face some pain or stress or anxiety worse than the boulder-pushing itself.  If his body just moved on its own, then it could hardly be considered his effort, and then his punishment would be “just” the muscle aches and pains and the knowledge of the endlessness of his task.  Which would make it similar to Prometheus’s punishment.

All of this is pointless mental meandering, but I would be interested to know if any of you have thoughts about which fate you might prefer, remembering that Prometheus at least would have a form of respite, and of course, he was eventually freed.  Not that either figure actually existed, but you know what I mean, I think.

That’s pretty much all I have to say for today.  I don’t really have the energy to write much more for the moment.  I hope you’re all doing well, and hopefully next week I’ll have more productivity to report to you.  If you have any requests or suggestions for topics of my random, walk-in writing, please feel free to share them.  I can’t promise that I would follow any possible suggestion, but I well certainly read and consider any serious thoughts, and it would be pleasant to hear from…well, someone in the world.

I hope you’re all as well as it’s possible for you to be**, and that you are treating yourselves and your families and your friends and any other loved ones as well as you can possibly treat them***.

TTFN

sisy


*I’ve long found it at least mildly interesting that the word “hyperbolic” can mean “of or relating to hyperbole(s)” or “of or relating to hyperbolas”.

**That’s not as straightforward a notion as it might seem at first glance.

***Again, not in some simple-minded fashion like giving them all your money or something stupid like that.  Short-term and long-term outcomes and inputs must be weighed and continuously reassessed.  That’s life.  I can’t unreservedly recommend it.

Crowns in my purse I have and blogs at home, and so am come abroad to see the world.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again—the last Thursday in March of 2022, and indeed, the last day of March in 2022.  Given those things, it must be time for my weekly blog post.  Actually, those latter two facts are irrelevant to it being time for my blog post; they are merely trivia.  But they give me something to say, at least, and “trivia” is not always trivial*.

I’ve not gotten much done on Outlaw’s Mind this week—none at all, in fact—partly because the story is making me feel kind of glum**.  I like Timothy Outlaw, as a person, and I feel bad about things that are happening and are going to happen to him, so it gives me a rather unpleasant feeling, since after all I am the one doing it.

But I didn’t want to stop writing, so I decided, more or less on a whim, at the beginning of the week, to start work on a project that’s been “waiting” even longer than Outlaw’s Mind:  My “light-hearted” fantasy adventure Dark Fairy and the Desperado.

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This is a story that took its earliest origin in two doodles I drew—well, okay, they weren’t doodles, they became legitimate cartoon drawings, really, and they were based on two real people.  One was based on a picture of me, dressed up as a western gunslinger type from when I had gone to visit Universal Studios (the one in California).  The other was based on the Halloween costume of a friend of mine that I had met and spoken to online.  Once I had the drawings, eventually I decided I wanted to think of a story involving the characters.

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This is the first drawing of the Dark Fairy, looking pure and happy as she contemplates the fiery destruction of a human city. She has her reasons.

I had thought of making a manga about them, much as I had meant to do for Mark Red.  However, though I drew many pictures of them—some of which I will have included in this post—and of other characters they met in their travels, and I even drew and colored the first page of a potential manga, I eventually realized that I don’t have enough enthusiasm for making manga to get me to keep working on one.

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This is NOT the first picture of the Desperado, which I haven’t been able to locate, but I like it.

As with Mark Red, I’ve long planned to write the story of the DFandD as a book, and so I took that as my distraction from Outlaw’s Mind for now.  I did, of course, post the next part of the latter story here on Tuesday, and will continue to do so until I reach the latest point so far, but I may otherwise take another hiatus from Timothy Outlaw.  I think I’ve done too much horror over and over for a while, and I need to write something that doesn’t involve quite as much fear and despair for the characters.

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The first meeting of the Dark Fairy and the Desperado. It turns out better than it seems.

It being me who is writing, there will, of course, still be violent and even sometimes “horrific” elements—even the main characters are dangerous people, to say the least—but it will have a much more tongue-in-cheek attitude.  For instance, one of the people our protagonists encounter will be an extra-dimensional demi-god who calls herself Lucy; she is a huge fan of the Beatles, and she models herself and her universe on their songs.  I like her, and I’ve drawn some fun pictures of her, as well, with hints of kaleidoscope eyes and all.

In other news, I’ve been trying to get into shape for my planned, or hoped-for, “epic” quest, and I’ve come a long way, baby.  I’ve increased my walking time to over two hours nonstop, and I walked over six miles two days ago.  I’m taking the train today (as I did yesterday), which forces extra walking on me and gives me extra time to write while commuting.  I’m writing this on the train right now (though I’m unlikely to be on the train when you read it).  I’m also getting a bike, and I may end up using that at times to get to and from the station, giving me even more of a workout.

Partly this is all an attempt to fight my depression, which is supposed to be improved by regular exercise.  I’m sorry to say that it hasn’t been helping much so far; every day I have severe bouts of self-hatred and despair, when I literally wish for death.  But maybe after enough time it will make a difference.  If not, I can always try to exercise until it kills me.  And in the meantime, I’ll get into better shape.  Either way, it’s good.

Also in the meantime, I’ll be working on DFandD, which I may end up starting with the definite article, thus making it The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  Let me know what you think, if you have any opinion about which would be better.  I don’t promise that I’ll be persuaded by your arguments, but I do promise to pay attention to them.  I’d also actually like to hear what you think about my present diversion from Outlaw’s Mind to Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  I don’t know if anyone out there has actually been reading the sections of Outlaw’s Mind as I’ve been posting them and might be devastated, or at least disappointed, if I leave another long hiatus before finishing it.  If that’s the case for anyone, please do let me know.

In the meantime, I hope you all are as well as you can possibly be, living in a world dominated by humans.  Honestly, I don’t know what most of you see in them.  I guess, every once in a while, among seven or eight billion, there are a few of them that are pretty good, and who may even make it worth putting up with the rest, as the 12th Doctor said.  I’m not convinced, but I’m willing to consider it.

TTFN

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My favorite picture of the Dark Fairy

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A very early scene which is in fact about to be written! Even if you’re dying of thirst in the desert, you don’t want water doing that.


*Though in this case, it probably is.

**I know, right?  It’s unheard-of.