How to Lyft oneself Uber a growing population of frogs and pipe dreams

I’m writing at the train station in Hollywood (Florida, that is) this morning, and then on the train itself, because I decided to take a Lyft to the station before even starting to write.  I used one yesterday morning, but only after the initial draft of the blog post had been written.  I just feel too worn down from this URI to want to bother with the bus, and in fact, if not for the Lyft, I might not have gone in to work yesterday or today.  Thankfully, I should have this weekend completely off, since it is my coworker’s second weekend, making up for the two weekends I took in a row.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

I have to admit, I find those ride apps—Uber and Lyft—rather useful.  I’m not going to make a habit of using them; that would just end up being way too expensive.  But it is nice to have the convenience when I’m not feeling well.  I wish I had tried them before, about three or four weeks ago, because I had been thinking about going to see Guardians of the Galaxy 3 in the theater, but my bike tire had gone flat and I was having trouble with my back whenever I rode it, in any case.  I was feeling pretty discouraged that weekend, and ended up just saying to heck with it, but if I’d been familiar with Uber or Lyft, I might have used one.

You may ask why I couldn’t just go see the movie this weekend, but that urge has more or less passed.  Also, I’ve gone back on a more restrictive food regimen, so I wouldn’t be able to eat popcorn, which was something I anticipated if I went to the theater.  Now I wouldn’t eat any, and that would remove a large part of my enjoyment of the theater, a part which might have overbalanced the discomfort of being alone in a theater surrounded by so many people.  As it is, now, since my initial urge to see the film soon (largely due to the presence of Adam Warlock) has more or less passed, I’ll probably just wait for it to come to Disney+.

It would be nice if I had a good enough metabolism and/or had been able to maintain better fitness habits over time (my back injury/surgery/failure to completely recover has gotten in the way of that a lot).  Then, I wouldn’t have needed to worry about eating popcorn.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid I need to minimize such things not merely for long-term health—about which I have little concern, since in the long term I expect to be dead—but about moment to moment health.  As someone who already feels pretty bad psychologically a lot of the time, I don’t need the added physical weariness and discomfort that comes almost immediately if I eat the wrong things nowadays.

On a more positive note:  I saw a frog (possibly two frogs) this morning.  Indeed, one of them hopped into my room as I was returning from taking out the garbage, and I had to usher it back out as carefully as I could.  This may not seem like much of an event, but it’s nice to me.

Back when I was little, and we used to come to Florida to visit my mother’s parents, after many big rains there would be oodles of frogs and toads out.  We would sometimes try to catch them, and if we did, they would pee in our hands, which was both gross and hilarious when I was a young child, though I imagine it was terrifying for the poor amphibian, which probably thought it was about to be eaten.

Also, when we first moved down to Florida—that’s my now-ex-wife and my then-few-month-old son and I—when we first stopped in a motel in central Florida for the night, it was raining and there was a veritable biblical inundation of frogs of various sizes.  The motel didn’t have those flap things at the bottoms of the doors, and smaller frogs actually came into the room through the gap.  That didn’t bother us.  We thought it was funny and kind of cool to be moving to such a place.

Well, my son probably had no thoughts about it one way or the other.

However, over the intervening years, frog numbers appear to have drastically reduced.  I am under the impression that there was some form of blight or other that hit many frog populations worldwide, though I don’t recall the source of that impression.  In any case, something seemed to have happened to the frogs in Florida, because for many years now, even after a significant rain, there have been none to be seen.

For all I know, the frog I saw this morning may be the last I will ever see in south Florida—though I thought I saw another one as I rolled the garbage out, hopping to get away from me—but I would like for them to be making a comeback.  I am a fan of most insectivores, especially ones that eat things like mosquitoes and flies and—during swarming times—termites.  Of course, there are various lizards and birds that also eat such things, but they don’t seem to be as assertive about their jobs as the frogs and toads are.

Anyway, that’s all a lot of silliness.  It’s an okay way to end the week, though.  Maybe I’ll play a little guitar if I get to the office early enough.  I did a tiny bit of strumming yesterday, when I had some morning free time, though I didn’t know The Man Who Sold the World well enough to be able to appreciate fully the chord progressions as I played them.  They definitely had the David Bowie flair for interesting changes and sounds.

I have not thought about a tune for my dreary little poem from the other day, nor even reread it.  Maybe it would be funny to give it a jaunty, happy, major key tune of some kind.  As I think I’ve said before, I enjoy irony.

Probably nothing will come of it.  It’s not as though I’ve done any more work on the song of which I did a demo on YouTube—I had called it Mercury Lamp based on the inspiration for the song, but I think now I would call it Hollow Doll.  And though I like the tune and stuff for Come Back Again, the trial arrangement and mixing/recording I did was blurry and muddled, and I think it could use some lead guitar.

Again, though, this is all a collection of pipe dreams—or guitar dreams, I guess, though “pipes” can refer to someone’s voice, and I do sing on the songs, so maybe the original term is okay.  Come to think of it, A Collection of Pipe Dreams* might be a good name for an album.  It could be a follow-up to a first album called Iterations of Zero after the title of my other, now more or less unused, blog.

I must be sicker than I thought to be entertaining such things.  Well, it’s a bit of fun to imagine them, at least.

I hope you all have a good first weekend of June.

*Or even A Collection of Guitar Dreams

Concision, irony, illness, and a first use of Uber

I’m going to try to be a bit more concise today than I was yesterday, though concision in writing has never been my strongest point.  Still, with effort, I can do it.  After all, I pared down Unanimity by a bit over 50,000 words from its original form.  That’s right, it’s actually slightly shorter than it would have been initially, even though it still ended up being so long I could only publish it as two volumes.  I had no idea it was going to be so long when I started it—I merely had the story, which I wanted to tell, and it ended up taking that long.  I don’t know if anyone but I has even read the entire thing, but I’ve read it many times, both as part of the editing process and even once or twice since it was published.

Well, that wasn’t a very concise first paragraph, considering I was discussing the very intention to be concise.  But I like irony, so I guess that’s okay.  I’ve often thought that the song, Ironic, by Alanis Morissette, is a meta-level joke, in which the ironic part of the song is that essentially none of the examples she gives in the lyrics are actually ironic.  If she did that on purpose…wow, what an amazing artist!  Also, she was pretty brilliant when she played God in Dogma.

Okay, what else is going on?  Well, I’m still a bit under the weather, but I’m already on the upswing, physically.  I was very tired by the end of the day yesterday—much more so than usual—which made it clear to me that I really am sick, though I was already entirely clear on that fact.

Ha ha, thinking about being sick just made me sneeze twice.  Or, well*, I happened to sneeze twice right after writing that sentence.  It’s unlikely that writing about being sick was actually what triggered the sneeze, but it isn’t impossible.

So, anyway, I was very tired and still was/am sick, so I was a bit more impatient than usual when I got to the bus stop near the train station last night.  The bus’s arrival time (17 minutes after I arrived, by schedule) came and went and the MyRide thingy didn’t show its usual real-time update on when the bus would actually be there, or if the bus would actually be there.  So, after waiting another fifteen minutes, with no updates and no sign of any oncoming bus, and with lightning flashes occurring about once every ten or fewer seconds (with the thunder gradually getting a bit louder), and an early few drops of rain coming, I gave up and gave in.

I walked back to the train station and I popped open the Uber app—not necessarily in that order—and I requested a ride.  It turned out the driver had literally just dropped someone off at the train station**, and so I didn’t even have to wait the estimated two minutes.  Though I’d wasted more than half an hour at the bus stop, I still got back to the house slightly earlier than I would have had the bus arrived within five minutes of my arrival at the first stop.

It was quite a good first experience using Uber.  It’s reminiscent of my first time in Vegas, when I won $80 on my first play of a joker poker machine***, because both events were so positive and fortuitous.  I gave the driver a good rating and a good tip, and based on the profile the app gave me afterward, he’s had many similar reviews.  I don’t know if Uber has engineered the app to arrange such rapid pickups for first-time users—it seems like something that would be quite hard to manipulate—but if this is typical of how the system works, it’s something I may use again.

There certainly have been times, at the end of a long day, when I’ve looked at the app (and its competitor, Lyft) and seen how much it would cost to get one of them all the way back to the house, rather than taking the train.  There have been times when I’ve thought, “You know, it would almost be worth $45 or $50 plus tip to use it.”  Maybe someday, if I decide I need to leave early because I’m not feeling well, then I might just do that.  Still, that’s a lot of money for a commute.  It’s even a comparative lot to go from the train to the house, though that’s a lot more palatable, especially when the buses are running late.

Speaking of buses, I need to wrap this up and get heading out for the bus.  It’s payroll day, which tends to be stressful, but I did a lot of catching up on the weekly process yesterday, and once my momentum was going, I actually got a bit ahead, so it should be no worse than usual.  I hope you all have a good day, since the sort of people who read my blog are the sort of people who deserve to have a good day.

*Imagine the author of 1984 and Animal Farm introducing himself by saying, “Hi.  I’m George.  Or, well, that’s my penname.”

**I thought this sort of thing seemed possible, which is why I walked back to the train station in the first place.  It also has, by design, good pick-up/drop-off locations.

***And here is yet more of my neuro-atypia:  Not only did that not lead me to getting hooked on joker poker, but I have never played it since****.  Contrariwise, one time my ex-wife and I lost our entire allotted casino budget for a weekend—$1000—in half an hour playing blackjack, but I still enjoy playing blackjack.  I almost never do it, of course, partly because I find all the casinos down here in south Florida rather seedy, especially compared to the good Las Vegas places and Foxwoods (the place we lost the grand).

****Let’s face it, despite the fact that you can occasionally win money, the gambling video machines are never going to be as fun as playing, for instance, Tempest™ or Robotron® or Pac Man© or any of the other classic arcade games back in the day.

I was out sick, yesterday. My apologies.

Hi there, all.  It’s Tuesday morning, not Monday; I didn’t write a blog post yesterday.  That was not because the office took yesterday off—they worked until 4pm, as it turns out—but because I was at the house fighting a respiratory virus.  It’s not a severe one—I had a bit of a low grade fever at first, but it rapidly went away*, and I just felt physically crummy, with a dry, scratchy throat and runny/stuffy nose and the like.

I’m now going in to the office, though the boss suggested that I take a couple of days off.  However, if I do take a couple of days off, then when I go back, which would be tomorrow at the latest, there would be so much on which to catch up that it would be overwhelming.  Life is overwhelming enough for me nowadays.  I don’t need to make things worse.

So, obviously, I’m still feeling physically a bit under the weather**, but I’m going to wear a mask today, and I have a batch of spares with me, in case the first one gets unusably compromised.  I actually don’t mind wearing respiratory masks.  Quite apart from having needed to wear them sometimes when I was a practicing doctor, I also like to cover and hide my face.  I don’t like my face very much.  I can entirely sympathize with Doctor Doom for not wanting to show his.  I don’t like how I look, and I don’t like who I am.

Weirdly enough, as I think I’ve noted before, my self-hatred doesn’t make me hate things that I’ve made or created.  I rather often reread my own books—recently I reread both Mark Red and Son of Man—and I listen to songs I’ve done, either covers or originals.  I probably comprise almost the complete numbers of those who have “viewed” my videos on YouTube.  I even like to look at my various drawings and the like, which I scanned long ago and saved to Google Drive, thankfully, so they weren’t completely lost along with everything I owned back when I was arrested and sent away for trying to treat people with chronic pain, but naively not recognizing the other things that were happening at the time.

I guess this is a kind of living proof that I never have done my “artwork” (if you will) to please other people—though I’m delighted when other people like my stuff, and I would be more delighted still if more people did—but have done it because it was what I liked.  I think, if there’s a story that I would like to read, but no one seems to have written it, I should write it myself.

Of course, if someone has to make a living by their arts or crafts, then they have to cater at least somewhat to other people’s tastes over their own, but I think most creative things happen because the creator just wants to create something, at some level.  Then again, I can’t exactly extrapolate the way I feel and think about things to other people—I’m thoroughly weird.  I’m not really even the same species as people around me.  At least, that’s the way it feels to me a lot of the time.

So, the company of most humans is always a bit uncomfortable, though that certainly varies depending on the human, and I also don’t find my own company particularly pleasant.  I mean, it’s often the best option I have available, for what that’s worth—just to be by myself—and I certainly prefer the quiet of solitude to the chaos of whole flanges of naked house apes ooking and shrieking and throwing their feces at each other***.

Sorry.  I don’t mean to be so curmudgeonly.  I’m just tired, and I’m sick, and I’m sick and tired of most everything.  It would be nice if I had the energy and enthusiasm to want to play music—especially to write music—and to write new fiction and all that.  Or to draw, for that matter.  But there’s only so much I can do for what is, essentially, an audience of one, especially when that one is not someone I like.

Yesterday, I saw the thumbnail of a YouTube video that was offered up to me by the algorithm, Why Do Depressed People Have Low Self-esteem?  The specific wording might not be exact, but that was basically the title.  I didn’t watch it, because part of me just thought, “Is that a joke?”  I mean, that’s part of what depression is, surely.  But I’m sure there’s more to the story than that, and I believe I marked it as a “watch later” video, but it is strange.

I am trying not to be too dismissive, though.  The YouTube algorithm has been useful at times for pointing me toward knowledge that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.  I would never have really thought about autism spectrum disorder—beyond the fact that my character, Michael Green, in Unanimity thought he might be on the spectrum—if YouTube hadn’t suggested several related videos to me.

It is interesting how such thoughtless algorithms can produce interesting insights—thoughtless in that they aren’t actually thinking, themselves, but are merely following a general pathway, like elementary particles obeying local laws of physics, and thereby given rise, in the end, to all the immense complexity of macroscopic reality.

I wish I had someone in my actual life with whom I could talk about such things, or similar subjects, but instead, I’m here on my blog, writing about it—still mainly for an audience of one, though there are other people who read it, of course, and I thank and appreciate those people—you are one of them, if you are reading this.  Thank you!

But there is no real endpoint, no point at all, to what I do from day to day, and I have no plans or goals or expectations.  It’s merely continuance, like an automated machine left behind and running in a world in which all living things have died.  The machine cranks away, mindlessly, pointlessly, no longer benefiting anyone at all, and certainly not benefiting itself.  It just keeps going until, finally, it will catastrophically break down, and there will be no one around to repair it, let alone to maintain it, or to notice that it has failed.

I can already hear the belts squeaking and the gears grinding.  The whole thing is vibrating in a way that shouldn’t be happening if it were functioning properly.  I sometimes even think I can smell smoke coming from friction in the mechanism, but that may merely be wishful thinking.

Oh, well.  Enough for today.  If you’re still with me at this point, I doubly thank you, yet again.  And I apologize.  I wish I had given you some uplifting and empowering thoughts.  Those, however, do not seem to be my strengths.  Have a good day.

*Though, given the amount of NSAIDs and acetaminophen and whatnot that I take, fevers tend to be suppressed.  That’s why, when I got COVID and my temperature went nearly to 102 F, I knew I was pretty darn sick.

**Come to think of it, it’s rare that I’m ever “over the weather”.  The last time I flew in a plane was more than twenty years ago.  I don’t think I’ve flown since before 9-11-2001.

***This is figuratively speaking, of course.  Usually.

What should I title this blog post? Wait, I know…

Well, yesterday was seriously painful, in the literal sense and also in a more figurative sense, though the figurative pain was at least partially due to the literal pain.  I tried various postural and furniture-based changes, altered and/or tried some exercises, all sorts of things.  It’s hard to tell whether any of them did any good.  It’s also hard to tell—assuming that some or all of them did any good—which one(s) did the good, and how to tease it out.  This is, of course, why in a proper, scientific exploration of such things, one would try to change only one variable at a time, holding all the others constant.

However, when one is in soul-grinding pain while still trying to do one’s job, one tends to be willing to split away from pure scientific rigor.  At least, I am.  And I’m as committed to the notion of scientific rigor as anyone I know.

I slept reasonably well last night—for me, anyway—only waking up at about two in the morning, and being able to get back to sleep for another 35 minutes or so starting at 3:15.  That may not sound like much, but for me, it’s comparatively restful.

I also went rather off the script with respect to food yesterday.  I decided, since I was feeling so much like crap as to be barely distinguishable, I would just eat what I felt like eating, when I felt like eating it.  So, I did.  Mind you, there wasn’t all that much available, but I did order a pizza and so on, and even got a Mountain Dew® with it, something I haven’t had in certainly over a year, but probably far longer.

I’m likely to relax my dietary restrictions today as well—I really don’t feel great, but I can’t quite tell if I’m going to have another day like the previous few or several—but then, since I have this weekend off, I’m going to go back, much more strictly, to some food regulation, so to speak.  It’s easier when one doesn’t have much to do.

And, yes, I do have tomorrow off, so I won’t be writing a blog post.  I guess, technically, Monday is Memorial Day, which I only realized quite recently, but we generally work on Memorial Day at our office.  It’s a good day for sales and all that, though we often close early.  Of course, the buses and trains will be on a “Sunday” schedule, which is a minor pain, but they are on lower schedules on Saturdays, as well, and I’ve gone in to the office the last two Saturdays without difficulty.  Still, I do find myself tempted just to call out on Monday, at least if I don’t feel much better than I’ve been feeling.

Actually, if I don’t feel much better soon—at least back to my ordinary baseline, however unpleasant that both is and makes me—I feel I should call out from everything, permanently.  I’ve been back on my historically best-working antidepressant for about four or five weeks now, if my reckoning is correct (it’s not very careful, so I could be off).  It doesn’t seem to be making a huge difference, but it’s possible that it’s making some difference.  I certainly did, for a few days, pick up my guitar(s) a bit.  But then—now—I haven’t played or wanted to play for several days.

Some of that is pain related, and a lot of it is depression related, and it’s also just a feeling of pointlessness about playing.  I had thought about working on a cover of Ashes to Ashes, as I’d mentioned here (I think), a sort of sequel to my own cover of A Space Oddity, as Ashes to Ashes was for David Bowie.  But at least for right now, I don’t see that happening.

I don’t see much happening.  The farthest ahead I can really think is laundry on Sunday—will the washer and dryer be clear for me in the morning or not—and then whether or not I’m still going to be in pain on Monday, Memorial Day.  After that, as Paul McCartney sang in You Never Give Me Your Money (and I sang in my “bad cover” thereof), I “see no future…”  Though I will pay rent on the first.  I may even pay it slightly early, because it takes a load of tension away, since then I don’t have to worry that I’m going to forget.  That’s about it.  That’s as exciting as life is for me, which is to say, it’s not very.

I don’t know what would help put the wind back in my sails, or if that’s even possible—what might renew my interest in writing fiction, or playing music, or even writing and making songs.  I don’t really have anyone that I hang out with, since I only really socialize at work—but, then again, I don’t know that I would want to hang out with much of anyone I could possibly encounter near me.  I don’t have much in common with most humans, and that fact seems to become more overpowering all the time.

It would be nice to do some good in the world again, and to have a friend or similar that actually shares interests, but it seems unlikely.  Most people I’ve encountered—or so it feels—seem to want to take advantage, or else find me too unpleasant to stay friends with (I can’t blame them), or have their own stuff going on.  And, frankly, I’m rotten at socializing anyway, even with people I like.

Even on-line socializing, which I briefly did a bit of in the past, has become tense and unpleasant for me most of the time.  Leaving comments—whether on a video or a blog, or whatever, let alone replying to a tweet or a Facebook post—fills me almost immediately with a good deal of tension and anxiety.  I fear that someone will engage with my comment and I’ll have to get involved in some kind of discussion or argument, or else willfully ignore it, which will feel rude.

I know, it’s  a trap of my own making, or at least of my own nature.  I certainly can’t blame the other people.  But that doesn’t make it cease to be a trap.

Ah, well, it really doesn’t matter.  When I’m in a lot of pain, I’m not interested in socializing, anyway.

And now, I need to start heading for the bus stop, so I’m going to wrap this up for today.  I won’t write a post tomorrow, and if I don’t write one Monday, it will mean either that I decided (or needed) to take that day off, or something else has prevented me from writing.  I guess, if I don’t write any more posts at all after that, you’ll be able to infer at least that something relatively drastic happened.

But if I return no later than Tuesday…well, you’ll know that I’ve returned, at least for the moment.  I’m not sure which outcome I prefer.

Anyway, have a good holiday weekend, those of you who live in the US and are celebrating.

Be fire with fire. Threaten the threat’ner, and outface the brow of blogging horror.

Hello and good morning.

It’s Thursday again.  It feels as though it ought to be Friday—some Friday in 2029, or 2929, or 20,299 or something, given how horribly long this week feels as though it has lasted.

I’ve rarely felt as unpleasant as I do this week.  First of all, as you know, despite medication and my attempts to improving my schedule and lifestyle, my depression has been very bad, and it doesn’t really seem to be improving.  Also, my pain has just been awful this week.

Yesterday I felt as if everything from my left shoulder blade on down was being eaten away by Drano™ or something similar from the inside out.  Then it spread out a bit.  It’s not much better now, though it’s not as severe as at its worst.  I don’t know what has set it off.  I’ve tried not to do stupid things, physically.  I’ve tried using knee braces and ankle braces and shoe inserts, but those quickly seemed just to make things worse (annoyingly).  I’ve tried various different brands and types of shoes.  And, of course, I’ve slightly but frequently overdosed on naproxen and aspirin and acetaminophen, which don’t help me feel much better.

There have been several times that I’ve been tempted just to grab a double fistful of aspirin and/or acetaminophen and just gulp them down—I only have about ten or twelve naproxen left in the little bottle on my desk, so I could add them to the meal, but they probably wouldn’t make much difference.  However, I know that the process of dying from even a large overdose of such combinations would be extremely drawn out, and I would probably have bad nausea and vomiting and the like as part of it.  It would be hard to tolerate without seeking some kind of help, and certainly without being obvious and intrusive to other people.  I hate nausea probably more than most anything else (I doubt this is unusual, given the nature of nausea and the purpose it serves).

I have to admit that I have harkened back with some nostalgia to the time when I had prescription opioids of one kind or another.  The side-effects and the dependency on those is annoying—so annoying that I weaned myself off the meds on my own—but at least they definitely work, for a while, to alleviate pain.

I’m getting very tired of pain.  That’s an unusual reaction, isn’t it?  Ha ha.

Seriously, though, I’ve been in chronic pain for a little more than twenty years now, and it’s not really getting better, or stabilizing, and although I’m still alive despite it—obviously—it cannot be said that I’m getting used to it, other than to say that it’s become almost a part of my identity by now, which is a horrifying and infuriating thought.

I keep thinking of a line from the movie Dragonslayer, when the wizard, Ulrich, says, “When a dragon gets this old, it knows nothing but pain, constant pain.  It grows decrepit…crippled…pitiful.  Spiteful!”  I can definitely sympathize with the dragon’s wish to burn the entire countryside, the entire world, out of frustration and rage and hatred because of constant pain—though I have no interest in burning and eating young virgins.  Is that the dragon equivalent of veal or lamb?  I don’t know.

I’ve tried many massagers (and I used my seat and feet massagers about five times yesterday at the office, to little or no avail), and patches, and creams, and ointments, and stretches, and exercises, and of course, medicines.  I’ve tried herbal things, and I’ve changed chairs, and I’ve changed the way I sleep.  I’m not a person who gives up easily; I tend always to be willing to check things out and experiment.  But there is a reason that opioids exist, despite the fact that they can be abused by those who suffer from psychological as well as physical pain:  they work.  What’s more, unlike the various OTC meds, when necessary, their doses can be increased without causing inescapable and catastrophic organ failure and a lingering, horrible death.

Even when one does die from opioids, it’s liable to be more peaceful than dying from too much Tylenol.  That is a terrible spectacle, involving total liver failure and all the dreadful, slow, wretched, painful ordeals that brings to the body.  NSAIDs, including aspirin, are not much better.  I suppose if one has a sudden, severe GI bleed from aspirin, it can be relatively quick, but it is likely to be messy, and extremely unpleasant, with nausea and pain as well as vomiting and/or defecating blood.

It’s somewhat ironic that the main cause of my disgrace and loss of career and what little was left of my life was born of my desire to try to help other people who have chronic pain—people who might not have the resources I had—to get their pain treated with the best medicines we had, however flawed they may be, in a society that looks at everyone* who picks up a prescription for an opiate or opioid as a disgusting, weak, criminal, degenerate drug addict who doesn’t really have any serious pain.  Only people with terminal cancer get a pass on treating their pain, even though, ironically, their course is usually much shorter.  It’s okay to treat your pain if you’re dying—which it ought to be, of course—but if you have to keep on living with your pain, and to keep on trying to make a living, then treating your pain makes humans see you as just a disgusting lowlife, which makes no sense at all.

Even those on the floors of hospitals taking care of patients with, for instance, sickle cell disease sometimes have the temerity to sneeringly refer to “drug-seeking” behavior in their patients.  As if they would not seek drugs for pain if I were to take a large baseball bat or sledge hammer and smash their major limb joints into powder for them, which is much of what the experience of a sick cell crisis can feel like.

Believe me, it was sometimes tempting to do such a thing.  Okay, it was often tempting.  See above about the whole “burning the countryside” thing.

Was I naïve about the pain treatment practice?  Of course I was.  I don’t tend to look for ulterior motives in people unless and until it’s glaringly obviously that I need to do so, and I don’t generally even try to understand hidden motivations and machinations of humans, who rarely seem to understand their own minds.  But even the book promulgated by the Florida Department of Health (or lack thereof) said—correctly—that there is no way accurately to test the degree of a person’s pain, and the general guideline is to take patients at their word unless and until there is a clear and good reason not to do so.  They actually sent this book out to all the doctors in the state who worked in that business.

Patients, in other words, should be considered innocent until proven guilty.  Too bad our justice system doesn’t have a principle like that to apply to it.  Oh, wait!  It supposedly does.  However, that really only applies to those who are wealthy enough to hire private defense attorneys (a rather obscene notion if you think about it).  It certainly doesn’t apply to the average person, certainly not to a person who has to use public defenders because he cannot afford an attorney, a person who hasn’t saved any money because his own life is in disarray from chronic pain, and because he doesn’t have a clue about money management or life management, or the ability to focus on them, and ends up giving much of what he earns away, and having the rest of it taken from him, because humans tend to take advantage of people like him, who are very smart and capable in some ways, but who are so very bad at taking care of themselves, and who find it hard to understand people who use others and take advantage of others and set them up to take a fall, and so on.

Again, see above about the burning of the countryside and/or the planet.  Doing that becomes more and more attractive with every moment.  Not just humans, but every life form on Earth is unworthy of existence, frankly.  At least, that’s how I often feel.  There is no innocent form of life.  Even green plants compete ruthlessly, choking each other, jockeying for the light and for water and all that stuff.  It’s all ugly and disgusting, even when it’s beautiful and amazing.

Anyway, that’s that.  I don’t even really know what I’ve written, other than general vague impressions, though of course, I will reread it as I edit it before posting.  I hate the universe at the moment, though not as much as I hate myself.  But I’m still grateful to those of you who read this blog, and so, to you especially, I hope you have a good day.



*This includes doctors, as I knew from repetitive experience.

Tell me why I [no longer] like Mondays

It’s Monday morning, the beginning of that day whose child just learned to tie its bootlace, according to Lady Madonna.  That may be just about the only good thing that can be said about Monday—though the Mama’s and the Papa’s sang that it was so good to them.

I’ve always felt that there was a bit of irony or sarcasm in Monday, Monday’s lyrics, but perhaps I’m projecting my own feelings onto it.  I need to be cautious about drawing unwarranted conclusions.  That’s all too easy a trap into which to fall, to insert one’s own feelings into the mind of another, so to speak, just because one’s feelings are so strong that they feel that they must be there.  As I’ve said here before, and not too long ago (I think), just because you infer it doesn’t mean it was implied.

Still, my own sentiment toward Mondays is rather negative.  Not that yesterday was particularly great or anything—actually, I was rather stressed out by my laundry situation, since that is the only day on which I can do my laundry, and there were some impediments around which I had to go to do it, which made me feel very uncomfortable and rather angry.  But I did nap a fair amount during the day, and I resisted eating until after 6, which is hardest to do on a day off.

Once it was time to eat, after I had gone most of the day without eating, I was frankly not very hungry, which is one of the great things about that process.  Nearly all (and possibly in fact, all) of the times in my life when I’ve been most present and effective and when I’ve been sharpest and most successful have been when I had a habit of not eating breakfast or lunch.  (I wrote a bit about this the other day, I think—how when one’s stomach is full, biology wants to make one slow down and digest, and to go into storage mode.)  I mean to continue this process.  I can already tell that it’s helping after only about three days, because it’s already easier to do my pull-ups in the morning.

When I was younger—so much younger than today*—I used to like Mondays, which was unusual among the people I knew.  I almost always liked school, because I always liked to learn new things.  It was a joy I absorbed from my parents and my older siblings, and it was not a case of “do as I say, not as I do”.  Both of my parents clearly loved education and learning and thinking, and had always encouraged it in us.  So I liked going to school.

School was where I had friends, too.  I’ve always needed to have a venue in which to socialize; I can’t just make friends in purely social settings.  But when there were a bunch of us there anyway, with automatic starting points about which to converse—classwork, for instance—that made the process much easier.  Also, it helped that we didn’t move during my childhood.  By which I mean, we didn’t buy another house and go to live there rather than in the one we’d had previously.  Clearly we moved, otherwise how would I even have gone to school?

It was easier to make friends then, when we were all the same age, and we all had a good deal in common because we were all in school and in classes.  And by the time I got to high school, that usual place of such peer-based evil and whatnot, I had a core group of friends, and I was in the orchestra, and I was already known to be a smart guy (along with my friends).  We were not in the least afraid of the stupid people**, and we certainly didn’t give a crap if they didn’t think we were cool.

We were the cool ones, as far as we were concerned, and that made it so.  Coolness is in the eye of the beholder, after all, and from an objective, outsider point of view, all the humans are just funny-looking, mostly hairless apes with hilarious and absurd and stupid habits and peculiar ways of doing things.

“This—all this—was in the olden time, long ago,” as Poe wrote in The Haunted Palace.  Not that I’m any more worried about what so-called cool people or other fashion victims think now.  When one is an adult, such people are all the more obviously laughable and even worthy of pity, not realizing to what degree they are merely analogues of bower birds and peacocks, strutting and fretting and trying to outdo one another, not even realizing they’re motivated by old, old, instincts and drives for reproductive competition and dominance hierarchies that no longer fully apply.

Life would be a tragedy if it weren’t so comical—and it would be a comedy if it weren’t so tragic.

Oh, by the way, I missed another chance at a palindromic recording number this weekend.  We approached it steadily, and got close enough that I thought, “If we get another deal in a few minutes, we may just hit this one.”  Alas, there then followed a longish stretch of at least an hour before the next sale, and when it arrived, we were well past the target.  So—to no sensible person’s surprise—the universe is not yet sending me any messages that it wants me to survive.

That’s fine.  I feel pretty much the same way about it.  So, there!

With that, I’d better get heading to the bus stop for another oh-so-glorious day of productive work, of which Ayn Rand would surely be proud and toward which she would feel awe, if she weren’t dead***.  I hope you all have a decent day and a good week.  If you’re lucky enough to have friends and family around you, cherish them.  They provide a strong positive counterweight to a lot of the negatives of the world.

*It’s kind of funny that John Lennon wrote that when he was in his mid twenties.  Just how much younger could he have been?  I guess it’s all relative, and the perceived duration of any given time span becomes shorter and shorter as we get older and older, as each new passing moment is a smaller and smaller fraction of our total lives.

**To be fair to them, I don’t think there were many bullying stupid (is that redundant?) people in our school.  People who were badly adjusted and too troubled, or too “cool”, tended to get involved with using and sometimes dealing drugs, and otherwise getting in legal trouble, and often ended up dropping out, which is rather heartbreaking.  I don’t know how many such people died young and unhappy, but it was a sadly large number.  According to some statistics I read, only 80% of the people who started high school in my city finished it, and only about 4 or 5% of them finished college.  These statistics are not true now, of course—they don’t even apply.  My old high school and junior high and elementary schools are all closed, and are falling into ruin, as is much of the Detroit area.  It’s very sad.  For a long time, it was a fine and impressive place, as were those schools.

***That was sarcasm, in case it wasn’t obvious.

Random Saturday thoughts on loyalty, free expression, and the supremacy of Nature

I think I mentioned that I was working again this Saturday—which is today—making it two Saturdays in a row that I’m working, and thus that I would be writing a blog post today.  I might not have mentioned it yesterday, however, so I hope this doesn’t come as too unpleasant a surprise.  Of course, one has to wonder why anyone would bother reading the post if it were unpleasant to them, but some people can be very loyal, and that’s a trait that—up to a point—we want to reward and encourage, so if you are one of those people, I thank you.

Of course, truly blind loyalty isn’t generally a good idea.  For instance, I’ve never been a fan of notions such as “my country, right or wrong,” which surely would have been welcome in any totalitarian regime from Nazi Germany to Communist Russia (or to modern Russia, alas), back to the Roman Empire and so on.  It has no legitimate place in the United States, though there have been and are people who espouse it.

This is a nation founded on the principle that governments derive their just power only from the consent of the governed, and are in place only to secure their rights, such as those to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It is also founded on the principle, stated in the founding document, that when governments become contrary to the rights and principles of the people, they should be changed…but that this should generally not be done for light or transient reasons.

So, maybe the guiding thought, far superior to “my country, right or wrong” should be one that gives one’s country the presumption of innocence in a sense, i.e., to grant the present government provisional loyalty, but not to give it carte blanche.  Unquestioning loyalty breeds not only abuse—for when no one is telling a person they might want to reconsider their actions and choices, they are liable to become more and more extreme over time, even if only because they have a wider phase space in which to meander—but also failure.

We can imagine and see this happening in Putin’s Russia—where the head of state is a man surrounded by sycophants who, out of self-preservation, will tell him only the best news about their readiness, the strength of their army and their economies, and will tend not to give him bad news for fear of being imprisoned or poisoned or falling to their deaths in a “freak accident” from some balcony.

There should always be openness to dissenting voices; they should certainly be allowed to speak, though I suppose one cannot be required to listen.  A heckler’s veto, or coerced disinvitation, or any other de facto censorship ultimately will rebound upon those who do the censoring, for they will, over time, become less and less aware of many of the facts of reality.  But, as Feynman famously said during the Challenger inquiry, Nature cannot be fooled.  It makes no exceptions.  It doesn’t care about ideology.  In its absolute implacability, it makes the Terminator look like Charlie Brown.  And, to bring in another saying that’s a cliché because it’s true:  Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.

Of course, you cannot do anything but obey Nature.  If you think you are disobeying it, you’re just obeying that part of it that allows you to delude yourself.  But survival and thrival (which apparently is not a real word, but I’m leaving it there, anyway) are generally best served by having accurate information.  And the quality of information, of ideas, is honed and improved by testing it against other, contrary ideas, seeing which ones are better supported by evidence and reason, which ones are more convincing, not just in quality of rhetoric—which is, after all, just a game of manipulation at its root—but in ability to convince the truly disinterested and dispassionate, and above all, in how well they match reality.

I’m not quite sure how I got onto this general topic and subject, but it’s clearly an area about which I’ve thought a great deal.  When I first read John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty about five years ago, I felt frankly impoverished that I hadn’t been introduced to it in my youth.  But, it’s not too late to have read it now (obviously), and it wasn’t as though freedom of speech as an ideal had never occurred to me before.  I just hadn’t quite encountered as well-made a defense of it.

I think many of the young and “educated” and in-education people these days have clearly not read it, or at least have not absorbed or considered it very carefully.  Oh, well, young people are always foolish.  The trouble is, foolish young people grow into older people who are still foolish, though usually in slightly different ways.  I do not exclude myself from this general pattern—not by a parsec or a Planck length.

Wow, again, I don’t know where this all came from, but it’s probably at least a little improvement over some of my other posts.  Maybe it’s partly because I fasted during the day yesterday—i.e., I ate no breakfast or lunch, and only ate anything once I’d gotten back to the house.  This was my general habit during the times in my life when I’ve been both most successful and healthiest.  It’s also, quite possibly, a more natural way for humans (and anthropoid replicants) to behave.  In ancestral days, food generally had to be hunted and gathered prior to eating (duh!), so those activities were pursued during the day.  A recently well-fed and satiated animal does not tend to get up and go hunting.  Better to let the digestive system do its work.

But when one has an empty belly, one is sharper and more motivated, at least up to a point—a belly that has been empty for a very long time, obviously, is not so great.  Though I kind of think it would be nice for me to try.  I have enough stored fat to last me quite a while, even if I ate nothing.  We’ll see what happens.  But it would be welcome if my mind became sharper than usual.  It’s not as though it could readily get much worse.

And, now, I’d better leave to head to the bus stop.  Thank you for your patience and your loyalty in reading my blog, and in particular, for reading this little rant for today.  Have a good remainder of your weekend, if you’re able.

I’m too tired to think of a title, sorry

Well, it’s Wednesday morning again, not even five o’clock yet, and here I am, sitting on a piano bench, writing my daily blog post before leaving the house to head to the office.  I’m not heading there directly, of course.  It’s more than thirty miles away, which would be a ten or eleven hour walk, even if I walked without a single moment’s rest, which is not going to happen.  Then, of course, by the time I got there, there would only be a few hours before I had to head back.

I suppose it would be great physical training, apart from the fact that walking 64 miles within the course of a single day would probably exhaust me, and almost certainly give me horrible blisters.  I’d probably lose weight, though—much of it water weight, but at least some of it fat.

Anyway, that’s all nonsense; I don’t know why I started talking about that.

I got a few hours’ sleep last night at least—not interrupted, and no more than two between awakenings, for a total of maybe four hours.  Still, it was better than the night before.  It’s times like these I can sympathize with Michael Jackson over his use of Propofol to get to sleep, even though it’s actually not conducive to a restful, beneficial slumber.  I can also envy him for what Propofol did to him and how he no doubt went on his way:  while deeply unconscious.

I was so tired and worn out yesterday at work, but apparently it was not obvious to people.  I told the boss that I’d only had twenty minutes of sleep the night before, and that I was seriously tired, but as far as I could tell, there wasn’t any attempt to foreshorten or soften things much, and at the end of the day, we still stayed late because a last minute deal was closing.  I got on an earlier train than the night before, but because of the way the buses run, I still didn’t get back to the house more than fifteen minutes earlier than I had Monday night.  That’s a bit frustrating.

Many things are frustrating in a vague and fuzzy sense, but right now most things are just plain vague and fuzzy.  I’m still seeing illusions of insects and even cats out of the corners of my eyes, though at least when I turn to look, the things don’t persist.  This is just the predictive modeling system of the brain getting a bit out of whack because of fatigue, but once my foveae are brought to bear, it corrects its models.

As far as I know, I’m not encountering any full-on, persistent hallucinations.  Of course, there could be such hallucinations happening, but they haven’t been revealed to me for what they are.  And, of course, since I don’t socialize or spend time with anyone, except at work—and I don’t really interact all that much with the people there except as part of my job—it might be quite some time before anyone pointed out to me that, for instance, something to which I was reacting wasn’t even there.

Of course, in principle, someone telling me I was acting strangely could be the very hallucination itself, but this is an issue of epistemology that goes all the way back to Plato and Descartes and then on up to The Matrix.  It doesn’t bother me much, anyway.  I never do really assume that I have the full and final picture of things.  I’m not prone to delusions, as far as I know, and I dislike dogmatism in any form.  I’ve often thought that, perhaps, part of the disorder of depression, or perhaps a situation that makes one prone to it, is an under-powered belief module in the brain.  In other words, I think that depressed people are less likely to feel that they are right about things than people who are not prone to depression.

In many cases, I think this failure to believe is a good thing.  I dislike dogmatism and unwarranted certainty in pretty much all of its guises and incarnations, from religious fanaticism to braggadocio to those who insult others on social media to just people who arrogantly assume they know the answers and are smarter than the people around them.  I think intellectual humility—not to be confused with intellectual timidity—is a surer way to advancement and improvement of human* knowledge and prosperity than is any kind of pseudo-certainty (and nearly all “certainty” is pseudo-certainty) or boldness of conclusions.  All progress is change, but not all change is progress.  Course correction is essential, and must be near constant, if one wishes to arrive at any destination worth seeking.

I mean, I’m sure it’s fun and ego-syntonic to believe that one is right.  But heroin, I’m sure, feels pretty good when one first starts using it.  That good feeling doesn’t tend to last, though.

As I’ve said before, I don’t want to believe; I want to be convince by evidence and reasoning.  Such conviction is always, in principle, provisional.  Of course, some things are so close to certainty that they might as well be complete convictions.  I am convinced that 1 + 1 = 2 (barring changes in the meaning of the symbols).  I don’t need Russell’s formal logical proof of the fact, though knowing that it’s out there is reassuring.  I assign an extremely low credence to the possibility that the above equation is incorrect, far lower than, say, the likelihood of a massive asteroid striking the Earth in south Florida tomorrow, and probably even lower than the likelihood of a phase change of the cosmic vacuum state happening tomorrow.  Though if either of those things did happen, particularly the latter, I wouldn’t exist long enough even to say, “Well, I’ll be!  Who would’ve thought it?”

I don’t know what I’m really getting at here.  I’m really frazzled and confused and tired.  I’m still taking the Saint John’s Wort—I think it must be nearly three weeks since I started back, but if you lot recall when I restarted it, feel free to let me know.  I can’t be arsed to look back and check myself.  But my mind and my mood don’t feel like they are improving.

Anyway, I should get going to head out to the bus stop.  If I don’t write my usual blog post tomorrow, it will probably be because I just got sick from the stress and lack of sleep, as I fear I might.  But, of course, I do have to go in on Saturday, so unless I get so horribly broken down that I no longer care about inconveniencing people or failing to stick to my commitments, I’ll be writing then, and almost certainly Friday as well.  And, let’s be honest, I’ll probably be here tomorrow.

I, after all, do not have access to Propofol or any other similar dangerous but relaxing substance.

*And pseudo-human, replicant, changeling, alien, robot, monster, and any other form of intelligent life.

A ledge on the edge of a bottomless pit

Well, I got almost no sleep last night, to the point where calling it “last night” feels very odd and surreal, since my consciousness has been continuous—more or less—since yesterday morning.

I think I dozed for about twenty minutes, total, over the course of the night, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating, though when it comes to subjective experience, it’s always difficult to be entirely certain of all the details.  In any case, I just wanted you to know that, if I’m even more bizarre and erratic than usual, that’s at least part of the reason why.  I know that I’m misinterpreting many of the things that I see out of the corner of my eye, currently, experiencing visual illusions that border on being hallucinations.

I really don’t know what I’m going to do.  I apologize for always dumping all my negative crap on here, no doubt alienating many potential readers, but I literally have no one else with whom I can talk about things like this.  I certainly don’t want to converse about this with anyone who is still willing to talk to me at all, because my unguarded thoughts are poisonous, even to me, and all the more so to anyone else.

It was partly a good and partly not so good day at work yesterday.  Of course, I was very busy, but for the most part I kept up with things and even kept a positive demeanor (for me, anyway).  However, there was overflow of work well into lunch hour, so I didn’t get much break, and didn’t get a chance to rest my back.  So that’s not in very good shape now.

More than one usually sensible person tried to push to get deals in situations where it wasn’t really ideal, and we supposedly have criteria to guide us on this, but the boss doesn’t stick with his own rules consistently.  When you do that, people will tend to try to push around the rules, since they recognize that they aren’t absolute.  And I end up being the only gatekeeper on these things, or the main one.

So I have to be the official asshole of the office, I have to be the bad guy—which should be fine, considering my love of villains, but it really is not.  It also feels futile, because I’m always being overridden, and I have no power or authority to put my foot down against the owner of the business.  So I just get angry and frustrated, partly just because of the inconsistency.  And when I say that I’m angry and frustrated, I don’t mean it in a lighthearted way.  I get really angry, but since I’m not easily able to express or release my emotions even at the best of times, they just churn inside me, and I hate myself because I get so hatefully angry.  I feel that I want just to burn everything down, to destroy it all.  But of course, I won’t do that because I have no right to do that, so instead I’m inclined to destroy my things and to harm myself, psychologically and physically.

I do it, sometimes.  I’m frankly surprised that my guitars are not in pieces yet.

Then, at the end of the day yesterday, a person in the office with whom I get along as well as anyone ended up staying quite late trying to close a relatively annoying deal, and of course, I have to verify and then process and record the deal, so it’s not as though I can leave until everyone else is done.  The boss waited, since he was driving this coworker to the train station, and he offered to take me there as well, but I was too wound up to want that.  I wanted to walk to the train—it’s only a mile, anyway.

But I was so angry and so stressed out, anyway, somehow even more so because it was someone I like, and toward whom I don’t want to feel the towering rage and frustration that I know people can’t quite even tell is happening—though they know I’m upset.  Why would I not be?  I live farther away than almost anyone else in the office, and I have to leave last, because I’m the one who processes and records and locks up.  Also, it’s just annoying as hell that people flout the schedule that we nominally have, since it’s a schedule we have had all along, and it hasn’t changed.

But again, it’s one of those things where, if a rule or a schedule isn’t enforced, people in general don’t take it seriously.  They think they can do whatever they want, or at least they push, they test, they see how far they can go outside the boundaries of the supposed rules, and eventually the rules might just as well never have existed.  And I get so mad, and when I get so mad at someone I actually like it makes it worse, and I really hate myself that it gets me so upset.  I hate feeling that way.  But I don’t seem to be able not to feel that way, not for as long as I’m trying to keep going, anyway.  I would have to give up completely in some sense not to care, not to let it bother me.

So, I didn’t get back to the house until just before nine last night, and one would think that I would be able to get to sleep after such a stressful afternoon and evening, but that was not the case.

I was thinking to myself at the office as I waited for that last deal finally to finish, that I have to be at the office today (which was tomorrow, yesterday), and I need to be there through this Saturday, since my coworker who can do some of the things I do won’t be around.  But after that, there will be at least two weeks in which I am inessential, and in which, if anything happened to me, there would be time and situational setting for the office to adjust to me being gone.

The only real problem would be payroll.  If I have a complete breakdown, and if I crash and burn, as I actually hope or at least wish I would do, then it will be minimally disruptive otherwise, and as for payroll, well—it’s not like I’m the only person in the world who can keep track of sales and commissions and splitting of deals, and keep track of who is paid by the hour versus (or in addition to) commission, and note when people arrive and leave if they’re hourly, and scan written records to keep for future use, and download phone recordings to the local hard drive, and update the sales board numbers on the fly in his head, and keep track of whether we need to order more coffee or more sugar or more paper towels or toilet paper or coffee cups and to order them.

I may well be the only one with an MD (and a supposedly very high IQ) who is doing such things for a small sales office, but that, I guess, is what happens when one is quite smart but has a chronic mood disorder, and chronic pain, and (probably) a neurodevelopmental disorder.  Such a person cannot manage the nonsense that living in the world of humans entails, cannot maintain a sensible and successful lifestyle without people close to him who can help him do that.  So one ends up where one ends up—ultimately, the grave, of course, but in the meantime, there are many ledges on the way down to the pit.

And, of course, now I’m on my own, living in a single room (with attached bathroom) in a house in south Florida, and I’m not up to maintaining even a scooter or a car, irritated even by having to deal with a bicycle, especially when it seems to make my back and hips and legs worse when I ride, which is maddening, because otherwise I kind of enjoy riding it.

Anyway, I’m shrinking inward, and my mind is shriveling, and I think I’m on my way out, one way or another.  If I had any purpose, if I had any meaning in my life, I probably could endure indefinitely—I have a fairly deep well of persistence or stubbornness.  It doesn’t work to my advantage, though.  It just leads me to keep torturing myself, chipping away at myself, eroding myself, grinding me into dust.

The whole process is taking too long.  Anyway, I should get going and head for the bus…because that’s what I do, I guess, I just keep going…I keep going until I break.  But I am breaking; I’m in the process.  I don’t think it will be long now.

A session of digression but without a confession

Hello, everyone.  It’s Monday morning, and I’m still at the house, sitting on the piano bench—the only piece of furniture I use for sitting, though I almost never play the keyboard anymore—and writing this blog post on my laptop.  Last week, every post was written on my phone.  Also last week, my posts didn’t get as many views or “likes” as they usually do.  At least, that’s my impression, and I wonder if writing on my phone contributed to the outcome.  I haven’t actually done an empirical, side-by-side comparison of the numbers, so I could easily be wrong about the posts’ popularity.  Perhaps it’s more a sign of my emotional state than the state of the world.  As Radiohead so aptly sang in There There, “Just ‘cause you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.”  Or, as I like to say, “Just because you inferred it doesn’t mean it was implied”.

Still, this is my own blog, so I suppose I can allow myself to proceed from my subjective point of view.

I’m not looking forward to this week.  My coworker with whom I share some of my duties is out today and tomorrow, and I’m also going to be working this coming Saturday after having worked this last Saturday, since said coworker was/will be out of town.  I had already had a week of terrible sleep, even for me, which didn’t help.  I did take a bit of rest yesterday, though I had to do my laundry.  But a lot of the resting was simply me being wiped out due to the fact that I had some form of (presumably food-borne) enteritis, so I didn’t feel well at all, despite taking some loperamide*.  That illness, at least, appears mostly to have run its course, for which I am grateful.  It’s not pleasant to try to commute while fighting a lower GI issue, but it’s not as though I can stay out of work today with my coworker out.

Sorry, I know all this trivia about my day to day life is probably both boring and depressing.  What can I say?  I’m a depressing and boring person.

Yesterday, between trips to the bathroom, I picked up the Les Paul guitar that my former housemate built, because I wanted to practice some more on that David Bowie song I mentioned last week.  As with most songs, it sounded even better on the Les Paul.  It’s the best sounding instrument—of any kind (which includes cellos, pianos, guitars, violins, and keyboards in general**)—that’s I’ve had the privilege to play.  He did an amazing job with it.  The red Strat he made is also excellent, and I love it, but the Les Paul is almost miraculous in its tone.

It was remarkably dusty, but that didn’t bother me too much.  I’m not one to polish or tweak or maintain things, except when using them, and then only to the extent that it’s necessary in order to use them.  My brain just doesn’t work in such a way that, for instance, I would ever notice or care that a car I owned could use a car wash, or that my room was cluttered, or that my desk was cluttered, or whatever.

Cars and the like are merely things one uses for a purpose, as far as I’m concerned.  And I’m actually quite happy that I seem to have been spared the whole social hierarchy, showing off, keeping up with the Joneses, owning things as status symbols, and so on, kind of mentality.  I’m not intimidated by so-called superiors, and it usually doesn’t occur to me that I ought to be so.  I’m also not disdainful of so-called subordinates, and I am provisionally convinced that this is the correct attitude.

Of course, all this sounds a bit like a species of showing off in its own right, I guess.  I don’t mean it that way (though I am glad of it, as I said).  I just recognize now that perhaps some of the things that have always been true about me, and which I guess are different from the way many other people are, may in fact be related to ASD if I do indeed meet the criteria for that.  I have never been a person who cared about owning the latest popular brand of sneakers when I was a kid, or a particular brand of clothes or jacket or whatnot—I honestly couldn’t even understand why people cared about such things.

I did like some things that I thought looked cool, or neat, or interesting sometimes, and I still do.  I also had a jacket, on the left breast of which were pinned dozens upon dozens of buttons depicting the band, The Police, because I was fairly obsessed with them and bought every such button I encountered.  But I am not and have never been the sort of person who would have put racing stripes or LEDs on a motorcycle, or tried to get bright chrome doo-dads for a car.  A car is just a tool.

So is a guitar (or a piano or a cello).  These are wonderful tools, and I care more about them than I do about cars, because their purpose is to make music, which is much more aesthetically pleasing than just being able to get places quickly and easily while sitting on my fat bottom.  Even so, what matters in a guitar, say, is the sound.  I honestly don’t really give a flying f-ck at a tiny little rat’s a-s if it looks shiny or fancy or whatever***.

I don’t know how I got started on that big and pointless digression.  I suppose I’ll be able to see the route when I go back to edit this, though I still might be mystified by it.  At least it fills the page, so to speak.  And it isn’t even late enough that I would normally have left for the bus stop, which is good, because it’s raining a bit, and even with the bus shelter roof, the rain tends to get little splatters on the laptop screen if I write there.  I definitely write much faster on the laptop, though at least doing the phone stuff last week doesn’t seem to have hurt my thumbs too much.

I have to work up my courage to go in to work, though.  I just need to survive until Saturday, at least, because I don’t want to leave everyone at the office in the lurch.  After that, it’ll be two weeks in a row where I won’t be working on Saturday (to make up for two weekends on), and so there won’t be any time when my presence is essential—well, except for payroll, I guess, but I can’t be too tied down by that.  Having to prepare the payroll for people is not by itself an adequate reason to continue living, not indefinitely.

I’m not sure I’ve ever found an adequate reason, even during the times when I was reasonably mentally stable.  I just didn’t much think about it, not in any serious way.  When you’re not feeling depressed and/or stressed, you don’t really need a reason to continue, you just coast along on the surface of biological drives and follow the local path-of-least-action.  At least, I do.  But it’s been a long time since I’ve had a noteworthy interval of not being depressed and/or stressed, and unfortunately, when depressed, time seems to take much longer to pass than do the times in between.

Probably, reading my blog posts feels like that sometimes.  Meaning that the time is much longer, more wearing, than other times.  Apologies for that.  I hope you have a good week, nonetheless.  And to all you mothers**** out there, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday.

*Look it up if you don’t know what it is.  It’s an excellent product.

**I’ve also briefly played a saxophone—a cheap one bought from a flea market.  It made a lovely sound, and I enjoyed diddling around on it and making absurdly loud but cool noises, and it was easier to play than I expected it to be, but I lost interest pretty quickly.  I like to sing and play, and you can’t do that with the saxophone.  I do, in retrospect, regret that I had never even thought to try to work out and play the sax riff from Baker Street.  What a missed opportunity!

***Though I do grant that the guitars my former housemate made are lovely.

****And I don’t mean that as “half a word”.