Friday, January 30, 2015

On the Mend

            It has truly been an interesting week for me. Once again I was struck down with some sort of ailment that pretty much put me on bed rest for three and a half days. I suppose it all started Monday I started getting a heavy feeling in my chest and my nasal cavities decided that now would be a good time to produce mucus in overdrive mode. To top everything off, I developed this really low and guttural cough that lasted for several minutes on end. It was quite disturbing for those who witnessed my spastic gestures and uncontrollable drooling while bent over whatever piece of furniture I happened to be near.
            However; there was some nifty side effects of uncontrollable coughing and liquid explosions from my facial orifices. I got dizzy, really dizzy. Like I just drank a whole bottle of scotch dizzy. Hell, it was all I could do to not fall down most of the time. Oh, and of course the muscle spasms were an added bonus. I really dug those. It felt as if I’d pissed of some voodoo witch doctor in a strange and foreign land and now they had decided to take revenge upon my by using a voodoo doll with my likeness as piece of silly putty. (If you don’t know what silly putty is, then you may be too young to read this blog.) All my muscles moving independently of their own accord and usually in opposite directions which causes all sorts of conflicting synapse firings in my brain. I guess it is like if Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the height of his career was sapped by a time travel ray and plopped down in the middle of a Megadeth concert, or Slipknot, you pick. I think his head would just about explode, which is to say, my mind was on that verge of catastrophic engineering failure. Yet I survived by divine intervention.
            Okay, maybe not divine intervention. I went home Monday night, slept hard and went to work on Tuesday morning. After two hours there, I went home. Why? The coughing, the chills, the violent and uncontrollable muscle spasms… nah, I just wanted to goof off. Of course it was the illness. Duh. Once home I self-medicated with liquid green death, BC powder and several muscle relaxing patches. Then my consciousness departed my reality and when next I came back to the world of the living I turned my laptop on, brought up Netflix, re-medicated, started a film and quickly left the land of the living once again.
            I repeated this process until I realized it was Wednesday. My laptop had disappeared from the bed, my mouth had a stale medicinal moss like growth on it and my pajamas had an odor of stale sweat. I stumbled to the shower, scrubbed my filth and watched it slowly circle the drain before it finally disappeared into the waste management system of my fair city. I put some fresh pj’s on, found my computer, tuned into the latest season of Flash, medicated and then drifted off to Nod once again.
            Now, I hope you don’t get the wrong idea, my dear reader, my slumber did not go uninterrupted. The ever growing mountain of used tissues, cough drop wrappers and empty blister packs of over the counter meds was evidence of this. Because of these applications, the meds, constant nasal cavity emptying, throat soothing lozenges and sleep did however have wonderful side effects, it made me a bit healthier, still ill, but I had garnered enough strength to relocate gelatinous and chronically pained corporeal form down to the sectional couch by way of the kitchen where I purloined a few popsicles before I made myself comfortable enough to eat said frozen treats and then doze off to the dulcet tones of afternoon television. Oh the luxurious life I lead.
            When I awoke, two creatures had decided to make their home in my living room, they were eating, flipping channels and basically hoping I wouldn’t expel any more bodily fluids or gas from my drug induced and immovable frame that seemed to have melded itself with the couch cushions and +2 blanket of sleeping. (That there is a D&D reference.) The two creatures, who identified themselves as my “family”; I didn’t really recognize or remember them but I won’t let them know this fact for fear they might end my life while I sleep. When asked if I was okay, I nodded. When asked if I was hungry, I nodded and one of these “family” members would hand me some soup or a popsicle. When asked if I was thirsty, I nodded and they gave me water, and since I’m writing this, I’m still alive and it is days later… so I suppose they are telling the truth.
            By Thursday morning, the morning in which I was to see my doctor about my shallow breath, my never-ending cough, the strange rattle and noise that comes with exhaling and other general maladies, I realized that one of my house guests would have to take me. So I accepted her into my life at face value when she said she was my wife. She took me to the healer, who after poking, prodding, listening and questioning me gave me a prescription to give him a “Spit” sample. Eww, yes, I can hear the collective groan of disgust rattle across the internet as you read that last line. If you really want to be grossed out, go back and read it again. Seriously, go ahead, I’ll wait.
            You done? Good, ‘cause you are all a bunch of sick-o’s if you did go back and read it. I’m proud of you.
            So, for the past umpteen hours since the doctor visit, I’ve napped more, watched more television, and watched more shows on the internet both with and without commercials. Lots and lots of commercials. Mostly car commercials. Which I noticed something odd about those commercials. Almost every car has a license plate, and the license plate is the same color as the car, even though there are numbers and letters on the license plate. It’s odd I realized this while sick. Of course I always see things that most don’t see when I’m ill. Then again, I’ve been accused of seeing things that others don’t when I’m well. But no matter, I saw other things too on the commercials, things I won’t go into right now because I don’t want to travel down the rabbit hole of conspiracy and consumerism.
            What I will say is this, I’m on the mend. I feel better even though I’m not as well as I should be. After all, I’m getting old and it takes my body much more time to heal than it used to. Also, I’ve developed a nice tweaked lowed back pain, most likely caused from all the coughing. I’m looking forward to leaving my home for endless hours of work and interaction with people who I will most likely not remember because I’ve been absent from their lives for so long.
            I guess what I’m trying to say is this. I’m sad my week of being a medical recluse is over because I’m not as healthy as I want to be but I’m anxious to get back to my routine. I’ve missed the interactions of my daily life, as limited as they are, I miss them. I’ve also missed you guys, my readers and my inability to communicate better while sick and delusional for the simple fact I believe my hallucinations are quite entertaining and one day should be shared with the world.

            Have a great week, look out for golf carts and license plates that are painted.

Friday, January 23, 2015

100 Years

            Yup, it’s 2015. There are no flying cars. No hover boards. No aliens living next door. No colonies on the moon or mars. For that matter, we don’t even have a space program. We don’t have cities under the oceans. We aren’t even exploring the option of trying to find alternate ways to live without fossil fuels.
            The movies, books and comics of our youth captured our imaginations with all of these ideas, our joy and hope was fueled by the creations of others and those inferred promises of a fantastic future. Yet, here we are today. Sitting inside of mass produced homes, watching and reading even more fantastic tales on different types of plastic and glass boxes. As our minds are distracted with these great tales, the reality of our lives and the lives of humanity as we know it are blissfully forgotten.
            Are our inventors and scientists distracted as well? Are they still the dreamers they once were as children? Do they still have the curiosity and wonderment that comes with unbridled passion for discovery? The joy and fascination of learning from mistakes? Or have they become immune to knowledge through the spoon fed Pablum of celluloid and digital media? I hope not. In the grand scheme of things there has to be a few dreamers left with the ability to see past the distractions and instead, focus on what fueled their minds in the first place.
            Yes, I know I’m focusing on some negative things right now so I think I will change tack and look at things differently.
            Lets see; where were we as a collective body of humanity one hundred years ago in 1915.
            The main source of inter-city transportation was by horse and carriage. Automobiles, while on the rise of popularity were still too expensive for most americans. Inter-continental transportation was by train and it took at least a week, with many stops along the route. The telephone was around yet not in every house hold and if you lived in a rural community you could forget about electricity. Which means, no television. We were still twenty one years from the first broadcast of that magical black box.Yes, many of the large cities had subways and elevated trains but for the most part, people had none of the luxuries we take for granted. Even indoor plumbing was an issue. An issue I won’t even get into here.
            Fifty years ago… let’s see, 1965.
            Tons of advancements, since 1915. After all, we’d fought in two large wars, won them both and the industrial revolution had been both fruitful and kind to us. And yet there was a cold war brewing that would last for years. Everyone seemed to have electricity, plumbing and cars. Mass transit across the continent had been replaced with flying machines and railroads were scrambling to try and make up for lost earnings of pedestrian transportation. Phones were everywhere, in homes and booths. On the musical front, jazz was being replaced by rock and roll and the British invasion of music was filling the ears of teenagers everywhere. Our country was gearing up to go to the moon in a race with the Russians and heroes were made of the brave men who volunteered to be the first to break free from our planets gravity. Heady times indeed.
            Twenty Five years ago… 1990.

            Pagers were little black things worn on everyone’s hip or stuffed inside of their pockets. Although cellular phones were starting to quickly replace them as the accessory of choice. Music, once only purchased on vinyl albums, then on 8-track taps, then cassette tapes were now being offered on little plastic disks that didn’t wear out. Any show you wished to watch on television but were unable to see live during its broadcast could be recorded on a vcr. As a nation, we traveled faster than we thought we ever could. In cars, planes and even trains. NASA was sending shuttles to space on a regular basis even though we had given up on going back to our satellite. Lastly, the cold war was over and democracy seemed to be spreading like wildfire throughout the earths countries. Lastly, the internet was starting to become a thing people seemed to like because it gave them something to do with the computers they had been told were the wave of the future during the 1980’s.
Ten years ago… 2005.
            Cellular phones are common place. The latest and greatest device on everyone’s hip was called an iPod. This little device could store a thousand songs for you to listen to at the touch of your finger. Dial up computer connections were starting to disappear. People were dropping home phone lines like a bad habit. Cars were sleek, fast and affordable. Air transportation was a bit sketchy though. You know, because of the attack on the US by terrorists. Which means, we are at war with people who hate our consumerist lifestyle and mentality along with reasons I can’t fathom. VCR’s were starting to disappear from households because of the digital revolution. Also, our space program was on its last and dying breathe.
            Over all, we’ve come a long way in a hundred years. Hell, in ten years we’ve come a long way. Yet, what does it all mean? Are we better off because of our comforts? Our ability to make life easier and less stressful? Ha. Okay that last sentence just made me chuckle. For you see, I don’t think our lives are less stressful now than a hundred years ago. Or fifty, or twenty-five or even ten years ago. No, I think with the knowledge and advancements we are making, we are also causing stress upon ourselves. A stress that derives from the fact that as we grow older and the younger generations follow behind us, we lose sight of who we once were and how we once lived.
            Sure, as the poet said “The good ol’ days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems”. But, do we know what tomorrow brings in the form of changes and how to handle them? No, I don’t think we do. I also don’t think we can truly understand the impact of the advancements we are making in our lives until we get a bit further down the time line of our lives.
            I’m sure some men and women, men and women who are much wiser and smarter than I, understand the repercussions of what is being done in our society. Yet I don’t think the average person does. For example, I have a teenage daughter, she is leaps and bounds ahead of me in understanding how things work in this day and age. Which makes me wonder, when she is forty-seven and has kids, what will her future look like? What will her kids, my grandkids have in their pockets for electronic devices? Where will the internet be? How will music sound and what format will it be in? What sort of modern day devices that you and I use today will become the archaic device of the future that one will only be able to see in a museum or on the internet? Will we still be at war? Will our cars fly? Will trains be around? Airplanes?
            How will society look and interact with each other on the day of my expiration? Will I still be blogging about my life, my choices and my questions? Or will everything have been answered in ones and zeros?
            It’s a hell of an existence we lead. Our communication went from face to face to tapping glyphs on a smart phone. Our news used to be printed on dead tree pulp and now it’s just black text on a white screen. Maybe they’ll get rid of the screen and we will just have everything fired across the airwaves while little receptors that have been placed on our skulls pick up those waves and we can mentally choose what we want to read or what we want to send to others. If that is the case, I vote to not do that sort of thing. Too damn creepy if you ask me.
            For now, I just chose to live here, now, in this moment and enjoy what I have strived to create and cherish the efforts of those who came before me.

Have a great week. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Prologue to Long Ago

A Prologue
            My only resolution for last year was to survive. I did that, barely. And I had help. Not from a lot of people, but a few, people who mean a lot to me and even when we are absent from each other, their presence is still with me. A presence that can’t be seen, smelled or touched. Yet it can be felt, not physically, but emotionally. Over the course of the past twelve months there have been times I’ve either been numb from exhaustion or have ignored the gentle tugs of hope they offer because of my hardheaded nature.
            However, against all my own self destructive nature, I came out a better person at the end of the year than when I began. Which is all any of us could ask for, strive for and hope for. Basically, looking back, my survival has been a gift and a miracle. As is most of our survival seems to be.
            This year, as I’ve stated in previous blogs, I plan on slowing down. Not to the point where I will actually stop and smell the roses, but I will at least be able to see that they are there. Blooming, growing and existing in my life and yours. To me, that is about all I can do right now. All that I can expect from myself and all that anyone should expect from me.
            And now, on with the show…
            Jimmy, Karen, Al, Brian, Bobby, Rhonda, Brian, Roger, Cindy, Lisa, Mark, Dennis, Glenn, Peter, Paul, the other Paul, Terry, George, Doug, Mike and so many more names fill my mind with brief glimpses of joy, sorrow, laughter and pain. Memories of never ending days and even longer nights spent talking in half empty basements, berthing compartments, picnic benches and swimming pools. Or running from cops because of some sort of mischievous prank on some unsuspecting neighbor’s house, car or personal property. In some cases, tender moments of bare emotion where shared pains help form a bond that to me, has lasted to this day. In other cases, just the inability to escape the 569 foot long and 108 foot wide haze grey, twin screw, twin rudder island of death where escape from reality was in the form of dice, paper and imagination was the only reprieve available.
            Odd how this works. Ya know? How in the moment of your past, while you’re sitting there, laughing, crying, drinking, or just chatting and not really paying attention to what is going on around you, inside your brain a synapse fires off and all of a sudden a memory is formed that will be with you until the day you die. A memory you won’t think of or even recall for countless years to come.
            Then, one day, when you’re sitting at your desk, a lunch table, walking down a street, listening to a song on the radio or even just lying in bed… BAM! Some odd memory from your past smacks you upside the head with not just a simple memory, but something more complex. Smells, sounds, colors and even temperatures overcome your body and mind. You find yourself transported back in time to the moment the memory was created and all you can do is stand on the sidelines and watch your younger self act like a total idiot. No manner of hectic actions you take as your modern self will allow you to change what happened in your past. You are just an observer and your brain has become a slave to the electrical firing of the memory.
            Yeah, I know I’ve written about this sort of thing in the past but right now, at this time of the year in particular, I find it hard not to think of old friends of days long past. Seriously, as the song says “days of long ago”. Okay, you probably don’t know what song I’m referring to. Why? Because I wrote the interpreted lyrics. I’m talking about “Auld Lang Syne” and in case you don’t know “Auld lang syne” translated is “Of long ago”. The preceding word is “days”.
            At the end of every year, thoughts like this fill my brain as I’m sure they do your brain as well. After all, we aren’t that much different from each other are we? We all get dressed the same, sort of, we eat the same food… pretty much, we work at jobs we either love or hate and we are all just trying to figure out how the world works and exactly where and how we fit together in the grand scheme of our lives that seem to have ripple effects through space and time.
            If you are one of the few folks out there who don’t reflect upon the past year(s) of your life when the new year draws close then this blog is not for you and you may not understand exactly what I’m talking about. Or, maybe you do, you just don’t know it. But one day you will. At least I hope you do.
            For now, I’m content to sit on my porch, at my desk or just take a pleasant walk in the brisk winter air, enjoy a cigar and immerse myself in the past, all the while, making new memories of being surrounded by people I love, like and enjoy for the rest of my life.

            Have a great week.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Let's Rest in the New Year

            The first week of my experiment is coming to an end. I can’t remember the last time I have consciously not worked over sixty hours in a week. As I sit here, on my couch because of the almost frigid temperatures that have gripped my adoptive home, resting off and on, napping now and again, I can’t help but feel I’ve made the right decision. Especially after Wednesday.
            What happened Wednesday you ask?
            Well, I’ll be glad to tell you.
            I was tired, beat down and ready for the day to be over before noon had arrived. Of course Wednesday’s have always been my toughest day of the week. You see, it’s my second day of sixteen almost seventeen hour days. Also my final day of working that mad schedule each week. However, now, with my focus on my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing taking precedent in my life, it is hard to even fathom getting out of bed to face that crazy ass day of the week.
            I did though. After all, I don’t have much of an option do I? Nope, I’m in a predicament of my own making and I’m doing what I can to make things right. Not just for myself, but my family.
            So yeah, where was I? Wednesday. Yup, I was beat, worn out, and at my wits end because all I could see was a day of endless tasks and a body racked with pain every time it moved. I persevered, with some help. A couple of texts to some close friends, a few well-placed words answered my call. It was barely enough to get me through the day. Well, those words along with my persistent checking of the time in an effort to count down how many hours of work I had left in me before I could go home.
            Home to a place where I could relax, rest, sleep and let go all of the responsibility of my self-exiled chaotic life. A life whose consequences from my own choices has brought me to this state of weariness.
            A weariness I soon hope to shed from my life like an ever growing serpent sheds his skin when he grows. Leaving only behind a thin, papery, hollow replica of what it once was. A smaller, less knowledgeable creature whose wisdom has grown as exponentially as his body.
            Maybe that is what I am… no, not a serpent, but a creature who is getting wiser as he grows. Learning lessons that seem natural to most of the world yet have escaped me all these years. Lessons about taking care of oneself, not overdoing things, not overextending your body, mind and soul to the point where you lose the delicate balance that we as God’s creatures are tasked with maintaining yet always find an excuse or two to cause ourselves to topple over and fall into an abyss we don’t even see. Worse yet, we don’t even realize we are falling when it happens. We don’t’ realize it until the fall is almost over and the ground is inches from our faces.
            That is where I am now. I’ve seen the hard, rocky floor of my pit, and I’ve decided to apply my own air brakes. In my skewed view, the floor is a bit further away from me than it was a couple weeks ago. I hope it continues to fade. I hope my little experiment works and my balance returns.
            After all, life is certainly easier to go through when everything is working together. When the cogs of mental, spiritual, spiritual and physical life fit together and are greased with the non-stressed rest we all so richly deserve. This is what I hope happens. What I need to happen and what I pray will happen not only for me but for all of you, my dear readers.
            Lastly, I would like to say that I know this is my first blog of the year, and normally I write an update as to how I did with my resolutions from last year. Well, that blog is going to have to wait. Why? Because with my new outlook on life, changes follow and those changes affect everything from my sleeping habits to my writing habits. So, don’t worry, I am sure I will write my yearly update in the near future.
            For now though, I’m just going to try and enjoy my time off. I’m going to rest, sleep, catch up on television shows, reading and spending time with my family. I don’t think anyone would blame me for those choices.
            I hope you’ve had a great holiday season and a safe new year. I look forward to communicating more with you all in the future.

            Have a great week.