Disjointed

Anguish. Inconceivably painful, debilitating, powerless anguish. It is the never-ending emotion facing the families and friends of the children killed in mass-shootings. Mass-shootings that have become so common that the public seems hardened to them; accepting of them. Anguish once gripped all of us when one of these horrific events unfolded. But now we join the “leaders” of our nation and its states, who raise their voices in condemnation of these horrendous crimes in which innocent people…children…are gunned down. Like the politicians, we scream and cry and offer empty thoughts and prayers and condolences to the families of the victims. But, also like the politicians, we do almost nothing. We weakly insist that “something must be done” about gun violence, but we do not become so enraged that we absolutely, unequivocally demand action. We keep electing impotent, self-serving narcissists, people whose unprincipled adoration of an ambiguous Second Amendment overrides their extremely modest levels of compassion and responsibility. Until inconceivably large numbers of people surround legislative buildings in Washington, DC and in state capitols, screaming for action and refusing to permit the ineffectual political hacks to leave until satisfactory action has been taken to control guns, we have no choice but to blame ourselves for the continuing gun violence and mass shootings that plague our nation. Until we empty legislative bodies of the power-mongers who occupy them and replace them with genuine public servants—people who take their responsibilities to the public seriously—we are complicit in the bloodshed.  Admittedly, it’s not just the easy availability of guns and ammunition; it’s a thousand other triggers that release mental meltdowns. Those, too, must be addressed. But, first and foremost, it’s the weaponry. Second Amendment whores be damned, we must control guns. Their idiotic arguments hold no sway with me. The “right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” does not apply unrestricted to nuclear or biological or chemical “arms,” nor should it to guns. Reasonable restrictions must be imposed on gun ownership. Else bloodshed and our associated guilt will continue unabated.

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The “old” house is empty and clean. Nothing demands that I return. Yet I remain emotionally attached to the place. Especially the view to the southeast. And the room my late wife used as a study, and office, and a getaway. I’ll have to get over that attachment, though. Or, at least, that attachment will have to reside only inside my head; not be expressed by my physical presence.

I spend time the last few evenings sitting outside on the deck of my new house. I’ve quickly grown attached to it. The view is radically different from the one I was used to, but it is just as emotionally engaging. The dappled light through the tall trees and the sound of the wind in the leaves are calming. The deep privacy of the place wraps around me like a blanket, enfolding me in comfort; an escape from the madness of the world outside our little pocket of gentle solitude.

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So much remains to be done in our new home. Months of tailoring it to ourselves await us. While I’d like to snap my fingers and see it all completed, part of the enjoyment will come from doing it slowly, methodically, deliberately. It will unfold as it should.

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Wrinkles still abound in the fabric of the sale of my old house. I still await completion of a convoluted process involving restricted “release of easements.” Friday’s closing depends on that process being completed…today. I can only hope that occurs; I have no control over it not. It is in the hands of others. And I learned yesterday that funding will not take place on Friday; I will have to wait until Tuesday, at least, for the proceeds of the sale to go into my bank account. Although I have faith that everything will proceed as planned, it is my nature to worry. I feel tightness in my neck and shoulders and chest. My mood is clouded by easily-provoked eruptions of unnecessary concern…or anger. When this process is finished, I will try to remake myself into someone who is smoother, calmer, easier to be with. Easier for me to live with. The entire process—of buying a new house, selling another one, emptying the other one of too much “stuff” and filling the new one with it—calls attention to the need for greater simplicity. It reinforces my sense that attachment to material things is restrictive, confining, and unhealthy.

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I learned yesterday that my brother and his wife, who recently returned from a trip to Portugal that included both a river cruise and visits to various sites throughout the country, contracted COVID-19. They are recovering, but their trip was plagued by their illness. Despite all their precautions and the precautions taken by the cruise line, etc. they contracted the virus. We have a friend who also contracted the virus, after her husband did. Though she says she has only minor symptoms, the virus is forcing her to isolate, thereby infringing on her usual carefree and very active lifestyle. COVID-19 remains a threat to everyone. It will remain with us for the foreseeable future, I think, as will all manner of other diseases and maladies, including monkeypox.

I had only heard of monkeypox in passing until this morning, when I explored a bit about it. According to a U.K. based website, most people who have been diagnosed with the virus have self-identified as gay or bisexual men who have sex with men. While that fact may limit the likelihood that the rest of us could be infected, it is of course possible that it’s not limited to men who have sex with men. And even if that were the only means of transmittal, everyone can be affected by it because it affects people. It could become more than a vague humanitarian concern, too, because people who are important in our lives could be affected by it.

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It’s just after 5:30. I’ve been up for about an hour and a half after having slept about six and a half hours. Early to bed, early to rise. Healthy: not so much. Wealthy: I wish. Wise: Meh. I had another bizarre dream last night. It involved going to see doctors with my late wife. Both of us were there for an unknown (to me) reason, but the doctor seemed to think it had something to do with weight loss and stamina. He asked me if I could walk a mile. I said I used to walk 4 miles a day and some days walked 10. He said that was good, but what about now? He and his female counterpart, who was seeing my late wife, led us through a set of doors that led into a house. There, we encountered more of the doctors’ colleagues: an older British married couple whose bulldog puppy took a liking to me. After I said something (a greeting, perhaps), the man asked if I was British. I said, “no,” and he said he thought he heard an accent. My recollection of the dream falls apart after that; I know it continued, but have no idea what occurred afterward.

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I sold my collection of 150+ vinyl LP records last night, unexpectedly, to a good friend. She will come collect them in the not-too-distant future. I had listed them for sale on Facebook; when she saw I was selling them, she jumped at the chance to buy them. I then offered them to her for free, but she says she insists on paying me. She is right there at the top of my short list of favorite people, people who matter deeply to me.

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Rain, which I’ve heard falling since I got up, is now visible in the morning light. The birds have begun singing their morning songs. I will take those as signals for me to get up out of my desk chair and get to work in the kitchen.

This disjointed post is now finished.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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