Lonely versus Alone

I feel a need to capture discrete moments, incidents and ideas that grab me by the lapels and slap me in the face. In no particular order:

  • One of my brothers was told by his doctor he has bladder cancer; another brother had it and recoveredI am about to undergo tests that might reveal I suffer from the same familial affliction (though, based on the urologist’s comments, I suspect my ailment is orders of magnitude less severe).
  • Loneliness is not the same as being alone; being alone is a solitary comfort, while loneliness may take place in a crowded theater, at a family reunion, or on a desolate beach.
  • I startled three large deer yesterday afternoon as I stepped to my deck’s back railingas they looked up at me and froze, I could see the muscles in their backs tense, as if preparing to flee. I spoke to them softly, telling them I was not there to hurt them, only to admire them. They relaxed and returned to their business, tearing leaves from low tree branches and munching on ground cover.
  • My pre-procedure appointment yesterday did, indeed, involve blood-letting; the veins inside my elbows were uncooperative, so a vein on the top of my right hand donated a tube of vampire bait. My vital signs were measured and an EKG was administered; I had never counted the number of wires attached to my body for an EKG before yesterdaythe number was ten. I answered a battery of questions about my medical history and my habits; I lied only occasionally.
  • I think, as people get older, we shed embarrassment like dead skin. We’re no longer as conscious that things we say or do might cause discomfort in others. Or, perhaps, we simply don’t care to be held responsible for others’ sensitivities. I am of a mixed mind on this; whether it’s cruel or compassionate or neither. Not that the topic merits several sentences. Yet my habit is to use as many words as possible whenever possible. That is cause for embarrassment.
  • Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was reelected president of Iceland last Saturday with an overwhelming majority of the vote (92.2 percent). In commenting on his reelection, he said, ““It is clear that Icelanders do not want their president to be involved in politics. That would not be in accordance with constitutional practice or the public’s idea of the position of the president, who is meant to encourage unity and solidarity in good times and bad.” Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said of Jóhannesson’s win, “I’d like to congratulate the president on this landslide victory.” She went on to say the majority of Icelanders are pleased with the way he handled matters during his term. I think I like Icelandic “politics.”  By the way, I could tell Iceland’s first lady, Eliza Reid, is not a native Icelander simply by seeing her name. I’ve probably written about that before. If so, excuse the redundancy. She’s a writer, by the way. And she was born Canadian.
  • I read with interest an article about the status of Brexit. The article notes that Britain had until June 30 to request an extension of the transition out of the European Union; apparently, it did not make the request. So, the U.K. will formally leave the European Union after December 31 this year, with our without a trade deal. Some say without a trade deal, the British economy will “rupture,” resulting in massive job losses beyond those already sustained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m afraid the economic impact of COVID-19 thus far has offered just a hint of what is to come.
  • During my virtual explorations this morning, I came across Los Alamos, New Mexico and nearby (more or less) Cerros del Abrigo (a mountain whose name is translated into English as Shelter Hills). According to Livability.com, among the several reasons to move there is the fact that “the community is filled with hundreds of interesting intellectuals.” On further review, I found that Los Alamos County (and the town) are “leaning Democrat” and have been moving that way for several years. It’s worth exploring. Fewer people, smarter people, more progressive people. Definitely worth a look. A serious downside, though: housing prices are steep, steep, steep.
  • I bought a nice looking strip steak yesterday. We’re not eating much beef these days, but an occasional steak satisfies my yearning for warm flesh. I suspect I’ll grill it within the next few days. I’ll have to cut it in half first, as my wife and I like our meat cooked to different levels of done-ness: medium for her, rare and bloody for me. While I was at the store, store employees were smoking racks of ribs out front; they smelled absolutely wonderful, as always. We bought some once, though, and were unimpressed; they lathered them with a sweet sauce, which masks the flavor of the meat and introduces sweetness that is unnecessary and, in fact, offensive. But why am I complaining about ribs I chose not to buy? My curmudgeonly nature is showing.
  • It’s after 7; time for more coffee, breakfast, and a well-deserved nap for my fingers.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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4 Responses to Lonely versus Alone

  1. Interesting. I found Nancy’s blog, God of Wednesday, and was surprised that her last post (on that blog, at least) was exactly one year ago today, July 4, 2019. One of her posts, more than two years earlier, mentions a disagreement with an assertion made in the Iceland Monitor, the online English-language version of Iceland’s newspaper, Morgunblaðið. I have a link to the Iceland Monitor on my computer’s “launch page.” I visit the online paper at least once a month, usually far more frequently. I’ll have to buy some licorice from nuts.com!

  2. Bob McCleskey says:

    Yes, the friend is Nancy Brown, and she have visited numerous times. Some of the visits were for book research (she has written 5 or 6 books, all with Icelandic themes). An Amazon search on her name and Iceland will give you the titles. My daughter has accompanied Nancy on her trips several times and they see each other frequently even tho Ginger lives in Albany, CA (near Berkely) and Nancy lives in New Hampshire. Since you also love licorice, the best source is nuts.com, they have several offerings, however Amazon has an incredible variety of licorice offerings.

  3. Bob, I cannot explain my fascination with Iceland. I’ve never been there, but I’ve been enamored with the country for as long as I can remember. I developed a love of licorice lat in life (I must have been about 55), after thinking I loathed the stuff. Now, I regret every bite not taken when offered in my youth. 😉 I did a quick search of my blog and found twenty posts in which Iceland was mentioned; in several of them, Iceland or things Icelandic constituted the theme. Interesting that you daughter’s friend has such an affinity for the country and its culture. Has she visited? I assume she must have, given that she’s written books about the culture.

  4. Bob McCleskey says:

    John, until this posting, I was not aware of your interest in Iceland politics and maybe other Icelandic customs. My daughter’s best friend has been taken with all things Icelandic since her college days (Univ of Penn) to the point she has written several books about the culture and owns 2-3 Icelandic ponies, which are a very special breed. One of the things I have learned about them is their love of licorice in a variety of forms. Being a licorice lover, I appreciate that aspect of their culture and have enjoyed some of their licorice products.

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