Most days, my blog posts get a few views. Twenty, maybe. Thirty on a good day. Occasionally, someone leaves a comment about what I’ve written or sends me an email about it. One regular visitor leaves a calling card, a “like” that tells me she read what I wrote. Usually, though, I know only that a few people viewed that day’s post. Whether viewers found it interesting, funny, sad, annoying, boring, or deeply offensive is impossible for me to know. My experience is akin to turning in a homework assignment that subsequently is returned to me with no comments; only a note indicating some unnamed member of the faculty—perhaps an anonymous substitute who is not even my teacher—read my essay and opted not to assign a grade to the work.
I could let the experience upset me. But then I realize I read dozens of editorials, essays, news stories, personal journals, etc., etc. every day and rarely if ever leave any comments or otherwise express my level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with what I’ve read. I have neither the time nor the inclination to “grade” the work. That is no doubt true of most readers. If the writer wants feedback, perhaps he should join a critique group. And, of course, there’s the issue of topics: my posts tend to randomly mix quantum physics with personal musings and brain dancing, with a side order of sexual innuendo and mental meltdown. So there you are. Ask yourself a question and eventually you’ll feel compelled to answer it.
I’ve been thinking about getting a telescope. Why I am devoting so much time to thinking about it instead of actually buying it is evidence of something, but I’m not sure what. I should speak to someone who knows telescopes and can explain to me, in third-grade language, why I might choose one over another. What focal length means. What “power” I might want. When I try to read explanations intended to make the decision easy, my eyes glaze over and I find myself asleep an hour later. Just show me a close-up of the moon. And the houses on the far side of the mountains to the south.
I’ve also been thinking about getting a dog. I have two expert sources of advice at the ready when I get serious about looking; one a retired veterinarian and one an expert dog trainer. I am narrowing down the criteria for the dog I want. I am seeking a young but full-grown house-broken dog that can fit in my pocket and stands about 36 inches at the shoulder. The dog should respond appropriately to complex commands but also should be relaxed and playful, yet not overly energetic. It should not shed. It should be a short-haired dog whose coat feels like soft silk. The breed (or mixed breed) should have an average lifespan of eighty years. I would prefer a dog that speaks fluent English and Spanish and can drive a stick-shift (in case I decide to get a sports car).
In less than an hour, I will visit my dental hygienist, who will make my teeth sparkle. First, I must shower, shave, and get dressed. These simple tasks have taken on attributes that make them seem to me like awful burdens. Showering and shaving, in particular, require so much time and energy. The entire process should take no more than two minutes; in reality, though, it takes more like thirty minutes. Maybe more. Who has time for this? I have people to be and places to see.
My mood is like a pendulum powered by a 300 horsepower gasoline engine. It swings wildly and at high speed.