A Post With No Name

Yesterday was the last official “class” that dealt with spiritual practices (AKA  “deeply introspective and appreciative examinations of the world and sometimes moments of unspeakable gratitude”). But there was talk about continuing the group as a means of prolonging the conversations. And that sounds interesting. While I’m generally unimpressed with “woo-woo” sorts of emotional exercises, this online class was different. The more I participated, the more appealing it became. And, for some reason, yesterday’s class sealed the deal for me; daily and/or weekly, monthly, annually, etc. intentional emotional and mental (and, in some sense and in some cases, physical) spiritual practices can be extremely useful. Meditation or yoga or a hundred other means of focusing on being present and feeling gratitude for elements of life seems to me, now, less “woo-woo” and more fundamentally powerful. Who knew?


Leg of lamb, potato, salad, and broccoli. That was last night’s dinner of champions. And there’s a monstrous amount of lamb left for future meals. I’ve been wondering this morning whether the taste combination of lamb and bacon would be appealing? I suspect it would be. I may give it a shot later today or one day soon. The lamb was tasty, though I do not think it measures up to New Zealand lamb. Last night’s lamb was proudly American and proudly “natural.” I was pleased to see that the package was not marked “unnatural.” Thought that might have piqued my interest a bit more.


Today is the day. COVID-19 vaccine shot number two. The day of invincibility! The day I will tear off my mask, wander into a crowded right-wing gun-fanatic demonstration, and take a deep, deep breath. Okay, only the first sentence is true. I know I’m not becoming invincible today, nor will I take off my mask and mix with crowds of dimwits. But it sure will be nice to get that second shot behind me. And in two weeks, I’ll feel like I might have dodged the bullet for a while yet. I hope. I’d like that to be true of everyone I know. And those I don’t.


I wrote a long letter last night (typed, not long-hand) to a young woman I met only once, around six years ago. After I met her, we became Facebook friends, though neither of us follow the other’s posts very often. That’s where the letter thing came up. I saw, in the rare post that I actually saw, her request for people who would like to get a letter from her to let her know. She said she would write and mail a long-hand letter to them. I doubt she expected me to respond, but I did. And she was true to her word. She wrote a four-page letter, written on stationery with a plant theme. Last night, I finally replied to her letter (though it wasn’t really the kind of letter you “reply” to, in that it was just sort of newsy). Whether she will respond to this one I do not know. It’s not important. But I rather enjoy personal letters, on paper, delivered through the U.S. Postal Service. There’s something especially intentional about them; they take far more time and energy (and money) than email and text, etc. Physical letters, whether hand-written or typed, are appealing to me in part because they deviate from the form-letter swill that pours into my mailbox on most days. And because they represent the writer’s intention to communicate in a way that transcends the meaningless drivel that often comes in the form of electronic interactions.


I thought of you last night. But you knew that, of course, though you may not remember. Memory is such an unreliable place to store recollections. You’re never sure whether you recall actual circumstances or whether, instead, you remember events that took place only during vivid (or indistinct) hallucinations or fantasies. You knew you were on my mind because my actions offered irrefutable evidence of the fact. Nothing untoward; just obvious and improper, if we accept the social mores of our time. And more than a little embarrassing—not to you, to me—now that I recall what I said, and in light of those damn social mores. These were not spoken words. They were word symbols, formed with components from the alphabet. Symbols that, collectively, revealed things about what was on my mind and that I hope do not cause you discomfort or unease.

From whose mind did the words from the preceding paragraph arise? Was it mine, or was it from a character in a screenplay? Or might it have been just an actor, exercising his vocal chords during a silent rehearsal? Or might the words have be transcribed from a brain-scan recording made more than two hundred years after the death of the person responsible for crafting the message? The paragraph’s content seems vaguely inappropriate and, possibly, with slightly erotic overtones; but only if you’re a mind-reader. And I often think you must be. I can tell from your smile. Or from the look of embarrassed discomfort on your face. What name am I calling you today? Phaedra? Ariadne? I think Aphrodite is a far more appropriate moniker; beauty, after all, is in your genes. And, as my old friend would say, in your jeans. Ah, you see where this could be going! We’ll have to watch out, lest Nurse Rached takes a fancy to handing out lobotomies in response to overnight travel through mental labyrinths.


His name is Bob Mayer. He was president of an association I once managed. But not in the dream. In the dream last night, he worked in an odd corporate complex involved in business consulting in the financial world. I drove to the corporate complex, miles away from everything, and was led to a tiny, one-car tram on a sand-covered track, where I was instructed to sit. Once seated, the tram took off, heading through an elaborate series of doors hidden behind sliding file cabinets, safes, kitchen cabinets, and an assortment of other forms of camouflage. When the tram stopped, at the far end of an outdoor track a good hundred yards from the main corporate complex, I was told to sit in a chair and wait. I put my briefcase down and waited. Soon, another tram came to pick me up; I do not recall exactly where it took me, but wherever it was, that’s where I met with Bob Mayer. Bob reminded me that I had been interviewed earlier (but it hadn’t happened in my dream, I’m sure) and asked how it went. I told him I did not know. He assured me it went well. He told me the wrong answers I gave were understandable, since I had never been involved in the business before. Apparently, I had earned the job, but I did not recall whether it had been offered and I was concerned that I had no idea of the pay; not even a range. Suddenly I realized I had left my briefcase out on a distant track. And just as suddenly, I was there, relieved to find the briefcase was still there. And that’s all I remember. Although I can feel little shards of the dream stab into my brain from time to time, though the jabs are not sufficient to retrieve any recollections. Dreams are odd beasts. As are dreamers.


Codes are systems used for brevity or secrecy of communications. Not necessarily hidden, they sometimes scream that their messages must be deciphered and understood. But in some cases, codes don’t seem like codes. They seem like natural, normal communications. Or unnatural, abnormal communications. The National American Code Talkers, so revered for their contributions to the American World War II effort, used their facility with an almost lost language to communicate important information; information that made no sense to people who did not understand.

Okay, I’ve written enough strangeness to last me through the day. Some of what I wrote could get me committed for a psychiatric evaluation. I hope that doesn’t happen, but if it did it might provide more fodder for my writing. Maybe even fairly lengthy fiction. Time will tell. It always does. So, here it is; it’s time I’m finishing up this trip through my mental desert with a post with no name.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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4 Responses to A Post With No Name

  1. You have a window seat reserved, Paula. It’s seat 3A in First Class! 😉

  2. Paula Newman says:

    Please save me a seat in the Facility for the Terminally Idiosyncratic! I shall arrive shortly!

  3. Larry, I think you’ve got my food preferences down pat! I’ve experienced dreams in which I wander from city to city simply by stepping through a doorway. But I don’t recall crossing the Atlantic! I’d love to go wandering around Lincoln Center and meet you for a beer!

  4. I had a dream about you last evening. I was wandering about near Lincoln Center and saw you at a nearby restaurant. I stopped in to say hello and we had a beer. Your food came and it was large sardines in a spicy green sauce, an avocado, two jalapeño peppers and green onions. I wished you a fond farewell and walked out the door onto a street in London. Not kidding!

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