All of the Above

More than one thousand miles over the course of sixteen-plus hours, in just five days. Including three days of kicked-back relaxation. That’s what the five of us experienced, beginning on Monday morning this week. We got home yesterday evening. Worn out, but satisfied, because our trip was a good one. The changes in topography were welcome adjustments to steep hills and thick forests. Taking a ferry across open water, where dolphins broke water as they frolicked next to our vessel, shattered our sense of stagnation. Sitting outside, sipping samples of Galveston Brewing Company brews, woke me to a different place and time. I wanted to stay there. I wanted to relocate to the Texas coast. I wanted to face down hurricanes and join with neighbors as we battled high winds and fierce waves. But that’s all over now. We’re back, sleeping in our own beds and ready to shower under spray heads we recognize for their reliable, piercing needles of pressurized water. Adventure is good, but known comfort satisfies like nothing else can. Home. Even when it is in flux, home welcomes us with open arms, a loving, casual embrace.


I spent most of five days in a news blackout. It was not necessarily intentional. but it was happy. Few interruptions to remind me that the world around me continues to be flush with rage and bubbling anger. Only a rare intrusion to call attention to the fact that mayhem, death, and human-enabled pain sits just beyond the synapses of my raw nerves. Five days during which I could pretend I existed in a secluded bubble in which I could remain free of the chaotic agony crafted by humans and their criminal stupidity. Even within that brief period of quiet and freedom, though, I felt the encroaching universe doing its best to unravel my solitude and tear holes in my psyche. There it was, just inches away from its sharp teeth ripping my brains from my skull. You didn’t know the universe had sharp teeth? Oh, it does. Like tiny bent razor blades dipped in Merthiolate and hydrochloric acid. Ah, yes. The pain inflicted by small, sharp, angry things. Just beyond my reach, yet close enough to feel as the cruel evidence of humanity tears at one’s flesh. But far enough away to realize it’s all a fantasy; even the little cuts crying out for a stitch or two to seal the open wounds. A happy news blackout reinforced with a razor-wire cage and starving piranhas worked into a frenzy of furious hunger by the presence of fingers stripped almost to bloody tendons. Ah, the days of unfettered freedom!


Today, finally, is Saturday. We must retrieve A.J. from the dog prison where he has been kept under arrest for five days nearing seven days now. And we must return the big, bulky, obscenely expensive  SUV to its masters. But the SUV we rented was not even close to as expensive as the SUV we had planned to rent. I had planned to pick up a Suburban; they gave us a Tahoe, instead. A Suburban sells from somewhere between $79K and $75K; that’s insanely expensive. A vehicle priced that high should provide excellent gas mileage, unmatched comfort, absolute protection against injury if the vehicle is involved in a wreck, and oral sex on-demand. Christ! $75K for a damn CAR?  Even its cheaper brother, the Tahoe, should provide deeply satisfying massage-on-demand, as well as several other private pleasures. To be honest, though, right now I would be perfectly happy with a deep-tissue massage of my elbows, knees, ankles, and wrists. I think I have contracted some form of contagious arthritis that responds well, but only briefly, to massage. So, I need 24/7 massage to keep my muscles and my tendons happy. And God knows we all need to keep our muscles and tendons happy 214/7.


I desperately need a shower. And a shave. And cleaner clothes than I’m wearing. It’s not that my clothes are particularly dirty, but I was clothes that are as fresh as a daisy. To match my soon-to-be-cleaner-than-a-dish-of-soap body. I do appreciate cleanliness. If only I could achieve it by snapping my fingers. The work involved in showering is more work than I want to do. I crave magical cleanliness. The kind of cleanliness that comes out of cans but behaves as if it were the real thing. Yep, artificial cleanliness that looks and smells like actual cleanliness. I want to invent a cleanliness spray that extracts all the dirt and odors from one’s body and deposits it, inside tiny envelope bubbles, beneath one’s feet as one walks. So no one can tell one is actually showering on the fly. That could be my ticket out of here.


Still, even today, I want to start another business. I have a passion for small business. Something tiny and lucrative. Something that takes little effort but yields enormous returns. A miniscule money-spitting powerhouse that requires little energy but produces monstrous, unstoppable income. I’m not asking for much. Maybe $100,000 per month, after taxes. And I want it to be more fun than I’ve eve had. So much fun I’d happily learn how to dance, just so I could celebrate accordingly.


During our random walks along The Strand and its little shops, I found several octopi that I found quite appealing. One was a nice jade-green glass octopus I could have had for only $800, give or take a few dollars. Another was a similarly expensive octopus that looked real; it seemed to develop quite a liking for me, but its price (something along the lines of $300) was a little rich for my blood. I like expensive things, but something that expensive should leave a lingering aftertaste and a very nice tip. Why do I have such expensive taste? It’s just not fair. I should appreciate cheap stuff.


It’s just after 6:30 and I’m still extremely sleepy/tired/beat to a frazzle. I need more sleep, but I’m afraid if I get more I’ll stay away for days. So, I will remain awake and tired. Maybe I’ll try to eat a little something. Or take a shower. Or shave. Or all of the above.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to All of the Above

  1. I suppose it is easy, if one is willing to admit to one’s strength and to summon the courage to admit to one’s weakness. The dichotomy is the problem, for me. But the serenity is surely worth the effort.

  2. Deanna says:

    I’m finding it relatively easy to be out of touch with much of what is going on in the world, on purpose. Like so many things, it’s a choice. My choice is to avoid reading/watching almost anything that I can do nothing about. So that includes almost anything involving politics, many social issues, and almost all of social media. Climate change? Yes, I can be involved and try to bring out change. Reading about the idiots involved in January 6, fluctuations in the stock market, efforts to disarm North Korea, the latest Hollywood bashing, etc etc etc. Some of these issues may be important, and may in fact have an effect on me personally, but there is nothing I can do to change their outcomes so I choose to not be involved. It is easy to pick and choose what you allow your eyes to see and your ears to hear; it all enters your brain. I don’t see that as being uninformed. I see as a way to try to live a more calm, serene, and productive life.

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