Building a Dam

Several years ago—it must have been at least ten or twelve years ago—my late wife and I flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we rented a car and embarked on an exploration of the wonders of the Land of Enchantment. A day or two into our trip, a warning light inside the car alerted us that the air pressure in a specific tire was low. I remember being impressed at the sophistication of the system’s specificity; not just “a tire is low,” but “the “front left tire is low.”  Yesterday, in the midst of a cold and rainy day, a warning light came on in the Subaru. “The pressure in a tire is low on some unnamed tired.” Or some such generic warning. I still haven’t checked the air in all the tires to determine which one needs air. I wish my car had the sophistication of a twelve-year-old Chevy (or whatever it was) so I could devote my attention to just one tire. Dammit. I realize this is a very minor issue in today’s world, but it rankles me, nonetheless. I wonder how much much I would have had to pay for a car equipped with four-wheel air pressure sensory devices?


Finally. We watched the last episode of Schitt’s Creek last night. I’ve been offered a number of suggestions for other series to watch. I’m not sure what genre my IC wants to watch, but I’m inclined to snag another mystery thriller along the lines of Lupin. Or, perhaps, another action-packed Scandinavian police procedural like Bordertown (Sorjonen) or The Valhalla Murders.  Fortunately for me, I found some recommendations for just such a set of options on a Travel+Leisure page.  My decision to mark it here was based on selfishness; I just want to know where to look.


For reasons unknown to me, this morning I wondered when and by whom the first man-made lake was made. Research into the matter yielded information about the largest man-made lake (Lake Kariba, along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe) and the earliest dams (around 3,000 B.C. in Jordan), but nothing definitive about the first man-made lake. That’s understandable, in that the first such lake may well have been created by an individual or a small group of people who dammed a stream to create a reliable reservoir of drinking water. The underlying reason for my curiosity about man-made lakes, though, was based on my interest in just how much an individual could do to create a lake. That question, of course, probably has a thousand answers (none of which could be satisfactorily verified) and a thousand stories, besides. I suppose my inquisitiveness about the topic springs from another bit of curiosity, this one about myself:

Was I ever capable of doing what it takes to create a lake? Does any individual have the wherewithal to do that, or must lake-creation always be a collective effort undertaken by a group of like-minded people? I realize, of course, the question has no merit in the overarching scheme of humankind’s development. Still, it’s a question that needled its way into my brain and it won’t go away of its own accord. It’s one of those questions that triggers additional questions about oneself—questions that attempt to measure the breadth and scope of one’s strength as a contributor to the evolution of the species.  And those questions always give rise to other questions about how one got to be the way one is.

A million and one “what if” questions. Crazy, mindless, anxiety-inducing what-if questions that have one second-guessing oneself until the end of time. That’s an endless ball of emotional pain, just waiting to be unraveled.


Once again, I am physically hungry. I feel like a cinnamon roll. Or, perhaps, something that will cause my headache to disappear. Food can do that sometimes. Though this headache may have nothing to do with hunger. It may be related to my sinuses or anxiety or a thousand other reasons.  Yet I think of food or drugs as the cure. Whereas the proper cure could be a hug or a shot of mezcal or ten minutes in a steam cabinet.

And, once again, I am extremely tired. I did sleep last night, though I woke to pee many times. And the time to get back to sleep was always excessive. And the dreams, some involving participation in preparations for combat operations, were a little stressful. What the hell. Life is what it is. I will try to sleep more. That’s what I will do. It’s almost a quarter after six; I still have a good three-quarters of an hour or more to rest, if I can. So I will try.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Building a Dam

  1. Thank you, sir. You are a good man!

  2. Larry Zuckerman says:

    I understand and I feel for you. Sending healing vibes from the east.

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