One week to the day after my computer died, only to be resurrected a few days later, it died again. My experience with Geek Squad the second time around was frustrating in the extreme. The entanglement with Best Buy’s technology gurus is too long and boring to go into here; I’ll just leave it at this: while waiting on hold for someone to answer the phone, I spent five minutes listening to dead silence, interrupted only by the occasional “we’re still trying to find him” and then spent fifteen minutes driving to the store before the call was answered. I remain without my computer, but the tech whiz kids did back up my hard drive to a new $54 external hard drive, so I’m able to access my data, thanks to my niece’s generosity in letting me use her computer.

There is no end in sight to my time spent in Houston. I must repack my brother’s once-infected and now-healing surgical wound four out of seven days a week; a home health nurse is scheduled to come around three days a week and a physical therapist is scheduled to come the other two days. Both nurses will probably spend an hour or less with each visit. A follow-up visit to the surgeon is scheduled for September 17, almost three weeks hence. I’m still trying to get an appointment with the cardiologist who saw him in the hospital. Doctors’ offices either are overwhelmed with work to the extent that staff cannot possibly keep up or they are staffed by incompetent people or people lacking decency and a customer service attitude. That’s a generalization, but it’s a just one.

My attitude is under attack by my impatience. That’s not a good place to be, so I must work on developing greater patience. The attitude will improve thereafter, I assume. And that come too soon. I want an attitude adjustment and I want it right away. I feel utterly void of any creativity. As much as I’d like to write something worth writing, nothing comes out of my fingers. Even if I could capture my thoughts without the energy required of typing, they would convey nothing resourceful, imaginative, or inspirational. Instead, they would be best described as dull, lifeless, and feeble. I feel angry and embarrassed that I feel that way. I could scream, but I don’t have the energy. Ach! I think I’d like nothing more right now that to be alone in an empty but full-stocked bar; it would have one large-screen television equipped with Netflix and Amazon Prime. In front of the TV would be a large, comfortable recliner with tables on both sides. On those tables, huge plates with an assortment of tapas would be waiting for me.

What a strange desire: watching television, eating tapas, and drinking alone in an empty bar. I think I’ve lost my mind. At least I wouldn’t watch reruns of old, insipid game shows. That’s the sort of thing that can drive a person into the street, swinging a machete over his head with his left hand and spraying bullets from a machine gun in his right hand. Game show reruns probably cause more mass shootings than poor customer service from the medical profession. I have no empirical evidence to back the theory, but it just seems right to me. To say it’s “right,” though, is wrong. And I can’t help but agree with that.

Juan Gabriel. The name is on my mind because, as I type this, the television in the room where I sit is on, though it is muted and tuned to a Spanish language television station. Across the screen I see the name Juan Gabriel and I see images of the man. And I read the captions below images of a man, who I presume to be a reporter, speaking of Juan Gabriel. I can translate only enough to know that San Diego is the city in which Juan Gabriel died. Other images, of a younger and then aging Juan Gabriel, flash across the screen. I see people being interviewed about Juan Gabriel. Some of the captions suggest these people were his fans, some for many years. I saw another name, though I don’t recall what it was, and an indication that this person was Juan Gabriel’s manager for forty years. It’s surprising to me how much I can deduce from understanding of only a few words in connection with various images. After writing this much, I looked up Juan Gabriel and learned that he was an actor and singer and songwriter and his real name was Alberto Aguilera Valadez.

The reason the television was tuned to a Spanish-language station is that my brother was channel surfing and stopped on that channel. He muted the television when his phone rang and left it that way when he went to take a nap. I’m delighted that there’s no noise emanating from the beast. I think a Spanish telenovela is playing now. It’s easy to tell telenovelas from real life by the earnest expressions on actors’ faces. In those faces, deep, abiding love looks different, but only slightly so, from deep, abiding hatred. I can read the thoughts of the handsome actor, sporting five or six days growth of beard (but neck nicely trimmed). He is thinking, “By modeling my earnest expression, my incredible handsomeness will be indelibly etched into the psyche of hundreds of thousands of young, attractive, rich women. These women want to give me their money and, since they’re near, their bodies.” Yes, this is what the handsome actor is thinking. But he is thinking these things in Spanish, so I am unable to write his thoughts precisely as he has them. But I have an uncanny ability to translate them into English, without actually thinking them or listening to them in their native tongue. I must be clairvoyant. Yes, I know what you’re thinking and I am offended by it!

I’ve driveled on for too long. Time for a rest and a retreat into the recesses of my mind. I wonder where I’ve been this last little while?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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