I struggle with my tendency to shoot from the hip from time to time. The occasional misfires can cause me, and people in my sphere, discomfort I do not intend but that flows from my actions, nonetheless. There’s value in patience. Unfortunately, I do not have the composure to let the value bubble to the surface. On the other hand, sometimes it’s best to just let one’s emotions burst forth, the superficial damage their scalding heat may do be damned. The difficulty is in knowing which ones to let fester and which ones to let explode with fury.


Here’s something to think about. It’s a complex set of ideas, delivered in compact form, that deserves serious and dedicated thought. A week’s worth of meditation might be required to fully absorb only half of the wisdom contained therein; a lifetime’s worth of meditation might be necessary to fully embrace the wisdom contained in the other half:

He who wherever he goes is attached
to no person and to no place by ties of flesh;
who accepts good and evil alike,
neither welcoming the one
nor shrinking from the other–
take it that such a one has attained



Yesterday, after a huge, filling breakfast, my visiting friend and I spent much of the day wandering aimlessly in Hot Springs, with no particular destination in mind. When hunger pangs hit, persuading  us it had been several days, instead of several hours, since we had eaten, we sought sustenance. The first stop was in front of SQZBX, hoping to sit down to a gluten-free pizza to satisfy my friend’s craving for good pizza and need to avoid products with gluten. A note on the door indicated no inside seating was available. Because we had not considered a to-go option, I drew a blank as to where we might sit and eat a pizza. In a matter of seconds, we decided to move on. Finally, after getting moderately lost in some residential areas, I got my bearings as we neared Malvern Avenue and Taco Mama. That became our destination. We were given the option of sitting outdoors, under a high overhang made of corrugated metal. We chose to sit outside, where other guests were enjoying the weather.

A family consisting of two kids, a mother, and a male and female dog pair, gathered at a table near us. I did not catch the name of the cute little male dog (both were naturally small, accentuated by the fact that they were—I think—puppies), but the mother called the female dog “Vivian.” I liked Vivian and suggested, to the mother, taking Vivian home with me; I believe mother heard me, but ignored my suggestion. If not for putting my dog-companion-odyssey on at least temporary hold, I might have stolen one or both dogs. I’m relatively sure, though, that, had I tried, the mother would have shot me. Although modestly attractive and quite friendly, the woman looked the type to both carry weapons in her purse and to use them without hesitation. You know the type: big, too-perfect-toothed smile, sparkling eyes, sprawling, far-bigger-than-necessary purse that could conceal pistols, automatic rifles, and small nuclear devices, and a jawline so sharp it could cut hard winter squash like butter. In hindsight, I am pleased that I exercised caution by allowing the dogs to remain with their human family. We’re all better for the decision to let it be.

Just as we were about to eat our last few bites of taco bowl (barbacoa for her, lengua for me), I asked the waitress whether she might have some habanero-based salsa I could use on my food. She brought me a little plastic container full of salsa that was at once fiercely hot and gently soothing to my tongue. Its smoky habanero flavor would have made my meal, as good as it was, far, far better. I must remember that salsa. After our meal, we continued wandering around Hot Springs. During the course of our wanderings, just as we passed Oaklawn Race Track, we saw a man who appeared to be in trouble, falling off what I thought was his bicycle. As it happened, we saw him just as we reached a corner, so I zipped around the corner and stopped. My friend sprinted from the car toward the man (because I had turned the corner and there was a fence at the corner, I could not see them). I stayed in the car, flashers flashing, wondering whether I should attempt to park a bit further up the street. Just about the time I was going to do just that, my friend came into view. It was a walker, not a bicycle, he fell from. His trouble was not a heart attack or stroke, as I instantly imagined. My friend said he has Parkinson’s disease and he had experienced a symptom that caused him to lose balance and to fall. He was fine now, she said.

Of course, the experience led to a conversation about healthcare, being alone, and all sorts of other topics that arise from a little knowledge and a lot of supposition. Compassion and concern bubble from us when presented with the effects of what we perceive as the unraveling of the social safety net.

The rest of the day was uneventful. But it was relaxing, as well. On the way back home, we stopped at Brookshire’s to pick up a couple of odds and ends to contribute to last night’s dinner and to today’s eating events. After having gotten only three hours sleep the night before (watching Arrested Development until 2, then waking at 5), I was ready to make an early night of it last night. I did not wake this morning until after 7, a sacrilege to my way of thinking. My friend had already gotten up and was in the midst of making coffee when I stumbled into the kitchen a while ago.

We have no specific plans for the day, but I feel confident I will want to “chill” for most of the day. I’m still tired, despite all the sleep, and my brain is fuzzy. Fortunately, my friend is independent and is perfectly capable of getting in her car and exploring all on her own. Several weeks ago, when she was still not sure whether she would make the trip and, if so, whether a fried would be willing to come with her, she expressed an interest in hiking. I offered up that my sister-in-law might be willing to show her some hiking places, but I was not likely to join in the fun. Though nothing has happened to further that along, I’ll leave it for her to decide.


What will the remainder of this day give me to think about? How many dislocations can my brain take before it reaches the point that it cannot be put back in working condition again? Will I make time to prepare hummingbird nectar and put it out for the returning creatures? Time, alone, will tell. It always does.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to Dislocations

  1. Yeah, yeah, David. I know how you might think it looks, but it’s not really oxymoronic. The festering one oozes scalding emotion in revolting, slow-motion fashion, while the explosive one bursts, throwing molten pieces of raw emotion into the atmosphere like clouds of poison gas. So, there you have it.

    Colleen, I have had Rocky’s pizza…it’s wonderful!

  2. Colleen Boardman says:

    Have you ever tried Rocky’s pizza? I love it. It’s on Central across from the racetrack.

  3. davidlegan says:

    Hi, John. Can you tell me if you notice anything sort of, uh, oxymoronic in this sentence?
    “The difficulty is in knowing which ones to let fester and which ones to let explode with fury.”

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