Many, maybe most, of my clothes will be discarded today. Discarded is not the right word; donated is more appropriate. They are too small for me now. Or, rather, I am too big for them. I have allowed myself to balloon into the man I was ten or eleven years ago. Giving the clothes away, rather than keeping them so when I lose weight they will fit me again, feels like defeatism. Mi novia says it’s realism. Giving them away feels to me like an acknowledgement that the thinner man is gone and may not return. But she suggests having new, better-fitting clothes will improve both my appearance and my attitude. And, when I succeed in my quest for a more appropriate size (said quest, which has yet to commence, will begin shortly after our transition to the new house), I will feel good in rewarding myself with a new wardrobe. Hmm.

I do not like having a closet overflowing with clothes. I want to wear a very limited wardrobe. I want the majority of that limited wardrobe to be loose-fitting, comfortable clothes suitable for any environment. If an environment calls for something more “dressy” or “upscale,” I would rather just avoid it than succumb to the pressure to conform to a dress code I find stuffy and offensive. “But what about a funeral?” “But what about the symphony?” “But what about a black-tie affair?” My response, as of this morning, is this: “If I cannot go, wearing comfortable attire, I will skip the event. As for the funeral, the main attraction won’t notice what I’m wearing, anyway.” Oh, I’ll probably bend. Or change my mind. Or accept that my inflexible attitude is just as annoying to others as are their expectations of sartorial conformity to me. Have I gone off track, yet again? Why, yes, I believe I have.

Buttons are the fossils of the sartorial world, enduring long past the garments they were designed to hold together.

~ Martha Stewart ~


When I woke this morning, I was in the midst of a dream in which I was handcuffed to a train car. I did not and do not know why. I was outside the car, standing on the edge of the train tracks.  Inside the train car above me, a woman was looking down at me through a window, but I could barely see her. The glare and the angle of the glass was such that I could only see that she was there, staring at me. I could not decide whether she looked sad or whether her facial expression was matter-of-fact. The train started pulling away, pulling me along with it. I panicked, thinking I would be dragged for miles. But a police officer wearing a blue uniform and a blue helmet with a pointed spire on top ran alongside me and unlocked the cuffs. As the train disappeared from view, the woman’s vague face, still looking at me, vanished in the distance. And that was that. I woke up, needing desperately to pee.


During the last several days, the anxieties associated with moving into a new house and selling and old one have become noticeably more intense. At least I hope moving and selling are the causes of the behaviors I associate with intense anxiety. Rapid and repeated memory failures. Quick temper. Misplacing keys or billfold or cell phone or all three. Inability to stay focused. Fatigue. Moodiness. A general funk. But maybe those are not new. Maybe I am just more acutely aware of them because they are interfering with what I had hoped would be a relatively smooth transition—moving from one house to another is not an exercise in dizzyingly intricate complexity, after all. I suppose I will find out whether it’s a matter of simply being more conscious of those unattractive but innate attributes—or a matter of cause and effect. Or, perhaps, something else. Time will tell. I will try to process the experience from a Zen perspective; it is what it is. I don’t know, so it’s out of my control and unworthy of my worry. That, I suppose, is the best frame of mind when one is on a battlefield, pinned down by gunfire and watching missiles rain down all around. But that’s just supposition; having never been in that situation. Though I think I feel a little like that at the moment. I am aware that it’s irrational. But that awareness changes nothing.  Yet, as I consider the situation I am in, I feel pretty damn calm. I have done and am doing what I can to propel the process ahead so it unfolds as smoothly as possible. Could I do it better? Maybe. Would doing it better make life more worth living? I have to say, “no.” So, I am relatively confident that everything is all right. I told myself that a few days ago. And I’m telling myself now. And I am not dissembling; it’s the truth as I know it.




About John Swinburn

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