Patchouli High

Finally, some semblance of normalcy…as if normalcy were anything but fiction. That notwithstanding, a return to an imaginary routine is more appealing than a roller coaster of relatively minor, but unpredictable, mental and physical chaos. Normalcy may be a hologram, but it is a moderately comforting hologram. I understand the appeal of virtual reality games; the artificial experience in which they immerse the player can substitute—at least for a time—a pleasant adventure for bruising reality. There will come a time when patients are treated with a combination of physical treatments—pills and surgeries and injections and the like—and mental manipulation, for example, immersion in virtual reality. In a nutshell (because the foregoing words are too confusing to offer a real explanation), I feel better than I have in two weeks. Better is not synonymous with good, but I’ll take better, rather than the same or worse, any time. Perhaps my visit with my doctor’s APRN on Monday will offer information about why I have been so achy, exhausted, and generally uncomfortable for so damn long.


Want, as a noun. It’s that something desired and, in many cases, it’s that something that probably is impossible to attain. Knowing the impossibility, one would think the desire would dissolve, leaving only a hole that, over time, fills in. Scars over. Heals. But so often, we simply convince ourselves that the impossible is, in fact, possible. The scenarios in which the want would be filled often are just fantasies, but our minds manufacture ways in which fantasies can become realities. In so doing, we torture ourselves into believing the unbelievable. The question of sanity comes up, of course, but then we realize everyone is at least a little insane. And so it goes.


I am becoming addicted to the New York Times. The paper’s subscription department understands how to lure unsuspecting occasional users into becoming addicts. The people responsible for boosting the number of subscribers give vulnerable readers full online access to the paper for just $4 per month for an extended period. Suddenly, when want becomes need, the modest $4 rate skyrockets to $325 per year (or more). By the time one reaches that point, it is impossible to stop; the addict would be willing to sell friends’ (or one’s own) children just to keep open access. Sly bastards.


Yesterday’s overcast is forecast to continue today. Today, though, the possibility of rain is a teaser. I enjoy the dimness of overcast mornings, especially morning like this one when temperatures hover just above 60°F. I’ve already had a double espresso, followed by an 8-ounce cup of French roast, so there is no need for more caffeine to protect me against the chill as I go sit on the deck. I will do that now. And to boost my mood even more, I will take a cone of incense outside with me. A patchouli “high” is just what the doctor ordered.

And the day unfolds.

About John Swinburn

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