Pressure Like Water Boiling in a Sealed Container

My “readership” as measured by “Statcounter” traffic monitors is down considerably. Especially the “regular” traffic, the number of returning visitors, is down. That’s a sign that what I write is not gripping enough to cause readers to want to come back. In other words, my posts increasingly bore regular readers. Maybe I have been stuck in a rut, documenting my thoughts in excruciatingly unexciting detail. Or perhaps it’s a sign that other people, people around me, move on. Their interests ebb and flow, just like mine. Their desire to know what I am saying wanes. Television news anchors lose viewers when major events absorb the majority of their face-time; people tire of hearing the same damn thing, over and over again. Even riveting news gets old. So, too, with blogs; especially blogs without the rivets. So be it. I’m not aiming for high traffic numbers. But I will admit that it pleases me to see high numbers of return visitors. Even though they rarely, if ever, comment or indicate any interest in what I write. Their numbers are down. Such is life. I keep saying I write for myself, not to engage with or please an audience. And so it is.


I envision crossing the Texas panhandle, watching the sky for signs of hard summer weather, the sort of weather only storm-chasers—in their adventuresome madness—seek out. Finally. The long-delayed road trip to California is on the calendar again. We set aside roughly three weeks for the California trip. When we finally determined it was pointless to wait for a “safe” time to go, we had to decide when to take the trip. The decision is made. We will go. The trip will be an exhilarating, joyful adventure.  Soon, we’ll be off!


The calendar is never empty of obligations; we had to make the call to miss some important “dates” in favor of the long-deferred travel.  That fact—that the calendar seems perpetually to hold obstacles to freedom—is on my mind again. Calendar commitments are harnesses that constraint my movement. The calendar restrains me from…no, it’s not the calendar. Too often I acquiesce to the calendar’s commands—commands I place there after agreeing to the commitments they entail.

Bondage to the calendar seems to sneak into my posts on a regular basis. I blame the calendar, but I allow the calendar to engage in slavery. I do not object strenuously enough against subjugation to a schedule. I fail to cast off the chains of enslavement to pursue freedom. Instead, I obey the calendar, ignoring my cries for freedom from the confining embrace of voluntary commitment. It’s my fault for permitting events to control my movement and my time. I won’t promise myself that I will forever reject making those commitment; but I will promise to take them less seriously. That, alone, will make it easier to make changes to my personal time commitments.


Dignity is missing. And empathy. Compassion. Morality. Other attributes one would hope to find in people who call themselves public servants. Instead of those qualities, they possess (and brag about) attributes more commonly found in common criminals: dishonor, indifference, animosity, dishonesty. Somehow, though, these latter attributes seem to make them popular. As if unprincipled braggadocio were a badge of honor—a peculiarity that demonstrates a criterion for holding public office: unworthiness. Voting could turn them out, but we do not vote in sufficiently high numbers to do it. Instead, we sit back and bitch about the decay of democracy, blaming the politicians. We should be blaming ourselves and each other. Voting should be a public bade of honor; failure to vote should trigger mechanisms to publicly shame the eligible voter who stays away from the polls. And that includes me when my intention to vote is secondary to other things that seem more important. Almost nothing is more important than voting; failing to vote essentially gives control of one’s life to someone selected by a fraction of the public.


We take ourselves too seriously. We do not allow ourselves time to “play” as much as we should. Adult obligations must be met, but we need not seek them out to the extent that they crowd out opportunities for enjoyment unconnected to a social purpose. Fun. Plain old fun. Silliness. Mindless banter. There’s room for such stuff in our lives. We can devote our energies toward ensuring religious freedom or to protecting wildlife habitat or to the right to control one’s own body or to control of handguns and assault rifles…but that should not precludes us from laughing at television comedies or enjoying a glass of wine with friends around conversation that intentionally avoids the “serious” stuff. Maybe some people look at a person with my attitudes and judge me to be too frivolous or insufficiently concerned about what we are leaving to future generation. I say let those people judge me as they wish. I will respond with mockery and derision, but only a little; because I’ll be too busy having a little fun between my bouts of deep involvement in social issues.


I hope the buyer closes, today, on the purchase of my house. Getting word that has occurred will relieve an enormous amount of pressure on me. Pressure, I will admit, I permit to cause me to feel tightly wound and nervous. I wish I were better equipped to unwind my stresses.


I may take a vacation from writing this blog…see if the world collapses in response.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Pressure Like Water Boiling in a Sealed Container

  1. Barbara, I’m so happy to hear from you again! And I truly appreciate your comments; your words are both humbling and flattering. I understand and appreciate the demands work places on an energetic and willing workaholic. Speaking from years indulging myself in workaholism, addiction to work—even work one loves—can be as dangerous as playing Russian roulette or downing a fifth of whiskey every day. So, from that perspective, I hope you give yourself more time to relax and enjoy something outside of work. Even my blog posts. 😉 Now, as for being intimidated, you have no reason to feel that way! Your writing, as evidenced by this one comment, is excellent! You demonstrate an exceptional grasp of using language to communicate both ideas and emotions. Thank you, by the way, for suggesting my words offer “insight, perspective, and wisdom.” I am more than just complimented; I am thrilled at your assessment of my posts!

  2. Hi, John! Barbara here. Please do not stop writing your blog. Your thoughts are interesting, complex and provocative in a positive way. When I read your blog, your thoughts stay with me and give me new insights into whatever topic you choose. It is lack of time that prevents me from interacting and offering my own positions and contributions as I am still quite the workaholic. Plus, you are so very good at expressing yourself, I’m a little intimidated. Lastly, I read your thoughts on people who read this blog, but do not comment. You seemed to feel we were eavesdroppers. I rather see your blog as the musings of a very intelligent, philosophical and vulnerable man who offers insight, perspective and wisdom to his audience.

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