Will the Relationship Endure?

PhaedraOnly time will tell whether the relationship will endure. Time will reveal the existence (or absence) of patience. Time will reveal the tolerance (or lack thereof) for fine fibers of fur on every exposed surface. Time will reveal whether my sudden dry cough is a response to the weather or to something over which I have about as much control. Clearly, the clues have made it obvious: mi novia and I adopted a young (we think) cat. In deference to me relenting on the idea of introducing a cat to our house, mi novia allowed me to name the yowling beast. The name I gave her: Phaedra.

With a name like Phaedra, this cat is going places. There’s no question she has a bright future, in the spotlights, when she is going to shine as bright as the brightest star. That’s assuming both of us (make that all three of us) can come to some sort of agreeable middle ground on matters about which we might have disputes. Like insisting on crawling into my lap, and then over my chest to top of my head while I am sitting at the computer, trying to write. And like stepping on my face, and then swishing her tail so that it tickles my eyebrows and my nose (I refer here to Phaedra.) And jumping onto my desk, blocking my view of the monitor, while I am typing. I feel confident that the relationship has a better than 40/60 chance of success. There are plenty of other areas in which accommodations will be required. One accommodation that will not be part of any negotiations: tearing at floor rugs or seating places (like chairs and couches, especially if covered in expensive fabric or hide). Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this new experience is saying to one another: “We have a cat!”


One bit of news this morning struck me. According to report by the Associated Press:

The International Criminal Court said Friday that it has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine.

The article goes on to say the warrant against Putin “was the first time the global court has issued a warrant against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

I wonder whether, if Putin showed up at a U.N. Security Council Meeting, he would be detained, arrested, and jailed? I wonder, too, whether and how diplomatic immunity applies at the hyper-global level?


For the first time in far too long, I wore one of my fedora-style hats when we went out on errands, etc. yesterday. Though I rarely wear them for the purpose of keeping my head tolerably warm, that was precisely the reason yesterday. And it worked beautifully. While the rest of my body shivered in the brisk, very cool, wind, my head too it in stride. I like wearing hats, but I have an irrational concern that I look goofy when wearing hats. Other men can look quite stylish in a fedora; I look like a hillbilly making a pointless effort to appear to be a member of a rich European royal family. Of course, it may not be irrational. There usually is a seed of truth in even the most outlandish stories. Regardless, I may start wearing my fedoras out. I think I wrote about my annoyance of being unable to find reliable advice about when (and when not to) wear hats and what to do with them when entering a place where it’s not appropriate to wear them. If I didn’t write about that, I am sure I intended to. But while I’m writing about it, the idea that there is some intrinsic
propriety in hat-wearing is absolutely preposterous. It is simply a weird social custom that varies by which social behavior influencer is current in vogue. I have the freedom to wear my hats (and to take them off or leave them on) any way I want and anywhere I want. (More or less.) But I choose not to exercise that freedom, for two reasons. Vanity. Fear. I will explain neither. I  hope the words clearly convey the concepts. Maybe one day I will be sufficiently “brave” to wear my  hat without caring whether others like it or not.


Yesterday afternoon was extremely enjoyable, spent in conversation and laughter with a close friend. A day earlier, another couple of good friends were here for a mixture of volunteer “work” and a brief bit of “catch up.” I wish those casual get-togethers were far more frequent. While casual, but more formal, affairs are nice, the more impromptu, unplanned, and unstructured gatherings are far more my style and my preference. In reality, impromptu gatherings are rare because virtually all of the people in our sphere are retired, but deeply involved. They have all manner of volunteer and familial obligations and many are involved in at least a tangential way with several organizations. I wrote, day before yesterday, about finding one’s tribe. In my imagination, my tribe would be close by almost all the time.  We would collectively agree on a place to create a compound, in which we all would live in our private, closely-spaced homes. That compound would have common facilities, as well, like big barns, big gazebos, swimming pools, big indoor crowd-gathering spots, large and well-appointed commercial kitchens, etc.

Our conversations yesterday afternoon included discussions of “park model” mobile homes on plots of land developed exclusively as “park model parks.” It would require dramatic downsizing, but I truly believe that would present no problems for me. I can live with far less than I own now. And simplifying my surroundings might well boost my measure of tranquility. The conversation about distant places that look and feel very different from where I am now reignited my wanderlust or whatever it is that makes me feel restless and ready to move. Now approaching my real “sunset years,” I finally am coming to grips with the reality that buying a house ties one down. I think, given the opportunity again, I would have sold my house and rented something else for a term. When the lease expired, I would decide whether to renew or to move on to the next adventure. That’s the way I feel now. I may have a different point of view tomorrow. That’s the reason making big, permanent decisions should require lengthy periods of consideration. In my case, I would go back and forth between ownership and rental before, I think, finally deciding on rental. I wonder if there’s something to an adaptive interpretation of the concept of the “seven-year-itch.” Perhaps, instead of ending monogamous relations after seven years, the “seven-year-itch” were to refer to ending commitments to a place or a field of employment or some other attachment.

I probably could make a case for various iterations of the “seven-year-itch.” I moved here in 2014. I think it was around the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, around seven years “in” more or less, that I became almost frantic to want to hit the road; to get the hell out.  Though not a multiple of seven, my twelve years away from my old business and old career might be triggering a celebration of freedom from the handcuffs of the business world. I could go on. But my “evidence” would grow increasingly thin. It’s not time that dictates our thoughts or behaviors; it’s our recognition of the potential damage time can do to our lives that prompts us to examine our options.


Tonight, we’re joining a couple of other friends from church for dinner at their house. We were the high bidders at the church auction when the dinner was auctioned off. It has been months since we won the bid; finding time that works for all four of us was a challenge. I am sure it will prove to have been worth it. We’re looking forward to getting to know them better. I think it would be invigorating to participate in a dinner with other church members once a month. Not necessarily as a big group, but as a small gathering. Whether host or guest, I think I’d find that interesting.


At any moment, I could get in my car and drive for days. Into Kansas or Iowa. Pricing rental rates for small houses in semi-rural communities. Or New Mexico. Or Arizona. Someplace that might be friendly for a month or two. But I probably won’t. I will wait patiently until my calendar obligations and the seasons join hands in holy availability. Then we will drive north and east to Ohio to visit my brother and his son and daughter-in-law. But on the way back I might swerve sharply west or east, drifting northward or southward as I go. I have a months-long desire to see places I’ve either not seen or seen only from the fast-moving-visit related to an association’s in-and-out meeting. Months-long-desire probably is not the right term. I admit to language mistakes. I make them far more frequently than I should. If there were a financial penalty for language abuse, I might be standing at an intersection, asking passers-by for spare change. If the penalty involved physical beatings with a leather whip, I would be scarred and bleeding and begging for the pain to end,.


I had a strange thought, as I am wont to do. Imagine that both houses of the U.S. Congress have passed a bill making it legal to assassinate the President of the United States. The bill has survived a presidential veto, with a near-unanimous vote  in the House and Senate. The bill is now law. The President calls troops to the White House to provide round-the-clock protection.

On that note, I will end this rambling, almost incoherent, drivel. I may break my fingers just so I can force myself to stop letting my sanity slip from my brain with every touch of my fingers on the keyboard.


About John Swinburn

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