Acceptance

Terrific ride this morning. Just 30 miles but lots of hills, and a decent workout. No one is likely to confuse me for a biker, but I’ll be patient and get my base on. I got out at 7:30 so was home and showered by 10:00. I rode east from Kirtland area and went through some beautiful neighborhoods and farm country. Living so long in the west, it is easy to forget how green the rest of the world is—and how many textures and palettes of greens. It was really beautiful.

It wasn’t really my intention to go day-drinking. It just sort of happened. Taylor Time told me about a nursery not far away that had some goats and chickens and garden statues. I need to replace my Buddha that did not survive the winter so decided to ride down and have a look. But this place, Cavuto’s Nursery, also has a bar and live music on Sundays. Who knew. Lovely place. I watched the goats for a bit, checked out the garden adornments (bought a Celtic cross as they did not have a buddha—just need to go back with the car to get it) and had a margarita and a beer and listened to a little music.

I had forgotten to take sunscreen so I stopped at a dollar store. Two kids, boy and a girl, probably around 16 or 17, were selling bottles of water that was just sitting there in a 24-pack. Not in a cooler, just sitting on the sidewalk. Neither of them looked like they were likely to wander in to a job interview anytime soon. Anyway, you could look right through the front door of the dollar store and see the big refrigerator where they were selling ice cold bottles, presumably cheaper, to people who were going in to the store anyway.

Later, I saw some kids, much younger, 8 or 9 or thereabouts, and they were selling cold water from a cooler to people stopped at traffic lights. And that makes more sense. People don’t have to get out of their cars and don’t have another option. Looked like they were doing a brisk business.

The Standard is on the way home from the nursery, so I stopped in for a glass of rosé . I thought if Mike was there I would give him a cigar to check out. An Alma Fuego, which was much better than that shit he gave me the other day. Maybe get him to upgrade. But they had a private party on the back deck so I sat out front and had a couple of glasses and a nice Oliva.

Evenings at home have been amazing. Spot on perfect. 75 degrees or so. I sat outside a couple of nights ago and smoked the cigar Mike gave me. It was pretty terrible. On the same night, I was drinking some of the whiskey I had bought at Red Eagle, the local distillery. It was also pretty harsh. But I like trying and supporting the local businesses. And who do I think I am I anyway? When you’re spoiled, as I so obviously am, and used to fine whiskeys and cigars, and suddenly smoking and drinking local, it can be a shock. But I need to stay close to the earth. It’s fine. I’m lucky and I know it. Everything is context. Perspective. Contrast.

The colors of the sky were amazing. It got more and more purple as I sat and watched the wind rustling through the treetops. I took a couple of pictures, but they never translate completely or even remotely as beautiful as the real thing.

It seems our greatest fears, ironically, arise out of fear of losing those things we are most attached to. Things we love, can be used against us. Fear of losing a romantic partner, a house, or material things; fear of losing familiarity, parents or loved ones or even having to split the 401(k) in a divorce; money you feel you worked so hard for. I’ve observed all of these things over the years and experienced a couple of these fears myself at times. But this concept, true as it may be, is awkward. Love should be treated for what it is–joyfulness at that moment in time. To live in fear of losing that joy is antithetical to the core concept of joy itself, which is the absence of fear. This is why, in my interpretation, Eastern philosophy informs us the secrets to contentment lies in the purity of the moment—not in the material things or not in the envisioned future that we construct for ourselves. Live and love that joy you have, in this moment, without fear. Fear of all kinds works against us.

When my first business went sideways, the bookstore and coffeeshop in Idaho, in what was then a dramatic, small-business, small-town version of a hostile takeover by the investors enabled by a couple of dickish lawyers, I was shattered. Powerless, as I had no money and no experience in this environment. I was a pup thrown into a pit-bull ring. This theft of my idea and my energy and hard work enraged me. I remember vividly, sitting on the floor of my apartment a few days after the shit went down and reading a few books I had on Buddhism and Taoism. Something in those texts, specifically the language around acceptance of circumstances and the ability to gracefully accept what life brings us, which may be perceived as good or bad, but either way that is your reality in that moment, resonated very deeply with me.

Within a few days, my attitude had changed significantly and I felt free to move on. That quickly; something just clicked over in me and I felt enormously unburdened. I threw my energy into mountain biking and rugby and used my new-found free time to pursue things I had put off because of the full-time commitment of starting and running a business.

This basic acceptance of what comes along has served me well. Of course I am not perfect. In short term situations, when something unexpected happens that is counter to how I expect things to unfold, I sometimes don’t handle it well. But generally within a few hours I am re-settled. Sometimes, deeper emotions, things like the passing of a best friend, take time to fully digest, but the outward manifestation is mostly manageable.

Last night I had some anxiety about getting a $10k tax bill that I completely did not expect, but by morning I had digested it. Just money. Plus, I found $20 in my jeans pocket this morning and did not expect that either.

I was thinking about this because of all the stories of the people who refuse to wear masks. Who refuse to listen to people much smarter than them in these times. Who refuse to accept this situation we are in and so carry on as if things are normal. Things are not normal. And if you are stupidly going about without taking precautions, and get yourself infected, then you can unknowingly infect many others. And so it goes.

Acceptance.

Fear of losing needs to be banished. I suppose it’s why people who are ignorant and don’t know better treat immigrants so meanly. Someone told them an immigrant will take their job one day. And so they believe that and start hating immigrants for fear of losing their job. What else explains it? Maybe I’m wrong and it’s just good ole-fashioned meanness. People who are lucky enough to have been born into decent circumstances feel superior over those born in a 3rd world situation and lord their superiority over the lesser immigrants who are bold enough to seek a slightly better life for themselves. I wonder if the people who voted for Trump ever, in the dark of night, think about those children who are taken from their parents and shuttled off to a foreign place to be clinically and minimally cared for by people who don’t speak their language and don’t provide the tenderness and love that is necessary for children to develop. Are they so dumb that they don’t connect those dots, or do they just not care?

We examine the role of church and the devoted in the modern era. The religious right overwhelmingly support Donald Trump (according to polls). These devoted, fervent believers, competing for all of our souls, who so adamantly defend their anti-abortion beliefs that it seems nothing else matters to them at all. They care not for the actual living and breathing humans who are suffering from years of destructive behavior at the hands of politicians they have voted in to office. They doggedly supported Republicans and George Bush as he started two disastrous wars that killed tens of thousands and created extreme misery for hundreds of thousands.

These soldiers for god support policy that eliminates critical social services for the most vulnerable in our society; they would stand by while services for the homeless, the poor, and the mentally ill are gutted and tax cuts are put in place for the wealthy. They stand by this pathetic clown of a man-child whose very life makes a mockery of their core values (multiple divorces, prostitutes, pettiness, vindictiveness et al). They stand by this administration that strips children from the parents who merely want to seek a better life for their families. They stand by while this president diminishes and mocks the Black Lives Matter movement. They stand by while Republicans once again file a lawsuit to disable the Affordable Care Act which will cause 20M people to lose health insurance in the midst of a global pandemic. They stand by while Trump and Pence continually repeat COVID is under control and people should not wear masks while even children can see the lies.

These people who purport so strongly to represent the moral compass of behavior are the most abhorrent of all. It is their silence amongst this madness that makes them so guilty. More than any other, this voting bloc has enabled Republican politicians’ elections since the Reagan era. They are so simple and easily manipulated that the biggest buffoon of them all, Donald Trump, has them kneeling at his feet and doing his bidding. I reserve my strongest condemnation for them; they are not just willingly ignorant but also hypocritical. Using their religion as a battering ram when it suits them and ignoring the foundational teachings of Jesus if it’s convenient to do so.

I’ve never believed the myth of America—at least not since I was old enough to read and think for myself. How anyone still believes it is beyond me.

Who doesn’t love Loretta Lynn? I’ve been listening to classic country on Amazon a bit. It reminds me of my childhood. I’d come in for lunch in summer and mom would have two radios on, one upstairs and one downstairs, tuned to the same station. Playing Merle, Loretta, Marty, Dolly, Statler Brothers, Johnny Cash, Slim Whitman, Willie Nelson, Elvis, etc. Loretta was pure badass. ‘You’re Not Woman Enough to Steal My Man‘ and ‘Fist City‘ and of course ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter‘. Wife and momma not to be fucked with.

Speaking of bears, I read a story about them recently. And their hibernation. A female will have cubs while still hibernating. Waking, sort-of, for birth. And then go back to sleep while the cubs nurse even while she is sleeping.

I wonder, do bears dream while they are asleep all that time? Or do they close their eyes, with the last remembrance of late Autumn and colorful trees and waken to spring and running water and a few blind cubs stumbling around the den and wonder, WTF? That’s like the ultimate runner and hangover–suddenly wake up with a gaggle of kids and think, wow, that must have been some wild-ass party. Oh well, guess I better get these little fuckers something to eat.

Social media comes and goes in my life. Without it, I would have no idea of the stark differences between my world view and that of the people I grew up with. Nearly everyone on Facebook that I went to school with, with only one or two exceptions, is a Trump supporter. Some are super hard-core ignorant. Fervent in their daily and even hourly defense of idiocy on all fronts. Others are more tepid and say things like ‘well, Donald says stupid things, but I would never vote for Hillary’, or ‘All lives matter’, or ‘I support their cause, but just wish they would quit rioting’, or ‘I didn’t have slaves and so they just need to get over it because I’m not racist’. Et al. All ignorant–just to varying degrees.

But there are a few superstars. One of our cheerleaders, Diane, who was super mild-mannered and sweet in high school, is relentless (and gracious) in calling out ignorance. I love it. I am less gracious, but occasionally weigh-in to try to correct someone’s thinking with facts. Of all these people, I have only seen 3 or 4 once in 35 years or so.

Thursday night poker has become a thing. Officially. We have a good core group. Anchored by me, Lars and Brian. All good workers and friends. It’s a nice feeling, knowing Thursday night poker is there. This week we had Lars, Brian, Me, Nick, and Jim. Matthew had to miss but will be back next week. No actual money is won or lost. Just points on a board and reputation.

I had a grand dream last night. In my dream, Donald Trump was defeated in the election. Soundly. Satisfactorily—and a collective sigh of relief was heard around the world. But there was more. Mitch McConnell also lost. But his was close and so he demanded a recount. And in the recount, it was discovered that he actually lost by many more votes than in the original tally.

Senator Tom Cotton got bit by a rattlesnake and went blind, and thankfully, also mute.  Rand Paul fell down the stairs and while he lay at the bottom of the stairs, he decided life was too fragile and he had better retire from politics. Matt Gaetz was so moved by Trump’s defeat that he realized the error of his ways and also decided to retire. Marco Rubio decided to go back to Cuba to explore his genealogical roots. Like I said, quite a dream.

Humbly submitted.

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