Darkness

One of those late summer nights that just feels like I should be somewhere else. It was cool and rainy all day and other than a walk and a bit of work, the day seemed to have passed without my having taking a part. I just couldn’t seem to get moving. I had a slight diverticulitis flare-up and so took that as an excuse I guess.

Each of us accrues emotional debt over time. It’s a by-product of living and interacting in a society. We all must develop our own way of sorting through and processing this cache, or the weight of it drags us down.

That which does not kill us, makes us stronger’.

Perhaps. But only if we deal with the after effects of having been nearly killed. Or at least damaged. If that damaged energy accumulates too long, it binds together and gets too heavy and eventually will kill us. Slowly. Painfully.

For people who are overly sensitive and emotional, this process must happen to some extent every day. We over-analyze. We take on guilt easily and feel aggrieved for the pain of others even when it is outside our control. Sunday’s have, for some reason, always been days that can spin out of control for me if I am not careful to keep a sharp perspective. It’s easy to drift back in time over the heartaches and hearbreaks, the funerals, the missed opportunities that we perceive as important to our existence, or at least our contentment.

For me, movement has always been important. Motion implies an urgency to be somewhere—and urgency implies importance. New opportunities. New grass to lie upon; presumably greener. Chasing that next big thing just around the next corner. When I am stagnant, I feel less relevant. The inertia of gravity weighs heaviest when we are dormant. Slowing down brings us closer to dying. Which may be okay. How do we really know? This diverticulitis pain is not debilitating, but it is annoying enough.

My mother never sits down. Not ever. She wakes up, has some coffee, and then moves like a Tasmanian devil for the next 12 hours. She’ll be 85 years in November. Maybe this is where I get the need for movement. She is legally blind—a weird term. She can see well enough to cook for dozens or hundreds at church functions or VFW dinners, run a household, raise 5 kids, grow every manner of vegetable and flowers in her garden. She paints the house inside and out, decorates, cleans like a maniac, takes care of everyone in her community. She bakes two pies every day for the family restaurant. Imagine that. I’m proud as a peacock if I make a pie three times a year and I am sure to tell everyone about it. She worked that shit into her daily routine without missing a beat.

She just doesn’t drive. If she did, she may have driven off years ago to find something more than this life has allowed her. But her constant movement is relentless. My mobility tendencies manifested in sporadic but significant geographic leaps. Hers is contained but seriously intense. When I take a day off from doing something productive, as I did today, I feel a guilt. Intellectually, I know that is nonsense, but there it is. Mom never takes a day off. Save the 5 or 6 days she’s been sick in her life.

If I were to trace the arc of my life on a globe, it would look something like this. Somerset Ohio > Watkins Glen New York > Miamisburg Ohio > Chicago > Philadelphia > Orlando > Idaho Falls Idaho > Seattle > San Diego > Pocatello Idaho > Miamisburg Ohio > Cincinnati > London > San Francisco > San Diego > Arandis Namibia > Chicago > Sydney > Swakopmund Namibia > Pocatello > London > Victor Idaho > Columbus > Cleveland.

I’ve owned homes in Cincinnati, Columbus (2), San Diego, Chicago, Pocatello (3), Victor ID, Cleveland and 2 condos in Akumal Mexico in a partnership and 2 (soon to be 3) homes in Somerset OH in a partnership with my siblings.

I’ve started 5 businesses in total; coffeeshop/bookstore in Pocatello; restaurant in Pocatello; small commercial property development in Pocatello; light manufacturing of camp trailer (OH LLC) and my little personal consulting business. And of course the real-estate LLC. I was also a minority equity partner in two other businesses — both of which I contributed massively to their success, but was not rewarded for the effort. That last bit is not really relevant in this conversation, but it makes me feel better to say it.

I read a great line by the brilliant Hanif Abdurraqib in ‘’They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us’

‘It’s in the spirit of male loneliness
to imagine that someone has to suffer for it’

He was speaking of how males process heartbreak. But it’s the same in business. If you put your energy and creativity into someone’s business, and you have an agreement to share the rewards and that does not happen, it is difficult to forgive. In spite of the well known fact money does not bring happiness, it does in fact bring options. Options, for me, means opportunities to quit work for a while and go travel. Take time to write and read and do things I like without the need to bring in cash to keep the electricity on. And it’s also about respect. Being fairly compensated for our contributions.

On the other hand, tortured souls create the best art. Maybe I should have gotten angry and then channeled that angst in to another book. But that just seems exhausting. Better to take the Buddhist path and let that shit go.

Given the duration of our time here on this planet, I think I will accept my moderate artist contributions in favor of emotional fitness.

When I was younger, I most likely would have been diagnosed with a mild form of depression. But that was before people really spoke of such things. But over time, through massive tomes of reading on everything from Taoism, to self-help, to all variety of philosophers–well, I actually learned very little I would say. Perhaps most from Buddhism and Taoism. Those teachings helped me tremendously with the concept of acceptance and developing the ability to remain focused on the present rather than what may or may not happen in the future. They also taught me to let go of past grievances.

I learned much more from traveling and experiencing other cultures and striving to understand the real struggles of others, I finally came to believe that my form of depression was sort of an arrogant indulgence. I have never known true hardship save for the occasional time of living small paycheck-to-small paycheck or feeling the pain of a lost love. One that I mostly detached from in most cases anyway–out of my love for solitude. Before I realized the two were not irreconcilable.

It’s amazing the effect light can have on us. I can wake in the middle of the night, full of irrational anxiety from all manner of potential misfortunes. But when the sun comes up, with absolutely nothing materially changed in my life, I suddenly feel lighter. Like I can handle whatever comes along. Since I am very often up in the darkest hour before the dawn, I am always looking out the window to the east, to the horizon for the first glimmer of light. But like the pot watched, it will not come. Until I am reading or writing or simply drifting along in thought, and suddenly there it is.

Ironically, the first hint of light is often accompanied by a slight decrease in temperature. I researched this phenomenon once, but have now forgotten the specifics. Something about the air being warmed above and creating a negative pressure which brings the coldest air up from the ground.

I’ve ordered a book by Richard Wolff called ‘The Sickness Is the System’. For many decades now, I have known, or at least deeply suspected, that capitalism is failing the masses. I never really had the intelligence, or more likely the will, to chase that theory down and prove it. But more and more smart people are coming out in droves to articulate what now seems somewhat obvious. Capitalism is not the answer. Not in the current form we are practicing. This year, the year of COVID, billionaire’s have seen their wealth increase massively—while the majority of people have been financially negatively impacted, and the poorest have been financially decimated. Capitalism works for the few, not for the many. I am interested to read this book.

The US tax code is especially shameful. As is our refusal to consider moving towards a universal health care system. And our insistence on maintaining a massively bloated military relative to the rest of the world. As is our refusal to develop and maintain a fair and equitable social safety net. As is our refusal to create a fair and equitable education system that doesn’t favor the rich over the poor. And our refusal to admit our tragically criminal and heartbreaking legacy of systemic racism and take concrete steps to change our future.

Yea capitalism. That is the mechanism by which those in power remain in power so these important social regards are never seriously considered.

Early morning now.

My morning ritual for coffee is hot water in the kettle, burr grinder for whole beans and then French press. It’s a small but important thing. I’ve been up a while, but now need to finish this up and get ready for work.

I went for training on Monday on how to be an election poll worker on election day. I am officially am election volunteer now.

First day back in the office today. I have an executive update at 11:45 and then, because the diverticulitis has worsened, I think it will be to the emergency room for antibiotics for me.

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