Monday’s Theme Music

Thickening fog is graying out this Monday morning in southern Oregon.

Hi. Today is February 22, 2021. The temperature is 39 degrees F. Sunrise and sunset are 6:57 AM, 5:52 PM, presenting us almost eleven hours of daylight.

My mind has been busy with dreams, reading, writing, and thinking. Among the thoughts. They mentioned on the radio that, oh, surprise, people are creatures of habit. Surveys show that eighty percent of Americans have daily routines that they follow. They eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, go to the same places to shop, watch the same shows, etc.

Well, hello, yes. Much of this is driven by routines but by prices, selections, availability, health, and convenience. My breakfast, for example, is usually oatmeal. How it’s flavored varies. I add different fruits and nuts to it, or raisins, or peanut butter, or sometimes all of it. Yogurt with granola stands as an infrequent breakfast alternative. Once in a while, probably once a month, I’ll buy a breakfast burrito from a store. Once in a while, maybe every other month, I’ll have a doughnut or pastry for breakfast.

These things, though are driven by nutrition, taste, cost, availability, and convenience. I used to make and eat other things for breakfast. Metabolism changes, life style changes, and weight gain all started nixing how often I do that, along with convenience and laziness. Making a more elaborate breakfast (besides being pricier) is time consuming, and there’s cleaning up afterward.

Boy, I sound defensive, don’t I? But they’re right: we shop at the same seven places for our groceries when we go out. Those seven: Shop N’ Kart, Trader Joe’s, Costco, The Food Co-op, Market of Choice, Bi-Mart and Albertson’s. They’re all within a twenty-minute drive. They have decent prices. The food quality is good. We’re checked out places, but these are the ones we trust.

Enough whining. On to the music. Today’s theme song is “Sowing the Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fear, 1989. Don’t ask me why; it came into my head this morning, and I had no reason to not select it.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get vaccinated. We’re still a few weeks from being eligible for the vaccination, ourselves. Here’s the tune. Enjoy.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

I was spying on neighbors this morning, verifying that they followed their regular routines. All seemed alive (although some moved like zombies) and in good health (but such appearances may be deceptive, no?). Each followed their recurring and regular, sharply predictable, Tuesday morning routines.

My routines are not predictable — in the mornings. Writing, I set my structure. As socializing and common activities like shopping or heading out for a cuppa are curtailed, my day is a freeflow form. What do I want to do, and when do I want to do it, along with what needs to be done regarding health, house, and history, right?

All that thinking about busy activities stirred thinking about insects, spiders, and ants. That invited the 1994 song, “Ants Marching”, by The Dave Matthews Band.

When all the little ants are marching
Red and black antennae waving
They all do it the same
They all do it the same way

h/t to Genius.com

What’s funny about human ant activity is how it may seem so same each day while inside, all manner of activity is happening.

Or maybe not. Maybe the thinking is like the activities, the same thing every day.

Time for my morning coffee, said the ant.

Routines

The keys go in this drawer so that they could always be found

(alongside his Fitbit, wallet, and pens),

the shopping bags were stored in these cubbies so all knew where they were

(it was automatic to reach for them when walking out the door),

the sunglasses and reading glasses were set where they were always expected to be

(so that exasperating searches could be avoided),

and the refrigerator and pantry were kept ordered, to minimize searching,

processes meant to reduce the chances of forgetting and losing anything.

It mostly worked.

 

OBG

They called him OBG, because he’s the old guy who goes to the bathroom at least once an hour.

How old? They struggled with that; they were young. How young? In their early to mid-twenties, that period before things cease functioning (peckers, prostates, lungs, heart) and start dropping (breasts, butts, faces, and arches).

(They knew, intellectually, but still (and really, on the periphery of their awareness) that they were conditioned with a sense of the ideal and normal. They knew that others had body failures before they were twenty (they’d seen it on the web), but none (of those types) came to their coffee shop or university classes, and none (that they knew) were ever seen. Out of sight, out of mind, you know. Although, to be fair, they were self-aware enough to know that they were experiencing health privilege (although it wasn’t thought of that way). (Hey, you were either healthy, or you weren’t.) They were unaware (as the young and healthy often are) of the many changes quietly being made beyond their control in their young, healthy bodies.)

OBG knew (from his casual observance) (hell, it wasn’t hard) that they’d noticed his habits. With that shrugging air of one who’d lived and survive, he dismissed whatever they thought. Into the bathroom he went, first blowing his nose (damn sinuses) (he hated blowing his nose in public) (just didn’t want to bother others), and then stretching (because that fucking sciatic nerve was getting inflamed again and despised sitting in those chairs too long). (Yeah, he shouldn’t sit in those chairs so long, reading his Kindle and browsing the net, habits that he’d started when he’d retired, ten years before, which, in turn were begun by habits he cultivated in his twenties, when he was in school, like these servers who watched.) (Do you see the circle that he sees, the circles of behavior and culture, and how linked they are, like the Olympic logo?)

Then, because he was there, he went ahead and sat down and pissed (not that he had to go, but he was there, so…), flushed, and washed his hands. In all, four minutes of his life had passed, but it all adds up, you know?

Daydream

Things that are dark in flavor appeal to me. I like dark meat, dark chocolate, dark red wine and port, and dark beers like port and stout. I try – and often fail – to keep an open path to my taste buds. That means sampling offerings that don’t appeal to me based on familiarity and comfort. But I’m such a creature of ruts and routines that varying my choices becomes a challenging exercise.

Daydream is part of that.

Daydream is a Noble Coffee dark blend. As dark as an Italian roast in appearance, it’s not as sharp and bitter as an Italian or a French roast. Its flavor is smooth and fresh to my taste buds, toying me with mild nuttiness.

I do try others at Noble. Each day, they offer a blended dark and a unique, single origin that’s a lighter roast. True to form, the light roasts are revealed as winy and bitter to me. Some, though, have a terrific grapefruit juiciness, a taste that my taste buds like to have in IPAs, red blends, and Pinot Noirs.

Ultimately, it’s a world of choices out there, a distant shout from those early days at work, sipping Maxwell House re-heated in the microwave.

Got my brew, time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Tribfloof

Tribfloof (floofinition) – Something given or contributed voluntarily to a housepet or animal as due or deserved.

In use: “Every morning, and whenever he came home, his rescue pup came to him for a few minutes of tribfloof, whispered reassurances, petting, and ear and neck scratches to remind the dog that everything was okay, that he had a home and wasn’t abandoned again.”

Flooftone

Flooftone (floofinition) – The sound device, practice, or methodology employed by a housepet to get others’ attention or put forward demands.

In use: “Danny the Yorkie believed in going to bed at ten, and if he was ready, everyone else needed to go, a decision announced by his flooftone: a single sharp bark once a minute at the bedroom door until everyone went to bed.”

Strangers

He knew their faces, knew them well,

saw them every day.

When they weren’t present on their appointed time,

he always wondered about their fate.

They never looked at him,

when he was looking at them,

and never shared a sound;

not hello, good-bye, or how’s the weather,

their lips were sealed against verbs and nouns.

 

They were his daily companions,

he knew them well,

saw them every day,

and knew the gulf between him and them,

and wondered why it wouldn’t go away.

 

The Habit

It started after the doctors declared his death was probably less than six weeks away and recommended that he be placed in hospice. Family members were called, rushing home from around the world.

Their visits perked him up. The doctors reversed themselves after three months, returning the ninety-eight year old to a nursing home. That’s when he began his habit.

Every night at seven, he would prepare for bed by walking around his bed, straightening the blankets and pillows. Then he folded the blankets back, adjusted the pillows, and circled the bed, smoothing out the wrinkles. His process consumed about two hours.

Nobody complained. How could they? It was good for a man of his age to be active, even if his habits mystified everyone. After all, if they reached his age, who knew what their habits would be?

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