Contrary to world expectations, I’ve been, um, feeling good? How else can it be put, but I’ve been experiencing a rising sense of hope and optimism. It permeates everything I’m doing and thinking.
Rationally, I can’t account for it. I can say that I’m less stressed because I’m not out there socializing and fighting traffic. I can attribute it to kind weather gods; May, June, and July have been pleasantly mild for the most part, keeping anxieties about wildfires and smoke tamped.
But then there’s COVID-19 and what it’s doing to the world. And there was the death of a sweet, shy cousin, too young, just fifty-one, dead from cancer, leaving two sons behind, succumbing to the disease after a four year struggle. In my mind, she remains bright-eyed and smiling with an impish impulse.
And there was Dad, being rushed to the hospital mid-week, Dad who is rarely sick but has a full metal jacket of stents (installed a few years ago) and moderate CPOD. He is almost eighty-eight, though, so there’s always expectations and worries. We are talking about the life train. It always pulls in at the same final stop.
Writing, though, has been a wonderful escape, of course, taking me on an unexpected ride as the characters evolve and the story goes in directions that I didn’t expect. That’s always a pleasure, innit? A good writing day can propel you over many obstacles.
Feeling good. Optimistic, hopeful, even joyous.
Against this backdrop, I’m hearing “Bell Bottom Blues” by Eric Clapton (1971). Two aspects of the song stay on a loop in my head: “I don’t want to fade away,” and “I don’t want to lose this feeling.”
No, I don’t want to lose this feeling. It’s too good. I wish I could package it and share for free with everyone in the world. Others should know these sensations. They’re powerful stimulants.
Enough of my babbling. Here’s the music, a later live acoustic version that I think does more justice to the song.
- Still walking. Sounds like I’m bragging, right? I’m talking about exercising. My progress goes up and down. My 28-day average is just 7.51 miles (sixteen thousand plus steps), with my best being last Thursday, ten and quarter miles. I try to get in more, but stuff. I’m in a heavily hilled area. Examining results with where I walk is interesting. My flights will increase to fifty to sixty a day, and my activity level will increase, but my miles decline. That’s because the steep hills really slow me down. Coming down is less of a physical exertion, but requires a lot from my legs to keep from just pitching forward. Great views, though, and getting the exercise outside is worth it.
- COVID-19. We have people who shunned masking, attending rallies (see Herman Cain and Tulsa), church, and parties, who are now testing positive and being hospitalized. Some, like Cain, had underlying conditions. Cain is seventy-four, and I guess he’s okay with getting sick, possibly going through what others have endured, and dying, but what about spreading it to others, and putting them through it? Yeah, nobody say this coming.
- COVID-19 Redux. Other crazy reports have one, teenagers trying to deliberately contract COVID-19. Let’s play a game and see who can get infected. (Alabama Teens Are Throwing Coronavirus Parties with Cash Rewards for the First to Get Infected.) Oh, the young… Proves that life can be stranger than fiction. Beyond that, some people who are testing positive are refusing to help with tracing. (Party Guests Wouldnt Talk After 9 Tested Positive.) Hit with subpeonas and facing fines of $2000 a day for not helping, they caved. Florida setting new records for their state with ten thousand cases in one day, a one hundred sixty-eight percent rise. Of course, commentators are blaming the protests or riots, and Gov. DeSantis has vowed that Florida wills stay open. Paul Krugman has an interesting threads based on Opentable reservations for Texas, Florida, and Georgia. After reservations rose with re-opening, reservations began declining as positive cases surged. Here in Oregon, cases are rising. Gov. Brown has declared masks mandatory inside businesses, but several sheriffs have declared her policy unconstitutional and have refused to enforce it. I always thought it was up to the courts to decide constitutionally, not the sheriffs, but they know better. Even Oregon State Police aren’t even masking as they enter businesses. To quote one officer who wasn’t wearing a mask, “Fuck Kate Brown.” That’s protecting and serving for ya. Shows why trust and support for police keeps declining; they’re deciding what laws they’ll obey and enforce, and mocking what they don’t like.
- I’m not good at celebrating. My sixty-fourth birthday is this week. As with every year, my wife asked me what I want to do to celebrate. I don’t have an answer. Parties don’t generally entice me. Socializing in general doesn’t entice me. She knows these things about me. I feel pressured to ‘do something’ to celebrate to mollify her.
- Still painting walls. We have high ceilings in the dining-living-kitchen combo. Three hard to reach corners where the walls and ceiling met. I’ve bought an extender that telescopes out to twelve feet. I have an edger, brush, and roller that can be attached. Control, though, is challenging, and a bit comical, and a strain on the neck, squinting up there at the wall from twelve feet away. Refreshing the paint on them is also an interesting process.
Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.
Took a walk into the steep hills of southern Ashland, where you lean forward like you’re walking into a hurricane gale to progress up the incline. Looking back over the browning valley, across to where vineyards sprawled under a blue sky and the Interstate snaked by with semis full of goods, the song, “Bullet the Blue Sky” by Oasis (1987) stole out of memory into consciousness.
And i can see the fighter planes
i can see the fighter planes
Across the mudhuts as the children sleep
Through the alleys of a quiet city street
up the staircase to the first floor
Turn the key and slowly unlock the door
A man breathes into a saxophone
Through the walls we hear the city groan
Outside is America
Outside is America
h/t to Metrolyrics.com
Not surprising. I’d be writing in my head as I walked, picking up where I’d stopped for the day, moving the chains to the next day. As my story companions travel, they stop and watch things and wonder.
Basically, as I was doing today, wondering about the past, the future, the present, politics, you know…the world.
Here’s the music.
- The weather continues to provide talking points. The temperature been as up and down as a roller coaster this year, and often plays the contrarian. Today’s high on July first, when we normally anticipate nineties and beyond, will be seventy-seven. Not that we’re complaining; just commenting. It’ll be a good day to paint some more walls once I’ve finished my writing.
- My annual urology follow up went well yesterday. Peed fine, no issues. All this was initiated by some trouble in peckerville traced to enlarge prostate in previous years. No follow up actions required. I’ve tried to become more mindful as I’ve matured. Now I’m being more mindful in my peeing. Of course, my mind must riff on the old Caddy Shack Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) meme: “Be the ball.” I’m trying to be the pee.
- I think one of the reasons for my success with peeing was decreasing my sodium levels. I was diagnosed with very high blood pressure (230/130) during my pecker issues. I’d noticed my sodium was a little high on my blood work (141 mmol/L), so I began checking out sodium levels of whatever I was eating. Definitely an OMG experience. Can’t believe the amount of sodium in processed foods, condiments, salad dressings, and the like. The sodium in canned soup was at surreal levels. So was anything with cheese and any sauces. After reading and verifying it on my blood test results, I recognized that I also needed to increase my potassium levels. Learning that magnesium can draw sodium out, I also increased my magnesium levels (hello, bananas!). The other thing that I’d learned affecting my enlarged prostate gland was chocolate. When I ate more than a little chocolate, my stream diminished. So, chocolate was severely curtailed. Another negative influencer is gluten. Controlling my gluten intake and monitoring it, I verified to my own mind that gluten causes me to bloat and swell. The final element was increasing my water to help flush sodium out. Amazing how it’s all interconnected. I appreciate having the net to help me learn, and sites like WebMD.
- Cautious Independence Day planning is afoot. Friends have a tradition of consuming root beer floats while watching the fireworks from their deck. They like us; we like root beer floats, so we’ve become part of their tradition. Looks like we’ll do it again this year, while social distancing, just three couples. There will be floats, but not fireworks.
Got my coffee. Ready to write, but the first requirement will be to update the bible for The Constant, which is the current novel-in-progress. Then I’ll write like crazy, at least one more time.
Today feels like Saturday.
So did yesterday, and the day before. I suspect that tomorrow will also feel like Saturday.
Lot of reasons exist for my feelings about the days of the week. One, I’m a writer. I write every day. I retired from outside employment a few years ago. My days of the week stopped being labeled work days and non-work days.
Two, I stream, and watch little broadcast television. I’ve been streaming for ten years, and cut the cable nine years ago. That means that I’m not looking at any guides or schedules to see what’s on television, which was always guided by the day of the week. For example, I don’t think, “If this is Thursday, then a new episode of X will be on.” I wait until all episodes are out and then I start streaming them on my schedule when they’re available. When they’re out depends on a date, not a day of the week.
Three, COVID-19, of course. The pandemic and the actions being taken to flatten the curve has dramatically affected social activities. Hence, we’re no longer going out dancing at the lake on Saturday night or heading for beer on Wednesday night, erasing another reason for tracking what day it is.
Four, it feels like Saturday because of my conditioning. Back when I did work, Saturdays were days for doing errands and chores. It was also a day for sleeping in a bit. No need to leap out of bed, do some quick exercises, eat, shower, dress, jump into the car and hurry to work on Saturday. I could catch another twenty minutes.
Everyday in COVID-19 land is like that now. There are chores and writing, but no errands. I can sleep in, if the cats agree.
The cats have never worried about the day of the week. To them, it’s always Caturday.
I get what they mean, now.