May 26, 2017 (Friday)

by Yule Heibel on May 25, 2018

Not much tilt-a-world effect today, although the trees do appear to be even taller than yesterday; just the same headache that’s been hanging around for about five days, a kind of sinus-y, low grade annoyance. And a complete blanket of misty cloud cover, solid, impenetrable, as far as the eye can see. Welcome, Memorial Day Weekend, not that we social isolates care about such things… And, okay, it’s only Friday morning, so not quite the weekend.

Yesterday was like today, full of rain, and with me full of headache and nowhere to go, so I stayed home all day. My headache worsened. I thought it might be a slightly better day because we slept a little longer, versus getting up at 5:30a.m. But it felt like the same old deepening hole. No, wait. It does feel like a deepening hole, which might be why those trash trees growing up around – or rather: in front of – me are making me feel so nauseated and claustrophobic. But this feeling isn’t old. It feels new, and it feels like a warning. It feels like bells going off, warning signs flashing, “Beware!” Not like an adventure, though. Like a crisis. Like a crisis in slow motion, yet inexorable. My grandmother’s proverbial “horror without end.” (According to my mother, her mother used to say, “Better an end with horror than a horror without end.” Not sure I can subscribe to this axiomatically, but on some occasions it makes sense…) Short of blowing it up – by picking up sticks and moving – I see no way out of this.

Yesterday I read an article in the New York Times about John Shields, who spent the better part of his adult life in Victoria and who died there recently. The life described in the article was so archetypically “Victoria,” so crunchy, so granola. And so filled with crunchy granola friends (some I know). Shields chose doctor-assisted suicide, and his wife, family, and a small army of friends collaborated in the ceremony. It was a ceremony: a wake held on the eve of his death, with him in attendance, with full-on New Age ceremonies and pledges. Remarkable. I certainly couldn’t put a “wake” like that (or of any kind) together, gather such a crowd, and I realize that the “fault” is wholly my own. (Writing this has just sharpened my headache pain, how …cute.) I also read an article about Nassim Nicholas Taleb, an interview of sorts (by Brian Appleyard), in which Taleb again (just as in Antifragile) advises strongly that one should go to parties and out to dinner etc. How does this ideal compare to my reality, or rather, vice versa? I cook at home, eat dinner at home. The last party I attended was at Christmas. The last party I gave? Ages ago. Again, this, too, is my own doing. I could change it – I had a very different social life in Victoria. But the key problem is I don’t want to be social here. I’m just not that into the people around here. When I pulled up the living room blinds this morning before sitting down, I had to move a chair slightly which was pushed too close to one of the “spine” bookcases, and I became annoyed again at the scattered state of my books, my library, and how this house is all windows and cast-iron baseboard heaters, with no wall space for bookshelves. It seemed like another aspect of this deepening hole, of being in a place quite unsuited to one’s needs.

In big and little ways, I have to make some changes.

It’s not raining right now, but it’s supposed to pour ~10:30a.m. So I’ll take a long walk, post-walking with W. to the Depot; that’s my “little way.” I walk whenever possible. In regard to a “big way,” I’m stymied. I don’t think I could stand John Shields’s New Age social life, nor his previous, decades-long union organizing (although the land trust activism I can relate to), although (it just occurred to me) a goodly aspect of his later social life came through his second wife, who apparently always trailed a large menagerie of girlfriends. That would have been something filling the last decade or more of his life. But, as he lived a life given over to service, it was rich before.

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