There are so many levels to our personal realities. For me right now, right here, some of them are too difficult to speak about, or even to think very hard on. But whatever I do write or share online is fully real, whether beautiful or messy. I can never be disingenuous; it would be like slapping my own face.
This is a little long, so I've broken it up in easy-to-digest chunks.
1. I’m back on some 3:30 am drives to take my middle son to work. He can drive. But he never gets enough practice to take the license test with its odd maneuverability portion that must be passed, which replaces the parallel parking portion found in places where that comes up more regularly. When I took my test many years ago, I was not required to pass that portion, and in fact I did not. But experience made a better teacher than the pressure of test failure, and so I’ve made out all right since then.
these things are collector's items now, with their big engines. that amuses me more than I can say. click the pic for details.
It’s this whole annoying thing, anyway, getting up in the middle of the night to drive him. Probably I would like the drive itself if it didn’t destroy my brain’s longstanding idea of how days and nights should work, and if I didn’t have to feed the dog and cat by 8 am. But anyway, I couldn’t find my lighter jacket this morning, and took an unclaimed one from the closet. I was concerned initially about the irritating sensation of fleece against my skin, but instead it had a slippery lining which, whenever I moved, sounded just like the noises that reside in my head.
2. I’ve sometimes mulled over whether I'd rather lose sight or hearing, and as much as I've immersed myself in music, and love to hear certain things, like the way my son describes a customer at work, or the cat telling me the dog wants in, or like how French people list things, plus all the Sinatra, the Cure, etc. I'd still miss seeing more, at least from an emotional standpoint. I could still hear all those things in my head, but I think colors would be harder to retain, and I wouldn't get to smear canvas with thick bright paint anymore, or watch the tomatoes ripen. It’s only recently occurred to me how important color is to me, how much it speaks to me in my quiet hermitage and brief ventures out into the noisy world. I'd greatly mourn the loss of that.
And maybe the noises in my head would stop if I couldn’t hear anymore. It would be one tiny benefit to a very sad circumstance. Oh! Plus imagine not having to hear the drone of electricity anymore. But I expect it would also be somewhat claustrophobic.
3. Today I read in a headline what my doctor told me in 1978, when I was 13 and diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia. He said avoid all the simple fast-burning carbs and have only complex slow-burning ones. Then you’ll process things better and so forth.
That's a no from here.
Now, according to NPR and others, “science” says so, too. Science always did, you know, at least as far back as I can remember. It’s to do with how your body uses and stores energy, and how it converts different types of foods into it, and what it does with what you don’t use. None of this is new. But it is good to be reminded now and then. Something you might not read this week is that you’re more likely to get beneficial fiber from slow-burning carbs, and that’s better for your blood sugar, your heart, and your colon. Nature already knew this and has been offering you a bounty to choose from right along.
Sweet potatoes are our friends.
The part that I think is most different for everyone depending on age, schedule, activity level and so forth is how often to eat and how far apart each day. When I was growing up, and when I was supporting babies, it was a certainty I needed several small meals throughout the day. These days I’m pretty sure I do better to just have a couple, in late morning and early evening, with only a small early or late snack if the scope of the day dictates it. So I’m working on that.
4. Okay, the subject I meant to cover first but have avoided is Smirking Kid. You should know (because people online are exhausting) as a disclaimer that one of my favorite casual restaurants, Frida 602, is in Covington, which is roughly ten miles from my house, in a really neat area called MainStrasse. I love going there and immersing myself in the atmosphere, which isn’t as atmospheric as it would like to be, but is earnest in the effort.
A few blocks south of there, or maybe I mean west, you'll find several bourbon bars, and there’s a sign in the median there telling us about a woman who tried to cross with her family from slave-holding Kentucky to freedom in Ohio.*
click on the picture for the story
However, the Cincinnati area is much more segregated than the areas in which my kids grew up, so I suppose if you’re a kid here in one of the little towns outside the middle, and your parents are not of the exploring variety like my kids’ parents or my own, maybe you are easily led into wrong-headed ideas about other people. But I can’t speak authoritatively on that.
What I can say is this, in a much more broad sense. Pause before you hit send. Always pause before you hit send. I have a few friends who might not like me to say this, but they want to believe things are how they want to believe they are. My friend who believes zygotes are people is sure these kids aren’t the jerks they seemed at first. My friends who take up liberal causes the way my cat chases a stink bug are pretty sure they are.
And while I know them to be clever good people who have more formal education than me, and thus know more about things I didn’t know to know, I think they are at times slightly emotionally irrational about issues laid before them. If what you believe about people is first dictated about what you want to believe about some issue or other, please press pause and think, very carefully, before you press send. Be fully honest with yourself; are you painting what you truly see, or mostly what you believe to be there? My friends are awesome at wanting the truth and so I see the wheels turning in their heads as they try to work this out. But some of you have rusty wheels that you need to oil. We have a lot of stuff these days that needs fixing, and this requires a higher degree of unity, not endless arguing and nitpicking and purity testing and all the rest.
5. *It just occurred to me though not for the first time, how often I’ve lived near state lines. Right now I’m ten minutes from Kentucky and about an hour from Indiana. I lived in New Jersey for awhile, and at one point was about twenty minutes from Pennsylvania. Before that, we could go up to the beach and look across a long bay to Manhattan.
Our first home in Michigan was about a half hour from Indiana, and on extremely clear days, once in awhile, you could just about make out the distant shore of Chicago on the other side of Lake Michigan. And I grew up in the Kansas City area, which straddles the Missouri-Kansas line.
I like that. I suppose it’s the closest I’ll get to the idea of hopping borders from one country to another in Europe. Our states are made of different flavors, even just over the bridge from each other, some subtle, some more profound. But we’re still mostly all the same, as well.
6. Also, I was just reminded that without ever meaning to, I go through a period at the beginning of the year when I listen to virtually no music at all. Which is super weird to realize, considering what a huge part of my life it's always been. But this has happened for at least three or four years, during which the most noise I apply to myself is having a marathon of some old detective or crime show that just runs in the background like gentle rain on the window on a Saturday afternoon, or a bit of news or comedy on the radio. Is it that I get overloaded and need to tune everything down for awhile? I cannot honestly say. It does seem to correspond with my musings over what life would be like if I could not hear at all. I have two current physical quirks to monitor; one can lead to profound hearing loss, one to sight loss. But the odds of either happening are very low. I think? Odds are funny things, anyhow.