Hope for the best and plan for the worst: a platitude for our times

How do I even start? I’m going to ramble around for a while until I find my way.

I woke up this morning with all these thoughts swimming around my head, pinned up ideas I haven’t been able to express to those around me, and I thought, hey, I should dust off the old blog.

With everything going on, I haven’t been wanting to read fiction, although, as I’ve said in the past, fiction definitely has its place.

The book next to my bed? How to Survive in the Woods. I bought it after listening to YouTuber John X Army more than a year ago. I live in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and hence began following him and other preppers, such as Adam of Marfoogle News. I was watching these guys for entertainment value as much as anything else.

It bothered me a little that their world views differed from my own in many ways, but at the same time I felt that they were genuine human beings, just trying to find their way, and for that I stayed, and I let them entertain me. And, I guess I opened my mind a little, even though it felt uncomfortable at times. I was drawn to Adam’s message of letting people have different opinions without getting upset or angry. And for John, he seemed like a big hot mess, trying to support and protect his family, and I have unwavering respect for men who rise to that challenge.

But back to How to Survive in the Woods. I have always been interested in knowing what wild plants are edible, and a long time ago I learned about way to get water by setting up a condensation gatherer. I was hoping to find out how to do that because mainly, I’ve been most concerned about having abundant water, and to this many of you will ask why. So, I’ll get to that later.

I didn’t find what I needed, but I did learn that all parts of the dandelion are edible, which solves my most immediate problem of getting fresh greens until my garden starts growing. (Cook the leaves.) Beyond that, I didn’t find anything that would help at the moment.

As we all are apt to do, I hold strong opinions about what’s going on right now. So prepare yourself if you read on; we probably have different views. And I may rant a bit, although I’ll try not to.

First, hoarding at the last minute sucks, but that’s what people are forced to do when they aren’t prepared. We have all been indoctrinated into the “just in time” culture, and I don’t fault people who weren’t prepared. Yes, they could have done better, but no one has had to be prepared, not in most places in the United States, not since the 1940s. Different parts of our nation have most definitely been affected by natural disasters, and those regions might feel differently about the need to be prepared, but what I’m saying is that as a culture, as a society, we Americans have for the most part, not had to be prepared. Never in my life have I seen shelves bare. Ever. Ever.

So I don’t fault people who weren’t prepared. Yes, they could have done better. But who among us is perfect?

And, I’ll just say this, at the risk of offending my readers. If you were affected by someone who took all the toilet paper or all the beans or all the rice or all the hand sanitizer, you weren’t prepared either.

I don’t fault anyone at this point for going out and trying to get as much food as possible, in fact, I recommend it.

But, we all know that if there’s a huge line and we just happen to be first in that line, it’s not cool to take all the stuff. We know that. In that situation, you need to take what you need immediately and no more.

So where do I draw the line between hoarding and preparing?

Hoarding is getting so much stuff you can’t carry it all, stuff you would never use, so much stuff that you don’t even know what you have, and because you don’t know, you will never use it, and the end result is that someone who has nothing will go without because one person took it all. That’s hoarding.

Preparing is taking what you legitimately need to weather the storm. And unfortunately, that’s large quantities at this point.

Moral of the story: don’t leave the guy next to you with nothing. You’ve got to help your neighbor.

I’m going to say that again. We have got to help our neighbors.

One more time. WE have got to help our neighbors.

Over the next year and a half, we are going to have to build the society we want to have.

Some people are going to have it hard and are going to be desperate and scared. If you are not desperate and scared, then it’s on you to help. It’s your responsibility to build the world you want to have. If you have enough, figure out a way to share. Find a way to help.

If you don’t help other people, your neighbors will not be your friends. And, we’ll find, I believe, that we’re going to need all the friends we can get.

But real friends, not dumb asses.

When you see a dumb ass, back away slowly and try not to draw their attention. Get away from them as soon as possible. As soon as you realize who they are, get to safety. The situation is now dire, and dumb asses, who are annoying in the best of times, may pose a real threat to your livelihood and potentially to your life.

That sounds alarmist. And if you’ve never been plagued by a dumb ass, you won’t understand. If you have, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Now is not the time to play with fire.

I’m going to end it here for now. The sun is rising, and I’ve got to get out to the garden. I’m digging up the backyard and when I finish with that I’m planting potatoes and garlic. Then if I have enough energy, I’m going to dig up the front yard to plant a garden there too. I’m thinking pumpkins and squash.

For all the worry I have about what’s happening in the United States. I worry more for my friends in India, my friends who were already having trouble getting by. Now that the borders are closed and there are no foreign tourists who are somewhat free with their cash, and now that the country as a whole is trying out a shelter in place scenario, for just one day at this point, it doesn’t take much imagination to add things up.

So final message for this post. First, take care of yourself. After you have taken care of yourself, next, if you want a beautiful world and a lovely society, help someone who needs help. And, always, stay away from dumb asses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ending the Hiatus – Perhaps

I intentionally did not use the correct dash in the title of this blog post. That is just how rebellious I feel. Take that, Grammar!

So where the hell have I been and what the hell have I been doing?

Word Wabbit went dark. I’ve been doing some self-evaluation. I had the occasion to learn about narcisistic personality disorder, and then I realized I’ve been surrounded by people with highly narcisistic traits my whole life! The college boyfriend, the peacock from Ukraine, my boss for seven years, my next boss, a direct report, a housemate, my grandmother?, my mother?, my ex-husband.

Oh, yes. That’s right. I got divorced. It’s a weird thing. I never thought I would do it; I mean, get a divorce. I meant to stay.

There’s a rabbit hole there in that topic, but I don’t mean to venture into it, not yet.

I think one of the main things that kept me from the blog, was that I lost my sense of audience. And when that happened, I lost my voice.

Even now, I’m struggling. Who am I writing this to? The government? The censors? The random reader? My current boss? My next potential boss? The ex? The peacock? The ex co-worker who refused to show me his palms? (I had gotten a palmistry book.) I was surprised that an engineer actually believed in that stuff. It still makes me laugh to think of him hiding his hands.

I recently got a message on my Instagram account from the lady I had traveled 9 thousand miles to see get married. The one who couldn’t spare 5 minutes to have a cup of tea with me once I got there. The one who after my husband had his brain injury and was raving told me she was coming to my city for New Year’s Eve. The one I was hoping to see, that I was hoping would help me cheer up, the one who sent me pictures of her and her friends having fun at a nearby mountain. The one who didn’t come to see me.

What do you say to someone like that? When you’re in the swirl? She wants to report back, you know, to the flying monkeys. She wants to say, yes, I talked to Word Wabbit. She’s doing this and that.

I let it go for a couple of days, and then I said I wasn’t ready to talk and I hoped she was well.

What else is there to say?

So if I’ve been surrounded by narcisists my whole life, that, by association, makes me a codependent, a people-pleaser.

And, that pisses me off. People-pleaser, MY FLUFFY WHITE TAIL!

Still feeling around for my audience… Dan Carlin went dark too for a while. I missed him terribly. But I don’t think he was searching for an audience. He doesn’t strike me as a codependent.

Elizabeth Gilbert said she wrote Eat, Pray, Love with one person in mind as her audience. Haruki Murakami says that novelists have a deviant nature.

I feel like I’ve gone through the looking glass.

I was sitting in a meeting last week and through our floor-to-ceiling windows I saw a man pull down his pants to his knees, squat, and take a shit on the Chinese Gardens. It was noon. No one else noticed. It took him a while. Moments later, after he was done, a man in a sanitation uniform came by and cleaned it up, blue gloves and everything. Had he been watching, waiting for the man to finish?

Coming home from the store that night, I saw another man sitting next to the road screaming obscenities at everyone who drove by. I thought about my husband.

Ex-husband.

You really know who people are by what they advise you to do. After my ex-husband’s brain injury, he was yelling and screaming and telling me he wanted to hurt me; people told me to kick him out.

Incredulous, I wanted to know how? Where would he go?

Don’t care. Get rid of him.

How does that conversation go exactly?

But it wasn’t just fear that prevented me from tossing him into the streets. I loved him. Up until his brain injury, he was actively my best friend. I felt for him (codependent, empath that I am). I wanted to help him get out of the horror that was his own mind. I wanted him to heal, get back to normal, not be so distressed.

At the same time, if he was going to step into his grave, I didn’t want to go with him.

No one who loves you will ask you to die for them.

Which brings me to love.

For a while I ruminated on love. All the different kinds and degrees. I’m still struggling to untangle myself, to set boundaries.

Oh, but I should probably say what I did then with him yelling and screaming and throwing things and grabbing things out of my hands. What I did after I could no longer drive him to the doctor while trying to prevent him from opening the car door and just, stepping out into traffic. What I did after I could no longer tolerate the constant demands for money, the incessant pot smoking – he set his alarm so he wouldn’t forget to smoke every hour.

I thought about going to a shelter. I thought about going to a hotel. But it burned me up that I had bought this house. Why should I leave it? He hadn’t paid anything for it. He had been refusing to work, always with the dream of starting his own pottery business. I bought the wheel, the kiln, the tools, the lessons, and…

Nothing.

So. I bet. And I bet wrong.

Right, but where is he now?

Damn, this is a rabbit hole.

I decided to buy him a house somewhere and move him to it. I knew that in different parts of the country there would be real estate at lower prices, somewhere he could live. It didn’t matter where, since he wasn’t going to be working. Just somewhere safe, warm, etc.

People, my friends,  recommended old broken down trailers. I wonder what their marriages meant to them? I silently felt sorry for their spouses. Or, maybe my situation was so bizzarre that they just couldn’t relate.

So right now, I’m sitting here with my neighbor’s cat. He’s purring even though he’s very sick. I love this cat, when he wants me to get up, he meows at me and slaps me in the face. I’m going to miss him.

So how do I wind this up? I keep thinking of my mother and how she dressed herself completely in black before she went to the nursing home. When I asked her about her choice of clothing, she said she needed to set the right impression. She was very sick, cancer. When I went to visit her, I found her in the smoking section, still in black, with a small circle of friends, the other “bad kids.”

Somehow, in that moment, I was very proud of her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Quiet

These days, everything happens in the quiet

The music is in my head phones

My thoughts are on the paper

Soon grackles will split the silence

Climaxing in the thin clash

of augmented and diminished tones

Today someone will ask me if I read

And as my face darkens

I will flash to the Pakastani girl

made honorably quiet

by her brother.