A certain Spo-fan who is a dear (and well over four feet) recently complimented me  I have never written a boring post.  I was of course flattered but slightly astounded.  It’s a fairly safe bet there lots of old entries dull as plainsong. I have a vague memory writing about the weather or perhaps it was something at work which received crickets. However, I never look back.  Back to the Spo-fan (who is not a bot) there is an evil urge to break his spirit viz. to write a boring post.  Here goes it…..

Yesterday did not start with the Royal Wedding in the Spo-house. Rather, we had a bit of a sleep in and off we went to Einstein Brothers as I had a coupon. We had a little extra to splurge on one of their new egg sandwiches and not pay a dime. How zany.

More expensive was our purchase of new cellphones. We have 10 or X or something I don’t remember quite which.  As usual we were assisted by an Apple salesman who looks like he is still in junior high school.  The new phone, flat and silver, is smaller than the 6+ I’ve had for the past four years.  Although petite it has the storage capacity of the Tardis.  There is a downside; in a rage at losing his beloved mate, the UE Boom box refuses to communicate with the new one and vice versa.  I have all the tunes in the world and no way to play them.

We went to the ballet last night which took place in the Botanical Gardens. We were in the front row. The male dancers’ costumes consisted of what looked like little white Speedos trimmed with Spo-shirt fabric. I was worried the lads would catch their deaths parading around out of doors in nothing but their skivvies but I needn’t have worried. They were huffing and puffing and sweating up a storm. Not one of them had an ounce of body fat; if you are into glabrous muscular dudes it was a quite the show.  Someone and I shared a bottle of wine. Between the booze and the allergy pills I nodded off a lot so I missed most of matter.

Today’s fabulous agenda consists of house chores and paperwork provided the allergy medicine doesn’t lay me low. I must remember to call Brother #4 whose birthday it is. He is 44yo. It is rawther depressing to think your youngest sibling is now in his mid-40s. He is having very bad back problems, which runs in the family. So far I am the only male who hasn’t slipped a disc. I attribute this to regular tea drinking and the occasional scotch which are the panacea of all ills.

Boring as hell all this is.

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This is a dark and paranoid entry.

The good folks at WordPress occasionally send me a message “So-and-so is now following your blog!”  This always makes me feel good to think someone finds my scribbles interesting enough to sign up to follow me.  I try to reciprocate the compliment ; I use the link to follow So-and-so back to his/her blog only to discover there is no blog but some sort of avatar. I’ve often wondered what this means. Why would this person follow me  especially if they never seem to leave comments. 

I recently heard a podcast of the subject of ‘bots’. You can look it up.  If these ersatz Spo-fans are bots, they are gathering data for some sort of undisclosed purpose.  The podcast related if the composer starts writing political matters against say, Donald Trump, then the bots alert a lot of sinister someones who are likely to retaliate with a deluge of trollish comments and threats.  The thought is not pleasant. 

Spo-reflections is not political, nor does it take take on hot topics.  In the ten years of writing the number of nasty comments I have received could be counted on one one hand. *

The ersatz Spo-fans AKA bots seem to suggest in their surveillance I am not to criticize or speak out lest I want to be bothered, harassed, and threatened.   It’s a moot point for I don’t have interest to write upon dreary subjects such as the mendacity of The Narcissist in Chief or the hypocrisy of the religious.  Yet, I feel an ardent resentment there are sinister forces ready to pounce if I dare do so.  It makes me tempted to do so to test the hypothesis.  Perhaps Russia has better things to do than Urs Truly. 

Perhaps I am being paranoid about my reported 718 followers. Maybe they are real people, fine gents and dames everyone of them, all over four feet and lapping up my every entry. Or not.  Ghosts in the machine are very unsettling indeed. 

P.S. Only a minute after I posted this I received a notice: 

“scientificlove just started following you. They will receive an email every time you publish a post. Congratulations. You might want to go see what they’re up to! Perhaps you will like their blog as much as they liked yours!

I went for a look-see.  The latest entry is from january 2018.  There is a photo of some place in Russia.  Scary.

 

bot660_071216102615.jpg

 

*Most were from a man who took umbrage at my one attempt at political criticism. He was an actual person who wrote a actual blog. For awhile he left haughty sarcastic remarks  before apparently losing interest or going back to prison. 

Last night we went to the theatre long before curtain-call for Someone had volunteered to help with the show. That’s all very fine I said but what am I to do for two hours?  Fortunately the community centre has a lovely little cocktail lounge overlooking the lake. Happy joy! I can order a bourbon/ginger ale, prop up my feet, and stare out over the water and go into a dwam.  Ahead of me in the bar was one other fellow who was schmoozing with the bartender lady. I waited my turn, I got my libation, and sat down. I was about to enter said trance when I heard a male voice say ‘May I join you?”. It was the same fellow. He was well over four feet, slightly brawny, and with a beard to meet the approval of Mr. Fearsome. My training and gaydar immediately told me this was not a flirt or a pick up but an invite for small-talk and company.  

I can not remember when I last chatted with a straight man who wasn’t a patient or a relative.  It must be tough for straight guys to do what he just did viz. walk up to a stranger and schmooze. Women – single or married – when approached by a lone straight man probably either clench their pocketbooks or go on the alert for a creep. If a straight man approaches a queer gent the latter suspects Mr. Straight is either mistaken (and stupid) or is cruising him. 

Besides not knowing any local straight guys, I haven’t much in common with them. Hetero-dudes like to talk about sports, women, and politics.*  Like Margaret Meade among the Bantus I was curious to observe and see what would happen.  I admit I was playing him a bit. I wanted to gain an alliance through talk about the whisky and then I would say the “P” word (psychiatrist) and the “G” word (gay as a goose). I was surprised and pleased he didn’t flinch or make a hasty good-bye after either was revealed.  

We sat for nearly two hours talking about all sorts of things. He was trying to get into standup comedy (why he was there) but he ‘pays the bills’ being a PE teacher for elementary students.  He is divorced man, trying to raise three daughters on his own. He confided he was somewhat lonely.  I listened and asked questions.** 

We had a few drinks together and the time flew by. I was genuinely saddened to se Someone waving his arms across the hall signaling me the show was about to start.  I shook Mr. Straight’s hand and thanked him for a delightful time. We did not make the pretense we ought to get together again nor did we exchange numbers we wouldn’t call. 

Someone later teased me about my alleged sordid attempt at picking up a straight man, but the truth was I hadn’t any notions or fantasies to do so. It was nice as it was. Straight and gay guys haven’t traditionally gotten along or been comfortable with each other. Getting to know another man breaks down barriers indeed. 

The play sucked but I had had a nice time. 

Group of friends alcoholics people at a bar illustration.

*When you aren’t certain if you are talking to a man you may want to fix our roof or cater your party here is a a simple test to discern the breeders from the queers: Ask for his opinion on Lady Gaga vs. Madonna who is better. Straight fellows don’t even know which is which let alone have an opinion.

**People normally pay me big bucks for this thank you. 

Note – this one will be written in two parts. Part A is written on the eve of going to court; Part B will be added tomorrow evening after I get back. So you might want to check in now and at the end of the day.

Someone informs me he checked the status of my jury summons today to discover it had not been canceled but it is scheduled. I am to report to the downtown courthouse tomorrow morning.  I confess I was somewhat disappointed; I had my fingers crossed I might have the day off.  Ah well. I will feel good that I was a good citizen and did my civic duty.

When I go to jury duty, I purposely dress well in suit and tie and polished shoes. I come from a family of attorneys (and judges). Father said I should always dress for court out of respect for the law.  This always makes me an object of suspicion however. The court staff often mistake me for an attorney while my fellow jury members ( who come dressed as if they just came from working in the yard) see me as an oddity.  I suspect even the judge and lawyers on both sides of the case wonder if I am up to no good. If my attire is not enough to raise eyebrows my cheerful upbeat mannerly interactions also causes more agitation than assurance.  The others are usually quite crabby.

Each time I go, I play a little game to myself: how far into the interview process will I go before I am told I am dismissed.  Sometimes I get no further than the ‘P” word (psychiatrist).  Here is the usual order of appearance of anathema:

Physician

Psychiatrist

Psychiatrist with some forensic training

Consultant  for the local medical board

Having court experience in involuntary treatment cases

Work experience in a law firm

You would think these make me a good candidate for a fair and thoughtful jury but no such luck. Sometimes I am thrown out onto the street early but other times I have to wait all day before being let go.  During the day I try to not associate with the others who invariably complain about everything especially the inconvenient to come downtown. The judicial system in Phoenix has a nice facility for the potential jurors; they do a good job being patient and explaining things. Good for them. Alas it is pearls before swine. It is terribly tedious having to endure the whiny remonstrances of thems who press why they ‘can’t’ serve which is code for not wanting to serve.  Sometimes the grumbles resemble an orchestra of scorched cats and no prettier.  The more bellicose ones are almost always let go which seems to support their awful ways.

There is a lot of waiting around which I don’t mind. I will have paperwork to do and I can catch up on my reading. They have lovely vending machines for nibbles but alas no mini-bar.  So I can get caught up with work and Pepys diary.

More later ………

Post-script:  after a morning of quiet waiting just before lunch we were all dismissed. 

 

 

On the same day I got my quarterly review from the good folks at The Arizona Controlled Substance Prescription Monitoring Program I received a similar ‘report card’ from The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections. Neither are happy.  The CSPMP has concerns some of my patients take tranquilizers with opiate-based Rx (shocking!) and I prescribe more stimulants than my colleagues.* TBDHSR is taking umbrage at my latest entries which they find lugubrious and boring.  They were more truculent in their threats to ‘shape up’ than the CSPMP.  The latter gave me merely a gentle reminder of the AZ guidelines while the former threatened to cut off my toes and set fire to public buildings.

I don’t know which group is the more difficult to appease. You try getting little old ladies in pain off their valium which they’ve taken for decades. They howl and fuss as much as the Board members. On the other side of the narrows  TBDHSR says they are quite fed up with entries on dog walks, words, office notes, and Spo-reflections on whatever mundane matter pops into my mind at the moment. It doesn’t leave me with much upon to write.

I am caught between Scylla and Charybdis; this is no fun. Perhaps I can get these two rapacious groups against each other. The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections may have the brawn (and the battle axes) but The CSPMP has a coterie of very unsympathetic attorneys – so the sides are about even. I will still bet my danegeld on the bureaucrats who never die but proliferate as they fall, like Jason sewing dragon seeds.**

I needn’t worry too much about the CSPMP as they have bigger scoundrels than me upon which to use their pitchforks.  I have my fingers crossed today’s whimsical and witty entry will generate a lot of ‘thumbs up’ comments to get me off the hook with those greedy gannets known at the Board.

Please.

Just imagine Urs Truly tearful and toeless.

th

*Since I am specialize in the treatment of ADHD this does not come as a surprise.

**I seem to be on a ‘mythos’ kick today. No doubt The Muses or The Graces are my Uber driver this morning.

 

Once in awhile I get emails from Spo-fans dying to know whatever happened with something I wrote about but didn’t give closure. Life’s like I tell them, or at least mine. Things often don’t have endings but sort of hover. Like the Cheshire Cat’s advice to Alice “Oh, you’re sure to do that so long as you walk long enough”.  That said, here are some ‘loose ends’ people seem dying to know.

  1. I haven’t had a chance to have any of the cheeses I wrote about earlier this month. As I feared the local grocery doesn’t stock them. I can order many of these delicacies online but between now and October here in PHX one shouldn’t order perishables through the post. Red Leicester et. al. will have to wait.

2. Earlier this spring I made reference to jury duty summons. This finally happens on Wednesday. I find out Tuesday night whether or not I have to show. I see it as a civic duty to attend but it is a bit tedious to wait all day for the inevitable rejection. This year I am even more anathema as I am studying forensic psychiatry. That will go over like a lead balloon in the eyes of the attorneys.

3. The Archetype Women’s Union (of which The Fates are prominent members) took umbrage at last weekend’s entry. I was lectured severely not to slur the existence of Archetypes lest they align with Shadow and causing unconscious enantiodromia (paraphrasing Jung here). I fear I am going to have some rather nasty fateful (pun intended) matter hit me soon.

4. I did not watch any movies last weekend.

5. It’s been a rather quite lately without signs of supernatural shenanigans. There were no recent home security system alarms nor signs of Henrik. Harper and I haven’t seen any Will-o-the-wisps on our walks.  Rather ho-hum actually.

6. Practical Parsimony will be pleased as Punch to read I replaced my office teapot with a new one.

7. There’s been more turnover staff at work: two therapists are going (one retires; one moves) and there are signs a new one  as seen in the electronic system.

So that’s all the news in the Land of Spo. I lead a dull life – probably to change when You-know-Whos figure out how to best pull my thread in the Web of Fate. Hang on tight.  My entries may soon become actually interesting .

fates_

I’ve always been fascinated by Fate. The Greeks and Norsemen each had a set of three gloomy goddesses in their pantheon who determined the outcomes of life.  Even the gods could not alter Fate.  It’s a terrible but comforting notion: our destinies are determined.

My father was a Catholic; Mother the WASP queen. Their children were raised Protestant.  I think it was in my 30s when I asked Father how is it we were raised Congregationalists (descendants of the NE Puritans) and not good Papists.  Was there a discussion, a due process? I imagined my parents having had some sort of theological debate over the topic. * Father told me when I was about six years old he had gone over to the nearby parish to find a priest to discuss the possibility.  He said he knocked on the door  and “Father Jim” answered.  He recognized the man, and recalled him from his youth. Father had gone to school under Father Jim – and the memories were not good. “So I turned around and came home and told your mother honey you take them to your church, so she did.”  And that was the end of the conversation.
There it is. I was raised Protestant on the simple luck’s draw of who came to the door that morning. If it had been Father Tom, Dick, or Harry – anyone but Jim – I would have gone into Catholic school etc.  It was just luck.

I often wonder how much of my life good and bad is the results of pure dumb luck. Americans in general dislike the notion that things happen by chance. With our obsession with the illusion of meritocracy, all outcomes are due to personal industry.  We succeed because we did it ourselves.**  When we can’t readily explain things via conscious decision-making and meritocracy we invent divine intervention. “It’s God’s plan” says the Right while the Left tends to attribute good/bad happenings to “Karma”.   Even my own field is tainted with the need to negate chance.  An awful example:  women who find themselves in bad relationships subconsciously did so in order to act out unresolved father issues (oh the horror).

I met Someone by chance while on a winter holiday in Florida. I certainly was not looking for such.  We have Harper as we stopped by a Petsmart on the way to the animal shelter, in order to buy some supplies. They happened to be having an adoption day of their own, so we thought why not look….  My terrible internship certainly had elements of me contributing to its horror but that happened to be the one year Dr. Demento took over running the place. Would I have stayed in internal medicine if I had had a more sane and caring boss?

Sometimes I think luck may be the main influence in my life, and all my sense of “I did this” is delusion. Who really knows.  I try to do what I can to control my destiny, but I am allowing the probability all my arithmetic will be shot to hell with a random event or encounter.

th

 

*They married in 1960. I learned as part of the marriage contract she had  to raise the kiddies Catholic.  Perhaps she took a Galileo-like vow saying ‘yes’ but  mumbling “screw that”.

**The dark flip side of this delusion is if we fail it is our entire fault.  Poor people are poor due to their own making.   I found this quote allegedly said by Hair Furor:

“My entire life, I’ve watched politicians bragging about how poor they are, how they came from nothing, how poor their parents and grandparents were. And I said to myself, if they can stay so poor for so many generations, maybe this isn’t the kind of person we want to be electing to higher office. How smart can they be? They’re morons.”

 

“I learned to attend viewings even if I didn’t know the deceased, to press the moist hands of the living, to look in their eyes and offer sympathy, as though I understood loss even then. I learned that whatever we say means nothing, what anyone will remember is that we came.”

I join Someone this evening at the symphony where he is usher captain and I am patron-of-the-arts. There is not enough time for me to go home, turn around, and go downtown, so I am staying late at the office.  There is work to be done, but I am too tired to do any of it. Thus I am typing out this entry.

Tomorrow I have cancelled all events to attend a funeral. A friend’s son has died. She and her late husband had a boy with severe cerebral palsy. They spent all their lives lovingly caring for this special-needs lad. I always thought of him as a boy but he was really in his 30s or perhaps in his 40s; he was merely child-like in his mentality. Let’s call him “C”. I didn’t really know him. She and her late-spouse would bring him to neighborhood events in his Steven Hawkings-like chair, and they would never stay too long as C would become agitated. I can’t imagine what it is like raising a child with 24/7 needs. In the past few years “C” was placed in a home/center as she could not handle him by herself without her spouse and she couldn’t afford home-visit continuous care.

A funeral for a loved-one has a different impact on a person than a funeral of someone you don’t know very well. I am going for dignity-sake and for the sake of the bereaved. I admit I don’t feel sorrow. That looks rather heartless as I reread that. I wonder what she feels: is she devastated or relieved?  I won’t ask. My job is to attend.

During the funeral mass I probably think upon my own mortality. That happens at a funeral, no matter how hard we try to pray or empathize with the bereaved. I will wonder if there will be someone to care for me if I should become decrepit.

I’ve paused here to write and rewrite the closing paragraph but I am coming up with only lame and useless ones. This is apropos for a funeral, when we reach out with outstretched hands or hugs and try to say something helpful but can not come up with anything.   So I will end here.  Nothing more to say.

For ten years I’ve had the weekly problem of feeding myself on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and most Fridays when the pharmaceutical representatives don’t provide luncheon. Sometimes there are leftovers from yesterday’s pharm rep lunch but this is not often. On these dreadful days if my mornings end on time at noon (fat chance at that!) I have thirty minutes to get down and out the building, brave traffic, find food, and be back in time for my 1230PM appointment. The noon rush hour traffic can be brutal so a sit-down lunch with menu and wait-staff is nearly always out of the question. There is a Wendy’s near by the Mesa office but this gets tired.  Often I just don’t have time really for lunch.

Last week Someone suggested I get some frozen TV-dinners and bring them to work. Frozen dinners! Who would have thunk it?  Why on earth hadn’t I thought of this before?  Now I merely walk down the hall and pop one in the microwave for five minutes and hey presto! hot lunch and consumed in few minutes and it’s back to work. * Now that the lid is off of this Pandora’s box I will explore new and fancy frozen entrees lest I develop taste fatigue.

So far what I am eating aren’t technically TV-dinners but frozen entrees in black plastic troughs filled with spaghetti, stir fry cat in alfredo sauce, or (as a treat) individual lasagna.  I don’t know if actual TV-dinners like in the 50s/60s still exist. You know the ones: swallow aluminum pans with trapezoidal compartments for the meat, corn, mashed potato, and one for the small chocolate cone equivalent. I suspect they were horrid but it was quite exciting to literally sit in front of the TV in the living room and eat these midwest delicacies off of TV trays.  These types required an actual oven – no peel off plastic and pop them in the microwave for these lovelies !  

Someone didn’t propose the solution I ask my bosses for a proper hour-long lunch that gives me enough time to find a proper sit-down restaurant and eat something that didn’t start life as a frozen block of ice. Meanwhile Lean Cuisine and its colleagues are my new best friends.  

Spo-fans: does anyone eat frozen dinners, including TV-dinners? 

 

*While writing this down I thought it funny but during the editing it read rather depressing.  Please don’t write in, I know. 

There is an interesting psychological phenomena that happens when humans are deprived of something, like money, water, or food. They become almost obsessed with the scare object, especially about getting it. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Time, more specific my perceived lack of it. The demands of work and daily doings seem to suck up Time like a Hoover on high-mode, leaving me with nuttin’   I make lists of things I want to do ‘someday’ [1].  I have a list of books to someday read and another for recipes to try – you get a picture.

Lately I’ve been developing a someday-list for movies I would like to see. There are some I have yet to see, but mostly they are movies I want to see again. It’s an interesting pastiche of classics, bombs, and movies I fell asleep watching and mean to conclude. I am quite familiar with rereading books at various times in my life to see if I get something different this time around. No doubt movies are similar.

The trouble is movies are more time-consuming than books. One can read books piecemeal, chapter by chapter, whenever there is a bit of time. Indeed, most books are not meant to be read in one sitting but enjoyed over time. Movies in contrast are a sit-down sit-still endeavor.  Urs Truly doesn’t sit still very well especially in eyesight of there’s-work-to-be-done tasks. [2]  I see it as a challenge and a good sign despite everything I will sit down for an afternoon to watch “Legends”, “Throne of Blood”, or “Los Olvidados” [3]

The solution of course is to stop making all these someday-lists and schedule a weekly ‘movie night’ like the eye of a hurricane everything else has to circle around. This isn’t as easy as it sounds as I already have a handful of such making my week look like a particularly bad hurricane season. And yes, I won’t try blogging, reading, sewing, etc. while attempting the awful feat of reclining for an evening. The movies may be disappointing but the process sounds salubrious.

Spo-fans: what movie(s) have you been meaning to someday see again? 

thJ3AVY0KB

[1] This is sometimes called the “Promised Land phenomena” that when we get to retirement or August or some nebulous future better time things will be better to allow all our dreams to come true. Fat chance of that.

[2] This drives Someone bats. He can easily sit for hours in front of a screen while I want to fold clothes, tidy up the laptop, or sew buttons – anything rather than just sit.

[3] To get through this one, one needs a large bowl of popcorn and good snort of scotch.

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