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The recent meeting of The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections resembled an orchestra of scorched cats. They often do, but this one was particularly boisterous. The Board’s ‘chief complaint” was “an inconsistency of content” viz. one day I write erudite self-reflections only to follow up with comical rubbish. I am allegedly flitting about like a hummingbird and should ‘settle down’ (as it were) on a consistent ambience or prose. I asked ‘which one” and this caused a crescendo of arguing, enough to adjourn the meeting early due to the many wounded and the lack of Tim-bits. I guess I can post as my weathercock whims will take me.
Someone works all weekend at some sort of final four basketball nonsense. Based on his description of the festivities it’s no-way-Jose I am going downtown into the debacle. I’ve canceled Saturday night’s concert. Besides, I’ve had enough Beethoven #9 to last me a life time. The Spo-list of ‘Work to be done” is as long as a winter night in Moscow. The house is in desperate need of tidy-up and I am behind on my hobbies. I shall be quite the home-girl just not so stylish.
Tonight is the last night of a three part seminar on the history of American opera. It’s been jolly good fun and they provide cheese and crackers. The wine isn’t so good but the speaker is pleasant eye candy. He is enthusiastic about the topic and he seems genuinely interested in my questions which I try to keep intelligent. The other members of the audience are mostly asking questions either to show off their knowledge or whatever happened to Baby Jane inquiries. Tonight there is some discussion if Hamilton is the most important opera of the 21st century or even if it is an opera at all. People actually come to blows over this sort of stuff. Oh the tedium. See you all at the next revival of “Figaro’s Wake”.
Not long ago I had a patient with symptoms that occurred only in the middle of the night. He would wake with chest tightness and a sense of foreboding. A creeping sensation took over him and develop into partial paralysis. His theory was not depression or panic attacks but the house was bewitched. He tried to exorcise the alleged ghost(s) with some sort of cleansing ritual but no luck: the symptoms continued. His PCP sent him on the possibility he was off his rocker. I didn’t think him ‘crazy’ but I wasn’t going with his hypothesis of spooks. I got him to have his place checked for black mold and the like. It turns out carbon monoxide was seeping in to his room from the near by garage. I thought the man would be grateful but he wasn’t. He was downright disappointed the explanation wasn’t supernatural. You’re welcome. People believe in a lot of mumbo-jumbo about illness and treatment. Because of my training in Jungian psychology patients expect me to be full of dungeons and dragons and they are dismayed when I cut through their rubbishy theories about every little fiddle-faddle. They want me to agree with their beliefs and take umbrage when I don’t
On the other hand I’ve learned if a patient is gung-ho about something for their treatment I go with it so long as their modest proposal does no harm. The placebo effect is a strong and useful medicine. If their way works, great; if it doesn’t, then next time it is my way. It is important to be neutral about these things. A patient recently returned after a year of trying a myriad of non-pharmaceutical means to alleviate her depression, only to sheepishly admit (with a touch of rancor) only the zoloft works and would I please give her another prescription. OK is the answer, not I told you so you silly person.
Patients with paranoid delusions are particularly tough nuts to crack. I’ve learned not to butt heads yes it’s true no it’s not but to go with the affect. “Gee, that must make you (angry/scared/frustrated) to have that happen to you” not only does this mirror the affect but it dodges the debate about the truth of it all.
I see Thursday’s roster has “Joe” coming in. He doesn’t want treatment per se but seems to be showing up solely to wear me out through attrition and get me admit I am wrong and affirm his belief about the supposed nightly break-ins. My two comments a) how the hell can I know for sure and b) it sounds not likely and give it a rest neither appease or cause him to dismiss me as a quack and go elsewhere. He is determined to get me to confess yes he’s right. It’s all rather tedious. I am half-tempted to tell him his house is bewitched. It may actually raise his low opinion of me.
David G. (the dear!) recently blogged how he goes about finding topics for a blog entry. He asked his readers how do they do theirs. My response is this entry. I have several roads for inspiration.
The first route is to sit on a tripod stool over an opening in the earth. I inhale vapors and go into a trance, allowing Apollo (or the Electrician, or someone like him) to possess my spirit. The cryptic babble is then written out in long hand. I don’t do this one much anymore as it gives me over-the-top wisdom hangovers.
The second is a surreptitious route: I go around my favorite blogs and steal their ideas upon which, such as how I decide to blog from David G.
Door #3 resembles Beethoven’s notebook. He would walk about always with a notepad. If a little ditty popped into his mind, he would pull out his notebook and write it down. Later he used it in his composition. The difference between Herr B.and Urs Truly is he used paper and quill and I use my iPhone. The other difference is he is dead and I’m not.
Most of the time I rely on #4, which is to sit in front of a blank screen and stare at it with a vacuous expression and wonder again what on earth am I going to write or should I finally give it a rest for Pete’s sake I’ve written on everything there is and there is nothing I haven’t dragged on stage from my life past or present and besides who reads this rubbish anyway and yes I said yes I will Yes. Sitting and looking idiotic isn’t pretty or pleasant but it leaves the door open for members of Goddess-Groups Inc. to drop by for tea and inspiration. Spo-fans know the Drama Personae:
The Skanks *
One of these lovely lady-groups puts a kernel of creativity into the recesses of my pumpkin. Sometimes they take the Carol Kane approach “Sometimes you have to slap people in the face to get their attention”.
Once in a while, in a pinch, the bellicose Board sends me something upon to write, especially if they are in a swivet over drops in the number of comments. Their suggestions are either benign albeit useless “Hey, green is a nice color. Why don’t you write about something green” (which isn’t easy) or sardonic “Oh, for Thor’s sake anything but another “Walking the Dog” entry !”
It is amazing how I compose anything at all given these noisy Archetypes flitting about my Psyche like angry bats, but I manage somehow.
*Once – lord love us ! – The Archies paid a visit. The Board of Directors Here At Spo-reflections dumped them and their sottish entry into the Glomma. It was quite tactless but they were very angry.
Last weekend when I was home visiting the folks I found an essay I wrote sometime in my youth. Perhaps it was in the early years of grade school. The treatise is titled “What I think of myself”. I suppose it was my first attempt at self-examination and introspection. I don’t know why Mother saved it but I’m glad she did for the composition gives me a look-see at how I thought about myself.
Now what on earth did I mean by seeing myself as “a little pill”? In dictionary.com the definition of a pill (besides the obvious) is something unpleasant that has to be endured or a tiresomely disagreeable person. Dear me dear me. I sense I am still somewhat a pill; others would be the better judge than I on this one.
I still try to be kind to animals and people, especially the mustelids.
I am pleased to report whenever I learn something I still ‘stak’ with it – especially to prescriptive grammar and proper spelling.
For the list of character traits: I think I kept being kind, nice, funny, helpful, not mean, happy, and smart – at least most of the time. I didn’t turn out oppatames or hanson, as these features don’t exist. I surmise I meant was optimistic and handsome which I shall grade as ‘fell short of expectations’.
The emotional post-script seems tangential and simply not true. While I never participated in Devil’s Night I was fascinated and excited by the event. The word ‘hate’ is highlighted; this reflects a bit of hysterical rancor, often seen in those who “protest too much” or turn out late in life to be drama queens. I am saying nothing more on the matter.
I got a ‘very good’ grade for it, though if I had been my teacher I would have written some words and critique on the essay’s poor spelling, inconsistent use of punctuation, and rambling sentence structure. Perhaps I would have added a small comment about listing merely the positives without any negatives.
Maybe it is good thing I didn’t become a grade school teacher.
I woke this morning to the sound of rain and the smell of petrichor; I was immediately transported into a good mood. Inclement weather does this to me. I feel at ease and happy on rainy cloudy cool days. They call for staying indoors and think introverted thoughts. It is on such days my Psyche turns inward to the Collective Unconscious for a visit with Qi. It would be a delight to sit with The Sage all day, without moving or saying a word, taking in an amalgam of smells and sensations, waiting for wisdom to creep in like fire smoke.
I am at work at the Mesa Office. Today’s appointment book is solid from 8 to 5. This will not be a day of sitting quiet. I will be quite active, listening to patients and deducing what’s to be done. Many of them will require me to be “on my toes” as it were. This is hardly the quiet day I envisioned for Wisdom to sneak in an insight.
Or is it? We err in our belief The Numinous enters only when we are quiet and focused, or in a religious-like situation (whether formal or substance-induced). Wisdom constantly knocks at our noggins, seeking permission to enter. It is possible to receive such even when very busy or doing the mundane. It is like a quiet ostinato in the loud orchestra of daily doings. It is easily missed if you are distracted by the mundane melodies of the day.
By the end of the day I will have my usual fatigue having seen over two dozen patients and a handful of phone calls and crisis. The weather report says it will clear and it will be perpetual sunshine. The day will have had some Wisdom as well, if only I am aware enough to receive it.
A Spo-fan or two occasionally ask about ‘loose ends” viz. I bring up things and there is no follow-up or resolution. Life is like that I tell them. However, as I am obliging as a democratic drawbridge, going down for everybody, here are a few loose ends tied up.
The GI upset/food poisoning is passing, leaving me with a sense of fatigue and need for sleep. Yesterday I went right home from work to bed. I don’t remember a thing, not even when Someone came home.
The agave is located on the far west side of the front yard, looking like it has always been there. No signs of movement in the night. It is too soon to relax but I am hopeful.
The mystery author in my Mother’s story about great-grandfather isn’t Walt Whitman but a fellow named Eugene Field. There is a collection of his work, including a handwritten note and poem. These must be valuable; I should find out if there is a Eugen Fields Society who may want them.
I’ve had no tornado dreams as of late.
I’ve had no time to work on my recipe book, or updating my blog entries prior to publishing.
I’ve smoked no opium.
I’ve sucked no toads.
I remain well over four feet.
Urs Truly has food poisoning – or something. I won’t go into the details. I would like to remonstrate for the past twenty-four hours I have seen fluids gush out of every opening and perhaps a few of which I wasn’t aware. Last night I got no sleep and I had to change often. It puzzles me where I got the nasty bug. Perhaps it was the salmon mousse. It could have been last night’s salad as Someone did not have any. Maybe it is the dreaded norovirus I picked up from rolling around with my niblings. Tots are walking fonts of contagion, and like smallpox to the Indians I get ill most times I am exposed to them. Whatever the cause, it is nasty. I should have stayed home today. I am not my usual self.
Needless to say I don’t have much to write other than I came home yesterday to see the large agave in front of the house is gone. The little green thing for outer space was charming when first planted but over time it evolved into Audrey III, taking over the sidewalk and driveway. Its sharp needle-like ends were scraping the car and (worse) people trying to get to the front door. I am not sure where Hector the groundskeeper put it. Rumor has it he moved the sinister succulent to another part of the yard. I need to have a look-see to know where it is located. I have a hunch in its newly uprooted state it will start to move toward the house in the night, triffid-like, ready to lash us in our beds and suck our blood. Plants in the Southwest are hardy bastards; they stop at nothing.
I should have told Hector to take it away or go make tequila out of it, rather than transplanting it out of sight where it can plot dastardly deeds. Alas, too late.
If I were to suddenly disappear from blog-land blame either dehydration or I’ve been consumed like Miracle-gro.
“My wits begin to turn.—
Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold?
I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow?
The art of our necessities is strange
That can make vile things precious. Come, your
Poor Fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
That’s sorry yet for thee.”
Spo-fans know these are troublesome times in history, especially in the USA. There is a lot anger, hurt, anxiety, and paranoia. This is accomplished by ill-will, poor manners, and downright nastiness. What to do? It is tempting to withdrawal and isolate oneself; it is easy to succumb to the dark side and join them.
Out of all of Shakespeare’s play King Lear is the most bleak. The villains get the upper-hand and there is no redemption. There is no sense justice or right has been accomplished . What keeps the tragedy from being utterly despairing is throughout there are small acts of kindness, like little drops in a bucket full of ditchwater. They are hardly noticed among the misery. Lear, The Fool, “Poor Tom” – all down and out – comfort each other. Only one stands out: during the blinding of Gloucester , an unnamed servant suddenly speaks out to say this is wrong. There is no apparent benefit. He is promptly killed and the blinding continues. Some see this as another example of the play’s futility but I see it as a loud blatant call to the audience to ponder doing something yourself.
Most of us think of heroes as the people who do dramatic actions like saving the world while the soundtrack swells and the nation applauds. I say real heroism is seen in the everyday deeds of good and simple folk. Their actions are hardly noticed. If they are they usually dismissed as insignificant. Power has a paradox: what looks to have power does not and what looks powerless holds power. I may never be called on to save a regiment but I can assist a person in need.
In light of Hair Furor and his minions turning people into faceless stereotypes I am doing something inspired from King Lear. “Illegals” “Muslims” “Liberals” are labels which allow people to hate others as something nameless. When I meet a homeless person asking for money, or faced with a person at odds with me politically, I ask them their name. I tell them mine. This deflates the dynamic of seeing a person from a faceless nonentity into an individual. It’s easy to hate ‘them” but not so one person. Then I say “John, it won’t change until we talk” or “John, here’s a quarter. I wish it were more. I am sorry for your plight”.
Perhaps like Lear, these small deeds will not stop the tragedy. Maybe my attempts at standing up for the Gloucesters of the world will only get me clobbered. Objecting to autocrats and refusing to turn others into nameless “Thems” may be all the heroism I can be. I hope it makes a difference in these trying times.
Urs Truly has not a drop of Irish blood in him but he does enjoy Irish literature, music, whisky, and their men. On this day I wear my St. Patricks Day bow tie. I am at the airport, waiting for my flight to Michigan (Land of Perpetual Snow and Ice). Dressed up in my bow tie I am an object of suspicion; everyone around me are dressed as if they just come in from working in the yard. I remember a time we put on suits and ties in order to travel.
My weekend goal to take inventory of the household items looks doubtful as more and more of my many siblings and niblings have texted me announcing they too are coming in to be part of the coterie. It’s sweet they want to see me. Alas, the notion of a house of noisy Spos (many well over four feet and several under the age of seven) will turn this into a rumpus. I think it will be difficult to keep Mother focused on task if she is trying to tend to the many grandchildren. Someone says resistance is useless and go with the flow. There is no sense in asking if the air is any good when there is nothing else to breathe.
I promised Someone I would only take notes and not return to Phoenix with absconded heirlooms. The opium pipe stays put in Michigan. Imagine going through TSA with that in my pocket!
Mother (bless her heart) keeps dropping bombshells of treasures waiting my inspection. In the last phone call home she announced she found some first edition books of some ‘famous writer” with whom my great-great uncle shared lodgings on a train. In exchange for giving up the lower travel bunk (for the author was large, bearded, and not very agile) said author gave Uncle his newly published book including some handwritten poems. Who was the author? Mother couldn’t remember. I will have to look at the books when I get there. This is like Mother. She give you enough data to titillate you and then leaves you hanging.
Brother #3 has just texted me asking the brothers should he bring anything. I texted back please bring some Irish whisky (no rubbish) as apropos for the day. Everyone may be pleased as punch to see me but I may need a little fortitude to get through this weekend of bombshells and relatives off Ritalin.
I am sure to have fun no matter what happens. I am comforted I may be coming home with the writings of Walt Whitman.