Smoking

Smoking

Dear people who smoke –

That’s an expensive habit you have there. Can I just ask that you keep it to yourself, though? Why are you breathing out all that smoke and letting it go everywhere? You should have a system whereby you get the full benefit of what you’re paying for! I can’t even see you, but your smoke has travelled all the way down the street and into my apartment window. I had to turn on the air purifier. It seems such a waste of your personal resources to let all that smoke just blow “away.”

Couldn’t you do this in some sort of vessel that could capture more of this smoke for you? Hang onto it til you can breathe it in. And never breathe it out. Seriously, you need to work on this. What is the point of breathing it in… and then just blowing most of it out again? I donno if you can hold your breath for a bit like the pot-smokers in high school did, but seriously this technology needs improving, stat.

I was a passive smoker in the womb and through my childhood til I left home. At least that’s what the respirologist told me when I had pneumonia. I had told her I never smoked, you see. And I never intend to. Hence the air purifier. So, tobacco industry people and product developers – get with it so you are not selling something that people have to waste probably more than half of the product they buy! Let them get the full use and benefit of this stuff.

I’m a lifelong nonsmoker, healthy as a horse at age 55, and don’t want to have the next 30-40 years tainted by this acrid airborne chemistry that other people want to inhale and deposit deep in their lungs. Please, don’t share. Sharing is so 1960s. Get the full benefit and experience and keep it selfishly to yourself.

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Loneliness

Loneliness

Really, I’m quite happy to be alone most of the time. I love that I can work alone at home. I just wish it were quieter. Noise is a major weak point for me. Or, I love quiet. I drink it in. It soothes me. But I don’t want to be alone all the time. I enjoy our one or two employer-sponsored parties in a year, and not just for a free gourmet meal, either. Mainly it’s a chance to socialize.

I really needed some human connection today, and had no idea how to get it. So sick of relying on posting on discussion websites. I really want friends, and to see people’s faces. But it never seems to work out. This is a lifelong problem. I had one friend as a kid and puberty killed that. She went boy-crazy and fashion-crazy and I was alienated. As well, my parents split up and my mum moved us away. That girl was my best friend, and my last best friend.

Oh, sure, I have my canoe buddy. We’re taking a course together next week. That’s the social highlight of my year, no doubt. But even though she’s my oldest and I suppose best friend, and I do treasure her, it’s not enough.

I got married to what I thought was a friend for life. That didn’t work out. He’s still around in my life, though, and we saw each other today. Or, I saw him. Not sure he saw me at all, even though we met to see this art show toether. See, he’s proudly autistic, doesn’t make eye contact. Got his diagnosis now and validation to behave as badly as he always has, or worse. He’s totally self-centered. It feels strange even now to spend time with him, though I’ve gotten over much of the extreme hurt. It’s not personal. I don’t like that it’s not personal! I want to be treated as a person. He literally has contempt for social things, and expresses that disgust regularly.

I knew he wanted to go to a crappy amateur art show, and I was desperate to get out of my four walls, so I suggested we go. It was as crappy and pointless as I expected. Nay, more so. Not only was it amateur art or the driest and kitschiest manner, but it was a small exhibition of all works done on square canvasses. Just no interest whatsoever, for me. My interest was in interacting with SOMEONE. And I have no one.

There have been people in my building who reached out to me.  One was a very caring woman who literally let me cry on her shoulder one day. That was a high point for me. A mothering moment that I really needed. I don’t feel like I got any mothering from my actual mother, you see.  Mum’s dead, I’d been grieving the loss of my marriage, my friendship, and my life plans that I invested in for 10 years, and crying on someone’s shoulder unrestrainedly was a high point for me. A connection.

But, she moved away, said she’d contact me, and didn’t. Of course I contacted her several times, and not just to forward her mail, since I moved into her old suite. But she never got back, never had time. I know she has a terminal illness, so I could put it all down to that, but I conclude that I was not a net positive in her life, apparently. You can only reach out so many times and then ya gotta stop bugging people. I wish her the best.

Another person in my building reached out to me and we had visits at her place, and even thanksgiving dinner. But… she invalidated me several times and we do not share views. Well, I don’t share her views and I don’t think she stopped talking long enough to find out what mine were. So when I went away for a year during my separation period, we exchanged a couple emails that quickly resulted in a conflict. She sent me stupid forwards. I just asked her to please not send these to my work email. I had entrusted her with my work email. She apparently got offended, because she told me I should learn some tact. And that was it. She never responded to my boundary request. I repeated it. Silence. Fine, we are done, I thought.

But I came back after the separation period and she was all friendly. WTF? People who do things and then act lik enothing happened – very invalidating. Finally, I told her one day recently that the reason I don’t respond to her is she didn’t respond to me. Finally, it seems, maybe she has stopped trying to jolly me into another bullshit conversation.

What the hell should I have done differently? Nothing, I think.

Then there was the platonic F2F friend I made off Craigslist. We had some trauma in common. I liked that we could talk about it. But apparently that was too much for her as she started complaining that people (me, when I inquired) don’t want to visit her, and similar issues about what she wants. Well, I want someone who can talk about the dark stuff without fear. Sure, I can play board games and visit, but not if it has to be all superficial, too. I’m not losing my mind, as she seems to be. I remember things. I’m not ready to let everything slip away. Her chaos drove me mad – couldn’t remember where anything was, where we were going, or to prepare whatever was needed for the agreed upon plan. Sorry, I’m not ready for dementia. I will fight that by learning, thinking, remembering, thank you very much. Not my kinda people, if they choose to be okay with chaos.

Are there any of my kinda people? I need people.

Glorious soil

Glorious soil

Spent some time reading up on something that is a genuine interest, soil. Picked some cukes from my garden, too. They’ve been slow coming this year. Was not a good garden year with the cold spring and overheated midsummer. My beans wouldn’t even set fruit for quite a while there during the heat wave. It just cooked the pollen before it could get down the tube, I understand.

I want to have a life, finally. I want a real job, something with some meaning and purpose. I want to be connected to people who share interests, like in soil and science and soil science. I’ll probably live another 30-40 years, given how healthy I am. In the pre-industrial era, 30-40 years is basically a lifetime, I tell myself, so there’s still time to start over. I’m not ready to retire and shutdown. I feel much younger than my years, anyway.

I want all these things. What am I doing to get them, besides reading about biogeochemistry? Well, I researched jobs and applied to ones I thought I could do and would want to do. Didn’t get a job, though. I’m trying to sell my old truck and get moved out of here. I’m trying to buy my own place, either an apartment in the Fraser Valley somewhere or a house further afield. I need a change. This is a really good building, but I’m tired of renting and I want out of the building where my ex still lives and where I spent most of my ill-fated marriage.

I want connection. Friends. Community. Why is that so hard? I never had those. I thought my soil, my personal stock of attributes, was rich. But nothing’s growing, not those things I want and need, anyway.

noise

noise

Noise is killing me today. I can’t live like this. I am ready to hang myself softly in the shower stall, put a plastic bag over my head while I incapacitate myself with a bucket of downers, and hopefully slash my femoral artery via the femoral triangle, before succumbing to one or the other.

Why do people have to screech into their cellphones on the street?

Why do people use power saws and hammer out on a deck, broadcasting to hundreds of people nearby?

Why do idiots sit in their cars with motor and music going, idling, polluting air with both chemicals and sound? And why do they give me wanker answers like, “I can still play my music” when I ask them to turn it off and stop bothering me. No idling, eh?

I don’t want to live in this world.

I don’t want to live.

The man from Porlock. I have no peace. Earplugs and industrial earmuffs means I have no access to my work (sound recording) or joy (music and birdsong.)

I’d rather be dead.

But what if… just what if all these noises were just like an annoying mosquito to some much larger being. And what if a big hand came slapping down on those cars, say a 16-ton hand. It’d leave some holes in the road and some squashed metal and an obstacle course. And then there would be quiet.

Yeah, yeah, until people started yelling, and ambulances and tow trucks. Well, it was a nice fantasy.

Crackerbox of death

Crackerbox of death

Of course, people are dying every day, everywhere. I know that. It’s nature. It’s the end of summer, and I see my garden maturing, heading toward its seasonal shutdown, the period of rest. That’s the big picture, the cycles. But with people we look at individuals. A child is born, maybe treasured. I wasn’t. A life continues to its inevitable downturn and end.

Today there was an estate sale in my building. It was for the owner of the red truck. The truck sat there through roadwork, and sat there, and sat there. The owner never came out to work on it as he did throughout the last 12 months since I’ve lived here, or to move it or pick up the several parking tickets. I heard the owner went to the hospital. Apparently, he never came out alive. He didn’t look that bad off when I saw him. Just an old person, perhaps in his 80s.

There are many old people in this building. Many have died and moved on in the eight or so years I’ve been here. And I feel death hanging on me, despite the fact I feel more vigorous than I ever have. I discovered a new strength training technique that is very powerful, and I have more energy than ever. And I love the massages I’ve been getting. And I love tribal fusion bellydance, a new solace in my life, both watching and doing. But death surrounds me here in this crackerbox. A tower warehouse for people with no particular purpose in life.

There’s another old guy in this building that sits out front smoking 10 times a day. His teeth have bizarre gaps, probably because some are missing and the rest shifted. He tried quitting smoking a few times, and went back to it. “Nothing else to do,” he told me. Just waiting to die, I guess. He can hardly see, due to a stroke. He has double vision and can’t see to clean his own place. I hardly think letting smoking suck up his extra oxygen is good for his eyes, but I can barely talk to the guy. He’s not quite there. His responses don’t connect with what I say.

I never had anything to live for, I still have nothing to live for. I saw my ex-husband today. He flounced by, wearing all black. He used to complain that I always wore those black t-hirts all the time. He hated them. I didn’t want the divorce. Okay, maybe it’s for the best, but it hurts. I need something to live for. I was living for him, for us. But there was no us. There was him first, and me and us never. I was a fool. I need something to live for.

 

 

Love

Love

Is this not the best cheddar cheese ordinarily found in grocery stores? Please let me know if you know of a better one. This is very sharp and cheddary, and often goes on sale. What more could I want? Well, there is a cheese with truffle bits in it – fabulous, but $10 for a small piece maybe 1/3 to 1/4 size of this one, which is often on sale for $4. So, that’s like 3x as much. And, sure, it tastes 3x better and maybe I’ll buy it one day, but I haven’t yet. I tried it at a conference… wow! So I researched what on earth I had eaten. I love cheese, okay? Cheese slathered on seedy bread with a base of butter to stick it all together. Oh, yeah.

I have been kicking butt on life, okay? Making bucks, getting fit, making friends, setting limits with other friends. Even though it’s amazing to be wanted… it’s even better to not spend time with people who aren’t that interesting. “I like you – You’re a good conversationalist.”  And then, “Why don’t people want to visit me — I mean you.” Wow, believe me, this is not the kind of experience I’ve ever had before in my life. Am I on something? Is this a hallucination? No. It’s just a result of being 55 and trying to connect with people in the world. And I’m sorry, but it’s hard to connect with someone who has given up on trying, who can’t remember anything, and is just lowering their standards (her words) to make life more comfortable.

No, I have drive and passion. I want more. I’m not satisfied. Yes, death is a comforting thought, but that’s because life is so unsatisfying. I don’t want to lower my standards. I want great cheese, the good kind, and soon I’ll buy the kind with truffle bits in it, dammit.

But that’s just hedonism, is it not? Sure, it is. I want to do something grand. I want to be totally absorbed in a mission. Frankly, I am not excited about the achievements of Tony Robbins or Arnold – no need to spell his last name – but I totally desire to be completely absorbed in pursuing something with intensity. Arnold’s workout sets were insane, and I love that, even though the drugs he took are no longer legal and in fact guys built like a brick shithouse do not actually appeal to me. And Tony, the coke-head (I think, no aspersions cast) Robbins, no, I don’t get excited about his insane rants and coal-walking, but I am totally impressed with how he learned to give speeches. He went and gave several a day, not just a few a month. Go Tony! I dig that.

But what am I to do in this world? I am having difficult figuring that out. So many aptitudes. So much  random knowledge. So much passion. No frickin’ clue about what to do.

I’m TCB, doing all I have to do, but I want glory. And it’s not coming from cheese, luscious as that is.

 

Symmetry

Symmetry

I was surprised when this dragonfly didn’t take off as I was fumbling with a cucumber stem less than a foot away from him/her/it. A dragonfly’s gender doesn’t matter to me, does it? Not that I can ID them in that way. But I hate to call it “it”. Just feels too distant. But this one was very close. He just sat there. One wing is mangled and curled, and half a front leg is gone, also. If he doesn’t go away, some bird is going to figure out there’s a good chunk of protein there. I don’t know enough about dragonflies’ life cycle to even guess what else might happen. How long will he sit there before he falls down to the ground dead, ready to fertilize my plants with nitrogen and minerals?

My first photo was crap, so I went out and took another. I’m very surprised he’s still there two hours later and hasn’t been eaten. We all die in the end. And I already felt quite morbid today, but since I’m sharing this amazing dragonfly discovery with you, I’m going to also share my experience of life.

See, yesterday I had to go to the hospital, my first ride in an ambulance. I knew what was happening, kind of, because a lot of people in my family have problems with atrial fibrillation. I knew what was happening, but I didn’t really know the ramifications, so I didn’t have the sense to call an ambulance first thing. My heart’s rhythm was way off. The top and bottom halves weren’t in sync the way they should be. Basically, a bunch of heart spasms.

It settled down, I thought, after 40 minutes, but when I went off to do chores, I still didn’t feel right and got out of breath easily. A trip to the clinic turned into a trip to the hospital. It’s easily fixed with some drugs that reset the rhythm, and if not, then there is always the defibrillator. The ambulance ride was enough like being in the movies without having to go all the way to the paddles on the chest.

The ambulance guys, Sean and Tyler, did an awesome job and I thanked them for the lovely afternoon.  But they didn’t need to reassure me I wasn’t going to die. That’s not what I was crying about. I was crying about being born, that I ever had to live through all this crap for 55 years that really hasn’t been worth it. I’m seeking glory because I’ve never had any glory. Other people around me are retiring in contentment. No, not me. And not just because I can’t really afford it, either. Life has not been good enough. Playing Scrabble, gardening, and experimenting with grooming and sewing projects is not enough for me. I could live another 40. Yikes. I got stressed out numerous times at the hospital, but not because I was scared for my life, at all. No, as I told paramedic Sean, the thought of death doesn’t worry me. Rather it’s a comfort and it has been for a long time.

The stress at the hospital also came from nurses walking up to me and poking at me without acknowledging me as a human being first. If it were to save my life, that would be different – if I’m pushing someone out of the way of a deadly projectile, I don’t have to ask first. But if some guy that turned out to be a nurse, after I asked, is going to reach under my clothing, I’d like some eye contact and a few words, first. Then the other nurses got all bitchy, telling me every little thing and complaining that’s what I expect. No, I just need some acknowledgment before you touch me. I hate people touching me, bumping me, grabbing me, poking at me. The massage therapist knows better than to do that, and he’s there specifically to touch. He asks first. Stressing someone out by violating their boundaries doesn’t help achieve anything good.

Another stress was the accursed beeping on the heart machine behind me. Yes, my heart was going too fast. My BP was too high. And getting higher because of the ear-stab. Luckily I always have earplugs on me, and I put one in on the beep-machine side. And I shut my eyes and thought of blackness, my entire body turning black, then turning to mush and sinking into the ground, silently. Yup, while they were doing their best to keep me alive, I was consoled by thinking of death. I thought, “This might be it. I could die.” That was a comforting thought.

This morning, I wish I had died. Not an unfamiliar morning feeling for me, actually. I don’t even care that I’d be leaving a mess. I haven’t made any glorious progress here, anyway. I haven’t heard back about that plum job, and I don’t expect to. It seems designed for me, but I’m old, and no one wants that. Atrial fib isn’t exactly a giant health risk, but my health slate doesn’t feel quite as squeaky clean as it did before yesterday.

The way you can die from atrial fib is that a clot can form and then go to your brain and cause a stroke or worse, like a fatal heart attack. So, I’m lucky I came out of it with no heart damage and have no need for a prescription. The excellent doctor told be that a baby aspirin a day is a good idea to prevent clots in case a-fib happens again. I expect it’ll happen. I will probably take the aspirin, because as I told the paramedics, if you’re in a car accident, it’s better to die than be mangled. I don’t particularly want to live, but if I’m gonna live, I’m gonna take care of this machine I live in. I’m horribly healthy – my blood work was all perfect, doctor said. This despite diabetes-cliche levels of obesity. My body mass isn’t morbid, but 20 pounds or so would take it there. But I’m healthy. And that’s better than having a stroke and dragging half of my body around like dead weight for the rest of my life, or being parly paralyzed like my dad was. All that smoking and drinking he did. I don’t do that.

Wish I had a security cam to put on the dragonfly and see what happens to him. Insects die every day. They never go to the vet’s office. There is no emergency care for insects. They just get mowed down, squashed, poisoned, or eaten alive.

 

Edit: a few hours later, the assymetrical dragonfly has disappeared. I’ll never look at them the same way again. They’re like birds – you only ever see them as young and beautiful, because any injured one is killed off fast. A rare exception I can think of is a neighbourhood pigeon I have seen limping around on a damaged left foot, not just this year but in previous years. I assume it’s the same bird. I should watch it more carefully in future and try to ID it.