I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
April 21, 2016 - 11:47 a.m.
The WFUV pledge drive is over so now I'm back in bed updating in the morning. Let's see if I can think of something to write. What's on my mind? I have nothing to eat for breakfast. I have to buy bacon and eggs. I should have done it last night. Oh well.
I finally mastered the subway and bus commuter to WFUV. They key is that if I leave here at 5:06 instead of 4:43 the runs express in Manhattan and is timed perfectly to the arrival of the Bx12-SBS bus. I leave 33 minutes later and arrive only 10 minutes later.
Jim wasn't there yesterday so I supervised by myself all day. I still ended up taking more calls than usual. It's always good when I get the weird calls as I know how to handle them. As I was training someone what I do there came into focus. I have a lot of institutional knowledge in me. There are scores of special cases that I've seen before that the average volunteer will have never come or rarely come across. It isn't worth it to sit them down and train them for each of those cases that they probably won't encounter. It's much easier to just call Jim or me over.
Without Jim or Brian there in the morning Tom got promoted to my comic foil. Why is that an official position? Because I'm 12-year-old. When I'm training someone new I need someone to warn the trainee about, "If he bothers you roll up a newspaper and hit him on the nose." Or is it because they remind me of aluminum foil? They hurt your teeth when you chew on them. That's it. Good thing I'm not a cannibal.
Brian arrived for the afternoon shift and I was finally able to give him my cane. It's so much lighter than his. I've known Brian the longest so it's always easiest to make fun of him. We've been working on our comedy for over 20 years.
Laura the student who is the volunteer coordinator is graduating. Our new coordinator is Mike. I didn't discover till the last hour of the drive that he hadn't been trained on taking pledges so I trained him and he took calls. I introduced him to people and realized that I knew the names of everyone in the room, even the students I had just recently met. I've gotten so much better at that. I introduced Brian as "the funny looking guy." I so want Mike to call him that for his entire tenure on the job. That will make it all worthwhile.
I often stay at the station for 11.5 hours and I'm on my feet much of the time so I work at staying comfortable. I change into slippers when I arrive. They don't look that bad and keep me much happier. At home I never wear shoes at all. The first day of the drive I bring a comfortable office chair into the room. I bring my own travel coffee mug. This drive I left it at the station one day and that led me to realize that I can just keep it there for the duration of the drive. I found a place to stash my slippers too. I pretty much make myself at home.
Even though the trains and busses run much more frequently when I leave at 6 PM it takes me longer to get home than to get there as I don't have things as perfectly timed. I have to wait for the bus which then hits traffic on Fordham Rd so the bus ride is twice as long. Then the train isn't waiting for me when I get to the station and it hits so much congestion that even though it's express in Brooklyn the ride takes longer than in the early morning. It took me 1:25 to get there in the morning and 1:40 to get home. That's a long day.
The drives take over my life for a week, it always feels strange when they end. I won't be seeing Linda, Danielle, Janeen, John, Chuck, Robin, Corny, George, the other George, Carmel, Dennis, Joey, Rita, Russ, Cara, and the rest of the staff every day. I got regular enough in my habits getting there that the guard at the Third Avenue entrance knows me, smiles and waves when I go in. I always appreciate that sort of thing.
I am going to go politics for just a bit. There was a scandal/mystery in the primary voting in Brooklyn. An unusually large number of people were stricken from the Democratic voter rolls since November and nobody knows why. I first heard of it when one of my very good friends, Bev, found that after forty years at the same voting district she was not in the book. She was the only one I knew that reported a problem so I figured something strange happened, like a page fell out of the book. Those kinds of things do happen. But then it came out that it was a systematic problem in Brooklyn.
Immediately people jumped to conclusions and blamed Hillary under the assumption that she is not only corrupt but an idiot. She won Brooklyn. She won heavily in all of New York City. If people supporting her were to strike people from the rolls it would be in the upstate portions of the state, the parts that Bernie won.
If you are one of the people who were thinking like that imagine how you'd feel if people were blaming Bernie, the one that actually benefited from this breakdown. You'd be outraged. I'm not outraged. I'm disappointed. I understand where it comes from but when you are so emotionally invested it is important to try make an effort to be rational. Accusing without evidence is always wrong. Hey I defended Ted Cruz who I hate with fiery passion when people said that the only reason he came out against the corn methanol subsidies during the Iowa campaign was because he was bought off by the oil companies. That makes no sense, they'd want him to be elected and candidates like Bush who were owned by the oil companies wouldn't even say that. It was consistent with his positions and I'll give him credit for sticking with his principles, even when most of his principles are terrible. And in this case he was of course on the right side of the argument.
People like to blame problems on the moral failures of others. It is comforting, all we have to do is stop the bad people, instead of working out complex issues. One aspect of that is that when something goes wrong you ask, "who benefits from that" and as long as it's someone you don't like blame that person or country or organization. That's very common in the Middle East where many people think that United States destroyed the World Trade Center as an excuse to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. People who feel powerless are the most likely to think like that, So I end up getting mad at the lack of logic, as I always do, but try to be understanding.
That is what occupied a lot of my mind during the awake portions of my subway commute yesterday. Wow I thought I had been thinking about it for days but it couldn't have been, the election was just two days ago. It's a long commute.
Ok now I have to do the unthinkable and go out shopping before breakfast.
Great I wrote this then forgot to post it. I hate being an idiot.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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