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 29, 2017 - 11:08 a.m.
Sorry I didn't write yesterday, I had an early therapy appointment. Waiting gave me more to write about including an idiot story.
I didn't go out much last week so I didn't buy an unlimited MetroCard. That can be a bit problematic when I have therapy as I can have to pay as many as six fares to get there and back. If I am willing to walk and spend some extra time I can reduce it to two. If I get a ride, like I often do, one. Jane gave me a ride to the MetroNorth station and I walked from the Harrison station to the hospital; it's about a mile and a half; a very nice half-hour walk.
At the halfway point a bout of anxiety struck out of nowhere. I have no idea what triggered it. I tried to retrace my mental steps and couldn't think of anything that could have done it. It was largely about the architecture of Harrison.
What causes the anxiety is not as important as dealing with it. I was walking, I didn't have time to stop and meditate. I tried Buddha breathing aka breathing from your diaphragm. That's hard to do when you are walking. As I did this I had a virtual conversation with my therapist. I have always had people I have virtual conversations when they aren't around to have actual conversations with. It can help. It gets you out of your own head and gets you to see how it looks to someone you trust.
This conversation quickly went off the rails when I explained what Buddha breathing was to her. I am not that sure how common the term is. That lead to a discussion of Buddhist iconography. Picture Buddha in your head. He's this rather well-fed gentleman looking more like a sybarite than an ascetic; he resembles the traditional representations of Dionysus. Why? Is this a difference between Eastern and Western culture? I don't think so. Gandhi, like Buddha was from India and he fits our image of what someone who chooses the spiritual over the material should look like. I wonder if the image comes from the era of Buddhist rulers as in the Khmer Civilization. Before he was Buddha he was Prince Siddhartha Gautama. The royalty that commissioned the art might have preferred to see Buddha as one of their own. Something similar happened to Jesus. After the Roman Empire became Christian Jesus was portrayed as a Roman prince not the haggard image we have today that dates from the Middle Ages.
With all that going through my head I thought the anxiety would go away but it didn't. It did gradually fade away and was gone by the time I got to therapy. The therapist wanted to talk about my volunteering at WFUV but I felt it more important to talk about the anxiety episode I just experienced. This was fascinating as we pretty much ran the conversation I had in my head while walking except that she knew the term Buddha breathing. We almost fell into a self-referential singularity. I quite enjoyed that. So did she. That is one reason I love my therapist.
The temperature rose 20 degrees from the time I left my house. I wore a shirt and hoodie over my t-shirt on the way there; on the walk back to the train station just the t-shirt, and I was too warm. I hate wearing long pants when it's hot.
My next stop was my PO Box at Columbus Circle. That was one reason I didn't need as many transit fares. I took the MetroNorth to Fordham Road and walked to the . I go down in the station swiped my MetroCard and it said, "insufficient fare." I was sure there was money on the card. I went to the vending machine where I could check. I thought maybe I was a penny short thought I thought I had an extra penny on the card. The machine didn't work. This happened last time I was there. I had to go to another entrance blocks away. I walked into the station and before going to the vending machine I realized that I had swiped my unlimited MetroCard that had no time on it not the card I use for adding money. I'm an idiot. I did buy a weekly to use when I am going to ride the trains enough to warrant it.
I was rewarded when I got to the PO Box with a wedding invitation. I knew it was coming but it's still nice to get the proof. It's a rather elaborate piece of stationary. Why? I'd be happier with an email, it's more environmentally friendly. See I'm an ascetic like Buddha. I have a feeling Buddha wouldn't write as much about food as I do.
I then headed home. I usually walk over to 7th Ave where I can catch a train that connects with the Lexington Ave line that takes me back to the Bronx. But that's what I do with an unlimited. Paying for each trip makes me think differently. There's a strange transfer from the 59th Street Station on the Lex line with the 63rd Street station on the F and Q lines. You have to leave the subway system, walk a few blocks, and reenter it but the transfer is free. What I realized was that the MetroCard has no idea where you got off the train, you don't swipe it when you leave. You must get a free transfer from any line. As it was a beautiful day I walked over to Lex and it worked! It didn't charge me. I got to go from Fordham Road to Columbus Circle then back home for one fare. Keep that tip in mind; it works at those two stations.
I took the walk across town through the park. I need to do that more often. I should explore Pelham Bay Park. I need to do things like that more. I think I'm going to use my weekly starting today and in addition to my needed trips check out the new 2nd Ave Subway Line and the "Fearless Girl" statue at Bowling Green.
I have the house to myself this weekend. Bernie and Jane are off doing going marching in Washington. They said I could have an orgy. Who's in? Don't everyone raise your hands at once. I thought so. I guess it will be just me and the cats. No! I didn't mean I am going to orgy with the cats. I gotta watch what I say around you. It's only the first day and they haven't realized that they should be coming up to my room if they want to get fed early. I'll be nice and feed them before I feed myself. I hope they appreciate it.
I'm an idiot; I almost forgot to tell you an idiot story. I'm almost out of one of my meds. I was supposed to pick it up at the hospital pharmacy yesterday, I forgot to. That means I have to make an extra trip on Monday. Good thing I have that unlimited MetroCard. Somehow, I don't have a brain but my brain needs meds. It is a puzzlement.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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