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
June 04, 2016 - 10:20 a.m.
I had a long day yesterday but I'm not sure how much I'll have to write as I spent about 27 hours of it in transit. No that is not a typo or hyperbole, the day was bigger on the inside than the outside.
I had an appointment with the Department of Social Services in Brooklyn, by Hoyt Schermerhorn, yesterday. That would have been great if I were living where I used to live, not so much from City Island in the Bronx. Fortunately, or perhaps by my choice it was at the very reasonable hour of 1 PM. I gave myself two hours to get there. I planned on being early. The commute started off poorly with the bus. I have my app that tells me when the bus is coming so I waited for it to get close to leave. Too bad I was checking at the wrong stop so I had to take the next bus. Still that just meant getting there a little early, not half an hour. The express was in the station, just what I wanted. This is the end of the line so it does sit there. It was scheduled to leave in 2 minutes. Great. I got in. I waited 2 minutes. Then another 2 minutes. Then some more time. There was an incident at Hunts Point Blvd. When the train left it went local not express. Then I did something stupid. I am admitting something I hate to admit, making a subway mistake. I had to switch trains at Fulton Street to the C. The A came first. I let it go. IDIOT! The A stops at Hoyt Schermerhorn too. That cost me perhaps 5 minutes. So instead of getting there half an hour early I was there ten minutes late. I knew that wasn't really a problem as the way they run things dozens of other people have appointments as the same time and they give you a number and you wait your turn.
How is this for bureaucracy, when they gave me my number I was told, "They'll either call your name or your number, the numbers aren't in order." Why give numbers if they are not in order? As I told my therapist, I have no trouble waiting at agencies for service, I remember the bad old days of the DMV when you planned on spending a day there and they didn't even have numbers, you just waited on multiple very long lines.
I was right next to a small child and his mother, the kid was next to me. This other little boy walked over and played with him. The one that walked over was two and the one originally next to me a few months older. I could see the mother losing her patients. She did the classic abuser, "why are you trying to make me beat you?" She yanked him off the ground by one arm and swung him over to his chair. It was hard to watch.
When my name was called I saw a very kind gentleman named Mr. Gomez. For a bit he was entering information. While that was going on the kid started screaming. I told him that I was sitting by the kid and the mother didn't have the best parenting skills though I have trouble criticizing as I'm not a parent. We talked about parenting and he said, "Sometimes parents don't understand." I responded, "Parents don't understand that children don't understand," He liked that. The interview was short, maybe 10 minutes. That was it, I traveled for two hours and waited for half an hour to talk for 10 minutes. He then gave me a "compliance form" that I had to bring back to the DSS on 14th street in the City where I went two weeks ago. It's just proof that I made my appointment. Why? That can't be done electronically? I think they are trying to make you prove that you can make appointments. I'm fortunate, I have problems but are for the most part functional. Imagine if I wasn't as comfortable spending hours in transit and waiting. Imagine if I was taking care of children? This would be a huge burden. I'm sure many people give up. After 14th street I made it up to my PO box at Columbus Circle. I told you I spent 27 hours in transit and it wasn't hyperbole. You should have believed me. I did take advantage of the Nathan's Truck at the circle. That's new, since I stopped teaching. You know how much I love Nathans. Maybe you don't. They make the best hot dogs and the best fries.
Now I had time to kill before the fun part of the day, seeing The Kennedys at Spiral Sounds in Jersey City. Instead of wandering around I called Gidge and asked if I could come over early. He said yes and that's what I did. Instead of wandering around the City I got to sit with Gidge, Loyse, and Pete and have a fascinating conversation on Early New York history, America's attitude towards guns, Loyse is Swiss, and monotheism. Music got in there too of course, Dylan, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock. Wow I remember a lot of that conversation.
Other people then started showing up, there was Jill and her husband whose name is now escaping me, then Angel. We had been out on the porch but as people arrived we went inside and I started grazing. That's my favorite way to eat.
Then came the show. Notice I mentioned Pete but not Maura? That's because she had an allergy attack that affected her voice. I have seen several Maura having problems with her voice shows. Her clear voice is one of the Kennedys' signatures but nobody can handle this kind of thing better than they can. Maura figures out exactly which notes she can't hit and designed a set list to avoid those notes. Pete does more singing and instrumentals. It makes for an unusual show filled with things you don't hear them do as often. It was a great show. I can't remember the last time I heard them do Tribe. It's on Life is Large, their second album. That was released almost exactly 20 years ago. I remember the release show at the Fast Folk Café. I have known Pete and Maura a long time. I have no idea how many times I've seen them but certainly over 100.
I was not the last to leave because I was worried about getting home before the last bus to City Island leaves at 11:53. Spiral Sounds is in Jersey City which means take the PATH to the to the to the . That's a bit convoluted but shouldn't take that long. Everything went pretty smoothly till the . Then there was a long wait. When the train came it was packed like rush hour. There had been some kind of delay as there was another train right behind us. Fortunately for me they ran the train express after Hunt's Point Blvd. But thanks to the antiquated signal system the train still has to slow down at stations and sometimes comes to a complete stop. If finally got to Pelham Bay Park the last stop and the doors, then don't open for a few minutes. Thanks to my app I knew the bus was there. The doors finally opened, I ran downstairs in time to see the bus half a block away. Ugh! Why did they wait to open the doors? Why does nobody communicate with the bus, the last bus of the night, that there's a train full of people in the station? I thought it wasn't the last bus as the App said there was another bus 3 miles away. But then it disappeared. As none is scheduled I wasn't that surprised. That meant taking a cab it was a fun ride with an old fashioned talkative New York cabbie. I heard all about his problems with his girlfriends that lives way out on Long Island. We enjoyed each other's company.
If there's still room at the house concert I'm going to venture into the City today to see Jordan Tice at the Jenkins'. That's on the upper west side and I should be able to get home faster from there, in time to make the last bus.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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