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
July 01, 2017 - 3:20 p.m.
Happy Canada Day to those that celebrate and those that don't. Since I wish everyone to happy the "to those that celebrate" it totally superfluous. It's always totally superfluous. If someone gets offended by me wishing them well the fault lies not in the wishes but in themselves. It's the War on Christmas mentality. Don't look for reason to take offense. If someone says, "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Canada Day" focus on the Happy or Merry.
Yesterday was a Friday in May or June so there's a good chance it's a mental health day, therapy followed by the Sunset Singing Circle. It did not start auspiciously. Jane couldn't give me a ride to the New Rochelle train station, that meant taking two buses to the Fordham Station. The first bus came ten minutes late. That made me just miss the second bus. That meant that instead of getting to the station fifteen minutes before my train leaves I got there five minutes after and had to wait for the next train, a half an hour later. The bus it connects with in Harrison runs only once an hour so I missed that. I don't have enough time to walk to the hospital so I had to take a cab. The first good thing was that it was an old fashioned talkative cab driver; I enjoy that. Then things turned bad again when there was no iced coffee in the hospital cafeteria. I had been looking forward to that. Their iced coffee is good and it's inexpensive.
Things got better after that. Therapy went great. I might come back to that later. Once again, my therapist said how much she enjoys our sessions. Who else does she get to talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer with? I taught her a new word, hypnagogic. We also worked on my problems. Don't the idea that it's a social visit.
Then I headed down to the City. The timing for the Sunset Singing Circles following therapy is great. I have my routine. I go from Grand Central Terminal to Union Square and go shopping at Trader Joe's. Before that I went to KFC for the $5 Zinger Combo. After shopping I get back on the subway which takes me right close to Wagner Park. I get their early enough to relax and get a good spot before things get set up. I set a record for most friends at the singing circle. First, I ran into David and his wife. Sorry David I forgot her name. This was their first time there. It's the last circle of the season and I invited many friends. Then I ran into Ellen and her friend who has a name. I'm going to say Beth but I'm probably wrong. Then Fred and Linda showed up. Fred is my most frequent Sunset Singing partner. One guy hands out candy to people. Last time he missed me even though I was sitting right next to him. This time I got one and it was a Hershey's Special! That's the dark chocolate miniature.
The Singing Circles are always magic. Pete Seeger said that music was not something you just listened to, it's something you do. I am a poor singing but I love to sing; this gives me a chance. There are few things that create a sense of community as singing with a group; it epitomizes e pluribus unum, out of many, one. They are led by Terre Roche, she's been doing this for 16 years. It's a shame it took me so long to discover them.
We are given song books and people shout out their requests. As a regular I don't give many suggestions anymore. I let others do it. Each session develops its own theme. Sometimes there is a lot of Dylan, other times Beatles or pop music. Sometimes it's somber, other times joyful. Yesterday was joyful or comforting. Sloop John B finds its way into every session. The songbook has most of the songs that I consider the nominees for greatest song ever written, Good Night Irene, This Land, St. James Infirmary, and St. James Infirmary. It has my favorite Beatles song, "My Life. This time I took special note of two songs, City of New Orleans and Under the Boardwalk. City of New Orleans is perfect. It's encapsulates a segment of America in four minutes. You experience the ride from Chicago to New Orleans, not the terminals but the vast space in between. You live with the sons of Pullman porters and he sons of engineers. You can understand how Arlo Guthrie was won over by hearing the then unknown Steve Goodman sing it once.
Under the Boardwalk is an urban pastoral. That sounds like an oxymoron but it's nonetheless true. It's an escape from the hot tar roof to the gentle shade under the boardwalk. It makes you feel peaceful, content, and in love. Pretty impressive for a pop song. Don't you want to be on a blanket with your baby?
We always end with Goodnight Irene. I say that every time I write about the circle; it's important. It's a song about what if feels like to be human.
Come and join me next May when the Friday Sunset Singing Circle Starts up again. Next time I sing with Terre will be around the Winter Solstice when we carol at Washington Square Park. You should join me for that too.
After the singing Fred & Linda and David and his wife went off. I talked with Ellen and Beth for a while. We were joined by one of Terre's friends, Karen. Then I went to say goodbye to Terre.
As I was walking back to the subway I thought something was caught in my sandal between my foot and the strap. I tried to shake it loose but I still felt it. it started to hurt. When I got home I took a look at my foot. There was a splinter in it at a spot very hard for me to see. I didn't do anything about it then, I don't have the tools. I figure in the morning I'd ask Jane for a needle and tweezers to extract it. When I asked Bernie volunteered to do the surgery. He did a good job. It was a big splinter. When it was extracted he put on bacitracin and a band-aid. I'm pretty sure I won't die from blood poisoning.
I have no plans for today. I'm thinking of making the long trek to Brooklyn just for dinner. Why? It's Canada Day and that's where the Mile End Deli is, the home of the best poutine in New York City. Is it worth a two-hour trip? Maybe. Do any of my Brooklyn friends want to join me or maybe meet me for dessert or coffee or something fun to do that I don't know about?
I guess I'm not going to write about therapy today. Perhaps tomorrow. We'll see how much I do tonight that worth writing about.
Smart Alec - July 06, 2017
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