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 11, 2016 - 11:21 a.m.
Welcome to a happy edition of Wise Madness. I'm just going to recount a very good day and for your entertainment there will be three idiot stories.
The first tipoff this would be a good day was the MetroNorth ride in the morning. The conductor walked right past me and didn't ask for my ticket; Free ride! Yeah it's only $2.55 but it's getting away with something so it's sweeter.
Oh no I forgot one idiot story, I hope I can remember it before I finish.
I also got the pleasure of knowing that I dressed perfectly. It was chilly in the morning waiting for the train. I knew it would be warmer later and didn't want to carry my hoodie all day so I wore my WFUV windbreaker which is not just light nylon but packs up into its pocket. Many people at the train station were cold, others were going to carry sweaters all day. I hit it just right.
Oh, I had one good thing even before the train. My plan was to go to the Terre Roche's Sunset Singing Circle. They hand out yoga mats to sit on but I need back support. I remembered to bring my stadium chair. Yes, I walked down the stairs first and had to go back and get it but I did remember it. I was proud of myself. I grade my memory on a pretty steep curve.
I have enjoyed the lunches they provide at program every day. Yesterday was the first time they served something I don't like, ravioli. Yes, I'm a weirdo that doesn't like ravioli. No I'm a weirdo that didn't discover that he liked ravioli till he was almost 59 years old. I tried it. I liked it. It was another good lunch.
The last session of program was my favorite, meditation. I did it when I first started then had to miss it the next two weeks. Yesterday I got to go. Like ravioli it's something else I thought I didn't like but discovered I do. I promised myself I'd be very open to trying everything at the program and I have.
The timing for the bus is tight after the program. We get out at 2:45 and the bus leaves at 2:48 and it takes more than three minutes to get there. The bus is never exactly on time so I have never missed it. I was very proud of myself for not forgetting my stadium seat at meditation. As I approached the bus stop I reached to get my phone to entertain myself while I waited. Whoops, no phone! I had taken it out of my pocket to be more comfortable during meditation then forgotten it. Why? I'm an idiot! I raced back and the door to the Library where meditation is held was locked. Good thing Mary Louise who locked it was there and let me in. I raced back to the bus stop. One of the therapists remarked that I walk like a real New Yorker, quickly like someone that has to get somewhere. I didn't have time to stop and explain that's exactly what was going on. I got back to the stop at 2:58. The other guy at the bus stop was still there. I hadn't missed it! It came a few minutes later and got me to the train station well in time for my train.
I had to decided how to kill an hour and a half or so before the sing began. The sing is in Wagner Park just north of Battery Park. I decided to keep it restful. I'd get a Bratwurst in the Beer Garden at the south end of Battery Park then sit in the shade somewhere and read Game of Thrones It was a beautiful day so sitting in the park reading sounded like a wonderful idea. The bratwurst was great then I found a bench in a shady spot and took out Game of Thrones to read. Too bad I didn't realize I was almost finished. There's an appendix afterward that I had already read. Now I had another half an hour to kill. I was an idiot. I have the second book in the series and should have brought it with me. I told myself "No I won't finish it today I have 50 pages to read. I was wrong. Why? I'm an idiot. Idiot story number 2.
Now what? I decided to go to Wagner Park and take a nap on the grass till it started. I found the one shady spot and used my windbreaker as a pillow. That's pretty much what it becomes when you pack it in the pocket. I knew I dressed perfectly. I had a nice nap. At 6 PM I texted Dan or Fred, I had texted both of them asking them to join me. I saw that Terre wasn't there. I checked what time it started, I was wrong, it was 7 not 6. I should have checked earlier in the day. I could have eaten someplace nice and had ice cream. Now I had an hour to kill. I went in search of French fries. I walked up Broadway and found someplace, went back to the Park and amused myself with my phone.
A little before seven the Parks Department people arrived with the song books and yoga mats. They started laying down the mats and I put my chair down. Then someone came, picked up the mat and moved it right in front of me. So I moved a bit, and someone else moved a mat so he'd be right in front of me. I moved over to the east side of the circle where the sun would be in my eyes but I wanted to be close so I could see and hear Terre. I was right next to Michael, one of the guitar players. That was nice. I don't really know him but we talked a bit.
Then the singing started and it was wonderful. There are new songs in the book and I made the first request from them, Space Oddity! . This is not your grandmother's folk singing circle. We sing the old songs, the traditional, the Stephen Foster, and Woody Guthrie but there are pop and rock songs from my lifetime. The music of my youth, Dylan, the Beatles, and Motown have become part of the common culture.
I'm not a good singer but I don't sing sotto voice. I don't shout but I don't hide myself, that's not fun. I sing with total involvement. I listen with total involvement with occasionally lapsing into watching the beautiful setting and the sunset. We are right on New York Harbor overlooking the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and a flotilla of boats.
Is there any more peaceful way of spending a day than meditation, reading and napping in a park, then a group sing? If everyone could do that every day, the world would be a better place.
Oh my god, I realized I have four idiot stories. There's one to come. Forgetting that there were four not three is an idiot story too so there are five! Are you in luck.
The trip home was simple, the is right there in Battery Park and I just had to switch to the . The trains were packed but I can live with that. I had good timing with the bus and had to wait only seven minutes for it.
The bus was crowded and I didn't get to sit in a seat where I could see where I was well but I kept track of it. I know when I see the Sunoco Station and the IGA I get off the next stop. I got off and saw the IGA? What happened? I was a stop early. No big deal, it's only a few blocks to the next stop. I walked and saw an ice cream place I never noticed before. That was perfect, the one thing I really missed all day was ice cream. I had this delicious coffee ice cream with chocolate swirls on a very good sugar cone. I kept walking and noticed that nothing looked familiar. I realized that I hadn't gotten off the wrong stop and was just blind. Yes, another idiot story and this time my idiocy was rewarded with ice cream!
Once I was above ground on the subway I started to check in on my fantasy baseball team. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I had two home runs in my first 5 at bats. The home runs kept coming. I ended up with a ridiculous 7 homers and 14 RBIs. Those are the two categories I could really move up in. On the pitching side Steven Wright gave up no runs in 7.3 innings and got the win and both my closers got saves. I ended dup with 10+ innings giving up no runs. The upshot is that my team is now at its high water mark and in first place but the biggest margin.
When I got home I turned on the Met game, they were tied 1–1. Harvey who had been terrible all year pitched his third gem in a row, starting with the game I went to. It's all my doing. The Mets blew a bases loaded no out situation and didn't score. The Pirates had second and third and none out and didn’t' scored. I then fell asleep between innings. When I woke up the Mets had scored and it was the bottom of the 11th. I missed exactly half an inning. The Mets held on to win!
Despite five idiot stories that's how to spend a great day. I don’t know if it actually helps but it feels like it does wonders for my mental health. I was able to fall right asleep, I usually do.
I correctly knew I was too tired to write last night. Maybe this is the new normal, on the weekends I post in the mornings. It means making only 6 posts a week. I hope you can live with that. Now I'm going to make bacon and eggs.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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