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
August 26, 2015 - 6:52 p.m.
I better start writing and forget about editing my pics. I have two entries to write today; I'm way behind. It's already3:31, My Gentle Readers will forget all about me.
Let me try and turn my memory back two whole days back to Monday. That's ancient history when dinosaurs roamed the earth. No yesterday is when I saw dinosaurs. Monday must be the Paleozoic. Look a trilobite!
Normally on Mondays I have therapy and I test you to see if you remember that that's what I do on Mondays. But this is New York and it's August and in August in New York all therapists go on vacation, it's an annual migration. This is a real thing. The thing is my mental health issues don't take off for August so I have to fend for myself. I stick to my routine. I don't have therapy but I still go to Union Square around the same time to get bagels; Bagel Boss has a half-price sale after 4 PM on Mondays. I can’t resist 45¢ bagels. While I was checking out I heard my name called; it was Glenn. He also can't resist 45¢ bagels. He spotted my WFUV cap. I'm blind so I don’t feel bad not spotting him. Is it wrong that I use that excuse all the time? I told him he'd get in my official list of people I randomly run into. This was the ninth time this year I've run into someone I know. That's slightly more than one a month. Just noticed that six of the nine times one of the people I ran into was Jewish or part Jewish. Is this a tribal affinity thing? Even my New York friends aren't two thirds Jewish.
Then I had to decide what to do. I wanted to be at the NYLO hotel on 77th Street at 7:30. I said goodbye to Glenn at 4:45. If I went home I'd have to turn around and go out again in an hour. That seemed silly so I decided to walk to the hotel and take my time doing it. My original plan was to walk up Broadway, the most direct route. Then I realized it would get me their way too early and I walk along Broadway all the time. My new plan was to take Broadway to Madison Square then take Fifth Avenue up to Central Park and walk across the park. That was a much better idea. I got to see thinks that used to be parts of my life that I don't see that often now, the Library on 42nd Street, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the very sad sight of Scribner's Bookstore which is now a high-end clothing store. It's a landmark so they can't change the front but what was a temple of culture is now a monument to vanity. Speaking of monuments to vanity I also passed Trump Tower. I had an idea. Whenever you past a building with his Trumpness's name on it spit in front of the entrance. I don't' think it's a good idea as it's unsanitary and punishes the innocent along with the Donald but we should do something along those lines.
I lied, I edited the photos, I deliberately took very few. This was a mental health walk. I was putting my mind at ease and it worked. But then I passed something I had to photograph. Right by Trump tower, on 57th street I saw this billboard.
Why did I take a picture? I know her, that's Julia Cumming. I took pictures of her when she was 14.
There's cognitive dissonance when you see a picture of someone you know towering over you. And yes of course she's also a musician which is why I know her. Isn't that why I know everybody? I either hear them make music or I am with them while others make music.
I entered the park on the Southeast Corner and did not take a direct route. I usually walk on the west side so I tried to stay east as long as possible. I saw the Bandshell and the statue of Balto and the Ramble. I totally forgot the statue of the Polish King at the end of the Turtle pond. Of course I went to the Bethesda Fountain. I should have taken a picture there. The scene was so much what New York is about. There was a couple getting their wedding pictures taken and right next to them was a guy busking playing the acoustic guitar. This was in that Moorish tunnel leading to the fountain. Again I was deliberately not taking photos but I did take this one because the light was striking and ephemeral. I could not take this next time I was there.
I recorded the whole walk on Map My Walk. I did a lot of zigzagging and backtracking. I'm not sure it caught all that. I have posted the maps of my walk here before but I can't see how to do that now.
Map My alk uses up a lot of energy and my phone was almost dead as I reached the wedge of the park. I went to get out my charger and it was not there. I had left it at home. Sigh, it isn't easy not having a brain.
So know how I was afraid of getting to the hotel too early. Instead I took so much time in the park that I didn't have time to get dinner. I walked in a few minutes before 7:30. OK so who knows why I had to get to the Hotel NYLO at 7:30. I have mentioned this before. It's because Tara O'Grady has a regular gig there on Monday nights. I don't go as often as I like but it's my default plan. The main reason I don't is I have to either kill 3 hours after therapy or spend the time going out then heading out again in an hour.
My Gentle Readers know that I haven't been happy of late. Not having therapy doesn’t help. I planned on pulling myself out of my funk on Monday. The walk helped a lot. My mind kept going to good places. I was thinking about ideas not myself. I thought a lot about Khalid al-Asaad, the archeologist that the Islamic State killed because he wouldn't tell them where treasures from the history city of Palmyra were hidden. I planned on writing about it and I still will, just not today. The most important thing was that when started thinking about Jurgen's shadow and the things it whispers to me I didn't follow it down the rabbit hole. Yes I'm still totally aware of the real things it tries to tell me about but I don't have to dwell on them and I didn't.
Because I was in a bad state to start I was someone daunted about going to the show. I had asked a couple of couples to join me but they couldn't. That meant I'd be spending the evening alone in a dimly lit hotel bar. That could be a recipe for depression. But it's not because I wasn't there to drink. I was there to hear the fabulous Tara O'Grady. And I wasn't even alone because Tara was there to talk to and I love Tara. It's almost a personal show. Usually there is no one else there that knows her music. This time there were three lovely Japanese women who she had run into earlier this summer and they became fans.
When she asks for requests other people ask for Standards. I try to come up with songs from her albums but of course I am an idiot and can't remember the titles. I have to say, play the song with the thing from that album. OK I know the names of the albums, but songs are tougher. I say things like Play an original song from Irish Bayou. Then she played exactly the song I wanted! Or I'll ask for something Irish. For the first time I asked for standards; Summertime and Stormy Weather I not only love those songs but I thought her voice would work well on them. I was right. Even by myself and even though I was very tired from lack of sleep and walking 5 miles I stayed the full three hours. These are totally anxiety free shows. There is no fighting crowds. I get to sit in a cushioned chair. I talk to Tara during the breaks. I hear a lot of music I don't normally hear.
So it was a very good day. Jurgen's shadow was quiet. I kept away the anxiety. I stayed for the most part in the present and had flights of fancy. I didn't obsess on the things that get me down. No I didn't make progress on the things I need to make progress on but the walk and Tara helped me more than most therapy sessions. For a day I was at peace. Wow it's almost 7 now. I spent three and a half hours writing this. I want to write about yesterday later. Maybe I'll combine what happened yesterday with what happened today in tomorrow's blog. Yesterday was eventful and needs a full accounting. The day before was not that eventful in terms of what I did, but was in terms of what I thought.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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