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
-Bertrand Russell

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

January 06, 2018 - 1:36 p.m.

A Tale of Two Drivers

I had therapy yesterday, the traveling proved an adventure. My warmest hat has pig tails with balls trailing form the side. As I went to put it on one of them got entangled with one straps from one of my canvas shopping bags. It wouldn't come loose till I put everything down and used two hands. That cost me a minute. I missed my bus by half a minute. That meant I had to take a later train to Harrison. The bus from the train station to the hospital runs only once an hour, Westchester is not civilized. That train comes too late for the bus, so I had to take a cab. I hardly ever do that but by chance I had the same driver I had last time. This mentioned that, he remembered me, and we had a pleasant conversation. We started on the weather of course and what we do to keep warm. That led to him telling me he was a hunter and the clothes he bought to keep warm while hunting. I don't hunt. I would never hunt. I can't get pleasure out of killing an animal. But I didn't say anything like that. It's something reasonable people can disagree about; it's not like he's hunting people. Instead I turned the conversation to The American Sportsman a TV show from our youth. One episode had William Shatner hunting bear with a bow and arrow. It was an odd show for me to watch, I even watched it when it didn't have Star Trek actors on it. I liked the fishing episodes. It cost me $5 I would have rather not spent but I enjoyed the trip.

My therapy session started late. There were problems with the patients before me. My sessions with her almost always go long so I can't complain. I know she was late because she had to be late. My concern was that I'd miss the bus back to the train station. I deliberately didn't look at my watch. She did, she made sure I would have time to make the bus at 4:11. Too bad the bus leaves at 3:48. I missed it. I could wait the 37 minutes for the next bus but instead I walked. The wind-chill was 0°F and much of the sidewalk had not been shoveled but I did it. If I had waited for the bus, I'd have had take a train that left a half an hour later. The bus just misses the train. I was prepared for this. I wore my insulated boots over wool thermal socks over cotton socks. I wore two pairs of long underwear, one was silk and the other silk-weight polyester. On top I had my parker over an alpaca sweater over a flannel shirt, over a long-sleeve t-shirt. On my head I had the aforementioned hat and the parker's hood. On my hand I had my Nepalese hunter mittens. I was positively toasty. I should have put my scarf over my face, that was the only part of me that was in the least big cold.

The next problem came from my bus transfer from the 45 to the BX29. I do that in the middle of Pelham Bay Park. My plan was to track the BX29 on the MTA Bustime website and if it was going to just miss it take the 45 all the way to Pelham Bay Station. If I had to wait there I could do it inside Dunkin' Donuts. So, what happened? The GPS on the next BX29 wasn't working. I couldn't track it. I knew it's approximate scheduled time. It's not listed on the PDF but the stop before it is. The problem is I'm not sure how long that trip takes. The timing would be close. I decided to risk it. I wanted to get home. I got off the bus and walked to the BX29 stop. A pickup truck stopped and offered me a ride! I took it. I wait for the bus there all the time and in all sorts of weather and nobody had ever stopped to give me a ride before.

We started talking and things were going well. He asked how long I've been on the Island and then where I lived before. I told him Bayside then Brooklyn. He was shocked I would ever leave Bayside. He was looking to move there. I told him that it has the same problem as City Island, you can't get anywhere. And that's when things went south. He said, "That's what makes it so nice. The subways are what bring the animals." The nice guy that gave a ride to a stranger was a racist. I didn't confront him on it, after all he was giving me a ride. I just said that I loved living in Brooklyn.

There is a good side to that encounter. He was a genuinely nice person, he was also a hateful racist. How can that be? It's because people are not categorial, good and bad. We are complex, part angel part demon. They live together and mix in ways that have no rhyme nor reason. The hero of Seven-Years-in-Tibet was a Nazi. I have spoken to very nice people that were anti-Semites. They were nice to me even though I was Jewish, and they knew it. We want to put people in nice tight compartments but to do so we must ignore reality.

There was one other jarring event on the ride home. Someone left the cover off a manhole and one wheel went into it. We bottomed out. Good thing it was a big truck with big wheels. There is more than one way to be jarring.

I was going to write about something else but I'm going to leave it here. I like the symmetry of the ride with the hunter on the way out and with the racist on the way back. The hunter I like and will enjoy seeing again. I hope I never run into the racist. He can be nice and be a racist but that doesn't mean I have to like him.


I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.





Found in Cyberspace - January 11, 2018
Microwave Detecting and Ranging - January 10, 2018
Return of the Jedi References - January 09, 2018
Not Heidi, But Close - January 08, 2018
Subway Therapy - January 07, 2018



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