Publication Date 7-19-18


It’s Monday afternoon. I spent the early morning feeding chickens, answering emails and paying bills, then spent a few minutes figuring out how to deflate an inflatable kayak on our picnic table so I could fit it in its bag and return it to my grandson. He took it for a test spin on our slough last night, and for some reason, no one wanted a plastic kayak dripping slough water and seaweed in the car for the ride home.

After that, I drove for forty minutes to attend a county commissioner meeting where fifty other people and I talked about county software. We were throwing around costs in the seven digits and my guess was that only about twelve of the people in the room really knew what the discussion was about. I was floating on the ragged edge of incompetence during the discussion myself, but I’m used to that feeling.   Still, it makes me nervous.  

I gave the guy in the coffeeshop a complicated lunch order, because I’m killing time waiting for a young woman to get back to the house she rents from my daughter so I can fix her sink. Right now, I’m trying not to spill chicken wild rice soup on my laptop and I’m eating those potato chips that you get in swanky places that are about half as good as regular potato chips.

When I get home, I’ll take another pass at sweeping up the sheetrock dust from a mess I made over the weekend and then I’ll probably fix the lawnmower. It’s not broken yet, but there’s a reasonable chance that something will go wrong well before the lawn is actually mowed. Between the sheetrock dust and the broken lawnmower, I have a pretty good idea of what Purgatory is going to be like. Not quite Hell, but you can see it from there.

This morning I’ve received emails about planning for my Social Security needs, an explanation of how to pay parking tickets in Italy, and three different funding requests from political candidates.  I also got four ads for stuff I can’t afford to buy and three vacation destinations I can’t afford to go to. Plus, a couple emails I just didn’t understand, so I’m guessing they’re from Russians or Nigerians trying to steal all my money. 

My life seems complicated to me, but I know people who make my life look like a nun’s in a cloister, people whose frenetic multitasking makes me tired just hearing about it.

Some days I think there’s so much noise in the world that I wonder how anyone anywhere ever gets anything done. I don’t think it’s an accident that a lot of the famous philosophers come from the quiet places in the world – mountain tops, desert caves and deep forests. We careen from one event to the next, jobs to errands to recreation, without pausing for a deep breath, let alone deep thought.

I think a lot of people know it’s a problem, know in their heart of hearts that the path we’re on is unrewarding and unsustainable. At the same time, those same queasy people seem unable to figure out a way to slow down, like being stuck on a treadmill with no off switch.

Oh, well. Lunch is over, the leaky sink is calling me, and after that…well, after that we’ll see.

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