April 26, 2020
It’s been a while since I indulged my frenetic and often erroneous typing on a blank screen like morse code without any specific intelligible or coherent message. What really gives this process of committing thought to page the fits is my typing style, which is akin a to a chicken on Adderall at feeding time and is a direct product of all those middle school computer classes where speed was of equal to greater value than accuracy. So there you have our culture, a cracked out chicken…I mean a culture of speed and quantity over quality and I am a dyed in the wool product of that ethos. There are times I squelch remorse over the apparent adhesion to that lifestyle with the clinking of ice in a glass, but the hyper activity of my cultural heritage does lend itself well to someone with a short attention span and who has never had a lot of success doing anything anywhere for more than a few months. Type type type, backspace type….(Full disclosure: I had to stop three times to write that last sentence to correct my horrific spelling and typing skills…4 more for this sentence in parenthesis).
I would think that if one any key on this QWERTY keyboard were to kick the bucket, it’d for sure be the backspace. Just a rough guess: for every one letter of forward progress there are probably somewhere between .5 and .7 letters of regression; luckily forward progress goes to the runner. I think what I like so much, obviously, about word processing on a computer is exactly this ability to correct and backspace out of existence any errors in your being. It’s a do over key; the click of regret nullified, a clean slate, a clean start. Maybe that is the rhyme of the remorseful, the song of the sinner. Too serious? I am from the video game generation where no matter how badly you were schooled by the level boss or how many times you forgot the melodies on your ocarina of time, there was always a redo, another chance to dance free of the scars of the past. That’s better, a nice and cute metaphor that keeps me from seriously talking about my feelings. Or maybe that’s the end game: just smiling and not diving deep just because you can; where nothing is left except a humorous reflection on the chaos of the cosmos as you sit comfortably in the middle of it all focusing on real issues like should I give a darker roast coffee a vaulted place in my morning habits unseating the medium roast that has held court for years or spending hours wondering if you’ll some day be able to wiggle your pinky toes.
*Blatant and instantly regrettable reaching connection time: I could see there being some correlation between one’s typing style and how one lives their life, goes about their day, are as a lover and as a friend. Now, I’m not going to play armchair psychologist to myself, that just seems like a wormhole without an terminus, but I will say that I move fast, make mistakes, correct them and move on only to make the same mistakes over and over again without sign of lesson learned or marked improvement. While this must prove to be an intolerable personal trait to my partner, at a certain age you must accept who you are and not sell yourself as anything other than another blundering human with no real idea of what is going on. I have tried to learn from my mistakes, plan with lists, move slower and more deliberate, and not blunder so much but…
1. I will always make mistakes, but I do feel that I am luckily reaching a carrying capacity for how many I make on any given day, maybe 5 if I had to put a number on it. So if I am destined to folly 5 times a day, isn’t it better for at least a few of those to be familiar mistakes? I mean, if I don’t remember to check the diaper bag when I leave with the baby, at least when I do I’m not too surprised and therefore not too upset. As a matter of fact, the more you mess up the more resiliency you build to future incarnations of that mistake. In this case, I now have diapers and wipes and god knows what other baby paraphernalia in my car “just in case,” ready for the next time I forget.
2. I have tried to move slower, mostly so I don’t stub my toes ten times a day on the high chair in our kitchen, but also in life in general. I have really tried to wake up slow, have coffee, sit on the couch and talk about the day to come, but in the end I just get anxious as though it’s gonna be noon before I know it and all I have done is drain a pot of coffee (although now with kids that coffee till noon thing sounds delightful). Moving slow feels good, kinda like yoga or meditation. My brain feels calm and my general anxiety about everything is abated, but one can only stay in that mindset for too long. It’s like vacation, it’s fun but at some point you have to go home and let the cats out.
3. Lists. I have to admit I like lists, but I usually forget them so it seems like an activity null and void of meaning.
4. To blunder is to accept the unknown as a realistic possibility. I wrote about the blunder lifestyle in a past blog, but basically Joseph Campbell wrote about the blunder as a doorway to the adventurous unknown, which to me cements it as a legit lifestyle.
Well, that started about as usual, some random thoughts loosely tied to a mediocre insight into myself and/or our culture and/or fishing, Nature or a random animal that I decided to learn about that day. It’s funny because randomness, when I give a minute of thought, is my nature: to ramble about shit that might be merely interesting or scratch a whim of fancy but that totally avoids all authentic or honest admittance of my feelings or what have you. I see life like a leaf on a pond. Oof, that statement has a horribly contrived soul worthy of Hallmark or an On Golden Pond reboot. Anyway, going with it…Yeah, I totally admit there is for sure a hell of a lot more below the leaf that would probably be infinitely more satisfying and would secure a greater return on my time invested, but for god’s sake, look at that leaf? I mean, it just floats around, creating little waves, telling of the surface winds and meniscus tension and, oh snap! it just changed directions again…Now, I don’t want to sound like a simpleton, I have spent my hours in existential crisis and maybe I did stare too long into the abyss trying to figure out what the groove is all about. Maybe I’m just at the point where the leaf is enough.
I call BS.
I do care what’s under the leaf. You have to care what’s under the leaf. Humans have created thousand s of stories and belief systems to explain what’s under the leaf so to not be curious or honor that depth is to thumb your nose at thousands of years of curiosity, religion, intellect, story telling, searching, pondering and enlightenment.
Bear with me, this just popped in there. How do we search for the hidden? Books? Religious centers? Hooch? No judgment to any of those. For some the answer will be stock, complete with a water stamp. For others, no matter how much we try to explain ourselves we often just end up at the back of the bar drinking whiskey and coke, plugging quarters in the jukebox and tying flies for tomorrows blue wing olive hatch. Some walk to Mecca. For other’s it’s fantasy football. I might have gone a a few Catholic churches a decade ago to scope out the rad architecture and to see if there was any depth. Spoiler alert: there was. So was there on the Boulder River in Montana, in the warm moments with my wife, in the perfect bone broth soup in Burlington, when I first saw my daughter, at Lambeau Field with my dad and brother. I guess there is depth everywhere, but what becomes of you if you stop to appreciate all those moments in situ? You either become a holy roller or a useless puddle of spiritual goo. Is it worth the risk? Enlightenment or enpuddlement.
The search for the hidden takes us to the deep boreal forests in January where Aspen tress explode and the ghosts of sled dogs howl at a crescent moon. They take us to the high deserts in Nevada where dirty kids trade quartz pendants for cigarettes and beer on cheap knock off Navajo blankets. It leads you to a dense forest where you follow a turtle underwater until to reach a bonfire with dancing figures calling you to join; you don’t go though knowing your work here isn’t done yet. You find dusty prophets in box cars in Salt Lake City, charlatans who steal your hard earned busker money in Phoenix and you learn to avoid any person or city named Zane for fear of vehicular mishaps. You learn things along the way, like bribing police in Costa Rica isn’t that bad, it’s actually kinda cute and endearing. You learn the there is so much beyond us, that we are just blurry apparitions moving through a field of ions and fantasy, pushing aside the ghosts of our ancestors like so much kelp swaying in the North Pacific Gyre. Then fast forward 10 years and you’ve forgotten all that animistic craziness and turn into an anxious monster who can only focus on right now. But you did put in the time and it changed you despite the mess you’ve become.
How much can we change over this short life time? I mean, we all carry a little genotypic plasticity in our cumulative codex, so shouldn’t we be able to bend towards the sunlight or grow towards a better version of ourselves? I guess I’d like to think so, but the older I get the less I am inclined to believe I have a whole lot of plasticity in my makeup. We all want to change to be a better form of ourselves, but we also need to know that as much as we’d like to be a racoon, we are just a common dandelion and no amount of plasticity is going to change that. Maybe it’s all about making the best changes we can without being burdened by expectation. Like I can strive to plan better and not be so direly dependent on being sporadic and zesty…no, zesty is not the right word, it just made me feel good writing it. Sporadic and unprepared? Unrealistically optimistic and flighty? So yeah, I can strive to plan better and not be so concretely adhered to being a head in the clouds wanderer. I can make better lists, try to be more grounded in my expectations and not follow every detour in my path, but who would I be left with if all of those changes came to fruition? Can plasticity go too far? Obviously not in the scientific world, but here in the free form essay world, I would say yes. Can you drop one splash of red dye in a bucket of blue without a change? Sure but after a thousand drops you have purple (yes, I know purple isn’t a real color, but I went with it because it fit my analogy). You can let as many drops into your bucket as you see fit, that’s cool, no judgment, just don’t be surprised when you wake up one day stuck somewhere between mauve and plum.
So were we sit. Willing to change but maybe expecting a biological impossibility to occur in order for symbiosis to keep the peace at home. I think if I knew how to end this essay I’d be a huge step closer to repairing strained relationships in my life and understanding myself at a nucleic level. But alas, here I am backspacing and day dreaming about summer days fishing for lazy trout and watching the leaves float by on the current. Oh snap! Is just changed directions again!