Well, I survived the Lone Star state, albeit a bit worse for wear, and my pockets significantly lighter. All in all, it was an instructive journey, in a lot of ways….. A number of events that happened during the trip were obvious life-lessons, and have taught me that a) I’m not a kid anymore; b) packing light is a good thing; and c) take what is offered, especially perks due to age or disability…..
Oh, and I also found out that not only does Murphy follow me around, he delights in taking advantage of the subtle cruelties offered by travel…. such as convincing myself to take a cab home from the airport, giving me an clueless driver who proceeded to take the wrong freeway on the way to Vallejo, treating me to a memory-filled jaunt through the streets of Berkeley, in order to get back on the right freeway, and, adding another hour to the trip…. If I had sat back and closed my eyes, we would have ended up in Fresno…
I found out that I’m no longer the invulnerable, indefatigable young man I used to be. I used to be able to drive as long as I needed to drive, without becoming overly tired, hour after hour; this time, a four hour drive around central Texas, and I’m ready for a week off, with lots of sleeping on the agenda. An almost four hour plane ride from Austin to Oakland almost killed me, coming on top of the drive, and the four hour wait to board the flight, which Murphy had been so kind as to delay in its trip to Austin. Even waiting in the airport was hard, as the seats in most of the ones I’ve been to are not well designed for long periods of time, especially the ones near the Internet hot spots…..
Packing light is a learned skill, one I’ve always been fair at, just not experienced enough to become totally efficient. I end up carting around a bunch of stuff that I never use on the trip, making it dead weight. Until I can get a good ultra-thin laptop designed for travelers, I have to take my laptop, which is not huge, but still weighs enough to strain my pitiful back muscles. I need to learn not to take enough stuff to set up a new bivouac, and save the weight for stuff I pick up along the way. I didn’t need a lot of what I ended up taking, so this was an quite instructive trip in that regard…
Part of what made it hard is my own stubbornness against accepting the fact that I’m disabled. I didn’t want to be one of those folks who use a wheelchair to get around in the airport, preferring to walk, even though I have to walk with my stick, and limp a lot of the way due to hip pain. Then, since I didn’t claim my disability, I ended up standing around in lines, hurting, wishing I’d used the wheelchair, as those passengers board first. If I take the perks, I would be able to go through the security check points without having to stand in long lines, as well as boarding the plane first. I no longer give a shit about appearing to be disabled, because, hey, I am disabled….
In the future, I’m going to take all the perks I can, because I just don’t have the strength any longer to put up with the physical demands that even flying presents. Planes are faster, and more comfortable than a train, as the train is constantly rocking and rolling on the tracks, whereas the plane is relatively smooth, other than the pockets of turbulence. The seats on a train are more comfortable, for sure, and it is usually less crowded, and not so stuffy on a train as it is on the plane. But, those are the ONLY advantages, as far as I can see…..
I’m glad I took this trip, and not just because I got to see my high school friend for a good visit. I also am convinced that what I’ve learned on this trip will help me in my upcoming big trip to Europe next month (I leave in 14 days!…..). I’m packing light, going to check my big bag, and keep only my meds, my laptop, and a book with me on the plane (And my tickets & passport, of course…..). I’m going to take all the disability perks I can. And, I’m going to have a great time, even if Murphy tries to come along; I’ll just bribe him somehow to take a vacation with me, so he’ll leave me be for a few days…. It sure would be nice to be free of his attentions, even if it’s only for a short while.
I see that I’ve rambled on quite a bit here, and we’re still in the intro section. I guess I’m making up for yesterday’s post…. I do have other stuff to do today, like a dentist visit, so I’d best get on with today’s dive…. I hope I didn’t bore anyone, or lose any readers from prattling on for so long about a simple trip, and will now try to maintain a bit more focus on the purpose here…. not that I always know what that purpose may be…. Nevertheless, we go on….. Shall we Pearl?…..
“Dwell not upon thy weariness, thy strength shall be according to the measure of thy desire.” — Arab proverb
Well, Smart Bee is quite perceptive this morning….. In the discussion above regarding strength and the demands of traveling, this takes on new significance. It is a truism, especially true for men; more so, I think, than for women (and nothing sexist meant by that…. men and women are different…. get used to it….). I know that, for me, having a purpose gives me the strength to complete the task, no matter what it may entail. I’ve stayed up for 2 or more days, at times, when there was good reason, and felt no ill effects afterward, other than a strong desire to sleep for a long time. Even when I am already tired, bringing my mental focus onto whatever strong reason I have to assume a duty will always dismiss the fatigue, and draw upon inner resources to give me the energy to keep on working, or doing whatever needed doing.
I don’t believe this is any different for me than it is for anyone else; as humans, we have a strength of will that, if honed and sharpened, can give us the ability to put aside mere physical demands, overcoming any such weakness by the application of will power. A perfect example of this was when I drove to Austin from Houston, yesterday, on the way home. The four hour drive came after a very long day the day before, about 3 hours sleep, and an emotional visit with my friend… I was completely drained, I thought…. But, then, on the drive, I realized that if I gave in to my fatigue, I’d get stuck in Texas until I recovered…. So, I stopped, got some fresh air, and pushed on, replenishing my strength with the promise of rest when I arrived at the airport….
Even though I had to tell myself a lie like that (the physical demands at the airport meant no rest at all for me, but I didn’t tell myself that while driving….) by accepting the duty involved, I was able to draw upon hidden resources of energy to get me through the drive. I needed a lot more lies to get me all the way home, to make it through the 4 hour wait, the 4 hour flight, and the unexpected extra hour on the cab ride from the airport to my house…. I made it, as always, and seven hours of sleep in my own bed seems to have fixed all my problems…. at least, if how much I write is any indication… I’ve been at this for about an hour now, and I’m already approaching a couple thousand words, in the first section….
I’ll not torture y’all any further on this thought, except to say this…. We, as humans, have the will power to accomplish anything…. anything at all. If our minds can conceive of a thing, we can make that thing a reality, whether it is large or small, simple or complex, long or short of duration. None of that matters, when we have decided on a course of action…. It is a valuable characteristic, and not well understood by most people; they use it without ever considering its true power, or its importance to them. Learn to focus the will, to bring your attention onto what is duty, freely chosen, and you will find that there is nothing you desire that you cannot achieve…. Word…..
“And now there is merely silence, silence, silence, saying all we did not know.” — William Rose Benet
In the attempt to stay with fresh material, I am including here a haiku I wrote while on the plane home from Texas…. The poem was begun when I finally got home, while I was trying to relax enough to go to bed; I finished it just a few minutes ago, which gave me the title….. It’s not the best I’ve ever done, and may go through more editorial changes, but, it will do for one of the first poems I’ve tried to write on demand, instead of waiting until it leaked out of my head…. As every day this month, these are being included as part of the April National Poetry Writing Month Challenge, with the updates to be found here: http://www.napowrimo.net/ I hope you enjoy them…..
Flying home tonight,
long, hot, interesting flight.
Will it ever end?
Pensive early and late….
Endings aren’t always a new beginning
I’m sad to say.
Sometimes it’s just an ending
there’s always a price to pay.
Still, it’s only money, he said
watching it piss away
Did everything ‘cept meet Fred
‘n had a good time the whole way.
Even the bad stuff turned out well,
life lessons are just that way.
Knowing what’s right, you can’t always tell,
we don’t always know the right things to say.
I’ll take all the hard times, without complaint,
learning isn’t always easy to take.
Kindness, patience, compassion without restraint,
are still the best decisions we can make.
~~ gigoid ~~
Well, I haven’t really ranted today, but, I’ve held you captive long enough, so I won’t start one now…. We’ll go old-school for the final section, with a five, or seven star pearl of great luster, with an inspiring core meaning to each of the included quotes, all tied up with a logical bow…. I hope. Smart Bee sometimes has its own ideas of what is right for a particular pearl, so we’ll see what comes together, and hope for the best….
“Don’t despair over futility; remember, it also rains over the ocean.” — Smart Bee
“A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew.” — Herb Caen
“History records no more gallant struggle than that of humanity against the truth.” — Smart Bee
“Decay, inherent in all component things.’ — Buddha-last words
“The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself.” — Winston Churchill
“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.” — Sun Tzu (fl. c. B.C. 500)
“I am not an animal! I am … well, not an animal.” — Smart Bee
I knew Smart Bee would get its six cents in, but, I can’t complain, because it’s fine, just the way it is….. This one will be on the Quiz, ffolkes, so I hope you took notes…
Whew! What a relief….. I guess I needed that, which is why I went overboard on the personal revelations today….. Let’s see how it proofs…. Hmm, not too shabby, and much better than I had thought it might be after such an exhausting trip. I’ll take it, and so will you, and like it…. Hah! Gotcha!….
Okay, no more Stooges humor…. I’ll let you off with a warning, this time…. and, no, I have no idea where THAT came from. I suppose it’s been sitting in my head for several days, waiting for me to lose focus for just an instant, so it could take over my fingers….. Don’t take it personally, please, it’s just a yoke…. Oh, boy, now I’ve really done it… Sorry ’bout that…. Bye now…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.
Which is Why….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.