And then I woke up….. in my own bed! All I can say is “yay”, no exclamation point; I’m too tired to reach that high on the keyboard. I got home about 2:30 or 3 PM, after spending a bit of time trying to connect with my ride. We found each other in relatively quick order, and he took me home, to my everlasting delight, where I almost squeezed milady Pat until she popped; I’m surprised she has any skin left after me kissing it so much….. 🙂 If you can’t tell, I was happy to be home, as much as I enjoyed the trip.
It warms me, it charms me,
To mention but her name;
It heats me, it beats me,
And set me a’ on flame.
— “Robbie” Burns
In order to try to mitigate the jet-lag effects, I pushed myself to stay up a while, until the fatigue caught up with me at about 8:30 last night, and I collapsed into bed. I slept somewhat poorly, even though every bone and muscle in my body rejoiced when I laid down in my own familiar bed. I could feel myself totally relaxing, almost orgasmic; unfortunately, my brain had other ideas, and proceeded to race like a Ferrari at Le Mans, despite having been up and functional for damn close to twenty-four hours.
At 8:30 PM in Vallejo, when I went down, it was 4:30 AM the next day, in London, where my body still believes me to be. Since I had arisen there at 5:00 AM to go catch the plane, this old body got pushed for 23.5 hours, which destroyed all my physical energy, but left me wide awake with a mind confused as to the correct time it should be counting….. SIGH…. It’s tough getting old…. though I’m still tough, getting old is tougher, I think….
My overactive mind kept me on the brink of awareness all night, adding in more strange dreams when I did manage to fall under Morpheus’ spell, eventually giving up the ghost at about 3:30 AM, when I gave up trying to fall asleep, and got up to start writing. While talking with milady last night, I found I DID have a lot to talk about on the trip, so I’m hoping some of that comes through this morning as I write…. One may always hope, n’est pas?…..
In keeping with that sense of hope, I’m going to call this an intro, such as it is, and start putting together a Pearl for today. If nothing else, it may tire me out enough to get a bit more sleep before the rest of the world here on the West Coast wakes up and gets active. It is a Sunday, and the middle of the long weekend for Memorial Day, tomorrow, so it should be fairly quiet, all things considered, and I should be able to get some stuff done (like composing a necessary letter to my doctor, who has seen fit to go all anal about my pain meds and the presence of cannabinoids in my lab work.
It promises to be quite a battle, as I pit my Constitutional rights against the legal department of a large HMO, which has his balls in their hand. I’ll need to be persuasive, indeed, to be able to get him to stand up to them and make a decision based on my medical needs rather than the company’s legal policies and requirements (which, in my view, violate my confidentiality, and my Constitutional right to determine my own welfare).
Any who, that, and some other stuff that piled up while I was away in Europe, should keep ME busy…. let’s see if I can give y’all something interesting and fun to keep your minds in trim…. Shall we Pearl?…..
“We’re going to find out tonight who the oldest lady in the audience is. And we have a marvelous present for her. When we find the oldest lady, we’re going to give her … the oldest man. The first time we tried this was about ten years ago. We had a very nice lady in our audience. She was 87 years old, as I recall. We introduced her that evening to a man from Chicago who was 96, and shortly thereafter, believe it or not, they were married. It was a lovely story. And that wasn’t the end of it either. I read in the paper recently where that woman has just given birth to a beautiful 47-year-old baby boy!” — Steve Allen
Very popular in his own time, which came at the very beginnings of television on a nationwide basis, Steve Allen was a brilliant comedian, and, in his own way, a pretty decent social philosopher and critic, along the lines of a colleague of his, in later days, George Carlin. Both had a unique, hilarious, and sharply insightful understanding of American culture of their time, and spared no one in the pointed nature of their comedic observations on that culture. This was the second offering by Smart Bee, and just tickled my funny bone, so I thought it would make a good intro for an old-school, harlequin pearl…..
As always, the random nature of this process prevents me from knowing ahead of time what will come up, or what point it will make; that point is one I prefer to leave in the competent hands, and minds, of my oh-so-very-intelligent Gentle Readers (I know, shameless, aren’t I?)…. Any who, here is a five-, or seven-star pearl, fresh from the depths of Smart Bee, all pointing at some characteristic of human nature, or human culture, if such a word can be applied to what we do on this planet on a daily basis…..
“Better be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo.” — Emerson
“Never try to explain computers to a layman. It’s easier to explain sex to a virgin.” — Robert Heinlein
“I am not asleep.” — Ronald Reagan
(Oddly enough, some people believed him..)
“Doing my part to preserve order in the universe.” — Smart Bee
“A society that puts equality — in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom… On the other hand, a society that puts freedom first will, as a happy by-product, end up with both greater freedom and greater equality.” — Milton and Rose Friedman _Free to Choose_
“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” — J.K. Rowling, Padfoot Returns, — Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,2000, — spoken by the character Sirius Black
“I understand “stressed.” It’s “desserts” backwards.”– Smart Bee, in good form…
Well, that’s seven, but with the initial quote by Mr. Allen, it’s actually eight, so, the laws of conservation of energy require one last perfect pearl, to bring it all home, and drive the point squarely on the point to be made…..
“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.” — Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) — Quoted in Francoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso, pt. 1 (1964)
Who then, it occurs to me to ask, is competent to judge the quality of His Art in creating us?…… Of course, this assumes one accepts the whole God idea as a higher power, but, I find this to be a useful idea, anyway, as it certainly puts us in the proper perspective…… Oh well, since it fell apart a bit at the end there, we’ll just go on….
I’m afraid I was a bit ruthless in the poetry section over the course of my trip, with entirely too much of it coming from my archives, egotist that I am…. So, to make up for it, I’ll find something actually worth your time to read…. Here is something from the brilliant Mssr. Pope, with a little ditty that gives a good idea of how much simpler life was in the centuries preceding the Industrial Age…… Enjoy!
Oh Tyrant Love! hast thou possest
The prudent, learn’d, and virtuous breast?
Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And Arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
But ent’ring learns to be sincere.
Marcus with blushes owns he loves,
And Brutus tenderly reproves.
Why, Virtue, dost thou blame desire,
Which Nature has imprest?
Why, Nature, dost thou soonest fire
The mild and gen’rous breast?
Love’s purer flames the Gods approve;
The Gods and Brutus bent to love:
Brutus for absent Portia sighs,
And sterner Cassius melts at Junia’s eyes.
What is loose love? a transient gust,
Spent in a sudden storm of lust,
A vapour fed from wild desire,
A wand’ring, self-consuming fire,
But Hymen’s kinder flames unite;
And burn for ever one;
Chaste as cold Cynthia’s virgin light,
Productive as the Sun.
Oh source of ev’ry social tie,
United wish, and mutual joy!
What various joys on one attend,
As son, as father, brother husband, friend?
Whether his hoary sire he spies,
While thousand grateful thoughts arise;
Or meets his spouse’s fonder eye;
Or views his smiling progeny;
What tender passions take their turns,
What home-felt raptures move?
His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns,
With rev’rence, hope, and love.
Hence guilty joys, distastes, surmises,
Hence false tears, deceits, disguises,
Dangers, doubts, delays, surprises;
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine
Purest love’s unwasting treasure,
Constant faith, fair hope, long leisure,
Days of ease, and nights of pleasure;
Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
~~ Alexander Pope ~~
As might be expected after the night I spent, any ranting I might like to do would end up pretty obscure and relatively disconnected from anything similar to Reality, so I’m not going to embarrass myself, and amuse y’all, by trying to make any particular sense. Instead, I’ll bring my trip to a close, with a few comments, of course….
If one considers the judgment of success in Life, as I do, more a matter of what has been learned, about people, the world, and hence, myself rather than what one has garnered in real goods, or acquired as property, or how many times one has been seen as a success by others, for whatever strange reason, whether it be envy, naivete, or the result of extraordinary display of skills admired by those others (athletes, actors, bankers, anyone who assumes power over the affairs of others, and others of such ilk….). Success, to me, can only be judged according to the terms I set myself, not by anyone else, and learning is what I consider the most valuable skill I can employ, to achieve my version of success…
What did I learn from this trip? I think I learned the most about myself, as usual, by noting and observing the differences in my ability to travel now, and when I was younger. My reaction to those differences, naturally, set the tone for everything else I did while away; if fatigued, I got around a bit less; if not, my priorities for things to do were affected by age, to some extent. It seems that every time I turn around, some new aspect of growing older presents itself to me, in such ways that I cannot just brush them off as unimportant.
On the other hand, being older has not slowed or diminished my mind, nor dulled my perceptions; in fact, I see more, hear more, forget little, and think more quickly than ever before in my life. This allows me to enjoy more of what I see, as well as regret some of it, for the indications of how the world is under the surface. So, there are trade-offs for the aging process…. I guess I’m saying that it has been driven home to me on this trip that the world, while flawed in many ways, is a beautiful place to live, and I wouldn’t go back in time for anything; there is too much to see right now….
On that hopeful note, (perhaps, some might say, an unusual occurrence around here….), I will, for the moment, leave Europe behind, and live in the NOW, here, where my heart is, hence, is home…. Here is the picture I took on the trip that best explains what I mean, as well as being the best photo of all of them….
Whoa! I realized, just now, how appropriate this picture is…. Can you tell, by looking at it, whether it is a picture of a sunrise, or a sunset?…. The point being, does it matter? If it is of a sunset, it is a fitting finish to a great learning experience, one in which I found great joy, and great pleasure, as well as the opposite side of that coin…. If it is a sunrise, then it also fits, as a fine prelude to a new day, in which there will always be something to learn, something to enjoy, and, if I’m lucky, someone to love…. So far, so good….
Well…. THAT felt good…. let’s see how it floats….. Works for me…. So much so, I won’t say anything else… except, of course,…. 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.