Saturday, August 02, 2014

What becomes of the Broken Hearted

Daniel linked a blog post on Facebook yesterday: Everyone I know is Broken Hearted. I checked it out because I am interested in how people talk about broken heartedtness. I skim read it and then went back and read it again. Thought about it while I was swimming.
Josh (the writer) feels that the best of his generation (yes I am referencing Howl) are miserable and achingly sad. He starts by talking about own personal sadness and then frames it in generational terms and some of the most intractable world  problems. I share much of his perspective although we are of different generations and he has not much regard for mine with our "failed rhetoric". (Dude. We didn't all become yuppies.) I thought as much about why I was thinking about the post as I did the post. A case could be made that Josh is a relatively entitled white guy having a tantrum. I'm not making that case.
Although I often resent the fact that I know way more about people elevated in popular culture than I should considering how insipid I feel they are, Josh goes a bit far for me in his imagining about what could/should happen to them. And this is an example of how I found what he was saying full of insight and shrouded in unprocessed ill will.
We do that.
I do that.
There are days when something falls off the counter and I react as if gravity has it out for me personally. I try to make a joke out that feeling but I really am that petulant and self absorbed.
Years ago I was working in restaurant owned by two friends of mine. One of the friends had what felt like her whole family working there. One of her brothers was extremely nervous. His nerves made him a bit slow and in a restaurant slow is a problem. I had a friend working with me one night. I think we had a big party or something. The brother dropped a tray full of something. I don't even remember what. I remember it was something I had worked on and was going to need to do again and I reacted with anger and frustration. My friend bent over and started cleaning it up.
That moment changed me. I knew I resented having the brother as the guy who was supposed to help me. He wasn't able. I knew I was working hard and not making a lot of money and was tired. But I was also mean. My friend just did what needed to be done. It was her first response. Not hate. Not self pity. She just took care of things. I'm not saying that I never reacted poorly again in similar situations but I had that image of her grabbing a broom and a dust pan while I  slammed something and swore. Swore at a guy with nerves so ragged he trembled.
I'm not saying Josh should find some thing to do. I hate that. I loathe the whole be positive, find your bliss, be grateful, you deserve this yada yada. Josh is doing what he needs to do. He's venting. He's brave enough to do it in public where people will spell check him and correct his syntax and focus on one point ignoring the context.
Text. We try to put our hearts in text. Sometimes it works better than other times.
Before there was a 9/11 there was Pearl Harbor. And that generation reacted the way they did. Different time. Radios and  newsreels not Twitter and Facebook but the same quality. Something terrible happens and it hurts.
I reread the post today so I could write my reaction. And then I wondered why I was reacting at all.
I guess. Maybe.  Because I really am interested in how we feel our way through these times. The news lately. My own failings. My loneliness. I know I gotta find. Some kind of peace of mind.
Josh knows that too. I don't think the hope makes the sadness worth while. I think the sadness is worth while. Of course we're sad. Of course we're aching. We are if we have lived and risked and lost. The broken hearted are the ones who are paying attention. And the real work is in the moment when you get out of the bed, eat your cereal and get on with the day. That's the moment when you choose to hold the sorrow. Not ignore it but hold it. And do what needs to be done. Sweep up the mess. Get on with your job.
Maybe something wonderful will happen.
Maybe it won't.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


For years an internal clock would start ticking  every time I stood up. If you spent any amount of time with me you'd hear me say I had to get off my knee. The pain would become overwhelming fairly quickly. Faster with each passing year. It's been about a month since the Cortisone shot and I am still in much less pain, which is pleasantly surprising. I have never been completely pain free but I have had moments in which my knee has felt almost normal.
I have more range of motion. I can take full steps instead of shuffling. I can stand longer and walk farther. Just now I took the garbage out, stopped to pick up mail and got back to my apartment before the pain began. And it wasn't even that much pain. It isn't a lot of distance but it's been hard for me to do with out stopping to rest the knee.
There is more than one kind of pain. Some of it is in the muscles and tendons around the joint. I've been working with a massage/Rolfer guy who was doing such good work on the knee before the shot. I've seen him once after the shot and it helped so much.
Swimming helps and I am swimming fairly regularly now. My muscles have adjusted and I don't get as wiped out.
One day last week I woke up achy. I figured the shot had worn off. But it was raining and when it stopped I felt better.
The knee has been stiff, achy and weak for the last two or three days but I'm wearing new shoes. My old shoes were very broken down and I am getting much more support, which is good and should help but the alignment of my ankles, my knees, my hips and my back is shifted and I am adjusting. It's always something.
Still. The shot seems to have helped and seems to be lasting way longer that I thought it would. I'd like to get one in every joint I have.
Those moments when the knee felt normal were amazing. One morning I was standing doing something inconsequential and realized there was no ticking. The freedom in that moment is like nothing I've ever felt.
If you haven't read Flowers For Algernon the title of this post will make no sense. I can get three shots a year. How long will they last? Will the swimming and new shoes and the massage help them last longer? The ticking is actually still there. Just sounds a little different.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Page

I created a Facebook Page for the blog.
The amount of time I spend on Facebook is curious even to me. I have friends who will have nothing to do with social media and friends who use it to document their lives, or chat. I understand both positions. It's really replaced my blog roll in terms of how I spend my morning. It's not as satisfying in many ways. But it is full of things that keep me scrolling.
I have read that people get their news from Facebook or Twitter. Twitter just confuses and overwhelms me. I keep trying to understand it and spend more time on it but it's just so frenetic. I get some news on Facebook via links to news sources but I would never want to depend on it. One day I saw a link from a very right leaning page dissing the left via some kind of body shaming followed by a post from a left dissing the right with some kind of body shaming.  Not at all useful. Or interesting. Or fun. I'd be interested in what the right has to say but posts about something stupid said by someone trying to make a name for themselves by being extreme aren't how I want to spend my time. I do get news from Facebook. I learn about new babies and new jobs and what my favorite restaurant is serving and even some national/international stuff.
There's no doubt that Facebook has changed the way I use the Internet.
I think Susan made a page for her blog (which I can not find now) a year or so ago and I tried to make a page then but failed. There was a page created but I don't seem to be the administrator. Weird.
Maybe I'll write more now that I have a Facebook Page. Right?
I really have a hard time getting things done these days. I have a lot of theories about why and I push myself but the facts are I just don't do that much. There are reasons that seem to make sense. Emotional issues. Physical limitations. But jeez.
I loved the rhythm of morning blogging. I'd read blogs. My writing might be a reaction. I tried to participate in the big blog world conversation. I don't think it was great writing. I think I fumbled a lot. I remember the first post. I remember being excited and inept with the technical skills. It was kind of thrilling. Blogs have been slagged as narcissism. Elevated as opinion sources. Parleyed into media careers, books and movies. My blogging shut down during the EA years. I've lost the rhythm.    
It matters because it is the work I could do. I could write. I could rewrite the book and self publish. I could build up the blog. I could. I should.Yeah. I could promote the blog on Facebook. I could get lots of likes for my page. Yeah.
I guess we'll see how it goes.