Friends with History

I’m used the ephemeral nature of romantic relationships.  It’s probably in my nature to be drawn to newness of new connections.  The honest self assessment in this regard and a high level view of my life has made me come to terms with the facts that many that start will eventually end and pass from my focus and even periphery as people move on.

This has led me to try and derive continuity and trust through friendships instead of romantic relationships.  Though there has for a long time been this idea that the two have a happy intersection point where past romance can turn into friendships with a level of trust and understanding that simply isn’t there in completely platonic relationships.

These relationships with people that I’ve been intimate with can be coined “friends with history”.   For many years these were my most valuable and important connections.  Some had a past long term relationships, some short term flings and some just your run of the mill thing that didn’t work out.  In 2015 three of the closest friendships with a history had ended.

I mourn the loss.   I don’t have any principals about not stepping into the river second time.  I neither feel there’s something wrong with apologizing and trying to recover something that was and has somehow failed.  This series of breaks in my life I miss immensely and can’t see a way of bringing them back.

They are ES,  MF and DD, and perhaps I will revisit them in future times just to sort out my thoughts on what happened.

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Acts of Kindness.. acts of malice

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High stress situations break down our patterns.    For some the daily patterns mean that we are oblivious of our neighbors and their troubles, for others it’s the opposite.  The external checks on our behaviors break down when the lights are out and no one is watching.

Digging into little facets of behavior and the small stories revolving around this Hurricane has been the most interesting part of the last week.   Not that a week off of work is something to scoff at but I’ve always been fascinated by questions of ethics and nature of man.

 

 


We mourn on TV

If I have not expressed my strong anti-pathy for the 24 hour news cycle, let me do so now.   i think that most thinking people know that almost eveything is distorted when it’s fed to us by the news media.   I try and not watch but find it difficult to do so for any significant time.

The election cycle,   the news of the Storm.. Shootings are all presented out of context and spark of the wrong type of conversations in the public.   They skew the narrative (my new popularized term).

Few days ago as Sandy passed through New York.  The death toll became it’s own story..   for last few days the numbers slowly ticketed up.  The numbers were followed by stories and eulogies.  About people being crushed by trees, swept away by the sea..    When the storm cleared New York city racked up 40 people over two days during which these took place..

Around I heard oh how tragic, while receiving text messages, and emails from around the world asking me if if I survived.  This was much the same for most of my friends.   As heart warming as these concerns were it struck me as quite strange how much attention was given to these seemingly small numbers.  Why are people in Moscow, Europe and Australia imagining that something would happen.   on one hand it’s a gesture of kindness, on the other hand. My chances of perishing in this storm was significantly lower then any of the other major causes of death.  

Over dinner with friends on second day after the hurricane I interjected with this point when someone mentioned the tragedies.   What tragedies I asked?   The table went silent and it was apparent it was my time to explain myself.  I’ve explained my point that the media distorts for sake of the audience     Even though there is truth that each personas misery is the greatest, a child’s scarred knee can evoke a hysteria as intense as someone losing a family member.   But at some point we ought to step back and realize that if we are to measure tragedies we do so with numbers.   A life lost in New York is equivelant to one lost in Haiti. This is where I found some disagreement, a tragedy is tragedy on any scale.   This is something I disagree with.    There is a threshold at which an unexpected or tragic event derails the normal way of life for those not immediately effected. 911, Tsunami in the Indian Ocean or Japan last year.   These wreak destruction and derail the fabric of community.   what happened here in comparison is a non-event.   

when I got home out of curiosity I looked at the mortality stats for New York city.   In a year 54000 people die a year.  which comes out to about 200 a day.   majority die of cancer, heart disease and other natural causes.   You add these 40 people, and you realize that this year the needle moved less then .001 percent.    Why are we mourning these stories, when 600 get gunned down every year?   Pedestrians are run over by cars?   Are these deaths any less tragic?   we don’t we consider them part of the background noise, part of the natural cycle.  The lives and deaths of these forty people is no more, no less significant so let’s get off our soapboxes and stop announcing how sad or tragic it is. 

There is plenty of injustices in this world that are worth talking about, worth fighting. Worth yelling about. forty people in city of 8,000,000 is not one of them.   This is simply an indication of how disconnected we have become from the reality, or how we must show our humanity.


It first wend dark

There are many stories associated with major events that rock our lives, throw our patterns of kilt.   When the latest post-hurrican storm or as now is known super-storm Sandy has passed through the city many found plenty of new ways of looking at things.   thought about things that normally don’t cross our minds.

The storm came on Monday evening,  by Monday night,   the electrical ducts throughout lower manhatten were flooded, in addition a fire at a substation on 14th street plunged half of Manhatten into darkness.   From 34th street down to Battery park the town has no electricty, functioning plumbing, hotwater.   Businesses and residences have been closed for a fifth day now

Patterns and habits are something we take for granted.   we neither praise them or blame  mostly because we’re unaware of them.  All of our calendars and schedules this week have been flipped on their head.  people in business, school have found themselves with a week off, while others struggled to find supplies, place to eat, places to stay warm.

 


Million dollar porch in Newport

Sailing…   I decided to try out sailing this weekend.. Another scouts badge.   trimming sails, tying knots, calling people mateys and Captain all in weekend.

The experience turned out to be quite fun and engaging.   Few hours of theory in the classroom learning names of boat parts like clew, and shrouds, rigging and booms.   Sailing directions and orientation.. Everything had funny names most with some old historical context.   Created context, and a thread from today back in time through Naval tradition.   As with most traditions that stay ingrained there is a certain sense of those in and out of the circle.

The class offered through living social brought together people that would never find themselves on sail boat.  Myself for one.

The experience was definitely a unique walk through a world that one rarely intersects.   One filled with sailing fanatics, and the ultra rich whose paths cross on the water.   From one side the love for the sport, the lifestyle.  For the other an outlet to show of their success.  To me this excursion was an interesting look at what the possible rewards of financial success can be one hand, while on the other the trivialities of engaging in extravagance.

Each day we’d walk by a lady sitting on the back of her Power Yacht drinking a cocktail with a small dog in her lap.   She was in her sixties and just sat there on her million dollar boat in a boring Harbor in Newport NJ.   She may as well have been rocking on a rocker on a porch of her estate in Georgia or a broken down porch in some poor town. Of course I didn’t know her, and don’t know if she’s happy, but made me feel sad in a way.  Cause both times I saw her she was alone.


Side effect: might give you vivid dreams

So three days ago on an especially no where day I wander.. and wonder.. It’s been months that I’ve been thinking and telling myself that I’m quitting smoking.  For last few years besides smoking I’ve been chewing nicotine gum.  I think it started when I tried to quit s a few years back and instead picked up an extra nicotine addiction.  SO now I still smoke approximately the same amount except when I don’t  have gum then I crave it even more.

So about a month or so ago I went to a doctor when I got my insurance again, to make sure I was in tip top shape, and since it’s been three years without insurance I started getting worried about everything, from STDs to Cancers and asked to be screened for everything.  Check my lungs I say.. and my prostate.  But apparently there is no lung check and I’m too young for prostate cancer so neither of my temporary paranoia was addressed.  Okay clean bill of health on the STDs  which was great but the rest I need to wait he says.   This irrational growing fear wasn’t addressed.  So there I was sitting there thinking that the only way to detect lung cancer is to have it at a pretty advanced stage.   I think I’d fear cancer even if I wasn’t afraid of dying.. Though honestly I am of both.. Add growing old to the list and I think my fears are covered.

So to take some action I asked for Chantix.. The anti-smoking $500 miracle cure.  The prescription was on my fridge for 2 months.. As I get it filled I was warned.  You may have VIVID dreams.   Cool.   So now I’m on day three I have four more days that I can smoke, and I’m taking advantage of it.  It’s either the fear of giving up my last vice or work or stress or life but I’ve been smoking even more now that I’ve been on it and feel nothing.  If it doesn’t help at least I’m hoping for some vivid dreams.. Cause the way I’m feeling even those would be an improvement.


Connecting the dots

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I wake this morning with the thought that my Zodiac sign.  It’s Libra or scales.  Before the advent of google sky I sometimes looked for it in the sky, or in the books and wondered how one sees scales in these six stars.  I could never find it on my own even when I thought I had the star alignment committed to memory.   Today while talking with M I pulled a section of the night sky with stars forming Libra and asked M, do you see it?  No she says.  She asked me to find Aries. I did and again we were unable to see a ram.  I looked at the stars and thought about an exercise..  make something of it, see something in it?

I imagine being given to a court astrologer somewhere in Babylon four thousand years ago, would yield completely different ideas and results.

So where did this come from and why?   Why is it that people are checking newspapers, and others use it to determine who they’re compatible with, or what future has in store for them based on something that is based on some old game of connect the dots?

It’s because we like to connect the dots..  Our minds among other things are good at connecting dots. Sometimes connecting them in clever and useful ways with purpose, while at other times simply because the dots are there, and it makes us uncomfortable staring at random dots.

Randomness and chance makes us uncomfortable. Leaving us feeling vulnerable like we’re drifting without a purpose in a world that simply is.   Well as much as I’d like to see the lines and shapes and see some meaning or idea all I see is bunch of dots.