F@*&ing computer

Today’s haiku goes a little something like this.

Fucking Windows 10

Fuck all your lies computer

You repair nothing.

I’ve had a challenging few days Not Thinking. I keep seeing people I haven’t hung out with in  a while, and the first five minutes always consist of inquiring after family, dating and work. It is a short and unfriendly catch up when you respond, “Um,… I’m not thinking about stuff so I can’t tell you anything.”

I find myself changing the subject to TV shows quite a lot. Everyone’s got some innocent yet guilty little pleasure they like to watch…. you just need to find their favourite  oxymoron.and then it’s back to successfully Not Thinking.

That’s is all for now. Writing blog posts on a phone is ridiculous. Fucking computer.

 

Today’s Distraction Provided by the IRS.

I’m exhausted.  Not thinking requires a tremendous amount of energy, no wonder all these meditational types are slender whippets. It’s also kind of a shock to realize how much of my day is spent in detrimental day dream.  I suspect I don’t normally notice because when the imaginary scenarios start happening in my head, I let them happen, so it feels like I’m only thinking about something two or three times a day, as opposed to constantly, incessantly, obsessively.

It is easy, and perversely soothing, to succumb to day dreaming, or day-maring as is the current case.  But the problem is that whilst the scenario in your brain is an illusion, the feelings attached to them and therefore the neurological consequences, are very real.  Imagining you’ve been in a vicious verbal fight?  Well all that hostility and hurt that you’re telling yourself is only pretend is actually very real to you, and is releasing the same damaging stress chemicals, such as cortisone, as if you’d really been involved in an abusive interchange.  Oh and you’re also molding you’re neural network to experience those negative emotions quickly and easily.

See… denial can be good.  Pretending the problem doesn’t exist can be a healthy option!

And with that in mind today we are concentrating on my call to the IRS.

Mrs Gearhart, you are patient, you are kind.

Your sloth slow speech is soothing to my battered mind.

Repeating to me a dozen times, the amount that I owe,

Is equivalent to a dose of Xanax washed down with lime SoCo.

Thank you yes I’ll use the website, to pay my due

From 2013, the year I made a big boo-boo.

The year my accidental double dipping,

Had the IRS guys completely tripping.

In my defense, Schedule E is complicated,

And Turbo Tax self-file vastly over-rated.

But now it’s done, all paid, I’m clear…

Until I cock it up again next year.

Train distraction

The train yesterday yielded an opportunity to try out my new method of not thinking about shit: making up terrible haikus and rhymes.

Here’s what we got in half an hour.

Young men on the train

Discussing who’s the bottom

Man in hat moves seat.

Yaars, so there were a group of guys in their 20s who either work in the gaming industry or really should be working in the gaming industry, because their conversation indicated that unlocking the next level is their great passion in life.  Love like that should not be wasted.

At one point though they switched tracks from the secret key you get after opening the sixth gate, to speculating which of their gay friends in established couples, was bottom and who was top.  The sixty something gentleman in the light blue bucket hat is not as nosey as I am so he moved further down the train rather than getting the low down on Saul and Andy, or Sandy as they are collectively known. (The consenus amongst their pals is that Saul is on the bottom.)

They took up again with levels after that so once more I was left fighting off a barrage of intruding consciousness.  Fortunately there was a poster of a hipster dude with a gloriously large beard on the train which led to some more Seussing:

That chap has a bird in his beard

How can he not have noticed?

Such ignorance is awfully weird.

Surely he must hear it squawking!

Why it interrupted my friend and I talking.

Surely he must feel it scratching.

Hmmn, maybe not…

His beard is thick like thatching.

The bird looks sick,

I hope it’s nothing catching.

Perhaps it’s weak

From protecting eggs that are hatching!

This man will be host to a cluster of beaks.

Baby birds not able to fly for many weeks.

Tiny creatures with no access to plumbing.

Surely then he’ll notice his beard is humming,

With a maliferous odor that is truly fowl.

Surely then he’ll evict that sodding owl.

 

 

 

Miserable Haiku and Inane Rhymes.

The last six months have been a bit on the mentally demanding side, and I don’t like to be bothered by too much cognitive action (Having worked in education for roughly two decades I am firm believer that over-intelligence is actually a bit of a burden.  Worry less about your kids getting As and more about whether or not they can hold a conversation with someone other than Baloney Boingo, the imaginary friend.)

The stress is mounting lately due to some fresh financial woes; the irksome, soul-crushing situation of growing more and more infatuated with someone who doesn’t reciprocate those feelings even a smidge; and a big scary surgery in the family – the kind that lodges a sack of sawdust in your throat.

Being a big fan of denial, I am trying not to think about these things when they crop up in my mind.  They crop up quite a lot though, roughly 120 times a minute …unless I am distracted by something else.

STAY BUSY, I command myself.  OCCUPY YOUR MIND WITH OTHER THOUGHTS.  Yep sounds great, excellent idea.  I have work to do, people to see, a to do list the length of the Amazon – piece of cake!

Apart from when I’m in the shower; brushing my teeth; cooking; cleaning; doing laundry; grocery shopping; driving; walking along the street; sitting waiting for a friend who has selfishly gone to the bathroom; watching or reading something that has to do with humanity; making future plans; going to sleep; waking up… oh my god there is just so much time in the day to think.  I am spending 12 out of the 24 hours yelling internally, “NO. NO, you are not allowed to think about him/her/them/that/those or any of that other shit.  Damn it you are still thinking about it – STOP THAT NOW!”

I met a woman years ago, during another overly pensive period of my life, who advised me whenever that happened that I should start cataloguing everything I could see in front of me.  “Oh look there’s a tree, a house, a brown house with red door, ugh ghastly color combination. Blue car with the license plate missing” etc…. which definitely works for a limited amount of time, but is quite exhausting to keep up, plus you  get flashbacks to ugly brown houses with red doors.

Anyhoo, I’ve been trying to think of different mind occupying tactics.  At first I thought haiku!  Try to come up with haiku whenever you find yourself having unwanted thoughts, it’s challenging, and good for the brain.  But then I realized that the draw back is you find yourself making up haiku about whatever it is you’re doing, which just happens to be mentally torturing yourself.  For example yesterday’s shower yielded:

Hot running water

Wash away feeble feeling

Fail miserably

Right.  That’s obviously not helpful haiku.

So now I’m moving onto making up Dr Seuss themed rhymes.  Being a bit cognitively fluffy at the moment I keep calling him Dr Zeuss, which has led to some crossover action.

Oh how I do love Dr Zeuss

When he writes astride a giant moose.

Armed with thunderbolts and lightning

He is so very frightening.

Ink spills on the page

In fits of stormy rage.

Sketching flutterbys and heffelumps

With angry cases of the mumps.

I appear to also have been influenced by Bohemian Rhapsody and Winnie the Pooh.

Mama, I just killed a bear,

Wearing red and eating honey.

It’s so sad, not remotely funny.

A tiger stopped mid-bounce

‘Asshole’, he did me pronounce.

Soooo yeah, there’s plenty more of that tragic rhyme coming your way.

 

My spirit name: Rainfoot in Mouth.

This happened yesterday.

Rain, lots of rain, lashing down on the car whilst I was sitting at the lights waiting for the green left turn arrow.  The sky, miserable dark grey, like the inside of a wet sock lost in a dark corner.  We’re all cozy in our cars though, wearing clothes that lie at the back of the closet for 50 weeks a year, finally getting some use out of the fancy seat warmers.  We’re all in muggy little bubbles, not really looking forward to the moment we have to get out of the car and make a mad dash through the wet, cold stuff.

As much as I am enjoying the bubble time, I am also on my way to work and therefore have to be on time.  The light has been taking aaaages but look there it is, green arrow.  Right let’s go!  Er… car in front, yoohoo, you’ve got a green light.  Crap now it’s yellow, go quick!  Oh, and now it’s red.  Fuck’s sake, were you texting?

Well, we’ll just wait for aaaaages, again.  Thankfully I’m right behind the first car, so I will make the light, and I won’t be late for work.  Just sitting here waiting …and waiting …ever so patiently.. twiddling thumbs… making loud brrrr noises… and jus-OH IT’S GREEN!  Go go go!

Car in front , why are you still not moving?  Beep. Beep Beep. BEEEEEEEP  BEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.  Ah bollocks, it’s red again.  What the hell are you texting that takes two cycle through the lights?  War and Peace, the unabridged version?

Here’s a thought, maybe the driver in front is not texting.  Maybe they’re passed out…. or dead.

Shit.

Right, hood up.  Get out of the car, leave the engine running – not a wise move but fortunately nothing came of it – ugh rain, big fat speeding bullets of cold water in my face.  Right what are we dealing with here?  Woman in the driver’s seat is completely still, eyes are … I can’t tell if they’re open or closed there’s too much rain on the window.  Bugger.  Tap, tap, tap.  “Hi!”  Aha!  Her head is looking at me. Make the universal roll down your window sign: rotating fist.

Window effortlessly slides down, Californians do love a Lexus.  ‘Hello?’  Curious, cautious, wondering if I am homeless or insane.

‘Hi!  Are you okay?  You’ve just sat through two green arrows in a row, is everything alright?’

“Oh.  Oh sorry.  I was listening to this song and it reminded me of my dad.”

Now, you can’t be pissy about something like that.  You can however have a superb foot-in-mouth moment.

‘Oh thank god!  I thought maybe you’d had a heart attack and died.’

Pause. 

“Well, thanks for checking on me.  Um.. sorry.”

Cool.  Cool. I’m going to get back in my car now. Byeeeeeee.”

 

 

The Cruel and Vicious Day.

Feeling the love this week what with it being Valentine’s day and all.  Not sure why I would get all happy for it because ultimately Valentine’s day has come to represent the last minute thought, and the fear of getting into trouble with your other half – hence the long lines at the gas station, hands clutching mangled bouquets and squashed boxes of chocolates.

This year one of the kids in my life had their first experience of heart-break when their school secret valentine (exact same thing as a secret santa but replace the fake beard and large kidnapper’s sack, with a deadly bow and arrow) got confused and gave a Valentine to the wrong person… and so one child skipped off to school very excited, and came home traumatized at being the only person in class not to get a Valentine, whilst some other bugger got TWO gifts.

Wow, the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s a hideous holiday.  Halloween’s not nearly as cruel and vicious as this.

There were some happier events.  NASA released a cosmic love story about the planet Hat-P-2B and its host sun Hat-P-2.  Sexy names right?  Could they not have gone with something a bit more whimsical: Anthony and Cleopatra?  Romeo and Juliet? Bill and Sookie?

Anyway, turns out the little old Hat-P-2b makes Hat-P-2’s heart flutter!  The planet’s on a very off kilter orbit meaning that for 10 days a year it gets super close to the big star, and when it does that star’s pulse skyrockets, and it gets extra twinkly.  It’s okay, you can say ‘Awwww’, I know you’re reading this in private… probably whilst you’re sitting on the toilet.

Anyway as a Valentine’s gift to you: find the heart amongst the snails in this Dudolf picture.  I love these puzzles because… well to be honest I’m normally pretty good at them and then I feel smug.  Yep, I’m that shallow.

In case it drives you crazy, Dudolf’s got the solution on his blog thedudolf.blogspot.comsnails-634x600

 

The Happy Little Instrument.

Is there a happier sounding instrument than the ukulele?  Certainly not the piano which demonstrates such a grand range of emotion, one wonders about its mental health.. can one have a bipolar piano, or maybe a multiple personality disorder?   Not the drums either, they’re a life force all of their own, but not intrinsically happy.  Percussion instruments in general can sometimes be a little sinister – imagine a single shake of a tambourine in a dark room, or the lonesome ting of a triangle. The violin gives itself to very grand emotion – melancholy, inspiration, despair.  The guitar has a dark side, full of angst and broken hearts; and the entire brass section’s happy vibe is always overshadowed by a sexy ‘come hither’ tone.  Other wind instruments can be perky to the point of annoying – yeah recorder, I’m talking about you – or just annoying without the perk.

The ukulele though, always finds its happy place.  Even when the song is of lost love, there’s an underlying optimism: rain bringing rainbows; lemonade out of lemons etc..

Last night I went to see the Ukulele Orchestra of the Western Hemisphere – aaaah, now we see where this is going.

By the way, am I alone in not really thinking of the planet as having Western and Eastern hemispheres?  I get it, it makes total sense especially since we talk about countries in the West and countries in the East, and there’s no reason why you can’t metaphorically split the planet using a line of longitude.  But I always tend to think of the planet’s hemisphere as Northern or Southern.

Anyway, back to the Ukulele Orchestra of the Western Hemisphere. Which, technically, is the Ukulele Orchestra of One Teeny Part of the Western Hemisphere, but artistic license is integral to names, don’t you agree baseball World Series that only features teams from one country?

The orchestra has nineteen members (I think – there’s one very tall orchestra member who may have been camouflaging one or more players), and last night they squeezed themselves onto the 15ft x 6 ft stage in McCabe’s guitar shop on Pico.  Quite the feat of spatial mapping. McCabe’s has been around since the early 1970s, and is a mecca for music-loving Angelenos.

Unsurprisingly the orchestra play ukuleles.  They also play banjos; there’s a base; they sing; they do acapela; and everything about them is warm and witty.  Their song choices ranged from Erasure’s A Little Respect, to a superb mash-up of two masterpieces: Radiohead’s Creep, and David Bowie’s Major Tom; with a classic TV theme tunes medley for their finale.

They were a joy, from start to finish.  Every song made you smile – even Creep.