Friday, June 24, 2022

Wasted breath

I write the first part of this post before the latest Supreme Court decisions, one expanding gun rights, one reigning in abortion protections, were handed down. I get to that eventually, although whatever I might have to say on those matters has probably been better said by others already. Still, since I write this for myself, I said what I said.

Am I bored? That’s the burning question of the day.

When I retired from my corporate day job, I was quite certain that I’d never be bored again.

Heck, like Scarlet O’Hara, I vowed it. As god is my witness, I’ll never be bored again.

I was bored throughout much of my career.

Sometimes the work itself was boring. Sometimes I didn’t have enough to do. Sometimes I think it was just me, because the condition persisted through a 30-some year career.

Sure there were times when I was busy, when the work engaged me, times when I felt like I was making a contribution, times when the workdays flew by.

Unfortunately those were the exception.

I’m not proud of having stayed for so long at a company, in roles that didn’t fully use my brain, my talents, my creativity. I’m conflicted about the fact that I didn’t have enough reserves of initiative to earn my salary 100 percent. I’m ashamed that I settled for being an underachiever.

There were reasons. Rationalizations. Justifications. Excuses. 

Anxiety. Depression. Lack of self confidence. Living up to low expectations. Fear of failure.

But that’s a different post. Or a book.

Still I always assumed that once left to my own devices, I’d be able to amuse myself endlessly. There would always be something to do that was more interesting than staring at my work computer screen and trying to look busy.

And for a long time there was. I took art school classes. I took online college level classes. I took up an exercise routine. I volunteered with animal services. I made beads, I sold beads, I had a bead business. I wrote. I read. I streamed.

The days flew by.

These days I knit. I go to my knitting groups. I take the occasional class. I keep up with my walking routine. I do a little art. I read, but not as much as I could or should.

Neil just left for the second time in a week. He was gone for a softball tournament from Monday to Thursday, back for one night, and now he’s gone to New Jersey to work on his father’s estate until Tuesday. I think mostly he’ll be going through “stuff” such as old photos, maybe paperwork. His sister, bless her, already has made a major dent in clearing out clothing and canned goods.

The place needs some work done before listing it for sale, and Ellen has been busy getting estimates. Figuring out what to do with furniture is a bugaboo, no one wants old furniture. Hopefully they can make some decisions and some progress. I suspect the purpose of the visit is mostly ceremonial, since Ellen is on hand to be point person, and most things can be handled remotely.

Still, it’s a good chance for him to spend time with his sister. I was originally supposed to go, and we were going to include some fun activities and see Chelsea, but it turns out Chelsea is traveling on business and then hosting visiting friends. This turned out to be fortuitous, because Kandace scheduled back surgery for next week, and we’ll be going to Dallas to help out for a few days.

I don’t have a lot on the front burner this weekend. I’ve already blown my recreational shopping budget during Neil’s last trip. I’m rattling around this big empty house. I could go knit at the yarn shop but since the bother with Michelle last week, my heart’s just not in it. I did greet her pleasantly at our Wednesday group and after that she acted pretty much as normal, which isn’t as good as an apology, but I wasn’t expecting one.

What I think I’ll do is this. Knit, walk on the treadmill and watch the last episode of Reacher, which is so over-the-top violent that it’s cartoon-like, but it holds my interest, which is my main criterion. I’ll have dinner and find something to binge watch or maybe rewatch a beloved movie. I might make beads. I might see what my friend Cheryl is up to. I’ll go to my Sunday knitting group. I might get a pedicure. I’ll probably go up to the new recreation center on Monday and get a membership card and sign up for a fitness class.

The time will pass, as it does.

Today, not surprisingly, but still shockingly, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, on the ground that the right to abortion was not explicitly set out in the Constitution. I hate it but I don’t really have a dog in the fight. In the unlikely event that any of my nearest and dearest were in need of a pregnancy termination, I’m privileged enough to be able to facilitate that. It’s horrible that any women should have no choice about bearing a baby she didn’t want to have, but there’s plenty of horrible things that happen all the time, like little kids getting shot in classrooms.

Yesterday, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the Supreme Court held unconstitutional a century-old New York State law restricting the right to carry a concealed handgun in public, claiming that the Second Amendment conferred a right to bear arms in public for self defense. It’s my belief that the courts have long misconstrued the necessity of a “well regulated Militia” being inimical to “the security of a free State” as being equivalent to the bearing of arms by individuals for personal self-defense.

All of this begs the question of why we are still being held hostage to a set of rules authored by a bunch of slave-owning white males almost 250 years ago. I mean, could our forefathers have envisioned, back in 1791, the unfettered right to bear high-capacity automatic weapons just in case you were confronted by a bad guy bearing presumably similar arms? Should we be governed today by the brainchildren of slave-fucking old men with no notion of the concept of consent, no idea that women and people of color were anything more than chattels, no clue that there could be such a thing as safe, sterile, pain-controlled outpatient procedures to end unwelcome egg fertilizations?

You know the answers as well as I do. But nobody’s asking us. Nobody’s listening. Hell, nobody’s home.

So, why am I wasting my breath?

It’s a depressing day. Predictably, my social media feed is ablaze with anger and disappointment and frustration, even though we all knew this was coming. 

Sometimes it’s hard to believe we are living in a world, in a country, in this state of affairs.

But.

I read an interesting article recently, about whether, in light of climate crisis, people should continue to have children. Obviously that’s a complicated decision with many factors to be weighed about whether having a child is right for any specific person or couple or family.

But all other considerations having been weighed in favor, the question remains, should global warming discourage would-be parents from procreating? The writer of the article made a hypothetical comparison to childbearing throughout history. In our relatively recent past, before modern medicine, before sanitation, before anesthesia, before the availability of vaccination against childhood disease, before any optimistic statistics about infant mortality, before much encouragement about life expectancy, people kept cranking out kiddos. If they hadn’t, you or I or both of us well might not be here today. 

Sure, the options for contraception were essentially nonexistent, but I think people have known where babies come from for a long time. And my guess is that people wouldn’t have opted to completely stop having them, even if they could have, despite the odds against. Because you just knew that some of them would beat the odds and maybe even grow up to invent the polio vaccine or flush toilets or smart phones.

And in more recent history, the post World War II Baby Boom pretty much coincided with the first half of the Cold War, when countries were deploying nuclear test bombs here, there, and everywhere, when schoolchildren in the 1950s had air raid drills instead of armed assailant drills. For all the good either drill would do.

All of this to say, so far, humankind has found a way to keep on keeping on, despite less than ideal circumstances. 

What the future holds, who can say.

Until proven otherwise, don’t stop believing in tomorrow.