Category Archives: contemplation

Meaningful Al.

My friend Al just wrote a thing.

Like most writers, who buy the books but rarely read them – largely because they are too busy writing – I rarely read what others write on social media if it smells like a piece. This is true because, like Al says tonight, what’s on others’ minds is rarely relevant to what is on mine. Because, of course, vice versa.

But, I’d just come from cramming the Kabalevsky orchestral reduction ahead of my prize student’s lesson on the subject and, perching at the screen, Al’s treatise was what the newly uncensored FBK algorithm chose to present first in my Feed. Call me ripe for a break in the metronomic mind bending; I was ready to receive.

First off, Al reminded us that all we think about is ourselves. Roger that. Or, he clarified, we think about ourselves and that which directly affects only us. Hence, our American politics, about which he held forth along with the economy with vivid cogency, ramming home his points with an uncharacteristic drive seeing as he would most readily be described by those who say Hey as a laid back jazz drummer sort.

I read the whole thing, I did. He kept me from go.

Then, I set my cursor.

“Apart from the occasional, charming (she said, condescendingly) misspelling, I find this the most comprehensive and cogent commentary on the world situation to come moseying along social media since, well, the last time I read what anybody else had to say on the subject. That would be rare, in and of itself, seeing as I only ever think about myself. OH, wait. NO. I think FOR myself, but ABOUT a multitude of issues yet, admittedly, as they affect me or those who have power over me.

My obsession? Those who have power over me. That would be the mediocre minds who decide a.) what my copay will be for the next medical test; b.) how much of the remainder of the bill will be covered by that old, rusty Cadillac, MEDICARE, into whose back seat I have recently been thrust, kicking and screaming, only to be gang raped by the legion of mediocre gremlins lurking in wait to remind me that NOBODY CARES ABOUT OLD PEOPLE IN AMERICA AND, TO PROVE IT, THE SYSTEM IN PLACE PAYS TO WATCH US SLOWLY DIE. OH, wait – yet, again. Proactive preventive medicine also lurks, deep underground, binding together its mindful and careful constituents, but for a price determined only by market demand. And, demand we will.

So, whichever Party hosts the next shindig, and whichever President raises that toast, here’s to the flagrant hope he/she/it will give a nod to the Otherwise Healthy (minus kidney stones and a penchant for hoarding excrement) among us senior members, and send that Cadillac to the metal crushers.

Tax me? I’ll pay it, to avoid the boot on my front end; but, expect the Mouth to step to the next podium and make a much louder noise than that which can fleetingly be heard sliding through the media feed.

Selah.

p.s. I’m with ya, Al, not against ya; but, don’t rub my butt unless I ask first.”

*****

Now, in order to make anything I just said worthy of the read, I’d have to get Al’s permission to share his thing. And, well, he already technically did – but, only to his Friends on the Book. My only recourse would be to paraphrase, but that would ruin the inherent value, especially were I to commit the venial sin of correcting his albeit phonetic spellings. Next, I could reveal his full name but, again, a violation of the sacred trust of Settings on Facebook.

So, I guess you readers with nothing better to do than plagiarize unpublished (you think) bloggers will just have to search for all the Alans on social media, then pinpoint his exact location, and you know the drill.

But, this Al is a woodsy man, Thoreau’s baby dinosaur, and one is never quite sure where on the planet he rests his sometimes weary, wary and bewildered head. We who know and luv him, myself being among his platonics, are content to be with him in spirit wherever he lights after a long day chopping wood. Winter is coming, yea, even at the doors; he’ll be ready, like he always is. And, he won’t have to write a thing.

.

.

.

.

.

.Copyright 10/13/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, and her friend Al, her name appearing above this line and his only referenced herein. Be smart, not sneaky, and write your own things, you thieving foreigners.

littlebarefeetblog.com

*Addendum: Here, for those who know him, is Al’s insightful piece, reprinted with permission from its author:

“What’s on your mind , what’s on your mind ? ……You don’t care; you only care about yourself. 🙈🙉🙊

Obama didn’t brag about the improvement of the economy during his time in office. Trump bragged about the economic gains that came from the Obama era, mixed with the short term volatile stock market boost that came from company stock buybacks, knowing that that tax breaks were coming. No one ever mentions how the financial media played the leading roll in this illusion. But financial media has always jumped on the most bullish sounding narrative because that helps to feed Wall Street sentiment. In my opinion, that was the media hyped illusion that everyone missed .

Since that first year or two of Trump , the world economy has felt the hit from covid (which at first was treated like a hoax by Trump who played into his base, which still thinks it’s a hoax)

Of course Republicans have no progressive ideas/vision, so they’re just play on the world economic problems because people don’t generally see world economics. They only see their own problems. Personally, I dread the next presidential election, as much as I hate seeing the election of insurectionist, anti abortion rights, racist, Trump train opportunists… I’d like to see both Biden and Trump step away from re-election. I don’t blame Biden for the economy any more than I would have blamed Obama for what Bush handed to him, but it’s time to give the job to someone else. Trump can only be trusted to work for Trump as usual, and why would we invite that shit show back in ?

The future looks weird. I need to become obsessed with music and art again, and take measures to fend off seasonal depression. I might have to put my stuff into storage and go away for while . Hope you can follow along with my adventures on the World Wide Web.”

The Snooze.

CHAPTER 49.

Her niece was getting married the very next week. A lovely young woman, about the same age as she was when the body clock sounded its first alarm.

Instead of retiring “at a decent hour” as her beloved departed father would have insisted she decided to succumb to the more customary, post midnight mania and try on her intended outfit in front of the full length mirror. Her gut was talking; should she look frumpy, maybe last minute flight cancellations wouldn’t be the only reason to stay home.

The sleeveless jersey A line with its graduated greens to blues seemed a fit; thank God, becoming scrawny again still bore up under generic M sizing. Her faded greying hair, freshly trimmed and styled, seemed the right length for the scoop neck and bangly geometric necklace. Bohemian fabric ankle boots held up well around thick, multi colored socks and the olive stretch leggings, their color chosen to complement the bridal party palette, would likely work nicely to hide untanned calves. By all appearances, she was cleared to take off for the much anticipated event celebrating the last single child of her eldest brother’s brood.

Then, facing the glass, she saw them. Bubbles, and ripples, cascading down her forearms and over the tops of her hands. What?

Blood vessels. Every vein, bulging, like a 3-D map of the Interstate highway system. What? She stared, recoiling. Is that why she looked so old in the candid front porch photos beside the beloved little 4 year old music student? She’d thought it the bright sun, meeting the digital phone lens designed to capture detail beyond that which the human eye could see. But, this. This? This was how her arms looked – in real life?

Having melted all the midlife fat the previous pandemic year, she’d devolved to wrists the width of twigs. But, this was a different animal. This was a topography heralding the unmistakeable, unavoidable hallmark of old ladies everywhere. This was age.

At least, that’s what Google said. Skin, thinning; vein valves, weakening; blood, wearily making its endless, return trip back to the heart like some army of tired ants.

She’d remembered touching her grandmother’s skin, the part of her neck draping the throat, marveling at its velvety texture; was this nature’s way of making that which could barely be seen anymore in the half light of the old fashioned boudoir something to be felt, instead, tactile pleasure displacing what could no longer entice the eyes?

She wondered if a man would bear such a preference.

The gathering was a destination event, pulling all family members from the four corners of the continent to meet their new in-laws for the first time. As such she, the most remotely connected of any among her own kin, might put a kink in it. She’d stayed “home” to build her life; the rest had moved miles away. Career choice, and time commitment, plus the absence of proximity had formulated an equation, the opposite side of its equal sign a brand to a relationship void of social attachment; she would be as much a stranger as the whole lot of those awaiting their guests’ arrival.

Add to all that, age. Who’d want to talk to the old, childless aunt? Only those trained in the art of polite exchange would muster up. Could she adopt character, be the jester, an angle proving workable in the past? Oh, wait; in this clan, that would be the patriarch’s domain. Rob him of his coveted role she would not, lest he be named naked Emperor in front of all.

These were anticipating their first opportunity to establish extended family connection. Energy was to be focused. Best not to distract, by provoking extraneous noblesse oblige. Detach; observe; record, like the ubiquitous camera filming the reality show. Would anyone notice?

She’d been 36, the year of her own wedding; her niece was now 38. Twenty four additional months spent deliberating, in quiet expectation. Like ten minutes of Snooze on the alarm clock, more time to resist the inevitable.

Maybe the airline would discover a staff shortage. Perhaps maintenance, or an empty terminal bay, would send the schedulers in a mad dash through their Rubik’s Cube of impossible variables.

She’d let reality play, sans voyeur’s lens. Wedding days came, and wedding days went. Marriages were supposed to endure. Time to take ten, and wait it all out.

.

.

.

.

Copyright 9/4/22. Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, the old aunt, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole, part, or by translation. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for sitting with your own family.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Longest Week.

Today was the eighth day.

Jehovah’d created the whole world in six, and the next day rested.

She was worn out.

Age made time move faster, she’d been told. But, she believed otherwise. State of mind, that’s what governed time. The degree to which mind attended to detail across the hours determined how quickly they were perceived to move. That, and resistance, the force designed to provoke action.

Back in the day she’d committed every waking minute, including those spent asleep, to action. Forty five of these, unassigned to task, was a vacation. Add to that the fertility cycle, applied to a body in constant motion, and you got what made a whole day take eons to end. That, and resistance, the force designed to prevent progress.

Now, she’d made every moment of these eight days deliberate. Wariness, the state of awareness heightened by foreboding expectation. She had to monitor her mind, across time now; it had become her adversary.

That, and resistance, the force with the capacity to frustrate.

Her thoughts always in charge, these days had been consumed by them. Intricate; hyper-conscious; fixated. Not on a single subject, but the juxtaposition of two. Then, convergence. Dissonance.

Thoughts driving action, she’d become skittish. Intent upon fulfilling predictable patterns, obligations, but determined to move through the newer resistance.

The two subjects were seemingly opposed. One, give; the other, take.

Each carried their own assigned actions. Were they mutually exclusive? Should she give or, instead, take?

Her existence had become about these questions, more poignantly now than ever before.

Notions of reciprocation having dissolved with a decaying fantasy, she was left only with the task of defining need. Her own.

If she continued to give, would doing so provide inherent satisfaction? Whence would the signal to take arise? If she chose instead to pursue the latter, would there be anything there to receive?

Would that the source of either be singular; but, historically, she hadn’t been so blessed.

Eight days hence, the decision to choose remained.

Thank God for the first day of another week.

.

.

.

.

.

Copyright 9/4/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose thoughts these are and whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole, part, or by translation. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for thinking, first.

littlebarefeetblog.com

.