26 May 2016

Smiley Faces, Depression, A Commute Story and a Baseball Game


Some people write smiley faces on notes. I don’t understand why. But it really doesn’t bother me. Not at all. I don’t do it but other people do. So that’s okay. People are different from one another.  I’ll bet you noticed that.

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Sometimes I feel like a darkness has descended in me. It doesn’t obstruct my vision but it does keep me from being happy. It’s a physical force that settles in and gets comfortable. If I’m busy at work I don’t notice it so much. But when I stop work or when I pause in my writing -- like I just did -- then I feel it.

The worst thing about it may be that it sometimes feel like its supposed to be there and that any reprieve is temporary. It’ll be back. Like I’m supposed to live with it. Get used to it. Accept it. I don’t want it around, though. I want to enjoy every day. Well, as much as possible. It’s hard to enjoy your day if your bus is 20 minutes late. But for the most part there are good things in my life that I enjoy. But if the blackness takes over there’s no enjoying anything. There’s just the sadness. Anything I think about, no matter how wonderful, feels awful. Isn’t that terrible? You have something exciting to look forward to but you only feel empty and sad when you think about it.

Once the pain was so awful that I got an insight into why people commit suicide. If that’s all there is in your life and its compounded by other events like ill health or the loss of a loved one or poverty, then I can see how being riddled with unhappy thoughts could make life unbearable. Right now everything is jake with me so I’m not a candidate and I understand your asking.

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I was on the bus. An elderly Chinese man sat down next to me. I’ve seen him several times before and in each instance he was eating an apple. This occasion was no exception. I do not know why he likes to eat an apple on the bus. I do know that he is a very noisy apple eater. He's meticulous and take small bites but they are noisy ones. I’ve tolerated it before but this time I decided to move. I found an unoccupied seat. Well, not one occupied by a person. A teenage girl was sitting next to the seat and had her bag on it. This is okay if you are on a three quarters empty bus and more people are getting off than on. But this was a crowded bus going through a crowded area. So it was not okay, unless, of course, she immediately picked up her bag the instant someone showed an interest in the seat. She did not. I tried to get her attention but she would not look up from her iPhone and maybe could not hear me as she had her ear buds in. I made several efforts to awake the girl from this her stupor. No luck. I waved my hand in front of her face. She didn’t flinch. A gentleman sitting in front of her indicated that he was of the opinion that she was perhaps crazy. Finally someone offered me a seat and I took it. I was now sitting next to a someone who was man spreading. He was a man. His legs were spread and he looked comfy. I was forced to edge of the seat. Not comfy. I decided to just stand. I’d been standing for but a few seconds when a seat opened up. I took it. Remember I mentioned the guy in front of the teenage girl who had suggested she was maybe a bit off? Well his stop came and somehow the door closed before he could exit. He screamed “open the fucking door!” twice and to emphasize his point kicked the door repeatedly. The door opened. He left. So in terms of his suggestion about the girl being whacko, I guess it takes one to know one. The rest of the ride — what was left of it  — was blissfully uneventful.

The subway ride that followed was okay. I could have done without the driver barking into the intercom at each stop for people to “board on up.” I’ve heard other drivers say “board up.” What the hell is the “up” for? This driver was a real chatterbox who repeated information in great detail. The problem some people have when they speak in front of or to a group is that they try to sound smart and thus sound dumb. They use an excess of words and often pick the wrong ones. Here’s a tip: stick to what you know. The language you know. Don’t feel that you have to employ some fancy pants words. Sounding official often is to sound dumb. Also try not to be repetitive. I repeat, try not to be repetitive or repeat yourself or say the same thing over again maybe using different words as you cover the same ground employing alternate verbiage. See what I mean?

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Monday night I went to a baseball game. This is something I used to do a lot of but now not so much. One reason is the price of tickets. While movie tickets have about doubled in the past 20 years, tickets to sports events have increased by 500% (I don’t have exact figures, I’m just spitballing here but I know I’m not far off. Maybe sometime soon I’ll research this.) In days of yore I could go to a ball game without even thinking about what it would do to my bankroll and buy one of the higher price seats. Now I’ve got to think long and hard about investing in a ducat. The game experience has also been negatively affected for me by all the extracurriculars that go on. When I was a kid we went to a game to see the game and to chow down ballpark food. Sometimes there was a bit of organ music between innings. You could actually sit and chat. Now you’re constantly bombarded by music, videos, contests, sing-a-longs and worse of all the kiss cam. Isn’t everybody sick of the kiss cam yet?

We’re raising a generation that expects all kinds of bells and whistles. Plus the younger set spends large portions at the ball yard staring at their damn phones (which makes the ballpark no different than anyplace else on the planet). I like to watch the game and talk about the game and talk about games of old and players of old and even non baseball topics. That’s entertainment enough for me. I guess this is a sign of my advancing years. It’s like the way that when I run I just run and don’t listen to music. There’s too much multi-tasking these days. People aren’t satisfied with doing just one thing.

I guess I'm something of a curmudgeon. 

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