Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2020

Archive for the category “Virus”

Old Dog … New Tricks

JUST BECAUSE I’m retired doesn’t mean that my brain is sitting on a shelf in a dusty glass jar labeled “Abnormal.” Far from it! I am always looking to add new skills – new arrows in my quiver if you will.

It has been almost eight months since some pesky virus I’ve been reading about began throwing monkey wrenches into everyone’s daily lives.

This stop at the Malfunction Junction in our lives has given me the opportunity to discover and master a new skill. It may be that a new avenue could be opening up before me because this Old Dog has learned a New Trick.

The reality is that we are all doing less out in the world and are relying on having the world shipped to us. We are getting groceries, clothing, books, cosmetics, medications, and some things that are none of your business, delivered right to our front door. Everything comes securely shipped in sturdy cardboard boxes.

I love unpacking all of our deliveries. It’s almost like Christmas Morning without the electric trains and the pine needles. I take the scissors and neatly cut the sealing tape, open up the flaps, and lift out our goodies. After that I set the empty cardboard boxes to the side, out of the way.

Aha!

It was on a day like that when the handsome young UPS guy stopped by our house so often that we considered adoption that we were faced with a pile of empty boxes. I spent a couple hours struggling with those boxes to get them crammed into our recycling bin. That was not a good solution to the growing population of boxes that were filling up the downstairs bathroom. They were coming in faster than I could get them out. This problem was going to require some thought.

I sat in the kitchen with a large box. There was not enough room for the both of us. One of us had to go. Finally, I saw the solution in front of me. I began to tear the blasted box to pieces. I was stronger

than the box and in less than a minute I had that humungous container reduced to a neat little stack of cardboard pieces no bigger than the crock pot. I was deliriously happy. I knew how Einstein must have felt when he realized the “E” did, in fact, equal “MC².”

It didn’t take me very long to get into a destructive groove and those boxes were disappearing faster than taxis in a thunderstorm. I was disassembling the boxes like a tornado going through a trailer park. That Recycling bin in the back yard was taking all I could give it with room to spare.

I am living proof that “Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks.”

I can already roll over, heel, stay, and sit up and beg. Now I can add “Knows how to destroy cardboard boxes.”

It may not be much, but it’s better than nothing.

Isn’t it?

And The Beat Goes On

 

While most of the world has been staying home this year we decided to not let it all tie us down to one place. We are, by nature, people who love to, want to, need to, travel. We are not going to let reality get in the way.

I can’t prove it, but there were rumors in the family that somewhere in the obscure and leafy branches of the Family Tree there were Gypsies. Gypsies who came and went leaving behind the gene responsible for Wanderlust.

It is Wanderlust that has people moving from one part of the world to another. It had some of my ancestors leaving Lithuania and ending up in Cleveland. Wanderlust did that and the fact that my grandfather was a deserter from the Czar’s Army. The Czar frowned on things like that in the 1890s. He didn’t like it when you stole his horse on the way out of town.

I was born with a double dose of Wanderlust and it has had me on the move all my life – and I never stole anyone’s horse (Don’t believe the rumors!).

Dawn’s ancestors must also have had a genetic run-in with those Gypsies somewhere along the line because she can match me Wanderlust for Wanderlust.

Unfortunately, with the current state of the world being a true mess, traveling is not easily done. My wife, the lovely and also Wanderlusty, Dawn and I like to travel a lot. We get to visit family in Texas several times a year and other trips both in the States and abroad have me frequently filling out those “Hold Our Mail” cards at the Post Office.

Not this year. This year we are forced to take mythical vacations.

I know that I posted a blog back a few months ago about this, but we have not slowed down. Our Pilgrimage has continued.

For example: In our minds and online we have traveled to china, Japan, Russia, France, England, and just about everywhere else. I think the only continent we haven’t been to is Antarctica and that’s too cold for me. Don’t believe me? Well, we have pictures to prove it.

Here is a picture of us in London visiting the Royal Family.

And the Pope. He has a nice view from his balcony.

Earlier this year we even managed to visit the International Space Station. It has the best views of anyplace.

This doggone Covid-19 virus has brought about some profound changes in our day to day lives. We have all had to make adaptations and this is the one that we have chosen. Putting these pictures together has required itinerary planning, Selecting the right clothing, and scheduling time to take our photos.

As our Around The World Journey has continued we had met some interesting people and seen some glorious sights. It was just a week or so ago when we were  in Italy and checked out the Leaning Tower. Its still leaning and so am I at the end of a long day on my feet.

Just the other day we flew off to Argentina because we had the urge to dance the night away and what dance could be better for that than the TANGO!

Can we dance or what?

Who dares to tell me that I have two left feet?

 

 

 

Summer is turning into Autumn but that is not stopping us. We have taken a short breather at the request of some magazine publishers. We are going to appear on a number of popular magazines. That one up at the top, the National Geographic, is pretty nifty looking. Don’t you agree?

Why have we done this? Why have we cut ourselves loose from the insanity around us? Why have we insisted on our Freedom? Here is why. The words of Sojourner Truth.

 

Circling The Wagons

One of the things that I used to write about rather frequently in this blog (Pre-Virus) was my early morning Playgroup at St. Arbucks, AKA – “The Usual Suspects.” It was my wife, the lovely and always welcome, Dawn, who named this gathering of Geezers as my Playgroup. I came up with “the “Usual Suspects.” I think her choice is more accurate.

We are a bunch of mainly retired gentlemen who get together to get out of the house and give our wives some peace. Our ages range from early 60s up to the mid 80s. Some of us were teachers while others were Chiropractors, Store Owners, and Whatever I was. We have one fellow who is still working. The rest of us look down on him. We had one female member of our group, but she wised up and moved out of state.

Almost everyday of the week we meet over coffee to discuss just about any topic except politics. We have that restriction as a health measure to avoid heart attacks and assault and battery issues. If one of the crew does start to bring up something political I will loudly interrupt with, “How about them Cubbies?” just to change the subject.

During this time of restricted social gatherings and face masks our normal meetings inside the nearby Starbucks were seriously disrupted. An alternate solution was called for.

Fortunately our Chapel of St. Arbucks (Patron Saint of Jittery People) is located adjacent to the parking lot of a Strip Mall that can accommodate several hundred parked cars. Each morning we would get our coffee via the Drive-Thru Lane and then move over to the larger parking lot.  We circled our wagons (SUVs and Sedans), pulled some lawn chairs from the trunk, and carried on without missing a beat. On most mornings we had a circle of 5 to 7 vehicles. The only problems that ever arose with this arrangement were the occasional rain and swarms of gnats that found us much too attractive. 

Actually there was one other problem that plagued our Parking Lot Playgroup. One of our noble Geezers had a real hearing problem and maintaining a good Social Distance caused a lot of shouting of “WHAT?” It wouldn’t have been so bad if he had remembered to put in his hearing aids. His hearing was bad, but so was his memory. Too many mornings he would leave his hearing aids at home on the kitchen table so everyone ended up shouting at him over their coffee. 

A couple of weeks ago our prayers to Juan Valdez were answered and we were blessed when the Starbucks reopened the doors to their cafe. So far the weather has been pleasant and we have been meeting on their outdoor seating area. The lawn chairs are back in the trunk and the gnats haven’t found us. As far as I’m concerned this arrangement has an even better positive aspect: By ditching the Drive-Thru lane and ordering inside I am getting my iced coffee free refill once again. That’s all that is really important.

Life as we know it on this planet will continue.

The Angel Is In The Details

 

“People come and go so slowly here.”

It wasn’t the Cowardly Lion who said that and we are certainly not in anyone’s Oz. In fact, it seems that we are stuck in an opposite place – “Bitter Reality Land.”

The strange reality of the last month and more has created a new world. I’m not saying that it is one that I enjoy or even understand completely. It is…different – Different in a number of ways that are unfamiliar in my experience and I feel sure is unfamiliar in our collective experience as a nation. It is all rather upsetting. Stores that I like are closed. Restaurants are reduced to drive through lanes and forget it if you need a haircut. And then there are the masks.

“Who was that Masked Man?”

The doors at my bank are locked and you can enter by appointment only. Inside everyone is wearing a mask, including the person who handles mortgages and the like. That masked man is known as The Loan Arranger.

I know that I am not alone when I say that I do not like wearing a mask. I find them uncomfortable and they make my glasses fog up. The Where and When I am supposed to wear such a mask is revealed daily by a variety of contradictory “experts” who can’t seem to agree on anything. They don’t exactly inspire confidence and confidence is what people need right now. I do…and I’m people too. I can prove it. I watched all of Game of Thrones.

Things have changed while we are living, and in some cases dying, with this virus business. But change is a nonstop thing and, in time – long or short – we will start to rebuild our daily lives. Like any reconstruction project the target of the restoration will be different than what it was before no matter how hard we try to make it an exact copy.

As we restore our personal lives we will make changes big and small intentional and accidental. My question is how do you think your life will be different – post virus? Will it be better or worse? How do you want it to be different? This is something I think that we, each of us, have to start thinking about now! Think about it now when, like it or not, most of us have plenty of idle time on our hands. I know how I’m going to approach this.

How I intend to plan my life, however long or short that may be, is to carry around a small notebook and a pen so I can jot down my own personal thunderbolts of wisdom. I know that I want there to be changes. There will be changes in the things that I do and there will be changes in how I respond to other things as they affect me. There will probably be some big changes, but most will be so small that I will be the only person who will notice them. I’m cool with that. After all, in the larger scheme of the universe, I am nobody else’s business. I have no desire to control anyone else and I certainly don’t want to be someone else’s android.

I R2 D-etermined to allow that to happen.

I’m going to start planning my new Chez Krafty today. I will not be caught in a New Life without have a set of detailed blueprints. This brush with a planetary scare has made me realize that I have spent most of my life just drifting. I have drifted from one career to another, from one hometown to another, from one relationship to another, and from one set of standards to another.  But from now on I will be controlling the tides. Many, if not most of the things and people in my life will remain – but there are going to be changes. If there aren’t any changes it would prove that I just haven’t been paying attention – and trust me –

I have.

I Hope You Are All Still Out There

Dear and loyal readers,

I closed down this blog at the end of 2019 – I was tired and I didn’t have anything to talk about. Well that certainly has changed. We are now in a new world and what I would like to do is to kickstart a new version of “Down The Hall On Your Left.”

What I propose is a semi-regular format, no more than once a week. It would be a personal journey like the first blog was, but this time it will be different I sense.

So…Here is the initial entry. It is called:

THE WORLD

 

Oh, how the world has changed. My world, your world, our world.

In what seems overnight all bets are off. The game is canceled and don’t get close to anyone. Gee, Thanks, and have a nice day.

A Virus – an entity that is neither alive nor not alive has come into our personal world. It has barged into my world and…the only word I can think of is that I…RESENT it.

I have a life, my life, my only life and why should I have to withdraw into a cocoon, giving up everything? The virus can end my life the talking heads say. Isn’t that what all of the “Precautions’ have done?

I’m pissed! Can you tell?

I know! I know! Life isn’t fair. There are no sure things. There never have been and under the best of circumstances there never will be. But, Dammit, I have things I want to do, places I want to go, and I can’t accomplish any of this with everyone staying six fearful feet away from me.

I am not a youngster anymore and I’ve had a life filled with some fun and wonderful experiences, but I still have plans. I may be old, but I’m not dead. These things that I want to do are more than simple day dreams and wishes. They are things that I must do to survive. There are Stories to be written, Spotlights to be felt. There is Love to be made, and Beaches to be stretched out on. To borrow from Dylan Thomas, “I will not go gently into that good night.” I will have to be dragged away kicking and screaming.

My todays and tomorrows are the products of my yesterdays. There is no denying that. Some of my yesterdays weren’t too great and they have left my todays with some scar tissue. However, I refuse to accept that my tomorrows are to be dictated by something that started out dripping in a Chinese market.

OK, I think you’ve picked up on my thoughts – virtually all of them are negative about the virus and its impact on my life. I like it less than even cold weather and Blue Cheese.

So what? What am I going to do about it? There is no place for me to lodge a Formal Complaint. There is no person I can stand in front of to rant, rave, and shake my fist at. There is nothing I can do except take a walk and sit on a bench by myself. I’m not good at that.

“You have plans? Forget them. Stay home and don’t do anything.”

This whole virus thing is, almost universally, depressing. How could it not be depressing when every aspect of my life, your life, everybody’s life, has been thrown up into the air? I understand the reality that this is a sickness that can be fatal thereby ending any and all plans, but if I am going to be imprisoned inside an ever-shrinking solitary world I am going to let my feelings be known.

The frustration I have squeezing my head and heart is pushing me into acting in a way I do not like in myself. I’m letting everything translate into a short temper. I find myself lashing out at whoever gets too close without offering up a solution. I lash out at the television, the electric sputum box of our time. Even dogs and cats give me a wide berth.

I’m not like this, except now I am.

What do I propose to do about all of this? What can I do about this?

There are too many forces in play that are beyond my control and even my comprehension. Science, Politics, and Anger are all parts of what is happening. Which part has dominance over my world changes daily.

Just about every day I get my carcass out of a chair, put on my jacket and hat and go for a walk. Do I like going for a walk? No. But I do it anyway. It gets me out of the house/internment camp and I suppose it is good physical therapy. It must be good for me because it hurts like hell.

I am able to get some sunshine on those days when the sky doesn’t look like an extreme close-up of a bowl of mashed potatoes. Most days have been high-carb lately. Getting some sunlight is crucial to me. It is a good source of Vitamin D in non-pill form and it helps to keep me alive. I’m a lot like a sunflower. I turn to the sun for life giving light. Without it I turn toward other sunflowers for solace or I wither.

So, I dress appropriately and head down the driveway. If I turn left I walk 4/10ths of a mile down to a bench that is by a church and a small rock garden. I sit there until the swelling in my left ankle goes down and then I chalk up another 4/10ths to get me back home. If I see other people on the street they mostly turn to avoid eye contact. Those who do talk as they avoid me are babbling irrationally and grinning like painted clowns.

If I turn right at the end of the driveway I travel on uneven sidewalks for a few blocks and walk up to the drive-through window of a small coffee shop. I tell them that I’m out driving around in my new invisible car. They smile nervously and hand me my purchase. If I continue down the road I eventually end up at that same bench only I have a cuppa to go along with my swollen ankle.

This is how I am doing my part to “Flatten the curve” on this virus thing. I walk. I drink coffee.  I swell.

I’m being a responsible citizen they tell me.

What is the hardest part of this New World Order for me to live with? It is the edict that I am not to get any closer than 6 feet to another person. I’m already starved for human contact – this doesn’t make it any easier. The theory is that I might either catch a cootie or give a cootie to the other person who dares to get too close. Without human touch what is the point? Without feeling the caress or even just the incidental contact of another human I stop caring. I give up all hope, and the cooties win.

This is where I find myself today; alone in a crowded world, needing to reach out to another person who is afraid of living like a human.

And so I go for a walk – 4/10ths of a mile. I sit on a bench and look at the painted rocks in the garden while my ankle tries to heal itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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