Staying Patient


August 26, 2022- I have a residual patience issue, with people who are abrupt, discounting and themselves impatient. What a vicious circle this could be!

This noon, as I was in the midst of lunch at a local diner, a man sat down and asked my opinion about an Asian restaurant he was considering visiting. In the ensuing exchange, every comment I made was challenged or discounted, until finally he caught himself and acknowledged that everyone is different. My simmering impatience was thus dissipated and the rest of the conversation went more smoothly.

Penny used to tell me that my greatest challenge was indeed staying patient, in the face of impatience. I spent many hours contemplating just how to understand such people. What was the source of their badgering and importunity? I observed a few such folks from a distance, and listened to their exchanges with others. It seems, like so many other annoying behaviours, and a few dangerous ones, to stem from insecurity.

“A child becomes what is lived.” “Hurt people hurt people”; “The hurried child can never relax.” Thus it is that a person who never knows what it feels like to be treated with kindness and patience passes their opposites on to those who are encountered.

I chose to break the cycle today, and it saved both of us a ton of grief.

Why I’m Not Scared


August 25, 2022- The robust girl raised a barely-concealed middle finger at one of her classmates. When she saw me looking at her, she lowered the dirty digit and instead put her other hand in front of her face, with the middle finger again stealthily in my direction. “I know what you’re doing, so knock it off”, was my rejoinder. She put her hands down and went back to her work. None of her classmates saw fit to challenge me, after that, and besides, they got to listen to music, with headphones or ear buds. The regular teacher arrived early from her morning training, and was pleased to see how much work had been accomplished.

It has been a long time, since I realized palpable fear. Maybe because, as one gentleman said, a few years back, I am “in the fourth quarter” of my life, and there hasn’t been much that has yet to be tossed my way. I’ve been shot at, and missed; had “the stuffin'” knocked out of me; been psychically assaulted, resulting in physical injury; and bee surrounded by thugs, who were intent on administering a beat down. (The last one was ended,without harm to yours truly, when a more prominent local ruffian walked in and told his minions to “get the hell into the back of the truck!”) Large groups of people have come and gone from my life, and not seen fit to intimidate or harass me. Mentally ill people, especially if they are unpredictable, still need to be handled carefully, but by and large, they don’t threaten me, nor I them.

Of course, I choose my battles and do seek first to understand, to listen and then be heard. Mother’s admonition to not speak, until the other person has taken a breath after even the most seemingly trivial of remarks, or the most windy of monologues, has reaped me dividends, foe many years now. That has applied even when someone has launched into a lengthy diatribe. If there is something of value in a lambasting, then I will take it. That’s even true when a troll, hiding in cyber anonymity, launches into a tirade. I can then cut someone off, and glean whatever truth has been imparted, thus perhaps improving myself.

Basically, I am not scared, because I maintain awareness of my surroundings and find that no one, inherently, is a threat-in and of self.



July 15, 2022, Amarillo- The young lady had to be coaxed out of the women’s restroom, by her supervisor. Not knowing her situation, and seeing that it was none of my business, I just sat patiently and waited to place my order. Of course, had it been another twenty minutes, I’d have paid for my beverage and left, but there is a certain period of time that one can use for the exercise of patience.

Many of us, myself included, have variously been given to fits of beating ourselves up and being fearful of other people, who may or may not represent a danger. Most of the time, I have found that, in the first instance, a course correction is far preferable to self-flagellation. In the second case, a mix of fortitude and prudence carries the day.

The woman mentioned above seemed to lack self-confidence, and had to pull herself together to do the basic task of taking an order for a meal. She managed, as millions of us before her have managed, by just taking a few deep breaths and going forward. There simply would have been no other way, other than fleeing back into a “safe haven”, which probably would have cost her that job. My meal was competently delivered, as was the bill, once I had finished eating.

Truth be known, there have been all too many instances, in which I have timidly approached tasks which thousands, if not millions, of others have done-and done well, over the millennia, or at least over the past hundred years. Novel tasks also crop up, regularly, thanks to advances in science and technology-and I have looked at them gingerly, as well. A very small part of this has been because of people in my life who have cast doubt on my ability to walk and chew gum, simultaneously. About seven years ago, though, having come back from a visit to Europe and having managed to not get thrown in jail, or out of any given country, it really started to occur to me that just maybe sometimes the Boo-Birds in my life were wrong-deflecting and projecting their self-doubts onto little old me.

Then, I started to look at my life in its totality, up to that point. All the things I’d done right came flooding into my consciousness-and many of them were things that I would only have messed up by overthinking, or by wondering-“What would — do?” Some were huge things; most were small matters that just added up. I am now in the last stages of the longest road journey I’ve ever undertaken on my own, in a solid motor vehicle that some questioned would even make it to the halfway point. (It did, and there was the moderate maintenance that one would expect of ANY vehicle.) Newfoundland, and all points in between, were worth it. The affirmations I have received, from people who know cars better than I do, far outweigh the aspersions cast by those who doubt my abilities, or my judgement.

I hope young V is able to cast out her own demons. She did well tonight, in spite of her doubts and fears.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 79: That Which Hangs Heavy


August 18, 2020-

The air before a thunderstorm tends to sit, held in place by an almost perverse high pressure system, of anti-gravity. Eventually, as the sun’s influence wanes and evening draws near, the barometric pressure often falls, and the moisture being artificially held in abeyance will be released.

The same is true in human affairs. Those who thrive on artifice, and control of the masses, have gone to great lengths to devise systems by which this control may be monitored, adjusted and synthesized, so as to fit the ever-changing state of affairs, which seems to elude their initial grasp.

There is an old joke about the Brass Ring, that it is thinly coated with brass and is in fact largely iron. It comes with a magnet, carefully placed above it, which unseen manipulators swiftly lower, grabbing the ring and raising it up, away from the longing hands of the underdog. It’s a variation of “You can’t beat the system”, “Murphy’s Law”, “Business as usual is the only business that counts”, “Corporations are people, too”, “You can’t always get what you want”-and so on.

There are a couple of other truisms at play here: First, patience is a virtue. The young, and those who have waited forever for their just desserts, are understandably short on patience. We see this in the outbursts that initially came after the deaths of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor. We see it in the outbursts that continue, seemingly without purpose or direction, in cities like Portland and Seattle. We see it in the outbursts that DO have purpose, in Beirut and Belarus. Patience is a virtue, but so is purposeful, constructive action. The trick is in knowing when to turn off the patience and turn up the heat-without unintentionally scalding or singeing innocent bystanders.

Secondly, those whose purpose lies in control of others are not going to lie down and play dead-ever. The Far Right has been masterful at playing Donald Trump’s ego, and his insecurity, like a fiddle. It has been ingenious at drawing in the fanciful minds of the New Age community, the orderly, obedient and heartfelt members of the Fundamentalist Christian and Orthodox (as well as Conservative) Jewish communities and the business-minded, obedience-oriented legal immigrants from Asia and Latin America. It has an End Game, summed up by “He who has the gold, makes the rules”. It foresees an America divided into palaces and favelas. It envisions a gradual elimination of those who deviate from what it defines as the norm. It will play the Master Race card.

The Far Left, no less authoritarian than its identified opposite number, has mastered the Game of Shrillness: It has capitalized on the lingering fears of Nazism and Fascism, which are ever-present among both those whose lives are well-ahead of them and those whose best years are behind them. It has owned the Megaphone, snatching that device away from White Supremacy, while being careful not to give it up, too much, to Black Lives Matter. It has dangled the nebulous term “Antifa”, in front of people whose own mantra is “Just let me go to work, come home and enjoy my family.” The idea is to cow people into submission, by shouting: “What are you, a bunch of Neanderthals?”, to anyone not toeing the line of its agenda. Its End Game is that-It has no End Game, except perhaps that same, pesky, Master Race card, which will be face up-should more people buy into the false dichotomy between the lives of children and the rights of women, the concept that ridding mankind of the congenitally-disabled is a key to a healthy community, or the equally false notion that religion cannot co-exist with free will.

Time hangs heavy-just like precipitation that is stuck inside a cloud.

The Queue


January 6, 2020-

I have long been tagged as “an individual”, mostly in an admiring way.  The practice of setting one’s own course is often seen with adoring eyes, from a distance.  It is at the same time true, of many of those who look favourably upon the people who chart their own course, that there is a compelling need to follow the herd.

I have actually, in these later years, especially, found a fair amount of satisfaction in fitting in with society’s reasonable expectations.  I derive pleasure from honouring the queue, the sense that everyone else is just as entitled to respect, kindness and regard for their time, their hopes and dreams as I am.  Being a Bull in The China Shop stopped working for me, even before I met Penny.  Patience, indeed, has provided me with a keen sense of observing what is going on around me-things I’d have missed, in my late teens and twenties.

These thoughts came to mind, as I read Jordan Peterson’s notions on conformity.   It is true that the majority of things that society at large does, in a day, and the way in which these are done, is composed of what works.

Generations, though, will have their own take on matters, and the practice of the quotidian will change, with time.  I have found some of the methods put forth by the rising generations, in facing our day -to- day problems, actually make perfect sense-and so, I have adapted some of these in my own daily life.  I do so, knowing that I am not a Baby Boomer trying to be a copy cat, but a sentient being, gratefully adapting to a rather promising time.  My use of paper and plastics is down, for example, and I am maintaining a keen interest in the more organic foods and medicines that have emerged, over the past decade.

I do not sense the queue will disappear, nor will its underlying sense of order- but it will be accompanied by a stronger sense of inclusivity-not willy-nilly, but sensible, as we recognize a more unified order.



November 17, 2018, Superior-

(I came back to this old mining town, to visit a friend who operates a unique cafe and to inquire as to the health of her husband, who has been seriously ill.  He’s doing much better and she is still doing a good business.)

So, people have, on occasion, asked

if this or that anomalous situation

is my first rodeo.

Most know better,

and are being sarcastic.

I don’t deal with new situations,

the same way the street warriors

of New York, Los Angeles or Atlanta

deal with such things.

Then again, I have not faced

very many life or death situations.

That said, few of us are neophytes,

to most of what life throws at us.

We need patience with one another;

the spring-loaded with the laid back,

and vice versa.

That patience is hard to come by,

and sometimes may not happen,

in this life.

It is, nevertheless, worth making an effort.

My life, at present, is peaceful.

I am thinking, more presently,

of a newly-elected official,

a steady-as-she -goes workhorse,

now being attacked by

a spring-loaded,conservative journalist,

for not living up to the letter of a promise

she made.

A variation on the letter of the matter

to which she made the promise,

took place this past week.

The rabble rouser pounced,

in the pages of our state’s largest newspaper.

This was a most transparent attack

on the integrity of a public servant,

whom I have followed closely,

for 19 years.

There was a promise of more to come,

and with this particular journalist,

I  take her at her word.

I will say this,

there is a learning curve,

in anything we do.

There will always be

someone who takes umbrage,

at even the most well-intentioned act.

Some people have just been hurt too often,

and see down as up.

Some people crave control,

and smell blood, from the tiniest cut.

Some people just enjoy chaos,

and fuel the spectacle.

Neophytes must learn fast,

these days.

Civil Wars


May 24, 2016, Prescott-  I have two days remaining, in my present assignment.  Next academic year’s work assignment is now at the paper work stage, where it has stalled for a bit.  Unlike previous such situations, this will not lead to me shooting my mouth off about someone trying to freeze me out of a job.  I have a lot more patience nowadays.

Patience, though, seems to be in short supply, in the world at large.  There is, simply put, either an epidemic of extreme fear or one of rampant narcissism, or maybe a mixture of both.    This feature is, of course, being played to the hilt by the forces of distraction.  Witness the turmoil over who gets to use what bathroom.  Some disclosure:  When I was seventeen, and visiting a public restroom in Boston, I was accosted by a gay man, who followed me out of the building and all the way to a telephone booth, thankfully leaving when I closed the booth’s door.

So, I understand the fears of people, which, by the way, are felt by both gays and straights.  No one enjoys being the object of attention, when trying to do their business.  The idea is to void, wash up and leave.  The issue, therefore, is hardly worth the attention it has garnered on social media.  This is one of the distractions on which those with agendas of control are counting.  Ever wonder why an insipid issue is floated by the media, right about the time that people need to be making serious decisions?

We are facing various kinds of “civil wars”, across the U.S., and in many countries around the world.  Consider:

Help refugees vs. Care for the elderly at home.

Enjoy a diet of processed foods vs. Strictly adhere to a vegan diet.

Innoculate with abandon vs. Abstain from any vaccination.

“Black lives matter” vs. “White people are an endangered species”.

I have friends, family and acquaintances galore, on both sides.  I have my own strong opinions, as to each of these issues, but my views, in the present forum, are irrelevant.  I love all of the above people, because God didn’t create junk.  I will say, to those whose beliefs are based upon fear, that the thing that is best for Mankind as a whole is what will end up happening.  None of us is exempt from suffering or discomfort, at some level.

All the same, none of us is doomed to oblivion, but by our own choice, or series thereof.  Even then, God is still loving, and the suffering will end, sooner or later- when the lessons that are needed, are absorbed.  Civil wars need not occupy our time, especially when they are so very futile.