All My Life

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Twenty-five years ago, I went out for dinner with this woman for the first time.

We had sushi, at Pink Godzilla in Capitola. She paid (Her grandmother had sent her money to have fun with, and she apparently thought I was fun.), and she drove (In a 1964 VW bug, painted bright purple). And she took my heart.

She’s had it ever since. She will have it for all of my life.

I love you, Toni, my wife, my inspiration, my everything. Forever.

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This Night

This night I don’t have much to say. I did my exercise this morning, as I have been all week; I took my dogs for a long walk, as I’ve been doing since school got out. We went and got the keys to our new rental today, and I got to see the place where I’ll be living for the next year for the very first time (We looked at a model, but we hadn’t seen our actual place before now.). Then we had friends over for dinner.

So everything was lovely today. And everything was also very hard. The walk was fun, but my dogs can be frustrating; they walk very independently, so since I have one leash on each arm, I get pulled in a lot of strange directions all at once; they’re also very bad about keeping their noses out of bushes or especially holes in the ground: and since we live in the desert, bushes and holes in the ground are where the snakes are. I saw a four-foot rattlesnake today — though fortunately not when my dogs were there. So I have to be on high alert. Riding my bike for exercise was fun, but also very tiring; going to the new house was a bit nerve-wracking, and seeing it was both exciting and disappointing, because it’s nice, but it’s small. That’s the point, we’re downsizing, and it’s a good thing because we have more space than we need, which means we should have less space; but it’s hard to accept that and be happy about it. It’s like eating less food and realizing you don’t actually need to eat as much as you have been: it feels good to eat healthy, but also, you miss being able to eat seconds and thirds just because you could, and maybe you miss that feeling of being that full. Even if it’s not healthy. We don’t need all the space we have, but — it’s still nice to have all that space. Seeing friends for dinner was great — but getting everything for dinner, and then making dinner, and getting everything ready for guests in the house, was exhausting.

Today was a lot of work.

It was worth it, every minute of it; but it was a lot of work.

Forgive me for not having more energy to say something of value here.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

This Memorial Day

On this day, perhaps I should be thinking about those who laid down their lives in defense of this country, our people, and our ideals. Those who gave all, who made the supreme sacrifice. And I am: but first, I am thinking about those who still live, but who nonetheless gave all, who sacrificed more than anyone should ever have to. I am thinking about those who loved them, as well, their friends, their families; and I am thinking about all that those survivors lost, as well. I am thinking about the unbearable price that all these people paid: and I am wondering if it was worth it.

I think sometimes, for some people, it was.

But other times, it was not. The price was too high, the benefits bought by sacrifice worth too little to justify it. Especially in the wars of the last several decades, the wars of adventure, of conquest; wars carried out for political reasons, and rationalized with lies.

Today, for all of those men and women who fought and suffered, lived and died with their burdens — and for those who live still — I must reiterate my case that the only rational, the only humane, the only justifiable act this country can take is to end all of our wars, to cease all foreign aggression, to step down and eventually eliminate the U.S. military, leaving only a strong national guard to protect against actual threats to our land and our people. Our forces that protect our allies should remain as an obstacle to aggressive acts against other sovereign nations, but the threat and use of force to prevent global conflict should not come from one country: else it is not peacekeeping, but warmongering; not an attempt to protect sovereignty, but an attempt to create an American hegemony — and so it has been for a century. It must stop. We cannot continue to pay for the aggrandizement of our nationalist pride and the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us against. The price is too high.

But don’t listen to me: listen to the words of the ones who paid that price, who pay it still.

Last week, the U.S. Army’s Twitter account shared a short video featuring an American soldier explaining what he has gained from his service with the U.S. Army.

And then they asked an open question: How has serving impacted you?

I think they did not expect the responses they got. But they should have. There should be no surprise here. Nobody should know better than the military what cost is borne by veterans and those closest to them. What is perhaps most upsetting about this is the number of these people who suffered at least in part because they did not get help. But what we should pay the most attention to is the fact that this suffering is borne by those we ask to fight for us.

And the one fact that should stand out above all others is this: we must stop asking them to bear it. We must. There is nothing we gain that is worth this.

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

 

I would like to ask you to do something, to honor our lost warriors on this Memorial Day. Go to any of these links — easiest to start with the first one, but they all go to the same place — and read the entire thread. (Click on the bar at the bottom of each tweet, with the blue text link.) Read what all of these soldiers say, what all of their family members and loved ones and friends say, about how the US Army has impacted them. It won’t be easy. But nothing can be as hard as what they went through, and I think the least we can do is listen to them, read their words, and pay attention.

Pay attention.

Pay attention.

Pay attention.

 

 

 

They’re not all bad. Some people who posted are proud of their service, some had positive experiences in the military. But again and again and again, the soldiers and their families talk about misery and pain, neglect and misuse, and death.

It is clear from this thread that veterans need far more help and support than we are providing. If we didn’t already know that. It is clear from this thread that the empty thanks and praise we offer them, calling them heroes, while we ignore their real suffering, is even worse than simply ignoring them would be. If we didn’t already know that. It is clear from this thread that the only right and good thing to do is stop doing this to our own people, our own brothers and sisters, who are willing and able to volunteer, to fight, to do what is right. We must stop taking human beings and turning them into casualties.  We owe it to all of them, past, present, and future.

We must stop.

We must.

My thanks to those who have fought for all our sakes. My grief for all that have suffered.

This Morning

This morning I am thinking about lists.

I am generally opposed to lists. If asked to name my top ______ (five, ten, one hundred) favorite ___________s, the number given is always either too small or too large, and I’m stuck taking things off the list that belong there, or stretching to think of something that isn’t too bad which I can include  with the truly great ones. And of course I always think of better examples once the list is finalized. My wife is a list-maker when it comes to tasks she has to complete, and every time she does it, though it obviously helps her keep track of things, looking at the full list makes her more stressed, because she naturally thinks of ALL of the things she has to do. I’ve found that marking items off of a list is satisfying, but finishing the list is a letdown, because by the time I’m done with the list (if it’s not 2-3 items long, and if it is 2-3 items long it feels like a waste of time making a list) I’ve forgotten the joy of completing the first tasks I marked off, so I have this huge list and I just feel like I did this one last thing, and that’s it.

So I don’t like lists. When it comes to tasks I need to perform, I prefer to do them when I think of them. It allows me to feel a sense of accomplishment regularly, rather than finishing a task and marking it off only to run my gaze over all the other things I have to do, which tends to decrease my sense of accomplishment. True, this does mean that things get lost — I haven’t worked on my novel in two months, because I just kept having school tasks — and my time management is terrible. But I don’t think the efficiency gained from lists is worth the heartache.

All that said, I needed to do something lighter for my blog today, after yesterday’s abortion horror show; so, for no good reason and in no particular order, here is my bucket list.

*See the entire world. All of it. From the highest mountain peak to the lowest valley. I want to see all the ugly parts first, and then all the beautiful ones. I’d like to finish up with seeing all of the ugly places that have become beautiful in the time I’ve been looking at everything.

*Learn to speak every language, and visit every country and culture.

*Meet the youngest and oldest persons in every country and culture. Also the happiest and the saddest, the best and the worst. Keep looking until I find one person who is both extremes of a single category.

*Meet the most famous artist and the least famous but most talented artist in every country and culture, for every art. Like and appreciate the least famous one every single time.

*Learn about and understand every religion. Accept that all of them are false, and that the world would be better off without them (Hey, wait — I already did that last part! I can mark this off my list! Go me!).

*Spend time with the Dalai Lama, because even if religion is toxic, he’s the coolest man in the world. If possible, take drugs with him and watch him ascend to a higher plane of consciousness right in front of me.

*Read every book.

*Separate all the books into good books and bad books, and eliminate all the bad books. Remove them from the world, and from human consciousness so the authors of the bad books don’t have to feel bad about themselves for being on the bad list. (But I will remember.)

*Travel to the center of the Earth. Ride a dinosaur.

*Be named the sexiest man alive, and refuse to accept the title.

*Grow gills and immunity to pressure, and then swim everywhere in the ocean.

*Take the perfect nap.

See every band I love live. Buy all the t-shirts and deny seeing the show every time someone comments on them.

*Eat the perfect meal, and decide that I like donuts and coffee better.

*Sample all of the finest coffees in the world, create my own blend that is the perfect mix of the very best coffees, the drinking of which will allow one to follow the Dalai Lama to the higher plane.

*Master typing so that I never again make a mistake and have to hit the backspace key.

*Experience life as a woman.

*Smash the patriarchy.

*Experience life as a dog.

*Eliminate all hatred and prejudice. Also, Mitch McConnell. With extreme prejudice, like prejudice’s last hurrah is all heaped on that fucking guy.

*Experience life as a sloth. Or maybe a hummingbird. I dunno, though — do you think they get annoyed easily? Like are all hummingbirds Type A personalities?

*Put my consciousness into a machine and travel into the virtual world.

*Go to Wonderland. Have tea with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Have a rap battle with either or both of them. Win.

*Slap Donald Trump unconscious. Shave his head. Braid his hair into a mystical gag that he will never be able to take off, so that no one will ever have to listen to him speak, ever again. Curse him with eternal life until he actually learns to listen to everyone else.

*Burn the military-industrial complex to the ground. Salt the earth where its bones lie.

*Eliminate the need for government world wide, creating a perfect system of justice so that everyone can live in peace and harmony without being exploited or neglected.

*Discover a previously unknown tropical island, preferably one hidden by a mystic cloud of mist or one newly formed by volcano but old enough to have grown vegetation. Build a sprawling estate on it, with secret rooms, palapas  to enjoy the cool ocean breezes, underground grottoes with brightly colored mineral deposits in the walls and cool ponds to swim in, and hammocks and bookshelves in every room.

*Rescue all the dogs  and let them all stay with me on my island. Bring everyone who abuses dogs there so all the dogs can stare at them disappointedly  until they understand the weight of their guilt– and if they never do, let the dogs tear them to pieces and then feed them to the crabs.

*Learn to play every musical instrument, and then make beautiful music every night under the stars to serenade my millions of rescued dogs.

*Write the very best novel that I can write. Appreciate it for what it is, and don’t regret it for what it is not.

*Love my wife forever, and actually make her understand perfectly how much I love her, without having to use weak words and silly gestures of affection to do it.

 

*Go to other planets. Start over again.  (Bring the dogs. And my wife.)

This Morning

This morning I don’t know what to write.

I’m planning to do a post on procrastination, but I’m putting it off.

Sorry. Both things are true, though; I’ve had a lot of conversations over the years with my students about procrastination, and I have some things to say about it — but I don’t want to do it now. Partly because I am fairly close to my maximum stress level, because I’m waiting for an email today that will tell us whether or not we get to move into the place we want to move into, or if we’ll have to compromise even more; and partly because I am in the middle of some fairly serious procrastination for school, because I am not keeping up with my grades. And so because I am doing it, I don’t want to write about it for fear that I will strip away my own illusions and excuses, and then I’ll have to grade things. And I really can’t take that right now.

I want to write a whole post of bad jokes. I love bad jokes. But they actually need to be clever, and I’m bad at clever. I’ve been trying to get one to read right, about sneezing into a mustache, but I can’t make it move.

I want to write about what’s bothering me, about trying to find a new rental; but I already did that, and I don’t know what else to say other than to repeat the same things I said before: renting is a terrible thing, landlords are generally terrible people, the internet has made it even harder to find a place because there’s no longer one source to turn to for listings, like the Classified ads used to be.

Then there are all the things I should be writing about: the wars  around the world, and the likelihood that the U.S. will be entering one so that Trump has something to rally his voters around if the economy craps between now and the election. Climate change, and how nothing else will matter if we don’t do something to solve that — but also, how even that doesn’t matter very much. The fact that reading is dying, and there’s nothing that can be done to save it; our best hope is that something else will take its place, and that the new thing will be as powerful and useful as reading is.

But I can’t write about any of that. I don’t have time to formulate the good thoughts and put them down on the page. I would have written it last night, but I was grading, because I’ve been procrastinating. Because I’ve been looking for a new rental. And also been very stressed over it and not sleeping well and so therefore napping during the day and being very tired, as well.

These are all excuses.

I want to write about what matters, but I’m not really sure what does. Love seems the best answer.

I want to write about the opening line of Highly Suspect’s song Serotonia: “I wish that everyone that I knew was dead/Just so I’d never have to pick up the phone.” That is a brilliant line: I can’t think of anything that could be so self-consciously insightful and idiotic at the same time.

I wrote before about how writer’s block is really about this: when you have too many ideas, and simply can’t choose between them, so they all clamor for attention, all at once, and you can’t pick one out of the cacophony to focus on.

Have I done the right thing here? Bibbling on about this without accomplishing anything useful? This way I give you something to read, maybe some insight into my thoughts; maybe that’s useful. Maybe this is a waste of time. Is it worth it to keep the streak going? I’m up to 73 days in a row, I think; WordPress is very impressed by me. I’ve been thinking that I should try for a solid year of daily blogs, which sounds great, but if too many of them are going to be like this, maybe I should let it go. I figured the constant deadline would give me impetus to write, a way to break through logjams like this and come to a decision; normally it does, but today, not. So this is my compromise: it’s a post, but it’s not a good post.

It’s a Monday post.

I’ll try to write something better for tomorrow.

This Morning

This morning, I am thinking about this bullshit.

We celebrated Michael Phelps’s genetic differences. Why punish Caster Semenya for hers?

Image result for caster semenya

2-time Olympic Gold Medalist Caster Semenya 

Semenya is an in­cred­ibly powerful runner from South Africa, a two-time Olympic champion. She has also been the subject of controversy since the beginning of her career a decade ago. Semenya is believed to have an intersex condition, though she doesn’t publicly speak about it: Her body allegedly produces testosterone at a higher level than most women. On Wednesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that if Semenya wanted to continue to compete, she would be required to take medications to lower it.

The CAS, which was upholding a previous ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations, admitted that the decision was tantamount to discrimination. But, a statement read, “discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics.”

“Preserving the integrity of female athletics.” What a remarkable way to phrase a ruling that has nothing whatsoever of integrity in it.

What a remarkable decision: in a world where sports fight tooth and nail to keep people from doping — that is, using artificial chemical treatments to give some athletes an advantage over others — the IAAF is going to use artificial chemical treatments to give some athletes an advantage over others. It’s just that in this case, the chemical treatments are meant to make the other athletes win, rather than the one being forced to take the drugs. The one being doped.

Make no mistake: that’s precisely what this is. The arbitrators here decided to chemically handicap Caster Semenya because she is a better athlete. Because she is more likely to win. When criminals fix horse races, they use two different strategies: one is to give the winning horse a boost, and the other is to give the losing horses a drag. Since the term “dope” comes most prominently from references to opium, it seems likely that the use of the term to represent cheating through chemical substances springs from precisely this: using dope to slow someone down so that someone else can win. [History of the word “doping” found here, which also includes the magnificent user comment, ‘I believe “dope” has also been used as slang for “good”, or “excellent”.’ Thanks, Craig J.!]

I presume the next step is to cut off Usain Bolt’s legs, and replace them with shorter legs; because a large part of the reason why Bolt has won nine gold medals and holds three world records is because he is 6’5″.

But even among top sprinters, Bolt stands out, and this is partly because of his height.

“Bolt is a genetic freak because being 6ft 5ins tall means he shouldn’t be able to accelerate at the speed he does given the length of his legs,” says former Great Britain sprinter Craig Pickering.

“At the beginning of a race you want to take short steps in order to accelerate, but because he’s so tall he can’t do that. But then when he reaches top speed he has a massive advantage over everyone else because he’s taking far fewer steps.”

[Emphasis added] [Source]

So clearly, Bolt has an unfair advantage. Seems to me that is because of his sex: men are taller than women, and so if Bolt has too much height, it’s because he’s a man. A more mannish man than other men. We should add a third category of sports: women’s sports, men’s sports, and super-manny men’s sports; Bolt belongs in the third group, along with Lebron James and Michael Phelps. The only way to maintain integrity in sport is to prevent Bolt from taking advantage of his genetic aberration and unfairly dominating his event.

This entire argument is, of course, preposterous. It’s obscene to take an athlete with a natural advantage — the same description that could be applied to every single dominant athlete in the history of sport; the first article comparing Michael Phelps to Semenya does this well — and decide that their natural advantage is somehow unfair. The whole point of sport is to reward those who have natural advantages. Of course we like it better when the people who have trained harder and worked harder are able to win; but we love cheering for the genetic aberrations who have the natural gifts that give them an advantage. And really, in the modern world of competitive sports, there is no such thing as a top level athlete who doesn’t have genetic advantages: it’s just that some of them are more visible than others. We can talk about Lebron James’s size and strength as part of his gameplay, but though Michael Jordan lacked those genetic advantages, there’s no question that he had agility and speed and coordination and reflexes that were inborn and greater than a normal person’s. Look at Muhammad Ali’s speed, which was unmatched by heavyweight boxers and allowed Ali to dominate over stronger men: wasn’t that a genetic aberration? Wasn’t that an unnatural gift? Am I supposed to believe that the only reason Ali could float like a butterfly was because he trained harder? Ridiculous.

No: the point here is that Semenya has an advantage that we as a society (and by “we” I mean the fucksticks at the IAAF, not myself and probably not you) think is wrong. She has “an intersex condition,” I keep reading, which means her body produces more testosterone than most women’s bodies and which therefore makes her a better athlete.

When someone has a hormonal “condition” that makes them abnormally tall, and therefore gives them an advantage in basketball, we don’t see that as unfair, nor as wrong. When someone has a hormonal “condition” that gives them greater body mass, and therefore an advantage at sumo or in football, we don’t see that as unfair or wrong. Again, as the article points out, Michael Phelps has a genetic aberration that means his body produces less lactic acid than the normal human body, and yet he was lauded as having a lucky gift  — not sentenced to inject lactic acid in order to give other swimmers a fighting chance against that unnatural freak Phelps.

The entire argument, the only argument, against Caster Semenya is that she is not really she, that she is more he than she, and therefore she can’t compete against shes unless she becomes more she-ish. That’s it. If she was abnormally tall and therefore had the same advantage Usain Bolt has, it wouldn’t be a question. If she had less lactic acid, and therefore the same advantage Michael Phelps has, it wouldn’t be a question. She probably does have greater reaction time and naturally greater twitch-muscle  mass, as that is what sets sprinters apart; but the IAAF isn’t talking about that. Just about her lack of sheishness. I mean, it’s not even subtle:

The combination of her rapid athletic progression and her appearance culminated in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) asking her to take a sex verification test to ascertain whether she was female. (Wikipedia) [Emphasis added, but unnecessary. You saw it too.]

Do you think it’s also a factor that Semenya is a married lesbian?

Of course it is.

This case is much more about humanity’s discomfort with gender. We (Again, not me, and probably not you; mostly fucksticks.)  want to think that there is an easy line to draw, and that line has value. Sports is one place where we really, really like drawing that line. Because men are generally stronger and larger, and therefore have an advantage in most sports, we like to think it’s fair to separate men from women and have them only compete against each other. (You want to talk about unfair advantages, let’s throw some men into women’s gymnastics. Watch some 6-foot dude try to compete on the uneven bars. That will be funny as hell.)

But there’s nothing fair about that. Caster Semenya shows that. Transgender athletes show that, and the fact that most people have far less of a problem arguing that transgender athletes shouldn’t be allowed to compete with their identified gender simply goes to show that this argument is really about what kinds of gender identifiers we are comfortable with.

It’s clearly not about a level playing field. Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles partly because she is taller and stronger than most women tennis players. (Being taller gives her more reach and a more powerful serve because she can swing the racket in a wider arc, generating more speed and thus more force.) That’s not to say she’s not an incredible athlete; she is. I like using tennis  s an example because it requires an inordinate amount of training in addition to the physical gifts that make a player great, and Williams has obviously mastered the sport to an unprecedented degree. But the simple fact is that one reason she wins is because she hits the ball harder and faster than her opponents can, and part of the reason for that is because she has the genes to be taller and stronger than most people. But because Serena Williams is more she-ish, nobody argued that she should be given performance-debilitating drugs in order to level the playing field and give all the other women a chance.

An even better example is Shaquille O’Neal. Shaquille O’Neal is 7’1″, which is extraordinarily tall, though not unheard of in the NBA: but he was also 325 pounds when he was playing, which is entirely unheard of in the NBA. He outweighed everyone he played against. Because of that, he had an advantage, and in O’Neal’s case, it was his only advantage: I watched him play hundreds of times, and believe me, that man had not a single skill when it came to basketball. No, I shouldn’t say that; he was a good passer, which is a skill and helped him win championships. But as an offensive player, he had exactly one move: he would catch the ball (using his height to reach above any player between him and the person passing to him)  and then, with his back to the basket, he would dribble the ball and simply– step backwards. When he was close enough, he would turn around and shoot the ball, from the kind of range that allows anyone with eyes to hit the shot. He could do that because none of the men defending him could push back, because O’Neal outweighed them. If they tried to set their feet and shove him, it would be a foul; if they tried to out-muscle him, he would win, every time. Because he was bigger. And stronger, which surely came partly from lots and lots of physical training; but mainly because he was bigger. He pushed his way into the Hall of Fame with his enormous ass.

That is an unfair advantage. But because it doesn’t have anything to do with gender, nobody ever investigated O’Neal. Nobody ever ordered him to lose weight before he would be allowed to play. Nobody ever questioned whether he should be allowed to play with other men.

Either accept that Caster Semenya is a woman by any rational standard, and allow her to compete and crush all of her competitors like bugs the same way that Shaquille O’Neal was allowed to use his genetic aberration to win NBA games; or else accept that the separation of men’s and women’s sports along gender lines is stupid, and change to something that makes more sense.

This Morning

This morning I’m thinking about how much I wish I was still asleep.

I woke up at 4am again, and tossed and turned for an hour before trying first to write in my journal, and then deciding to go ahead and write this on my Web-log here (I hate that word, actually. I like the word “blog,” have been using that even though I’m sure it’s now passe, that it has been yeeted along with every other “world wide web” term by the new generation who talk more about wifi than internet; but I’ve always hated “weblog” because it looks like “we blog.” And we do, oh yes we do blog, precious; but that’s now how the word is said, it’s said “web log” because it’s a log kept on the web — but there’s no way to indicate that without adding a space or a capital letter or a hyphen, all of which ruin the visual indication that this is where the word “blog” comes from, a shortening of “web log.”) what thoughts are running around in my head and keeping me from going back to sleep.

This. This is what I think about when I wake up at 4am. Along with the thoughts, “God, I’m tired” and “I should really get more sleep” and “Today’s going to suck.” See why I said yesterday that my brain, like everyone else’s brain, is unwell and disordered and just — stupid? Because I really do need sleep, and my brain knows it, but yet somehow it can’t stop thinking “Man, I’m really tired. I should be sleeping now. I’m not though. This day’s going to be awful.”

I would like to apologize in advance to everyone today for my crankiness and slowness, for my confusion and my general inability to remember anything or to think clearly. I blame my idiot 4am brain.

No, the main thing that’s waking me up, and has been all week, is this: we need to move. We’re downsizing to save money, and our lease is up, and we need to find a new house. We want one that is cheap but decent, and that has a good yard with a solid fence for our dogs and our tortoise, who lives in the yard.

That right there is the first problem we’ve been having: most places don’t have a fenced yard, or don’t allow dogs, or don’t allow TWO dogs, or don’t allow anything but small dogs. And if you’re not a dog person, okay, fine, sure, you don’t want hair in the place and you don’t want poop in the yard and you’re scared that they’ll bark or dig. But if you’re willing to allow me to have a dog, what is the problem with me having two dogs? You think two dogs will bark more than one? Are you afraid they’ll fight? Is there some calculation in your head that says the place is too small for that much canine mass? I mean– can’t you let me handle those problems? If you don’t want dogs, fine; but if you allow dogs, what’s with the weight limit? If it’s an apartment without a yard, again, that’s fine, I understand; I wouldn’t move my dogs into a place that didn’t have a yard for them, but lots of people do that, and I think it’s wrong, too; but with tiny lap-dogs it’s much more manageable, so in that case, you can say that you don’t mind tiny yappy puppers. But if you have a yard, why couldn’t I have as many large dogs in there as I can cram in? Why does the landlord care how many dogs I have? Is there a fear that too much will create a canine supernova, which will then collapse into a doggo-black hole?

At any rate, once we find a place, we’re going to have to downsize and get rid of stuff, and we’re going to have to move.

And that’s it. That’s the thought. That’s what keeps me up at night, why I can’t sleep, why I am currently seeing double because my eyes won’t focus well, and having trouble typing because my fingers are not hitting the right keys in the right sequence. Because I’m going to have to get rid of stuff, and then move the remaining stuff from one house to another, and put it all away.

I don’t know why I’m having trouble with this. Sure, there is anxiety about the house hunting: will we find a place that we like? Will we still like it once we move into it with all of our possessions and our pets? What about our neighbors, will they drive us crazy? Will we hate living there after six or eight months? All of that is one thing; but this morning I was thinking about stuff. I was trying to picture how we could cram our current possessions into the condo we looked at yesterday — which was a dump, by the way, as per our expectations; it was in a good neighborhood and it was dirt cheap, but that was because of all the dirt.

Now: why? Why was I trying to make decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of? Why was I worrying that we wouldn’t have room in the garbage can for the junk I’ll want to throw away, junk that has accumulated in our back yard simply because we have room for it, and I haven’t bothered getting rid of it before now? Garbage? 4am, I’m exhausted, and I’m literally worrying about garbage.

Garbage.

I think I need to clear my brain out, too.

That also, I have to say, represents most of the stuff that we’ll need to downsize and get rid of: things we just haven’t bothered to remove because we had room for it. The house we’re in now is quite large, four bedrooms for the two of us and our pets; the bird has his own bedroom. So we have the chair that isn’t as comfortable as it used to be, but we kept because our Boxer mix likes curling up in it. We have a bookshelf full of CDs that only I listen to any more, and that rarely because most of them are either uninteresting to me, or are already ripped onto our iTunes. If I just consolidated my tools, and cleaned out the half-empty plastic bags of hardware that has been left over after assemblies and repairs and installations over the last few years, I’d be able to put all of my home-repair stuff into one medium box.

I just haven’t done it. Because we’ve had room to store everything, so why worry about it?

And now, it seems, it’s time to worry about it. Except there’s nothing to worry about. Not even the move itself: it’s now May, and school will end in three weeks (And THANK GOD FOR THAT), and then we’ll have nothing to do but move; while we’ll need one day with a U-Haul truck and friends to help us move the big furniture, the rest we can do in small trips with our car. We’ve done this many times before, and it’s never been hard, and it won’t be hard now. It’ll be good for us, in fact, because we really should get rid of all of our clutter; it’s not sparking any joy for us.

Now someone, please, I beg of you: explain that to my 4am brain. Because the one thing that will make this move hard is if I can’t get enough sleep.