What’s it feel like to be alive? Random bits from Journal 263

I got somehow transfixed on a red (L.E.D., probably) sign showing “P L A” and then “LOTTERY” in bigger font. And as I stood with my back to a freezer case watching this flashing at service counter, I somehow felt–it felt deep. I felt I had some insight–more a feeling than an idea–into time, maybe. One flash of a word followed by a second-long flash of the other word (a second or two), with moments of blank between–I’m not sure. [Page 92-3, Thurs. 23 Nov. 2017]

Up-close pumpkin. 23 Nov. 2017

Two water streaks just appeared on deck-door glass. They appeared so suddenly that I immediately wondered if they had just appeared or had been there for a while. I paused there to look out [“there” being at the beginning of this paragraph] and I noticed the battery-powered lights M brought out to deck in the summer and I see some bulbs have water inside. [Page 36, Sat. 18 Nov. 2017]

I’m back after having eaten a Nature Valley bar and having put on my green jacket because my back of neck felt cold. Maybe I should move socks and t-shirts into dryer and start another load. [Back at 9:12 a.m. after moving socks to dryer, starting new load of pants and button-shirts (woven, not knit, fabrics, so they can be dried in dryer).] * And I had a 2nd bar and I switched from green jacket to gray so’s I can zip it. And the cold air coming in through dryer prompted the thought that I’m cold sitting here because of the northwest wind making this corner of house colder than other sections. [*This asterisk marks where I got up and poured 2nd tea and came back.] [Page 46, Sun. 19 Nov. 2017]

That is the question I often return to: what is it, what’s it feel like to be alive? And so when I write about history, it feels a little like I’m wasting time besides the point. On other hand, I know that this question–“Existence?”–persists. [Page 43, Sat. 18 Nov. 2017]

The history-as-accomplishments idea was in contrast to just looking at, say, the field I was driving past when I thought this last afternoon. My point is not just to celebrate small things, but how being alive is so much more than accomplishing things! That it’s wondrous to be alive, just to be able to see and smell and touch and also to think — being alive is great! (Though I do also acknowledge the feeling of a 76-year-old with cancer being tired of fighting it.) [Page 9-10, Weds. 15 Nov. 2017]

How strange to me it is that someone would be willing to do that for the fame, or, I mean, maybe I see the choice. Though it’s not like I was directly given the choice–“be famous or not”–but it never occurred to me to choose something where I’d sacrifice my own interests. Now I sound self-righteous–I don’t mean that. I mean something more like: maybe there are social/societal paths that are available but damaging? [Page 205, Thurs. 30 Nov. 2017]

Maybe these people who are ambitious enough to climb to the highest levels of business organizations, government, etc., maybe they are unreflective people. Maybe the positions–the power and influence and etcetera of their positions–corrupt them, but maybe a lot of people are already warped and that’s why they rise to that level? Why they sacrifice other parts of their lives, why they do whatever the networks tell them to do, why they sacrifice ethics for going along? [Page 198-9, Thurs. 30 Nov. 2017]

I’ve sometimes–OK, often–thought it’d be a good life as an artist to sell one’s work. Yet maybe there’s something insidious about selling art at all. Maybe there’s something corrupt about that. I’m not sure if I can say why it’s corrupt–maybe because it’s selling not a product or service but merely an  idea (in the guise of an experience?). I’m not sure. But maybe it corrupts both commercial artists (who try to amuse, please, pander to fans) but also the fans, who think that there is something special about buying books or records/music as compared to buying other things. Maybe what’s insidious are the expectations and reputation around an artist and art work. [Page 182, Tues. 28 Nov. 2017]

As adults, lotsa people seem willing to run things, to represent their business or institution or party or whatever, and not fret too much about their own personal opinions. Or, it seems they don’t care too much about that. It seems as if they get ego-strokes by being seen as a leader or a role-filler. Didn’t these people have rebellious thoughts when they were young? Maybe they didn’t. [Page 144, Sat. 25 Nov. 2017]

After we got home, I pulled (and tin-snipped) a C-shape metal piece from around the driver’s side (left) rear axle. It’s maybe a shielding for the disk-brake or something, but it seems to have rusted loose. That explains the rattling and backing-up noises I’ve heard lately. I noticed it under my car when M went into her office to get papers (which she said she didn’t find) and then I took the loose disk off when at home. [Page 146, Sat. 25 Nov. 2017]

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