11 October 2013

But Then I Realized I Have a Smartphone and Have Never Been Shot In The Head

I woke up this morning with a head full of angst and remnants of unsettled dreams. I believe both were induced by a dearth of good money combined with a surfeit of bad government. Too much is too much, even when it springs from not enough. I did not face the day with confidence.

Stoic chewing through a breakfast that was so much better than the mundanity it suggested. Having low expectations will do that to a soul. The taste faded quickly, my mind and belly experiencing a familiar disconnect. Normally, food captures my imagination but lately it has been more of a minor distraction in the face of the thought-pressure I cannot cease generating. I ate. Tasted, not so much.

I loaded my gear into my car, trying not to think about the new tires it truly needs, but may not get soon enough. Another money cliff over which I could fall. A deep breath and a shake of the head succeeds in dispelling that particular cloud. I have some work to do, thankfully, enough to make it through the day.

Into the car, onto the road. Local radio for company. The smart phone chirps intermittently, offering directions which veer from helpful to annoying. But I do not turn it off.

The work proceeds smoothly, mostly. Later, when I begin to grow tired and hungry, the fingers grow clumsy. The mind grows dull. Minor errors multiply. Epithets escape gritted teeth. It is done.

Setting off for home I experience some small glitches in the technology I carry. My annoyance is somewhat out of proportion to the severity of the offense. It grows when faced with some truly questionable driving decisions inflicted upon the innocents by a careless boor who must have received their driving lessons via old-fashioned mail. I grow cranky.

Upon arrival at mi casa, the tussle with technology is not over. The computer awaits, it cannot be avoided, so to the interface I must. Cables and image files and downloads and uploads; the party is just getting started. Files are sloughed off, folders created, bits and bytes are pushed around.

It gets close to dinner time when I realize my early-morning funk never quite went away. Partly hunger, I know, because I skipped lunch. A rumbling belly nudges me in the direction of the kitchen, in search of some leftover soup. Disconnected dissatisfaction with modern life hovers about, a thin gray cloak settled over slumping shoulders. The relief was in the technology, though.

Today on the internet, I saw a short video about kids playing musical instruments made out of recycled landfill debris. A cello. A violin. What looked to be trumpets and other brasses. Kids whose families earn a living by culling refuse and recycling it to sell for money. They were playing symphonic music, and playing it well. It was so beautiful it made the filth and trash disappear.

My smartphone was losing some of its shine. I sat there with my bowl of homemade soup, lip quivering.

Today on the internet, I saw an interview with Malala Yousafzai, the young lady from Pakistan who garnered international renown when members of the Taliban shot her in the head, all because she championed the rights of girls and women to be educated. She was composed, passionate and inspiring. Her words were so beautiful they made the violence and hate disappear.

A group of violent reactionaries attempted to kill a 15-year old girl who wanted to be educated. I thought of my own daughter and her love for school. I bit my lip, swallowed my soup.

It was then that the cloud lifted. I have a phone that can access the sum total of human knowledge. I have the resources to make good food to fill my belly. What I do not do is make cellos out of oil drums and cast-off wood. What I do not fear is being targeted for assassination because of my gender and desire to gain knowledge. In those, I am blessed.

And if anyone cannot be inspired by true triumphs of human ingenuity and character, if a "Landfillharmonic" and the courage of a girl who truly had a lot to lose, well, then I am unsure there is hope for them.

As to myself, I wept a little, relieved that I am human.


  1. Sometimes your words, Irish...just...

    1. Just what, if I may ask? I hope it was a good thing :)

    2. You write with your heart, which sometimes breaks mine--but in a good way, if that makes any sense at all.

  2. You made me cry. You wonderful tender man.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...