This whole thing is George’s fault.

I finally slept for more than a few hours in a row.  Oddly, I feel tired.  I think I’m hungover from too much sleep.  It’ll pass.  In the meantime, I’ll just be functioning in slow motion.  I think more when in this mode.  I’ve been pondering the obvious wrongness going on in our government.  I struggle to grasp the depravity of some elected officials meant to serve the people.  It lacks any logic.  I have a hard time processing illogical concepts.  My mind rebels.

I’m literal by default.  I always process the literal interpretation first, then run through a few alternatives.  When I’m overtired, stressed, or anxious, I tend to skip the latter and run with the literal.  It results in my looking foolish about 72% of the time.  The other 28% leaves me feeling awesome, so it feels fair enough.  I’m better at recovering from looking foolish, now.  It rarely involves tears these days.  I’ve developed a relatively efficient means of communicating in real time with others by trial and error.  It no longer feels like we’re speaking different languages at each other with no comprehension or interest in the other’s words.  Surprisingly, the most efficient way of conquering this issue was improving my listening skills, not my language skills.

My inability to control my adrenaline is a major factor.  It’s been the bain of my social existence.  For most of my life, having a conversation with someone has been barely worth the effort it takes to pull it off.  Connecting with someone is a nice prize, though.  I love people, they fascinate me.  There’s just so much to a person it boggles my mind.  So I keep trying.  I learned that conversations have a rhythm.  They’re more music than mathematics.  Conversations are dynamic and unpredictable.  No magical formula fits all situations.  Each conversation is unique and dependent on the participants.

Basically, it’s rocket science.  I’m not sure if I was pleased or disappointed to realize most people don’t have deep conversations on a regular basis.  Most people communicate pragmatically.  While it makes participation easier for me, it deflates my expectations gained from reading novels.  I’ve matured to the point where I don’t interrogate the people I meet to extract as much information about them as possible up front.  There were many things wrong with my technique.  But most importantly, it was because people didn’t know the answers to my questions.  They didn’t think about the things I wanted to know about them.  At best, they would tell me what they wanted me to think.

I learned there are many ways of processing the same information.  That’s remained a frustration.  It makes the word intuitive useless.  It explains why something I find hilarious might be offensive to someone else.  It’s unfortunate we don’t all prefer the funny interpretation by default.  I’d rather live in that world.  The laugh-a-lot world.  Well, I kinda do.  In my mind, I try to see the funny side of everything, but I’ve learned to keep it to myself.  I chose the disciplined path at the beginning of my adulthood on purpose.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned I was an arrogant smart-ass when I arrived at basic training.  The Army cured me.  Military discipline consists of forcing you to get over yourself through heavy labor, repetitive, nonsensical tasks, and humiliation until you see the error in your ways.  It’s as painful as it is effective.  The Army is twisted like that.

While I’m glad to have served, I don’t encourage others to do the same anymore.  The military is being built up for no reason while what America really needs is good, affordable healthcare.  Cancer, AIDS, heart disease, diabetes, addiction, obesity, etc.  These are the enemies of the American people.  The lie that we’re in danger from radical Islamic terrorists is played out.  It’s bullshit.  Their threat is minuscule in comparison to the health problems killing off our people on a daily basis.  Our domestic terrorism problem is more severe and requires addressing, not pretending it isn’t happening.  The Muslim ban is an agenda by greedy contractors who want to earn billions from building up a military that already surpasses that of any other nation by a huge margin.  The entire war on terrorism is a front for lucrative government contracts to build up a military that wastes it’s excesses and is corrupt at it’s highest levels.

There are other paths.  Not everyone is an arrogant smart-ass at 17.  I had much of the benefit of ‘White Privilege’ growing up, merely by being raised by Caucasian parents.  I went to the same private schools, played on the same teams, and participated in the same Girl Scout troop.  I had the president of a major national bank as a mentor in Junior Achievement, too.  And more.  I’m in a unique position, but it’s one of sadness.  I’m grateful for my childhood, and sad it was a privilege, and not available to all children.  When I first heard the term, ‘White Privilege,’ I thought it was a racial slur.  Then I learned it’s just another part of systematic racism in America.  It’s not just a black or white issue, of course.  There are Caucasians who didn’t get as much privilege from their white skin as others with the same white skin.  It comes down to several factors, but primarily, if your family was poor, you probably got shafted.  That’s fucked up for the human race.

I believe the children are our future.  Okay, I promise I won’t upload a track of me singing like I think I’m Whitney.  I do believe it, though.  Our most important and valuable asset on earth is our children.  They hold the hope of humanity.  It’s obvious on a primal level.  No child born on this planet should go without proper nutrition, education, medical care, shelter, and loving caretakers.  Everything else we do on this planet is moot unless we do our best for the children.  Survival of the species is the goal.  Everything else depends on it.  We need to lengthen our views and stop repeating the histories that continue to hold us back.  It’s so simple it’s obscene.  Stop taking more than your share.  Make sure the children are well cared for first, then do what you need to do to enjoy your life without hurting things that are alive.  That’s it.  That’s all we have to do to succeed as a species.

I was just being folksy.

Today was informative.  It was a good day for The Resistance.  Visible effort is taking place to hold 45 accountable for his crimes.  Watching 45 tweet another lie during the meeting and get called out for being a fucking liar was icing on top.  The Obama administration came through for Flint, finally.  They were given the funds to fix their undrinkable water problem.  45 tried to take credit for this, too.  But in reality, it was Obama.

It sucks having a shitty used car salesman sitting in the White House, pretending to be a leader.  I’ll be glad when he’s in prison.  So anyway, I’m on book 8 of The Wheel of Time series now.  It’s my fourth time reading this series, but I still catch things I missed.  This is the series that convinced me to buy my first Kindle.  I like having the entire series in my hand.  I remember how awful it was as a kid to have to wait until the next trip to the library to continue reading.  I didn’t walk barefoot uphill both ways through 8 feet of snow, but it still sucked.

I’m working on a new song that’s been bugging me.  I got a software program with much better sounds for my midi drum kit.  I also got some gloves to prevent getting more blisters.  I suspect I hold the sticks too tightly.  I’m trying to be conscious of my posture while practicing, too.  I know from learning other instruments it’s harder to unlearn bad habits than it is to learn good ones.  I play better when I’m sitting properly.  I like practicing.  I have to remember to remove my FitBit before I practice, or it will tell me I ran a 5K while seated.  The first time I noticed this issue, I thought I was having a particularly hyper day before realizing it was from drumming.  I’m probably going to read all night again.  I’ve been having nightmares about the Florida inmate who was boiled to death by the guards who won’t be facing any consequences.  Sigh.

I trained those birds for 8 years!

Today flew by.  I read about #TrumpCuts.  It’s in keeping with GOP greed.  Apparently, fucking up affordable healthcare access with #TrumpCare wasn’t enough.  Now they want to eliminate the arts, Meals on Wheels, and PBS, for starters.  #TrumpCuts is brutal, but there will be no shortage of weapons.  They rolled out the sociopath, Mulvaney, to lie and deny.  He claimed programs like Meals on Wheels, and feeding poor kids at school to help them focus and learn aren’t working.  Naturally, he expected us to just take his word for it, as he offered no evidence to support his lie.  I did a bit of research and verified Mulvaney is full of shit.

The cost of 45’s golf vacations to Mar-a-Lago could have financed Meals on Wheels for more than a year.  And that’s not including the losses incurred by 45’s security violations and Russian spy passing.  This is just the tip of the iceberg of corruption floating in the swamp in D.C.  The corruption runs deep.  In the eight years of Obama’s presidency, apparently, the GOP put all their efforts into obstructing Congress.  They sure as fuck didn’t use that time to come up with a decent candidate to run against Hillary Clinton.  Watching the GOP fuckups point out each other’s flaws and corruption during the primaries was bad enough.  That they continue to support 45 is astonishing.

At least until I remember many of the GOP leaders are complicit in #RussiaGate.  We have an Attorney General who lied under oath, then lied about lying under oath, all while being a racist piece of shit.  The swamp is dark and vile.  Ew.  Fortunately, America is her people.  The vast majority of Americans aren’t millionaires or billionaires.  We work to get by.  Some of us aren’t able to work, and are forced to make ends meet with very little.  Most of us manage.

Part of what makes it possible are the programs that exist to ensure Americans are getting their most basic needs met, even when things are rough financially.  I mean programs like a free breakfast for kids from poor families.  Hungry people can’t concentrate.  If a child is too distracted by an empty stomach, that child is not only missing out on their education, they’re also probably acting out and distracting other students.  Humans do that when they’re hungry and have no food, (not just children).

Meals on Wheels is an excellent program.  It helps seniors remain independent in their own homes, even when they don’t have relatives or neighbors who look in on them.  I enjoy volunteering for them.  It’s as good for my mental health as it is for my clients.  Helping others is a great way to boost your self-worth.  Imagine how nice America would be if we all had a healthy sense of our own worth?

Since I have no actual representation in Congress from my own state, (just three people who probably wish I’d move to California with the rest of the “hippies”) I’ve decided to do what I can.  If the mad budget proposal passes, I’ll volunteer to fill some of the holes.  Someone on Twitter suggested we all adopt a senior.  I think that’s a good idea.  We should become better neighbors and help each other through this regime.

Hopefully, he’ll be impeached and imprisoned, but in the meantime, it doesn’t take much time to knock on a senior neighbors door and make sure they’re doing alright.  You could even give them your email and cell number in case they need help.  As a kid, my parents expected us to shovel and mow the yards of our elderly neighbors.  I thought this was the law until I left for the Army and compared notes with others.  When growing up, our neighbors were part of our everyday lives.

If the tornado sirens went off, my job was to run down the street to the Avon lady’s house and let her know because she’s deaf.  The old woman on the corner used to give me a cookie when I picked up her prescription at the drugstore.  That was a big deal because my Mom didn’t allow junk food.  Forgetting my Mom had eyes in the back of her head, I would stuff it in my mouth and chew furiously to remove any evidence before I got home.

There are so many little things we can do to help each other out.  If a neighbor just had a baby, it’s a lovely thing to stop by and tell the new parents to take a nap while you guard the baby for a while.  It’s also a good way for preteens to ease into babysitting alone.  The parents are still in the home if anything comes up.  I’ve never met a parent that didn’t want a nap.  As an adult, I do laundry and tidying up too.  I have two new mothers as neighbors in my building.  I don’t think one of them speaks much English, but she knew the universal sign for sleep.  It was so cute.  Also, I love rocking babies.

I know not everyone has time to do a lot for others, but I firmly believe every little bit helps.  Often, making a donation is just as effective.  Helping is something we all can do.  I think it’s important to connect with our neighbors.  Lots of things in life happen without our having any control.  When we look out for each other, life is better for all of us, no matter what the GOP tries to inflict.

I know there are lots of Gen-X’ers who have hidden talents.  Many of us are musicians, hackers, makers, entrepreneurs, and just generally excellent.  Okay, I’m biased.  I just want to encourage people who possess these skills to teach a child.  If they try to take the arts away, nobody will be able to stop us from bringing them right back immediately.  The people who are children now will still grow up to be rock stars, scientists, educators, and everything else they want to be.  Let’s do whatever we can to make sure they get their chance, too.  I’m off to read.

Do hooks make it more attractive, Jerry?

I developed a girl-crush on Rachel Maddow tonight.  I was hoping for more than she revealed, but I refuse to let that quell my excitement.  It’s very probable the leak came from 45’s regime.  It’s the base level clever we’ve come to expect from them.  It’s strangely disappointing how poorly 45 and his gang cover their asses.  Granted they’re not yet rotting in cages, I’m still astonished by how much has been revealed.  I know the corruption goes beyond what I can imagine in both depth and manner.  I didn’t watch The Sopranos, but I saw enough clips to grasp the ruthlessness of mobsters.    I understand ruthlessness.  The Army is ruthless.  I’ll admit, it upset me when I actually apprehended what it means.  It’s cold and uncompromising.

Ruthlessness is a trigger for me.  I’ve accepted I’ll have nightmares about too specific situations in which I encounter ruthlessness for the rest of my life.  The absence of mercy is a giant red flag that says, “Not Human.”  PTSD has ingrained this trigger on my psyche, and I don’t know how to remove it.  So instead, I changed how I feel about it.  I’ve analyzed it while comfortably numb, and have concluded my reaction’s too big. I know how to cope with pain and fear.  I’m not afraid of dying.  So in reality, I’m not as vulnerable as I assumed.  My Kryptonite is other people, especially young people.  I have no tolerance for human suffering.  It’s worse than dying to me.  Much worse.  I think others who have PTSD will understand what I mean.  We’ve been stressed to the limit of survival.  It changes us physiologically and psychologically.

It leaves a scar on our souls.  The scar is extra sensitive to certain situations beyond logic.  When triggered, our minds can get hijacked and trick us into thinking we’re in a life or death situation.  Or even convince us horrible things are happening all over again.  It makes you feel like you don’t have sufficient control over your own mind at times.  That’s always fun.  Sometimes I just feel so proud of anyone with PTSD who still finds the courage to leave their home.  When the above can occur at any time, agoraphobia is always a few excuses away.  I use humor to cope with my quirks.  I’d rather laugh at myself and visualize what I must have looked like when I did whatever than feel humiliated.  I make up for my unfunniness by tripping over dust and falling up stairs.  I’d probably be huge in France.  I just made myself snort.

I love Pi day.  Mostly because it involves cake.  I roll out my useless skill #19 and recite Pi until I see something shiny.  It tickles me so much that people are impressed by it.  It usually makes me laugh through it.  I always want to say, “Up next, I’m going to wiggle all my fingers at the same time!”  I’m off to read.