"An Expensive Day Off"

So, the issue is what should you do when people are just fucked up?

It’s difficult. The only conclusion I am able to reach is to simply not hang out with fucked up people. Oh, but that does get snarly…the feeling that you have to suss out potential friendships. I wish people could just be decent and forthright about the ways that they are bungled, so that you know whether they are someone you can deal with.

I had a lot of thoughts about this issue of accountability today.

Also about adaptive functioning and what the barriers are.

I think I am fairly adaptive*, under reasonable circumstances. I can go from work-self to home-self and to City Council meeting self and to Occupation self. I can go to shows and I can go to the grocery store. I can respect my jobs expectation that I won’t be an utter slob. They are all sort of the same self and it usually works out well.

It hasn’t always been this way. I used to cry on the street and run down the beach. I have a big scar from the time I couldn’t bear the thought of simply telling my employer that I needed a day off.

The emergency room nurse commented, “You cut your arm open so you wouldn’t have to go to work? Well, that was pretty silly.”

I had the wrenching crises of identity – of never feeling quite like myself – often associated with Borderline Personality Disorder. After a while, I figured out how to shift perspective without emotionally reacting and exhausted all the possible alternative selves.

I have always been a bit of a participant observer, never really being a part of something truly. At this point, in my mid-thirties, I realize that this position on the periphery is not likely to change. Which is fine, as I have come to appreciate the autonomy of outlier status, the radical freedom of not really fitting in and the strange nature of interactions at the edges of things.

(Drawing by Marcus Beck, Jr. c. 1910-1915)

I like the edges. I don’t mean that to sound darkly cryptic. It means that, as a social science minded person and as an artist, the study of attrition and dispersion is interesting to me.

Because I am a visual thinker in a way similar to that described by Temple Grandin, and because I have always held an infathomably deep appreciation for patterns in nature, I tend to think about human structures of relation in terms of bees nests and solvency in water, in terms of an eddy and a river, as parasitic or symbiotic, an ebb a flow, a give, a take…so, everything does become quite complicated at
…though, not so much.

However, it is because I appreciate the way that relation structure and attribute determine behavior that I am interested in what happens at point of pattern entry and departure.

What pulls us into the eddy and what gets us out, what is caught spinning at the edge of the bank.

There is a heron overlooking and fiddler crabs that dive into holes and the big males wave their massive claws at nobody in particular.

I took the day off work today. My children’s school is rampant with lice. I have to wash everything one more time, to be sure that this household is free of parasites.

In the smallest of ways, we are humbled. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be infested with lice before commercial treatments and washing machines, portable steam cleaners, before precise little combs.

I think they used to use gasoline. What about before that?

This is why early humans are always scratching their heads. It looks like they are trying to think, but they’re not.

They are scratching their heads because they are covered in lice.

Sitting around the fire makes the small insects move faster, because they are warm for the first time in history.

It’s so stupid. We think we can discover fire and control Nature.

We can’t though. Fire happens.

…so do Lice.

Getting back to what to do if someone is just too (what?) to accept that they will be held accountable for their actions? I don’t know. I think avoiding accountability has something to do with avoiding shame, especially when people have been shamed again and again.

How did accountability get so wrapped up with shame? Oh, yeah…Systems.

The problem with holding people accountable is that it ultimately is not up to us to hold others accountable, it is up to us to hold ourselves accountable. However, when people fail to accept the reality of their actions and the ensuing consequences, sometimes we are put in a position to have to force accountability and that does, it is true, put everyone in a bad position.

What happens to people that makes them think they can just do whatever the heck they want and not lose friends and opportunities.

It is just so arrogant.

I think I am tired of people other than a few.

Fortunately, I still enjoy talking to strangers somewhat, about this and that, and so I am never truly lonely.

Loners don’t get lonely.

After a while, we learn to say goodbye with ease.

*I have more to say on the issue of forcing adaptation and the process of external imposition of accountability. However, I have to go do more laundry.

I have a 9 hours that I wasn’t planning on having today…that is a lot of time.

I love time. I haven’t adapted well to scarce time.

I like to take naps because they sometimes seem to last for days.

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