I use to be on Blood pressure medication, but it was doing weird things to me, particularly on the creative side. I would zone out and produce little if anything substantive. I couldn’t concentrate or focus, but I was calm and sedate, and nearly a shell floating through life. It also affected me physically, in a number of ways that were corrected, thanks to a pharma-loving family physician, with, you guessed it, more drugs, that low and behold had more side affects, which were solved with…breathe! You get the picture.
So I got off the drugs, began to exercise more and began eating better. In the interim, I completed several paintings (Including one of my very best) wrote three books, a play that received critical acclaim, dozens of articles and now host a successful radio program. Help the homeless. All in the span of a couple of years.
And all would be peachy if I lived in a bubble, or in the northwoods, and not in a major metropolitan area. Moreover, sometimes I wish that I could simply ignore what is going on with our politics, the economy, the world. The curse of Plato’s parable of the Cave, in which society is deluded by the shadows upon the cave wall, and heap derision upon those who turn to face the sunlight as well as the shadow makers. Most people are comfortable with the cognitive illusion of the shadows and become hostile when forced from the illusion of security within the illusion.
Part of that is noting that our society has become increasingly frantic. The wife pointed out to me that since coming off the meds I am more agitated. That may very well be, and probably is true, but to a degree I have some cause. That was illustrated as I drove home from dropping her off at a friends earlier when this silver Suburu in front of me could not wait 20 seconds for the vehicle in front to make a turn, and thus drove up onto the sidewalk. Let me say that again; drove ONTO the sidewalk.
It use to be maybe once a day or so, driving around the city and suburbs I would see something so egregiously obnoxious and dangerous. Now, simply running from here to the grocery store a few miles away feels like running a gauntlet of survival, as people routinely blow through street lights and stop signs, weave at perilous speeds, cut others off without remorse or worse. And it isn’t just on the roads, it is in our politics. It has infected the instant profit economy, invades our shopping malls and poisons our religions. Now-nOW- NOW!!!
America has become a frantic nation of pushy, self-concerned, frightened and frantic people. Friends in retail and restaurants have noted the frantic up-tick to the culture. Customers curse, berate and assault clerks, cashiers and managers because a holiday line isn’t moving fast enough. Or they barge in the middle of other customers demanding immediate attention for THEIR needs. Less than a week before Christmas, with the USPS, UPS and FedEx all at or beyond peak loads, especially in the age of Amazon, this exchange between a store manager and a customer.
Customer: I want this shipped and I want it to arrive by Christmas Eve.
Manager: We can ship it, but I can’t guarantee this close to Christmas that it will arrive by Christmas Eve.
Customer: Can’t you overnight it?
Manager: UPS and Fed Ex is swamped this close to the holiday.
Customer: Well, can’t you make it a priority?
I so wanted to hear this beleaguered manager to shake this lady by the shoulders and snap, because the millions of packages everyone else hopes will arrive by Christmas aren’t nearly as important as yours!?!?? And, oh, by the way, lady, if you weren’t so pushy and frantic you might be happier, the people around you damn sure would be and I probably wouldn’t have to TAKE ALL THESE DAMNED MEDICATIONS!
Okay, part of that might have been me. Too frantic? Preachin’ to the choir, sister.