escort service

In case anyone actually reads my posts, perhaps they (you) may notice that my writing has been more grim of late. I think there’s a reason for this. Which is that I’ve decided not to censor myself or to pretend I am something I am not. This is me. This is where my psyche goes. And tomorrow my psyche will be somewhere else. There is no guarantee that any of what I write is true. And if there is a truth in this statement, there is no guarantee that will be true tomorrow. Or even the next sentence. I sure hope this is the case because I am venturing into some dark dark places.

People who know me might be alarmed by what they are reading, but the thing is I am reasonably sure they will never even read it. Out of sight. Out of mind. My friends, the world I cherished, which inspired and nurtured me is vanishing. And I am doing what I can to not feel alarmed myself. But it isn’t enough. I can no longer dance around the notion.

But if I had to express this notion, I would say that I don’t think I enter anyone’s thoughts very often. At least I don’t feel very thought of. Day after day of not one person calling in to check on me. Nor even an email. An occasional text will pass by, but nothing substantive I can cling to for support. I’ve been thinking far too frequently that if I died here in this city where I am a stranger, if I dropped dead in my apartment,  it would probably take about a week before I was discovered.  And the scariest part of this is how powerless I feel to change the way things seem to be flowing. This is not good.

I blame this all on the colonoscopy I am supposed to have next week. They will only proceed with the procedure if I have an escort to escort me out of the hospital after the procedure. I asked the clinic if they have recommendations for people who don’t have escorts, people like me who don’t have friends or family, at least not within 1200 miles. And they did not offer any suggestions. I guess they assume that everyone has at least someone in their life.

This made me question the purpose of the colonoscopy. I guess the purpose is to rule out anything that might be considered life threatening. So the purpose at least indirectly is to help you stay alive. But it’s just kind of odd. The colonoscopy and my inability to find an escort are intertwined. What is the purpose of sustaining a life of abject isolation? What is the purpose of sustaining a life of someone who cannot even find a single person to act as an escort from the procedure that is intended to sustain a life? This is not the kind of life I would want to sustain. I’ve really had enough of this kind of life. So perhaps the colonoscopy is just not worth the ordeal.

But when I think about it, the isolation is bad enough. But isolation combined with a slow death from a disease that could have been prevented if it had been discovered early enough via the colonoscopy … that would be so infinitely much worse.

I guess I had better find an escort. Somehow.

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Styrofoam

I’ve been doing this for years and year. Whenever anyone asks me what I do, I never tell them I am an artist. It’s not like I am being secretive or lazy. I’m really glad to be asked. But I forget. I literally forget because it never enters my mind. Or it might be the last thing to enter my mind but the conversation is over before I have the chance to mention it.

Because I only think of myself as an artist while I am in the act of making art. That is the only time I can say that I am an artist. Otherwise I am claiming something I am not. I am grateful for the 1% of my life I can say I am an artist. It’s a very quiet 1%. It doesn’t shout at you, so I guess that’s a good thing. Leave the shouting to others. And if they have something that truly needs to be shouted, more power to them. Although I’d prefer to be somewhere they are not.

So what/who am I if I’m not an artist? That’s the billion dollar question. In my non-artist life, I am 99% styrofoam, 1% water. Or maybe I am 99% water but my soul is 100% styrofoam. When the Buddha said, very considerately, “May all sentient beings be free from suffering. May all sentient beings enjoy happiness.” I wonder if at that time objects made of styrofoam were seen as sentient. Maybe there was some confusion at that time because sentient beings might be seen meditating upon styrofoam cushions and the boundaries between sentient and styrofoam were not as defined as they are today.

But I can say for sure that as a non-artist, I am not sentient. Not a living breathing organism, but filler material. There’s really not much more to explain. I have no thoughts or feelings or desires, no peaks or valleys, nothing connected to a psyche. These words I write are filler material and I always feel a bit fraudulent when people construe my fillers as thoughts.

Were I something other than styrofoam, I might feel compelled to correct them, but that’s simply impossible for all of us who are devoid of feeling. So I guess I just let them think what they want and summon the will I do not have to accept it. Theres’s really not that much more I can do.

How I became sytrofoam is another story entirely. But unfortunately that would require the sentient capability of memory. So it’s important for me to remind you that I am not memory foam. We are completely unrelated, although we are sometimes confused. Just to clarify, we are are not the ones who are confused. We will leave confusion to the sentient.

As a non-artist, I feel a thud instead of a heartbeat. And even louder thuds in place of thoughts. The days pass by as one thud after another until one day the thudding stops which can only mean one of two options.

    I am either making art.
    I am dead.

In option 1, I am grateful to be given another chance to be both sentient and alive. Those are days to savor.

In option 2, I get very clingy. Clinging desperately to reclaim all of those wasted moments when I was taking option 1 for granted.

This has gotten way too complicated. I simply wanted to say that I have been in a styrofoam state of non-being for so many days, I’ve lost sight of how I can be anything else. That still doesn’t really clarify things for anyone who still wonders what it is exactly that I do. But it’s really not that big an issue since most of the time nobody knows I’m even here.

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G minor

I am not quite sure what happened, but my brain completely shut down at my piano lesson today. I was attempting to play Hey Jude. I am now in the 5th month of trying to learn how to play Hey Jude. Not even the melody. I’m talking about the ‘ easy piano’ version of the accompaniment. Made even easier by my teacher, Sara. I thought this might be a fun lesson since I had actually practiced. But the moment I sat down on her piano bench, that very moment, the shutdown occurred.

The keyboard looked bewildering to me, as if I had never seen it before. What were these white and black rectangles and what was I supposed to do with them? And the music, it didn’t make sense to me how 1 note could follow the other. I would play a chord and then I had no idea of how to move my hands to the other. My hands became foreign objects.

I just froze. Like it was some sort of bewildering trigonometry exercise. When in actuality, there was a f major chord, followed by a g minor chord and then a b flat chord and another f chord. I had played these chords thousands of times before, but never with the cognitive freeze I experienced at that moment.

And it was kind of humiliating. Sara was very kind. She actually blamed it on herself since she often sees this happening with her students. She said she wondered if there was something she was giving off that might be throwing her students off. And of course I said “no, it’s not you. It’s me.” I don’t think that line worked this time.

At the end of the lesson, she said that it was difficult with OUR aging brains (she included herself in this), they can’t process as quickly as they used to. And she’s at least 20 years younger than I. And of course I immediately thought, oh god, is it that obvious? That I’m aging? Is she being kind to a doddering old man? I told her that my brain has always processed information slowly. This was not anything new.

The wall I hit in my piano lesson was not all that different than the wall I hit when I was 16, completely frozen at the SAT tests, watching the clock, running out of time. Unable to read or write. And then the clock ran out.

So perhaps that is a good sign. It shows my brain is not really aging since it never really worked all that well when it was still relatively new.

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Moving

Everything feels a little off. Another job interview today and I could barely muster the energy or focus to complete my sentences. I kept getting stuck on finding the right words, but I could not filter out the right ones from the wrong ones and I just uttered these strings of words in the hopes that maybe they would form something with meaning.

It didn’t happen. So much garble in such a small window of time.

The most challenging part of a job search, besides forming coherent sentences, is the performance.

Acting as if you are interested.

Acting as if you know what you are talking about.

Acting as if you are confident.

Acting as if you have the skills required for the job.

Acting as if you have never experienced doubt or fear or anxiety of any kind. Acting as if you have never known despair.

Acting as if you belong to the team.

Acting as if you have passion, real passion, for the job.

Acting as if you have known passion at least one time in your life.

Acting as if you were not afraid of death.

I don’t think I did any of those particularly well. But I did what I could.

But all of that acting. All of that acting in ways you are not. It takes a lot out of a person.

But I know that is what it takes. To move forward. To move, period. And that’s the thing. I just have to move.

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Against invisibility

What to do when you are attracted to someone who is sitting and facing you on the train? Do you try not to gaze in her direction? But it’s so hard to write and every time I stop typing to contemplate the next word I type, I always look up, my gaze shifts from my computer. It’s my habit. And when I look up, I see her facing me and I worry that she thinks I am staring at her. If I made her feel uncomfortable, I would feel horrible about that. It would be the worst. So I try to focus on the door, on the exit sign. But who am I kidding?

The workdays pass by without feeling, without desire or longing. Only absence of feeling, desire and longing. What does one do when they emerge and one has to suppress? The one time all week one feels anything? I wish I knew. Why is everything so misplaced?

Another strange thing. People have told that when I am speaking to them, I often look down, as if I am avoiding their gaze. I’ve been rejected by jobs because this happens in situations where I am uncomfortable, such as an interview. Or dinner with my family.

And now when I look up, I see she is reading. And I sort of miss when she wasn’t reading. It’s all so strange. I hope that she actually likes to read. That it isn’t because of any unease I am making her feel that is forcing her to read. That would feel horrible, too.

I suppose I could move to another part of the train, but then she might think that she is making me uncomfortable. And that would make me feel even more uncomfortable.

These things happen when people aren’t invisible even when they feel invisible. If only one could have more of a say over one’s invisibility. If I had a say, I think I would be against it. In spite of the consequences.

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Williamstown

From the Williamstown Motel.

Drove to North Adams for the Bang on a Can Marathon at Mass MOCA. Mostly really good, especially the 3 Steve Reich pieces. On the surface they all sound the same but if you are paying attention, they are all quite different. Even the pieces you have heard before sound different than the recordings. I rather liked it. The Sextet was exhilarating.

And now in this quiet room in this motel with spotty wifi. I wonder if this is where I am supposed to be? Where the Universe has led me for reasons unknown.

How long is this supposed to last? I am so weary of doing everything alone. It’s hollowing me out. Every day I ask the Universe if this is what it intended for me and plea for it to help me be somewhere else. Somewhere far far from being alone. I never ever would have imagined this is how things would end up for me. So I really hope this is just a very very deep long bump in the road.

Anyone reading this blog has heard this all before. I feel bad that you have to read it again. Forgive me. That is all I can ask.

I did not come all of this way to Williamstown to tell you this. Maybe I will leave here with a different story.

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Urban designers

I had to lead a meeting at work today with a group of urban designers. For most of the meeting, I had no idea what they were talking about, but they would talk and I had to respond and I had no idea what I was talking about. I guess they knew what they were talking about. If they did not, I guess we would probably be speaking the same language. The language of people who cannot be understood.

But that is how it is at work. One has to pretend to be something one is not for 8 hours straight. No wonder why I am tired all of the time. And easily irritated these days. I get extremely irritated walking in public spaces directly behind people who are staring at their cellphones instead of their surroundings, wavering from 1 side of the sidewalk to the other. And they’re not even aware of it.

And then there’s the knee, which is getting worse. It’s painful to even put weight on it. Today I was on the train and of course no one offers to give up their seat to someone wearing a knee brace. I was standing above this woman and I guess my brace accident grazed her leg. And she actually pushed my leg away. I was repulsed and revulsed and all of the hateful I could say ran through my head. But I did my best to talk myself out of it. Telling myself I will most likely never be in this woman’s presence again. I certainly hope so. Perhaps she feels the same.

And there’s this woman at work who rides the same train as myself and I always see her when I get off the train and on the walk from the station to the office. But most of the time she doesn’t see me because she is out walking with her cellphone, or I guess she is walking her cellphone. Taking her cellphone for a walk. I want to tap her on the shoulder and ask what’s happening in there… inside her cellphone? What is happening in there that is not happening out here? It must be something really important, but she is walking so lackadaisically that I it doesn’t seem important at all. I can’t figure it out. She isn’t texting. And she isn’t talking. I guess she must be reading. She has this muted smile on her face, so it’s really hard to tell. And then I am not aware of people who are walking around me because I am so transfixed on watching her walk unaware of me.

Maybe I would be less irritated if there was a lane exclusively for cellphone walkers, And they would get ticketed if they crossed the line. Or zapped if there was an electric fence between the lanes. They would have to pay fines the first 2 times they were caught. The 3rd time their cellphones would be confiscated until they passed the Pedestrian Test. If they couldn’t pass the test, they would either be shamed or deported. The worst offenders would be both.

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Brown noise

Riding the train with white noise in my ears. Actually brown noise. I prefer the lower pitches. I wish I had actually learned to play the acoustic bass when I was in 8th grade instead of merely being photographed with one, pretending. Until one finds one’s authentic instrument, one is always pretending something or other.

My knee was killing me today, The CBD oil and lotion and vape did not seem to do very much, except for making me tense, which may have been the caffeine CDB combo. Stimulated in every sense of the word. Is what I was.

This was a sad day because I had one of my final appointments with my knee spirit guide Katherine who is going off to get married. I did not realize that physical therapists could not be physical therapists once they are married. That’s kind of a big sacrifice, don’t you think? She said that I would assigned to another PT, a man named Merritt. And I already do not like him. The problem being that he is a he. And for whatever reason, I don’t trust men as physical therapists. Although I’ve never had one. But I guess that changes now and wouldn’t it be my luck to work with someone named Merritt. That tells me all I need to know.

But for all I know, he could be the miracle worker. It’s so silly of me to make these pre-judgements. I wonder how I would feel if his name was not Merritt. Now that I think about, I’m beginning to worry that I may disappoint him. I might think he’s great, but then I might learn that I did not live up to his expectations. I think I would feel horrible about that.

I have this image of Merritt as kind of big muscular round man with a loud voice and a yellow tennis shirt. The kind of person I would hope would not sit next to me on the train. And then if he did, I would feel trapped. Suffocated. Unable to focus on anything else. If we were sitting right next to each other on these short commuter train seats, I would try to make myself as small as possible. Or if that didn’t work, maybe invisibility. And if that didn’t work, maybe I could wait it out and learn to accept him. That would be quite a breakthrough. Who knows? It might even be good for me.

And then I will be glad Merritt entered my life. I just have to learn to be more open.

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Further highlessness

For 2 days I have felt literally nothing. Completely devoid of passion or inspiration. What if this is it? What if I never experience pain or inspiration ever again? What do I do about that? I wish I knew. Even my numbing TV escapes from the void are overly numbing. There’s only so much numbness a person can take. I think I’ve maxed out.

Perhaps it’s the CBD. Well maybe not entirely. But perhaps if there were an actual high with the highless high I get on CBD that might change everything. But where can a person find THC in this town, especially when you don’t know anybody and you don’t have a medical marijuana card? It’s tempting to reach out to H who lives, breathes and vapes THC the whole day long but he and his wife (my boss) seem to be avoiding me. And I feel terrible about that because whatever the reason must be my fault. Entirely.

It’s something I never have been able to figure out. When people are extraordinarily generous with me, and I make an effort, at least a token effort to express my appreciation… such as treat them to dinner. And they refuse for whatever reason (such as knowing they are wealthier than). And I stop hearing from them. All of this makes me feel very deficient. Which is a fault.

That’s the risk. There always seems like a risk when I reach out to people. The gap between reaching out and eventually getting a response is terrifying. The waiting feels perilous. But maybe that’s a good thing because if I am feeling a sense of terror and foreboding, at least it is a sign that I am feeling something. And then I can feel like I at least made an effort to break out of numbness before I return to it, empty-handed.

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Gummy bears

So I’ve been doing a little experimenting with CBD oil. You know, tinctures, gummy bears, gummy frogs, lotions, vapes, bottled water, coffee, etc. I like to imagine it is giving me some kind of boost, but a different kind of boost, not the decimating fog of very potent THC.

But, you know, if I am feeling anything, it’s so subtle that I’m barely aware there is anything there. It’s not exactly a high in the ‘high’ sense of the word ‘high’. More like a high with a lack of high. That all too familiar feeling of lack. My life these days consists of searching for things to fill the lack.

But CBD high is not exactly lack either. And I’m not high on lack. So what is it? It’s not a low. And it’s not flat. Although there are no peaks or valleys. But it is kind of oily. And it does taste strange. Like burnt gravel.

But the high itself… the high i imagine when I am trying to find a new way to fill the lack… it feels like I am being transported somewhere. But there’s no real journey. It’s kind of like a journey from the bedroom to the kitchen. And back again. It could be perilous. There might be dangers everywhere, but usually not. What could a person learn on a journey such as this? Maybe a person learns that there is nothing left to learn.

I thought it would make me feel something, at least a faint trace of something I might eventually notice. Something so deep I may never have known was there. Or something I haven’t felt in years and years. Or maybe I only knew of people who had known this feeling was in them. Or knew of people who knew of people who once had this feeling. Or perhaps these people only appeared in dreams. Or maybe I’ve only read about them. They might be fictional, but the feeling is definitely real.

So where did that feeling go? Maybe it’s happening anyway. Maybe it’s happening without me. For all I know I am higher than a kite. Maybe the awareness of the high I am not feeling is so intense that it becomes its own kind of high.

Maybe the high and the lack are completely unrelated. It’s entirely coincidental that they emerge at the same time. All of the time.

Now the question is what to do about this. Do I keep vaping away until I feel something? Until I feel something a bit different,  something that isn’t so literal, a subtle shift? Or perhaps a gummy bear might a better choice than a vape.  Perhaps the answer lies within a gummy bear. Perhaps the answer just lies and lies. It lies all of the time. The question is whether the answer believes its own lies. Perhaps the answer has forgotten the question. That would make the most sense.

It is looking more and more like the answer to the forgotten question lies within a gummy bear. Or maybe a gummy bear followed by a vape. Followed by a shower with CBD shampoo. I imagine that somewhere, people are getting baptized in CBD water. I bet that’s happening right now.

I could really use some sort of guidance with this. There was this very kind woman who worked at the CBD shoppe in Brattleboro Vermont where I made my CBD purchases. She was probably in her late 60, her arms completely covered in tattoos.She must have spent an hour with me, explaining all of the miracles people were experiencing on CBD. And she revealed a lot about her own experience with arthritis and anxiety and depression and how CBD has helped her far more than any drug.

Except for Ambien. Which is understandable. I mean people with serious insomnia are beyond any natural remedy. Believe me, they have tried. They’ve tried everything. And if you start talking with them about your insomnia, they make you feel like an amateur. They’re the professionals. I will never question what they try. That would be unethical.

For some people, CBD is actually a stimulant. Even the tiniest dosage of CBD makes me restless and I’ll jump in a pool and swim as many laps as my brain allows (my body could keep swimming forever on CBD). Or at other times, it might be an aphrodisiac, but only at the most inopportune moments. But that’s another story.

But back to the CBD sales clerk in Vermont. Although she was a fountain of knowledge and experience, the only guidance she could offer was for me to experiment. She could not recommend an effective dose. Because everyone responds to it differently. I guess I am on my own with this one.  I was disappointed she could not offer more, but it was still more than worth 5 hours of driving through the mountains, up and down again.

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Vibrator

I’m not sure what happened today. I guess either yesterday never ended or today began yesterday. It’s hard for me to say. Very hard.

Last night a TV stupor to escape the emptiness, to numb myself from this world I have come to by accident. Hours and hours of TV until 3:00 a.m. The final 2 episodes of The Affair. The 2nd half of Laurel Canyon. So much sex. So much sex I was not having. My escape from the emptiness made me feel even emptier.

Nice try, I said.

And then once I turned off the TV (actually the ipad since I don’t own a TV), my brain had shut down but my body was vibrating. This is the problem. It’s not caffeine. It’s not lack of exercise. It’s not anxiety. At least not the kind that can keep you awake.

What was I saying? The problem is that I am residing in a body that does not know how to stop vibrating. And that is what keeps me up late at night.

I may finally have fallen asleep around 5:00 a.m. But not very deeply. Not deep enough to dream a dream that would have filled some of the emptiness.

So many dreams I was not having.

I awakened at 10:00 a.m. Ate breakfast. With a CBD oil chaser. Practiced piano. Home on the Range again and again and again. It befuddles me.

Then swimming. For about an hour. I guess I swam a mile. I guess I swim 1 mile per hour. Turtles and snails move faster than I. But what is the point of comparing. I am glad I am not a turtle or a snail? Let them out-pace me. Why should I care? Should I care?

My body had enough after about 45 minutes, I guess. But I needed to fill that emptiness. 15 more minutes of swimming,.

And then I tried to take a nap. But it didn’t work, for some reason. I think the vibrations were starting again just as I lay down to nap. I lay there thinking about the hike I was not taking, or the writing I was not doing, or the friends I was not seeing or even communicating with.

This is what life has become. A life that is not really empty. A life that is filled with things I am not doing.



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Sabotage

So what happens next? I just declined a job offer in NYC, something I never could have imagined I would do. There were so many conflicting voices fighting to be heard. The voice that told me that I deserved to be making a normal middle class salary working for a very profitable firm. The voice that told me that I should be earning more to live in NYC than I earn to live in Rhode Island where I live paycheck to paycheck. How could I possibly have made that work?

And then there was the voice that told me that I am an artist and I am supposed to be poor and I should try to find a shared living situation in a completely non-gentrified part of Brooklyn or Queens or NJ. Why am I so bourgeois? That’s not who I am supposed to be. What am I doing? Denying myself the life I was born to live. Who do I think I am?

That’s the big question. That’s the one question I can’t answer.

Now that I’ve made the decision, 2 decisions in fact because I also had to decide today whether or not I would be renewing my lease in Providence, it’s been a night of regret. I don’t even like Providence. What the fuck am I doing? Declining a life in a place where I could truly connect for a place where I have no connection at all.

I think I am now beginning to understand who I am. I am the great saboteur of my own happiness. And this saboteur infuriates me. Almost as bad as Trump.

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Declaration of Independence

I can’t seem to shake it. Whatever ‘it’ is. This feeling that I am losing or have lost everything. I am clinging to twigs for support against this paralyzing isolation. Everything feels difficult. Everything has at least 1 fear attached to it. If there is a sign of hope, it is soon obliterated by fear and hopelessness.

I have only myself to blame. I mean it’s unfair to blame anyone else. I can’t say for sure that my friends have deserted me, just because they write or call or check up on me. They have no idea what I am going through. And the 2 friends who are present, Lynn and Carrie, only see my surface pretend act. But at least they are there for at least part of me.

It does not help that I am not reaching out to anyone as I sink deeper and deeper. It’s almost as if I have forgotten how. How not to feel like an intruder or an imposition.

Interestingly enough, oddly enough, my only distraction from sinking deeper and deeper occurs underwater. While swimming laps. I have no idea why I swim laps. Maybe it’s something to do with my body’s Declaration of Independence from my mind. My body just wants a pure experience of adrenaline and exertion. And it is usually so peaceful there, underwater, even 4 feet of water.

My body believes that if it can drag me with it, moving through water, it can take me anywhere. No matter how resistant I may be to going anywhere. My body doesn’t really care. And I can’t really argue with it. I don’t like to argue. I am not very good with conflict, especially the internal kind. My body exists in a place where the concept of isolation and all of its sub-concepts do not exist.

My body is the one who is typing these words. My mind just doesn’t have the energy for conversation. What is there to say?

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Disconsolate

I wonder if I died today, how many of my friends would notice. Since I live so far from everybody and rarely see or speak to them. How much time would pass by before the thought of my existence entered anyone’s mind? What’s scarier is thinking of people who were important to me at one time in my life, or people I was considered as important at one point in their lives. I think of you. Maybe you’re in Texas or Seattle or Wisconsin or California or Louisiana or Connecticut or New York or Illinois or Toronto or Oregon or Paris or London or Germany. It’s quite possible we will never see each other again. And it make me feel disconsolate. It’s freaking me out. A muted panic hovers over the land. Directly over my head.

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A swamp

I am in a swamp. And it’s nothing like the Everglades. It might very well be like the Everglades, but I’m not really the right person to ask since I’ve never been to the Everglades, and it’s not even on the list of the top 10,000 places I would like to be before my expiration date. I am no expert.

But it sure does feel like a swamp. There’s movement, but it’s very slow and sluggish and it does not seem to be getting me very far. The more I move, the further away things become. I would not even know where to begin looking. And then I really have to watch out for crocodiles because you never know when one might find you. It doesn’t really matter if you have already crossed the swamp. You may have crossed it 6 decades ago. But they WILL find you. The crocodiles. Just make sure you are not alone when they do.

People always ask me why I wear crocodile shirts instead of alligator shirts. I tell them it’s for own protection. Some get it. Others don’t. It’s so strange that I’d much rather hang out with the ones that don’t get it. I’m not sure why that it is. I guess if they don’t get it, they probably don’t get me. So we expect less of each other. And are rarely disappointed.

My canoe glides through this thickish water almost imperceptibly. Were the land not moving so quickly away, I would not think I was moving at all. Eventually I will have forgotten why I came here. And I will just stand there. Frozen. I never in a million years could have imagined what it would be like to be frozen in swamp amidst this thickish heat and thicker humidity. If I were an ice cube, I would not stand a chance here.

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