I’ve come to loathe autumn. It echoes the current stage of my own life a little too closely. Plus it’s plenty hard to just stay level, any season of this filthy year. I saw someone on social media asking (may not have the words quite right) “How you folks holding it together while the world’s burning?” I looked for something useful and short to say, came up empty. But now maybe this.
There’s the plague and the fascists and mass shooters and people killing babies for the greater glory of Palestine and Israel. Lies burn hot on every Internet screen and who’s got time to refute them all? Greed lights fires everywhere. Feaugh.
And among my friends and contemporaries and relations, there’s a steady rumble of mortality: cancer diagnoses and dementia symptoms and heart trouble and more like that.
Anyhow, what happened was, last Saturday morning I had stuff to pick up and drop off at the local library. It’s across from the local farmers market. So I biked up there and hit both. Nobody else in the family was up to the trip, for a variety of reasons.
I got Brussels sprouts and focaccia and apples. The market has a spot for musicians, last week’s a guy with a strong voice singing old songs everyone knows; didn’t pay much attention.
All this is good, right? This is the “15 minute city” model, I think. Yes, it was. I enjoyed it.
So I lugged the books and movies and fruits and vegetables back to the bike rack, knelt to unlock and stow. Then the minstrel started singing Wild World and I knew I was in trouble.
I’m placid generally; among the calmest percentiles of the population. I’m reasonable. I deal with shit. I do a good job of seeming balanced. None of which helped.
But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there…
Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
It's hard to get by just upon a smile
I leaned my head against the bike and wept hard, cheeks wet. Dunno where it came from. Everywhere I guess. Nobody else was unhooking their bike just then so maybe nobody noticed.
It’s a wild world, no shit. Hang on for dear life. Teach your children. Then wish ’em luck. They’re going to need it.
Brussels sprouts · A few minutes in the Instant Pot air fryer with a bit of olive oil and they come out slightly blackened and just great.
The lesson · You don’t have to keep it together. Losing it sometimes is OK.