old school unfiltered digressive blog post

the trail is adjacent to the tracks which are adjacent to the freeway: three disparate choices to answer the north-south question. now imagine this urban aorta, choked with carbon deposits, dirty blood cells forever coursing through it, tied off with a tourniquet of unknown provenance and design.

stop the flow, we said. or rather, i said (and only in my head at that), as i walked the trail empty of the populace, for of course they are encased in the dirty cells choking said aorta and if the city is a heart i guess that places me in the right atrium of this questionable metaphor.

i am walking the dog. he likes the rabbits and groundhogs, but most of all the deer, for he fancies himself le grand chasseur de cerf all because one time he cornered one up against a fence in the woods and thought he’d finally earned the latent ancestral badge of honor awarded through genetics at birth, his herding bloodline transmitted but never having been permitted to establish itself thus far in practice. sadly he was mistaken, however, for his continues to be a largely dull urban existence, devoid of any subsequent deer herding.

so the trail is good for meditative ruminations on metaphorical aortic tourniquets and such other fantasies never bound to reach fruition. for the primacy of the automobile holds fast, and has continued to do so for well over a century now. scourge of the earth though it is, it will never lose ground until the oil dries up. and thus will it facilitate its own demise, being an unsustainable solution to the perpetual problem of transportation, a problem that humanity can never seem to answer in a fully satisfactory manner.

let us consider what havoc the automobile has wreaked, keeping in mind first and foremost that it is a convenience, not a necessity. humanity survived for a much longer time without the automobile than it has with it. and in that time with the automobile, we have breathed in its toxic fumes and polluted the atmosphere with said fumes, changing the climate in the process; we have paved over millions of acres of useful land with impermeable surfacing for the sole purpose of facilitating its mobility, leading to massive amounts of toxic runoff into our waterways; and finally, last but not least, we have experienced its encouragement of some of our most egregious characteristics: aggression, impatience, and laziness.

now let us examine the basic premise of the automobile. it is a selfish machine, for it prioritizes the individual over the group. i get in my car so i can go where i want, when i want, in the shortest length of time possible. all of us in our solitary steel cylinders, hurtling toward oblivion…

sigh. i can’t keep this up. it’s two weeks old by now anyway. who can sustain this focused level of frustrated rage for so long. not me anymore (thankfully). i’ve long since let it die back down to its usual layer of barely smoldering ash but this draft continue to languish, growing further furry layers of word mold (25 to be exact).

today my computer thinks i’m in shrewsbury, pennsylvania. so now my inner voice keeps repeating ‘shrewwwsbury’ in a shrill voice. at least one part of me continues its valiant efforts to lighten the mood.

does anyone even write blogs like this anymore. where a person just spews out unfiltered content. i miss those. it seems as if they are long gone from the internet. now everything is so painstakingly curated to the point where it ends up being completely banal. social media is an easy target for blame, of course. it started out unfiltered, but then everyone became self-conscious, comparing their lives to those of their ‘friends’ and not wanting to seem less cool or fulfilled, not to mention the growing paranoia about offending anyone for fear of public shaming. because social media is now the public forum. meanwhile irl we’re all silently ambling around ignoring each other. strangers don’t talk to each other out there, but online they shred each other to pieces. also, now apparently if you’re outed for anything online your offline life is also officially ruined.

when will these two worlds fully merge, or have they already. for some perhaps, while others of us have one foot in each world and as they each pull away from us our legs slowly descend into a painful involuntary full side split position before eventually…what…we break in half? or fall into the void between the two worlds? and what might that space look like. can we perhaps set up some type of shelter down there and just sort of squat together as a growing community of disenchanted outsiders? i’d be up for that. (no cars allowed, of course).

terminal threshold

This morning the city smelled like smoke but you know it’s not the friendly campfire smoke, but the burning building smoke and maybe people are in danger, not roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories but instead fighting for their lives as their home goes up in flames. Regardless I continue on my mission to walk the dog because he has his needs and I am here to help meet them. That is what I am to do at this very moment. Later on I have to wonder while reading the Sunday newspaper (subscribed to in a post-inauguration panic) what the terminal threshold is for learning the details of others’ suffering. What is that outer limit of knowledge regarding how hard it is for people to live their daily lives, beyond which there is no value in further absorption. For that is what comprises most of the news. It is a catalog of the world’s suffering accompanied by an explication of the delusions that fuel it. Sometimes I have to turn off the radio or let the papers pile up simply to give myself space and time to breathe. I know people are suffering and I want them to not suffer but there are only certain ways for me to help, and I’m not sure that one of those ways is to keep listening to and reading more and more of the details about how they are suffering and what this or that pundit thinks about why that suffering exists. After a certain point, possibly the terminal threshold, it feels like voyeurism and nothing more. It’s like the photo collection at work, full of countless portraits of the worst forms of human suffering, sometimes so extreme (usually during the annual contest when hundreds more pour in all at once) that I not so much become numb to their effects as want to hide under my desk, away from the screen, to rock back and forth muttering about my ever-waning faith in the possibility of peace and justice. But it’s this intercessory nature of the media that is the issue. I don’t need them prioritizing human suffering, categorizing it, interpreting it, and serving it up to me in bite-sized nuggets for me to swallow like a dry cracker with no water chaser. Rather, if you are suffering and want to talk about it or write it down I can listen or read as you share your pain in your own words, not those of an intermediary with some probable agenda, even as banal as needing to file a story in order to get paid. Thank you and have a good day.

ravine trail

The new trail opens up the wildest area in this urban forest oasis. Clusters of mushroom sprout from the center of the path. Few have walked here yet. It is high summer and the wood thrush yet sings. Cicadas offer up a constant backing drone. Point of fact: dogs don’t process the switchback concept. It conflicts with their innate knowledge of the shortest distance rule. As the trail climbs from the deepest shaded low point, the morning heat barges uninvited into the cool air space. Sounds of the nearby freeway intrude. As I struggle to adapt, a certain chorus tears through my head in response. This walk is soon over.

the sniffington post – a guest blog by farley the dog

Good evening. First, I would like to thank one of my humans for giving me the chance to share a day in my life with you. As I understand it, the audience for this blog is primarily human, so I will accommodate by writing in the English language. Today was another day full of sleep punctuated by short bursts of manic energy. I woke as usual before dawn. For some strange reason my humans were still sleeping. I have yet to train them to get up before the sun, although I’ve been working hard at it. I find that constantly walking back and forth, clicking my nails on the hardwood floors, is one effective method. Another one, known as the “constant licking” method, consists of licking one of their hands repeatedly until I get a reaction. Their general reluctance to rise immediately upon seeing that I am awake and ready to go outside greatly vexes me. What possible reason could they have for this absurd behavior. I find it simply unacceptable. Oddly enough, I have consulted some of my colleagues and found that apparently this is a widespread problem, although certain of my rural kinfolk did allude to some magical invention known as a “doggie door” that allows for free passage to the outdoors at will. O wonder of wonders! Perhaps one day I will be so lucky. In the meantime I guess I’m stuck with these slugs.

But I digress. One human finally stumbles downstairs to feed me and take me outside. So, we get outside and what is the first thing I see but some woman with an enormous hat! I could not believe it. I mean, who is in charge of these things. Such abominations should be flatly prohibited. Of course I alerted my human to the danger immediately. I thought that I was quite effective at conveying a sense of urgency, but instead of the gratitude I expected in return, my reaction was met with a command to be quiet. Quiet?? This is preposterous, I brooded, as the human urged me farther down the block away from the threatening hat. Luckily I soon came across some grass that the cute poodle on the next street had recently urinated on. I inhaled the fragrance deeply and all thoughts of that horrible lady and her evil hat evaporated from my mind. I then lifted my own leg in reverence to the poodle’s sweet black curls.

The rest of the walk was fairly uneventful. Well, with the exception of that guy at the bus stop carrying those plastic bags. Whatever was he thinking? Once again, I sounded the alarm and once again my helpfulness was met with irritation. I swear, sometimes I feel like me and my humans are on two totally different wavelengths. Not only do they appear unfazed by all these unspeakable horrors around us, but they’re also each missing a set of legs. Honestly, I don’t know how they get around. I guess I am impressed that they’ve managed to overcome their disability and survive in this world of giant hats, plastic bags, balloons, and hammering sounds.

At some point in the afternoon it became clear that something was happening. I pride myself on my acute awareness of when the humans are preparing to leave. The only question in my mind, however, is whether I will be joining them or not. This is never quite clear until they do one of two things: pick up my leash (god, I hate that thing) or begin filling my Kong toys with treats. If it’s the latter, I know I’ll be left alone. But if it’s the former, I know I will be going, too! This time they picked up my leash so I knew I was in the clear. We walked down to the field at the end of the street and then my humans ran around in circles with me, threw me a toy that I only sometimes get to play with, and chased after me a lot. It was so fun! But it was also really hot out and so I got tired pretty quickly. Eventually my humans figured out, what with all the panting and my reluctance to run further, that I needed to go back home.

After that excitement, the humans left me alone for an undetermined period of time. I got in some good napping while they were gone. When they returned it was as if they’d been gone for ages. I did my best to explicitly make known my excitement at seeing them. However, I soon was distracted by the allure of my left rear leg, which I immediately began gnawing on with gusto. The humans then gave me my dinner, which I am always grateful for, before commencing to eat their own dinner, which I am not allowed to partake in. For some reason they sit upright at a table, while I eat on all fours from a bowl. I’m not sure what that’s all about.

After dinner, the humans settled down to do their things and I focused in on chewing my bone. How I feel about my bone could fill a book, so I won’t bore you too much with details there. Suffice it to say that my bone and I have a special relationship, borne of many hours of me chomping on it. It’s a mostly one-sided relationship, as I don’t believe the bone itself derives much pleasure from it. But I could be wrong.

Finally, it’s time for my last venture outside for the day. I munch on some long grass, carry a large stick in my mouth, and slide down a grassy hill on my side. You know, a typical late evening walk. At one point I almost step on a slug, but my human pulls me aside, averting potential disaster. Several insects torment me and I snap at them. Eventually we go inside and it’s time for sleep again. I can’t wait ’til 5 AM!

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