Faux Isolation

Good news: Jackson County library, Medford Branch, has carrels that are set a floor up and a city block away from anything I would want to read. There are even tiny isolation rooms that can be reserved, some of which have whiteboards. Very nice.

Bad news: On no day does the library stay open later than 7 PM. On weekends it is open 12-5…and other branches aren’t open at all on Sundays. I’ve yet to explore SOU for isolation boxes that will suit me, but I suspect that I can make Medford’s library work (and it’s only 30 minutes vs 45 away from home). My plan is to take a Day, which equals something larger than 3 hours, each [month at least, biweekly possibly, dare I hope for weekly?] and take me away from family, fun, duty, and obligations.

Why was this a problem? Because I am broken, and I’m not entirely certain I want to fix it. Here’s how.

Somebody talks, I listen.

That’s it.

In a nearly automatic reaction, I will put on listening face, try to draw inference, consider what questions I might have concerning what is said, and try to demonstrate to the speaker that those things are taking place. If I’m writing, I can ask to not be disturbed, but if I hear someone speaking in earshot I feel the need to take part tugging at me, and feel (ah, ego) as if I have deprived the speaker by not paying them proper attention.

The corollary to this (and absurd conclusion) is that, without me, everyone on the planet feels lonely and pointless, their existance entirely without meaning or savor, if I am not available to witness their experiences. How sad for everyone. And what awesome power I wield. As I may have noted somewhere, I am the love child of Karl Marx and Peter Parker (“From each according to his abilities….” “With great power comes great responsibility”*), and everyone’s happiness and fulfillment becomes my problem, with taking part in every moment of their lives becoming a responsibility for me so they do not have to face despair.

[author pauses to hack up the lump of shit that is stuck in his throat]

Yes, well. That part I’d like to root out (I’m better than I have been), but I don’t care to wrestle with that while I am wrestling with Writing A Book. I am spitting distance to being So Close I Can’t Stop, and am tripping myself daily to prevent that. Panic attacks have taken place, a new thing in my experience, but I am relentless and won’t let me stop. In return, me weeps openly at I, and wails Doom in six languages. Fortunately, I only speak one, and don’t pay any mind to me.

Related to these issues, Wednesday I intend to take my first zazen instruction. Yes, I am going to go to a person who will teach me to just sit there. Mindfully, though, and that makes all the difference. I am hoping to quiet the inner Tiananmen Square.


* The first time I wrote this I wrote, twice, “With great responsibility comes great power.” I expect that this particular Freudian undergarment needs no interpretation.

7 thoughts on “Faux Isolation”

  1. Strange how it works, however.

    I am finding that many people in our generation are having this same problem of concentrating on the one thing we really need to do.

    I don’t really know what it is, but I have been hearing it from many of my friends as well as from my own thoughts.

    We aren’t the nike generation, that’s for sure.

    1. My theory is that the Age of Enlightenment has borne its final, bitter fruit; we can’t experience anything, we can’t do anything, we can only vascillate on the cusp of events, considering effects as they are blown by the butterfly’s wing and taking responsibility for our forebears and race and gender and proximity and geography….

      I, of course, am the poster child for this mode of unreason.

  2. When I used to go to church, every couple months in a fit of self-righteousness, someone would say “I don’t know where it is, but there’s this scripture that says ‘with great power comes great responsibility'” (usually when talking about harassing neighbors into converting). My brother and I started calling it the Spiderman Doctrine.

    1. *wincing* Now I’ve got this song in my head (to the old SpiderMan theme —

      Son-of-man
      Son-of-man
      Doomed to die
      ‘Cause he’s our Lamb.

      Crucified?
      Listen, bub —
      For our sins
      He shed his blood.

      Look out it’s Son of Man!

      …and I’m not particularly (conventionally) religious….

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