The Divine Joy Of Distance

Have you ever wondered at the principles of the Buddhist faith? At the detachment that many of the faithful present in the face of difficulties? Does it seem all an act?

It may be…and like all acts, it can be well or ill done…but the very motions and disciplines that the Buddhists go through serve them in any case. it is like the Jews doing rituals that make them think about morality – sometimes it works.

But distance is the thing. If you can master the use of distance, you can make daily life so much better for yourself and others:

a. Distance yourself from inordinate desires. Feed yourself, of course. Clothe, house, and entertain yourself. Educate yourself. Ensure yourself against disease if possible. But do not chase wealth, power, sex, or sensation too avidly. You may be forced to catch it.

b. Distance yourself from people who distress you. Running away is necessary sometimes and staying away even more so.

c. Distance yourself from dangerous places, people, and activities. See (b. ) above.

d. Distance yourself from argument. Not just from arguments that others are engaging in, but from argument that you start. Most things are not worth arguing about.

e. Distance yourself from idiocy. Not all folly is idiotic, as Erasmus of Rotterdam might say, and not all folly is harmful…but sheer idiotic behaviour is never good for anyone. You can rarely stop it, but you can anticipate it, and be somewhere else listening to the sirens in the night.

If this all seems to make you…well…distant – use your new-found reputation as a cool head to advantage. It may be so for yourself and others – you may be a calming or moral  influence far beyond what you do for yourself.

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The Sheer Joy Of Repair

I am always dismayed when I see something I own that is breaking down. Whether it is clothing, the car, tools and furniture, or the house itself, there is sense of loss to it all.

And yet – then there is a sometimes a spark of happiness to be found:

a. If the thing that is breaking or broken was something that was never used and was just being kept for the sake of appearances, the loss is a great chance to be free.

b. If life continues as comfortably and calmly as before it tells you that whatever it was was superfluous.

c. If you can get the thing repaired economically, you show frugal common sense.

d. If you can repair it yourself, you are Daniel Boone standing on a mountain top – king of all you survey.

Today it was the covering of my iPad – a magnetic case that protects the thing and shuts it off automatically upon closing. My pad keeps a charge far longer this way. It had split the pressed-leather covering away from the framework. Time to go get a new one from Apple…for $ 79.00…

Or time to get out the Weldbond PVA glue, two bits of foamcore board and some clothes pegs as clamps. Glue, clamp, set in the sun to dry. And an hour later pocket a virtual $ 79.00 toward my holiday trip.

On other days it has been shoes, tables, tents and awnings, worn shop tools, and a myriad of broken, fixable items that have been put back into service. Every day after a repair is a day in which the goods pay you – not the other way around.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it is, do.

The Fast Life In The Slow Lane

I try to hit all the stops. And then I really do stop.

Like last Sunday – I was jerked bolt upright at 8:30 AM by the realisation that I did not have to go to work in the cotton fields. Of course we don’t live in Mississippi and I’m retired anyway, but there was still that feeling. And once up, you can’t go back to sleep. The cat will make sure of that.

Then it was off to the shower, the shaver, and the sh….umm..let’s change the subject.

Breakfast. They say we must start the day with a substantial breakfast. Toast is substantial. So is oatmeal. So is rum and motor oil, for that matter. Don’t get near me when I burp.

Out to the Little Workshop. On with the radio. Olde Tyme Wireless from Wireless Hill. So you can avoid the horrid music of millenials by listening to equally vacuous stuff from  baby boomers. And it is true that we pluggers can identify a piece of music from the first two notes – if it is one of the only three that the station owns and plays repeatedly. Anyone fancy a Walk In The Black Forest?

Lunch? Don’t mind if I do. The chicken and celery soup is attractive, seeing as it is left over and doesn’t need any effort to heat up. No-one else in the family will eat it, so I get as much as I want.

Shall I work or shall I nap?

And dinner. I must prepare dinner. Fortunately there is an electric oven and as long as you let things cook over a slow heat they will be fine. Too many people think that an fan-forced oven run at welding temperature will be more efficient, but they are eaters for efficiency, and are welcome to it. I cook for flavour, and if this takes 3 hours rather than a blowtorch, so be it.

And the dinner need not be hurried when it is ready. It’s Sunday night and the family is home and there is nothing more important to do than the roast and three veggies. And the glass of red wine. And of course one must not drive or operate machinery after this. Safety in all things.

 

Clapping The Carpet Bag Shut And Running For The Steamboat

A guide for the unsuccessful candidate in Federal Parliamentary elections.

a. If enough people voted for you, you can have your monetary deposit back. Otherwise the Electoral Commission retains the $ 2000 deposit and buys slabs of beer and Cheezels with it.

b. If you find that you are being bested during the vote counting by such a margin that even your party supporters, second in command, business manager, and the pizza boy are being savage, you would be wise to be prepared to concede defeat.

If your electorate has 29 people standing for that particular seat and 28 of you are still standing when the music stops, you might not even have to go to the trouble of conceding. Someone will be N0. 2 in the poll, and they might need to burst into tears and evoke the spirit of some long-dead leader, but if you are No.26 you can just go home and put the kettle on.

c. If you are so unwise as to make rash statements about the electorate that has rejected you, consider whether it might be wise to leave the district. The speed with which you do this repends upon how rude your remarks are.

People may not have taken the least notice of you as you campaigned, but you can be goddamned certain they’ll remember every last word of bad temper spouted by a bad loser. And the papers will leap on it – that’s what we reptiles do.

d. If you wish to cry, do so. Just be careful about who films you crying and what you are wearing at the time.

e. Vowing vengeance upon the enemy is fine, if you wish to stand for election in the Game Of Thrones. Doing it on the grounds of your local primary school is a mistake. See ( c. ) above.

f. Do not decamp with the spoons. Make sure that when you retire from the arena of public life, that all what you touches is yours. Disappointed supporters have a way of curling round your ankles and biting deep. If there is any farnarkeling to be found, you will pay the complete legal price.

If you are the winner, this does not apply.

The Thing That They Took Away From You…

You know – that…thing. You remember – all those years they took that thing away from you. Your teachers did it using the school system. Then your employers did it. All those years.

” What thing? ” I hear you say? ” What’s missing? I got good marks in school and I got a good job. I’ve been going to it for years. I’m still going to it every morning. ”

And you’re coming home from it every evening, with a bit of luck. You’ll need a fair amount of money to do this – money for bus or train fare or money for the car and all its expenses. And you’ll be busy for a while. If you commute from an outer suburb into a city centre or ravel across town on the freeway, you’ll be spending time waiting on platforms or standing on a crowded vehicle as it grinds between stops. You’ll be banked up at the freeway on-ramp and then again at the off-ramp. If it’s cross town you’ll get to see many lights. Red, green, yellow, and then repeat…

The thing they all took from you was the time of your life. You didn’t have it sailing or fishing or dancing or reading novels. You didn’t have it in your hobby room or in bed with your partner. You didn’t have it in the garden or the library. You had it on the train platform or the bus stop or in the car and then it was gone…

You won’t get back the thing they took. But if you are smart you’ll figure out some way to stop giving them any more of it. Sell from home, write from home, invest from home. Make your food at home. Or do it at such a short distance from your bed that you can walk to where you do it. Then you can use the thing to your own advantage.

I’m being sort of smug about this as I have retired and am in the years of play again. I do have a once-a-week bout with morning traffic when I go to my hobby club but I can avoid it on all other occasions. I am not saving time – I’m spending it in the best way I know how.

The Permanent Playroom

Or how to live happily ever vs clean up after.

I live a life between two premises. Not the premise that I am a reasonable gentleman nor the one that sees me a slavering monster. Those are mere assumptions, and miraculous ones at that. No, I mean I live my life in two houses – my sleeping residence and my playroom.

The playroom is officially a suburban residence and/or photo studio. I inherited it and hope to pass it on one day. While I am in possession, it serves as a photo studio, entertainment venue, and repository for my scale model collections. It is a simple structure but well suited to the purpose. It also has the distinct advantage that it is far enough away that I need to put on a coat to go there. I can make it a destination that seems like a workplace, even if I have no work to do.

Every person needs something like this – even if it is only a secure spot at the local library or men’s shed/CWA/sniper pit. You must get away from your sleeping quarters to do your duty. You’ll be back there soon enough at the end of a hard day and if you can go away you’ll appreciate the sack all the more.

Some people are denied this – they are bed-ridden or restricted by circumstance to one small area for life. It can be the equivalent of a non-parole period for the innocent. For all of us who can at least go to the shops and bruise the tomatoes, no day need be a sentence.

The thing I like best about my playroom is that I do not need to put away my toys at dinner time. I can lock the door, set the alarm, cock the spring gun, and then just carry on to my sleeping quarters. If I am lucky there is a delicious home – cooked meal ready for me when I get there…because I put it in the crockpot earlier in the day. Ya hafta be realistic about some things in life…