Jaded — but Better

It finally snowed. Well not so “finally” as it is only the end of November and there’s no law saying it MUST snow on Halloween, but… Four inches followed by wind that lifted and drifted the snow. I expected Bear to greet this with vigor and joy but she seemed nonplussed. I guess she’s a fully grown dog, now. I took her on a walk alone, without Dusty T. Dog, and I expected great rolling around in the snow, great scooping up snow with the snout. She liked it, but she wasn’t enamored of it as she was as an 8 month old puppy.

Which has given me paws. Is it really that we lose enthusiasm as we get older?

Bear hasn’t suffered any disappointments that I know of to make her look at life with a jaded perspective.Β It’s not weltschmerz. She still shreds a box with as much joy as ever. Her new toys are decimated in minutes AND she’s figured out a new strategy that yields both cookies AND gets Mindy off the sofa. But snow!?

But I have to admit that I’m also suffering an absence of enthusiasm in general, and I think our “moods” are contagious to our dogs. She may have felt that I was just there, trudging around in the cold without any real desire for said trudging. Not that my trudge lacked vigor, but I was not as excited about snow as I have been wont to be.

My favorite months of the year are the coldest — the ones after the holidays. January, February even March (because the cranes arrive). The holiday sign is up over my street (1/2 block to the west to greet people as they arrive from Del Norte, Pagosa, Durango). Signs of Christmas are everywhere and have been for several weeks. Sometimes I feel that we are pressured into joy and that joy now translates as buying things. When I think about the recent presidential election — as, of course, I do — I think that many of the problems those two strident candidates went on about could be solved by people just not buying so much stuff. If Chinese stuff (Vietnamese stuff, Indian stuff, etc.) is so much cheaper to produce than American stuff why not produce everything in America and be happy with fewer choices and higher quality? I got a catalog (one of innumerable catalogs I get in spite of having signed up on the “don’t send me catalogs” list). Everything in it is beautiful (in a way) but who NEEDS a blown glass pumpkin that costs $100 (full price, on sale for $50)?

I think, for Americans (maybe everyone?) buying is like a drug and a way to feel we have control over our world. Ironically, it actually makes things worse by increasing peoples’ debt and dependence on out-sourced labor. I dunno. I guess, ultimately, I feel that everything comes down to each individual doorstep in one way or another.

Eh, everyone knows this. I guess I just woke up on the curmudgeonly side of the bed this morning.


Dusty and Bear and I took a long walk in the cold and the snow and Bear realized it was snow and was suddenly ecstatic! She tried to get Dusty in on the game, but he wasn’t having it. πŸ™‚ The mountains are amazing. There are clouds and behind the clouds, above the mountains the sun was shining making a very dramatic view of the Sangre de Cristos.

Nothing like dogs, snow and beauty to perk up a curmudgeon.


23 thoughts on “Jaded — but Better

  1. He who dies with the most stuff wins.
    I see the commercials on TV and I’m depressed. I can’t afford a Lexis for Christmas–I don’t know anybody who can. I’ve never known anybody who could. I’ve failed, failed in my duty to consume. Goddamn the pusher.

    • Thank you for reminding me of that song. One of my favorites. I had to make a choice between spending Christmas with friends and replacing a broken vacuum. πŸ™‚

  2. I’ve tried three times to comment, and each time it turns into a lengthy blog post. Seems your post has stirred up a small hornet’s nest in Madame Suzannah, Martha. πŸ™‚

    So I’ve officially given up and will actually write a blog post about it, soon. In the meantime, I agree with you about buying being something of a drug (an addiction for sure!), and your solution to cheaper third world things seems logical to me, at first glance.

    More soon!

    • I don’t know what’s wrong with me, actually. So much has happened in the last few months that is just plain disgusting, not just in the public world (election) and on social media, but in my own private world. Lot’s of good stuff, too, of course. And then Bear wasn’t excited about snow — it felt like the last straw and/or flake :p

  3. I have to admit, if we take even a quick look around at the state of the world, it’s pretty hard not to find it depressing. And our own private daily worlds aren’t always something to get excited about either. Times aren’t easy. Things are just plain scary. When these things pile up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed – especially at this time of the year when the buildup to Christmas adds its own bizarre pressures to the mix. The good stuff can sometimes seem inconsequential in comparison.

    To me, times like this are all about learning to discover our own coping mechanisms.

    Perhaps we could take a hint from the flora and fauna and pull back a bit ourselves: taking quiet times for tea and contemplation or music; removing ourselves for a day or two from t.v. and radio news; keeping a scrapbook/journal of things we love, or are beautiful in our world, or we’re grateful for. Simple actions to calm ourselves and help alter our perspective on the big world.

    To me, winter is always a time of contemplation because my body wants and needs to hibernate. The lucky thing for you and me is that we can actually DO this if we want, because we don’t have to get out there in the world five days a week unless we choose to. It’s a freedom we’ve more than earned, wouldn’t you say?

    Take care of you, Martha; you’re the only “you” the rest of us have, you know. ❀

    • I agree completely. I don’t have TV, so that’s taken care of. I’ve eliminated anything aggravating or that I cannot change from my social media platforms and I don’t visit them much. As for the frightening elements of the world outside — it’s funny but I’m not frightened by them. Maybe I should be. I know I’ve stuck my head in the sand, but it’s not without the willingness to do whatever comes to me that’s in my power.

      I just learned that the upcoming book-signing and reading has us (writers) seated at round tables. I am very curious to see how that’s going to work since (it would seem) we’ll be looking at each other rather than at the people who’ve chosen to attend. We each have 10 minutes to read and answer questions, and I have a book here for which people need background in order to have any idea what’s going on. Oh well…

      I’ve long accepted the fact that I have almost no control over what happens and the world was absolutely NOT created in MY image. I get it, but??? At the moment I feel like screaming at the world, “Make room for me, dammit! I’m sick of standing in line! I’m sick of accommodating you!”

      Definitely curmudgeonly today…

  4. Then by all means, curmudge away….Sometimes it takes a little yelling and what have you to get it out – or tears, if you’re one of those people so inclined. Personally, I think there’s nothing like a good cry to help when feelings get jammed up, but of course it’s not everyone’s go-to remedy. I simply have a mild tendency toward the maudlin end of things, rather than the enraged. πŸ™‚

    • I tend to cry when something is very beautiful or makes me very happy — or very nostalgic. But you’ve diagnosed it correctly. My feelings are jammed up and I’m avoiding confrontations with people, situations, where I can’t win, it won’t do me any good and, ultimately, I’m just going to have to put a good face on it.

  5. Hang in there, girl; you’re not alone, and the only really incontrovertible truth in the universe is that everything, absolutely everything changes. Yin and yang, mixed up in everything….

  6. I’m of the opinion that this last endless election took a serious toll on a lot of people. Now that it’s over — or is it? — there’s a kind of hollowness. I feel sort of “flat,” too. No one has given it a name, but it’s definitely a national phenomenon.

    • I’m disgusted. I finally identified the feeling. I guess that’s a step in the right direction. It was a horrible election. I still cannot believe how out of touch HRC was when a phenomenon was standing right beside her on the debate platform during the primaries and an echo was blasting her from the Right. Sometimes I think back on those months, watching all those debates, the “show” of the primaries and the conventions, and I just can’t believe it. Any of it, not just that The Donald “won” but all of it. The whole election seems to have been disrespectful and cynical (except for Bernie). I suppose it’s just how I feel now… 😦

  7. Yes, all of that. Not specifically your election, but the regular, recurrent demonstration of human stupidity. I think age has something to do with it. We have time to step back and look at the big picture, and probably realise that it’s getting uglier by the year. I console myself with the fact that I’m pretty sure every generation feels the same way, and in the event, we don’t suffer as much as the generation before us expects we will – although that in itself is depressing when you consider it probably means that we accept what they found unacceptable.

    • I’ve been watching Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl. Without having to hear my mom pounding the table telling me how lucky I am not to have grown up then and why aren’t I more grateful (which made me completely uninterested in the Dust Bowl) I am awed by the resilience of those people and I’m glad I didn’t grow up then, and grateful.

      But those people were something I’m not, so maybe Confucius was right; each generation is worse than the last πŸ˜‰

      • Yes, certainly in the greedy Western world. But despite my day-to-day cynicism, when I see film of sinking boats full of refugees in the Mediterranean or the Indian Ocean, or groups trekking for weeks to cross the Mexican border I think that courage and endurance aren’t dead. The longer I live, the more I deplore the media coverage of fame, fortune and vanity and the influence of advertising on perceived ‘normality’.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM This shocked me. I think it explains a lot about your election. Trump lied in his orange teeth, but if you’re one of the bottom 80%, you WANT to believe him.

      • There is both courage and endurance where I live. I also deplore the way the media pushes things in front of people who would never have thought of those things. I remember the disgust I felt when some of the girls in one of my writing classes wrote about Kim Kardassian as their hero and described the “obstacles” she’d overcome to reach her success. They had unconsciously conflated the American dream of overcoming adversity and reaching success (success in the “dream” is nothing more than a roof, food and a job) with that twat as a way to justify their admiration of her. And their admiration of her was based on the most basic and banal animal attributes; she was eminently fuckable. That is, to me, an explanation for Trump’s success. People are stupid, horny, greedy animals. But it still seems important to me (and the media does not mention this at all) that almost 50% of eligible, registered voters, didn’t even vote. So they’re all busy recounting votes, looking for voter fraud, meanwhile almost half the country has said, “Fuck it.”

      • Fraud, schmaud. He won. Too late to say ‘not fair’.
        As for the 50% who said ‘fuck it’ – I’ve already shot my mouth off about this (‘Pardon me for bludgeoning you but…’) It disgusts me.
        A lot more I could say on that subject – did say, and deleted – but I’ll spare you.

      • The fraud investigation isn’t about changing the election outcome. It’s making sure that certain problems that were known to exist didn’t happen. The candidate who is pursuing this is the Green Party candidate, no question of her winning anyway. Individuals and foundations donated the money for her campaign to check into this. I think it came about because there was fraud during the primaries and even worse than bad candidates is a voting system that’s not working. It’s not about “not fair.”

        I believe those who didn’t vote should have the option to vote a white ballot. I believe a lot more people would vote if they could say, “None of the above. Start over” as is possible in some countries.

        Normally the silent 50% disgusts me, but in this case, many people voted for everything BUT the president. That’s a statement but no one’s listening….

      • Fair enough. I freely admit that your system confounds me. There’s so much of it that doesn’t add up to me, but then you’re a Republic not a Democracy – which I have to admit I find ironic, given the American enthusiasm for ‘democratic rights’.
        And I also admit that what upsets me most is that the ‘keepers of the flame of liberty’ – the proud leaders of the free world – know fuck all about that world and apparently care even less.
        I’m sorry that sounds so harsh, and I know it doesn’t apply to you personally and many others like you, but from a position in ‘the rest of the world’, that’s how it looks. You get very little world news, Americans travel abroad less than members any other Western country, and even your network TV shows are American only.
        So the reason 50% said ‘fuck it’ really pales into insignificance for the rest of us, when the result is that the most powerful single world leader has promised to mess with global alliances, global finance, global trade, and ‘bomb the shit’ out of those he doesn’t fancy.
        Part of me is deeply and sincerely sad about the circumstances that have put America in this position. But part of me is just bloody angry that corporate greed and political self-interest got in the way of efforts to fix it, and the result is that not just America but the rest of us as well are stuck with a megalomaniac loose cannon for the next four years.
        Sorry. I shouldn’t rant, but sometimes…

      • The President of the United States does not have as much power as most of the world thinks he does.

        And, we don’t know what Trump is going to do, but he cannot — on his own hook — bomb the shit out of anything. What IS frightening is that he has a Republican Senate and House of Representatives. What he does not have (and can’t make unless someone dies) is a Republican Supreme Court. One reason Obama had such a hard time getting anything done during his presidency was because of the structure of the government. He had opposition in the house and the senate; Louis XVI may not have any — I tend to think he will. He is not a Republican, many Republicans have disowned him. Ideally, representatives vote what their states want, as well.

        The way the country was set up was that the states would have quite a bit of autonomy — and they do. That’s where there is democracy. There has been a tug-of-war since the beginning about how much power the federal government should have. That tug-of-war still goes on, but what makes it worse is that most Americans no longer understand the system and don’t show up to vote for the people who really matter to them and those people are not the president; they are the representatives at both the state and national level.

        But the world doesn’t know this (or care, actually) or know that — to some extent — we are semi-autonomous states.

        As for the 50% who said “fuck it” — I think the candidate that could have won was thrown under the bus by HRC’s determination to be the first woman president. I hated her and I voted for her. Her blindness, egomania and arrogance, her lack of awareness about the real life of the American people, cost us a lot.

        No, most Americans don’t travel abroad as much as “any people in any other western country.” Most Americans can’t afford it, ever. In Australia, you live near other countries — and very different cultures. In Europe, it’s an hour on the train from many places. Here, if you happen to live near a border, you go visit another country, — essentially the same thing. Here, maybe if you’re lucky and you retire with some money you go on a Rhine Cruise.

        When I was planning my trip to Europe this past summer, I mentioned it to a (former) friend here in Monte Vista. I was supposed to be putting an ad together for the art coop of which I was a member, and I said, “I’m leaving town Monday. I need to know what you want on this ad.” She said, “Where are you going?” I said, “Switzerland and Iceland.” She laughed and said, “Yeah, in your dreams.” I wanted to slap her — her priorities are her grandkids, her horses and her husband. Mine is travel. I made those opportunities for myself all my life — most people don’t or can’t. I never made a lot of money and now I barely make it from one end of the month to the other, but I see things differently from most Americans.

        All that being said, slightly over 20% of the American people voted for King Louis. Slightly more voted for HRC. Neither of those people has anything like “the mandate of the people.” Neither candidate offered us what we know we need. Many of us are just “over it.” We don’t like this endless war and we don’t believe in it. I think I speak for the 50%, actually, the majority that has said “Fuck it.” You have contempt for that, but I don’t. To me it means, “We’ll take care of ourselves.” I think that is what is going to happen.

        But I confront your attitude when I travel abroad. In 2004, it was really bad. This last time, not as bad but I confined my journey to neutral countries. I think it’s just that people who don’t live here see a really small part of what this country is and who we are. People who live here, also don’t see a big picture. Lots of people where I live have never lived in a big city. Lots of people in the big cities where I’ve lived have a patronizing view of places like where I live now. America is very complex. Clearly the candidates have no fucking clue and they are, allegedly, American.

        It’s not up to the President to fix anything. It’s up to us. I think that’s the meaning of the 50%. And grassroots movements are emerging everywhere; I think the people are moving toward taking back our country. It might not be pretty, but I think it’s necessary.

      • Thank you for being so reasonable and rational about my unreasonable rant – and I do understand and appreciate what you’re saying, particularly that we outsiders only see a small part of who and what America is. I have a lot of faith in American ‘people’, and my disgust is not for them, but for the power play that that seems to ignore their existence (although I do still think voting is a duty!)

      • I think voting is a duty, too. I just think that two options is unfair and most people around me seem to think the same way. I don’t understand why there is no movement afoot to change that, but, again, that thing of Americans not knowing much about the world outside of the US and being rather arrogant in their ignorance. If there had been a blank vote available in this election, King Louis would not have been elected nor would HRC. A clear statement would have been made, “Start over. We have no confidence in either of these people.” I honestly think “nobody” would have gotten as much as 75% of the vote. It’s OK to be disgusted with us. We’re disgusted with us. 😦 And saddened. And angry.

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