Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Year of Accelerated Entropy

My State of the Apocalypse, near the end of the first quarter of 2016.

What with another round of passings this month—Pat Conroy, George Martin, Earl Hamner, Jr. foremost in my remembrances—we might as well give this year its proper descriptor: The Year of Accelerated Entropy. The numbers are staggering, the names impressive, but for the most part these deaths were coming.

This first quarter of 2016, though. Good Lord, what a massacre! We now live in a world without David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Glenn Frey, among so many others. It’s not brave, and it doesn’t feel particularly new, either.
I still have the Jeep, but I may be saying goodbye to these mountains this year, among other people and things. “Trying to face the strangest ch-ch-changes, yeah.”

I’m seeing the entropy with our long-since paid-for vehicles in our garage. A headlight here, an ignition switch there, even an elderly spare tire switched out (it came with the vehicle when I bought it in 2001). I’ve never had these problems in the nearly 15 years I’ve owned my Jeep. 

Well, it’s been 15 years. If it all seems to be happening all at once, it’s because I’ve had a long, lucky, utterly blissful run. Time to cope with the inevitable.

Mickey D. Cat, in recovery from the same stomach
upset we feared would do Otis in last summer.
Eight years old isn’t that old for a cat,
but it’s old enough. We’re glad he’s still with us.
I even had another near-death scare with one of our cats, the second oldest, right as I was curating photos to start a series on the Four Fluffies of the Apocalypse. We got through that without casualties, but once again I was reminded of how fortunate I’ve been to enjoy years of zero drama. 

People and things grow older. They wear out. They break down. They die. It just seems to be happening all at once this year.

Right, yes, fine, got it. Still, though. Is there anything remotely flippin’ positive we can talk about here?
For all the mayhem and foolishness this month, there were also Zen bunnies in the snow. Happy Easter!

Of course there is. I got through it. 

March was the month that the Happy was taken out of my Happy New Year. I smashed my foot, my Jeep was vandalized, its ignition switch wore out, and my wife went into the hospital, all in the first three days. A 1099-MISC for income I had forgotten about appeared out of nowhere weeks after I’d filed taxes, and I had to file an amended return. (I’ll get more money out of this, but good grief—aren’t all these forms supposed to be in my hands by 31 January?)

One of the cats got sick, so sick he disappeared somewhere in the house. (They do that when they think they are going to die.) He got better, and so did we, but that was a long 22 days out from the first of the month. 

Of course, the blog suffered. I’ve got nearly half a dozen drafts of posts I started but never finished. I’ve come to the conclusion that if I start a post, but don’t finish and post on the same day, I might as well delete the thing. It will never be finished.

Work on The Wrong Kind of Dead also ground to a halt. In some of my darker hours during this most horrible month, I’ve despaired of ever finishing it. 

This, however, may have been a very good thing. I had planned on going through all my books at the beginning of the month to make sure the tone and chain of events are consistent, when all the distractions hit the fan at once. Over the last three nights, I’ve begun what I wanted to do three weeks ago. I’ve got a different perspective now, one that should make for a richer and more nuanced reading experience.

I’ve had my cage rattled, my frame shaken, and the wind taken from my sails, but I’m back to work. I’m moving forward, however slowly. I’ve got this blog post up. That’s something.

Thus, with one eye doing a Mad-Eye Moody 360-degree sweep for lurking bummers—this is the Year of Accelerated Entropy, after all—I proceed into the wilderness of Things to Come. It’ll be a while before the swagger is back in my step. In the meantime, a little humility will temper my soul. 

Here’s hoping all is well with you where you are. If not, then power through, screaming while you burn. It worked for me. I wailed and fussed the whole way, step by step. I’m looking forward to laughing at this, when I’ve got it all far enough away in the rear view mirror.

Happy Easter. Here’s to resurrections. Here’s to what’s next.
My walk can use some work. To paraphrase Dirty Harry, it’s good to be made aware of one’s limitations.
So I’ve got that, too.