Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No Wonder Half of America is Drunk and the Rest on Drugs

OK, that is a stretch. I think half plus the rest equals everyone. There should be some allowance for those who are not drunk or on drugs. That probably covers a good 2% of the population. Most likely they are the most frustrated group, and the group least likely to hold public office or do anything which requires a lot of reading of government documents or listening to those who create them those who shuffle them.

Believe it or not, I actually have an uncommonly high reading retention ability. I do very well when it comes to reading something and catching the details, and recalling the details. I believe the truth of this is recorded somewhere on my Permanent Record, or in the Library of Congress. However, when it comes to government documents my brain fries.

That is how it is. I cannot stand reading any government document, sign, letter, nothing. Almost always, I either can't make sense of it, or the tone irritates me to the point where I dive into an irrational frenzy. This results in a poor reading experience and one not characterized by good recall of the material.

Part of the jury summons siad you could do the deed two weeks ahead of time or after. However, another part says if you don't show on the exact day that you have to contact them and reschedule, and to reschedule you have to pick a day not less than six weeks in the future and not more than six months in the future. What is the 2 weeks thing about? I have no idea and am unwilling to continue my path into the bowels of government rules and language to figure it out.

I'm cutting my losses. I called and talked to the nice machine lady, since the office people are only there from 9:52 AM until 3:25 PM. I did not make that up--9:52. It is on the machine that talks to you when you call.

It is one of those systems which asks you to say "yes", "Jury duty", "postponement", among other things. Then she says, "Let me see if I have this right; you said 'yada yada yada..' Is that correct?". Then you say yes or no and she says, "Did you answer yes?"

It took me less than an hour and fewer than ten times to the main menu to reschedule. I was not home and had no calendar, so I had to guess at a day six weeks from now which fell on whatever weekdays she said were acceptable. After a few tries I ended up being rescheduled for March 29th. I see now, looking at my icalendar on my ilaptop that March 29th is a Tuesday.

As much as I wanted to get this out of the way, I think I will just hope I don't have some big important thing going in late March. That talk of the two week option still bugs me, but I could tell when I re-read the jury letter today that I have not outgrown my complete abhorrence for the way government offices communicate with those they (erroneously) allegedly serve.

I was thinking, it is far easier to handle that world drunk or on drugs. It certainly was easier for me back when I was in circumstances run by nearby bureaucrats and things governmental. Another of life's little tricks. If I'd kept up my habits, I could accept these things with a more numb emotional aspect, but I'd have ended up under their care in some sort of institution, providing I survived. Then I'd have been stuck in the belly of the beast full time.

Yea. I think cutting my losses and leaving it the way Machine Lady negotiated things is the best move. She's probably as close to the A team as I'll find.

Disorderly Sleep

It has been a thing of concern ever since I was in my early twenties. They even confined me to a sleep lab for a night one time. I gave up on testing soon after, so never went back.

Neurological things often don't fit into neat categories. You be surprised how little they know in many respects regarding brain function. Even the drugs prescribed are often not understood. They theorize regarding the mechanics of how they work, but half the stuff was designed for one thing then it was discovered they work well for some other symptom.

In my case they concluded it was some form of narcolepsy but not the classic type which makes you fall asleep in the middle of a game of pool or standing there talking to someone. It just sometimes happens so that I'd hit a strange kind of sleep at last minute and blow through alarm clocks by two to four hours, regardless of how long I'd been asleep already.

We went the ritalin deal on and off for years. The off part was because I got tired of it and felt almost like I developed and immunity to it. So, I'd lay off for maybe a year. I eventually lost contact with any doctor who knew the story so I had no source of it. It would be good once in awhile, but overall I'd rather just compensate some other way. Nothing is with some side effect.

When I was working a job that often required being there at 5 AM, sometimes earlier, I spent all night drinking water. A big glass before going to sleep so every couple of hours it was up to pee, then drink more. That has been the only really reliable method I found. No combination of alarm clocks and bright lights on timers ever proved dependable. You just never know.

Lately it hasn't been critical most of the time, and I have gone long stretches waking up with the sun. But more recently that has changed around a bit and the sleep thing is all over the map. I must not have drank enough water because I overshot the time I needed to be up to make jury duty. I'll try again tomorrow.

It gets old--trying to fit. The trick is to avoid letting the things that are tough to change or unchangeable, induce a reaction which becomes spiraling depression. Much of life is a series of subtle and not so subtle compensations. People tend to move away from their weaknesses whether they think about it or not. If you have a sore knee, you tend to take up the slack by letting the other one carry the load. It works in all kinds of ways. You can't add well in your head, yu do math on a calculater, your phone, whatever. That is compensating.

The trap is when you think you should be able to do a thing, or ought to do it a certain way that is not natural to you and you force yourself to do it the hard way. I have done a bunch of that. That's the kind of thing that makes you crazy. It is not so easy to sort out because life naturally demands doing a lot of things you don't want to do, but you have to. And most of the time you are glad you did whatever it is. Separating that from the directions which are simply not a fit is what separates the happy and successful from the riffraff like me.

At least I no longer wake up cursing and screaming at myself when I miss the mark. I spent many years letting the frustration turn into intense self hatred and rage. That is where the testing helped. Finally someone convinced me they could document the fact that it wasn't because I am stupid and weak. The tests covered a lot territory beyond a sleep lab because some other things going on were interrelated.

Fortunately the jury duty allows turning up any day within a two week window. Otherwise I would have to throw myself on the mercy of the court. Not the sort of mercy I would want to depend on.

Welcome to the fog where I dwell.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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