Trading Time

Since I’ve been taking a walk every evening, I’ve found that I easily slipped into trading my blogging-time for walking-time.

There are only so many hours in a day and usually my day works out to running errands in the morning, crushing on projects in the afternoon, then a shower and/or nap, walk, and go to bed listening to an audiobook. On the player right now is George R. Stewart’s <i>Earth Abides</i>, which was the first library book I got from the grown-up section. I had been thinking of that book, for how it renders a man’s life into the time-passing of the seasons and significant events. In the book, the tribe mark time by naming the years by events, e.g.: “the year the new forge was lighted.” etc.

I’ve been feeling fairly pre-post-apocalyptic. And, apparently, so are a lot of people. Something like 20% of Americans said they don’t want kids. Maybe it has something to do with not wanting to create lives demarcated with a monotonous tocsin of disasters? I am surely not the only person who has noticed that humanity’s response to CO2 poisoning has been to search for every excuse to keep the gas pedal to the metal. We’re heading for +4C, which the scientists used to say was extinction-level disasters, except now the messaging is “it’ll be really bad but somehow we’ll get through.” Such optimism. I’m afraid it means that the rich nations are going to start by watching the poor die. It was 110F, which is lethal heat, for over a week across India and collectively all we seem to care about is how the Russians are fucking things up. And, of course, the civilized world’s reaction was “don’t cut off the fossil fuels!” I thought briefly that the war might trigger a sudden shift to renewables, but the European powers didn’t lay the infrastructure for that, in time, either.

In <i>Candide</i> Voltaire ends with “Il faut cultiver son jardin” when Candide’S adventures draw to a close. I.e.: you need to worry about your part of the problem, because the world’s problems are too big. I think I feel that, now. I’ve been working on setting up my greenhouse to run on solar, with water collected off its own roof. I find it satisfying and I cheer on my tomatoes and the Thai basil every day. I am cultivating my own garden.

Meanwhile, the project list is ridiculous. Yesterday I finished off a thin-walled rosewood bowl (unloved art) shaped a small cooking knife, cleaned up from the build of a bondage cross I did for a friend, cleaned up the welds and drilled mounting holes for the support rail for the forge doors, and cut up and loaded a few rosebushes into the truck bed. Because I am on blood-thinners I leaked all over my clothes. Today I need to deliver the sheath I made for a kiridashi I gave the mail lady, unload the truck, mount the forge door rail, and call my insurance company.

I have come to hate social media, and I realized the other day that, technically, this is social media. At least I am not feeding you ads or misrepresenting myself as being blindingly happy because of some shallow shit or other. I keep thinking of writing about some of the changes I see in the social media sphere (don’t worry, it’s all bad) I’m not sure I care to write about it because everyone will just sniff, “we already know…” taking a walk is so much better.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    I for one am glad you’re still posting. Was actually concerned there for a bit.

  2. billseymour says

    Glad that you were just taking time for things other than blogging.

    “pre-post-apocalyptic” describes my feelings, too.  (I’m totally stealing that.)  We’ll see what happens in November.  I’m not optomistic, but at least there are a few glimmers of hope.

  3. Dunc says

    Good to see you’re still about!

    That bit at the end of Candide is, I think, one of the wisest things I’ve ever read.

  4. Just an Organic Regular Expression says

    OK because I’m a glutton for punishment, no wait, totally the wrong simile, I DDG’d images of “bondage cross”. Hmmm. Simple project but there’d be some subtleties in design no doubt.

  5. says

    Since it needed to be shipped to its destination, I had to make it a kit. So it was 6 oak boards to laminate. And I made a hinge from scratch out of welded 1/4″ steel plate and pieces of center-drilled 1/2″ rod with a 1/4″ assembly pin. Since it’s rod rather than a hammered-over plate, it ought to be resilient!

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    He went away from the basement and left this note on his terminal: “I’m going to a commune in Vermont and will deal with no unit of time shorter than a season.”
    The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    In Time
    Science fiction movie in which characters barter time units on a daily basis, and the rich elite keep time a scarce commodity in order to hold down the lower classes.
    Now showing on, free with ads.

  8. dangerousbeans says

    It’s good to hear you’re ok though
    I get the urge to disconnect from the wider world too. It’s just all such BS that we have no individual ability to do anything about. Maybe enough of us could, but that’s millions, tens of millions of us and how do we even organise that. Especially given that the default state for everyone is burnt out and overwhelmed.
    People call this doomerism, but this has been going on for my entire life and nothing is changing. Short of terrorism what options do we have? And will even that accomplish anything other than a show trial?
    So fuck it, i’ll focus on my own projects.
    and on that note i’m going to go change my bicycle pedals

  9. Tethys says

    Tending one’s own garden has multiple rewards.
    There is just something about digging in soil, planting, watering, and hopefully harvesting that is makes it healthy for both body and state of mind.

    It’s good to hear you’re just having more time walking and making, rather than lingering effects from the TIA.

    There is certainly far more satisfaction in making a rosewood bowl and enjoying summer evenings than in farting around online.

    Photos are always nice when words or the world require too many spoons.

  10. lochaber says

    Hopefully the daily walks are beneficial to your health and mental well-being.

    I started a daily bike commute a couple years back. Used to wait for/ride on public transit for ~40-70ish minutes eachway, and spent much of that time reading (nothing especially informative, just random fiction, mostly sci-fi ish stuff). I now spend about ~50 minutes each way on a bicycle, so I read significantly less. But, I think the extra activity has been good for me, I think my mood is generally improved, and my waistline is a bit smaller, and thighs a bit thicker. Also, it’s more reliable, as I generally get to work about an hour after I leave my apartment, whereas with public transit I’m entirely dependent on the schedule of the trains and interruptions and such. And cheaper, last time I checked, I’m saving about ~$150 a month on transit fees. And I get to see some wildlife. Mostly shorebirds and ravens, but once in a while a seal (sea lion? I don’t know the difference off-hand, some sort of pinniped, anyways…), and saw and otter screwing around and startling a cormorant. And a couple skunks, but then I tend to panic…

    I’m kinda pressed for time, and generally lazy, so I find it pretty difficult to intentionally exercise, so I think it’s good for me to get some physical activity as just part of my normal daily routine, even if it does mean I do a bit less reading.

    Sounds like you’ve got a decent balance of activities going on, and I hope it continues to work out for you. I’ll look forward to your posts when you get around to posting them

  11. Jazzlet says

    Glad to hear you are using your blogging time for walking, I too was getting concerned. It sounds to me as if you are making satisfying use of your time, growing tomatoes and Thai basil especially, there is something about the smell of the tomato plant, quite different from that of the fruit, intense . . . and as so often words fail me.

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