Sunday, June 5, 2011

BUMBLING AROUND


In a comment regarding an earlier post, Robert, the perspicacious perambulator of Solitary Walker fame, remarked as to how he was amazed at the amount of activities I always seem to manage to pack into a day. Moi? For a moment there, I thought he'd posted his comment onto the wrong blog. I do hope he was joking…otherwise, I've unintentionally misled those of you who faithfully read this drivel.

As anyone who's witnessed my working capacity knows, I'm no example of a busy bee. Quite often my daily accomplishments are so insignificant as to remain invisible. Between old injuries, various health flaws, and creeping geezerhood, I now tend to work in spurts and stutters—sometimes getting a fair amount of things done, but more often taking three times the time and four times the energy needed to finish a task properly. It doesn't help that I'm a semi-perfectionist and always want (though don't always get) a thing done just so. Equally problematic is my weakness for distractions and an inclination to never let a deckside rocking chair remain empty too long—especially not when birds are flitting about the nearby feeders and the sun is shining on the flowing river. 

At best, I'm a bumbling bee.

What I do often substitute for accomplishment—and thence write about—is movement. I've always passionately adored getting into a vehicle and going…wherever. Destination was seldom as important as just watching the miles pass by, though the more rural the backroads, the better. From the day I got my first car, a used 1956 army-green VW "Beetle," I've practically lived on the road—regularly chalking up 100,000 miles and more per year. In my teens, I thought nothing of attending school all day, getting off in the afternoon and going to my part-time job, and once that was done—about 9:00 p.m.—getting into my beloved old car and driving around out in the country, windows down, radio on, until 1:00—2:00 a.m. before heading home for a brief sleep before doing the whole scenario over. My parents didn't exactly approve, but they knew my restless nature and understood enough to trust me to stay out of trouble. It was one of the real gifts I received from them, for during those long, solitary nighttime drives, I learned much about myself, about life, and about the roads I wanted to travel.

I also discovered safety in being a moving target.
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12 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

A song springs to mind Grizz - was it Bing Crosby - "I'm busy doing nothing, workin' the whole day through, tryin' to find lots of things not to do? However, your interesting posts suggest to me that you use your mind every single moment of the day to clock up and record things to put on your lovely blog.

The Solitary Walker said...

I still maintain you pack more into a day - blogging, photographing, philosophizing, meditating, watching the river flow, making coffee, tending to your ladylove's needs, carrying paving slabs, doing your committee work thing, writing your journalistic pieces, supervising the mending of the shower - than most of us pack into a week! Whether in a pottering or bumbling way, it matters not. May you continue to drive the backroads, and continue to be driven by your joys and obsessions - to the delight, amusement and education of us all.

Jenn Jilks said...

I find the same. But I'm glad to putter the day away.

I love driving with hubby around the county. Exploring new spots.
Both of us have foot issues this month. At the very least I can still ride the lawn tractor! Two hours on that and I feel I have accomplished something. A spot for Bambi to munch, bunnies to feed on.

Bonnie said...

Well argued Grizz ... but I'm not convinced. I have to side with Robert of Solitary Walker on this one. :)

Bernie said...

I love how you describe your life Grizz. Honest and fair and yet somehow humbling. It is true, as we age everything seems to take a bit longer and requires more energy and that is okay as slowing down means we can enjoy everything around us so much more.....:-)Hugs

Grizz………… said...

Weaver…

Mr. C called—and sang—it for me! Although honesty compels me to admit it isn't hard for me to find "lots of things not to do." I have a long-suffering list. You're right though that I'm always taking mental notes, filing moments away for later use. I do that from the moment my brain kicks on in the morning until I go to sleep whenever. I expect this is something all writers do; "scenes" are our stock in trade—particularly those triggers which make one more memorable than another. Of course some things get stuck (lost?) in the cobwebby recesses of gray-matter storage for years…while others are never recalled again. I always have the nagging thought I've forgotten the best stuff.

Grizz………… said...

Solitary…

Even if you're right—and I continue to deny such puritanical industry—it's certainly nothing to compare with what I used to do in a day's time. Which is maybe the real grumble here. However, you need never fear that I'll lose my joys and obsessions. It has taken a fair number of years and a lot of hard knocks and miscues, but I do believe I've gotten my personal list down—in both columns—to those I can't live without. For better or worse, I'm the culminate me.

Grizz………… said...

Jenn…

I've always believed puttering to be a fine and noble art…though sorely challenged in these fast times. One of my life's goals has been to become a proficient putterer; most who know me would say I've succeeded.

I've never lived in a place big enough to need a riding lawnmower—but I envy those who do, for it seems the perfect device for solitary and rather isolated open air travel (in an admittedly repetitious manner, over minuscule distances), amid a certain roar and clatter, while actually accomplishing something necessary. An all-around excellent therapy!

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Ahhh, geeze…and here I thought you, of all people, really knew me.

Grizz………… said...

Bernie…

I'm not trying to be humble, just honest—though in my experience the latter generally invokes the former. Slowing down indeed has its high points and rewards. So long as it's not carried to extremes.

George said...

It's always good to discover the trials of another semi-perfectionist trying to live in a world of imperfection. Perhaps the most we can say is that we have succeeded only because we have gone on trying (to quote roughly from Eliot).

It's also good to know that I have at least one comrade-in-arms when it comes to the love of rambling around the country in a reasonably reliable vehicle. Driving on backroads seems to quiet my mind and give me perspectives that I don't seem to find elsewhere. Keep on bumbling, Grizz. Eventually, we will all bumble through.

Grizz………… said...

George…

I say our semi-perfectionism is driven by a passion over wanting and giving our best to the things we care about. Problems begin to crop up as we get older because more and more often, we seek to ignore or eliminate any involvement in those things we care little about—which has the inescapable corollary of upping the percentage of passion-driven endeavors, thereby upsetting the balance and thrusting us into semi-perfectionism mode more often than not.

You are obviously a man who indeed understands the therapeutic salvation of vehicular back-roading. Cars and country roads are the perfect marriage between technology and tranquility. There's something about the comfortable isolation, progressive movement, and ever-changing vistas—even if it's after midnight and all you can see is the narrow sweep of blacktop or gravel ahead and a bit of the adjacent shoulder on either side. You can slip something dense and complicated into the CD player, or roll down the windows and listen only to the whisper of the road under your tires and the music of the spheres all around. Here is the place and setting for allowing your mind to freewheel, to coast unimpeded, unfettered, as suddenly alive as a dog let off the leash, pulled by gravity and hope, whim and experience.

Yup, you understand. And maybe one of these days, my friend, we can drive a backroad or two together.