CHANGE

Took a walk today. I live in Tarzana near a large park with a pond of geese and ducks and gulls.  I was reflecting upon my personal dissatisfaction with my life.  I am willing to sleep a lot of late.  My sleep has become my sanctuary.  I cherish my dreams, wherein I seem to be purposeful and engaged and valued.  I can sleep easily, essentially at will because my medication for PTSD keeps me rather amped down.  Additionally my life realities mean that I don’t really have to do anything nowadays…knowing I will still generate more money than I can or am likely to ever spend.  Yeah, you could regard this as a first world problem.  Point is, I don’t HAVE to do ANYTHING.  And therein may well describe my problem.

We live in world nowadays with a logarithmic upward curve of scientific progress.  I speak primarily of America but this is also true for much of the world in general.  Change comes faster and faster, some of us struggle just to keep up.  Our children multitask; children are always ahead of their parents in each succeeding generation.  We CAN do ever so much more than our parents ever dreamed of doing.  Yet there is stil dissatisfaction, a lack of fulfillment, a dearth of opportunity, a diminution of satisfaction.

Why?  Here is my sense.  Throughout most of the Time of Man, life was a challenge of survival.  The hunt must bring food, the harvest must precede the coming winter, the planting must enjoy Natures largesse.

Fun?  Fun is rather a modern concept.  Pleasure, sure.  Pleasure or satisfaction involved winning a mate, generating a family, being creative, acquiring knowledge…But fun?  Fun implies leisure time…something earlier enjoyed only by the ruling class.  They ruled. Work was delegated to those with lesser social status.  But today, in America and elsewhere, we have the expectation that LIFE includes FUN.  And when we are not having FUN, we become dissatisfied.  Fun varies; for some of us it means wealth or power, for some of us it means the freedom to recreate; essentially to engage in activities not connected to survival.  And we now hold this perception as our birthright.  Goddamn right, I am supposed to have FUN!  ARE WE NOT MEN?!!

(I COULD be watching DOWNTON ABBEY right now…)

I have the sense that we have reached a tipping point for humanity.  We survived nuclear annihilation (so far).  We have survived Nature (so far.)  But spiritually, ethically, intellectually we are backsliding. Our children can no longer expect to have the quality of life we’ve enjoyed.  More stuff, without doubt.  Stuff keeps on coming.  But satisfaction?  I don’t think so.  And pendulums are unforgiving.  Once pendulums change direction, they tend to continue in that same direction. So, what lies ahead?

Well, perhaps we revert to past models of human existence.  Lords and vassals.  Indentured servitude.  Slavery.   Perhaps Nature exacts a long anticipated culling; something we helped to foster or was inevitable.  Maybe OTHERS decide to step in and lead us into an Enlightened Age.

Those are the choices that occur to me.  WE, meaning humanity, despite our scientific progress seem destined to be ruled by our baser, animal natures.  ARE WE NOT MEN?  Well yes…but still, we are only sophisticated animals.  We can see how we treat other species of animals.  Why should we expect better from each other?  I’m inclined to hang around in hopes of interaction with higher, more advanced entities.  I’m hopeful they will choose to embrace us…rather than to leave us to our own shortcomings or entirely dismiss us as unworthy.

MONDAY MORNING BLUES

You may read about an officer shot around 9:30 this morning in Reseda. I was about 30 meters from the scene, walking on the south side of Sherman Way. I watched two officers exit their patrol car, guns drawn and then four shots were fired. I put an SUV between me and them and waited. After about five minutes the scene was secured and I continued on my way to retrieve my Austin-Healey, damaged a month ago and held at a nearby body shop. But that’s a story for later.

I’m told the suspect was hit as was an officer on the scene. I heard four shots in total, fired in quick succession. Period. I’m looking forward to reading that afteraction report. That’s about as close as I’ve been to hostile fire in a few decades. I think I’m good for the immediate future. If you’re not at the range, I think you can safely regard ANY fire as hostile fire.

What a fucking morning…

It is interesting to reflect upon how memories may be colored or altered by our involvement. I am certain of the number of shots fired – four. My guess would be same caliber…perhaps even the same weapon.

I am told that the officers came under fire in their car…and then the suspect surrendered. My memory is that the officers were out of their car with guns raised when the four shots were fired. I did not hear any impact sounds if in fact the shots were being fired at their police vehicle.

I’m gonna hope not to be drawn into this because clearly my recollections do not accord with the facts as stated. After I’d gotten my Healey (needing a battery boost) I pulled out and by now the entire street was blocked to traffic in both directions. I was allowed to pull ahead and as I waited to turn, an officer asked to look in my trunk. No problems, he thanked me and told him I’d been pretty close to the scene as it unfolded. He asked me what I’d seen, I told him what I remembered and then asked about the officer wounded. He know little then but it appears that the officer will recover.

So how did I find myself walking so far from home this morning? On January 9th – a DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMYYYYYYYY – my Austin-Healey was in a minor fenderbender, driven by Bill, the man I’d authorized to handle its sale. Bill has run an exotic car lot for years. I’d made my purchase thru him and trusted him to handle my sale. I like Bill…and that is sometimes a problem. He’s Scots and tells great stories. He’d serviced for years the Rolls owned by Gene Roddenbury…and when I like someone I can be overly forgiving. Damn me!

Anyway, Bill was taking the car out for a bi-monthly run (you gotta run these cars, can’t let em sit) and he and a woman tried to share the same lane. I got home and found two messages – from Bill and from my insurance company. Blah Blah Blah. The car had front fender damage and was taken to a body shop on Sherman Way. That was January 9th. This past Friday I finally got a decision from my insurance carrier. “We are denying your claim.” Took them four fucking weeks to resolve what was clearly so on Day Fucking 1.

On page 4 (of 20) of my policy is clearly stated that my coverage is voided when my car is in the hands of someone acting as an agent of sale or consignment. Fault 1. I didn’t read it thoroughly. Fault 2. I didn’t call and ASK how my decision might affect my coverage. Fault 3. I assumed Bill had his own coverage. We remember from childhood what happens when we “assume”.

So after the smoke from Gunfight at the OK Corral has cleared, I proceeded 150 meters to the Buena Vista body shop, showed my ID, looked for the tonneau ((not there) and tried to start her. Nope. I got a boost and slowly made my way to the blocked thoroughfare and past the lines of police. Halfway home I heard a sound not heard in 35 years, that of a Healey fuel pump clicking and dispensing the final drops of petrol. WTF? Yep. I coasted out of traffic to the side of a park, ironically the one in which the above photo of BB and I was taken. Bill had left me with an empty tank.

Healeys do not have power steering. At my age with my back I really didn’t need to be pushing this dead weight around the corner to a legal parking place. But by now I was steaming, fueled by cursing Bill with every fiber of my being. I closed the doors and debated: 12 blocks left – home. 12 blocks right – gas station. I chose home since I might also need another battery boost and I do have cables. I walked home, got my Acura, drove to Mobil and asked, “Do you have a gas can I could borrow or buy?” The girl shook her head no. I asked if she knew where I could buy a can. She shook her head, no. A older Latino worker entered and I asked him. He looked at me with confusion, shook his head…and then pointed to the top shelf where about 14 red plastic gas cans were lined up for sale. Why must every single step be so fucking hard??!!

On Saturday as I confronted Bill with the facts, I had this momentary impulse – to just clock him, just as hard as I could. It was fleeting but it got my attention. I knew that would be unacceptable, that it was my anger speaking, that he posed no physical threat, that I hadn’t struck a man in anger in almost 50 years. But the thought did occur…

I filled the can, drove back to the park, poured most of the can into my Healey tank, turned her over, locked my car and drove home. Then I turned around and walked back to my Acura, got in it and drove IT home.
I haven’t yet decided about the repairs and exactly who will be paying for them (around $2500) but I have a greater appreciation of what being truly responsible for one’s possessions entails. So it goes. As a friend recently noted, “That is pretty much a first world problem.”

COPS

A few friends have written back channel or called (my brother included) expressing concern about how I’ve processed today. I’m fine, really…and thanks. I appreciate your concern but I know myself…and I’ll keep a weather eye out

Today I was just an onlooker, just in the vicinity. There was a time when it was personal, the bullets were intended for ME. Not the Tucker you know, not the other soldiers out there with me…but “that tallest, darkskinned dude with the red beret? With the PRC-25 and that whip antenna? Oh fuck yes, shoot his ass!”

The bounty on my head was embarrassingly small. You’d laugh. I should probably have been insulted…but money did go farther, back then

I’m good. I’m grateful, as always. But I’m good.