So Many Steps at Shelby Park


Saturday started with a continuation of this migraine, which, yes, as usual, went right away when I took something, but left me feeling loopy and off-kilter after it left. So I got to Bongo Java earlier than I was expecting so I sat outside and spilled hot chocolate down myself. An old hippie asked if he could sit next to me and I said “sure” because… I don’t know why, really, just because. He told me about saxophones and some kind of universal scale and transcendental meditation and why his daughter can’t smoke weed anymore (makes her paranoid) but did I know where he could score? All of this at 9:30 in the morning.

I schooled him about Muddy Waters, who he was trying to argue was more “primitive” than B.B. King and just when I was worried he was an old, undercover cop, with the non-stop talking about weed, Jim Cooper arrived, recognized me, and rescued me.

So, then it was off to a blogger meet-up with the aforementioned Jim Cooper who I like. He is nerdy in a way I find comforting, like he can see a problem, come to understand most aspects of it, and then try to figure out how to solve it. I like firecracker politicians as much as the next person, but there’s something nice about stalwartness, too.

We talked a little about his new district (which now includes Dickson County) and I think that will be a nice fit for him. Dickson County can be pretty Democratic. But basically we talked a lot about crap anyone who follows politics is already talking and thinking a lot about. It’s nice to talk about that with someone who’s really engaged in the stuff, but not necessarily going to cause you to think about it all day.

Except that he said two things that I do keep coming back to, both of which I kind of suspected but didn’t have a way to talk about.

1. Most of the numbers the government floats in front of the public are just made up. Like the amount of deficit we have, which seems like an enormous number, is not real. It’s not accurate. He thinks the actual amount is closer to $60 trillion. But that means talking about the deficit as an actual accounting deficit that can’t really be fudged vs. talking about the deficit as the amount of money left over after you’ve decided these things don’t count toward it for these reasons or those things really aren’t that bad or serious.

Now, I’ll say up front that I don’t think it’s the end of the world for the country to be running  a deficit during lean times, if it means keeping taxpayers on their feet. But I do agree with Cooper that it’s impossible for the general public to make an informed decision about deficit spending if they aren’t being accurately apprised of the situation.

2. Congress is at the moment functioning like a Parliament, but without the checks and balances of a parliamentary system. There’s so much voting along strict party lines that Congress is actually being run according to the will of a minority of Republicans (though, in the recent past it has been run by a small minority of Democrats) because there are effective mechanisms in place to keep people from voting against their party.

It was kind of depressing, actually. Ha ha ha. But Cooper seems invigorated by changes in how vocal and engaged regular people are and can be with the political system. And I’ve been thinking about that, too. About whether the push for corporate funding for elections isn’t a direct response to discomfort with the ever-louder voice of the people–like let’s get back to just a small few of us being the ones whose needs need to be considered here.

After the meeting, I gave Cooper a copy of A City of Ghosts, which, yes, was completely nutty and, yes, I’ve gotten to the point in the book’s life and my life where appearing nutty is just not quite enough to stop me from doing things. Be afraid of me when I’m 50, world. I’ll be punching people and pinching bottoms.

Then, I went off to the Silly Goose and at this thing that was like a really mild pepperoni on foccacia bread with onions and olives and balsamic vinegar and some other stuff and it was really good even though just writing out the ingredients doesn’t make it sound that appetizing. I also dumped a bunch of couscous down my front, which I’m sure went nicely with the hot chocolate.

Then it was off to Ugly Mugs where I discovered that I had chocolate syrup from my hot chocolate–which you will remember I had first thing in the morning with the pot smoking hippie–on my nose. Like a lot of it. All through the Cooper thing. All through lunch. Just la la la, chocolate on my nose. Couscous down my pants, too. Lord, who lets me go out in public?!

But then I met with a woman who has lately been conversing with dead folks in order to make sure that I’ve got the right vibe for Sue. One thing I really appreciated was that she is not unmindful of the concern that she might be crazy and she has some checks for herself in place–is she getting verifiable information from people she can confirm are real? Are they telling her to do things that would be harmful to herself or others? As long as it’s “yes” and “no” in that order, she’s moving forward.

I was also really struck by how similar the experience seems to me to sitting out, even in my modified practice. In one, you actively shift into a space where you can go out looking for any spirits you might want to speak with. In the other, you find yourself shifted into a space where/when the spirits want to speak with you. But it definitely seemed only like the difference between “I have gone out that door” and “they have come in that door.”

Then we had a wide-ranging discussion about the Church of Christ and its relationship to Spiritualism. I was tickled that she guessed the end of Reverend Ferguson’s story (kicked out of the church) before I even got there.

It was cool. It made me feel like I’m on the right track with Sue, for sure.

And then I came home. And realized I forgot to ask the Butcher to pick up cat food. But did medicate the dog’s ear. Ta da!