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Embed code for: BPJ Discombobulation Oct. 20 2016
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Blue Plate Journal
Navigating the Discombobulation
The habit of giving children a “Participant” ribbon simply for showing up is a custom that has drawn my complaint. I’m rethinking that particular viewpoint. Just showing up has felt like winning lately. So if there is a ribbon for being a warm body able to make coffee and stay out of trouble, I’ll take it.
There is a whole bunch of territory between the old “good news, bad news” scenario. That gray, “so-so” area between the highs and lows has been my stomping grounds lately. Whatever “things” are, they could be better. They could also be a lot worse. Given my options, I’ll take the so-so deal.
I’m not complaining. This isn’t a swerve into the “Exit Only” lane for Whineland. I am simply trying to work my way through the fog of a stalled low-lying cloud of discombobulation.
The idea of things being really, really, gloriously great sounds exhausting. If I won the lottery, I might ask them to come back with the check after I take a really good nap. But I also am grateful that things aren’t worse. They could be. I know it.
These two points keep me on track.
The armchair diagnosis is a raging case of distraction.
I head for Point A and never arrive at Point B. Or I find myself at Point B and wonder why.
If interrogated about my day, I could work out a list of what I did. But the items don’t seem to add up to much. I’ve just mushed through from one thing to the next.
I’m feeling, as my grandfather would say, “juberous” about myself. For that matter, the wider world looks pretty dubious as well.
On the whole, this muddled condition hasn’t been much fun, with two exceptions.
First, I spent a delightful hour or so in the company of James and Norma Gerard who own the old Barnard store north of Wayne City. That place has quite a story.
The building is beyond repair, yet the hulk still evokes the power and pull of the old crossroads community stores that once dotted the county. Anyone who has spent any time at all in one of the old general stores during their heyday knows how the memories come flooding back.
My store was the Barth/Hubble in Enterprise. When I was a child that store seemed huge.
The Barnard store was even bigger.
That story needs just a little more research before I hit the “send” key. I hope that even without all my cylinders firing, it will be done next week.
Molting Hen Recovers
The second plus recently is that the broody hen that molted is now in the egg-laying business again.
Her replacement feathers came in quickly. The only difference between her and her sister hens is that her tail feathers aren’t quite as long yet.
The last bunch of molting hens didn’t lay an egg for weeks after they looked fully recovered and re-feathered.
This hen molted fast. She dropped what looked like half her feathers nearly overnight. Most of the rest followed quickly. She seems to have recovered at the same pace.
In short order the empty quills sported tufts of feathers. In a couple of days she had the equivalent of a feathery buzz cut, but her skin was covered.
The hen looked rough for a couple of weeks.
Then she laid an egg.
Four hens, four eggs. One of them is hers. I’m sure of it.
The other three hens gave her wide berth during the molt. Maybe their disinterest means they won’t get the molting bug themselves. That would be good news, indeed.
Skipping or Molting?
The five older hens are too aloof to take any clue from the younger ones. At least I hope so.
They are a head taller than the youngsters, fully and beautifully feathered, and full of vim and vigor except for one aspect.
Their nest isn’t quite so full this week.
Twice there has been only one egg per day where there had been three or four.
Hens skip a day now and again. Sometimes the spin of individual internal clocks synchronizes so that two or three hens have a “skip day” at the same time.
That isn’t a molt, just a skip.
But one can’t tell the difference until later when the egg production picks right back up, or doesn’t.
Given all the clucking that comes out of the chicken house, the hens are probably talking this whole feather-and-egg thing to death.
But I’m getting no translation and no clue.
Give a hen a little power and she’ll stick to the throne as long as possible.
My fingers are crossed.
My grandfather stayed behind the steering wheel too long. That was back in the early 1970s. He probably should have given up his keys in the late ‘60s. I understood his stubbornness better now than I did then.
To his credit, he drove less and less—mostly just to church or the grocery store.
Back then we attended the same church and I often followed him home at a discreet distance.
Sometimes the shadowing proved he was doing pretty well.
Other times, I spent the eight blocks with the caution lights blinking on my car to alert the oncoming drivers. Grandpa sometimes took his lane out of the middle. A few times he made a hard left turn on Delaware, which is one-way, from the right lane. That meant he crossed abruptly in front of whoever was in the left lane.
The screech wasn’t from the brakes on grandpa’s car. He didn’t see any other cars, so he had no reason to apply his brakes.
He sailed blithely down Delaware like his big Buick was the only ship on the sea.
Clueless at the Wheel
I thought of grandpa’s driving recently after I went full sail through an intersection at the wrong time.
After fifty years with a better-then-average driving record, I’ve been humbled.
I haven’t hit anyone or anything, thank goodness. I have definitely done a couple of dumb things. Other people’s reflexes saved me from my own cluelessness.
In one instance, I just plain didn’t see a car and nearly hit it. The driver shakily kept her temper when she explained that to me a few minutes later.
I never saw her car at that intersection, but I don’t doubt her for a minute.
I was too distracted to know how distracted I was. She built me a verbal billboard and plugged in a floodlight that said, “Wake up, woman!” Considering I scared her half to death, I thought she was downright restrained. I deserved every bit of it and more.
The Distraction Bubble
A week ago I passed a thorough eye exam with only a prescription change.
I wasn’t fiddling with my cell phone while I was driving.
I wasn’t chasing a loose egg that was rolling around on the floorboard (as happened a few days before) after the container tipped.
All the distractions were internal. My brain was flitting and fluttering between a dozen different issues and tasks. The various errands and conversations were jumbled and I was sorting them out.
I felt a little discombobulated by the busyness of the day and by some chores that had morphed from simple to complicated.
My inner distractions created a bubble of self-absorption.
That’s a dangerous way to proceed through an intersection.
I felt competent at the wheel, just as I have for years.
I wasn’t. My driving skills, the necessary alertness, were fogged out by distractions—and familiarity.
I’ve driven the streets of this little town so often and for so long, that I think I could do it in my sleep.
Obviously not. I lucked out with just a wake-up call.
The Limbo Season
This unease, the distraction, being “off my game” is disconcerting. Maybe it was the crazy pull of the stunningly beautiful huge harvest moon this past week. Maybe it’s the barometer. The air seems stalled between summer and fall.
The days feel like something is coming, and then it doesn’t.
I can’t tell whether I should be hoping it arrives or grateful that it hasn’t.
The days seem a little stuck, a little in limbo. The atmosphere feels nervous, keyed up.
I’ve begun to avoid most of the national and global news. The headlines are troubling enough and the details even messier. Both seem stuck in a netherworld.
Navigating through whatever my own day brings seems challenge enough.
It’s a discombobulating time.
In uneasy times one should take care to use the turn signal, to watch the lane changes, to look both ways.
Then to look again.
Whatever is coming will require both hands on the wheel, both eyes on the road.
ole feather-and-egg thing to death.
Then to loo