Ramblings of Charles Prier – Writer-Insomniac-General Know-it-All

Archive for January, 2010

Solitude

I just experienced a great adventure. My son and I, along with two of his best friends went on a camping/fishing trip in the Florida Everglades. It was truly a unique experience. We were transported to a remote mangrove island about 25 miles out from Everglades City, Florida and left for two nights and three days with camping supplies, kayaks, and a guide. The solitude was remarkable; no radio (except one Cuban station I tuned to on my mp3 player), no TV, no cell phone.  

I have often thought of, even wished for, some solitude; it was different than I imagined. Although we were well equipped, the thought of a catastrophe overwhelming our resources lingered in the back of my mind. I became very aware of the present; there were moments when I could feel every cell in my body, my emotions seemed far away. I was relaxed. One day, while the others were fishing far away in another direction. I set out in my kayak, paddling out of sight of the camp; for more than two hours I drifted and dabbled on the glassy water along jagged mangrove shores enjoying the blue sky and gentle warm breeze all by myself. A rare event I will long remember.

Gas Money

I really hadn’t planned to buy anything but we were out for a time away from the house. We entered Penny’s just to walk around. We had already been to Big Lots and purchased a few items. We came upon a clearance table holding men’s shirts. There was a good mark down. We searched for a shirt my size. Found one, then another that were not duplicates of shirts I already owned. We were selecting the one to buy when a sales lady came by and said the shirts were marked down even further at the register… so I decided to buy both and even looked for another.  We continued around the store with no other purchases. At check out I learned that I had truly made a good deal saving a little over eight dollars with the latest discount.

It was getting late as we walked down the strip to our car. Just as we passed Payless there was a lady standing there. She smiled we smiled and spoke. Then she asked if we would help her. Robbie asked, “what kind of help, what is wrong?”  She said she was out of gas. Said she worked at the Holiday Inn and would not get paid until 10:00 am the next morning. I took $5 form my wallet and gave it to her. Robbie asked if that would help. She asked for eight dollars. “I have a big old car that uses a lot of gas. I live in Augusta.” Robbie tried to find three singles in her purse. I took three ones from my wallet and gave them to her.

I was a little suspicious. Then I realized that I had just saved eight dollars. The savings on those shirts were for that woman. I’m glad we could help her. –CP

Is it Twenty-Ten or Two Thousand Ten?

I’m trying to figure out what to call this year. Should it be called Two Thousand Ten or Twenty Ten? I don’t know if it is important but it would be good to have a common convention. I found saying the last decade’s dates uncomfortable; the change from December Nineteen-Ninety-Nine to January Two Thousand seemed awkward. No one ever said, “December Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Nine,” unless they were being pretentious or very formal. No one used “Twenty Hundred and One,” that would have sounded silly; Twenty Aught One might have worked but I never heard anyone try it.

I heard the issue being discussed on TV today. I’m surprise that there is not a poll out by someone to determine the most favored convention. Maybe there should be one. I know one thing for certain we should not allow Congress to decide the issue. It would take too long and news of the debate would be torturous; however, it would be interesting to hear what Fox News would have to say about it. Maybe Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter could debate the matter; that would at least add some substance to their regular babble.–CP

Thought as an art form

On New Year’s Eve I watched alone from my living room as the ball fell in Times Square marking the end of 2009. Although it was only 11:00 pm CST, I quietly celebrated the New Year with Dick Clark and all the folks celebrating in the eastern U.S. It was like all the other years, people going wild, blowing horns, and yelling greetings while “Auld Lang Syne” played loudly in the background. It seemed uncivilized. I remember from my other life, getting caught up in the excitement experiencing a mixture of sadness and hope as the old Scottish tune paid homage to the distant past. I felt that sadness again thinking 2009 is gone with few worthwhile personal accomplishments. The feeling of hope or even the need for it was strangely absent, replaced with a kind of mental restlessness and a slight disgust for those celebrating.

I quickly switched the TV off and went to bed.

I lay comfortably contemplating passages in a book I am reading “The World in a Phrase” by James Geary. I suppose it is more of a study than a read; the subtitle is “A Brief History of the Aphorism.” The author claims that thought is an ancient art form and that aphorisms present short, sharp shocks of old forgotten truths that have changed his life. I drifted off to dreamland thinking; living is exactly what I’m doing at the moment and matches my philosophy of life perfectly.-CP

Welcome Neighbor

We have a new neighbor; that is, we almost do. They are building a house across and down the street. Their lot extends in front of our house. I don’t know how to judge the new neighbors. Will they be good neighbors or jerks? All I have to go on is two unfriendly “No Trespassing” signs very prominently displayed in full view that seem intended to speak only to us. The signs belligerently greet me each morning as I look our front window to check the weather or when I walk down the drive way to get the newspaper. At first I thought they were temporary but they have been there for months now.

I do not go on the property. Long before construction began, I occasionally cut the grass on the bank of the street and cleared the ditch of debris, just to improve the appearance. Certainly no damage was done and no malice was intended. The only damage I have observed is from the previous owner or a worker foolishly getting his truck stuck in the ditch.  

I don’t object to “No Trespassing” signs in general. I believe they are often necessary to publically proclaim property and privacy rights; however, the signs need not SHOUT and one conservatively placed sign is sufficient.

With humankind becoming more and more self-involved and less and less neighborly it’s easy to be pessimistic about newcomers especially since the evidence so far is so discouraging. –CP

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