It’s because a lot of drivers act like assholes. For instance…

bus.jpgToday I was waiting for the bus and it was unusually late. Unlike MUNI, which really has no schedule, AC Transit does, ostensibly, have one. This is because some buses — like the 59 I was waiting for — only come once an hour. My bus being late made me wonder if I was going to have to sit in the cold for an hour for the next one. It wasn’t a happy thought.

When the bus pulled up (it was empty) I couldn’t get the fucking bike rack open. I tried for several minutes while the driver looked at me, expressionless. Finally I went around the doorway and asked if he could please check to see if were stuck. You’d think I’d asked him to hand over a kidney. He stormed past me, yanked the thing down, banging it loudly, and then sat back down and stared straight ahead as if I weren’t there. He took off the minute I got on the bus, causing me to almost fall in the aisle.

So, here’s the thing. In no other aspect of my life am I treated with the open hostility that is commonplace in my interactions with bus drivers. It’s not endearing, to say the least. And it doesn’t frickin’ make me look forward to taking the bus. In fact, taking the bus is just another thing I’ve come to dread. It’s slow, it’s smelly, and there’s a 50-50 chance I’ll be treated poorly. A real public service announcement on wheels.

There’s about ten YouTube videos called “I HATE THE BUS”, out of which K and I thought this was the most amusing.

I think I’ll buy one of their “collectible” posters and use it as a dartboard.

bowline.jpgWanna learn the difference between a bowline and a taught hitch? Find new and fun uses for 55-gallon trash bags? Or just light shit on fire several different ways?

These topics and more were covered in the fun course K & I attended today through the East Bay Regional Parks District called Survival Essentials. In this class we learned how to make several different shelters out of your basic trash bag, or use the same bag (if clear) to collect water off of a leafy branch. We learned to tie four different knots, obviously useful in a variety of situations.

Of course, everyone likes a little fire, and we experimented with flint and steel and cotton balls, strike anywhere matches and cotton balls with vaseline, combinations thereof, etc. The most fun was steel wool and a 9-volt battery:

Here’s a very practical, household application of this fire-starting technique.

In the end, our kind instructor each gave us our own survival kit complete with fifty feet of parachute rope to practice our knots on. Perhaps if I have insomnia tonight, I’ll practice on K as he sleeps and keep him prisoner tomorrow. I know he really doesn’t want to go to work in the morning anyway.

Hey, fellow 40-somethings! (The rest of you can take a nap or whatever it is you do)

Down in the dumps? Under the weather? Other silly metaphor for sadness? I just found out that mid-life blues is super-common via Scientific American. (Actually, K, my primary news source, told me about it.) You know you can trust them — they’ve got SCIENCE (or, at least, SCIEN) right in the name. I guess that kooky malaise I’m feeling is normal and I shouldn’t worry about it. Or should I?

MiriamGreenspan.jpgI’m reading an interesting book called Healing Through the Dark Emotions by Miriam Greenspan. Greenspan puts forth this idea: that grief, fear, and despair are not “negative”, but an important part of the human experience. However, since we often don’t deal with them because of social stigmas or circumstance, they get planted deep in our psyche, only to resurface later as anxiety and depression.

Frankly, I thought I was over sad circumstances from my past, but lately I’ve realized it’s not so. There still some buried pain there that I basically disowned because I didn’t identify with my former (low self-esteem, socially ostracized) self.

Greenspan claims that by carefully bringing these painful past events to consciousness, and feeling them anew, we can daylight them and reduce their hold over us, and the accompanying anxiety/depression problems that they caused.

Well, goddamn. I hope she’s right.

Here’s a cool interview with Greenspan.

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