The list is not the life

I am experiencing existential gloom.  The church is being kind.  When you’re grieving, it’s easier to be among the grieving, as most of them are moving at some analogue of your social speed, being, not very much.  It’s been very kind of Mike and Paul and Keith and Jeff to keep me busy.  I’m going to church on Sunday, but it’s in Coquitlam, so I’ll be checking for rides shortly.

Anita offered me a ride less than a year ago.

My heart is wrenched for John, for whom Anita really was the light of his life, a beautiful person and a worthy partner.  His trials are being met with much grace.

Lists are flippcking dangerous, they really are.

I know as a matter of dispassionate, provable, established fact, that checklists of all kinds are necessary for human beings to accomplish consistent process outcomes in predictable, potentially hazardous and easily worsened situations.

All of life arguably falls into those categories.  Ergo lists are good.  But in the same way that the map is not the territory, and the written word is not speech, or the intelligence that made the speech and thus rendered itself audible to me is not the speech, lists are not life.

Even if they save your life, they aren’t life. I can remember a list saving my life only once; an angel in human form arrived on the wings of the list, and I recovered myself from the three meter sinkhole my life was rapidly becoming with her pragmatic and calmly well-intentioned assistance.  As most people are aware, often the speed with which you accept advice varies with the warmth of its presentation.

When I say lists are dangerous, I mean to me personally.  I never learned to check any lists I made, so making them is hazardous as it removes the mental sting of the necessary task, and then I don’t check my list.  It’s a temporary reprieve from having something bugging me. Only shopping lists are free from this mental lacuna.  Until the lists bite back, I’m going to wander off topic and pile a bunch of stuff that has never been in that order before into a tower of unformatted lists.

Out of it come the juxtapositions that other people find so striking and to me are the way the walls and floor come together.  Oh look! a wall and a floor! Yeah, so. You never made me see the wall and the floor like that before!

They do not come from lists, these moments.

When I was young and impressionable, I learned that Pablo Picasso had rooms piled with art and pottery and candid junk at La Californie, his impossibly wonderful house, and that no one was allowed to touch the piles and stacks except children and animals, and then only by accident.

When there was an accident (which was not frequent as the children were not monsters of destruction) he’d just say, “Que bueno!”

They do tell me I’m a lazy person, my piles of stuff.  But they are also piles of inspiration, and I can’t make a list for that.



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Born 1958. I write, I sing, I watch TV, I try to fulfill my responsibilities.

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