Rendered Fat Content


The Sixteen Luohans by Shitao (Zhu Ruoji), 1667

" … a post-graduate course in more warmly anticipating …"

It seems as though my days used to follow a certain cadence, each inducing its own rhythm. Mondays, I'd tidy up the place. Alternate Tuesdays would find me sorting recyclables. Wednesdays, I'd stop by the library. Thursdays, I'd shop to avoid the Friday crush. Fridays, I'd poke around in the yard. Saturdays and Sundays would bring a Farmers' Market excursion or two, extreme larder-stocking, and unrushed suppers with hot jazz beating in the background. Then the radio station cancelled the hot jazz program in favor of talking heads. We filled in with RadioDeluxe, a fine production but clearly lacking in Bix Beiderbecke tracks. Winter intervened to leave us snowbound. We were gone for a couple of weeks, returning with spring to be sequestered in place, snowbound without snow, no place to go. The Farmers' Markets didn't open this spring. Alternate Tuesdays still find me sorting recyclables, but the rest of my anticipations have gone arrhythmic. I can't coherently anticipate right now.

I imagine this condition a real world test of a long-considered situation.
What, I've long wondered, would my world become if it was to abruptly become unanticipatable, as if Heraclitus or some Zen-inducing Pandemic instead of my deeply imbedded scheduled routine descended to rule? Would I find myself satisfied with crossing the same stream only once and of just living within each moment, never jumping ahead in my head to predictively pre-live in warm or fearful anticipation? Well, that seems to have happened. The once regulating certainties have been at least temporarily suspended. I still insist upon writing each morning, but I seem to have been spending much of my remaining time in a kind of mourning for patterns that seem far beyond my reach now. The library's gone all online, so I listen without full-immersion curious browsing instead of reading. The house almost never seems like it really needs cleaning, until it seems far beyond any possibility of redemption. The lawn grows without much intervention from me and I seem to mow it only very hesitantly, as if mowing might upset an invisible balance. I second, third, fourth, and fifth-guess myself, often finding no wrinkle within which to intervene. I might be inhabiting an infinite moment now, and the experience hardly seems edifying. Enlightenment remains just as elusive as it seemed when I blithely anticipated everything, opposites identically manifesting.

More than half of any experience seems imbedded within my anticipation of that experience. I project myself into a future state then watch my physical self catch up. I always ran ahead. When we relocated to Maryland, my anticipation engine experienced a prolonged period of deep disorientation, for I could not imagine where I might go to secure anything. If I needed something, I'd head out wandering, hopeful of bumping into what I wanted. I could blindly follow directions, sometimes re-learning that nobody deletes anything from the internet after a place closes. I lived a stumbling existence, not necessarily dissatisfying, but endlessly surprising, tinged with an abiding frustration. I remained essentially lost for months and months, over-relying on the few safe harbors I'd somehow found and learned to trust.

I eventually came to understand that anticipation need not relate to any actual anything. I could more easily anticipate some feeling than I could envision any physical place, so I cruised for feelings rather than places. I mostly felt intimidated then, as if I might be the only one with no idea where he was going. I'd buck up and go anyway, sometimes returning without having found what I was looking for or discouraged by traffic I could not navigate. A rough routine eventually emerged from patience and good fortune, though I anticipated much worse every inch of my way. I could have (or might have) anticipated anything other than worse. I might have anticipated best, but I never did. I often found what seemed like best in spite of my dreading, pre-living a vulnerability I only very rarely ever experienced. I felt incapable of Anticiplaytion, a frisky engagement with an unknowable future. I dreaded instead.

If mindset matters, and it might, I could more seriously consider how I choose to configure my anticipations going into this fresh uncharted future. I can certainly cower and curse and anticipate some worst case outcomes, or I suppose I could choose to believe I'm heading into fresh fun. The future will be whatever the future becomes, but my Anticiplayions remain completely within my control, a potential godsend in a world where familiar horizons seem to have been temporally suspended. The news can fuel my fears. This here, what we're doing right here, baring the odd soul and pondering WhatNow?, this amounts to serious play. I might just as well engage in daily, extended bouts of Anticiplayion. My choice.

It being Friday, it's time to take account of my writing week just passing. 718 unique page views passed through PureSchmaltz this week, the first over one hundred daily average. There was a prominent bulge around my warm remembrance of The Muse and my wedding day.

I recounted last Friday, how time had taken to weighing more in
WeightingHeavily as I wrote "essays through lightly gritted teeth."

I then noticed how much more time I'd been spending in lines in
QueuingUp. "There are far worse fates than catching myself enqueued."

Next, I proposed that as we've routinely worn masks, a certain sort of
Unmasking occurred. "Make-up's wasted when worn beneath a mask."

Then I warmly recounted the story behind The Muse and my wedding anniversary in
Anniverstory, where "some essence of us eternally stayed behind."

I noticed a meta-pattern in the Muse and my relationship in
Eigenvaluing. "We're not so much inseparable now, but readily recognizable, living examples of quantum entanglement."

Then, I considered what seems to be an increasing volume of stupidity surrounding me in
I'mWithStoopid. "My enlightenments must seem like jester's wisdom to so many others that if I focused upon whether my logic made any sense to everyone else, I would not be able to avoid concluding that I am some virulent form of batshit crazy."

I concluded my writing week by appreciating the
Imprecision surrounding me. "The Imprecision seems cruel and unfeeling, revealing perhaps more than any of us care to recognize about reality and truth."

It was a week of poking sticks into persistent darkness, enlivened by warm remembrances (backward Anticiplaytions?) and enamored by my more familiar projections. The week might have served as a post-graduate course in more warmly anticipating, in learning how to play with my present to project more alluring WhatNow?s.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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