Rendered Fat Content


Wassily Kandinsky: Squares with Concentric Circles (1913)
I'll retell the story often and bore everyone but myself with it."

The Bakery closes at three pm on Saturday and does not open again until 8am Wednesday. It's worth the wait, but its eccentric schedule makes it impossible for me to get fresh bread on a whim. I need to plan ahead. Similar story with the butcher, who closes Sundays and Mondays. The greengrocer closes at six on Fridays, opening again at 7:30 Sunday morning. I can always head for one of the godless supermarkets where I have to settle for something mass produced, but I'd rather support the local operations worth frequenting, so I maintain an ever-increasing number of special calendars. The nursery's open Sunday in season, but closed both Monday and Tuesday. The other nursery's closed on Saturday but otherwise open every day. County offices close at 4pm. Nobody keeps regular hours anymore.

SettlingInto demands some jumping through such Hoops.
The Muse and I might finally manage to secure our car licenses today after weeks of trying. Like many encounters with bureaucracy, it's been an ordeal and could perhaps become an entertaining game show similar to Supermarket Sweep. "Your challenge this week will be to successfully navigate through the mine field of requirements to gain a (license, permit, card, reservation, …)." The contestants slap their foreheads in foreseen frustration and prepare to buckle under, for they know from experience that they'll be entering an ordeal. Some Native American tribes maintained a gauntlet ritual to determine if a guest or prisoner was worthy. Said guest or visitor would be forced to run through a double line of warriors armed with anything from clubs to spears. If the guest or visitor survived the beating, they proved themselves worthy. If not, they'd be dead and therefore beneath further consideration. These tests tended to be conducted as a sort of celebration, without particular malice, a show of the tribe's prowess. Bureaucracies of every sort adopted this tradition, though today they use paradoxes in lieu of spears or knives.

I learn from The Schooner's lien holder that I can, indeed, secure a copy of the car's title for the purpose of relicensing it in our new state, but I must agree to receiving said copy by either regular mail or fax. People still use faxes? Apparently so, though nobody actually maintains the necessary land line anymore. It's a small ordeal on the end of a series of small ordeals, but if I cannot overcome it, it's back to Go and no two hundred dollars for me. I'm stymied. But wait! UPS accepts faxes for people. True, they charge an arm or a leg for the service, but I might be able to secure that license today if I'm clever. I stall Hanna, the sweet voiced representative of that international bank which is demonstrating why they chose the name Chase, while I frantically search the web for the local UPS's fax number. UPS saw me coming and prepared a small sub-gauntlet for me to challenge before sharing the info. I read off the UPS fax number to Hanna as if it was my own and she insists that I stay on the phone while she submits the request and promises delivery within the hour. I hang up then quickly call the UPS store to explain that I've directed a fax to their location, leaving my number and instructing them to call me when that fax comes in. Whew! I was ahead of that blow!

Meantime, The Muse is on another call when I notice that the licensing forms require her signature. I'm not supposed to distract her when she's working, but I slip into her office and drop the forms in what I hope will be an obvious place. It of course wasn't. I will also need a check which she keeps stored deep within her mysterious filing cabinet. I'm waiting for the UPS call about the fax. The Grand Other stops by as she does every afternoon after school to pet the cats and derisively sneer at her grandfather. Her dad shows up to fetch her and we're chatty today. The Muse remains on her call. Just as they're leaving, The Muse appears, which further extends the visit. She announces that she'd like to come with me to pick up the fax. She had, after all, spent the last three weeks unsuccessfully trying to get a copy of that title from that bank. She has skin in this game, too. She rereads the licensing paperwork and finds that we'll both have to sign it in the presence of the issuing officer. The office closes at four. It's just past three by then. I've started the car and The Muse is slipping in when I ask her if she's brought the check. The clerk, you see, will not accept plastic and cannot precisely predict the fee she'll inflict. The Muse returns to fetch a check and we head to UPS. The fax has not arrived. By the time it does, it's three minutes to four. The gauntlet's gotten us this round.

Another round tomorrow! I can't fault the requirements. They probably represent long tradition and exist to avoid certain catastrophes in processing. The net effect results in innumerable Hoops, each of which we must successfully jump through or, no license. I have short tolerance for this dance, but The Muse immerses herself in this every work day and so has developed certain immunities to it. She's a world-class hoop jumper. She reads the fine print and almost always understands its deeper implications. I'm essentially flotsam in the presence of these gauntlets, discovering each attacker after he's managed to land a painful blow. The Muse often dances through without receiving a single bruise. I limp out the other end, wounded. Surviving serves as the best reward for jumping through Hoops, surviving and the stories only a veteran can ever tell, about that Spring of '21 when he was kidnapped by the Walla Walla and run through a dizzying gauntlet. I'll retell the story often and bore everyone but myself with it. SettlingInto, indeed.


I seem to have survived another writing week's gauntlet more or less intact, even if I don't have a license for The Schooner yet. More adventures lie just ahead, though I cannot, as usual, foresee the nature of them yet. These Hoops which always seem especially designed to want me to jump through them, come as they come, without much fanfare or feathers. They tend to catch me unawares, which ads a certain drama to the encounters, I suppose, but a touch of trauma, too. I could take these insults more personally and undermine my purpose here, concluding that these natives are natively hostile and therefore must have it out for me, but I see no benefit from adopting that perspective. I figure that I might just as well join in the celebration, even if I've apparently been chosen as the entree at these dinners. So it sometimes goes.

I began my writing week with some focused and thoughtful
Puttering " … a place to celebrate recent accomplishments while my next grand obsession lurks in waiting."

I next recounted a failed foraging excursion which delivered something we were not expecting to find, though we tend to find at least that something every time whenever
ScalingInto. " … only ever really experienced by accident when actively not finding whatever you were seeking."

I lumbered or blundered into and through the heart of true innovation in
Plumbering, where I recounted the simple unrepeatable process of fixing something novel. "I can now return to that state of unconsciousness true innovation encourages and, over time, blissfully forget whatever I witnessed when peeking into that black box."

I next described my primary audience, my cats Molly and Max, who continually supervise my operations in
Catpanions. "They always greet our returns like delighted children …"

I explained how things work here in
ConnectingInto. "The Yellow Pages (do they even have those anymore?) and Yelp seem relatively worthless if one has a brother and a neighbor nearby, life-long residents who, between them, know pretty much everybody, even you."

I visited my new doctor and left with an A+ on my report card in
Doctoring, deciding that I'm not his patient but his confidant. "I'd prefer to be his colleague, since patient carries some conditions I'd prefer to abandon."

I finished this writing week by going quantum in
StrangeAttractings, attempting to explain the inexplicable and strangely succeeding. "Gravity exerts its influence without possessing molecules. Like home, it's not a thing as such, all influence, no substance."

Next, I expect more Hoops to appear. I anticipate mostly jumping clean through most, though I expect that a few might leave a mark or bruise. I remind myself that I choose to live like this, beset by gauntlets at my own insistence. I cannot complain about this present, which physicists suggest does not actually exist except for extremely locally, like here and now. —Whoops! It just slipped through our fingers.— Imagine the stories we'll recount in the future, which also doesn't exist, about our past, which likewise will by then no longer exist, about
this present, which if it ever existed, existed only conditionally and extremely locally, SettlingInto something, probably entropy. Thanks for following along with me while I find my way home!

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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