Monday, October 24, 2011

crabby conundrum

In whatever 'wisdom' that age/experience confers, and in the additional time that 'retirement' implies, I notice that there seems to be an uptick in the willingness to reach quick and sometimes crabby conclusions.

Age and experience suggest that if you want to solve a problem -- any problem -- the first and most important step is to slow down and really look things over. It takes patience and determination and any conclusion arrived at will be (by the nature of human life) incomplete. But incomplete does not necessarily mean stupid. Thoughtfulness and care stand a better chance of shaping a more sensible 'solution,' however imperfect.

But patience requires time, the kind of time that those who work eight or more hours a day, take care of children or are in the thick of life's daily chores are unlikely to have. Decisions made within this framework are surrounded by the killer bees of daily life. Retirement opens the doors to a less harried approach. There is more time ... but less energy.

And less energy means less patience to put up with those inclined (as I once was) to quick-fix solutions. With considerable crabbiness (read arrogance) I want a quick fix to quick-fix imbeciles (in whose number, of course, I conveniently forget to include myself). Less energy ... increasing crabbiness ... a suspicious nature ... it all adds up to a disinclination and sometimes fear of adding my voice to the public chorus.

In spiritual life, for example, my quick-fix crabbiness expresses itself more and more in simple, quick-fix responses: If you want to do it, do it; if you don't, don't ... but either way, stop whining about it and stop pretending that reading a book has fuck-all to do with much of a solution. Yes, I can make the smarmy, kindly, 'compassionate' observations that play paddy-cake with the human fragilities, but all that takes energy. Old farts don't have an endless reserve of energy. They are, if they're anything like me, inclined to cut to the chase ... meaning crabby. Not only am I crabby about pointless side trips, I am also crabby about my own crabbiness, my own quick-fix biases. Hell, I might as well be a right-and-wrong teen-ager or a belief-prone Christian or a glassy-eyed junkie searching frantically for a healthy vein when it comes to unexamined conclusions.

Slow down and examine ... these are things required when addressing a problem. But the desire for a quick-fix (even to such a matter as quick fixes) seems to be woven into the DNA. And yet problems, my crabby mind reminds me, are precisely and only my own doing. I am responsible.

OK, I may be responsible, but this doesn't mean I don't want, quick-fix fashion, to blame them on someone or something else ... you, for example. Problems are what I love to hate ... they keep me imagining that I am alive. In this, I prove myself part of a very human race that age and experience seems to separate me from. What a jackass ... and it's all 'your' fault! :)

I don't want a problem. But increasingly, I don't want a solution either. Solutions just compound the problem. I guess I'll just have to learn to live with crabbiness when it comes calling.

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