The weather outside my window is horrendous today – stormy, dark, windy and cold. It is penguin weather, polar bear weather. It is not California weather, but right now, I suppose it is. The entire state is suffering from flooding, storms, outrageous snow, even tornado warnings. It has been a miserable winter and for some a fatal one. Yet still the rest of the USA looks at California suffering with glee. I don’t dare look on social media, as the rest of the country is wishing destruction, death and pain on us. Why? Because we vote democrat and the heartland swings to the Trump? Because we are a rich state, that is seen as successful, even if we are very much a state of ‘haves’ and have-nots’? Because we never got over that California dreaming of the 1960s, or our rock and roll freewheelin’ mind expanding excesses of the 1970s? Because we have compassion to people fleeing as refugees and don’t work with ICE as long as people don’t commit crimes? Are they furious with jealousy because generally, this place is a garden of Eden, especially if you have, as Woody Guthrie once sang, the ‘do-re-mi, boys’, is our good weather, the grapes on the vines, the bounty of nature and our stunning scenery? Who knows? Who cares? I am too much of a Gen X-er to give a shit about the whys and wherefores of it.
All I know is that I don’t know a single person here that wishes death and destruction on people from other states, and that those who hate California to the point where they feel moved to comment on our current state of climate change woe, not offering sympathy to those who have lost homes in the flooding, nor to the families of the dead, but instead to hope we ‘fall into the ocean’ in a massive earthquake are a tasteless bunch of cretins who deserve the pity that I can’t quite summon for them at this current point in time.
I have settled back into the rhythm of blogging and particularly enjoyed concentrating on the music critic side of my writing. It is still my dream to get a regular job writing for a music or culture magazine, but it is not easy when you have no social security number. I know I write well, and I come up with interesting articles, but even typing that makes me feel sick with myself. It is so hard to blow one’s own horn.
I have kept up the yoga and meditation, and to be frank it helps immensely. Yoga has fixed my back pain and sciatica, I am in much less pain, and have some almost pain free days. It has made me more flexible, stronger and fitter. I even lost a little more weight, which is a good thing. I am a lean mean peaceful machine. I have been getting better at the poses, and my vinyasa movement sequences are now much less wobbly. I can even balance better. I have not been able to touch my toes in years, but now do sun salutations like a champ. I think I found the exercise I enjoy! I truly love the time I spend on my mat. It is my ‘thing’.
Being diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis put a bit of a dampener on my party. I am eating turmeric, taking my vitamins and trying my best not to fall to pieces. I really need it to get warmer again. Because my platelets are low (strange complication leading to alarming bleeding) due to the RA, and I am waiting to see if I can get emergency free health insurance via the City, I have no medication at all. I have nothing to stop the disease, and nothing to deal with the painful symptoms. I can’t take NSAIDs because of the bleeding, and have been told to ‘suck it up’ basically. Try hot and cold and gentle exercise is not really an answer to raging arthritis! Still, thanks to the moral panic over opiate painkillers, now that for once in my life I have a legitimate reason to take the damn things, it is not available to me.
Not that I am going to go out there and risk my life with whatever fentadope is doing the rounds, or nasty flesh rotting tranq/krokodile filth, but people cannot be expected to live in pain like this. It will send pain patients out to the streets. Honestly, I swear there is not a brain cell or iota of reason or compassion amongst people who are paid to ‘fight the drug war’ from the side of dealing with both addicts and pain patients. I almost have more respect for the cops who take the dangerous fentanyl and tranq off the streets. Who would ever have thought that heroin would be the benign option and one that is not even available anymore, not on any street corner in the USA. I swear there is some nefarious plan by our enemies to take us out with these horrible synthetic narcotics. My hands are a mess of nodules and swelling, I am in bad pain in some of my other joints, and I am not overweight or sedentary. It is outrageous that someone who can’t take painkillers that thin the blood because my disease has made me bleed, and can’t have a drink either, is left to just suffer. Like Peter Green once sang, “Oh well!”
America is suffering a huge crisis of compassion. We are lacking it in all the places it is needed most. I think in the future people will look back at this time much as they look at The Great Depression. Banks collapsing, but money only going out to fight wars in the Ukraine, food stamps for those that get them, being cut to outrageously low amounts despite food prices being so high that people are going hungry, drug issues being dealt with in ways that do not help or stop the rot, and homelessness so desperate that walking through the TL is like walking through hell. There are people dying literally naked and shoeless on the streets of San Francisco, in huge health and psychiatric distress and illness, and the powers that be just let it happen. It should not be allowed to happen. Compassion is the order of the day, but it is missing. The money gets mis-spent, the politicians like to grandstand and set the blame away from themselves onto vulnerable groups, like the undocumented, and nothing gets done. The City needs a lot of public toilets built. It can be done and it can be done fast. Drop the red tape, it is a public health emergency. Our streets are full of rats and human shit and piss, just build the things, but oh no…can’t be done. A toilet ends up costing more than a mansion in Idaho. It is capitalism at its ridiculous end point, and it stinks. Literally.
I think I will close the curtains. There is no sunlight to salute, there are no happy scenes to watch, and nothing interesting to see. All that is out there is grey daylight, rain, storms and the dying of a City that needs a pragmatic compassionate boost before it dies away entirely.