PureSchmaltz

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CaughtUp

caughtup
French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven):
The Unicorn Purifies Water (from the Unicorn Tapestries)
(1495–1505)

"None of us run this race to win it …"


I complain that I'm behind just as if I was ever what even a generous interpretation might consider CaughtUp. As near as I can tell from here, I was born behind and I have been falling ever further behind since. Even when I accomplished something, I recognized that I could have done more had I really applied myself like I know I could have. Whenever I accept a fresh assignment, it lands on top of the pile of unfinished business I already have open and cluttering my desktop. When I finally organize something, a few bits of whatever it is won't quite fit into my new classification scheme, such that a strict judgement of the finished product should be that my product isn't quite finished. I maintain many backlogs, just as if they'd ever become anything else. Finished and done largely seem like acts of abandonment. I graduated from both high school and university with unfinished business. It took me a while to understand and accept that graduation resolved nothing except that I'd never be able to clean the plates I left partially eaten there.

I almost remember a time when I had actually CaughtUp.
I was on top of my in-basket then. I had no outstanding memos to write, no past due bills, no uncured ills. I lie to myself with such ease that I hardly see what I'm doing anymore. I might just as well believe in unicorns. In my life, and I suspect in everyone's life here, there is no level and no plumb, no happily ever after, either, yet each of us refer to such stuff just as if we'd ever experienced it. We haven't. Maybe we consider close enough equivalent, such that though we've never once been CaughtUp, almost CaughtUp satisfies something like the spirit of the state without any of us actually achieving it, that CaughtUp amounts to a generally accepted impossible state we're each sanctioned to pretend we emulate.

I suspect that CaughtUp belongs to the Conspicuous Consumption Class, one of the higher classes in our culture. Anyone CaughtUp would have actual leisure time, a guilt-free exemption from the expectation of exertion. One might lounge around as if they had nothing better to do or kick back and take a whole day off without any nagging feeling that they're leaving something important unattended. Lounging and kicking back are entirely fictional states, ones that people pretend to exhibit because they each project the appearance of being in control, which none of us ever really are.

Upon reflection, as if I really had time to reflect, I might admit that my life, too, has been all about queue management, an arcane art form involving shuffling priorities such that a few things seem to fit in sideways and therefore can get attended to, not to guide them clear through to completion, mind you, but so that some progress might be experienced. I erected that scaffolding a month ago but have made almost no progress painting. I have good reasons, well, good reasons interspersed with poor excuses, but my backlog grows. The more I engage, the further behind I feel, a victim, mostly, of the myth that I might one day get CaughtUp. Something deep down inside me understands that I never will get CaughtUp and that CaughtUp qualifies as neither a reasonable objective nor a plausible purpose. None of us run this race to win it. We run because we were born behind and have been losing ground ever since. Every damned one of us, thank heavens.

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A premise, not a purpose
Another Friday, another race not won, another fresh yet familiar experience arriving. It seems this morning as if my Reconning will become another brush with the infinite, another never-ending process more about engaging than about accomplishing something. The engagement might be the accomplishment whatever the artifact produced as evidence of engaging. I set about finding my way and in that process, made my way instead. Finding certainly seemed necessary when I shuffled my priorities to start focusing upon Reconning. Now I sense that finding wasn't necessary, perhaps nothing more than a false pretense, a motivation without any intention of actually delivering or even making a promise. A premise, not a purpose.

I began my writing week reflecting on what my return from exile taught me, now that I'm finally living 'back home' in
ExilesReturn. "He learned after expulsion from his garden that he could have anything but what he truly wanted, so he learned to live by other means, to seek dignity rather than desire."

I considered my life's disappointments to be a form of
Reprieving instead. "Not one of us ever really knows what's coming next. Fortunately, this universe appears to be self-correcting, or self-correcting enough if perceived from certain angles."

On Easter morning, I took a look at what it might mean to be
Resturrected rather than restlessly resurrected. "If my past has tried to teach me anything, it's struggled to encourage me to focus, to not gaze off toward some not yet present horizon's promise nor to space out failing to relive some prior disappointment's betrayal, but to inhabit each fresh morning, each dawning with promise all its own, not really needing to re-own anything already lost or pre-own anything emerging, but just as it is. Just as it is seems promise enough if I could just manage to focus my attention upon it. "

I thought about what constitutes relevance and what doesn't in
Refelance. "Creating's not a democratic process, or, I insist, should not be one."

I wrote about refinishing a derelict door and how such work never results in actually
Finishing anything. "This work seems asymptotic yet still worthwhile. If the purpose was not finishing but starting, every second I'm engaged in this work amounts to success."

I recalled my experience with higher education, where we learned
about in lieu of learning how to do anything and where the work was largely focused upon continual interruption in Interruptus. "The primary skill, the one everyone came to master, was what I might call Interruptus, the fine art of functioning within a context of continual interruption."

I ended my writing week waxing rhapsodic about my two fine cats, Molly and Max, and their recent vet visit in
HighApril. "He, too, showed as in the absolute prime of his life, inhabiting his HighApril, healthy, happy, perfectly lovely. He seemed to harbor no animosity toward me as I released him once we'd returned home."

From an Exile Returning to High April in the course of a single week, with Reprieving, Resurrected, and Refelance tucked in there as if in a sandwich, with Finishing and Interruptus playing the parts of mustard and mayonnaise. We straddled snow cover to almost the last week in HighApril, each day another adventure. Reconning works like this, I guess. Lots of variety but very little CaughtUp, unless, of course, you count getting CaughtUp in something rather than an empty desktop. Thanks for following along as I try to make Reconning sense of my experience!

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved







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