"The new homeostasis seems simply homeless."

I live embedded within mutually compensating systems, largely notional, which seem to strive to hold each other in balance. I shiver and sweat not as ends unto themselves, but to rebalance when my temperature falls out of whack. These actions seem to exist within a terribly narrow range and find success only when rather quickly succeeding. Continual sweating suggests an imbalance, not an added feature. Shivering seems exclusively a short-term solution, not an alternate lifestyle choice. Homeostasis might stand as a strived-for hypothetical, a state eternally in a state of becoming without ever actually achieving itself.

The older I become, the creakier my aging homeostasis balancing seems to become. My blood pressure's been out of whack, or, more properly, recognized as having been out of wh
ack, for months. successive attempts to encourage it to come back into alignment with its fellow indicators have each failed in turn, unbalancing other elements to the point where I hardly recognize myself anymore. My life-long reliables have become intermittents, often only aspired-fors. I sleep too much and excite to little. I seem increasingly alien to myself. My physician, who The Muse insists upon calling a nurse practitioner, seems to be poking sticks in the dark, for she knows me even less well that I once knew myself. I might have, after decades of concerted effort at knowing myself, lately become essentially unknowable, even to myself. We perhaps ultimately mature into utter mystery.

Visit any once familiar place and it will show a dystopian face. You might find yourself standing in line behind a younger person of almost indeterminate gender dressed in curious costume ordering unrecognizable beverages, something with freshly squeezed grapefruit and an unfamiliar vodka, you think, anything that might require seeming hours of preparation time when you're just wanting a quick pint. What passes for music certainly seems to exhibit rhythm, but indiscernible melody, bass way too extreme, something felt more in the spleen. The people passing on the street seem dressed for something other than walking along a street, perhaps bed. The once-familiar buildings hold shops which exclusively sell merchandise the purpose of which seems unknowable. Who cares? Life must not be about retail anymore. Even the menu displays cartoon analogues of what you might consider nourishment. The world shivers without seeming likely to ever stop.

The Muse says that this condition will only get worse. Bad Bauhaus replaces once stately brick. Bell-less bicycles slip up behind me as if I might hold the sense to step out of their way without them once warning me of their presence. The universe moves to a rhythm securely out of my range of hearing. My head buzzes in confusion. I suppose I seem absurd, strolling along in my classic fedora like a nineteen fifty one Buick boat with tail fins and a patented gas guzzling Autoglide® transmission, hardly relevant anymore. A curiosity, soon to become a museum piece or junkyard antique shop curiosity, if even that.

This world will end in neither fire nor ice, neither of which could really suffice to undermine anything. Worlds end by seemingly insignificant increment, mere blips in the once-familiar balancing until the once self-compensating structure simply crumbles. A terribly undramatic closure, more slow-motion colony collapse than cinematic catastrophe. Eventually, nobody seems to notice your presence anymore. Later, you might not notice your presence anymore, either. Were it not for The Muse behaving as if you were still present, you might not even reliably notice yourself anymore. The sum total of all the strived after new improvements will have left the place decidedly worse off. That ill-gathered man bun glowering down at you from behind that man-child ahead of you in line might scream liberty while whispering excess, it might whimper choice while arrogantly exhibiting only poor taste. The new homeostasis leaves me feeling as homeless and unfortunate as the folks lining West Burnside. My old friend Gerry closed his restaurant there after the homeless overtook the neighborhood. It looks as though all his neighbors have closed up their places, too. The new homeostasis seems simply homeless.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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