Rendered Fat Content


Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciation (1472)
"I'd honestly rather be nobody else but me, even if I cannot always reliably remember how to spell anything."

I had a few spare minutes, so I decided to stop by the library and register for a library card. I'd read the prior week that our little library had finally opened again after more than a year closed to visitors and it sits only a few blocks from The Villa, so, why not? I found a parking place in the shade and walked up the hosta-lined path to the back door just as if I was family. I found the door locked. I studied the Covid-19 compliance sign several times, each reading leaving me baffled. The sign clearly stated that the library was open between nine and seven and it was twelve fifteen. I tried prying open the doors, certain some mechanical failure had just locked me out. I read the sign again, reaching the same conclusion. Then, a woman opened the door from inside and asked if she could help me. I told her that I just wanted to register for a library card and she replied that the library was presently closed, but that I could come back after 1pm and fill out the form then or I could complete it online anytime. I told her that I would fill out the online form, though I already knew that I would not be able to complete it. I looked at the sign again and that time, it clearly announced the open hours of one to seven, not nine to seven. It seemed as though gremlins had just played a trick on me. Later, attempting to complete the online registration form left me stymied, just like most online forms leave me. I'd have to register in person later.

I bought a new lawn mower this week.
It was a splurge and a concession that I'm really not as young as I used to be, an apparent necessity. It runs on big honking rechargeable batteries and features a confusing starting protocol. Three levers must be moved in sequence or it just sits silent. A little sticker on the handle illustrates this sequence in bright emergency colors in case the operator couldn't remember the sequence. I mowed for about fifteen minutes before encountering some lawn crap (defined as anything that must be moved when mowing), which meant that I'd have to let go of the throttle to move it, which cut the motor. When I returned, the new mower wouldn't start. I tried more than a half dozen times to get it to turn over, even trading the battery to an adjacent slot, thinking I was experiencing some strange mechanical failure. I finally pushed the thing back to the garage then sat beneath the blessed apricot, plotting how to return the defective machine, feeling betrayed and dejected. An hour later, The Muse came out to celebrate the end of her workweek to find me frowning and worried. I described the difficulty and she retired to the garage where a brief time later, I heard that mower come to life.

I asked her what she'd done and she reported that she'd just followed the instructions on the handy little sticker on the handle. I said that I'd done that but it had not worked. It might be that I had not done what she'd done, though, because I'd filtered the same instructions through my perception and she'd cheated, using her's instead. There might be a reason I cannot seem to complete most online forms or reliably follow relatively simple three step instructions or even read certain signs. As I filled out a paper form, part of the signing for selling The Villa Along The Front Range, it asked me to describe which form of picture ID I'd presented to the notary. I would use my driver's
lisence, of course, except I could not in that moment remember the proper way to spell it and I feared embarrassing myself, so I pilled it out of my wallet, thinking that the word in question might be mentioned on that card and it was! I would use my driver's license as ID, I proudly noted. Nobody but me noticed my little sweaty-palmed confusion. I'm suspecting that I might qualify as Lyzdexic, which is how my brain interprets the word Dyslexic.

Certain word forms render themselves indistinguishable from similar words. I will probably forever call Wadsworth Boulevard Wordsworth. I know for certain that its name starts with a 'W', and I often caught myself when giving directions describing a street that starts with a 'W' for which I can never remember the formal name. Numbered streets are worse, and numbered freeways remain forever mysterious. Denver is ringed with beltways which each feature indistinguishable numbers I never successfully remembered. 740 or 470? Who cares? I-Twenty-something. It's the North/South route. It's name doesn't matter. It's always a parking lot. I notice that some people remember what they've read while I retain mere gists. I don't quote anyone on anything. I bought a pond water testing kit but only The Muse could figure out how to use it. It featured many confusing instructions calling for exact measures from different identical vials and certain judgements regarding resulting colors. I opened that box and mentally fled for an emergency exit. I mostly intuit since most instructions only successfully confuse me. The ones claiming to have been written for dummies leave me pissed and confused. I seem to use a different indexing system than others.

I confided to The Muse that I might not be able to successfully graduate from Junior High if I'm Lyzsexic. She replied that I needn't worry about that, since I'd long ago somehow faked it through. I've faked my way through a long and largely successful life, with few suspecting I'm Lyzdexic, even myself. I'm fairly certain that I ain't no dummy but equally confident that I'm nobody's prodigy. The instruction manual might explain why, but it's written, as all tend to be, in some foreign language. I might be able to grok its message by looking at the pictures, but the descriptions will miss their mark if their mark is me. I suppose that I should be accustomed to this by now. I feel fortunate that The Muse hovers nearby, for she frequently serves as my seeing-eye guide through endlessly confusing country liberally strewn with unseen land mines. I set aside an afternoon when attempting to fill out even the simplest form, one she completes in a few short seconds. It used to routinely take me several days of focused effort to balance my checkbook. She could complete that work in minutes. I'm not allowed to touch that stuff anymore.

I once thought that I might outgrow whatever my difference might be, that through diligence I might learn different than my native difference, but I haven't. I do not so much remember as recollect, often attempting to reconstruct a sequence of prior thoughts to reach a familiar conclusion, like the proper spelling of
lisence. My knowledge, such as it ever was, seems more sensory and associative. I'm terribly context sensitive. If I'm not in my kitchen, I can't remember how to cook anything. When there, I don't need to remember. It's just second nature. Cookbooks make cooking harder, often impossible, since they throw irrelevant numbers and sequences into what would otherwise just emerge out of fluid intention. I'd honestly rather be nobody else but me, even if I cannot always reliably remember how to spell anything.


Friday arrives like always, another writing week already disappeared. A week ago, I wondered if I'd manage to muster enough new stories to fill seven more posts, just like I've done heading into every weekend for years. Now that question's resolved to be replaced with precisely the same one and it's a question without any reasonable answer. It's both yes and no, or perhaps more properly both and neither. I'm grateful there was no instruction book failing to guide my path and that my life and perhaps yours remains largely mysterious. Who knows what comes next? Perhaps next lies beyond knowing, just coming then going, like my writing week passing.

I began my writing week by offering a personal portrait of the small city I'm SettlingInto in
LittleThings. "The folks who stayed here were never speculators, but those who stayed behind to read the letters sent by those who left."

The least popular posting this week served as my obligatory political screed,
ByThePeople. "Before it became popular to perceive a government created by we, the people, as a nefarious other—a self-revulsion difficult to contemplate—we sought to unite us, however ineptly, and sometimes succeeded …"

I then described a practice I've long left dormant, that of stealing flowers out of others' gardens early May Day morning in
MidnightCreeping. "I did my MidnightCreeping honestly if criminally, and criminal honesty should be recognized as both rare and admirable."

I next described my curious form of muck bucket gardening in
MuckingUp. "In the thrall of work I love, I feel above and curiously distant from myself, as if it were happening to someone else and I, merely amusedly observing."

My most popular posting of the week qualified as a real downer. In it, I described the sort of crashing and burning common to SettlingInto in
DiastolicDays. "[Days] apparently never intended to propel anything forward, but, perhaps to just rest."

I risked a deeply philosophical posting with
Worlds. "E Pluribus Magis—out of many, more. This world remains a plural in singular clothing."

I ended this writing week writing about
Haircuts. "Every life requires a retinue of trusty suppliers, utterly dependable, capable of attending to those needs no-one can competently satisfy themselves. A baker. A butcher. A produce purveyor. A barber. Absent this constellation, no place feels like home, SettlingInto rendered impossible."

Each resolved mystery just seems to spawn another, guaranteed continuing employment for my inner Sherlock Holmes. There's always something afoot and I suspect that I'll never feel very certain what it might entail until another Friday comes and provides an accounting. The books might always balance, even after a week spent pursuing SettlingInto with muck buckets and licenses. Thanks for following along!

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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