Rendered Fat Content


William Blake: The Book of Job: Pl. 12,
I am Young and ye are very Old wherefore I was afraid

" … some days I even manage to muster an appearance …"

I often feel afraid. It never takes much. The prospect of engaging in even the smallest activity can raise the hairs on the back of my neck, rendering me frozen for a spell. The serial insult of mounting the scaffolding some days drives me into an almost comatose state where I just cannot function. The Muse asks me if I'm alright, and I am alright, just cowering from another phantom. I eventually manage to face whatever dread presented itself and evaporate it by merely moving into it. Once I begin, whatever surface tension prevented my entry seems to disappear and I'm free to go about my activity, certain only that I've sidestepped calamity for then and that it might well return again tomorrow. I slink from place to place, mustering up either courage or foolhardiness in turn, never especially brave or foolish.

When I agreed to serve as a delegate to the state convention, I figured that I'd just attend virtually since the organizers in the party had touted that they'd designed a convention which would not discriminate against those unwilling to mingle inside a superspreader event.
Even though everyone attending would be required to show proof of vaccination and wear masks while indoors, we all know how well those precautions work. I learned this morning that in order to attend as a virtual delegate, I would have had to sign up back in April, before I'd even been asked to be an alternate and way before I'd been asked to become a full delegate, a Catch 22. The Muse didn't think twice about attending in person. She'd even signed us both up for some banquet which for sure won't happen while people still have their masks on. Am I just being a Scaredy again or is my fear warranted?

I figure it doesn't matter. My fear is real. My fear of flying's not just an option. My relief at not having to fly during This Damned Pandemic, palpable. Overall, I'd just as soon stay home. Travelling's a hassle and there are way too many uncontrollables out there. One second of inattention and I'm infected. Once infected, there's no turning back. It might be that I won't become host to a forever case of the Long Covid, but there's no way of knowing other than to avoid contracting, which still seems a twenty-four/seven proposition. No halfways. No days off for good behavior. No mingling at the corner local. Best to simply stay sequestered at home and keep the mask handy, very likely in perpetuity. Scaredy.

I wasted two fine painting days this week so far. I had schemes to zoot through the next stripe of wall while the weather held, but I couldn't quite manage to talk myself into it. I read instead, my refuge when otherwise overwhelmed. Once started, a book can become sufficiently addictive that I stop noticing that I'm hiding out from myself again. I might even feel productive when I finish distracting myself, though some reckoning's always coming. I'll be forced into some penance, some sort of payback, some penalty, if only expressed in my lingering guilty feelings over having chickened out on myself again. I never managed to become the master of even my small universe, hardly a respectable apprentice. I'm still poking, though, still noticing whenever I fall short and some days I even manage to muster an appearance on the other side of Scaredy.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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