Posted by: Bruce Allen | April 9, 2019

Things for which I no longer have time

© Bruce Allen


London during The Blitz, shown for no reason whatsoever

Dear Mr. BruAl–

Now that you’re really what most people consider “older,” do you find you’ve become more crotchety in your dotage? Do more things annoy you? What about letters like this–do they annoy you as well?

It’s just that, like, you’re kind of a dick.


Chafed in Cheyenne

Dear Chafed–

Now that I’m really getting up there–just turned “mid-to-late 60’s”–I’ve learned a few things about myself, despite the fact that when it comes to me I’m a slow learner. There was a documentary on PBS the other night about some poor guy who found his calling when he was 86. I have, at this point, identified a number of things I actively don’t like. From there, it is a matter of deduction to arrive at those things I do enjoy/love/appreciate, etc. No, I haven’t gotten around to the deduction part yet. But among those things I have learned, over decades, to despise are the following:

State-level elected officials who ignore “constituent requests,” due to the fact that they receive campaign money from the other side. I don’t mind getting turned down–well, I do, actually–but at least acknowledge that I took the time to communicate at all. And don’t do like Susan Brooks’ office and Joe Donnelly’s office and send a form letter on a completely different subject.

Remarkably obvious errors by the Indiana Department of Revenue at tax time. Two years in a row they mis-read the figures on my Turbo Tax return, two years in a row they sent me hate mail demanding thousands of dollars forthwith, interest, penalties and possible incarceration, etc.. Together, we discovered an error in their software. I wrote my elected state representatives and never heard a word.

Long, unmanaged or untimed traffic lights, where one sits idling in a queue while no one goes through. The roundabout is as close to a perfect solution to this problem as I’ve seen. Being able to travel considerable distances in the city without hitting a single traffic light is awesome. Ten years from now, when all but one of the lights are gone in Carmel, Indiana, it will be a unique place. To have lived through all of the hundreds of construction projects was just a matter of poor timing. Stuff that occurs when one lives in the same house for 35 years.

The utter, bottomless, cynical depravity at the highest levels of the Republican party. Funny how the perception of the party is growing to fit my mother’s lifelong belief that the vast majority of Republicans are just plain mean.

Any interaction with a commercial or public institution that can only be solved by a telephone call to a call tree. What can a call tree solve that a website can’t? My immediate response is to start shouting “REPRESENTATIVE” at the phone until I get a live person. But having to interact with a living human being at this time in history is unkind and a time-waster. Especially if one is vexed, it is much easier to come across as less of a jackwagon in a text or chat.

Participating in local Democratic efforts to elect good candidates in a ruby red county in a ruby red state. I will find a presidential candidate to support and probably some local Democrats. They are almost non-existent in these parts. Primaries are a running joke. Basically, I’m saying I no longer have time for living in a red state.

Anyone who tries to convince me that global warming is not a thing right now. Or that the American economy is sinking under a multi-trillion dollar pile of debt. Or that Social Security and Medicare are hopelessly, demographically doomed. Or that gerrymandering is the natural order of things in the real world. Or that corporations are people. If so, they would be allowed to own annuities, and they’re not.

Upon the Titanic that is our globally-warming globe, we are busily re-arranging the deck chairs while we vault headlong toward the point of no return–2030 by most counts–having observed that global carbon emissions increased significantly in 2018 over 2017. What’s more, the deck chairs look like crap. We argue about tariffs and human rights, and my own country is leading the way toward an eventual mass extinction in distant parts of that globe. Awesome. Those of you not thinking of your grandchildren at this moment, and their grandchildren, are asshats. Sorry.

I no longer have time to defend the mass consumption of meat. I understand I will have to demote it from a staple of my diet to an occasional condiment, procured from One Bad Day Farms locally, motto, “Why pay less?” This will have a starfish effect on the problem and make my latter years worse to a greater degree. It’s how we liberals roll. Nothing gets old hippies juiced like large, loud, futile demonstrations in favor of unpopular ideas.

There’s more, stuff about turn signals, people who text and drive, Cable modems that need lots of re-booting. Patriarchy. Nepotism. Mitch McConnell. Dogs running loose in the neighborhood.  Five months of damp boxers in the Indiana summer heat. Weeds of all types. Pancreatic cancer and all other cancers. What the Catholic church has allowed to take place within its walls.

Every time I go to confession I confess the same sins. Likewise, these existential problems have all been about the same during my entire adult life. None have gotten much better, and those that have are being assaulted by the reg raiders of the Trump administration as we speak. The point is, having expressed my opinions over the years to no effect, I have resolved to close off certain areas of my mind, refusing to engage in serious discussions about those topics. No time.

Becoming, as it were, a liberal version of the Trump base. This is my very first insight into what makes them tick. This is helpful moving forward.











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