Your world

anchorite
The anchorite’s castle

It’s the usual 5am wakeup for me on a Monday here in FLA. I’m in a swami mood today, so bear with me.

I typically go to bed by 10, get a good night’s sleep on a monk’s bedding of cotton blankets strewn on a concrete floor, and sleep alone, unperturbed in the quiet nights where I choose to live.

Now that I longer drink, I always wake up refreshed.

The concrete floor does wonders for my back; I have been doing this for 15 years. When I travel, I hate sleeping in strange beds, and often will sleep on the floor.

And now, let me take a step back and explain to you my Philosophy of Life..

I am unconcerned with much of the world — after all, is anyone concerned with me?

I question if even those who think they are closest to me would truly be devastated if I keeled over tomorrow.

That said, I have enough money in the bank to get by; if you have that as a starting point, you can dispense with reliance on people whom you should never be naive enough to count on in the first place.

It’s called F**k You money, and it is necessary because in the real world no one watches your back.

Like the WABC ad once said” Money talks, nobody walks.

You don’t need much of it, though, to live the life of a recluse.  Even SS will do, depending on where you live.

The important thing is not to rely on anyone for anything — particularly emotionally.  Reliance on others is a weakness, a cancer that you must cut out or forever be vulnerable.

For this, asceticism and frugality go a long way.

I live in a small, modest house that I own outright.

I can afford my association dues, taxes and house insurance, in perpetuity.

I owe no credit card or any other kind of debt, and have affordable medical insurance thanks to Medicare.

I own a 10-year old V-6 SUV that runs like a tank and performs better on the road than those flashy V-4 toy cars that have become the fashion.

I go where I please — within reason — when I please — again, within reason.  I do not go to bars, restaurants, parties, and waste money on foolish things.

shep signI want nothing, or at most, very little, from anyone — not even friendship.  Sometimes I need experts to help with some technical matter in the house.  For this, I pay them, usually off the books. Little is said beyong discussing the matter at hand.

I regard most people who need to be showoffs as shallow; usually such individuals turn out to be intellectual lightweights.

I do not like loud people, or garrulous ones.

I only hold in contempt those who try to misrepresent, or worse yet, attempt to wilfully destroy other cultures; worst of all in my view are those pathetic souls who comes to the West and betray their own through snarling lies and vileness: such peope are consumed by self-hate and do not even know who they are.

I never watch television, not even the NFL — though I used to be an avid fan, until I learned what this game can do to the brain of anyone who plays it.

I read a lot, and remain interested in computer programming — which was my career, once, a long time ago.

I do not have a lot of patience for pointless small talk

I do not go on FB or Twitter.

I do not obsess over anything having to do with the orange clown or any other would-be fascistos who seem to have much of the planet in their thrall nowadays.  Small, racist minds are easily deceived.

I do not care to waste my time forming an opinion about things that do not concern me.

Instead I lead my own life, solitary much of the time, though I am married, and only do things that are relevant to me personally and directly.

There is little the world can offer me that is more engrossing than a serious, well-researched, well-written book about some arcane topic that I find of interest — SVG programming, Islamic art and calligraphy, 19th century decadent literature are good examples.

Very few people — if fact none that I know of  — share this eclectic mix of interests.

Over the next 12 days, I shall finish getting the house set up for Geneva’s arrival.

She is a sweet little purebred sheppie that is going to my companion for the next decade. She shall be by my side, wherever I go.

Today I shall finish cleaning up the lanai and start affixing protective barriers to keep her form busting through my back porch screens if someone or something unexpected shows up in the yard.

This is tough, physical work — at my age — but I relish it, as it keeps me busy.

This general attitude is what they mean, when they say old age is the happiest time.

You no longer feel compelled to impress anyone.

You are comfortable in your own skin, though it be wrinkled, and no longer apologize to anyone about anything.

You are content being.

If you are fortunate enough to have earned enough money through a legit job in your younger years to get by, which doesn’t take much in some parts fo the world, and are reasonably healthy, you truly need no one, though it shall always be others, one day, who shall personify what it means to be where you came from when you no longer can.

You may occasionaly hire specialists — such as doctors — to perform specific, time-delimited tasks, and go on your way.  If you have friends, that is a good thing; but you shall never allow them to become a burden.

If you have succeeded in leading your life without being a self-important, self-interested dick or ruining anyone else’s existence, then you’re already ahead of the game.

If you have never done any real harm, then you are mightier than Google; if you have, which is the way of most flesh, proportional repairs may be needed, suited to fit, without perversions.

Do not be tempted to punish yourself or others.

Punishment is best left for God to decide.

If it once seemed when you turned 50 or 60 that you had been pushed out, well get over it.

You can return the favor — and have a ball doing it.

You can live in a world they know nothing about.  A world that shall remain forever closed to them.  Your world.  The one without smartphones or social media or group think cults or the need to get ripped in the gym. That time is now over.

One day, you shall be old and helpless — unless you die first.

But until then, you are the leader of the pack, even if that pack consists of demons that have pursued you since forever, as well as the angels that have always been by your side protecting you.

Be nice to them, and always thank them:  for one day you may need them, again, when you least expect it.

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The Lion in Winter

ancient egyptian amulet
Ancient Egyptian lion amulet. I took this pic at the Met in NY last week.

Two days have passed since I returned to Florida.

Initial general impressions: much of what I see around me appears destitute.  Even though everything is attractively priced at a third or less of what it costs in NY, the obvious lack of education in the general population is pronounced.

The local waters — the fabled Treasure Coast’s chief selling point — are unswimmable, due to algae and cynobacteria.

The politicians, as crooked and right wing as ever.

The neighbors, grotesque.

Two in particular continue to try their best to be as obnoxious as possible.

One is around 58, a mid-Westerner by way of Detroit, who shacks up with a sickly mother in her 90s, from whom he expects to soon inherit and lead the good life.

This guy has not worked in decades, has police trouble everywhere he has lived in FLA, is a fat slob, walks around barefoot, talks in a very loud voice, and is shirtless so often that I refer to him as “homo.”

Homo’s boyfriend is a dork I call “Roger.”

Roger’s an old creep from Jersey, whose mission in life is to stand all day in his driveway.  He is like the sentinel from hell, who watches everyone’s comings and goings — which is puke juice to anyone like me who is used to the anonymity of Manhattan.

This particular rightwing ponce is 85 years old, and looks like a swishy geriatric derelict.  Baggy gardener pants that he never changes. a soiled shapeless shirt, matted wavy dyed hair, and a voice that sounds like that of an effeminate shoe salesman from Newark.

Roger and Homo are two classic Florida Denisovans who love to hang out with each other 24 x 7.  I have had to call the police on both, for harassment, because apparently these idle turdballs have a problem with Arab-Americans who own sheppies.

I’d as soon punch their lights out as look at them, but then that is exactly what they want, as it would spice up their pointless lives, and in fact become its highlight, something that gives them something meaty to yatter about for at least the next 5 years, because Rogey of course is the type who lives forever, thanks to the joy of Medicare.

These ratsoids never leave this street — like ever, which is one reason — apart from the evolving Trump situation, that I was thinking of moving to Portugal.

Once again, after only 48 hours in this malebolgian inferno, I am struck at how fucking backward Florida is; how corrupt its politicians; how moronic the people who move here; how it relentlessly attracts the sort of lowlife schemers who will stoop at anything to make a tainted buck.

Consider this John Oliver rant on Florida’s “Rehab” industry.

Kind of gives of you a pretty good idea of what passes for “entrepreneurship” in this state.

So… what else do I have to say today, that’s maybe a little more upbeat?

Well earlier this month, I had a birthday.  I am now closing in on 70.

Yesterday, my wife of nearly 30 years informed me that she hated my guts.  This was said with a notable degree of conviction, here, in the land of sunlight and good vibes, where an entrenched, dug-in, stubborn MAGA-otry is clinging on to the rantings of a reality TV mafioso wannabe from NY.

That’s her privilege to say so, but then again, I don’t have to buy into anyone’s bucket of shit, and am of course free to consider my options.  I do, for example, have a return ticket to Gouna in early October that I can choose to use, and get away from this loser scene crap. All I would have to do is send an email, and a villa with a pool would await me, and I would once again be near my beloved desert mountains.

A sunset view from a villa I rented in Gouna earlier this year

As I get older, and turn ever closer to 70, I find myself a Lion in Winter, one who minds his own solitary business — contentedly so, I might add — yet keeps an eye on some of the other old lions.

Some become overly introverted, depressed at being pushed away from the pack by younger lions.

Others turn angry at being old, angry at life having passed them by, angry as they sink deeper every day into irrelevance.

Others still brute nonsensically at having married badly — it’s her fault, they convince themselves.

Knowing all this, I’ve opted to go the other way, the FUCK YOU way, at long last, despite everything, especially now that I have a needle, one that I can fill with a viscous liquid called Testosterone Cypionate 200.

This is what I must do now,  self-inject  1 cc — oh the horror of it! — in my thigh, every two weeks, in order to combat hypogonadism.

For that, after my latest annual checkup, is the blood test explanation for the pseudo gynecomastia (aka, the dreaded butterball moobs that often develop with bitter old age and overeating to the point of self abuse), and the jewels that turned to raisins, and the afternoon lethargy, not to mention the retreat from all that once meant anything to me… no, despite my deep seated fear of needles, I had to pick up a plastic poignard, fill it with the viscosity, and plunge the sharp nib of it myself into my thigh muscle.

Aaaaaaaargh!

I expected it to hurt like hell.

But wait a minute.

It didn’t.

Less than 12 hours later, I felt more like myself again.  A sense of well being enveloped my soul.  I knew I would no longer have to take shit from anyone, including dependent ingrates.  My biceps seems to get harder without any curls, after only a good night’s sleep.

For the first time in a long time, I thought of randy things, and was not disgusted by the Way of All Flesh.

They say it takes 4 to 6 weeks for the Full Nelson of testosterone replacement therapy to take effect.

If this is how I feel after 12 hours, I can’t wait for October to come around.

Maybe now I have a realistic chance of losing weight and achieve muscle tone the normal way, instead of having to basically starve myself, as a sexagenarian without a thyroid gland.

Maybe now I won’t be a doormat any more.

Maybe now I shall claim what is rightfully mine.

Maybe I shall not longer take shit from anyone, no matter who.

Let’s wrap this up.

In 1935, Dupont originated the slogan, Better Living Through Chemistry.

bmc time machine

As you find yourself on the road of Life, perhaps, like myself, suddenly pushing 70, and huffing and puffing on your beat-up Trek, as others your age, preternaturally ripped and sleek, whiz by you atop their BMC Timemachines, you suddenly realize:  when it comes to staying in the game, everyone is Lance Armstrong, no mater what they say.

You just don’t blog about it, unless it’s satire.

leaving america

 

Unto the breach

nytimes comment

First thing I did this morning was respond to a NYT editorial, and they published my comment. You can read it here.

gouna

Only three days left before I move my stuff out of here. I shall miss this place, despite its many faults, which I have documented in many, many prior posts.

gouna cat

I shall miss Sandy, who today decided she wanted to spend time with her Daddy in the house or on the back porch all day. It’s as if she knows something’s up, and when I go catch the bus at the front gate nowadays, she awaits anxiously, and is always there by the gate when I return, having waited hours for me to come back.

And this is a cat I shall abandon in 4 days.

gouna cat

Should I take her with me to the new place?  No. This is where she belongs, and I would only leave her again in a month’s time, when I return to America.

I’ll give the pool guy some money, and a bag of cat food, and tell him to fill Sandy’s bowl while I am gone, until one of this villa’s owner arrives on the 17th.

I look forward to moving to the new place.  There is more wind there (thus less bugs, presumably), and easier proximity to Abu Tig Marina and downtown, without having to rely on Gouna’s creaky old shuttle buses, with their over-talkative drivers. Maybe, also, there won’t be any Italians coming every weekend next door, or overly intrusive maintenance people, who love to linger on the street by this house, living their days in an unfree state of incessant sai’di conversations.

They say you are not a true expat unless you leave your country for a long period of time. I have been in Egypt for 6 months. Does that qualify?

Of course not.

Then again, how can I be an expat if I have merely returned to the country where I grew up?

I have kept this blog going to document what it’s actually like to leave the United States of America as a direct result of the November 2016 election.

It was a form of protest, yes, but also, more pointedly: a derisive refusal to continue to live in FLA amidst the unspeakably vile.

When I was in High School, I wrote a crappy short story called Kindred Asunder that I submitted in my Creative Writing class.

That was a very long time ago.

It looks like not much has changed; I was already on to this shit at 17, but had no answer to the implicit question: what do you do when there is no reconciliation possible; when it’s not that a divorce is needed; but there was never any true union in the first place?

It is obvious something is going to have to give. Something major, perhaps even catastrophic.

What is the thinking man or woman to do?

Well, instead of being consumed by impotent rage, and making the mistake of saying stupid inflammatory things, or worse, going postal, the true expat will retire to a walled garden, enjoy his mahshi, and keep an eye on the vulgarians from a safe distance.

Is that a cop out?

Absolutely.

The key to be a successful expat is not to stay in one place too long; never trust anyone; be honest without oversharing; have a valid Western passport; never get involved in local political discussions; and always have enough in the bank to keep the gig going.

If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s that there are people who are prepared to go as radical as necessary to control the outcome of things.

If you are thinking about becoming an expat, is that your fight?

Or do you cede ground to the rabid con artists and true believers and move on?

Well, that is the Gouna way, from what I have observed after living here for six months.

The only thing is, what happens if and when you’re cornered? When you run out of countries, or money, or room to breathe, and the so-called “populist”/fascisto walls close in on you everywhere you go? What happens when the orange grenade is about to blow your precious, little feathered world to smithereens?

What do you do then?

What do you do when the visigoths finally breach your lovely Epicurean walled garden?

Who is going to save your ass?

You?

leaving america