Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Solving the Puzzle

A snippet from Pools of Lodging for the Moon by David K. Reynolds, PhD.(1989), sub-title: "Strategy for a positive lifestyle." If a passing reader can interpret the brief and puzzling section, Vacuum Packed differently from my own attempt, please feel free - I'd be interested to read alternative ideas.

Heddy reads old TV Guide magazines. She watches reruns of televison quiz shows, sometimes shouting out the answers even before the questions are asked. She keeps videotapes of commercials for products she can no longer buy.

Sally was buried with an extra pair of her favourite shoes in the coffin.

Jerry types page after page of random-letter gibberish at the VA Neuropsychiatric Hospital Typing clinic. He calls the ten thousand pages of single-spaced nonsense his "manuscript".

Franklyn pushes the floor button of the elevator exactly twice, then he pushes the close-door button exactly three times, then he presses against the bottom of the button panel with the palm of his right hand and waits expectantly for the door to close.

In the crossword puzzle of life the meanings may not be easily found. They are there, nevertheless.

Hmm. First thought was, "whatever floats yer boats guys!" Less flippantly though, life can be seen as a crossword puzzle, true enough. We each find ways of filling in the blanks to suit our own situation, experience and talents. Some even choose to fill in the blanks with the help of a little astrology, guided by the inner nature reflected through a natal chart.
Sometimes we fill in our blanks impetuously, but in error, find that our choice didn't fit with other essential factors, resulting in a need to erase the initial idea, re-group and start anew.

Erno Rubik (of cube fame)said
"The problems of puzzles are very near the problems of life."
In life, though, unless one is convinced that "fate" is in charge of events, there is no pre-determined or correct solution, we have to craft our own. We cut our clothes according to our cloth, plan some, but at times find ourselves "doing what seems like a good idea at the time", and hoping for the best.


mike said...

I feel better believing that I'm the master of my ship, but a queasy doubt slips-in on occasion. Too many quinkydinks to think that every little thing is my delegated selection of choice.

I interpret the "Vacuum Packed" selection to imply that most of us have rituals in our lives that glue our frayed edges into a meaningful satisfaction, though these rituals appear to be a form of insanity to outsider observations. We all seem to have something major or minor along this line of mastering our own universe.

"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin

Twilight said...

mike ~ Maybe, using the metaphor of a crossword puzzle, the letters given as absolutes are the quinky-dinks which we encounter, sometimes unexpectedly, while filling in the rest to our taste?

As I read the "Vacuum Packed" examples again just now, I thought: "security blanket" aka "wubby"
Mr Mom:
"Now listen to me, I understand that you little guys start out with your wubby's, and you think they are great...and they are. They are terrific, but pretty soon a wubby isn't enough. You're out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, maybe even a quilt. Then the next thing you know your strung out on bedspreads, Ken! That's serious! Now gimmie the wubby. "

LB said...

Twilight ~ Maybe the excerpt you chose, "Vacuum Packed", highlights the need most of us have to feel our lives have purpose - the unique rituals and habits we create give us something to look forward to, goals to be achieved. Without them we can easily begin to feel invisible and without value, useless 'things' to be forgotten or discarded.

No matter how misguided these rituals might seem to someone looking in from the outside (especially to someone whose own chosen rituals seem to have more 'objective' value in the world), the human impulse that propels us is the same. It's about that urge to create something meaningful out of the isolation and chaos that might otherwise feel senseless and without purpose.

It's also why people like me leave comments on posts like this, call their elected officials or make their beds each day, even though no one will see. Or why my mother, as she began to lose her cognitive abilities near the end of what had once been an active, productive life, began to collect rubber bands and feed stray cats.

There are a lot of disconnected, isolated people out there trying to make their lives count for something, each in their own small way. Most of us pass them by everyday, without ever really seeing them.

It kind of reminds me of the Beatles song, "Eleanor Rigby":

Of course, I only read the one excerpt you provided. Without having read the whole book, I have no way of knowing if this is what the author intended readers to get from it or not.:)

mike (again) said...

One of my neighbors is a retired school teacher turned HOARDER...the hoarding started shortly after her retirement.

A couple of years ago, her children said that the grandkids would no longer be allowed to visit, as they weren't safe in her house (understatement...she has rodent and insect infestations, not to mention the risk of fire, or the collapse of a pile onto a small kid). She was incensed at her children for insinuating she was a hoarder, but mulled it over for several months. Finally got rid of much of it, which took months. The grandkids came for a long weekend with grandma and all was fine.

Two months later, another neighbor sold her house and relocated to another city...she was in a hurry and didn't want to waste time getting rid of belongings. She gave the hoarder about 90% of her belongings (a house-full of stuff). Then, the hoarder started bring junk home from who-knows-where. She has a truck and about once a week, she would arrive home with a truck load.

Her house is now like it was prior to her cleaning it out two years ago...maybe worse. Small paths through each room, rendering each room uninhabitable, due to floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall debris! She lost her anger with me six months ago, when I suggested that she should stop hoarding while she could still walk in the front door...not kidding...she can barely open the front door.

Her grandkids are, again, not allowed to visit. Her yard is looking much like the inside of her house now and several neighbors have turned her in to code enforcement...she cleans-up the yard a bit, then more junk arrives and the cycle starts all over again!

Yes, Twilight, as you wrote about the "wubby", her "wubby" is to possess every known piece of worthless junk ever created by mankind.

Hey, LB - my mother had 23 cats by the time she made it into the nursing home. Her house was so destroyed by cat waste that most everything was discarded...she had oriental rugs, nice furniture, etc., but all went to the dump.

LB said...

mike ~ It's probably no coincidence your neighbor started hoarding right after she retired. Unfortunately, I think hoarding can sometimes be another way (albeit a misguided one), of finding meaning. Along the lines of the "security blanket" or "wubby" Twilight referred to.

Some people buy things, while others collect pets, paper, trash, whatever - anything to bring comfort, pleasure and in a weird way, even *structure* into their daily lives.

I've also read where researchers think up to 50% of hoarders suffer from major depression as well as "abnormal activity in decision-making areas of the brain":

Sorry to hear your mom suffered to that extent. It's hard on them and hard on the people who love them.:(

Twilight said...

LB ~ Thanks - yes, very nice interpretation. I suspect you've hit the spot with it!

Eleanor Rigby and "all the lonely people"....indeed!

The book was one I picked up in Goodwill for a dollar back in 2010 - can't find it now, maybe I sent it back to Goodwill later on. I used it for two other posts in 2010, and chose to re-air this one now because I never did quite "get it".

The other two, titled SMARTS and WATER WORLD are HERE:

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oh that's so sad. Hoarding has to be an addiction, so possibly the shock of retirement after a busy life was too much for the lady - some might have turned to drink or buying lottery tickets, playing bingo, (ahem.... writing blogs)she for some reason fell into hoarding.
I think LB is very near the truth.

So sorry to read about your mother's problem too, mike. Old age certainly ain't for sissies. Sometimes there comes a point for some of us when we give up entirely, and let everything around us go mad. There but for the grace......etc.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Thanks for the additional links. I just left you a comment on your post about the parable of the dragons. Or at least I *tried* to leave you a comment. It seems to have vanished - maybe since it's an older post, it's waiting for you to take a look?

Twilight said...

LB ~ Thanks for going back to read - I've published the comment now, and responded. I have to apply the moderation facility to posts older than a few days, to avoid lots of spam descending all over the blog. :-)