Once upon a time, I had to carpool regularly with my brother. Although I have long considered my brother and I to be particularly different people, we have a few areas of striking similarity, and one of those is our taste in music. When it comes to melancholy indie pop, both of us have a strong taste for such music, and I have to give proper credit to my brother for introducing me to acts such as Lenka and Death Cab For Cutie before Pandora would have done so. After all, as someone for whom deeply melodic but bittersweet music resonates with the autumnal melancholy of my spirit, it is to be appreciated when other people find music that speaks so deeply to who I am as a person. I have always considered it something to be deeply regretted that I have not gotten along better with so many people with such an obviously similar resonance to our spirits, because I would like to think that I would be quite friendly to those who are deeply like me, and for all of my considerable ambivalence about intimacy, I would consider it a good thing for someone to be like me . Perhaps I am deluded that I would get along with people deeply like me in that they would likely be as timid and skittish as I am, and find it as hard to communicate the sadness of their deep souls, for with such people I have had deeply complicated relationships fraught with years of bitter silence.
This morning I had it in mind to give my mother a call, as I had several things to discuss with her. For one, her birthday is tomorrow and I will be camping and away from civilization and unable to call her on the Sabbath. For another, there were some matters about the Feast of Tabernacles to discuss, such as the bus we were going to take from the capital to the feast site, and I wanted to tell her about the fact that I was given a sermonette and split sermon on the speaking schedule. Just as I had thought of it, though, I saw that she had sent me a message to update me on the health of her mother, which is not good at all. To make a very long story a bit shorter, my eighty-four year old grandmother was in the hospital and then in rehab after a fall left her unable to take care of herself, but Medicaid stopped paying for the care and my family in Florida has been left to scramble for retroactive Medicaid and other ways of helping care for our frail relative. It often bothers me that people who live long and productive lives have such a hard time receiving dignity towards the end of their lives as their health begins to fail them and they become a burden to those around them, who are perhaps too quick to reflect upon the long life that has been lived and the fact that our bodies and hearts and spirits can only take so much over the course of a lifetime.
For my entire week I have been covering for a coworker of mine who had the chance to enjoy the week at a mansion of one of his relatives in Montana. Not padding my time, I have been getting to work at my normal time, but working until close has meant that I have been working a ten hour day every day, including today. It was not until this morning that the full ramifications of that were realized on my schedule as I approach 50 hours of work this week. Knowing ahead of time that this would be my schedule, I tried to make arrangements because I have a relatively busy weekend ahead of me, and it will likely be approaching sunset, if not past sunset, by the time I arrive at my campground. Thankfully, I have some friends who were able to put up my tent ahead of time so at least something can be prepared for, and I was able to plan waiting to eat until I arrive there. Let us hope that goes well, at least. When people are unable to do what they are expected to do, and others have to pick up the slack, there is only so much that can be done at one time by the same person.
What do these various threads of a day have together, other than the fact that they were all matters of reflection during the course of a busy day? All of them deal with areas where there should be connections but where they often fail. Decisions are taken for short-sided reasons or there is a failure to communicate what is going on to others, and there is a failure for our lives and our connections and our institutions to meet up to their potential as a result of the gaps. We all live lives touched by the general futility of people and by the failure of people and institutions, and other people are touched by our own failures. It is a strangely melancholy life that we live, so full of toil and vanity. And when my mirror speaks, it speaks with irreverence, pointing out that I am not immune to what I lament in the world around me, and that neither is anyone else. We are all in this boat together, at least until it is time for our ticket to be punched and for us to be tossed over unceremoniously into the deeps when our time on the ship of fools is done.
 See, for example: