|More about me
I have never had a high enough job to have an office. (I did have an office in two
work situations where everyone had an office, so that having an office in those jobs was in no way a status symbol.) And when I
went back to grad school at age ca. 38, I obviously didn't merit an office there. I figured out a way to
improvise: I have used toilet stalls in the Men's Rooms as my office. I have done a lot of
studying in my "office" [mostly: reading, which, as I note elsewhere, often includes
writing in my books].
|Such offices of course do not provide continuity of storage space, and I can't stay there
"forever". But, at school, it was quieter than "studying in the library", and, at work, it has such
amenities as not having a telephone [to be interrupted by]. Persons have often told me: "You need to
learn to adapt. You need to be flexible...." I have listened to their advice.|
|[The foregoing observations
seem logically to lead to reflection concerning the relation between
"high culture" (most of what I read on the toilet are philosophy and other
"serious" books...), and the biological stratum of human (aka "our"...) life.]||
|See: detail of back of door to one of my "offices"|
|See: my real office work space (21Apr06)|
|Sometimes I imagine that I will die
peacefully "at a ripe old age". I fantasize that in my increasingly frail but otherwise not
infirm final years, I will read with clear understanding
Kleene's Introduction to Metamathematics, and maybe even finish that book with
clear understanding and go on to read -- again, with clear understanding -- Gödel's
"Incompleteness theorem".... I would thus succeed in my declining years (in my 80s or 90s...) where I had
failed despite many tries in my youth (late 20s and early 30s). This would also be "symmetrical" with what I have
read about Kurt Gödel: that the great mathematician, in his last years, read
Edmund Husserl's philosophy.
[As of 04Dec04, I am starting to read a book that looks interesting and important: Edmund Husserl & Eugen
Fink: beginnings and ends in Phenomeonlogy 1928-1938.]|
|I was thinking more about growing very old (09 May 2004).
I thought how, even if one was healthy at, say, age 90, one would still be aware that one would
likely die soon (within the year?). So I tried to imagine what would still feel meaningful and engaging
to do, and I could only come up with helping others (Buddhism is for old persons?). For myself, I thought I would still find engaging
and satisfying teaching, mentoring or otherwise trying to convey to younger persons what I had learned
in my life.|
|I never exercised in school:
I was afraid of getting hurt in "contact sports", and being naked in the
"locker room". I disdained what
I was afraid of. When I was about 37 years old, I started running, to try to counteract aging,
but after only a couple years, my knees told me not to run.
I joined an upscale fitness center, and did
at least 20 minutes "low impact" aerobic exercising each day on a rower, treadmill or stepmill (a down escalator you walk up,
I kept this up for several years, until my job situation discouraged me and I stopped....|
|30 April 2004: After a 5 year+ hiatus,
I decided to try to get back into exercising. As of 12 July 2006, I have been
exercising 3 times a week for over 26 months, on the stepmill.
The stepmill is my favorite exercise machine because I can work up a heavy sweat without
hurting my knees; I can walk on a treadmill, but not get as exhausting a workout. ~ 30 June 2004, I did something I
was proud of: A few days before, I had watched a woman go over 30 minutes
on the stepmill without ever holding the handrails (I generally hold the handrails
to avoid mis-stepping and falling off the machine, and also to lessen the lateral stress on my knees). I didn't expect I'd
be able to do it, but, this day, I started off not holding the handrails, and wanted to see
how long I could keep it up. 24 minutes later, I completed my standard 24 minutes
without ever having touched the handrails! I'd accomplished what I had not dared hope to do [I repeated this feat only once,
a couple months later!].
Then, starting 05 July 2004, I upped my speed from 60 steps per minute to 64, or
67, and then to just over 70, for the whole 24 or 25 minutes (holding the rails almost all the time, however).
16 April 2005, I did 36 minutes @ 83 steps per minute.
23 April 2005, I did 26 @ 93.
15 May 2005, I did 30 @ 89.
10 June 2005, very humid, I was down to 26 @ 84.
14 August 2005, even more humid, I was down to 26 @ 80.
The day after my 59th birthday (24 Nov 05) I did 27 @ 81.
04 February 2006, I got back up for once to 27 @ 89, instead of my then more usual 26 @ 81
[For Jun-Nov 2006, please see: fn.119]....
"And we're climbing a stairmaster to Heaven...."
[I am frequently afflicted with "esprit d'escalier"...
Including even: On the morning of my 1 year anniversary of exercising]||
|22 April 2007: I have
given up exercising, at least for the
time being, but this day I did do 26 minutes at 69 steps per minute on the
stepmill. And 29Apr07 (and 12May07) I did 26@70.
|Whenever I encounter a
problem that I don't quickly see how to fix, I usually "assume the worst", and
imagine that I won't be able to figure it out and that the outcome will be
that I get hurt badly (if it's a problem at work,
I fear I will be fired...). This attitude causes me to fail to see, in many cases,
that the problem isn't really so difficult; consequently, I overlook what, to others
(and to myself, later, in retrospect), are simple and/or obvious solutions. Even worse,
my anticipation of failure leads me to make stupid mistakes which really do make
my problem harder, make me look incompetent, etc.!|
|I believe this "negative
attitude" derives from my childhood, where my parents and schooling did indeed
often make demands that were difficult or impossible for me to succeed at.
As an adult, I do still face such situations, but I make things worse than
need be for myself by anticipatorily treating problems (e.g., computer problems at work...)
this way instead of facing them with a more "open" attitude. Some time ago,
I came up with a name for this pattern of expecting the worst before
trying to see whether things are not so bad: "catastrophizing".
Frequently, I inappropriately catastrophize.|
|On workdays, I set my alarm clock to 05:07. I usually
wake up about 4:00, look at the clock and go back to sleep or just lie and rest for the next hour.
At about 4:52, I generally look at the clock again, see that it says 4:52, and I turn it off and get up.|
|Friday, 15 October 2004, I did exactly
as usual. I turned off the alarm clock, got up, got ready for work and left the house, got in my car and started to
drive to work. After having driven about 2 blocks, I noticed that the clock in the car read: 04:30, not 05:30, as it should.
(It takes me about half an hour from getting out of bed to getting
out the door....) I wondered if the clock could be wrong, but I turned on the radio, and
WNYC was still playing music and not the news, which begins at 5AM. I cannot figure out
how I misread my clock or what happened that led to my being up an hour early but thinking it was not.
(I checked after I came back home from work, and the clock was showing the correct time.
It's about time....)|
|As I drove up my street to my house after work
the afternoon of 28 June 2005,
I saw they were having a Blood Drive at the church across the street.
At first I started getting annoyed that the
street would be full of cars and I wouldn't be able to park. But the street was empty and I parked
right in front of my house.|
|After I went
in my house, I kept thinking about the Blood Drive
and looking out the window at the church: "I really should; but I don't want to;
maybe the reason I'm not being put off by my fear of needle sticks is that my depression
is making me not think about it; I'll make a deal and give next time there's a Blood Drive at work [if I'm
still employed there]...." I was
discouraged and anxious this day (and I don't like needle sticks). For about half an hour I kept thinking
and pacing in my living room, and not
going but also not being at peace with myself about not going....|
|Somehow I got up my gumption [or maybe just
"let myself go with the flow"...] and walked across the street and, for the first time in the 10 years I've lived
here, I entered the church.
(I gave blood twice in the mid-1990s when I worked for IBM; this
is my 3rd time.) The needle prick was not bad. I gave blood, and I thought that hopefully I would be
less anxious and depressed for the evening and in a better frame of mind to face my challenges at work
the next day.... [It took only a bit less gumption to finally enter the church a second time to
attend 5PM Saturday Mass, 01 October 2005, after having wanted to do that ever since
I moved into the house.]
|November 13, 2005, I gave blood at
the church again. It took longer than the first time apparently because my
blood was flowing more slowly into the IV.|
|They have free lunch on Friday at work: pizza, salad and soda (at least until
recently, the salad was all "real lettuce", i.e., no iceberg!). Some time ago, I managed to
get them to include focaccia with tomato sauce (pizza without the cheese) and Seltzer water which I
think are more healthful than the pizza and soda....|
|But this Friday (14Jul06) there was no Seltzer. I decided to try an
experiment: I can't recall when was the last time I drank a "soft drink".
I took a can of Ginger Ale, which I figured might taste best among the available options (e.g., Coke). I poured some
into my coffee mug. I took a sip. I was surprised how syrupy and very sweet it was. My immediate reaction was repulsion, so I swallowed it
to get it out of my mouth.
Just to be sure, I tried two more sips. It didn't get better. I took the can and poured it down the sink and washed
out my cup. (In retrospect, maybe I should have tried something like: 7-Up? Would
it have had a "cleaner" taste?)|
|I seem to recall my parents indicating that I was too young for
carbonated drinks when I was about 7 or 8 years old (they drank them). As a teenager, I used to drink lots of carbonated beverages:
certainly a lot of Coca-Cola, and probably also ginger ale, which I seem to recall I thought
was more "sophisticated" than
|(Sometime shortly after my Ginger Ale experiment, the company
stopped providing the free Friday lunches.)|