Thursday, March 4, 2010

Driven To Distraction

I am easily distracted.

This feature makes it terribly difficult to draw a straight line through any task on my to do list. Maybe it's because I don't multi-task well. Mostly I just do parallel processing...and my RAM isn't what it used to be.

If I could only focus!

I'm seeing a lot of bad things happening here. Things I don't want to see but I just can't look away.  It's as if I were driving past a series of multiple injury accidents on the freeway.

Anyway, it is usually just because of some distraction or other that I forget to run a load of laundry, or check my cell phone messages or look after one of the many personal chores that are important to me and my family. 

This week my friends in Canada are enjoying the glow of Olympic gold.  I'd guess they are experiencing an odd feeling they don't often indulge north of the border. Pride and joy must be making some folks a little uncomfortable.

My country?  Right now it just seems mad and mean and one beer away from going over the edge. 

Back in the days before all children were under house arrest we rode our bikes to our friends houses after school.  We knew who's mom would drive us all to the beach and give us some change for a snack.  We knew who's dad should be avoided after work.We had a lot of war veterans in my neighborhood.

My country reminds me of that unpredictable dad right now.  Handsome and popular images from it's youth  are history. Wasted opportunity, squandered fortune and traumatic stress has left it sullen, bloated, resentful and mean. Can't even take a hockey loss without kicking the dog and yelling at the neighbors.  My country is angry and potentially violent; sitting alone in the garage listening to Rush Limbaugh and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. 

A teenage girl was found raped and murdered down south of here this week.  She went jogging in the park.  Turns out there are animals living among us who hunt our children.

You know, some people are so angry and afraid that they are contemplating violence. People are afraid because they are constantly being told to be afraid. Domestic attacks on our government employees are already happening. And nobody seems to want to talk about it. A dead security guard in Washington DC, a plane crash into the IRS building in Austin, TX, a census worker found strung up in rural Kentucky.   

Funding for education will be cut again next year in our town.   They're cutting school mental health and school maintenance programs too. Doesn't seem like a good time to cut back on education or mental health to me.

People and businesses I've seen all my life have had enough.  Their store fronts are empty and their houses are for sale. 
Anyway. What was I saying? I've become so forgetful. But I am trying hard to concentrate on getting things done.

We've ordered our seeds for the farm, our house here must be packed and prepared to rent, my older son is preparing to graduate from High School and my little one needs help with his homework. My business interests here must be managed, my mother needs me to help her shop for groceries, and my list of chores for the farm is already pages long.

I'm leaving home and I'm coming home.
I'm driving through the end of the world as I know it.          

And darn it! I forget what I'm supposed to be doing!

Updated on Friday, 7:44AM PDT
More of the steady drip drip drip of violence aimed at government authority.  On Thursday,  a California man
opened fire on the main entrance to the Pentagon from the Metro Station.

Pentagon Shooting Suspect Dies

Friday, 6:50 AM ET -- Official: Pentagon shooter was well armed. WASHINGTON (Associated Press) - The well-dressed gunman mortally wounded after firing at and injuring two Pentagon police officers was armed with two 9 millimeter semiautomatic weapons and carried several magazines of ammunition, the chief of the Pentagon police said Friday.
Chief Richard Keevill said the shooter, identified as John Patrick Bedell of Hollister, Calif., spent the last several weeks driving from the West Coast.

2nd Update Friday, 4:08 PM PT - From the AP

HOLLISTER, Calif. — The man who opened fire in front of the Pentagon had a history of mental illness and had become so erratic that his parents reached out to local authorities weeks ago with a warning that he was unstable and might have a gun, authorities said Friday.
It's still unclear why John Patrick Bedell opened fire Thursday at the Pentagon entrance, wounding two police officers before he was fatally shot. The two officers were hospitalized briefly with minor injuries.
Bedell was diagnosed as bipolar, or manic depressive, and had been in and out of treatment programs for years. His psychiatrist, J. Michael Nelson, said Bedell tried to self-medicate with marijuana, inadvertently making his symptoms more pronounced.
"Without the stabilizing medication, the symptoms of his disinhibition, agitation and fearfullness complicated the lack of treatment," Nelson said.
His parents reported him missing Jan. 4, a day after a Texas Highway Patrol officer stopped him for speeding in Texarkana. Bedell told the highway patrolman he was heading to the East Coast, and began acting strangely — sitting on his knees by the side of the highway and turning off his cell phone when it would ring.
Bedell said it was his mother calling, prompting the patrolman to answer the phone and talk briefly with her. Family friend Reb Monaco said Kaye Bedell asked the officer to take him to a mental health facility, but that the son refused.

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