it’s so easy to get wrapped up into my own little nightmare world. it doesn’t help to think of all the horrific evil and suffering in the world all around me, compared to which i’m privileged. objectivity and perspective be damned! admit it, your situation is always the worst! of course, looking back upon any situation, it will seem so much better than what you’re going through now. so unappreciated, so many missed opportunities. the grass was always greener. even though you know it was not all that. but that’s the human mind for you. perverse. at least mine.so here i am in The Vortex Of Evil [VOE], an endearing little name my brothers and i have for NJ. also known as The Land Of Surly Morons. that’s a topic for a whole different rant, not even worth bothering with. my role is to manage demented zombies, now down to just one demented zombie. the other one died. yes, i realize zombies don’t technically die, they already did. well, same difference. they might as well be dead, just barely being held together by dozens of drugs and devices, wandering around in a confused fog. smelly. this is also a separate rant. the point is, i gave up my so-called life of decades, hundreds of miles away, near my son and family, to basically take up space in an old house of ghosts and bad memories, and babysit my parents. if i’m being harsh, well, it’s just me venting to myself, being honest. it’s better than, say, going on a psycho-rampage. the unnatural surreal nightmare atmosphere can have that effect on one. i remind myself that the life and work i left behind was not ideal, and i have it pretty good here compared to most of the world. heh, doesn’t work. it still sucks when i wake up to it each morning, and go through the relentless grind, again. my perceptive neighbor dragged me away from this self-absorbed rant to take a walk in the park. this park is the same snobby, manicured enclave it always was, possibly slightly more diverse than in its past racist history. now you see lots of russian immigrants, hispanic nannies, asian school kids, and even an occasional black person who isn’t a maid or caregiver. it’s still the same insulated white world under the façade. pretty, but suffocating. my neighbor and i talk of old and new ways of thinking and living. she’s in the age group between my parents’ and mine, so she has weathered the transition from old to new, and can see it from a different angle. refreshing, until i re-enter the zombie atmosphere. still angry, resentful, guilty, and unappreciative of my idle hours. my blahgosphere. what brought this on? ironically, i was thinking not so much of myself, but of my son, about to make the rite of passage into age 30. he’s so weighed down with real life responsibilities and worries that he can’t afford the luxury/necessity of taking a breath to enter it calmly and intentionally. he and his family are basically treading water to stay afloat. his nature is to go into anything with conscientious intention, assuming the risks and consequences, not arbitrarily or under pressure. yet life is no respecter of persons’ integrity; it just barrels on along and pulls you under with it. i know, i was there! i identify and empathize. as a mother, however imperfect, i want to hold back the tsunami and give him a chance to catch his breath. but all i can do is watch helplessly and offer inadequate assistance. if i’m embarrassing him by talking about him, i hope he’ll realize it’s my inarticulate mother way of expressing extreme respect and love. i can’t not express it, so he has no choice! it is my blahg, after all! so blah. you’re welcome! this is a very roundabout way of getting to what i really want to say: happy 30th birthday to my son. you will make it through. it won’t be easy or as you imagined it, but it’s none the less auspicious and momentous an occasion. i’ve watched you grow for 30 years and nine months, and though there have been some tough times, i love who you are and are becoming regardless of obstacles, and respect your choices. you don’t settle for mediocrity and conventional stupidity, you stand against it. you take on big endeavors and don’t back down. you assume the consequences uncomplainingly, but still challenge the system of the world that obstructs progress. and underneath it all, you still retain that astute, ready sense of humor and don’t take yourself too seriously. also you’re a father to be commended. so i’m a little partial. it’s still true. ok, so sometimes i do take a moment off from self-absorption for a worthy cause. i can’t think of a worthier one. happy rite of passage to my esteemed son. this blahg’s for you! also i confess i’m not just talking to myself as intended. i’m being presumptuous enough to include an imaginary audience. it’s actually tricky to talk to oneself, knowing even a single hypothetical person may be watching. it makes one feel demented! which, considering the zombie genetics involved, may not be that far from the truth.