by Jake Block
A friend recently asked me why I don’t get together with people more often and just “hang out.”
It’s true. I don’t socialize a lot, but I have been to some of the more “specialized events,” such as the Left Hand Path Consortiums, as an attendee, photographer, exhibitor and even as a presenter, and I have been to different events around the country where I might interact with people. I’ve met some wise and wonderful people at such events, and gotten a lot of people-watching time. I’ve been able to meet an interact with people like Thomas and Lisa, Dark Fool, Rhonda and Larry Favero, Tau Pneumatikos, Michael and HopeMarie Ford, Jeremy Crow, Typhon Draconis, Eric Vernor, Toby Chappell, Onyx Crystal, Helene Arts, Pat and Dawn Newland, Lydia Workman, Lucien Pharoe, and others, and it’s been good.
I do enjoy traveling on occasion, although not nearly as much as I used to, and it’s not just that travel has become a hassle, but that the hype of getting to the destination often exceeds the payout realized once one actually gets there. There’s a full day, sometimes two of traveling just to get there, then there are some hotel rooms that don’t quite make the grade, food in some sketchy restaurants… and some that are 4 star in appearance and reputation, but leave you praying to the porcelain god long into the night. Bad weather, bad drivers, a Garmin that gets lost, driving with a headache… sigh.
Being that I live in the middle of nowhere, no place is “conveniently close.” If I travel with Devora, it’s a full day getting to her place to pick her up, and then an over night stay so that i’m not brain dead by the time we get to the final destination and get checked in to our room. By the time we do that, and get the room set up for a couple of day’s stay, it’s time for bed again and it’s two days down before I even see anyone. When the next day come and we actually begin seeing people, talking and entertaining, time seems to speed up and before you know it, it’s time to pack up and do it all again to get back home.
Now, when I was in my 40s and even up until a couple of years ago, I could do it and actually look forward to the whole thing. These days, I just wonder when I get an invitation to this or that, “am I up to it?” And it’s not that I have become a doddering old man, frail in frame and given to lapses of cognitive abilities. I’m still well and able. I’ve just come to realize that I need to conserve my time simply because it’s the one thing that I have less and less of in my life. The lines from DREAMLINE by Rush run though my mind:
“We are young,
Wandering the face of the earth,
Wondering what our dreams might be worth,
Learning that we’re only immortal
For a limited time.
Time is a gypsy caravan;
Steals away in the night,
To leave you stranded in dreamland.
Distance is a long-range filter,
Memory a flickering light
Left behind in the heartland.”
While I may like to “get together” with others, I know that conservation of time, energy and resources are the key to my continued creative output in writing, photography and exploring the cosmologies of thought and philosophy that I have come to embrace over my short and irreplaceable time here on earth. I’m retired and my time is pretty much my own. it’s a commodity that I need to be concerned with squandering, because when it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s kind of like the old quote from Mark Twain: “Buy land. They’re not making it anymore.”
This is not to say that I am holing up in my comfortable house, never to be seen again, but concentrating on a better use of my time, in realizing that having lived a life well and good, time is the only thing that I need. If things work out where I can combine “hanging out” with someone in the course of working on something that I want to do, so much the better! But my priorities at this point in my life are to maximize what time I have left but rest assured that, as Lon Milo DuQuette put it, “I’m still writin’, I’m still fightin’, doin’ shit you can’t imagine!”