Chaos into calm

Turquoise pools of summer…

disconsolate beneath 

the clouds of winter


Matcha mountains in my tea bowl

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another, says the first law of thermodynamics.  This week’s chaos brought me too much negative energy — which I now offer back to the world, filtered as transformative energy.

A person’s reality depends upon how one perceives a thing.  These same iconic California apartment swimming pools, mentioned in today’s haiku up top, by turns might feel exotic, refreshing, cold, evocative of shivers, reminders of dreariness.

This past week gave me pause to consider questions about reality.  Reality increasingly settles on shifting sand, to me.

A week back I was anticipating an excellent week to come.

My power wheelchair repairs, eagerly awaited for a record period of six months of Medicare hell, were at last scheduled for Monday.  The repair company called me to make a Monday appointment, then misplaced the parts. Without them on Monday, then, the technician left the office.  Three calls into the aging day turned up that explanation for why no technician had appeared on my doorstep.  I explained politely that my entire week was built around getting those long-promised repairs done that day.  Ultimately the tech said he would come very early on Tuesday.  As early as 7 a.m.

So up I rose on Tuesday, earlier than my normal 5:30.  To wait, and wait… and wait.  The man eventually appeared sometime after 9 a.m.  In no time it was apparent that this was one squeaky clean tech, brand new to the trade.  He was deliberate and careful, but seemed to me to be doing things in the most complicated manner.

Still, I bit my tongue.

Five hours later my daughter and I knew that our planned trip down to Fresno to check out apartments and deliver packed moving boxes was not going to happen.  The six hours of driving back and forth wouldn’t give us the time needed.

Plus I had cancelled my Monday appointment at California’s busy Department of Motor Vehicles to both register my wheelchair van and get a California driver’s license.  The legal bit about driving…  Now I would have to accomplish this complex matter later in the week, without an appointment since no more were available.  Using time previously blocked out for other really important matters, such as finding a place to live in Fresno. Time closes in around me.

My stomach got all clenched up, the rest of me kind of hottish and uncomfortable the way things go in the presence of stress.

We thought this way and that way about the proceedings after the tech left us and my beautifully fixed up power wheelchair — deciding that the best thing about the long day was that, well, there it was, the well functioning machine of mine.

That unclenched the stress, for a time.

On Wednesday the DMV visit was in order, with no appointment.  Long lines at these various offices are legendary, so — hoping that the upcoming holiday would keep people busy elsewhere — I arrived at the Santa Clara branch twenty minutes ahead of opening only to find a good one hundred shivering people lined up in a long snake across the front door area.

So off to the next closest DMV in San Jose I went, with Google Maps to guide me.

Google Maps, which works so well in my daughter’s Android phone, which kept us flowing unconcernedly along highways, through places we had never been, so many times…  Google Maps, almost the gold standard of GPS for drivers.


Lately it’s been a question to me, whether Apple deliberately sabotages Google Maps in iPhones, because whenever I have departed from the programmed course GM has sent me in circles, aiming me at my destination by pointing through infinite numbers of small residential areas and crowded downtowns, not directing me to the highways that I know must be somewhere close by.

The Wednesday trip confirmed the suspicion that, for whatever reason, GM Does Not Work Well in My iPhone.   For once in San Jose I missed a turn, kept going in the assumption that I would simply take the next right turn and be right as rain. Ha!  GM went off into Rerouting mode and stuck there for ten minutes.

Meantime, the ABS warning light started to show up on the dashboard.  Heavens, are the brakes already failing in my new-to-me van?

Eventually I stopped in a parking lot to check the meaning of an ABS light in the van’s handbook, discovered this isn’t an emergency, but should be looked at in due course.  Fine, next week.  Then I tried resetting GM, discovering that it was only going to send me in loops around the same dozen city blocks until, again, I would have to concede defeat.

So I stayed in the parking lot and did what any sensible mother of a mature daughter might do — I called Jericha, who put up with my sniffles of emoting before she directed me to the DMV.

At which place I rapidly discovered one very nice thing — they have a special line for handicapped clients, and nobody was in it.  Once at the counter I discovered one not so great thing — that in these days of illegal aliens and terrorists a person cannot expect to wrest a simple driver’s license and registration out of a DMV as we could the last time I registered a vehicle (2004).  Oh, no, I had to have my birth certificate, which I did have with me — alongside documentation of my life’s name changes, which I never anticipated submitting to any bureaucratic process like this.

So I called my faithful daughter again.  She rummaged through my file cabinet till she found the requisite marriage certificate and divorce decree, which she drove down to me.

Thinking, oh, joy, home stretch now, off I went to the registrations desk.  The DMV website states that any vehicle six or less model years old does not need a smog test.  “Yes, it says that,” said the snappy Latina at the desk, “but I still need a smog test from you.”

And, it appeared, they also required that I go to a different DMV for “vehicle verification,” to assure that my van, bought in a different state, was actually the same one as the one in the title and on the purchase invoice.

Off to get the smog test I went.  Courtesy of Apple Maps, I found a testing place without much difficulty.

On came Day 4 of the difficult week.  Ditching Google Maps in favor of Apple Maps, I chose to use H.S.Highway 101 rather than the more pleasant routes (and their various road changes) for the twenty minute trip to San Jose.“It’s working so well,” I chortled to myself as Apple Maps seamlessly delivered me to the address of the DMV.  There was no view of the building as I drove up with the pleasant Siri voice telling me to turn right. Parking carefully in a wheelchair van spot, I made my way to the front door thinking what a warm and friendly DMV!  … A burly pony tailed man swept open the door for me, revealing a room…. full of tables where people were eating brunch.

Uh…  This doesn’t look like a DMV, I muttered.  “Oh, that,” said Burly Man, “The DMV is two blocks in the other direction and on the other side of the street.”  Which would have been a left turn, not the right turn Apple Maps commanded me to do.

So much for Apple Maps.

After two hours at the appropriate DMV I left — triumphant!  Resisting the urge to kiss my brand new California license plates and the DMV employee who handed them to me, I was so pleased to be in that moment and not some other over the past four days that I barely noticed that I was exiting via the enter-only driveway of the DMV — while two or three “peace officers” were standing around behind me, staring.

Thankfully a polite driver stopped to let me out onto the street before the cops got around to waving me down…

So now here I be, satisfied with the past week after all.  My daughter made a solo visit to Fresno to both check out an apartment for me, and deliver a bunch of packed boxes to her fiancé’s garage.  Then she brought him back here for a long weekend — so she is happy despite my inability to get myself down there with a van full of boxes.  She had been rather glum about that for a while.

Still feeling the spirit of celebration today, while Paco and Jericha were off doing things, I made myself a tea bowl of matcha…  Which, once drunk, left exquisite patterns all around the interior of the bowl.  Hence today’s photos.

Sure, these macro images show dredges of matcha powder.  A different way to read tea leaves.  Well — I don’t read tea leaves and don’t ask anyone to read tea leaves.  But when I look at these I see that if an avatar of me were to enter the lovely scene in the top photo from below she would be first faced with the option of marching into a dark cave of discovery at the bottom.  Should she decide, instead, to climb up a steep wall, before her would roll high and lovely green mountains, from which she could see the world unfolding all around.

And it would be a good, green, sustainable world, thought I.  Somehow, people will find ways gradually to unite and rally around the prospect of making it so.  I would send my filtered bad, stressed energy back out into the world as something different, transformative.

And with that, I say, happy holidays!  May the hard bits make upcoming challenges sweet as we appreciate good results from our collective efforts, as we come to appreciate our differences as strengths, creatively applying ourselves to big human problems.


Energy through matcha, different view

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