No update of substance with regard to health. More testing has been scheduled after the treadmill stress test I took showed a drastic decrease in exercise capacity. Essentially as soon as I start moving I become anaerobic because blood isn't getting to all the bits it should. Another neck-needling cardiac procedure sometime soon, inner ear testing to check for/rule out true vertigo, a few other things.
I have a long time friend and mentor who got a heart transplant last year after almost fifty years of living with a condition almost identical to mine. Last week she found out her donors name, Brandy, and some more information about her. She left behind a sister and a teenage daughter, and they have tentatively begun to get to know one another. There is no standard model for contact between a donor family and an organ recipient, everyone seems to do things their own way, for better or worse. My friend is a strong, kind and deeply affectionate person. I hope that Brandy's family will take some comfort in knowing that their mother's, sister's passing accomplished some good, and allowed my friend to continue her work improving cardiac care across the country, across the globe.
Barring some massive development in artificial hearts in the next few years, this is the path I will be on. If you had asked me a year-ish ago if I would accept a donor organ, I would have told you no. I would have told you that there is a high demand for organs, and I have lived my life without much regret. I would have told you that someone younger than me deserved a chance at more years. I would have told you that someone older than me has obligations to dependents, and it would be unfair of me to take a heart when someone's parent might need it. I would have told you lots of things, most of it true-ish. But the real reason I didn't want one is because I truly didn't think that I was worth keeping around.
I have since been convinced otherwise.
In less dire news, my request to terminate my lease early because of foundation leaks/water damage was approved. We have a cute little house to move into at the end of the month, after it's had it's carpets cleaned, a few other odds and ends. For the first time in three years, I'm going to have a yard, a garden, and nobody smoking cigarettes outside my windows at all hours of the day and night.
Mostly how goddamn correct you ended up being. Our original discussion was around the difference between rebellion and mature subversion with regard to making a tangible difference in world events at historical scale. You made the point that with education in the practical history if the last century or so comes the knowledge that democratic processes didn't ever really amount to bupkis with regard to the course of events. Based on the reading list, that appears to be true. Decisions that mobilize troops, actors that conduct the covert and "covert" operations of international relations before, during and after wars are simply not affected by democratic processes. There simply isn't enough time to make decisions that way. I can't tell you how many times I have read and watched Charlie Wilson's War. It drives me to liquor almost every time.
How deeply personal history can be. To use the example of Charlie Wilson's War, who the fuck has ever heard of Gust Avrokatos or Mike Vickers? How did a few guys with grudges and bad personnel reviews and a coke-n-strippers habit basically bring about the end of the USSR and change all of global politics forever? How did they defeat the monster that Churchill warned about? I was surprised how divided every nation-state's government's seem to be with regard to international policy. It highlights the damage done to the state department by 45, because it takes decades to cultivate even shitty international relations, to say nothing of developing workable, non shitty, professional and respected ones.
As much as I talk about the personal nature of history writ large, it's also deeply impersonal. The Russians don't really care about the average American, they want to not be the butt of dumb/poor/drunk/low-life-expectancy jokes. They want a strong domestic economy and they have a history of not playing nice which makes people not want to play nice with them. But Nobody who considers the US an enemy gives a damn about John and Jane Doe. They either have a legitimate grievance about something done without our knowledge or approval or they have a world philosophy that precludes peaceful coexistence.
How goddamn correct you ended up being. I, as an individual who has no intention of pursuing international politics or covert operations will have exactly zero impact on who decides to bomb who. The best i can hope for is to be a nonviolent actor personally and vote for an anti-war candidate if one ever comes along. Otherwise better to not think about such things except to study history and try to better whatever community I can find or scratch out of the dirt for myself. Bombs will fall or they won't, either way, I'm not a part of the process. Much as I want to take all human failing on my own shoulders, Mattis didn't check in with me before he launched several billion dollars worth of whoop ass at Syria.
I take these things significantly less personally. I try to take Dan Carlin's 'Martian' perspective on world events. I'm more interested in the politics of my state and city than national and global events simply because they are more likely to affect me and my opinion of them has a snowball's chance of actually causing some change that might be helpful to the next generation. Hopefully we michiganders can get our asses in gear and save the great lakes from NESTLE and the petrochemical companies running leaky pipe under the Mackinac bridge. Think global act local has never made more sense to me.
I'm still not gonna vote blue team just because. Lesser evilism is no more appealing to me now than in the past. Maybe the blue team will have its house in order the next time national elections roll around. I am not hopeful in this regard. I am reminded of Obama's analogy of the US and national policy as an ocean liner, and of the colossal force needed consistently to bring about a minor course correction. The whole business reinforces the little house on the prairie fantasies we have discussed and you have derided in the past. I don't get to opt out. In some clockwork orange ish way, I get to watch the whole thing unfold and I don't get to look away.
In short, I need to read more. For some reason, no matter how much I listen I still can't seem to get through Durant, even at 1.25x speed. I think I have 17 hours left on the first volume, we're currently discussing the origins and structure of Hinduism.