Mad Max World

The highway in front of my apartment building has become a drag strip for motorcycles. Their high pitched whines like nails on chalkboard.

Every weekend there are over a hundred stunt driving arrests.

I’ve seen vehicles drive over the lawn instead of going a few feet more to the entrance of the shopping mall.

Cars speed up when they see pedestrians crossing the road, or refuse to apply brakes to at least slow their trajectory.

Bicyclists ignore traffic lights, I’ve almost been hit twice now, and they swear at me and give me the finger.

In Providence they have a colossal problem with ATV drivers who go through red lights and gang up on car drivers and beat them up.

The Greek Church next door blatantly disregarded the law (both lockdown and noise regulations) and had a huge outdoor party in August and kept the entire neighbourhood up, blasting music and shouting until 2 a.m. They still adamantly have their festival and lure hundreds to eat and drink and dance and shout past midnight for 14 days running (though they think they are clever and for covid reasons have reduced it to two-3 day weekends in a row instead, for now.) My opinion is this: If you are stupid enough to be in a crowd of hundreds of people and whoop it up for hours during a pandemic, well…)

In our stores we have anti maskers who scream in your face and can’t mind their own business, and anti-vaxxers who storm buildings (even the wrong ones) in protest.

Our pandemic world looks a lot like Mad Max’s world, post apocalypse.

I am hoping it is just backlash to being confined so long, albeit a very immature and selfish backlash. Go out and expend your energies cleaning up the trash instead of being trash. Instead of wild parties that destroy everything in their wake, including lives, use that energy to help someone fix up their house, go shopping for them, do something useful. Like, I need even say this?

Royals

I like the British Royal family.

Oh, yes, I know, they are humans and have their fair share of scandals. Not pretty.

I just like the look of them. I like beautiful things. They have so much class. They way they walk, talk, dress. The veneer may be thin, but I don’t care. I like all that pomp and circumstance. It is a fairly tale.

I don’t expect anything from them. They are celebrities. But unlike some actors, billionaires and certainly most musicians, they have class.

It is good they don’t currently have much power or say in the political realm or we would have dictators. It seems to be a common human flaw. A little bit of power and zoom! We are going to oppress the masses. Off with their heads!

Disenfranchised royals however, that whine and complain about how difficult life is, is another matter entirely. It is like a bad smell to go on Oprah and whine when you live a privileged life for no reason other than it was gifted you by default of your birth and genetics. Where is the dignity and class in that? And we all have problems. Get over it. Grow up. Live with your choices. No one gives a shit about my choices. Friends would slap me in the head, and rightly so, or desert me completely, if I became a snivelling rat over my problems. I know because I have done it (cringe, cringe). Now I have one person pity parties. I don’t invite the whole world to feel sorry for me.

I do not envy royals at all. It would be like living under a microscope. Must be very hard work and tiring to maintain that outward perfection. But for me, I get to enjoy the end product. They look so good!

Organized Religion

The pandemic has soured me to all forms of organized religion.

They are all cults.

Now, mind you, many churches have done commendable things. They have helped people in need. I have seen a church I once belonged to buy a car for a family, help with rent payments, buy food, get people jobs. These are the things I expect a loving community to do. I would expect people of God to do. Leaders to do. These are not above and beyond board duties, this comes with being a Christian. It is not exemplary. In fact, if you are doing good in order to indoctrinate someone to your church, you are in a cult. If you do good irrespective of religion, you are a good human being.

Out of the pandemic surfaced dictators. Cult leaders that do not care for their flock. Tyrants who use the name of God for their own ego and agenda, who defied science and the law and brought people together and exposed them to covid. And people died. DIED. Needlessly.

How many times have I read about congregations with smug, outrageous ministers who thumbed their almighty nose at common sense, science and the law, insisted on mass gatherings without social distancing and masks, oh, because God will protect them, we demand our freedom! Then two weeks later, they all moan and cry and set up go fund me pages because entire families contracted and died from covid they got at these rallies. Self serving trump like rallies. SHAME. SHAME. SHAME.

And evangelicals who worship a man, a politician, who has probably violated every good thing mentioned in the Bible. Who fly around in million dollar airplanes, party on yachts, have ‘pool boys’. Bleed people for money to support their debauchery. Bible thumpers who never cracked open a Bible in their life. Yes, I am plenty mad about it. Sick too.

PEEVED.

I will never go back to Church. Never.

Perpetual Outrage

I can’t stand unfinished business, but admittedly, some of life is just that. Unresolved mysteries and befuddlements. Some things are better left alone.

What gnaws at my bones is failure of accountability and injustice. An endless stream of unpunished crimes makes me crazy. Heinous politicians and wealthy oligarchs stoop to such levels of depravity that even the worst kind of fiction novel could not emulate. Meanwhile, petty crimes and misdemeanors from the lowly average person, result in decades of imprisonment.

This constant inundation of lawlessness does not numb, it causes perpetual outrage. I feel like I am screaming inside all the time.

However, this is Hollywood.

We are ravenous for scandal. Yes, that is all it is. Entertainment. For whatever reason, the masses are to be kept stirred up and hollering. Unrest. Imagine if justice was served. Good Lord! There’d be peace! Things would get done!

The Navigator

When galleons ruled the seas, new lands were being discovered and fortunes were made and lost in trade and piracy. John Scott, a retired English sea captain, is seduced by tales of treasure in uncharted waters of the North Pacific. As a true seaman, he is enticed by adventure and forsakes his wife and home to hunt for a phantom island and it’s bounty.

CHAPTER ONE THE INVITATION
Amongst his morning mail, Captain John Scott spied an invitation from Admiral and Lord (by marriage) Huxtable. He tossed it aside and groaned at the pile of paperwork the porter had delivered. The consigned stack of Port Authority receipts sagged on his desk, quill and ink pot awaited his charge.
John’s face, weathered from five years of calculations, ledger entries and bureaucracy, bore a mortician’s countenance. Attractive chestnut eyes and hair lackluster, his six foot frame atrophied. Ink-stained fingertips and shirt cuffs attested to the long hours of his employ.
Mutinous, he screwed up his face at the paperwork. The invitation, sealed with a pithy red wax, wooed him. He lifted the seal, and inside a formal invite penned in handsome calligraphy. A dinner. John folded the paper and slid it into his pocket.
A saffron sunbeam warmed his back, peeked over his shoulder, and mellowed on shelves of his maritime collection. A thin pensive smile softened his face. Thirty-five years of keepsakes, dated to 1690, when John left home, a precocious 10 year old, and sailed with England’s fleet. Dust dulled the colourful cockles, welks and winkles, sponges and coral, and whitened the chalcedony, pumice and granite. Bits of rope, metal and wood interlaced and rivalled the gallery.
The stairs creaked, and a swoosh of petticoats swept up to John’s study. A lilac aura wafted up the stairs and burst into the room, embodied in a petite woman, springy blonde ringlets tickled her blue eyes.
“Hew says there’s an invitation in today’s mail.” She chirped. John hunted in his pocket and she snatched the letter.
“Captain John Scott and wife?” She shoved the invitation at John. “Why the cad!”
“I am sure it is for you, Anne.” The invitation light in his hands. “I met the gentleman only once, years ago. You regularly visited his ailing wife until she died recently.”
“Hmmm.” Anne reflected. “Poor dear, she was so frail. But she knew all the goings on of the aristocracy!” She touched her cheek, eyes wide. “And the Admiral was a friend of my fathers.” She tapped her lips and spotted a cobweb on the ceiling.

“Huxtable has been alone for almost two years now.” John stared at the paper in his hands. “He’s in need of some company and conversation.”
“He did speak highly of you.” Anne sang. “He said it was the Navy’s great loss when you retired. Ha! My gain, however!” She giggled. “I hadn’t considered him after his wife’s death.” She lowered her eyes, then wrinkled her nose. “He’ll want to tell tall tales and drink too much.”
“Well, that’s what old retired sea men do.” John snickered. “Perhaps we should attend.”
She narrowed her eyes. “You never attend any social event.”
“I can make an exception this time.” John forced a listless smile and fanned his face with the invitation, her lilac perfume overpowering.

“I shall accept the invitation then.” She whisked it from his fingertips and bustled downstairs, scattering John’s papers in her wake.

This is an excerpt from my latest novel, The Navigator. You may purchase this book on Amazon at The Navigator: Evans, Pat K: 9798572356656: Books – Amazon.ca or in the US at Amazon.com: The Navigator (9798572356656): Evans, Pat K: Books

Basic Income

My theories about most things have to do with money.

Money is what makes the world go round. When you don’t have it, you suffer. When you can’t put food on your table, clothe your kids or buy your medication, you are neglected. If you can’t take a vacation or buy yourself a treat, you are deprived. You suffer.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, because there is nothing else. Nothing. When you die it is over. And to me, some things in life are non-negotiable basic rights. Life is not just bare bones survival, inches away from drowning. Life is a celebration, a gift. You are meant to thrive.

I believe that 99% of the worlds ills are caused by the unequal distribution of wealth. I leave 1% open for doubts just in case you wish to argue my point.

It is a fact, we have more than enough money, food, medication, and housing for everyone on this entire planet. Look at how much we produce, build and waste.

There is no doubt in my mind, that if everyone, and I mean everyone, had enough money to live on we could solve major problems. Wealth inequality is the reason there is a rise is right wing politics. People feel powerless. Poverty makes you defenseless.

I am a proponent of basic income for so many reasons. It would end poverty. Reduce crime. Increase health and well being. I can see nothing but positive outcomes. Education. Freedom. Peace. Innovation.

Ah, but it is exactly those things that the wealthy and powerful cannot let the peons have. It would end slavery.

Imagine if everyone’s most basic needs were taken care of. Needs that are, in my mind, rights. Do you know how good it is to be assured you will have x number of dollars in your bank account every month? You can count on it? The rent will be paid, you won’t be homeless. You can feed your family. You can buy your medication. You can have a quality life. Go to school. You might even be able to save some money for retirement! Or even have some fun!

I ask you. WHO would not want this?

The rich and powerful. That is who. Because they can’t control happy people. They can influence happy people. They can’t do nefarious deeds, or worse, coerce happy people to do that for them. They can’t hoard wealth and wield it over others. They can’t blackmail and make unreasonable and dangerous demands on employees. The list goes on an on.

I am not against wealth. I am against poverty and needless suffering. I still believe in and promote seeking fortune, living well, buying things, and being rewarded for your education, experience, skills, talents and knowledge, or even your good looks! But not at the expense of others and the planet because you are an greedy asshole.

Nat King Cole

My friend and I sat at a long curved table, that cupped a window with backwards lettering announcing it is a ‘Piano Bar.’ Unassuming, it was a tiny bar, tucked in between two imposing Federal Government office buildings. A long haired man, thirtyish, played a keyboard at our side. His singing was a bit nauseating, but after a few beers no one was really listening anymore.

Across from us was an older couple, maybe in their fifties. They looked like they didn’t have much money. They sat nursing one beer between the two of them.

The piano man asked if anyone would like to sing.

I could never be drunk enough to volunteer to do that, but the man sitting across from us stood up and we cringed. Yes, he’d like to sing. Sing for his beloved, he pointed to the woman he was with, who smiled a grin that was missing a few teeth. He wanted to sing Unforgettable. My friend and I looked at each other. This was going to be unforgettable for sure. We prepared to plug our ears.

The musician fumbled with his music scores, found it and started playing, while the man casually, easily picked up the microphone. He stood in the center of the room and looked fondly at his mate.

Then he opened his mouth to sing, on cue.

The voice that came from that craggy face, emanated from those bar worn lungs neath a shabby windbreaker was from Nat King Cole himself. My mouth dropped open, and the man smiled at me, knowingly.

He sang that one song and refused to sing any more. His girlfriend smiled affectionately at him as he sat down beside her.

He wouldn’t even take a beer from us.

What an unforgettable evening.

Strange Sounds

In an apartment building you get to hear sounds not heard anywhere else in the world.

Lucky us.

Sometimes it sounds like someone is building an airport in their rooms. I have no idea what they are doing. I don’t want to know.

Many years ago, several times a week, a loud metallic banging echoed through our apartments. A few boisterous clangs and it would stop. This went on for over a year. No one could figure out where it was coming from, or what it was.

Eventually, the superintendent, with the aid of several office workers found the culprit.

Culprits.

A married couple were banging on the heating registers with metal pipes. No, not to clear air out of them. This is not the 1930’s. And they were doing it when it was 90 degrees out.

WHY?

God only knows. For fun I guess.

Life is very strange.

No Speed

My zen practice today is my internet.

It is a good thing my computer is not part of a security base where I am responsible to notify people the bomb is being dropped.

By the time my computer warmed up, found the site, downloaded or uploaded or whatever the F it does for ten minutes while I wait and chant OM, the bomb would be old news, and they’d be paving our burial site with a new super highway. The year would be 2026.

The slowness of life cannot be matched with the sluggishness of a modern computer.

It’s a good thing we still make pens and lined paper, otherwise I wouldn’t have a single book written.

I don’t wait well. Many places and many times I have been sure to reach old age, possibly even death before what I’m waiting for arrives. Computers, buses, miracles. I wait until there is a layer of dust on me.

Yet, sometimes I am late too. And this drives me more nuts than me waiting!

Joyful Pee

My cat loves his litterbox.

He enjoys going toilet more than most anyone or any creature I know.

Going for a pee or pooh is a theatrical production starring Sam.

He announces the upcoming performance with meows, then launches into a tear around the house at fifty miles per hour, skidding over floor, scattering rugs, upending anything standing, artwork and paperwork strewed.

He lands in the litterbox and rolls in it. He digs and digs. Rolls some more. Goes out for another run around the apartment. Rolls and digs some more.

And then finally, finally, relief!

Finished off of course with more digging (fortunately no more rolling!) and a finale of running around the house and rearranging all that you put back in place.

He has a lot more fun going to the bathroom than I do.

But I’m not about to run around the house and splash in the pool (my litterbox).