Hi, there, Dear Reader. It is late morning in Lithia, Florida, on Monday, June 27, 2022. It is a typically steamy summer day here in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 87°F (30°C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 69% and the wind blowing from the southeast at 5 MPH (8 KM/H), the heat index is 93°F (34°C). Today’s forecast calls for – wait for it – thunderstorms to pass through the area, and a high of 93°F (34°C). Tonight, scattered rain showers might hang around. The low will be 74°F (23°C).
Yesterday’s forecast – in case you missed the slight snark above – was essentially the same as today. The thing is, though, that Hillsborough County is a large chunk of west-central Florida, so even if, say, Tampa experienced thunderstorm activity, it doesn’t mean that Fish Hawk – the planned community in Lithia where I share a house with a high school classmate and her family – got anything more than a passing shower or even a brief drizzle. I know we didn’t see any boomers; I would not have been at my computer most of the day if lightning and thunder had been anywhere within range of the house.
So, who knows? Maybe today we will be lucky and thunderstorm-free, or maybe this afternoon will be a dark and stormy one. Right now, my weather app’s radar map doesn’t show any significant storms in the Tampa Bay area. But, it is hot and humid. It is summer. And thunderstorms can pop up when you least expect them.
Anyway, this morning I learned that someone accidentally broke my What I Learned from Star Wars coffee mug at some point during the night. I don’t know who, and I don’t know how. All I know is that this morning when I got up and went to have my usual morning repast of café con leche with whatever else is on hand, the Caregiver asked, “Did you break your Star Wars mug?” and showed me the now-handle-less white-with-black text mug lying sadly on one of the kitchen counters.
I was annoyed, of course, especially because not one of the four young adults who shares this house with us (yes, the Caregiver’s youngest daughter sometimes brings her boyfriend to sleep over in her room) left a note saying so much as “Sorry, but I broke the mug. It was an accident.” Naturally, the Caregiver thought I broke it, not stopping to consider that one of her kids did.
I bought that mug on Amazon a couple of years ago, so – trying to rein in my irritation at its loss – I went to my room and searched on the e-retailer’s site for Star Wars mugs, half-expecting my specific mug to not be there.
Happily, though, Amazon still sells the What I Learned from Star Wars mug (for $16.95), so I ordered a replacement. I also ordered a Stir with The Force You Must – Self-Stirring Mug by YupUSA, which of course features a graphic of Yoda and a self-stirring feature (batteries not included). It’s stainless steel and, naturally, pricier. But I like having more than one mug, so…
If I can get motivated, I will seriously start reading my copy of Peter Caddick-Adams’ new book, Fire & Steel: The End of World War Two in the West after I take a shower and change into fresh clothes. I usually make plans like this almost every day, only to find myself sitting at my desk and staying on my computer because I feel more connected to the world via my computer than I do when I am offline.
If I were truly happy and still in a committed monogamous relationship, I probably would be less inclined to be at my desk and lurking about on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Back in Miami, even when Mom was still – barely – alive, I was online for much of the time, but I also had real responsibilities, neighbors I was at least acquainted with and could talk to, and I felt comfortable enough in my ‘hood to walk around and not feel like an outsider.
Here, though, I live with an ex-girlfriend who is kind enough to not charge me exorbitant amounts of money for room and board, but now that her new boyfriend is in need of a liver transplant but not likely to get one, I have basically dropped off her radar screen except for brief – if still cordial – exchanges and meals that she buys as part of the compact we have.
Aside from that, I am left to my own devices, and since I have not gained enough self-esteem or self-confidence to even consider flirting, much less seriously wooing, another woman, I am in a state of limbo as far as relationships and a healthy sex life go.
And for basic human interactions, the Caregiver’s now-adult kids aren’t exactly a viable option. Two of them go to college and/or work, while the oldest plays computer games and smokes pot at night, and sleeps during the day. And there’s a generational gap between us anyway, so there’s no “common ground” for conversations, really.
So, yeah. I have a tough time planning my day around activities that don’t involve my computer or the Internet, and I think it’s because at least when I’m online I can “talk” to other people even if its through comments on their social media posts or – rarely – in instant message apps like Facebook Messenger or Google Chat.
By the same token, I’m tired of buying new books and adding them to my TBR stack, starting them, then putting them aside till I buy another book. With movies I am slightly better at “consuming” them after they get here; I usually watch a new movie or TV miniseries on Blu-ray within a week of receiving it from Amazon or Best Buy. It helps, of course, that watching audiovisual content is passive and requires less of a time commitment than books do. But I do, on occasion, buy a Blu-ray and then just put it on a shelf for weeks on end before I remember to watch it.
So, anyway, I do plan to read at least some of Caddick-Adams’ Fire & Steel after I take my shower and put “street clothes” on. I’ve browsed through it a few times, and it seems that it will be just as good as the other books in the trilogy, Sand & Steel and Snow & Steel.
We’ll see what happens.