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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Social Isolation Translates into Chronic Disease and Lessened Life Expectancy

It is perplexing why my younger brother Mark does this sometimes when he knows he has to get up by 4:00 a.m. to commence readying for his workday, but he sat up last night until 11:00 p.m. before heading on upstairs to his bedroom.

Is one further beer really that important?

It bugs me because it keeps me up, making me feel obliged to sit there watching the T.V. news with him when I want to get to bed.

And so it was that I was not abed until 11:21 p.m.

The first time I found myself awake enough to wonder on the time, I think that it may have been around 3:18 a.m. I took advantage and had a bathroom break, and then returned to bed wondering if I would still be awake when Mark got up.

Incidentally, next week will be his last workweek ─ he is finally going to retire.

Anyway, I strove to fully relax, and then apparently I eventually managed to fall asleep. The point arrived when not only was I becoming conscious enough to be wondering on the actual time, but I also perceived that it seemed to be quite light outside.

It was 6:38 a.m. How did that happen?

I hastened to rise, feeling peculiarly ill-slept ─ and that sensation rather remained with me.

I was suspicious that my eldest stepson Tho had not gone to work, and a simple touch in the darkened bathroom to the back of the sink counter proved the likelihood of my suspicion being true ─ the countertop was dry.   

Tho always slops it up as part of his process in readying himself for his day.

Also, there was no lingering scent of his cologne ─ he typically drenches himself in the stuff.

He was not to emerge from his bed area until very late in the morning ─ I do not know exactly when, for I was in my own bed trying to normalize.

I had worked on the new post I am constructing at Latin Impressions, one of my six hosted websites. I had discharged the morning's assigned workload, but by then ─ perhaps 9:30 a.m. or so ─ I had suffered a decline in well-being.

It had been my hope to get out to do some local grocery shopping, but I was not too happy that there were so many sunny breaks taking place. I prefer dreary weather for my outings ─ they afford me more anonymity.

However, with the decline in how I was feeling, it became essential to resort to my bed to ease the aches that had built up from sitting here on the metal office chair at my computer's low keyboard; and my eyes were suffering from strain.

I remained fully clothed in bed, and had intended to just relax for awhile in recovery.

But lying there resulted in an odd tingling throughout my body that was not easing away ─ it is the sort of sensation I have sometimes felt when I have perhaps been ill and resorted to bed-rest.

It is almost a deliciousness.

Before I knew it, the noon-hour was upon me, and I felt little improvement ─ I could easily have remained far longer, but I just did not have that luxury.

So I rose and did a few things here at my computer after fixing myself a strong instant coffee ─ Tho was readying to take off, the air heavy with the odour of his cologne.

As always, I could only wonder if there simply had not been sufficient work for a full day at his place of employment; or if he just felt like playing hooky and had claimed a day of sickness.

Yesterday I had gotten my afternoon session of exercise out in the backyard tool shed...but I undertook it in the morning instead of the afternoon. Doing so allowed me a nice breakfast well before noon.

I had intended a repeat today, but that wasn't going to happen. Still, I did get out to the shed just after 12:20 p.m.

And like yesterday, I actually performed one repetition more in the totals that are my targeted norm of late for the pull-ups that I engage out there.

Perhaps I am feeling so 'off' otherwise simply because of confining myself to being indoors for far too many days.

Sometimes I wonder if it is possible that I am so accustomed to the emptiness of my life that I do not appreciate precisely how serious my emotional condition is.

Can one actually grow accustomed to despair, and only recognize its existence when a truly serious plunge into depression strikes ─ that is, a plunge into what is verily a suicidal depression?

Articles frequently appear decrying how deadly social isolation is ─ I came across one just today:


I have no social life. The only people I directly interact with reside here in this house ─ my younger brother Mark, my two stepsons, and my wife Jack when she deigns to spend a night or two here at home.

My older half-sister Phyllis paid a short visit a week or so ago; and she did so previously maybe a month or even two before that.

She lives off in the Chilliwack area, whereas I live in north Surrey.

I do not drive, and there is nobody within reasonable walking distance whom I would care to visit.

Apart from Phyllis, the only other people I have interacted with have been Mark's girlfriend Bev and his friend Greg during Christmas.

And prior to that, Bev was here again during Thanksgiving in October.

That article above is very wrong on one point where I am concerned ─ physical fitness. If I lived alone, I would actually be considerably fitter than I am.

Because I do not have the privacy, I am limited as to when I am able to exercise.

Sure, I can always get out to the backyard shed once a day. But I would do other exercise here within the house throughout the day.

I cannot, though. I feel too inhibited when anyone is home. I am not an exhibitionist ─ I am very private where exercising is concerned.

There is no private space in which to exercise if someone else is home. My bedroom is so small that the large bed takes up most of the space therein.

Of course people are not always here ─ as I said, my stepson Tho went out midday, so I was left alone. But at the age of 68 as I am, I cannot just plunge into a workout. I need time to gear myself towards undertaking it.

The motivation has to be there, and I cannot just suddenly tackle an exercise session just because someone leaves the house and I find myself unexpectedly alone.

Speaking of Tho and his younger brother Poté, they have professed to me their willingness to start participating in helping to pay expenses related to the retention of our home after Mark retires.

He has always been paying half of things like the annual property taxes, the annual utilities, and the annual home insurance.

He also pays have of the monthly utilities, such as electricity and the Internet.

He also thinks that he is paying half of the mortgage, but he has not done so since back in 2010 when I submitted to pressure from my wife Jack to seek the first of two remortgages on the house in order to fund her involvement in Thai restaurant ownership.

There were two such restaurants, and both became flops. Essentially, all they did was allow her to earn a wage while working at the restaurants.

In effect, she merely bought herself a job.

Well, the annual utilities bill showed up today from the City of Surrey: $1,562.

Are my two stepsons going to step up against that? It must be paid by (I believe) April 2.

We shall see.

It all depends on how important it is to them that Mark not push to sell the house as he had long declared we would be doing once he had retired.

In past conversations I have had with each of the lads, they have expressed that they would become contributors if the reduction was attractive enough to Mark that he would relent.

He is half-owner of the house ─ plus, he put down the $40,000 deposit on it.

Neither of my stepsons wants to have to move and live somewhere else ─ this has been their home since they first came to Canada from Thailand in September 2008.

And my wife Jack somehow has the irrational belief that we must and can retain the house, somehow buying off Mark.

Well, it sure isn't going to happen on my weak monthly pension. I struggle to ensure that the monthly mortgage gets paid as it is.

No bank is going to be issuing me any major loan, even if I wanted to get buried under that magnitude of additional debt ─ heck, I am already deeply into debt. As I keep claiming in this blog, I am a resident of a virtual debtors' prison, unable to go anywhere or do anything.

It is why I have no social life.

My wife Jack is over in Thailand on an extended visit to see her mother, but she funded the trip with an injuries award of $30,000 she received last Fall resulting from a motor vehicle accident she was victimized by a couple or more years earlier.

More than ⅔ of that award is gone ─ maybe much more.

Her flight back here to Canada is scheduled to depart Bangkok this coming Monday ─ she has been away since the first part of January.

She often uploads photos to her Facebook account ─ almost every day. I always take a look to see what might be worth downloading and re-posting here.

So let's drop the above topic and get into the 22 photos that I selected from the Facebook posts that she made just today. Thailand is 15 hours ahead of those of us living in the Pacific Time Zone, so "today" arrived considerably earlier over there than it did for me here in Surrey.

I am reasonably certain that the portrait behind Jack in this first photo depicts her two sons when they were little kids:

Some flowers ─ I had to pass over a great many photos displaying nothing else:

This next group of photos shows her in a market ─ probably in the city of Udon Thani; I know that she is with two of her friends (Daisha and Jak), but I don't know if anyone else is with her:

That is her friend Jak in the photo above.

Both Daisha and Jak are Gay, and often present as female in attire and accessories.

The next five photos likely have Jack posed on the grounds of an unidentified temple:

It should be easy to figure out where this temple is ─ there seem to be at least seven Buddhas situated around the roof, and probably more are unseen:

Perhaps it is being newly constructed? Of the four women in the next two photos, I can only identify Jack's "sister-cousin" (as Jack always refers to the woman as) ─ she is in the orange top, and also has orange hair:

Four photos now with Jack and Daisha kneeling in the temple itself:

And now just Daisha ─ I like Daisha very much, although I have not seen him since my last trip to Thailand in 2005. He had just enough English back then for me to be able to have some conversations with him:

I wouldn't expect Jack to be posting anything to her Facebook account on Monday, so the next three days are the sole likely remaining days for any further posts from her based in Thailand.

I am going to close today's reflective post with this old journal entry of mine from 41 years ago when I was 27 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I was renting it in a private home located on Ninth Street [Google map], and two houses up from Third Avenue.

The previous day's journal entry had me leaving my room in the mid-afternoon, ultimately with the intention of hiking out to the duplex unit that my younger brother Mark was renting in Surrey.

He was living a reasonably short distance along Semiahmoo Road [Google map] from where it detaches from Old Yale Road.

I intended to watch the Provincial Lottery draw that evening on his colour T.V., so I most likely spent the night there. I often stayed overnight.
TUESDAY, March 1, 1977

My left shin is a wretched burden.

It is nigh 11:00 p.m. and I've hiked home from Mark's (he is still working afternoons).

I was very crushed last night when I lost the Provincial; some of my 4 tickets looked promising at times, but it was a waste of $20.

I slept ill, especially having Dianne ring for Mark on 3 occasions when she thought he'd be home; they spoke so long!

The next morning at mom's, I overate.

[Note that I am now writing about the journal's current day's events.]

Stamps had come for me, and she bought half of them for $9; one pane, instead of being the 50 - 8¢ Christmas issue, was the 20¢ issue by error.

I also had a letter from Cathy [Catherine Jeanette Gunther, Mark's ex-girlfriend after they had been together for around three years], ending with an offer to bus up and visit.

I napped at mom's, as I did the afternoon before at Mark's.

Seems Al Varga tried to get hold of me yestermorn to work with him the day on garbage duty.

I began work on my income tax form and found, according to Mark, I may get as much as $500 back.

On my way back to his place from mom's, 2 cute young girls made my moment when one bumped the other forcefully into me.

Melody [my ex-girlfriend Melody St. Jean] called about 4:40 p.m. for a bit of a talk, awaiting Chris [her new boyfriend] from work; she said Cindy [a friend of hers] got married this afternoon to a Fijian she'd only met 2 weeks before.

Bill [my old friend William Alan Gill] dropped by before 9:00 p.m. for about 50 minutes, paying me back $10 of his $27 debt.

Bed approximately 11:45 p.m.
The problem with my one shin may have been something like shin splints; but it might also have been aggravated by constant pressure from the top of the high boots I would wear on my hikes.

Dianne was a gal Mark was getting quite involved with.

He worked in a plywood or other mill ─ it was shift work.  

My mother Irene Dorosh lived a little less than three miles from Mark ─ her home was in the Kennedy Heights area of Surrey.

It was my main mailing address; and although it no longer exists, its address was 12106 - 90th Avenue [Google map].

I was regularly mail-ordering commemorative postage stamps from Canada Post just to use on the letters I mailed, for I sent forth considerable mail. I didn't like using the boring definitive stamps.

I am convinced that if I had not been undergoing breakup with Melody St. Jean at the same time as Mark was separating from his girlfriend Jeanette, I honestly do believe that I would have thrown in with her to try and make it possible for her to remain hereabouts.

I quite loved the young mother of two beautiful little girls. And my mother and her husband Alex loved them, too ─ Jeanette and the girls were family as far as we were concerned.

I don't remember where Jeanette was staying at that time. Ultimately, she was to move back to the Prairies from whence she had come; and eventually she remarried and moved to Ontario. 

Alright, back to the present.

Tho showed up shortly ahead of 4:00 p.m., so I went downstairs and let him see the annual utilities bill that had come today.

He was quite interested in its details, and he volunteered that he would bring it up with his brother Poté once he had come home from work ─ even if he brings his girlfriend home with him.

The brothers can talk in Thai and thus keep conversations private.

It became quite sunny in the mid- and latter-afternoon.

I also want to mention an unusual incident early this morning that began just as I was coming upstairs with my day's first hot beverage ─ I thought I was hearing a big truck's air brakes making that loud, throttling sound that they do when the brakes are applied.

But afterward it continued in further bursts, and I realized that it was more local ─ here in the house. It was sounding almost like the noise one of those door stoppers make when they are made to strum by bending one back and releasing it with force.

Gradually ─ after it kept on, and I then heard duller similar sounds from another part of the house ─ I understood that it was a pair of northern flickers at work, imitating woodpeckers.

The exceptionally loud noise was when one of them persisted in attacking the furnace exhaust outlet up on the roof ─ I think the canopy for the outlet is just a sheet of aluminum moulded into a covering.

So the bird was drilling onto that, and the noise was being transmitted down the shaft and into the house.

Tho happens to sleep practically next to the furnace.

I asked him about any sounds he may have heard this morning, and he most definitely was aware of the noise. He was convinced that it was either me doing something annoying, or else the neighbour woman living immediately next door ─ the side of her house is perhaps a dozen feet from ours, so any drilling or banging going on (or loud music) there is very audible here. 
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