Smoke, Fog, and Haze: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.
Submitting to the Fog of Life
I was six years old when we descended the steps of Carlsbad Caverns. It was there, probably 200 feet below the surface, where I first felt the helplessness of blindness. The stopped us on the steps. Suddenly the lights went out, and darkness reigned. A darkness so deep that I couldn’t see my hand an inch from my face. This was the early 1960’s. The summer of 1963 to be exact. Normal darkness was easy to find, especially for a kid from a small, rural, Ohio town, but this was different, somewhat horrifying, and somewhat exciting too.
They turned the lights back on, and we toured the immense beauty of those caverns, but of all that, it was that darkness that has stayed with me for almost 60 years.
While I am not visually impaired, I have lived my life in a weird fog. Not quite a darkness, but akin to it. Not seeing or planning the future, but riding the waves of time, wondering where I would end up. Falling in and out of life, out of friends, of lovers, of wives, of jobs. Reinventing myself as needed.
Many years were spent in a drug and alcohol fog. Self-medicating for what was probably years of undiagnosed – or before they actually diagnosed kids for – ADHD, and teenage depression, which, in turn created addiction to a high, and the crash that followed. A temporary break in the fog came when I realized my hand was shaking as I reached for my first beer of the day, at the Zoo Bar, in DC, as my best friend, Jerry was pouring from a pitcher.
I quit drinking the next day, for four years. I have been able to control it since.
I also lived in the fog of religion much of my life. Southern Baptist and Presbyterian. I believed deeply in a God, but not in religion as a home. I prayed directly to God, and let him steer my path in love, life, work, and play, until things went awry. Then I realized it was all a fog. A fog of control.
Now, my work takes me to the Internet, constantly. What I witness is a national malaise of smoke, fog, and mirrors, designed to confuse, mislead, and control people, for profit. While the truth can be found, and is available, the fog of scientific writing, makes it easy to be misinterpreted by those wanting to mislead, and feed to those willing to consume without doing the hard work of critical thinking.
Smoke, fog, and haze are the tool to control, to blind those from the realities around them, and place them in little silos – millions of little silos – hearing only what the other silos are hearing, and seeing only what they want you to see.
The fog of life, overwhelmed my senses, and I allowed it to hold me back, giving up control, to the fog of religion, leading me by the nose down the garden path, that way and this, this way and that, training me to give in to the fog of politics – control of knowledge, pitting tribe against tribe, creating enemies within.
Thankfully, I was educated – at least at some level, against my will – a different, personal fog of imposter syndrome – and intelligent, and knew how to cut through all the fog, with the super power of Critical Thinking.
Now, I just want to go to Cambria, and bask in the natural marine layer fog.