9 thoughts on “Mens Rea

  1. bystander June 14, 2022 / 6:03 pm

    No. Not that it will make any difference, but, No.

    Hope you’re doin’ OK, William. Pedinska and I are holding the line and trying to remain among the estimated Covid-zero.

  2. Pedinska June 14, 2022 / 6:12 pm

    Second Bystander’s thought. We’re just swooning through our heat wave trying to get to the other side. Wishing you the best.

  3. wtimberman June 14, 2022 / 7:39 pm

    Bystander, Pedinska, so good to hear from you, and to hear that you’re both well. Me and mine have also managed somehow to remain COVID free, for which I’m very grateful. We’ve been rigorous about doing all the right things, masks and jabs and such, but still, it seems kinda rude to take credit for what, after all, is more about luck than virtue.

    The heat is another story. This is Arizona, so we don’t get waves, we get something more like an oven with the door left open in perpetuity. “El infierno sin llamas,” the Mexicans say—hell with the fire out. You don’t really ever get used to it, but central air conditioning has so far been able to stay ahead of the worst of it. One of my chirpy local friends put it to me this way: in Alaska you have to stay indoors for three months in the winter. Here you have to stay indoors for three months in the summer. What’s the difference? Mmmm…well…yeah, OK, I guess….

    Be well, both of you, and mazeltov to you both also for staying out of the pandemic’s clutches these last two years. Let’s keep that up, shall we?

    • bystander June 14, 2022 / 7:52 pm

      Delighted to hear you are among the estimated “40%”. That strikes me as a kind of crazy making number. I really can’t decide to be amazed that it’s as high as it is, or dismayed that it’s less than half. Have a feeling this summer could break all manner of climate “norms.” In my corner of the world we’ll track water levels in our reservoirs while holding our breath with a keen eye to the season of lightening strike fires that go rapidly out of control. Wishing you both a secure power grid, ample fluids to stay hydrated, and safe from fire/flood in your respective places. Thanks for tagging up!

  4. Pedinska June 26, 2022 / 7:02 am

    Lat getting back to this! So very glad you’ve managed to remain COVID-free. I spend a good amount of my time reading research papers on the subject. It almost feels as if I’m still doing HIV-research in some ways, very, very much not in others. We do what we can here, always wearing our N95 elastomeric masks and avoiding crowds as much as possible but, yes, it very much feels like luck controls most everyone’s destiny now. When it all gets to be too much, I go into the garden and am extremely thankful to have such a space.

    • wtimberman June 26, 2022 / 7:35 am

      As it turns out, I’m very familiar with the N95. Back in March 2020, given how hard to get they were then, N95s were strictly formal wear for us non-medical folks. Now, some two and a quarter years later, they’re more like a familiar old pair of jeans, worn with gratitude no matter the occasion.

      There’s hardly any denying any more that we’re living in the interesting times my parents, survivors of the Great Depression and WWII, used to warn me were still possible despite our undeniable good fortune in the early post-war years. You go into the garden, I re-read Eliot’s Four Quartets, or Sartre’s La République du Silence, and find myself listening to more and more Bach as the irony deepens around us. (Gardens other than cactus gardens are kinda hard to come by around here.)

      The truth is, some things can’t be fixed, not in a single person’s lifetime, anyway, and Lord knows we can’t choose the times we’re born into. Like you say, though, we do the best we can. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

  5. LWM August 1, 2022 / 4:39 pm

    That’s more like the William Timberman I used to know, though a touch more cynical and pessimistic. Now I’m sure it’s you. Welcome to the party!

    • bystander August 1, 2022 / 9:37 pm

      Well, I’ll be damned. You live! I shouldn’t admit to how often I’ve thought of you and a number of others from the Salon threads. Good to see you, LWM.

    • William Timberman August 1, 2022 / 10:02 pm

      I remember reading somewhere that Freud once claimed that he spent a lot more time writing about the superego than he did the id because he figured the id was powerful enough to look after its own interests without any help from him. The moral of that bit of apocrypha, it seems to me, is that despite our best efforts to resist them, the discontents of civilization will eventually have their way with us. Such as it is, that’s my excuse for letting the bad WT have a word now and then.

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