Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch


For approximately ninety minutes late this morning, I was without care. Technically, "careless" means "without care." But the difference in implication is significant. I wasn't oblivious. On the contrary, I'm rarely as focused on the demands of the moment as I was today. What I felt was a sense of being at peace with myself and others that I've experienced very little over the past decade. It was as if something had broken inside me, revealing in the process that it was no longer needed. I'd reached what seemed like an end, yet transformed it seamlessly into a means. The light contributed to my frame of mind. I was in Tucson, but the whitish haze softening edges in the distance inspired body memories of the Washington D.C. area. The car's air conditioning powerfully reinforced that conflation of past and present. The coolness smelled the way office buildings along K, L and M streets in Northwest do in summer, when you walk in from the heat and feel your sweat dry.

Yet the biggest reason for my sense of well-being, oddly enough, was the fact that I was severely underslept. During my teenage summer vacations, I'd often ride into D.C. with my father and then tour the city while he worked. Because I consistently stayed up to the wee hours of the morning -- something I also did during school, to my scholarly detriment -- I would only have gotten an hour or two of shut-eye before he was getting ready for work. Somehow, though, my exhaustion made me more attentive, both to my environment and my detachment from it. It was like a mild, but 100% natural mind-altering substance was coursing through me. When I walked inside buildings to cool off and regroup, I would have a momentary sense of accomplishment, like I was an adventurer who had arrived at his next port of call. That's sort of how it seemed today, as I went about my errands: applying sunscreen, pumping gas, selecting a protein drink, checking out the ticket prices for upcoming concerts. I suppose that running on one's last reserves of energy provides a shortcut to clarity. For me, anyway. So I could be simultaneously careful in the execution of tasks and without the sort of care that implies a looking back or forward. "Carefree" instead of "careless."
Tags: autobiography, everyday, health, language

  • Redefining Need

    "Can a society which is incapable of protecting individual privacy even within one's four walls rightfully claim that it respects the individual and…

  • Mind Out of Joint

    These are strange and stressful times for all of us. But I feel simultaneously more prepared and less able to deal with this state of emergency.…

  • It Begins

    My daughter went to Las Vegas with friends this afternoon. Her mom is staying late at her downtown studio. My dad is asleep at his facility. And I…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.