Discover more from Amy Writes Words
Chatgpt is the soylent green of writing
and a couple other bon mots plus stuff about camping
Hello. I was out camping in the cold and the wind and the rain all weekend, which was beautiful, but here in the aftermath I am lying in bed recuperating with some vague nonspecific physical symptoms that might or might not be related to my recent covid, but who can say, because I’ve always been kind of sickly.
I want laudanum, smelling salts, and to take the sea air. I would also prefer a diagnosis of hysteria rather than any of my other diagnoses, because if hysteria were still a thing then in theory I ought to be able to use my HSA card at Good Vibrations. (Actually, just kidding, it’s apparently a total myth that vibrators were a medical treatment for hysteria!)
If you are not in the US I do not know how to begin to explain to you what an HSA card is, and to be honest I can’t even remember if it it’s an HSA or an FSA card, and anyways it’s all used up for the year because of my general sickliness, but let me try anyways: It’s some kind of mildly tax-advantaged way to pay outrageous amounts of money for ‘qualifying medical expenses’ that your health insurance won’t pay for, if you or your partner works at a company that offers this weird kind of savings account, one kind of which (I can never remember which) you have to use up all the money by the end of the year whether or not you are sick, and the other kind of which is mostly a vehicle for rich people to shield their money from taxes. This is exactly as convoluted and insane as it sounds.
Of course we could just do universal healthcare and negotiate reasonable prices for medical care and not treat all of health as if it is both an inconvenient cost of labor exploitation AND a profit-seeking enterprise even for organizations that are ostensibly not-for-profit. BUT WHERE WOULD BE THE FUN IN THAT??
My dad asked me today what exactly I did out in the woods camping “you’re not hunting or fishing…. so….?” bless him. Basically I wander around slowly examining the nature, watching the clouds go by, and listening to the wind in the trees. It’s just a lot of Mary Oliver shit, really, but more rustic. You can use up a surprising amount of time tensioning your tarp and trying to open up your bear can with your tiny, cold hands. Plus, because of the bears, every night I basically must make my tent kosher for Passover. I look in every pocket and every damn roll-top stuff sack for every bit of chametz: a sliver of an energy bar wrapper, an errant dried cranberry, lip balm, some sunscreen I certainly wouldn’t eat but a bear might, because I guess they are kind of like dogs that way. Then I pack it all into the bear can and put it away from my tent until morning and I say a prayer that the bears stay away.
I think what I am growing to love so much about the camping is that it combines a number of things that are incredibly positive for mental health:
a combination of physically and mentally challenging tasks that are intimately tied to your actual survival in obvious and direct ways. For example, pitching a tent in the wind and the rain. If you do not strategize carefully your tent will blow away and or start out wet inside, which doesn’t bode well for your warmth. But you can’t just strategize, you also have to execute, in the wind and the rain.
the nature. did you know how many daddy long legs there are out there in the woods? ZILLIONS.
you’re too busy pitching the tent or communing with the nature to be filled with vague dread or days-long anxiety such as you might experience when contemplating a day of zoom meetings or your Q3 OKR update, and when you do experience fear, for example when you wake in the middle of the night to scruffling outside your tent, it’s more the type of fear that is apparently the kind we mostly evolved to deal with: bears, not tech bros. BUT WHAT IF IT’S A TECH BRO SCRUFFLING OUTSIDE THE TENT THO AMY? WHAT IF HE WANTS TO ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR OKRS? WHAT THEN? That’s why I sleep with a knife, folks.1
Stepping out of your tent on a cold morning is exactly the kind of shock that the cold plunge ppl insist tone your vagus nerve or whatever, but you don’t have to buy anything.
I keep thinking I’ll find a thing that I absolutely can’t stand about camping that will turn me off this plan I have to thru-hike The Long Trail next summer, but I haven’t yet.
Crushing It: Tech Bros, “Peakbagging Missions”, and The Psychology of Ultralight Backpacking
In this dissertation I will…
So many chatgpt writing experiments just seem like a variation on those “will it blend?” videos. Like, yes, it will blend, but I don’t want to drink the resulting smoothie.
I appreciate everyone who wrote back to my recent posts on Israel and Palestine. I do not have more to say on my position on the matter at this time, which is to say I continue to urge a ceasefire, but here are two things that were worth my time to read: Judith Butler in the London Review, and this open letter to Biden published in The Guardian (also with Judith Butler involvement), but also Masha Gessen and a bunch of other ppl.
I recognize I have gone from sending these missives every few months to doing so every week-ish or sometimes more than once a week. The underlying pattern is exactly the same, however, it’s still that I send you something when a. it seemed worthwhile enough for me to write it that I actually did so, and b. it also seems like it might possibly be worthwhile for you to read it. I do not send you something merely so that I may check a box. I don’t claim only to send words of UTMOST IMPORTANCE, sometimes I just hope to make you laugh.
here is a poem I wrote after Mary Oliver.
finally, a quote from a book called World as Lover, World as Self, by Joanna Macy:
The distance between our inklings of apocalypse and the tenor of business as usual is so great that, though we may respect our own cognitive reading of the signs, we tend to imagine that it is we, not society, who are insane.
Thanks for reading.
this is a joke! of course I would never stab a tech bro for scruffling around my tent at night to ask me about my OKRs. I find that launching into a graphic description of my perimenopause symptoms is much more effective. Other natural repellants include providing a detailed history of your experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace, explaining what thrush is, or turning things around completely and hounding him to journal about his feelings about the OKRs he’s asking you about.