Wisdom From the Woods: Arbitrary People. by Jim Shock

I’ve learned not to make rash observations about anything in West Virginia. The moment I think I have her figured out, she throws a litigious loop in my lane stumbling my steps and tripping me up. I love the unpredictability of each day here though. Unforeseeably fabulous and fickly formidable conditions coexist in jarring harmony. This capricious conundrum prevents planning a predictably perfect day impossible. Sunny skies, gentle breezes and encouraging chirps from upbeat birdies have coaxed me into a relaxing Jeep ride on a sun soaked day. These upbeat and optimistic dawns frequently conclude in drenched dreary evenings seated next to a damp and dispirited doggy. I’ve learned, people in West Virginia are no less volatile or inclement to forecast than the weather.

For example, I saw what I presumed to be a pitiful person sitting at a bar in Lewisburg. Immediately, predetermined perceptions precipitated unshakable notions in my mind and triggered a series of unsupported assumptions about the reason of her temperament. I forecasted a tempest of torments based entirely on drunken Doppler data gathered from across the bar. In the barometer of my mind I created a chronicle of calamities that may or may not have existed in her life. My perceptions, correct or erroneous, inspired thoughts that I quickly scribbled on a napkin.

A sad lonely gossip with children in tow,
Hiding a secret that most of us know.
The baby on “board” has a lot on her mind.
Philandering spouse and a bottle of wine.
He drinks during work, while she hookahs at home,
They’ll sleep in the evening together-alone!
“Where is your husband?” the young suitors ask.
“Probably home with his whore and his flask!”

People here are as unpredictable as the weather. There’s a 0% to 100% chance our predictions about one another are mistaken. We’re all guilty of forecasting faults and fortitudes based on baseless barometric readings we’ve made recklessly. Human conditions and patterns of behavior are unstable, changeable and, frequently, unpredictable. It’s important to keep your radar up at all times, but make certain you leave room for miscalculations. There’s a 100% probability you’re wrong too sometimes.

– Jim Shock. Lewisburg, WV. (LBSPY 35, June 17-July 1)

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