Stream of Lethargy

I’m writing these words as I sit at my desk at my part-time employer at 1:40 pm, March 15. I’m deep in a haze of regret over today and yesterday, a horribly unproductive span of time which I aim to conclude when I leave this pace in about two hours and 35 minutes.

I have the best job in the world in terms of being permitted to roam the internet and Facebook, work on projects for my aviation museum (AeroKnow Museum – look it up), read, even write or practice reciting poetry for hours when I’m not answering the phone behind me or chatting convivially with customers. It’s amazing, this paradox that I can be so sad when “letharged” into near-catatonic fog yet still snap into “Mr. Affable” advisor to visiting strangers wanting to consider fabricated granite counter tops and other additions to home and business. Often, on Facebook, I engage friends and strangers in convivial dialogues. The banter and insights flow from my hands to the computer keyboard like water in a babbling brook. But I’m reducing time of Facebook (not eliminating) because to mode of engagement, keystrokes to keystrokes, has lost its appeal due to disappointments with long-time friends, mostly. I’m bitter and increasingly absent, anticipating a time when I will no longer be present on the internet, or Facebook, or behind any computer.

Customers kept me happily away from the blog for about an hour, and the rest of the day at “work” wasted my outlook. I felt so sad about life, I did nothing with aviation history and my museum. Six months ago, I would have returned to cataloging photo negatives of airplanes, with gusto. Not today, The rest of the day I did not advance my day. I remained motionless, mostly, staring at the computer and viewing nothing interesting.

Driving home I promised myself to catch up with my project of taking an inventory of the model kits in the collection, probably close to 2,000, but I didn’t. I was still sad. Reclined in my living room recliner, listened to the radio, ate a few pieces of candy, drank the last two inches of Carlo Rossi from the gallon jug of Burgundy I had purchased more than a week ago and drowsed in and out of a nap with the radio on low . . . . .until 10 pm, arose and came to my bedroom/office to accomplish SOMETHING with the kits inventory. First I’m finishing and posting this blab.

Life goes on.

Thanks for reading this post.
Live long . . . . . . . . . . and proper.


Stopped Cold

As the calendar carries me into Daylight Savings Time I am coming out of a time of life when I felt crippled by the cold days, sensing I was on the verge of no more cold days for the rest of my life as I imagine it at this hour. Never in my days before turning 71 did I ever feel stopped by the cold; the process of advancing my life’s obligations arrested to my profound detriment.

They were days when I didn’t arise from bed because the air I inhaled, semi-supine in my living room recliner rocker over the long night was too cold.. I always lurched out of “recliner” after sitting motionless until boredom\ and dreary restless consumed me. A glance at the chairside clock followed by a countdown to a “blast off time” at 30 after the hour or when the minute hand was centered over the next 12 always compelled me into the new day and a first cup of coffee.

Embracing the day was the big challenge. If I had errands to run — prescriptions to pick up soon, bills to pay sooner rather than later, I always postponed them until Friday so I could do almost nothing significant at home until it was time for me to drive to my four-day, part-time employer. I wasn’t near catatonic at home, but only “token time” was spent giving token attention to my aviation collection, just so I could go to work having accomplished SOMETHING. Even a baby step, was better than feeling totally BLOTZED and feeling unfit for life. BLOTZED refers not to drinking alcohol; it describes a state of near-senselessness of awareness. Booze (Carlo Rossi Burgundy) is not an issue these days.

Being stopped cold meant I could not work in my yards raking unattended leaves, moving things to the van to take to the employer’s dumpster with his permission. It meant I could not work in the basement arranging re aviation collection removed from the airport to the new location (significantly reduced in volume, since) because it was too COLD down there.

I had not slept in my own bed since a few days before my 71st birthday September 5. About that time I sensed I was approaching “the end of the road.” I planned no observance of the big day (in comparison with the year before when several invited friends came to my party.) because though things were beginning to chill my outlook and weather, I sensed that much worse would follow over the long winter. I was right.

On Friday, January 8, I slept in a bed for the first time since the first week of last September. The bed was at the Indianapolis, Indiana La Quinta Inn. I had gone with three model-building friends to a model convention and had a very good time. Because I had taken some model airplane kits to the gathering and sold many of them, money was not an issue. We checked out the morning of January 9, attended the big doin’s met some terrific people and were back in Springfield by 8:00 pm Saturday. That night I slept in a bed for the second time since the first week of last September. It was my own, in my own bedroom, which I had prepared Friday morning before heading to Indy. I intend to spend the rest of my nights sleeping in my own bed unless I attend another event in another city or connect with a pretty friend who wants to share her attributes and affection with me. On Sunday, January 10 as I write these words, I consider either eventuality literally light years beyond the realm of remotest possibility.

I feel tempered contentment with what I expect to happen with my life in days ahead. For all I know, when I return to employer Tuesday, I will be told my last day of employment will be Wednesday. If that happens, I will financially be able to hold on to the thread that connects me to you and the rest of what matters for at least a few weeks; maybe a little longer.

In the meantime, I am PLEDGED and DETERMINED to clean up the clutter and disarray in my home which I have allowed me to be stopped cold because I saw no reason to pay more attention to LIFE. Thus, this post comes to “the end of the road” here because I have things to accomplish today.

Thanks for reading this post.
Live long . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . and proper.

Yesterday I visited Ruth (not her real name) my nurse-practitioner at the county health center for a quarterly check up. Everything is still in the green since my visit last visit: blood pressure, lung capacity, I weigh 12 pounds more than I did in December, but I’m still under 200. I blame the Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter which I’ve been eating neat (straight from the jar on a butter knife, sans bread, sans jam) more often recently.

My days are blisteringly consistent, depressing as heck and that’s okay, the life of a simpleton. Minimizing costs for things that don’t matter much is paramount, lately, but I am eating healthy . . . if Campbell’s Grilled Chicken and Sausage Gumbo soup qualifies (three nights a week, canned Chili-Man chili with beans two nights and enough Jif on a knife down the hatch to satiate the hunger two nights on average. What’s added the pounds has been the bed-time Jif. Lunches are a single Jif & jam (Smucker’s strawberry) on Bunny whole wheat four days a week and plastic-boxed bite-size chunks of melon and pine apple. I’m not happy with this routine. Lunches used to include six-inch Subway sandwiches. I don’t know when my employer will close, so significant thrift is not a choice here; it’s a rule.

Nurse practitioner Ruth, recently returned to the county health center after three months’ maternity leave, showed me a picture of her new son, a beautiful babe. I was flattered that she shared. My body condition has proven commendably consistent for the past year or so. Still I have no problem visiting periodically. She is terrific. As expected she shared grave — make that GREAT – concern over my news that I no longer take the anti-depressant/anti-anxiety prescription my counselor Mary (not her real name) arranged for me to take. Mary doesn’t know I’ve not been taking the prescription for about three months because I’ve not called for an appointment to visit her for about three months. But I’m sure Ruth told her yesterday or today, and my news shared with Ruth yesterday prompted Ruth (with my approval) to arrange for me to visit for some counseling next week. I rather look forward to it. “Rather” suggests a less-than-rapturous anticipation because I acknowledge the arrangement as a clinical necessity; not as a doorway to allaying my inevitable departure from “this planet.” I want a PROFESSIONAL to know all I have to say about my life before I leave. YOU, reader, are sharing a lot of what I will share with Mary; not all of it, not because I’ve committed terrible crimes I’m hiding from the police but because you, the respected readers of Honey and Quinine, are people I don’t know though if I knew you, I might WANT to know more about you. I explained to Ruth I had stopped taking the anti-depressant because I expect it will be harder for me to do what I will necessarily do because I have nowhere else to go as a failed hummin’ bean. While wanting to be called into the examination room yesterday, a thought hit my brain like a croquet mallet. I didn’t write it down because I had no pen or paper, but I resolved to remember it, and I did. shared it with Ruth during our face-to-face and shared it as the title of this post. Every GOOD event that I live is an event that will return as a reason not to leave when it’s time to go. But that’s okay. I’ll deal with it.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. Look for more jabber in a week or so.

Live long . . . . . . . . . . . . and proper.

Last Wednesday I didn’t attend a regular poetry open mic in lyrical downtown Springfield. I drove straight home, went straight to my recliner rocker where I’ve been sleeping all year and most of last, took three “sleep aids” and washed them down with some of the Carlo Rossi Paisano wine still the house from last week, pushed back in the recliner, closed my eyes and waited . . . . . .

Nothing. I had expected to drift off to dreamland, but I didn’t. So, sadly resigned to consciousness, about 7:00, I wandered into my home office, formerly my bedroom reprising the lay of the day: how things had gone. At about noon, when I arrived at work — The Granite Guy on my town’s far east fringe — BOLDLY OBVIOUS was a sign on a front window looking out on Dirksen Pkwy, indicating the building is AVAILABLE. The building is up for sale by a commercial realtor, The Garrison Group. When it finds a buyer, I will no longer be working because my employer will close for good . . . . or in my case, for BAD. The rest of the day lurched toward the 5:00 “whistle” rendering me miserable beyond words. I drove home calmly, courteous to other drivers, planning the rest of my day. As for the sleep aids and wine, both could have been a banana and iced tea. I was disappointed to be conscious. I also realized there was no point in remaining in the recliner.

My life’s long lingering MANDATE to develop my aviation collection called AeroKnow Museum prevailed. I engaged the prevalence of the hour: inventoried the contents of a few storage boxes full of model airplane kits and had a “sane” rest of the evening. Went to bed about 11, sans wine, sans pills. Just drifted off with the radio on low, the only “companion” I can keep.. Slept okay.

The next day at work, I learned that nothing is going to happen fast regarding a sale. The owner says it could be three or four months He says that, but I don’t know that he knows that. I know that without an employer, my “departure” in the “months ahead” is certain.

I’ve posted news of this “HIT” on both of my Facebook presences — Job Conger and Conger Job — and received consoling words from some good people. Someone who is 70 years old let me know that Lowe’s home improvement store recently hired him, so I should consider applying at the local store. I’m not dismissing the idea, but I’m not thrilled by prospect of applying because it’s a longer drive from my house than current employer, and I know nothing about paint, lumber and appliances. Yes, I could learn, but it would be easier to just save myself the effort. WHY” Because even working, doing something I enjoyed, how many years do I have left? Certainly no more than five, barring more health and injury issues. My museum has no future. Two friends have helped me with things relating to my aviation museum efforts. I am working on the museum just to prove my devotion to my longest dream, to be true to SOMETHING!

By the by, feel free to “GOOGLE” me or AeroKnow Museum if you want to know more about me. I have two “presences” on Facebook, both are for public viewing. Visit and observe if you like. No need to invite me to be a friend. Or invite me to be a Fb friend. As Job Conger, I share aviation mostly. As Conger Job, I focus on poetry and arts.

The saga continues. No wine in the house for about a week, and I’m okay with that. I’m not as productive with the AeroKnow as I wish I were, but that’s okay too. I rarely am.

Therefore I rarely think. (ha-ha)
Live long . . . . . and proper.

Co-habituating With Wine

and a song I’ve sung one time in public

Surprise! After breaking my vow of no more wine in the house and celebrating a terrific poetry reciting after returning home last Wednesday, and drinking about a pint and a half that night, I successfully avoided further engagement of said medication for four whole days. Today, Monday was challenging. I am sad. Not grievously anxious; just sad. So consumingly sad that it was all I could do to RESIST growing desire to just take a few “sleep aids” (nothing dangerous; bought off the shelf at a supermarket) and drift off to the null zone in my recliner for as long as I could manage it. I didn’t do that. The BIG NET GAIN from having NO wine around is I am more inclined to stay in motion, making productive use of my time, working on my small aviation museum (brought home in drastically reduced size from its home at the local airport last year) continuing to arrange it. I’ll explain more in the future. I know this seems “highly illogical,” but I didn’t succumb to wine until evening. For nine hours I drank six cups of coffee, nibbled three small donuts, and had the most productive day working exclusively on the aviation that I have had this year. Lest you presume I had fun, WRONG! I didn’t enjoy two minutes of the day, except for the donuts which I felt I had earned. Aside from that I didn’t smile, talked to no living soul, checked Facebook only twice and e-mail three or four times. I didn’t feel good until I stopped working and ate a salad for din-din. When I finished dinner, I drank a little wine, was happy from avoiding it up to 6:30 and drank only a small glass and tried to nap: closed my eyes, listened to the radio and gave up after 15 minutes; returned to work on the museum at about 6:45 and stopped for the day at 10:30, truly satisfied with what I’ve accomplished today. I’m not touching the wine; will take a few more sleep aids about midnight and call it a day.

The song lyric that follows I wrote about 12 years ago and sang once: at an open mic at Robbie’s Restaurant in Springfield on a Wednesday night. I had trouble with the refrain melody that night and haven’t sung it since. It shares my discomfort from being solo at my decrepitating age. I never dreamed in adolescence that I could love and cherish female companionship and affection to much for so long, so warmly and STILL be unmarried so long. The ultimate answer is that I’m still unmarried because I have proven so witheringly inept at fostering lasting . . . .love. I’m not proud of this, I am ashamed, more ashamed than I was when I realized, years after my parents allowed me to quit taking piano lessons in fourth grade and warned me I would wish I had continued. I continued playing piano, wrote songs, learned to love piano and music over years hence. So here’s the lyric. Come visit me and I’ll SING it to you.

I Guess I Was Born to Be
by Job Conger

I’ve had me some sweethearts
Who said they thought me wise,
Traded love for some bounty-
ful baskets of lies.
It was all so mercantile,
I recall with a sigh.
I guess I was born
to be a single guy.

Hysterical romances all ended in a huff.
I haven’t loved often, or even enough,
But I’m done with this fool’s
game of wondering why
It seems I was born
to be a single guy.

(Here’s the refrain with the melody I stumbled over). . .
There were no greater thrills, passions more fine.
Than lusty tussles, lips sweeter than wine,
But those were yesteryears’ joys. Now I contemplate
Life chasing different dreams, as master of my fate.

No more quilt and antiques shopping.
There’s more room to stretch in bed.
I don’t have to pretend to like her friends;
I just have to pretend to like my friends instead
Haven’t vacuumed my house since last Fourth of July
I guess I was born to be a single guy.
I guess I was born to be a single guy.


Live long . . . . . . . and proper.

I’m sure one or two of you who read Honey & Quinine have been wondering how I’ve been doing with my vow to not bring wine to my home because it would impede progress with my higher priorities. Well my intention was compromised in the course of this evening (Wednesday the 13th) when my attitude toward the day-to-day burden of life was boosted by unforeseen circumstance to a higher plateau which I didn’t expect to happen but which I happily acknowledge tonight about 11:48 in the pm. As the occasion concluded, I began whispering to myself “WHAT THE HELL, I’LL BUY THE DAMN WINE! Minutes later I did: a gallong of Carlo Rossi Paisano because Hy-Vee didn’t have BURGUNDY. The Paisano will do. I’m not drinking to lessen the impact of previous weeks’ distress; I am celebrating a turn for the better. After I get the rest of this post out if me, I will drink the rest of the wine only when I’m not compromising what I really need to focus on and I’ll be sharing more about that in my next post in about a week.

Earlier tonight I attended a new open mic event for crafted spoken word poetry at Wm. T. Vans After Hours Coffeehouse (address and details later this year) which for the second month in a row. I had an excellent time at the first one I attended and tonight, circumstances conspired to allow me to shine, as a poet, as a sharer of poetry, as I have seldom shined before. It restored my faith in the authenticity of the man and poet I have always THOUGHT myself to be. Suffice to say it was a very good night. The evening’s emcee, Will Redwood is a local aspiring artist of significant talent. He was a fine emcee. I had decided, after early arrival , to read a Conger poem from one of my books of poetry, to recite a poem from my other book of my poetry, and to recite one or two poems by Vachel Lindsay.

The poem from my first book Minstrel’s Ramble: to Live and Die in Springfield, Illinois was written February 16, 1971 I was sitting in the student lounge at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. I remember the place as though it was yesterday. I wrote a poem which seems — so many wayfaring years later — to be the story of one consistent aspect of my life. That aspect, one of the MANY negative aspects of my life, is evident here. I wanted to tell strangers the day before Valentine’s Day, something about who I am, and this poem seemed strangely appropriate for this occasion. Here it is.. . . . . . I’ve just discovered I can’t arrange the lines here in this blog as I arranged them in print, so you need to know that these ////// indicate the end of the current line before the start of the next line. The power of the poem is significantly crippled by this, but I’m charging ahead, because I believe in the poem, and I hope you like it.

When Someone Inspires . . . . by Job Conger

I will write for her enchanting form and mind./ forms and thoughts/ from my pen and heart,/ lines of inspired imagery/ and lilting, lusting hopes./ Singing of dreams/ of times in which I want to embrace her/ and rush with her to hot times at a Hyatt Regency/ predicting ecstasy/ surrendering hearts/ and good times coming our way,/ I will flower the path to love/ with roses of words/ and as I do,/ I will write the end/ before the beginning!

Thanks for reading this post.
Live long . . . . . . and proper.

I was reminded early this year of my unpaid balance due to the local county health center, and I sent them a check last week. Since my fall a few years ago (details on request; I don’t want to bore you without your consent) and the minor stroke a few winters after that, I’ve been totally happy with the nurse practitioner who monitored my physical recoveries over about a year and a half. The progress I was making with improved blood pressure, lung efficiencey and weight (eventually from 205 to 170) , was consistently challenged by a bothersome counterpoint to my describing, toward the end of each visit, how hopeless, depressed and darn-near immobilized by sadness I’ve been feeling. It is an everyday companion, chipping away at my shoulder when I’ve not been in face-to-face contact with people I enjoy. I didn’t want to consider her suggestion of engaging a health clinic “counselor” to facilitate (no pun intended) an improvement in my ongoing tussle with portents of doom.
Eventually I arranged a first visit. It went fine. Regular weekly visits led to bi-weekly visits, all consisting of me telling her what pained my life. It was as though I was a confused 10-year old telling “mommy” how my day went at school . . . only the about 45 minutes per session every week or two. As each visit approached goodbye time, she’d ask me what would be my challenge to address until we talked again. Sometimes she’d suggest a goal when I stumbled, frustrated. There was no attempt to engage anything more profound than that.
I am content in coming to understand that THIS effort to determine if I understood my problems and was able to identify logical, realistic approaches to addressing them was WHAT COUNSELORS DO. I hoped for more probing questions from her; suggesting paths to treating the outcomes of aberrant symptoms manifesting themselves in my life. Her NOT suggesting paths toward ameliorating the symptoms disappointed me. The solution offered was a common anti-depressant. I voiced my disinclination to pharmaceutical solutions but after putting up the good fight for a few months, and then deciding I was working against myself if I didn’t at least give them a try.
ESCITALOPRAM 20mg. popularly known as Lexapro, was a mixed blessing. The morning after I had taken my first one, I awoke with no hint of anxiety and depression. It was unreal. It seemed I could not force anxiety. It was no longer in my “toolbox” of woes. I could be sad, occasionally, upset by kinks in my high-wire walk through life. But it didn’t slow me down. Hours I had devoted to web sites with adult photos became hours spent reading aviation history, biography. working on my aviation museum. About two weeks into the pill thing I returned to gaze longingly at anatomy I’ve considered darn-near rapturous for decades , just to enjoy the views. That’s when I discovered something missing: my libido. It’s described in all the Googled sites about Lexapro. When I politely described the unexpected loss to my counselor, I made it clear, smiling good naturedly, that, my life was not ruined by this discovery. After all, I could buy myself a decent dinner if I had a dollar for every year since I had most recently shared a bed with a woman. I’m not at all happy to reveal that, to concede that.
The more I pondered my new INCAPACITY, the more I began to realize how losing the ability would probably be a more profound blow to me than the disappearance of ANXIETY from my life. . . . . . . . . so I stopped taking my bed time Lexapro. I still have most of a 30-day supply in case I change m mind. I have not shared my decision with my health clinic counselor or my nurse practitioner who will return from months off for maternity leave to the clinic in March. Time spent with my counselor had girded my resolve for winter . . . . . I made it through the entire Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s seasons with making an appointment to return. (HUZZAH! HUZZA!) and it WAS a SOLITARY, SILENT 25th. As of January 27, 2019, I do not plan to make another appointment with her.
I’m learning to channel my prodigal nemesis ANXIETY into positive outcomes. I will need ANXIETY, when it’s time to say goodbye.
I’ve not had alcohol in the house since 2018. There have been days since December 31 when I drank the last drop, when I’ve really WANTED to bring another gallon jug of Carlo Rossi Burgundy home and get lost to myself with it. The longer I decline it, the more confident in myself I become.
Until I run out of days this year, I am determined to affirm to others, and to yours truly, that I AM the man I imagine I am.


Live long . . . . . . . . . and proper.