Artisanal, liminal, seminal

Sleep, lots of it, has been my modus operandi of late. I did mention that I am an Olympic champion at napping, and you don’t maintain that high level of achievement without lots of practice. In truth, however, I really have been tired and unfocused. It is hard to get anything substantial done, to muster up the oomph, even though there is actually quite a lot to do.

Another activity (I’m using that term very loosely) that I excel at lately is watching videos. In other words, I watch other people get things done while I just sit in my armchair, vegetating and stagnating.

I am bored, tired, overwhelmed, and unmotivated most of the time. I’d like to snap out of it if only it didn’t take so much energy to accomplish. The local weather — high heat and humidity — does not help at all. Nor does the plethora of insects that converge on me as soon as I step outside.

So, I just sit inside the house and read and watch and think and sleep and eat. Wash, rinse, repeat. Notice that talking is not mentioned in that list, because (much to my wife’s irritation) I am not a good talker. Frankly, people who talk a lot annoy me. I don’t mind being silent for long stretches, of being alone with my thoughts. In fact, I crave it.

Something I think a lot about are words. They fascinate me. Their use, especially in written communication, is interesting and thought-provoking and sometimes, irritating. An example of the latter is overuse of the word “artisanal.” Everything that is overpriced these days is artisanal. As if that makes a hill of beans worth of difference. Are we really that stupid as a society? I sure hope not.

Or take the word “seminal,” commonly used to describe something that influences other things, such as a research paper or academic book or a particular movie. I just can’t get past the fact that it has a completely different, earthier meaning as well.

I like the word “liminal” quite a lot, although it’s teetering on the edge of overuse and soon may be just as reprehensible as artisanal. (Overuse = bad, in my vocabulary, if you can’t tell.) The word has a few different meanings but the one I prefer is when it is used to describe a position that is in between two others. Basically, it’s a fancy way of describing a fence sitter.

I tend to sit on a lot of fences, metaphorically, so maybe that’s why I like the word. If you’ve ever sat on a fence in real life, you know that it is not a very comfortable position to be in for long periods of time. Such is my life.

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