A Discombobulated American

Definition of discombobulate:
discombobulated; discombobulating
transitive verb
: upset, confuse was discombobulated by her revelation
inventing cool new ways to discombobulate the old order —Kurt Andersen
— discombobulation play \-ˌbä-b(y)ə-ˈlā-shən\ noun

Discombobulate: There’s no other word that perfectly describes when my head is in the clouds, my limbs don’t quite connect with my brain, and the day is just plain off. As much as I want to shake myself back into normal, there’s been a trauma of sorts, that my brain is still trying to work out.

I love this word. Discombobulate. It’s right up there with another favorite of mine,  nincompoop, but that’s a blog for another day, though you might find it appropriate today, too.

Admittedly, my mind has been on overdrive since the weekend. There was a lot of stimulation, most of it around our current state of affairs in this country. My confusion over the last day was exacerbated by an uncertain ending last night. I initially thought I’d be heading back to yoga today easing back into my practice with an early morning gentle flow. Shortly after the State of the Union, I remembered this morning’s super moon. I thought I needed to be awake at 4:45 a.m., but when I re-checked the prime viewing hours I found I needed to be awake about 5:30 a.m. I went to bed unsettled, which for me is the equivalent of shooting caffeine directly in my veins. It was no surprise that I couldn’t get my brain to shut down and fall asleep. After four restless hours,  I last looked at the clock around 2:30 a.m. and then what seemed like a moment later the alarm erupted at 5:30 a.m.

I could have rolled over, but my preachy pretentious self 10 just hours earlier told my daughter we needed to wake up for this. The super red moon hasn’t happened in more than a century. So I did wake up and she kept sleeping. I saw the first phase and then I had to kick it up a notch. This morning was the perfect time to learn how to use the telescope that I bought for Bridget’s father 10 years ago. It would be a cinch. I climbed into the back of the garage. Pulled out the huge telescope. It weighs about 50 pounds. Its tripod base if collapsed would make it more manageable, but my stubborn and un-caffeinated-self maneuvered every obstacle, including ladders, mirrors, chairs, a lawnmower, and a snowblower. Yes, I know I need to clean out the garage.

The neighborhood crazy lady was on a mission. Puffy jacket, over a fleece, that was over a nightgown, that was over sweatpants, with her ankle socks and slippers, I found a clear path of sight and set that sucker up. The tree branches were beautiful, damned if I could find that moon, though! It was becoming smaller and lower, as I quickly turned knobs and viewfinders I found its light behind the branches.  No sooner did I make contact than the moon when it moved further north and out of sight. Running down the street with this telescope over my shoulder, I set it up again. Something felt off. The roofline looked like an open triangle facing up. Shit. I don’t know what I did, but the entire view was upside down. Once I found the moon, there was a sliver of light on top, not the bottom that I saw without the telescope.

Freezing, with running gloves on, exposed ankles, and a dress scarf, because I was too hurried to find a wool one, I raised the flag and felt like I an epic failure. I was done. I would not see the climax of this lunar show. Best decision I made was not waking up Bridget.


I carried that telescope right back to the house, again putting it over my shoulder and turning my body and tweaking the angles of its legs when something started spasming in my back. It was 6:30 a.m. when the feeling of a knife being twisted through my rib cage began and has dulled some, thanks to generous amounts of Advil and Tylenol. But the whole experience threw me off today.

This moon, I wanted to see so badly, left me longing to restart this day. Thoughts of this morning’s moon hijacked my thoughts last night, interrupted my sleep, and then possessed me this morning. I looked like a zombie trying to capture it on my phone, on with my camera, or with the telescope.

After briefly describing my jaunt with the telescope this morning, a friend suggested I write about chasing the moon. I chuckled. The last 24 hours felt like a like a chase all right. A wild goose chase. It was late yesterday afternoon when I remembered I needed to watch the State of the Union. And writing through this, I realize that it’s not the moon that really frustrated me, it’s the hour and twenty minutes that I spent listening to the President last night.

I watched him use American heroes, victims of crimes, ambitious and loyal Americans to prop up his own agenda.  The difference between his predecessors and him was not that each president used Americans and their stories as a physical form of propaganda; but the intent of others was to honor, while he exploited and capitalized on their successes and tragedies. His address was used to advance an agenda of hate and exclusion. Using themes of the pledge of allegiance and the flag to veil ulterior motives to banish and export people whose moral compass is not aligned with his capitalist hell.

It was ironic that in the moment’s before the State of the Union, I was helping my daughter prepare for her Constitution test today. We went over Freedom of Speech and the Bill of Rights, checks and balances and the branches of government, and federalism. Watching the state of the union last night I had this icky feeling. It’s the feeling I get when someone has perverted something that I once believed was immune from adulteration, like our country’s constitution, for example. Dark money has done that well. And this president is evidence of that. It’s a dark hour in our country. This unsettling feeling is a tough feeling to shake, and this sense of discombobulation I’m afraid is more than a fleeting moment.

4 Thoughts

  1. Discombulated is the perfect word for this week. I think. Not to mention it happens to be a favorite word of mine as well. Nincompoop? Well. . . how can you NOT love it?
    I didn’t watch the SOTU. I probably won’t. I know…I’m a horrible American.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Love finding fellow discombobulated and nincompoop lovers! You should not feel bad. I know plenty of people who didn’t. It’s the former journalist in me. I feel like it’s a civic duty. I wish I would have seen Phantom Thread instead.

      Liked by 1 person

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