May 27, 2020

Congestion

Sometimes you look at a word and it speaks to you.

I recently ramped up work with Gikken, a Berlin-based boutique Apple software company. Alex from Gikken introduced me to a newsletter called Dense Discovery. Upon reading Dense Discovery this evening, I tripped over an American indie magazine called Fifty Grande, wherein I was drawn to an article about folk artists living out of a van. I thought: Hey, that’d be pretty damn cool to live out of a van.” It’s a thought I’m sure you’ve humoured at one point. In that article, I read the word congestion. It spoke to me.

Why is congestion speaking to me? It’s kinda gross. What does it connote? Mucus? Traffic? Blockage? I’ve dealt with an embarrassing amount of glottal mucus all my life, having been raised in an agrarian suburb. We’ve taken a turn for the intimate.

No, these superficial connections were not, in this instance, what first came to mind. For some reason I read that word like it was brand new. Thought of the raw meaning of it—what might be a definition stripped of allegiance to any particular congestive circumstance. I got all philosophical.

I studied comparative religion in college. My brother asked me on a walk today whether I’m an atheist. I won’t get into that here. Brought this up because my philosophy of religion courses used ancient allegories to illustrate spiritual concepts. Once meditated on a blueberry and felt it more intensely than certain prior sexual encounters. Blueberries’ll do that to ya.

Congestion is something we deal with incessantly. Congestion of the mind. I’m not sure where I’m going with this but I’m trying to unearth something via writing. Little thought purge. Ain’t that what they recommend?

Making sense of it

Nothing makes sense—that’s why it’s called making sense. You ought to manufacture the sense yourself.

Congestion is a temporary status. If a passageway were perpetually blocked it wouldn’t be blocked at all because it wouldn’t be a passageway to begin with.1 Unless it began as a passageway like some Egyptian tomb that subsequently crumbled and was to remain in ruin for near eternity.

Let’s agree that it’s temporary. Shouldn’t congestion then be relievable? It often is relieved. Can that relief be facilitated manually? If we are discussing mental congestion, then surely it may be. Phobia, for example, causes a congestion that takes gradual chipping away at to allow for the passage of… well, some inverse2 of fear. Writer’s block, however, simply takes:

  • Two (2) parts bourbon.
  • One (1) part amaretto.
  • A spit of lemon juice.
  • A dewdrop of maple syrup.
  • Your evening mug met with ice.

Suddenly derailed

It’s time to sleep. If you too are due for a snooze, may we both awake without congestion, mental or otherwise.


  1. This could be super-simply sublimated by a base-level pupil of philosophical logic. If A is true and B depends on A… Something of axioms, propositions and the like.

  2. I tried and failed to think of one. Any I came up with felt forced and without substantial, confident evidence or example. May come back to this.


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