Friday, July 21, 2017
Shogenai: Accepting What Is
Shogenai. Japanese word. Typically Japanese concept. It essentially means "nothing can be done." It's a useful word to know and, sometimes, an even more useful attitude to adopt.
People tend to misunderstand, though. In fact, when I was checking my spelling for the term (sometimes it is spelled with a U as Shougenai but either way appears to be correct) today, I ran across a blog with a scathing indictment of Shogenai which defined it as a response of round-shouldered defeatism when the least degree of difficulty presents itself. And that would be Wrong. Not just wrong but Wrong.
Shogenai is actually a position of strength in adversity. You look things in the eye; you see clearly that there's nothing you can usefully do; you say okay this is what it is; and you move on doing the best you can with what you are able to do. That's not defeat. It's common sense. It's Wabi Sabi (basically means using whatever imperfect stuff you've got in the very best way you can), too. Stuff is what it is. And you deal with it.
I was thinking about that notion earlier today because I don't like the way the central AC unit is running. It's leaking water into the vent void. Although there's a sump pump to carry the wet off, it sometimes sounds like Niagara Falls is busy in there, and it can get ahead of what the pump is able to handle. That worries me. Nobody wants a waterfall in the middle of the house. My good neighbor had a go at dealing with this problem late last summer when the leak was so bad that the hallway flooded but he couldn't solve the mystery. And I can't afford to pay anyone else to attempt to do so. So, for the time being, it's a matter of Shogenai. I can't deal with it, so I'm just gonna have to work around it.
And that brought me to another instance of Shogenai: my clothesline. I don't like it. It's installed wrong. It's in the wrong place. It annoys me. (Read this post.) I haven't got the strength or the skills to fix it, and I'm for sure not gonna ask anyone else to do it. Shogenai.
But running the dryer doesn't make sense right now. I don't wanna run the AC more than I have to and it's 95+ every day. If the dryer is going, it's gonna make the AC work harder and I don't want that. But I'm behind on the laundry and now that I've got detergent, I need to get busy. Right? So this morning I determined to use my faulty clothesline for its intended purpose. It may not be what I want and it may not be where I want but it can still be used. I can live with it. Shogenai.
So I got to work. It was kinda refreshing to see things drying in the sun.....until I realized that the "Old Number 7" had kicked in. I'm not sure where that silly name comes from but it's what a lot of folks around here call the typical South Mississippi summer weather forecast--in other words, you've gotta expect thunderstorms Every Afternoon (no kidding!) between around 1 and 5. Yeah. Laundry on the line. Rain. I can bring the laundry in off the line. Shogenai.
Now there are piles of wet wash reposing on the screen porch. But I'm refusing to just accept this one. There is stuff I can do, and that's still Shogenai. First off, once the rain quits, the laundry is going back on the line. Then I'm gonna do something more because there is stuff I can do. I've been digging around in my Goodie Box (it's an old file cabinet where I keep parts and other worthwhile stuff). I found a big manila envelope that has been sitting in the Box for a few years now. I was keeping it until I could move the clothesline so I could renovate the thing properly. But it's time to Shogenai: I accept that I am not gonna move it, so I'd better fix it right where it is. That envelope has a set of turnbuckles that I bought online. Now I've just gotta figure out how to use them. See? Shogenai isn't defeat. It's common sense.
Do I know how to use turnbuckles? Not a clue! So it may take me a few days to figure out the turnbuckle stuff and maybe I'll need some new clothesline. I don't know. I'll get to that soon as I can, and that's okay because there's something else I Can do in the meanwhile. I know how to install shelf brackets. And it just so happens that I bought some on clearance last autumn. I didn't know at the time what I'd do with them but the bargain was too good to resist (75% off!) since I had enough cash to pay for it. I believe in buying in advance of need when possible; and certainly any sensible person knows they're gonna need shelf brackets sometime somewhere somehow. Two of the brackets that I bought are the type that will hold a pole. Guess what I need today? Some kind of clothes pole on the porch to hold that damp laundry temporarily. It's sensible. And I can put a shelf over the top of the brackets to hold Whatever. Believe me, there's always Whatever on my porch. Surely you have a similar problem on yours.
Do I have a pole? I dunno. But I'm not worried. Probably there's something in the workshop that will do. Certainly there should be since that's the sort of thing I wouldn't throw out. I know that there was one but I used that pole and the end of a cut-off shelf to make a demilune table. Really. Do I know how to make furniture? Of course not. Why should that stop me? (There's a picture of the table by my basket chair in this post from last year when I was planning to move furniture.) I don't always know what I'm gonna do with stuff but, Shogenai, I keep it. Eventually I need it or else someone else does. My theory: It's cheaper to keep it. Works for me.
Brackets, turnbuckles, various screws. This is gonna be fun!
The thing is, you've gotta know your own mind and your own skills. There will always be stuff you don't like, stuff you can't do, stuff you can't afford. That's Shogenai. It's where you take that Wabi Sabi situation from there that's important. Now I'm gonna go find my power drill and we'll see what one disabled little old lady can accomplish.
Give in but don't give up.
Life is good.