Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Little to Say


Originally Posted Monday, November 17, 2014


I know, I know.  I was going to be the black and white film king of the internet.  I was going to start shooting outside again.  I was going to document the social universe. 

It's hard.  Especially on a bum knee.  Getting around is still a hassle.  I can't walk far nor fast.  I look like Quazimodo when I do. 

So. . . old images. 

The knee aside, I am in some seasonal lethargy.  Maybe it is age related.  I don't want to do much.  I love hanging around the house right now.  I don't even watch television.  I listen to music, read, nap.  Oh. . . the napping.  There is never enough of that. 

And somewhere out there, the flu is encroaching.  The first waves of illness are here. 

Inside my house, there is food and drink and peace.  I clean the dishes, wipe down the counters, do the laundry.  It is a heroic life.  I may begin to adventure out soon, though, but it would take. . . a Vespa.  This is Vespa Country. 

That is all I have for you now expect perhaps some disappointment that it is time to clock in at the factory.  Thanksgiving is coming and I need the break.  I will have the Hillbilly Holidays this year.  It is fine.  It is at the water near some very nice things. 

But that is not today.  Oh. . . I've got to get shakin'.

Stories


Originally Posted Sunday, November 16, 2014


A perfect Saturday, me with a bum knee.  Put me in a wheelchair and roll me around.  This not being "whole" at this time of the year is frustrating.  I want a speedier recovery.  Yesterday, I just wanted to play, so after a morning at home, I met up with a friend.  I needed to take my car to Costco to get a tire plugged and the tires rotated and balanced.  It would take them all day.  We dropped the car, then she took me to the gym, my hometown YMCA. 

"If any of the women are wearing tights, they will be black," I said. 

"What?" 

"I was just thinking.  I'll bet." 

My friend had on some wild tights like Spiderman on acid. 

"I'm just saying." 

It was true, of course.  I had never thought about it before, but I needn't have.  It is the way in my hometown.  Nothing garish, everything elegantly understated.  Unless it is Versace, of course.  But one does not wear Versace to the gym here.  It is neither right nor wrong.  It is just the semiotics of dress.  There are unwritten codes everywhere.  Where my friend lives, clothes announce your existence in another way. 

My friend went through my wimpy "welcome back to the gym" workout with me.  When we had finished the weight lifting portion, she pointed to a woman on a treadmill in some Spiderman tights. 

"Uh-huh," I said.  "Scholarship.  Wait 'til she gets off and look at her.  You will see.  She's not part of "the crowd." 

The woman stands out like a sore thumb.  She looks like one of the waitresses in that old "Mel's Diner" t.v. show, chewing gum, sort of a dull look in her eyes. 

O.K.  I'm being purposely awful to make a point. 

Later, we went to lunch on the Boulevard.  Saturday.  The Carnivale Cruise Line had dropped off its weekend crowd, but we schlepped into my favorite lunching bar for Wahoo Rubens and white Sangria.  My friend looked super cool. 

"You don't like my tights?" she asked me. 

"No.  But that doesn't mean anything.  I always look like a bum.  It doesn't matter if I like them or not.  Don't quit wearing them because of me.  What do I know.  You know why they wear black, though, don't you?"

"It makes them look smaller." 

"Right.  That's part of it.  The other part is that it is the 'code.'  It is like a gang member wearing colors.  It makes you part of 'the thing.'" 

After lunch, we went to a newish photo gallery in town.  We have tried to go three other times, but it has always been closed for something or other.  I have been directed there by one of my REAL artist friends and by another gallery curator to meet the owner who puts on some major shows here and in Miami.  When we pulled up, my friend said, "Jesus Christ, it's closed."  It looked like it, but then I saw some lights inside.  The front door opened.  "Finally," she said walking in. 

Oh, my.  I lost my breath.  The place was beautiful, the work overwhelming.  The show was called "Identity," and the walls were hung with some major photographers from around the world.  Several of the Chinese photographers' work were like a punch in the gut, big, brilliant. . . beautiful. 

"I'm not going to show here," I told my friend. 

"Why not?"

"Look at this!  This work is powerful.  This guy isn't going to show local artists.  Why would he?  It wouldn't add to the gallery's reputation at all.  Just the opposite."

"I like your work better," she said as if she were objective.

"Yea, well. . . ." 

The owner was engaged in conversation with another fellow while we strolled around.  When we were finished, I tossed a "thank you" his way and started to turn for the door. 

"Are you two from New York," he asked?

Odd, I thought, but my friend looked particularly cool, as I said.  She wore a felt hat and had nailed a look, I thought.  At least it knocked me out. 

"She is," I said, "or should be."  Thus started the conversation.  The gallery owner is from L.A. as was the fellow he was talking to.  I told him how wonderful his gallery was, how strong the work.  Now comes the part where you will be incredulous, I know.  You will say I am making most of this up, but it happens to me often enough so that I am not surprised, and yesterday it happened again. 

"Are you an artist?" he asked. 

"No." 

"Yes, he is.  He's a photographer." 

Later my friend told me she had never seen me nervous before.  "I thought you were going to shit yourself," she said. 

"I wasn't nervous." 

"Yes you were.  I loved seeing that." 

Sure she did.  But it was she who asked, "Do you ever show local artists?"  She wanted to bring some of my stuff around, she said.  Talk talk talk.  He asked what sort of work I did.  Had I shown?  I should bring some around next week. 

I don't know if he will like my work or not.  I doubt that I will get into the gallery.  But that isn't the point of my story, really.  It is about those tights, sort of, or rather about the semiotics of dress.  She looked like she belonged in that gallery that Saturday afternoon.  She looked like the girl you wanted to know.  There would have been no conversation about my photography if she had looked. . . differently. 

She had put an exclamation point on my comments about the way she looked at the gym.  Nailed the coffin shut. 

It is always like that, though.  When I was dating the child who would become a major NYC fashion editor, I had written in my journal that she overestimated herself, that she was just a chubby redneck with too much confidence and not enough awareness.  She likes to remind me of that now. 

All of this, however, is simply to make a point about something, simply, really, to justify my buying the leather chairs, the antique watches. . . whatever.  Whether it is interior design or sartorial choices, everything's a language.  Everything tells a story.  It is important, I think, what stories we tell.  And it is hard being a good story teller. 

Whether the gallery wants my work or not. . . well, you'll be the first to know. 

A Visit to the. . . (wtf). . . Physician's Assistant


Originally Posted Saturday, November 15, 2014


I went for my one week check up after knee surgery.  Not such good news.  The doctor was not there, so I had to see his P.A.  What is a P.A. anyway? How is it different from a nurse practitioner?  And why would I want to see one?  I understand why doctors want them as they relieve them from the tedium of daily healthcare while putting more money in their pockets.

The P.A. informed me that the doctor had trimmed the meniscus and had removed some arthritis growth.  He had also found scar tissue under the patella and had removed that as well.  That was going to slow down the recovery quite a bit.  That will take longer to heal.  I should "be careful" and not "overdo it" in my recovery. 

?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

The last thing the doctor told me was that I would not need any physical therapy and that I would be able to do whatever I wanted as long as it didn't hurt.  He'd had patients who were running again in a couple weeks, etc.  Do what you can, he said. 

I wasn't even given crutches. 

Instructions were to ice the knee for three days after surgery. 

So. . . why didn't anyone tell me this?

I was the last surgery on a Friday night, of course.  I'm sure the surgeon had left the building long before I came to. 

I began walking half an hour after surgery. 

"If you overdo it," said the P.A., "you can slow down the recovery. You don't want swelling.  Ice is your friend.  You should be icing your knee three times a day.  Don't try to do too much." 

He was leaning toward the door, one ass cheek on the seat, folder in hand. 

"Wait a minute you little twerp," I said.  Wanted to say.  It would have done me no good to insult the good P.A.  He was only trying to help me. . . .  No he wasn't.  Not really.  He was just reciting lines.  I tried to tell him about how I was walking and about the pain that occurred whenever I did a heal strike.  Was this normal? 

"Be careful," he said again.  "Just don't overdo it."

"What the FUCK does that mean?  I need metrics motherfucker!"

I didn't say that, either.  What does it mean, though, to "be careful"?  How do you do that?  Tell me not to ride my bike on the roof, and I get it.  Don't chew glass.  Those kind of specific things.  How do I know if I am "overdoing it"?  You expect this sort of vague advice from a distant relative, but from a. . . well, a P.A.? 

Maybe. 

At least I now know why I have pain in the top part of my knee cap.  There lies most of the surgical damage


The nurse came in--I think she was a nurse, but who knows?  She was wearing scrubs like everyone else, but she could have been the cleaning lady.  I read her tag.  It said "Medical Assistant."  What is that?  Jesus Christ, they might just make badges up that say "Healthcare Professional" or "Medical Engineer." 

"Can I have one of those badges?"

"Sure, take one.  They don't mean anything, but people like wearing them.  It seems to give them confidence." 

Anyway, the woman in the smock was there to take out my stitches. 

"Will it hurt?"

"Sure.  What do you think?  How are your meds holding up." 

"I quit taking the Percocet.  They made me feel weird and constipated."

"Oh, you are allergic to them, then.  I'll put that on your record" 

"I am allergic to Oxycontin.  That is on the chart.  These have Oxycodone.  I asked if they would be O.K.  It is different from Codeine, right?  Do they still make Tylenol 4?"

"Tylenol with Codeine?  Yes."

"I do fine with that.  Can I trade mine in for those." 

"Maybe.  I'll ask the doctor."

"He's not in." 

"I know." 

Etc. 

This is considered to be the top orthopedic clinic in town.  My doctor is one of the top surgeons. 

I went to the gym yesterday, the first time since surgery.  I did some light leg exercises and rode the exercise bike for a bit.  Then I went out for drinks with a friend.  Floriditas for me, Gin and Jam for her.  Oh that bar.  She wore a red scarf and a black top and a black, felt hat.  Blonde.  Spectacular.  We ate a starter of fried rabbit and had a beet salad at the bar.  The night was cool, the crowd eclectic.  Cocktails on a Friday night in a small, good bar with friends is the reason for many things.  Fortunately, in a place like this, the money runs out quickly.  We split a blue cheese burger and fries and switched to craft beers on draft.  I would have gotten drunker if the drinks were cheaper, and switching to beer always slows me way the fuck down. 

Later, limping in the night's air, she asked me if I needed her to ice my knee.  Oh yes, I said.  I obviously needed icing. 

I woke this morning sore all over.  Not from the icing, of course, but from the workout.  I am beginning to look like Jack Nicholson.  I am going to have to drink only expensive cocktails in expensive cocktail bars.  I drink far too much at home.  Yes, that is my plan.  If I want a drink, I shall go to the bar.  I will keep the teas well stocked in the cupboards.  I will learn to make them all, sticky sweet Turkish teas and milky fat Tibetan chai.  I will grind my own cardamon. 

I don't think I'll lose weight, though.  It seems impossible.  I look like a gourd with swizzle sticks now.  All that is left is to do is drape myself in pretty clothing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Formula for Success


Originally Posted Friday, November 14, 2014


Oh hell. . . let's start the weekend with a pretty picture.  "Pretty?"  O.K.  I don't want to get into it now.  I am only just coming back to myself from whatever ether they put me under.  It has been one week and my head is beginning to clear.  I had two compliments on my haircut yesterday, so perhaps that is beginning to heal as well.  There is a weekend stretching before me and I wish to amble through it with a bit of elegance and grace.  I am practicing those just now, but there is a need for much, much more.  Habits.  Develop good ones they told us when we were young. They were right, of course.  We are made up of habits of body and habits of mind.  Try changing a few and you will feel the strain.  It may be easier to make wholesale changes than small, daily ones.  I think of the notebook of little Jay Gatz and his formula for success.  I am simply trying to practice decorum and decoration.

But isn't the picture pretty? 

I have some great ideas (I think they are as of now) for working with my old images and making them something else.  I will try to turn the ideas into matter this weekend.  I will try.  I can see what I want to make in my head.  Seeing it on the wall will be much harder.  After all the work, I will then see if the ideas are good at all. 

"Birdman."  I wanted it to end.  I found it a misery, really.  I didn't know that the movie was a fictional biopic.  Looking at Keaton was torturous if you are of a particular age.  I have broken all the mirrors in the house. . . only to look into one much larger than life.  It is a story about an aging man who wants to stay relevant.  Are you familiar with the Greeks?  I did not feel purged, though, at film's end.  I couldn't say, "But for the grace of God. . . ."  The movie made it clear.  There go I. 

My advice to everyone is to avoid the film.  If you see it, make certain you've flushed all the pills and thrown away all the old ropes. 

The girl in the picture would have no interest in the film one way or another.  She and I will ever be joined in the moment of this picture.  It is a curious, almost sacred, thing. 

Gray, drizzly skies and sinking temperatures.  Decorum and decoration will be my defense.  I will take two old, expensive watches in for repair.  Maybe.  I hate wearing a watch.  But the crocodile band on one is so beautiful.  The watch itself is slim and elegant.  As I would be. 

But it is too late to adopt a formula for success now, no?  Those habits must be formed when we are young. Besides, I am unable to amble just now.  I am walking with a decided limp and only for short distances. 

Perhaps I am not as clear headed as I thought.  It seems I am still under the influence of those ethers. 

Big


Originally Published Thursday, November 13, 2014


"Tripple Elvis" by Warhol.  Andy, not the other one.  It sold last night for $86,000,000. 


1920's French Camel Back Club Chair.  Two of them and a cute little French Bistro table.  Last night they sold for around $3,000. 


OMG!  Here's an image I didn't even know existed.  It is a classic work from C.S. on Fuji Instant Film.  Early Era.  I will put it up for auction at a price anywhere between the two items above.  No, no, I can sell it for less.  I will.  Just don't make me die to do it.  

Weird that I don't remember this picture at all.  It might look good printed big and turned into an encaustic piece with some text transferred over it, perhaps some polka dots, too, in faded garish colors.  "Employees Must Wash Hands" or maybe something from an ad for pain relief.  I am amazed, really.  I don't remember this girl ever wearing clothing.  

*    *    *    
I spent yesterday at the factory.  I was a hollow shell of my former self.  I merely existed.  I had neither equilibrium nor motivation.  There was a constant stream of people through my doorway.  Each of them in his/her turn would pull up short and, wide-eyed, say something about my new haircut.  None of it was positive.  The very best I got was, "I don't hate it."  After that, I'd say the best was, "Oh. . . it will grow back."  There were the, "Noooooo. . . nooooooo. . . why?" statements and the flat out, "I hate it" statements.  Why are people so bold with me?  Truth teller that I am, I guess, nobody felt the need to lie.  But I didn't think the hair so bad myself.  In truth, it probably was the face and not the hair itself.  Perhaps it is more visible now.  Youthful hair contrasted with a face that has been destroyed.  Still. . . I am just off surgery.  I am in a delicate state for god's sake.  Why didn't they consider that?

I stayed longer than I intended.  I tried to get work done, but my mind was like the buzzing of bees in a little glass jar (Updike).  After everyone was gone, I walked to my car in the parking lot on my bad knee, the other not feeling so steady itself.  I climbed into the Xterra and sat for awhile.  I had a text to which I needed to respond.  The sky was full of altocumulus clouds and of that terrific color that says winter in the south, that high, translucent blue.  It was the sky I love.  The sun was slouching then, the air inside the car still warm.  I felt lazy, felt a laziness come over me that was not the fatigue I had been experiencing all day but a drowsy laziness that washes over you so comfortably, that makes you think of red wine and rich food and heavy deserts, and of the lovely, empty hours.  It was commanded that I would break my routine.  I sat longer thinking of how to respond to the text.  I hated the person on the other end.  I hated her so sadly, so softly.  How do you say that in a text while sitting in the warmth of the car at days end with the sky so heartbreaking and lovely?  

"Birdman" was playing at the local arthouse theater.  It was a Wednesday night.  The show started at 6:30.  I hadn't a need to be anywhere, really.  I was just tired and vulnerable and full of laziness.  I would meet her there.  We would go.  

"Should I see if they will give me that discount that ended yesterday?  Should I just buy the chairs before the movie?  Should I just go in and see?"  

In the growing dusk, I limped the block from the small, now nearly empty parking to the store.  This was it, I thought.  This was life, the very thing itself.  Normally I would be going to the gym now, a sterile life-denying activity that is somehow not optional.  But tonight, I had escaped.  Just now I was living life as it should be lived, me an escaped automaton.  

The woman from the day before who suggested that I might still get the sale price the day after the sale had ended greeted me like a friend.  

"You came back!" she said.  She was smiling warmly like a relative you've come to visit.  

"Yes," I said, "but I still haven't decided on which chairs to buy."

She told me which she preferred.  It was in agreement with the advice I had gotten from someone else.  

"Listen, if I pay for these now, do I still get the discount?"

"Yes," she said.  

"And if I change my mind, can I get the other chairs instead." 

"Sure," she said.  "You can do that."  

The store was beautiful on a Wednesday late afternoon.  Who were we in here now, I wondered?  There were a few others scattered about, and they were all buying things, big things, expensive things.  We did this as others hurried to the gym or drove to pick up the kids or flew home to make the evening dinner.  This was different, though, removed from all of that.  We moved slowly, elegantly.  Everything was leisurely and precise.  We represented something just then, I thought.  The way life should be lived.  In the moment, undistracted by mundanities or duties.  

"I'll take two of those, then," I said, "and that cafe table, too."  

"Very good.  I love all of that," she said.  

I flipped her my card, and while she rung up the purchase, I told her I would be back for some lamps and one of their minimalist Christmas trees. 

"Do you like those?" I asked her. 

"Oh, yes, very much," she said.  

"I will definitely get one," I said.  

Walking out into the dusk, crossing the Boulevard, everything looked familiar but different, too.  I had entered a forgotten town, I thought.  It had been a long time since I'd been here.  

In the car, I looked at the clock.  I just had time to make it to the theater.  I picked up my phone and texted, "What kind of fellow goes into a store, flips a card, and casually buys two leather chairs and a beautiful table on a Wednesday night?  Who?  Jesus Christ, do you know how big my dick is?  I'm on my way.  I'll be there in a moment."  

"I just got here.  I'll be at the bar.  Do you want something?  Yes. . . I know how big your dick is :)"

O.K.  I can not do that every night.  I really couldn't do it last night, either.  But I did, and it now defines me.  Oh, I still have time to change my mind.  I know that.  I can call and cancel the order and have all the money put back into my account.  But I won't.  No. . . I won't.  I am the kind of guy on a Wednesday night. . . .  

Maybe, though, I should quit reading romantic novels.  They seem to get me into nothing but trouble.  

Retooling


Originally Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Another day spent lying about, but finally, a foray out into the world.  A trip to the "health food" store for supplements and lunch.  I thought to do more, but I was exhausted afterwards and drove straight home to climb back into bed.  I slept, woke, read, then got ready for my beauty appointment.  I didn't know if I was up to it.  I'd been thinking much about the furniture I wanted to buy, the pictures I wanted to hang, the things I wanted to get rid of.  Is it wrong, I wondered, to hang your own work in your own house?  I have some really big pieces that would look good in here.  How many am I allowed to hang, I wondered?  I know there are no "real" rules, but there is a bit of modesty that must be observed.  I wish I had more knowledge, too, about hanging works together.  Different sizes, different shapes, different media.  How to hang photographs and paintings in the same room, I puzzled?  Are there courses on this?  Are they online? 

Before my beauty appointment, I decided to stop on the Boulevard and pop into Restoration Hardware.  I didn't think there was a chance in the world they would have the chairs I was looking to buy, but when I walked in the door, there they were--both of them.  I plopped down into the New Parisian Chair.  It was deep. . . perhaps too deep.  My living room is small.  Perhaps two of these would be too much.  Next, the French Camelback Leather Club Chair.  Much smaller.  Comfortable, but not like the other.  One for a visit, the other for a night's reading.  A saleswoman came over to see if I needed help and informed me that the 20% off sale ended that day.  What!?!?!? 

"I can't make up my mind that quickly, I know," I said sadly.

"Well," she whispered conspiratorially, "come in tomorrow and see.  Maybe they will let you have the discount."

I am not good at making decisions.  I was certain that I would not be getting the 20% discount which would save me--what?--like $600.  No, no. . . I had better make up my mind. 

Sitting here this morning, though. . . .  I am embarrassed to tell you any of this.  All of it. 

But it is the season, and I want some changes.  I'm not going to live forever and I can't have most of what I want, so perhaps I should have some of what I can almost afford.  But really, you ask me who asks himself--Restoration Hardware Furniture?  That is the thing you want? 

Nope, not literally, of course.  It is a metaphorical longing of which I am cognizant.  It reminds me of something else.  You can laugh at the facetiousness of it if you want, but allow me to take a gander at the undiagnosed trivialities of your life before you do.  I can make a regular study of them.  Trust me.  I've had lots of practice. 

I left the store on my gimpy knee and crossed the two blocks back to my car hoping that limping around town like this was really good for me as was suggested.  It had been four and a half days since surgery, and without the narcotics, there was pain.  I would be running soon, though, I told myself.  There was nothing I could do wrong. 

It was late when I got to the beauty salon to see my little Russian Jew beautician, and as always, it was going to take awhile.  I had texted her some pictures of a haircut I'd had twelve years ago.  It was much shorter.  "Let's do this," I wrote. "Maybe I will look younger."  This was a joke, of course, a reference to the damage with which the last dozen years had ravaged me. 

When she was finished, half my hair was on the floor.  I had pretty much kept my eyes closed during the cut.  I do mostly, anyway.  It is just difficult to watch myself in mirrors any more.  But when she was finished, I was not dismayed.  Not at the hair, at least.  She had done a nice job.  There I was--a new me!  Yes, I looked quite different, and now, I thought, it was time to make those other changes, too.  I will buy the furniture and the Vespa.  Will they make me happy?  No happier than my haircut.  No happier than falling back upon the old rules of decorum that have somehow gotten lost in my life. No happier than the music I choose to hear.  No happier than anything.  But it will not be this.  It will be something else, and that has always made a difference.  Trust me, I've lived through it before. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Resetting the Gyroscope


Originally Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I'm going to get into hot water here, I know.  Fuck it, though.  I have to tell it. 

I got an email last night from an old "friend."  She was never a "girlfriend," but she was something much more than a "friend."  We were "simpatico."  She was young when we met, nineteen, I think.  She was a college athlete, tall, blonde, funny.  She pursued our "friendship" in a flattering way.  It was fun.  I liked her.  She had an on again/off again boyfriend, a baseball player who was trying to make it into the majors.  He fucked up a lot.  He was a bad boy from a family with some money.  Of course.  He was "that thing."  Who could blame her. 

We wrote every day.  Volumes.  When she moved away on a scholarship to play for a four year school, I would go to visit.  She stayed with me once a few nights in a hotel in Palm Beach.  The girl I was dating came a few days later.  She asked me who so and so was.  Flushing, confused, I asked, "What?"  She handed me the hotel bill.  It had her name on it.  I had called ahead and told them to give her the key when she showed up.  She was going to arrive before I. 

Both of us abandoned and on our own one Christmas, she stayed with me. 

After college, I was adamant she move to California.  I wanted to set her up with Outward Bound.  I had a friend that could get her a job.  She would be a natural, I thought.  She moved in with a college friend at her parent's home in Stanford instead.  Later, she moved to San Francisco and got a boyfriend.  That ended when he ducked behind a car to avoid being seen by the girlfriend she didn't know he had. 

I went to visit several times.  Stayed with her in Stanford.  She stayed with me in S.F. at an old fisherman's hotel turned into a "b&b."  Hall bathrooms.  She couldn't stand it.  She got a place up by the marina.  We went out eating, drinking. 

She moved back and fell for a divorced attorney.  He had two kids.  He lived close to his wife.  It was never going to work out, but how do you tell someone?  His wife moved to Montana, and he followed.  So did my friend.  She loved Bozeman.  The affair had gone south a while ago, but she couldn't give up the life. 

Then she did.  When she moved back, I looked forward to her company.  It never came.  She didn't call, didn't write.  Then she did. 

It was too late. 

Last night she wrote to tell me that she thinks of me often.  She had been listening to some music and a song I had given her came on.  How was I doing?  She sent pictures of her new baby boy.  He is six months old.  He is the light of her life. 

I don't know what I will write her if I write anything at all.  I am not like other people in this.  I hate "reconnecting."  It is awkward at best, disappointing usually.  It might be better if we simply bumped into one another in a bar, more natural, easier to decide whether to just say hi or to tell a few stories or to decide to do it again.  But this reaching out. . . what inspires that?  Nostalgia, maybe, but that is never good for much.  A desire to tell of life's fortunes?  Of the madcap middle-class  misadventures that have led one to have a family?  In truth--and herein lies the danger--I am tired to death of hearing about the fulcrum of parenthood that has made life somehow more meaningful.  That statement opens me up to the world of cruel criticism, I know, but contemporary parents bug the shit out of me.  To explain is an exercise in futility since I don't really care.  It is easy enough to walk away from those conversations, from the soccer games and the kid play dates, etc., as easy as not going to church, as easy as not subscribing to Facebook. 

I should probably write back and tell her I only have years to live, that I have psychological problems beyond repairing, that I live as a monk, a shut-in.  It would be easy to accentuate and horrify the truth.  Oh, I could write her a chirpy note about how beautiful things are, that I plan on buying new furniture for the house and either a Vespa or a vintage Triumph bike, that I have had my knee fixed and will be skiing at the Sundance Festival once again this year.  I could tell her of the famous people with whom I correspond, or I could really drive her mad and talk about the incredible success of The Fashion Editor.  That is what I once might have done, given her the illusion of an incredibly happy and fertile life.  It is what people do.  But I am done with that now.  I guess I will consult with Emily Post's Book of Etiquette and make sure I respond in the most appropriate way of the Best Society.  Those rules are there for a purpose. 

My knee is recovering from the surgery nicely, I presume.  I have walked on it since half an hour out of surgery.  It is weak and sometimes painful, but it is stronger than I expected at this point.  I, on the other hand, have not responded quite as well.  I have been weak and tired beyond reason.  I have spent my days in bed reading and sleeping.  My digestive system was a mess.  I presume it was from the opioids.  After various home remedies (including drinking Epsom salts), I may be on the road to recovery in that arena.  But my lack of verve is problematic.  I have none whatsoever.  I will spend another day in bed trying to recover the energy to live fully again.  I can't say I've not enjoyed my time alone, though.  I have opened the plantation shutters along two walls of the bedroom to let in all possible light.  I have put on my favorite station and listened for three straight days and nights while reading two novels and looking through the grand print catalogs of Restoration Hardware furniture.  I will finish up "Rules of Civility" which has been the motivating force behind my buying either this and/or this among other things.  And, of course, the Vespa or the Triumph. 

Those are the melancholic illusions of the partially infirmed, anyway. 

I will make it out of the house today, but I will not return to work.  I have no stomach for that right now (forgive the pun).  I have had too much of work.  I am ready to wander melancholically through the holidays, taking drinks in sophisticated bars tucked into alleyways and hotels with friends who haven't waited to tell me of their circumstantial happiness.  I know some fellows and gals who can tell a few tales without self-consciousness, happy enough with the adventures before us and behind, undaunted and indomitable. . . or so it will seem. 

But first, I must shake this damnable malaise that is a mystery to me.  Perhaps the anesthesia and the opioids were a bit much for my aging system.  Perhaps it was something else.  But I will do all I can do today to reset the gyroscope and move in a positive direction. 

By the way, she sent a picture of herself, too.  She is still a handsome woman.