Sunday, March 29, 2020

Slow and Selfish

I'm leaving the gym saga aside for the moment.  I will probably write more on it today.  I'm still trying to find my feet, so to speak, living in perpetual isolation.  But I will visit my mother again today and a friend wants to come over and drink a scotch outside in the open air with me, socially distanced, of course.  Life becomes a balance.

In communicating with friends, I find that with all the time at home, they, like me, get nothing done.  It has lightened my mood to find that in this, I am not alone.  Houses are cluttered and messy.  Life seems to be a constant picking up and wiping down, but nothing ever looks as if it has been done.  Most people tell me they are in the same boat.  All grand plans are waylaid.  There is a constant piddling and staring.  We've become slow.  Completing one task seems like a major victory.

I don't know if I could trust someone who has responded to "stay in place" orders otherwise.

Even on my walks through the neighborhoods, people's smiles and waves and hellos seem slow.  It is as if everyone is moving through a gelatinized air.  I think of the stereotype about country people.  In everything, they were slow.

"Well, ma. . . whatcha thinking?"

After a pause: "Nothing really, pa. . . whatchu thinking?"

A minute later: "Nothing."

Of course, in the country people have always been socially isolated.  We're all becoming citizens of Briarpatch now.

That, of course, is for those of us who have the luxury to isolate ourselves.  Luxury, yes.  Reality is completely different for those who must go to work in hospitals, in clinics, for cops and city workers, for people who keep things running.  There are many realities we don't experience.  Your neighbor's suffering may be different from your own.

As always, however, that is theirs.  I have my own.  Their lives are abstractions.  Mine is deeply felt.  I wish it weren't so. . . I guess.  I read about doctors wrapped up in other people's misery, but every story ends as a record of their own reaction to the thing, their own acute feelings about helplessness.

Selflessness, even for the selfless, is very difficult to achieve.  I want to say impossible, but I know we all have moments when we would throw ourselves in front of a bullet to save someone else.  I know that is true.  Somewhere, deep down, there is that.  I'm sure many are more enlightened than I.

That's the sort of slow thinking I do around the house for hours and hours a day.  I have found little to distract me from it.  I have found little entertainment.  The television, more than ever, bores me.  Sometimes songs will succor, but they rarely distract.  I sit and shrivel like someone else's dick.

Ha!  I've been dying to use that line.  I didn't think it would come into play someplace like this, but I was getting far too morose.  And it's true.  With sickness and little to no exercise, I see myself shrivel when I look at my reflection in the mirror.  Like. . . ho, ho, ho.  Someone else's.  I kill me.

O.K.  I'm going to step outside and watch the morning grow, drink one last cup of coffee, then take another walk.

So. . . watcha thinking?

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