Saturday, October 1, 2022


Things return to normal here in my own hometown.  Most people did not lose power as the lines have been mostly buried underground in the last few years.  Men and women raked up their yards today and moved the larger limbs curbside for the garbagemen who will soon come.  I did, too.  The Boulevard is teeming with lanky teenagers in short shorts over long legs excited by the storm.  Kids tube through the canal between lakes screaming against the possible gators.  

This is my hometown.  

I am, however, disconsolate.  My body seems as weary as my mind.  I have gotten an infection somehow on the upper and lower lids of my left eye.  They are red, swollen, and painful.  I've Googled may condition and am not happy.  This could be something that could become chronic.  I read a medical report today that said there was a correlation between Covid 19 infections and this eye condition.  I was asked to go out for lunch today, but I felt too hideous.  Vanity is a powerful thing.  

I went over to my mother's to clean up her yard, but it was already done.  She has great neighbors.  So we sat outside and talked for a bit.  Then I fell asleep in my chair and had crazy dreams.  I feel myself under some ancient spell.  I am a somnambulist.  

I went to the drugstore to get eyedrops.  I never use them and only know Visine.  There are a thousand different kinds.  I wanted a saline solution but got scared off by the label that said to only use it under the advice of a doctor.  I read on the Mayo Clinic webpage that saline solution was good for an eye infection, that salt had antibacterial properties, but I was afraid to buy it.  All other drops and gels were some version of glycol or mineral spirits.  I had not read that those would help, so I ended my half hour in front of the eye medicine aisle by buying some eyelash wipes.  I don't know if they will do any good.  I will put warm compresses on my eye tonight as the webpage recommended.  It also said that antibiotic salves work, but I am not sure if I have the right kind.  Just put it on a Q-tip, it said, and gently run it over the closed eyelid.  I may try that tonight.  

If you have been reading, you know the week before the hurricane, I had been morose.  I thought to get better, but the hurricane has set me back.  I could continue to sit inside in what passes for pajamas for days on end without bathing.  This, I know, is sad and dangerous.  

Maybe tomorrow will be better.  

I'm sitting on the deck now as I write this, a rum and coke at my elbow.  For some reason unknown to me, the squirrels have returned and are chasing one another around the trees.  The birds have come back, too.  Is that a chickadee?  There are three redheaded woodpeckers.  I will fill the bird feeders tomorrow after I take apart the busted fence.  If my eye gets better, I will go to lunch somewhere smart, perhaps to my favorite Spanish restaurant.  Maybe I'll see Tsunami.  But that can only happen if I have two good eyes.  They are blue and wonderful, I think.  Losing one to infection would be a tragedy.  

But life, truly, is the only tragedy we need.  All our glory and triumphs disappear in the end like a Crazy Jane poem.  I haven't thought of her in a good long while.  She is the horrific reminder of what we are to become.  


'Love is all
That cannot take the whole
Body and soul’;
And that is what Jane said. 

‘Take the sour
If you take me
I can scoff and lour
And scold for an hour.’
'That’s certainly the case,' said he. 

'Naked I lay,
The grass my bed;
Naked and hidden away,
That black day’;
And that is what Jane said. 

‘What can be shown?
What true love be?
All could be known or shown
If Time were but gone.’
'That’s certainly the case,' said he. 

* * *

I wrote that in the liminal zone between light and dark, day and night, that emotionally dangerous time.  It is morning now and I am having coffee lightened with Carnation Evaporated Milk. I got that at the little terrorist market around the corner that has stopped selling milk.  You can get energy drinks and beer, but not milk.  They did have this, however, and since nothing else was open. . . . By God, though, I may keep this stuff on hand.  It is pretty good.  And it is the subject of a famous anonymous poem, "Carnation Milk."   Every time I read it, I think of my father who grew up working on a farm during the Great Depression.  Hard work made him strong, but like almost everyone who was recruited to fight in WWII, he loved the conveniences that modern life afforded when he got home.  

Here.  You can read it for yourself. 

Carnation Milk is the best in the land;
Here I sit with a can in my hand—
No tits to pull, no hay to pitch,
You just punch a hole in the son of a bitch.

— Anonymous

That is the version that they teach in school.  There are many, more ribald, versions extant.  

I soaked my eye last night and it seems a bit better, but I don't think there will be fancy lunches today.  Maybe if I wear sunglasses. . . .  No matter.  There is still much work to do around here.  Idle hands and all that.  It is better, perhaps, to stay busy during my own Great Depression.  

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