"Yes, I'm fat. I'm very fat."
No, you're not fat. You look good."
That was what the pretty lady said just before I went to the locker room and stripped down to go to the steam room and sauna. No, they are not one and the same, I go from one to the other. As I walked naked past the giant mirror, I caught a glimpse of some aged, horrible Yeti. Yes, I am fat. I have to get my knee fixed. I have to at least be able to walk some good distances. Either that or I am going to have to take up swimming in rivers. But I might drown. I never was a swimmer, and after the accident I'm more of an anchor than ever. I can tread water. Maybe I'll just have to tread water for a long time. Something.
I called the ortho's office a couple days ago. They called me back yesterday. They needed some insurance update, they said. It was bullshit, of course. They had it when they gave me the steroid shot in January. Incompetence. Now I wait to hear about scheduling my injection. My knee is so bad, I fear this will not help, but we need to get on with things.
I like a woman, though, who can look past my decrepit, crippled body and see only my beautiful, creative soul.
I was very late to the gym as it took me a long time to clean up for the maids. I left the house just as they were arriving. And when I came home, everything was spic 'n span. The counters fairly glistened. But they put the paper towels on the holder backwards. Same with the toilet paper rolls. Funny, really. I think I've changed over the years. Pull the paper towels from the right, not the left, and the toilet paper from the top, not the bottom. I'm sure that which you prefer has some deep psychological essence. Yin and Yang.
Which reminds me of a professor I met once at the university who had Ph.D.s in just about everything. He had been nominated twice for Nobel prizes. He was a guest lecturer in a physical anthropology class I was taking. He had at one time weighed 300 pounds, he said. He went in search of a healthy diet. He settled on a Zen diet which paired foods that were divided into Yin and Yang. He determined to find out what made them one or the other. He came to the conclusion that it was a balance of of calcium and phosphorous. No kidding. He said that the perfect food was brown rice. When he lectured the class, he weighed 180 pounds.
I've gone back to eating brown rice.
Perhaps I should get a Feng Shui master to arrange my home.
And my love life. Traditional Yin/Yang is balance and order based on duality. Yin is feminine Life Force, Yang the masculine. If the old masters are correct. . . well, I'd better leave that to the masters. But it does seem that the Life Force, whatever that is. . . .
When I got to my mother's house yesterday afternoon, a group of the neighborhood women were sitting out with her.
"We're having a hen party," one of them said.
"Well, I'll sure be the cock of the walk then, won't I?"
Can't imagine anyone under a certain age using the phrase "hen party." Nope. We don't like such things any more. Still. . . cock o' th' walk. . . .
Say what you will, though, they were having a good time.
When I got home, I poured a Campari and soda, lit a cheroot, and went to the deck. The little feral cat was waiting, so I got her some food and we communed awhile. She has her own Yang, and he came around in awhile. There is no shortage of Yin and Yang between them.
The air was perfect, turning cool and sweet, and occasional breezes brushed the limbs and leaves. I put on some music and was just chilling when I saw a fellow coming from the lake with a fishing rod in his hand. I recognized it right away as a fly rod, and for whatever reason, I called out to him. He said yes, that it was a fly rod. He had just made it out of bamboo for a friend. Wow, I thought. He made a fly rod. That was more than a little impressive. He came up the driveway to show me and I turned off the music. He was a swell fellow, and we chatted for quite some time. Many, many years ago, I had taken a community ed course in fly casting with my buddy and my girlfriend. I had become somewhat enamored with the "sport" after reading Jim Harrison and his buddies. It was the painter Russel Chatham, however, who perhaps had the most influence. His paintings graced the covers of all Harrison's books.
I wanted to learn to fly fish.
John Cave was the instructor. He was a fishing guide of some great local repute. Once a week for six weeks we went to his two hour class. My girlfriend only went a couple times and my buddy had dropped out by the end. We learned nothing about fishing or tying flies in the class. We just learned to cast. Cave spent little time with me, the only hippie in the group, preferring the cracker fishermen instead. He taught a very unconventional style. There was no double haul in his technique, and there was no wrist. You threw from the shoulder as if you were tossing a baseball. He was a tarpon guide and he said you caught no fish with your lure in the air. In tarpon fishing, you had to throw far and you had to be accurate.
The last class was a kind of test. We were in a field and were to show him what we had learned. One by one, we cast into the distance. When it was my turn, in a single haul, I emptied the reel to the backing line. Cave looked as if someone had punched him in the back of the head.
"Do that again," he said.
And I did.
He was stunned. None of the crackers could even come close. And when he looked at the end of my line, the leader was missing which made casting even more difficult. He couldn't believe it.
"And the funny thing is," I told the fellow who had just made the bamboo rod, "I never went fishing, I never cast my line in the water. By now, I doubt I could throw the line ten feet."
The fellow was a trout fisherman himself, he said, mostly out west, and you needn't cast more than about ten for fifteen feet in those rivers. Had he ever fished for tarpon, I asked? No, he said. That was a whole other thing.
I told him about some books I had on fly fishing that he had never heard of. I told him I would gather them together to show him next time I saw him. Where did he live, I asked? He pointed down the road.
"Just down there," he said. I'd never seen him before. I thought I knew the neighborhood.
When he was gone, I thought I would like to try actually fly fishing sometime. Ocean fishing required a boat and probably a guide. Maybe I'd take a trip to North Carolina and fish some of the streams and rivers up there, I thought. I wouldn't have to cast so far, then. I'd just need to be able to walk.
"I need to get my knee fixed," I said to the little feral cat. She just squinted her eyes demurely.
"Yin," I said.
I didn't really, but it seemed like a nice ending to the post.
The sun was going down, the cheroot was out, and my drink glass was empty. It was time to prepare a dinner. I watched some YouTube videos on Picasso's Jaqueline as I ate. Picasso met her when she was 25 and she moved in with him two years later. She was 35 when they married. He was 79. He died at the age of 91. She was his last wife and became his keeper. Some critics say that much of Picasso's greatest works came from that period. Jacqueline kept everyone from him, even his children. When Picasso died, the children took her to court to get control of his art. She continued to live in the chateau on the coast where they had spent their life together. It is reported that she grieved his death until she shot herself at the age of 59.
Jacqueline. . . .
Oh, my. . . I almost forgot to write this part. So. . . speaking of Chatham, I bought several of his lithographs during Covid. They are big, like 60 inches by something. I took them down to see about getting them framed. It is difficult because of the size. Six hundred dollars to frame the big one, I was told. I put them back in their tubes. But I want to put them on the walls. I am thinking once again to get them framed.
All because of the guy with the fly rod.
Ha! Sounds like a profile on Grindr.