Sunday, March 19, 2023

Hoping for a Barbarian


Yesterday was Q's ex-wife's birthday.  He sent me a photo of her tying on the earrings he bought her.  She looks just about like the day I met her.  Q is trying to get down to his original weight right now, too.  He wants to rock the world, make music.  Do it while you can, I say.  I'm all for trying.  

I think, perhaps, I'm not trying enough.  I'm sick for sure, but I should have managed an hour at yesterday's party.  I was right,  it is usually on Saturday night, but the host moved it forward at the last minute to avoid the rain that was predicted to come.  Travis, my art/travel buddy sent me a video of the thing.  Not the same trio, but a good one, it seems.  Travis said the crowd was reduced by the move but that he spoke to old friends and some new ones, too.  It is great party with nice people.  I am sick for having missed it.  

I am sick.

I'm going to need to change my attitude if I am ever to garner material for anything visual or written.  The time is nigh.  I looked back in my emails.  It has been three weeks on Tuesday since I got the injection in my knee, and it has improved, though not drastically, but I still have hope.  A week to go.  Perhaps there will be a breakthrough.  Perhaps I will have a leg to stand on, so to speak, and, like ALL of my friends, I will go back out to see the world.  

* * *

That was yesterday sometime in the afternoon.  I called my mother to tell her I would not be over.  I was not feeling well at all.  I had no energy and I was afraid the sickness was moving to my lungs.  I sat on the couch and turned on the t.v.  Maybe I would watch a little of the NCAA tournament that I used to be so mad for but which now I cannot stand for all the commercial hype and concessions to progressive demands.  I switched over to watch a documentary about Max Beckman's paintings on YouTube, but I couldn't keep my eyes open.  I slept through an hour of the ninety minute program while sitting up.  When I woke up choking, I turned off the t.v. and made some leftover cabbage and corned beef.  It was no better than the night before.  I was ill enough to not even desire a drink.  I made some herbal tea.  And again.  I sat outside in the late afternoon.  The cats were there.  For once, Felix, the neighbor's cat, was very affectionate toward the little feral without ending in aggressiveness.  He licked her head with tender affection again and again.  She lay down at his feet.  It choked me up.  I have only known the affection of one woman in the past many years.  Sick, feeling desperate, really, thinking dire thoughts, without the succor of tenderness, without the numbing of alcohol, with only nearly ineffective drugs to counter my ills, I became deeply dismayed.  I wanted companionship.  I wanted someone in whose lap I desired to lie, someone who had concern and would succor for me.  

Now wait.  This is a setup for the very next thing.  Don't think I have become to morose.  Hold on.  I'll be more so. 

When I went back into the house, I decided to watch a movie.  I looked at what I had saved in my Amazon account.  I didn't remember putting some of them on the list.  "Waiting for the Barbarians."  Hmm.  Johnny Depp.  Adapted from a book by J.M. Coetzee.  Screenplay also by him.  Set in an outpost of an unnamed empire in the wayback.  Sounded promising, the sort of film I used to watch, movies like "Mountains of the Moon" and "The Man Who Would Be King."  The ratings were mediocre, but so was I.  I put it on.  

Well. . . that was pretty much a bad choice.  Not the movie.  It was beautiful if dour.  But holy hell, the lead character, the magistrate played by Mark Rylance, is an aging, caring, lonely man in an outpost who has been isolated so long he feels he'd feel himself a foreigner if he went back to the capital.  He occupies his time looking for the ruins of ancient cultures.  Unfortunately and irresistibly due to his kind passion, he falls for a "barbarian" woman, Gana Bayarsaikhan, who has been tortured and crippled by a Colonel (played by Depp) who has been sent to the frontier to gain knowledge of the surrounding tribes in preparation for territorial expansion.  The magistrate is tender and kind, but per the barbarian woman's request, and counter to his own desire, he takes a treacherous journey to return her to her tribe.  He is heartsick and worse, and when he returns, he is arrested and beaten for abandoning his post and plotting with the enemy.  The film goes from bad to worse.  There was not a moment of happiness in this entire film about a quiet, solitary, tortured man.  

I felt I was dying when I went to bed.  

This morning, I feel little better.  The sky is dark and the damp air cold as we wait for rain that doesn't fall.  Such are the times.  

I will need to move at some point.  I must force the issue--get well or die.  

I too, sometimes, seem to be waiting on a barbarian.  

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