Saturday, April 27, 2024

You Go to My Head

I'm wiped out.  It was a long day.  Mom is doing fine for a 92 year old who took a bad fall backwards onto her head.  She's as tough as nails.  She's got that good hillbilly blood.  But I am full of worry, of course.  It is wearing me to the bone.  

The hospital visit, however, did clear up some issues.  She broke no bones which is amazing.  She has osteoporosis, and people that age often break a hip when they fall.  Breaking a hip in old age is a death nell.  And the CT scans of her head showed no abnormalities.  She has been having headaches and keeps saying she fears having a brain tumor.  No tumor.  The doctor said he couldn't believe she was 92, told her she looked like a 70 year old.  Mom said this was a hell of a way to look for compliments.  But she was pleased.  

But let's talk about me.  Of course.  Let her start her own blog, right?  The ER nurse was as cute as they come and very, very friendly, so of course, being the kind of guy I am. . . right?. . . I think she likes me.  I knew she didn't, but, you know. . . dogs being what they are. . . .  She hung around and was very talkative.  

"She's chatting me up!" I thought knowing better all the while.  When my mother needed to go to the restroom and asked where it was, the nurse said, "Right across the hallway, the same one your son went to."

"Hey. . . what?"

"I've kept my eye on you," she said.  

When my mother got discharged, she said she didn't need a wheelchair, so the nurse walked us out.  Of course, I thought it was so she could talk to me some more.  The whole time, I kept thinking, "Your mother is in the hospital and you're thinking about the nurse.  Something bad is wrong with you."  And it is probably true.  WTF?  You don't need to say it.  I know.  

But I think she liked me.  

O.K.  I don't know what to tell you.  I needed something.  The rest of my day was just worry and dread.  I asked the doctor if there were any restrictions on what my mother should eat or drink.  He said no.  I thought that was odd.  When we got back to my mother's house, she said she was hungry.  

"What do you want?"

She decided she wanted a pizza.  O.K. I guess.  So I went to the hippie pizza joint and got us a wholesome pizza. 

Pizza is not wholesome.  But it did have a whole wheat crust made with spring water, so we could pretend.  I made a mistake and ordered a large.  It could easily have fed five people, so of course we over-ate.  I don't eat pizza very often and forget that that shit swells in your stomach.  

I sat with my mother until it got dark.  She was not nauseous and she was lucid, not getting confused about things.  The neighbors all came over to check on her and she was making her usual sense, so I felt safe to go home.  I called her before bed to check on her.  

I will go to her house after this.  She's bound to be sore.  They gave her oxy at the hospital, so she will be in worse pain today, I'm sure.  

Life doesn't stop for everyone else when it does for you, of course, and all day and night I was getting texts from friends who were having fun--more than usual.  The weather is great and the factory is shutting down for a minute and people are out and about.  

The day before, I forgot that one of my friends was leaving the factory and they were throwing a farewell party for her.  

"Where are you?" my former secretary texted in the afternoon as I was heading out the door to workout.  Ah. . . man. . . . .

I didn't respond.  Later the girl who kinda sorta has/hasn't asked me out texted a photo of her and some others with a message.  

"Where were you?"

They were at the "after party" at the Factory City Bar.  I hadn't heard from her in quite awhile.  When I wrote back, however, her response was brief if not curt.  Selavy.  

While I sat in the hospital, Travis was texting photos from the beach.  He was staying over for a wedding.  The day was bright and beautiful.  He said that on the west coast, his son and daughter-in-law were about to make him a grandparent.  It was a joyous day.  

I was looking and listening to this. 

C.C. was getting ready for a trip with his wife across the nation to visit relatives.  Tennessee was texting luncheon pictures of him and his smiling wife.  The gym boys were cracking wise about this and that.  

But that is the way life is.  While someone is suffering, the world carries on.  Just not always correctly.  

Those crazy college kids are at it again.  This time, they are standing with Hamas.  It started in the elite schools, of course, but it spreads, as it should, across the nation.  Now I will let you in on where I stand on the issue in a minute, but I want to make it clear that I have no problem with people's protesting things.  Some, however, do, so they send out the cops, and what you get are ugly images like this. 

This is a great way to incite a crowd.  My blood boils when I see these jack-booted thugs manhandling kids.  Send out the storm troopers and there will always be trouble.  It sickens me.  

Now, I'll weigh in with my thoughts on the issue, but I am not afraid to change my mind.  Changing your mind is clearly what it means to be human.  In part, anyway.  

There were a lot of protests when I was in school.  I went to plenty of them.  Later, when I played in the very political band, we were on an MBI list of people to watch.  We played all sorts of ideological concerts, even opening at Country Club College for Abbie Hoffman.  I've changed my mind about a lot of things since then.  If you can't do that, if you can't look around, take in new information, and change your view, I'd say you are with the jack-booted thugs.  As Emerson is often quoted as saying, sometimes out of context, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."  

I hold that to be true for the whole spectrum of liberal/conservative thought.  I don't even know what those terms mean any longer.  Things are pretty mixed up.  

To wit: Many protestors are not so fully knowledgable on the factual information of what they are protesting.  Now, I know there is a lot of cherry picking of statements when people want to support their views, but as William F. Buckley said to the students at Harvard where McGovern was almost universally supported in his election campaign against president Nixon, "Yes, he was the favorite of the partially educated."  

Even that Harvard crowd had to laugh.  

Based on my own experiences, things go something like this. 

"Hey, let's go to the protest.  Everyone's going."

"What's it about?"

"That whole middle earth thing, you know, the Jews and stuff.  Everyone's going to meet on the quad  People are setting up tents and are going to stay over night.  I talked to Ingrid.  She went the other day and they did the whole call to prayers thing.  Beforehand, some guy told them how to do it and said they should just be within themselves and with the higher power and such.  She said it was amazing, that she never felt anything like that before, everyone silent on the ground just praying.  Let's go."

"Should we bring anything?"

"I've got some stash.  That's probably all we need."

O.K.  I'm being an asshole, but that is kind of how I remember a lot of it.  I think, though, there was a lot more nudity and flirting then than there is now.  But I think there are some conundrums this time that need to be worked out.  Admittedly, there have been organizers behind the scene that have had great influence, and many kids seem to be confused on the facts if not the issues.  From my own hometown.

This is just a local example of what I have been seeing nationwide.  I'm not against these protestors.  I am just curious as to how they are justifying things in their own heads.  There is plenty of onion to be peeled, Zionism/Jew, Hamas/Palestinian, etc.  How do you parse out people from their culture?  How do non-binary gender fluid people decide to support people from cultures that perform sexual mutilation of women and who stone people to death who are gay?  These are academic questions that have been well thought out by scholars who can make the argument, I haven't any doubt, but I'm not sure every kid standing with Palestine has.  

But you know, I had Mao's Little Red Book that I hadn't bother to read when I was a student, too.  We all did, you know. . . cause it was the thing.  I've rethought the position, of course.  I would not have wanted to be sent to the re-education camps.  Mao was a fascist dictator, by and large.  

Selavy.  We all make mistakes.  

This is what I am confronted with, however, when I open up the news.  That and Trump, of course, and the Trumpers on the court and in congress.  And Russia and Ukraine.  And a warming planet full of evolving viruses and dying forests and coral reefs.  

"Children teach your parents well." 

Oh, Christ.  

And of course, there is the steady stream of pop psychology.  

Many of us differ on what counts as gaslighting — the form of emotional abuse and manipulation in which one person attempts to bend the reality of another. In gaslighting, the target is left feeling confused or even insane, as exquisitely dramatized in the 1944 movie “Gaslight.”

Gaslighting was Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year in 2022, with a 1,740 percent increase in the number of times it was searched. The term’s increased popularity has raised awareness of its effect on our relationships and has prompted confusion over what constitutes gaslighting.

There is that and the desire to become "self-actualized" and "fully present" and that struggle to "set boundaries."  Vocabulary is important on the journey to becoming "realized."  

Double Christ.

So I turn my attention to the art and culture page.  There are struggles here, too, of course (link).  Nothing is easy.  

So we turn our attention to the past.  

"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?  Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you."

I was pleased to read this article today about Joan Didion, someone I have only recently come to appreciate (link).  

There are the iconic photographs of Didion taken by Julian Wasser in 1968, commissioned for a profile in Time — particularly one in which she’s smoking while leaning against her Stingray, cooler than anyone has ever been, a vibe echoed in the 2003 ad Didion shot for the fashion brand Celine.

Hence my photo post today.  

Yea. . . I am being loutish.  I am low this morning.  I have much work to do and I don't wish to do it.  I looked at the photos on my phone yesterday while sitting for hours in the hospital.  It has been a year almost to the day since I mulched the drive and beds and cleaned and painted the deck and the apartment stairs.  And there are many house repairs, and I need to meet with an attorney to set up trusts for my mother and I.  I have another doctor's appointment coming up and I need to see a dentist and there are issues with which I am not even dealing at the moment.  All my life, I went to bed anxious for the morning.  I loved mornings.  Coffee, a fresh start, new adventures.  Now, each night, I go to sleep wondering if I truly wish to wake.  

The phone pics. . . they tell a complete story in themselves.  I relived the past year while sitting in a hospital room.  That all happened in a year?  It was a strange journey.  

But the sun is shining and it will be another glorious day.  I must go to my mother's house and sit and keep her spirits up.  

And I know I am deluded and awful. . . but I do think that nurse liked me.  

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