Ahhhhhhh.... the absence of pain is like a fabulous warm bath. Am able to hobble about on one crutch; can make coffee, heat up frozen dinner, etc. Locked in babysitting for tomorrow afternoon, so I have one more day to heal up without having to drive or sit on the floor playing Candyland.
I keep trying to write the cursive alphabet in the air with my foot. Last night I did up to "f" and then quit. Today, up to "m". Go, foot!
Excuse me a minute while I wax semi-pompous. Don't say I didn't warn you.
L. got me thinking about going to R.I. this summer. Last time was a whirlwind of horror and nostalgia and pleasure. I did think seriously about going back and not telling any relatives. I could wear some kind of disguise so as not to be recognized, though they might not recognize me anyway. The pond at b.s. and the kind of scungy beach with coarse yellow sand - seaweed smelling - beach roses. I remember coming up out of the waves after hours of standing just beyond the line where they break, and then when the wave comes, at the peak of it, being lifted gently off my feet. Weightlessness. Then set back down again. Just beyond me, the violent crash of that wave. I'd come up from the water hours later, shaking, my lips pale blue, my ears aching and ringing, a little dizzy suddenly as I hit the warm sand up in the dunes and just burrowed myself into its clean smell. Life was good. At least, the parts of it that were good were good.
I wonder, am I enjoying the good things about now as well as I did then?
Yes, but it seems more difficult.
I used to just sit and think messages toward my future self. "Remember THIS moment." I used to have all sorts of conversations with the me of now (at least as I imagined I would become). Now I also imagine my future Very Old self with all the burdens of being old and perhaps alone. She is also talking to the me of Now and telling me "Remember THIS moment - It's important."
These thoughts seem not like a buddhist-style living in the moment, but a living not in the moment, as if the important thing were storing up and hoarding all those moments because somehow, remembering them will be important later. Or maybe it's not more important than actually living those moments, but it's as if the hoarding of memories makes everything more intense. I feel sad for all the experiences I have that are passing away so quickly. I look out of my window and see the tree out there that has become so familiar from hours of looking out at it in the year we've lived here - and as I look at it I feel aware of some future me, driving by feeling nostalgic and seeing that tree all bigger and different, or shrunk and old, or just oddly not there. I felt that way about "my tree" in Michigan in 1979 and about many other more trivial objects, and I still feel this way now.
As I get older I find that the pleasure of returning to memories this way intensifies. Small things like marigolds when they are fresh or when they are dead, and the way the seeds are in there and how they smell - a source of amazing happiness. I used to not be so sentimental, but now contemplating a marigold can make me burst into tears. (And I consider this a good thing.)
It is rare that I can escape this feeling of pre-grief or pre-nostalgia.
This is the bond I feel with J. de I.'s poetry which I continue to translate in odd moments. In June I will go all out on finishing the ones that are half done.
This is all really self centered, but that's how it is to me. It is the only way I can cross time and have a unified identity instead of always leaving moment after moment.
***** Of course, despite all advice from random people to "really make time to enjoy your precious child while he is this small", I am blathering on and on here while child zones out in front of Winnie the Pooh movie. After the 2nd hour of playing Hungry Hungry Hippos and making snails out of playdoh, you can't really expect any more "precious memories" out of me, unless you count his memory of me going slowly NUTS.
A fabulous invention: a t-shirt with a couple of blue-footed boobies on it in strategic locations, and then "I (heart) Boobies".
I'm going to make ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
CafePress, here we come.
I also nearly made L. wreck her car yesterday. She was in uncontrollable spasms of laughter.
Me: L, so, when we lived in Texas, did you ever hear any other kids refer to their genitals as their 'front butt' ? L: Whaaaaaaa.....!!!??? *struggles to keep from spewing out iced coffee* Me: You know, certain people would say "my front butt". It was bizarre. L: "Uhhhh! I'm driving! Uhhhhh!!!! Nooooo!!! Like they didn't have ANY OTHER WORD for it?" Me: Yeah. Do you think if I try looking up "front butt", I'll get anything? L: Uhh!! Stop it! Stop it! My stomach hurts! Stop saying it! I'm DRIVING!
I have no explanation for it, but clearly remember at least 2 kids, around 10 or 11 years old talking about their 'front butt", simply meaning genitals. I picture their moms sitting next to them while they were in the bathtub as toddlers, telling them "Now Pam..." or "Now, Charlene, be sure to wash your butt, and your front butt too, y'hear?"
This is the first winter I have spent totally able, not limping or on crutches part of the time, since 1993 or 94. I have been feeling actually very proud of this. I still regularly go up a flight of stairs and feel secretly puffed up and proud and when I run across the playground, however briefly and old-lady-joggingly, I feel like a giant healthy powerful frolicking animal springing carelessly across the grass, like some kind of happy gazelle. This ankle thing is a fluke - an accident - not part of general pattern, yet I am reacting to it with complex and unpleasant panic.
Anyway my knee has held out all winter and I haven't been a giant pain in the ass and I wish that everyone would appreciate this amazingness, as I temporarily become a pain in the ass.
Am also overwhelmed with complex and horrible feelings of how horribly I failed m.m. and everything he's gone through on a scale beyond what I can imagine and how he does everything alone and just fucking suffers and takes it. I feel bad for having left him in that situation and also that while we were married I wasn't more considerate.
Yes everyone did comment on me in class and I was unable to react normally but felt all surly and gruff and looking at the floor. It is very funny to have people ask to carry my backpack. Yo, it's on my BACK not my crippled leg and it would be harder to put down crutches and unstrap the backpack from my back than it would be to walk the few steps into the classroom carrying it. The more things I have to ask for help with, the more fierce I feel about protecting what independence I have. But I did ask for help getting books from the library. People can be really nice. Thanks B. and thanks J. and L. and K. for giving me rides and bringing me a Toblerone with the crunchy things in it and giant much-needed bottle of ibuprofen.
Anyway if I'm acting like a freak it's because I'm freaking out a little. Crutches to me equal weeks or months of life being difficult but in this case it doesn't mean that, I just have to rest the ankle a little. Am staying in bed as much as possible though because if I wear out wrists by bearing weight on crutches, or other knee is strained from taking all the walking, then I'm really really fucked. So taking it easy is the rule.
The better to write those papers with I suppose. In bed surrounded by piles of books!
On some level it is still all my fault for not swimming enough and keeping more fit. I resolve to go swim on Wednesday no matter what.
I am an idiot... I just now realized that it's not the crutching to class from the parking garage that's going to be difficult, it's pushing the gas pedal and brake as it's my right foot.
I just always want to think I can cope with everything. Goddamn it. I refuse to miss class.
Probably I CAN do it, that is the problem, but then I will cripple myself further, pointlessly. Then I will be lying in bed for days totally fucking helpless. Will ask for help right now.It is humiliating. Already used up quota of asking for help last night and this morning by making J. get things for me.
Ankle worse. It is still not how I always pictured a sprained ankle (instantly swelling, can't put weight on it) but it felt okay while wrapped and elevated and now I walk on it and it hurts like fuck. I re-wrapped it and got out the crutches. Grrrr. Hate crutches, but it's better than limping.
Was thinking more about yesterday on the playground park bench with s.'s mom and how most of our "gossip" was odd abstract stuff about altruism vs. selfishness, corporate greed, power, and novel-writing. Now that's gossip!
Then in the morning her written article rolls off her powerhouse assemblyline and is hot and smoking in my inbox:
Corporations do have, at their helm, some highly paid humans who must be either kept in check by the law, or by their own consciences, which ever comes first.
I love how I never know if it's going to be an essay about social involvement in community, or a kid's story, or the latest installment of the novel. Going to her house is the same way, we loaf about, 'gossip' in this vein, and watch kids run riot. It's like if Michael Moore were your mom and would make you pancakes. Very pleasant.
Anyone who ever needs crutches, I have another genius-like invention (that will someday make me exactly ONE MILLION DOLLARS): crutch pockets. They are so handy! Mine are made of a small thin box cut in half and firmly duct taped to the part of the crutch below the handle. One is wide enough for a large coffee with lid, the other fits a book. Someone should take this idea and make it in sturdy plastic and market it to disabled. I love that company who makes "Quickie" walkers and chairs - next, cool crutches.
Going to class is going to be annoying. Will be treated like brave crippled girl. When actually, am whining, non-brave, wuss that injures self while walking on paved flat pathway. Being treated like brave crippled girl is actually embarrassing, guilt-inducing; no one really deserves such pitying admiration. Maybe it's irritating because plenty of people endure pain and suffering that is invisible; like, no one gets any pat on the head for coming to class when they have terrible hemorrhoids, though they are plenty brave and determined and plucky and uncomplaining. This is so unfair! Or maybe it's just me; no matter how bad my injury, I suspect myself of faking it on some fundamental level, and so any pity feels worse than undeserved.
One more random thought:
j.c. was telling me last night at the game that at the animal shelter where g. works, the ducklings actually die of loneliness if there's only one duckling. If there's more than one duck at the shelter all is well. To get the lone ducklings to eat, they put a mirror in the cage and a feather duster, and the duckling cuddles up against the feathers and stares in the mirror without moving all day. L., perhaps you could wear a feather boa and yellow socks, and become a professional 'duck socializer'?
This, I think, why M. was laughing himself nearly to barfing in his crib tonight. I can't explain it. It seemed to have something to do with Tigger and hippos and icebergs.
Today: did I write a paper? No. Birdwatched. Stupidly twisted ankle. Ate lunch. Read in a carefree manner. Took M. to new skate park and gossiped with s.'s mom and ate ice cream sandwiches. Ogled 14 year old goth chicks wearing horns, glitter in hair, black lipstick, hundred jelly bracelets, and bondage belts from Hot Topic. Ogled 16 year old skater boys. Admired their perfect nonchalance. Continued walking around park on increasingly painful ankle. Flew foam airplanes and helicopter thingie. Played in sand. Home to paint, without skill or talent, a watercolor cartoon giraffe, and sigh with envy as L. painted another luminous perfect dead leaf in swirly water. Played role-playing game newly plotted soap-opera style by J. Am now loafing about, reading and writing blogs with ankle wrapped, ibuprofened, and elevated.
L. and I saw semi-palmated plovers, marbled godwits, avocets in breeding plumage, cliff swallows, and some kind of tern. There were also barn swallows. You could walk right up to the cliff swallow nests. Their little heads poking out were SO CUTE. I watched one come swooping in with a giant glob of mud in its beak; it plastered on the mud and pecked it into shape. We could see the nests in progress - they were the ones with the dark rim of wet mud. One had been taken over by a sparrow and bits of straw were sticking out. Do the cliff swallows not line their mud nests?
The terns were amazingly elegant, soaring and hovering and stooping right in front of us. They were very white underneath and a little bit bluish-grey on top on the wings and their beaks were black and orange and the tops of their heads were black. Their tails and beaks were not as short as gull-billed terns but they seemed small. They dove about 20 feet in front of us and came up with fish in beaks. We sat and watched for a good long while. Sometimes they chased each other in huge circles over the bond, kreeeyah-ing loudly and crashing into each other.
Also cinnamon teal, gadwall, ruddy ducks, coots and a cormorant.
Some bird with a very smooth orange head and a grey body but too big and fat for a house finch. Oriole? Some other finch? A scarlet tanager, orange variant? This was all at Shoreline and Charleston Slough in Palo Alto.
I should have taken M., and I resolve firmly to take him there tomorrow, as I have a feeling that the cliff swallows in nests would blow his mind.