“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why…”
America-Simon & Garfunkel
Made a few calls to speak with folks whose voices I haven’t heard and whose faces I haven’t seen in a long while, including those who never wrote nor called to offer condolences when dad died.
Have to confess I forgot in one case and was reminded afterwards by my daughter and was surprised that it had slipped me wrong because if you do me wrong I have a long memory.
Thought for a bit about whether I ought to let go of something that was broken and decided it was best to toss that coffin over the side of the ship.
Let that sucker float off into the sunset or sink and short of them crawling out of a cave we’re done.
Am I in a foul mood?
Little bit, have been for a while, but it comes and goes.
Had to get out because I am not going to hide from the world. Not going to be reckless but not going to be the guy who fears everything either.
Have to balance my mental health against my physical as they work hand in hand.
Not so long ago someone told me I don’t listen well and I laughed.
“If you don’t share my bed you aren’t going to get very far telling me what to do. Hell, even if you do share it there is not much use in telling me what to do, never has been.”
They shook their head and said, “you know, you are a real piece of work.”
“You can choose to love me or you can choose to hate me. Hell, you can adopt a more moderate position if it makes you feel good. What makes you think telling people what to do is an effective to motivate them to act.”
“Josh, I am just trying to help.”
“If I ended up on a ventilator would you come visit me in the hospital. If I died, would you insist on coming to my funeral. Would you really notice or would it be bad news for a day or two then the distractions of life would make you forget I ever existed.
Yeah, you might remember me occasionally because of the odd thing that reminded you of me, but then again maybe you wouldn’t.
Don’t patronize me. Don’t use condescending tones or try to fool me into thinking something because I pay attention to actions.”
“You know you have a real edge to you.”
“I like that edge.”
Apple Music is rolling Simon & Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park and I am actively moving between a writer’s attention to lyrics and the memories the music brings back.
A Thanksgiving in Georgetown talking to a girl who says Columbus isn’t farmland and a bus taking me from Rehovot back to Jerusalem.
Songs change I am at 43rd and Lexington in a black suit, briefcase in hand listening to some tourist ask for directions or maybe I am already in Time’s Square.
Sort of doesn’t matter exactly where I was or wasn’t because a new song comes on and as Paul and Art sing Late In The Evening I am transported back to a dorm.
And then there is another click and I think about a conversation with my daughter about how I took on the mean girl room moms when she was in second grade.
“Do you know so and so’s mothers said I am a horrible guy for telling them their bank accounts didn’t have any relationship to their IQs?”
“Dad, why do I get the feeling you were more graphic than that?”
“I wasn’t in the classroom email, but I did a fabulous job of helping one of them hoist herself onto her own petard. That email was how I broke the clique.”
“Is that why some of them were so rude?”
“I doubt it. I knew X’s father in junior high. He was a schmuck then. Never grew up and married someone awful. I didn’t put up with his crap then and I didn’t have to put up with it as a grown up.
But I was far more restrained in my response because I didn’t want you to catch any crap for my interactions.”
There is a heavy conversation going on between a certain younger man and myself.
He throws a few things back in my face including something about social responsibility and I snort in large part because again I see the guy I used to be reflected in his eyes.
“Let me make the distinction clear for you. See this quote, it draws a clear line that says people don’t get to tell you how to feel. I don’t wear a sweater because you are cold.
But I also don’t drink a 12 pack of beer and drive because unlike the sweater this particular situation can harm others.
We have a social responsibility to look out for others and our communities. We draw lines in the sand write laws for the collective good because even though someone might be capable of driving safely with that much booze in them they are most assuredly the exception.
So we err on the side of caution and create situations that make it clear it is not acceptable for people to drink and drive like that because it is too damn dangerous.”
I think about the castle I wish to live in and the things I want to be contained within it.
The current one is satisfactory for the moment, but it needs a few more items to really make me smile.
Got to get through a few more weeks so that I can go back to really focusing upon building it.
My middle sister tells me about our childhood neighbor and how she posted on Facebook that her father died from Covid-19.
That is not good news but it is better than that of my old babysitter who posted about her 62 year-old cousin dying from it.
I look out into the rainy night and wonder if it is nice of me to think of it that way.
The old neighbor’s dad had to be in his late seventies which means he had about an average male lifespan while the babysitter’s cousin is clearly too young.
Thing is, who am I to be so cavalier in my approach about one versus the other. Maybe cavalier isn’t the right word.
One of the guys I know from blogging posted that he is now positive for Covid-19 and that he likely contracted it from his wife.
She has since recovered and he is planning on doing the same.
The town I live in posted something earlier saying there are 13 known cases here, two in the same household and two that have recovered.
It is hard to look at those numbers and not wonder how many others may be infected and walking around.
Hard not to wonder how many had it and recovered but were never tested and so haven’t been accounted for. The same is true for the dead, how many died from complications and weren’t tested and consequently are absent from the rolls.
When they ask where we go from here I go back to the same place where I say ‘forwards.’
Life doesn’t stop and changes continue so we have to keep moving and get to the other side and see what things look like once we get there.
‘So I looked at the scenery
She read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field”
America-Simon & Garfunkel