Yesterday I went and had brunch with a buddy, Michael Erard, and his wife Jeanne. We get together now and then and it's always friendly/companionable ... and, from where I sit, just plain company. Michael and I met over a piece he had written when trying to exorcise the ghosts that haunted him from his days as a medic in the Vietnam conflict. Both Michael and Jeanne are interested in a Christian-leaning approach to spiritual life. Anyway, there are plenty of talking points we all seem able to enjoy.
But after two hours of enjoying them ... I was worn out. Just fried, somehow. I don't seem to have the energy for what was once no energy at all ... a good gab. We were all getting older.
And that theme seemed to reiterate itself in today's overarching, wispy colors. My 92-year-old stepmother went to the hospital last week (partly at my encouragement) and turned out to be dehydrated. Having returned home, she still feels flu-y ... and, well, every sniffle takes on a mortal significance at her age. Another friend spent five or so days in the hospital with heart difficulties. He was home yesterday and we talked. The hospital couldn't do anything, he said vaguely. The veins and arteries were too thin (whatever that meant) and he was given no drugs or regimen with which to elude chest pains and a sense (the body knows stuff about itself) of last-stand. I asked him how he was feeling psychologically and he said he didn't know. We joked peripherally that Woody Allen had it pretty much right: "I don't mind dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens." My wife's body, though she says so only in the most modest ways, hurts pretty badly and I wish I could do something about that -- not least get her doctor to prescribe an effective pain killer. And then there are my own aches and pains and dwindling enthusiasm for doing something for others ... really, the childish wish-list is positively six years old and wants to be served rather than serving. We need a new stove (the old one is really on its last legs) around here, but the price is too steep for the checkbook. And if we had it, would I feel any more like cooking?
Then, on realizing I would have a newspaper column due, I hit on an idea only to find that I had already done that idea about a year ago.
... Ashes, ashes,Not only do I not want to consider the problems others are having, I also don't want to consider the problems I may be having. It's too dreary and self-centered and utterly fruitless.
We all fall down.
I think I'll see if I can find a dirty-joke web site and let that carry the weight.