Sciatica? Really? When did I turn old?
I paint my life with broad strokes of leisure and rare strokes of pain. Twice this year I have lost family, hopefully the last for a while. I have been fortunate, I think, in having relatively long-lived and healthy relatives. Before this year, the last loss was my grandfather Al, unrepentant alcoholic and master of profanity, years ago. I have to go back 13 years to Amber for prior death, and to my childhood for all others. Six deaths in over 41 years isn’t so bad, is it?
I said goodbye to my grandfather on Saturday, my last view of him a handful of ashes riding on the wind. Whatever he may have been to others, he was a wonderful grandfather to me, and I always felt loved. If there were faults in the relationship, I would place them fully with me, falling short as a grandchild as I built my own life and family.
It was my grandfather who taught me the peacefulness of cross-country skiing (although constantly stopping to look for birds did not fit in my teenage schemes), who took me for hikes on the mesa, and got me banned from the Getty. I hope I can be as good a grandparent to any future grandchildren of my own when the time comes as he was a grandfather to me. I may be a bit quieter at the Getty, however.
Quiet desperation beats vocal frustration any day in my book. My book is rather thin at the moment, however, so your mileage may vary. Which is why I recommend properly inflated tires. And a hat. I should still be working, but I am waiting for the din above me to quiet. The boy-child is screaming in terror or pain, the girl-child screaming in rage. Stomping, pounding footsteps, bits of my calm slipping away in the swirl of angry emotions. Now would be a good time for a yell. Instead I sit in silence and try to count to three. Maybe it’s time for a beer break?
Jesus Carp on a crapsicle, I need to clean my office. I thought I’d get to it this weekend. Instead, I did something else. I’m not sure what at this point. Stayed up too late. Went out on the wrong night (yes, there is a wrong night and a right night for weekends in Spokane. Apparently the second-largest city in Washington can only afford decent night-life on Fridays). Didn’t finish putting up barbeque stuff. The screaming is done; the only sound now the tinny sound of Journey being played on the boy-child’s mp3 speakers. How sad that the modern-day ghetto-blaster is only four inches across. Sadder still is that it probably sounds better than anything back in my day. Fuck, that sounds like an old person comment, doesn’t it? Oh well — tomorrow I can spend the afternoon yelling at squirrels.
I said goodbye last night. Not that it mattered; every time I came into the room, we met anew. I was alternately a stranger, my own father, a son, and on rare happy occasions, myself. My grandfather knows that he is in a fog, recognition and memories just beyond reach, and it frustrates him. Then he goes back to the television and it no longer matters. I don’t know how to react. I am happy for the sparks of recognition, but still I miss my grandfather.
Maybe 40 is old after all. I spent 5 minutes this morning searching for my cell phone. It took a bit longer than usual to find it as I had only one hand free to sift through newspapers on the table, clothes scattered on the bed, etc. in my quest for the phone. My other hand was otherwise unavailable, holding my cell phone.
There are benefits to getting older. My children seem to be aging as well, so now I’ve got yard-slaves. Sure, they are even lazier than I was at that age, but I can usually get one of them to mow at least half a lawn and maybe pull some weeds. I would say my kids and their peers are a bunch of spoiled brats — the worst ever — but I am pretty sure (assuming you believe the Christian creation myth) that the first parents to make that statement were Adam and Eve. And every generation of parents since have echoed that sentiment. So, are they really that bad, or is it that with age and wisdom comes self-delusion and selective memory?
Actually, Adam and Eve, the incestuous freaks that begat us all*, were children of God. Perhaps credit for first complaining about “kids these days” should go to him. In spite of all their flaws, my children are quite biblical. They are constantly tromping through the garden (usually crushing garlic or seedlings), and come summer, I’m pretty sure they’ll be out there stealing apples. We don’t seem to have any snakes around us, so they will have to content themselves talking to wasps instead — we have plenty of those. My son may not be able to walk on water or turn water into wine, but he is a whiz at turning water into urine and passing water on the roses. And every time I find my tools and various pieces of once-useful lumber out in the yard, both children are as innocent as lambs.
* Yes, I am once again making an assumption that you either believe the Goddite stuff or have at least heard the fables.