The drunken present
I don’t quite know where to start. This feeling is familiar, when to persist, and why… The caregiver that was to have started yesterday, had some emergency with her mother – something about low blood pressure and had to reschedule to today. She was expected at 3 PM, now something about “her” construction company having some problem between a worker and client.
No word since just a few minutes before three. No clarity on intention, or location. Simply not here now, just a few minutes to six.
My new friend Claudia and her daughter Val stopped by. Claudia has been cleaning the house lately, since Patience moved in in August. Patience has left, Claudia remains. I’m not keeping her on for cleaning right now, but maybe, and seemingly if, I can get settled in the new place.
We spent the last hour chatting, mostly them asking me questions about death and consciousness. Val is 22, a psychology major, and deeply upset by the state of the world today. “I worry about death every day.” She said.
I pointed out the somewhat uselessness of chasing academic perspectives about the nature of consciousness, self and identity, and death, in contrast to actually…
[Scheduled call from my friend Kelly in Australia which had totally escaped my mind in the swirl of the day] – she caught me in my head swimming confusion of the moment, but I will finish the previous thought before going on…
… In contrast to actually putting into practice an honest awareness of what is truly present in a given moment. Awareness itself, within that, self arising, world arising, time arising. An honest presence, that seems more useful to me, I tried to say so.
It was a pleasant conversation. At the end, I asked Val if she was interested in coming to work as a caregiver. She said she would think about it. I told her to take her time.
I felt appreciated in our conversation, I felt like I had words that spoke to some longing in them. I noticed a sense of almost feeling useful in a way, and yet, the contrast between that and the glaring absence of support simply to exist left my head spinning.
“When I first began to love God
I thought I'd fallen in the ocean
But I was only on the beach
then I entered the water
and was thrown back on shore
And then washed again into the waves
God, why did I want this love?
And what is this back-and-forth?”
I woke up this morning almost precisely at seven. Cassandra would be a little while still, I stirred slowly into the daylight already bright and about.
I was up and about by 8 AM. The morning was about the usual cast of characters of late – corresponding with banks and buyer about the pending automobile transaction, moving objects around the house in preparation for the sale, researching and corresponding on the move to the rental property, searching online for caregivers.
Lots of phone calls, messages left, few returned, some leads on possible funding sources to help with the renovation to increase the accessibility of the apartment. I was lost for time today. Esperanza, friend of Eliana, stopped by as planned right at 11. By then it felt like a whole day had passed since the morning.
The knock at the door surprised me. An obviously elderly, but strong woman, hair died jet black, grey roots stark at the base, came in smiling and friendly. We spoke for a few moments and then moved to the bedroom to demonstrate the lift transfer. At 5’2”, it would not be possible for her.
In very polite terms she excused herself directly and left almost as quickly as she had come.
Back to work on the previous tasks, as if unbroken from before.
Cassandra retired for lunch for a time. When she came back, I was ready for mine and took her up on the offer of a sandwich. Moments later the phone rang, Eric, the Physical Therapist from the home health service would be here in 20 minutes. Again the appointment had escaped my attention.
“If you get sideways in this time…” The horoscope reads today. Certainly some quality of that feels present in my makeup today.
The sandwich was made in perfect time, consumed peacefully and with relish (in the mind, not on the sandwich), and lunch was cleared before Eric appeared. I was not watching the clock.
Eric was sweet, tall, strong physical therapist. He was looking for some gap in my care, or attitude, or practices to address. He kept asking questions, I kept having the answers he wanted. We moved through the house, evaluating contexts and equipment, more good news for him. He was playful and frustrated, “you already have or are doing everything I would advise!”
“I don’t have anything for you!” He said. “This is not what I’m used to, I wish everyone was like you.” Sweet. We played together for about 30 minutes, joking and working and questioning. He left, “I guess I don’t have any reason to come back.” He said, smiling, with a hint of regret, on his way out the door.
More searching for caregivers. Researching renovation costs for the apartment. Correspondence.
Somewhere I got the idea to call David, just to be sure he was getting his text messages from me. I send them a few times a week, he never replies. He never has to. I just wanted to make sure they were getting through. They were. We spoke about the crypto markets, and the possibility of his starting a little hedge fund on the subject. Another call came in and he had to go.
I called Elisa, just as she was crossing the border back from Mexico where Cienna had to go to get her stitches removed. Elisa has been a tremendous help with the apartment and we had some things to discuss which slip my mind this late in the day.
Claudia had stopped by to clean the house while I was in the hospital. There wasn’t cash on hand as Patience had made the arrangements for the visit without my knowledge. I had spoken with Claudia yesterday, inviting her to stop by to pick up the balance due.
Another forgotten appointment. She appeared with Val and was halfway through the living room before I realized what was happening. It was lovely to receive them nonetheless. Val was anxious and upset by the condition of our current lockdown, exacerbating “everything else” that was going on. Our time together seemed to have soothed her a bit. It was beautiful to spend the time just loving people.
As they left and I turned my attention to this journal, the phone rang…
The fourth unanticipated yet scheduled appointment of the day.
Cassandra was late this morning. Vanessa sent a text early in the day asking if it would be all right for her to delay her scheduled arrival by 90 minutes, I was happy to oblige. Yosi was late, or rather simply a no-show with no words, I hope all is well with her.
Strange day. I will be grateful for sleep and for tomorrow. For now I am grateful for a mind which can meet all of this without terror.
Vanessa happily obliged when I asked, “would you please make something interesting and yummy for dinner?” I can hear the sounds of that now emanating from the next room.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…