Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Same and Different

We’re having a completely relaxed Sunday: slept late, tinkering, reading the papers (on line), puttering and watching the Tour before having neighbors to dinner. Electricity rates are lower on Sundays than other days, so this morning, you could hear washing machines going in several places nearby. It was an interesting sense of communal activity, the sort we rarely have anymore. The death of Walter Cronkite highlighted the changes from the time when there were some things that a large number of people all did at the same time... also brought up by Al Franken talking about how cool it was that he and Sonia Sotomayor were both watching Perry Mason at the same time. The ring tone on the phone here is quite different from our home phone, which used to be another “we’re here” moment before everyone started customizing their ring tones so all phones ring differently anyway. In general, the sense of differences here is receding from what it was twenty years ago, but still persists in ways that are interesting and enriching and healthy and then also in ways that cause one to think “why would anyone choose THAT as an approach?”

That sense was reinforced by the meeting we attended Friday afternoon of the neighbors, which like our experience of all such meetings was a little overwhelming. Conducted in rapid-fire speech (in French), with everyone pretty much speaking all at the same time throughout the meeting, it wore me out to the point of meltdown. At least in this crowd, taking turns or having someone run the meeting are not a part of the group culture. I’ve been sleeping and recovering ever since. That experience sort of highlighted the state of my recovery: almost there, but not quite. I feel diminished, though not as completely defective and broken as I felt earlier. Without question, my stamina is nowhere near what we still hope for. Still, somewhere (cannot dredge up where in this state), I read that hard times sharpen one’s appreciation for details, and that’s certainly been true in my case. The slow hare life has certain compensations.

With my shoulder still wonky and being in some strange physical state from the fatigue meltdown, and with my laptop overheating, I’m getting some time off my computer. In that time, I’m still thinking about why I’m blogging these days. Jill sent some words of wisdom that resonated and I’ve decided just to reflect some more before coming to any conclusion. Among other things, she pointed out that my sense of greyness, of being disconnected and not quite right, started some time before the actual surgery. I’m still trying to reconstruct my sense of self, and writing here has been part of that. That seems right to me, except now I’m worried (again) that it’s too self-absorbed and narcissistic and Bad in some dimension. On the other hand, we also know that when I get in this nether-state physically, it affects my mood and thinking and there’s not much point in making any decisions, as they won’t be good ones anyway. Meanwhile, I’ve managed to rearrange most of the chapters-in-progress files so that, when my brain comes back on, the writing stuff is all ready to go. [Before you ask how that works when just before this was about time off from my overheating computer, we sync files, so I could do all of that on Michael’s computer... which again highlights the differences of times gone by with current ones. Now we each travel with a computer. Life is strange.]

In any event, the sky is clear and the quality of light beautiful. Outdoors it is for me.

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