Thursday, February 18, 2010

Old Patterns Creeping Back

It took leaving town for us to start moving back into old, familiar and half-forgotten patterns. After I’d accepted an invitation to give a talk in Albuquerque on February 14 some time ago, I belatedly realized that was a Sunday (so getting there, talking and getting back would chew up a whole weekend) and Valentine’s Day, to boot. We decided to make a weekend out of it together and arranged to stay at a friend’s place in Santa Fe. Michael unfortunately got his annual bout of bronchitis that weekend, so it wasn’t clear for a while if he could or should travel, but in the end it worked out. Neither of us really felt well enough to go out into the world to eat, so we ate in both nights, and those two evenings were almost like having our old, pre-tumor, life back.

For one thing, I was able to read fiction that weekend (gone again now, but returning more frequently, I think), and also, for the first time in a very, very long time, not only was able to, but actually felt like listening to the radio at the end of the day. One of the symptoms of this adventure has been a narrowing of my world, because I get into an overload state so easily. Michael almost automatically turns on the radio in whatever room he enters, and gets much of his news and information that way. My overload problems have disrupted a whole series of our regular patterns, because I lost my ability to concentrate on something else while there’s lots of other stuff going on, including talking on the radio. (Or, for that matter, music.) Thus, right now, either he goes without his sound fix, or I go to another room. This has changed our life patterns dramatically, and neither of us much likes it, though it’s a small-enough price to in other respects. But that weekend, it just felt right to find an NPR livestream and listen to a summary of the day.

So there we were in this cozy place, with a fire going, the radio on, Michael making dinner and me reading a book. It felt like old times. Then we had conversation over dinner and a quiet evening together, no video, just doing the things we had to do. It was great. It’s been so long since we lived in that life, and there we had two nights of it. Returning, I had a colleague here for two days, and it was an intense time, as we’re making teaching videos for the new class I’m teaching, and it consumed every minute in the two days. It took yesterday to catch up on email and figure out what else had fallen through the cracks, so now today, it’s back to a more regular routine, I hope. We captured a lot of great video and have very high hopes for the product we’ll be able to create. Meanwhile, I owe everyone else in my life on pretty much every front, so today is going to be about more digging out. Still, I have a greater sense of optimism than ever that, one of these days, my limitations won’t govern our lives and may even recede into history. Isn’t that a happy thought?

Happy Thursday.

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