Saturday, July 10, 2010

Differences are Good: A Cranioversary Theme?

Among the lovely things that travel brings is a change in topics of conversation. Michael and I try to walk every day--at least every day when my balance isn’t totally wonky, when my knee isn’t acting up, and when the rest of life isn’t so crazed that it’s yet another obligation instead of something peaceful, healthy and calm. Changing locales means there are different things to notice and to talk about as we walk, which is always nice, because even though we take different routes, after you’ve done them for years, they do start to become more background than foreground. When we’re here, though we do some of the same walks regularly--the yacht basin is one of our favorite places, both because it’s flat and because it’s a different universe--with a gap of a year since our last visits, there’s always a lot to notice.

It’s on these occasions that the differences in our interests becomes most clear. Here’s a real conversation we had yesterday, walking along the Croisette, where there are many tony pay beaches, always an interesting spectacle.

Me: “Oh, look, here’s the same man setting up as last year, but the theme and the umbrellas and furniture are all different. It’s pretty!”

Michael: “Do you think the bathrooms here are below the sewer lines?”

Me: “huh?”

Michael: “That truck has a line down to the beach buildings, and it’s clearly sucking something liquid back up to the truck, not supplying from the truck to the beach. Do you think it can be sewage? I think it has to be.”

And that about sums it up. On the yachts, I notice the people and the size and the accoutrements, and he’s looking at their antennas and the cars parked across from them. I’m speculating about the people, and he’s looking at the equipment. In the parks, I’m looking at the people and the dogs, and he’s looking at the species planted and the watering system.

Or, walking in the neighborhood:

Me: “What a great view that house must have.”

Michael: “Right. And look at that! Wow!”

Me: [confused] “What? I don’t see anything. What am I looking at?”

Michael: “They buried their power and phone lines since last year!”

So, today’s 22-month cranioversary theme is how good differences are. Cousin South detected a change in my topical theme, about the time I changed the color of the blog, to one of reinvention, figuring out what to do with what I am now. That seems about right, and I was glad to hear it! It's amazing how often our friends detect what we're feeling before we do, in these realms. As for the status report, from the top down: the head clicking is newish and definitely weird; I’ll ask some doctor about that, sometime. Reading fiction and comics and doing certain mental activities comes and goes; my thinking processes are definitely different than they used to be, though certain facilities, like synthesis, seem to be improving steadily. I’m restarting all the shoulder exercises after letting them lapse, because it’s freezing up again and doing all its weird detours when moving up or down, though side to side is fine. So long as I’m willing to ask for and accept help, I can navigate stairs and since, mostly, I like life better without lots of crowds and loud noises anyway, the fact that I don't do well in those settings is not usually an impediment. Bottom line: I’m different than I was, and how I am is ok. It’s a journey, not a destination, as they say.

I’ll probably do status reports only through 24 months, because that’s about the outer limit of when positive changes can be expected, though someone recently told me that she’d seen the final real improvements five years after surgery. In any event, two years seems like more than enough attention for this thing that was in my brain. The book stuff is going v e r y slowly, but at least that's likely because writing is hard, not because of my broken bits, and I’m trying to keep at it consistently. My editor told me she thought I was probably one of the only authors in the history of the world who asked “who would want to hear what I think about any of this, anyway?” and (in the nicest possible way) told me to stop being such a girl about it all and get on with it; she’ll worry about the audience if I just write the words. So, off I go to try to write more words, hoping very much that, someday, there might be something someone, anyone, might want to read.

It’s a pretty nice life, sitting on the terrace trying to write words. Of course, it's even nicer when not trying to drag words out through fingers onto the screen: last night, Michael opened some champagne, just to celebrate how nice it is to be here, with each other, in this nice place. My wish for you is that you make time to stop and celebrate the nice elements in your lives. While you're at it, notice differences. They're good, too.

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