Friday, April 4, 2014

4 April 2014
Friday afternoon

We accomplished a shower today, myself and a CENA new to me, she works mostly on the second floor (many elderly and dementia residents). Unlike other CENAs who have worked with me from the second floor she could work with me instead of on me, she could listen to how it was best to effect the next move so it could be easier on both of us. After a week being way to close to my own body, it was nice to have some water running over my body and a scrub with a wash cloth.

I discovered where one of my favorite DVDs got put away. I watched it this afternoon. I don't have many DVDs with me here, I was very particular about buying them when I lived at home. Most movies have too thin of a plot line to watch more than once. They seem to be more of a sensational satisfaction device rather than telling a good story.I guess Hollywood has fingured how shallow the public can be and get away with producing low quality material. The DVD today was about Andy Goldsworthy, the artist, and his work. Although it is a bout seeing some of his work in progress and some finished pieces. It is no usual documentary or story. I have always enjoyed seeing it again and again.

I found myself remembering one other DVD that I bought, one which never survived my youngest brother's style of clearing out my home for sale. He either threw it out or gave it to the auctioneer to dispose of. Amazon lists it for sale at eight dollars, I may buy myself another one. I first heard of this movie when a friend at school mentioned to me that one scene in the movie reminded her of me. In the movie young Beethoven flees out a window and down a down spout to escape another return and an another inevitable beating a the hands of his drunken father. He runs to a nearby pond where he doffs his clothing and floats face up in the water watching the stars. In that one scene you can see a method self-solace and a way to leave the pettiness of living among people who can't see beauty. Its like returning to the higher self.

In a way I could see how that scene reminded my classmate of me. I don't sustain beatings from a drunken father. But I always have found solace in nature. Like the line from Linus in the peanuts comic strip, holding his blanket to the side of his head he states that he loves humanity, its people he can't stand. I can see that, the potential of the group soon fritters away when you get down to the individual level. What rises up to fill the void is often petty, small minded, egoistic, self interest dominated. It is not very becoming or the stuff relationships can be built on.

People are funny with relationships. I once read in my undergraduate education that more times than not the mutual friends of a couple, after they divorce, tend to shun the male and gather about the female. Its some sort of unspoken taboo to be seen fraternizing with the male, but not so for the female. I couldn't believe it when I read that. I thought, “No way” they must not have been that good at being friends. When my divorce happened, after thirty years of marriage, the friends disappeared overnight. Poof! I was an instant pariah. I couldn't figure what I had done wrong. The separation was amicable, even though I didn't agree with the divorce settlement, it would have cost even more in attorney fees to fight it and I probably would have lost anyway. I didn't bad mouth her to others. Yet all of our friends avoided me, even the highly educated ones, including the next door neighbors, who had known us since we moved in twenty years prior.

I would drive by during warmer months and they would be out on their back porch. Never a wave or any acknowledgement I was passing by. The wife used to call about once a week just to see how we were doing. After the divorce – nothing. Once I had an occasion to call them, I screwed up my courage to put this lack before her. I said that since the divorce they never called any more. She quickly said that I never called them either. Before the divorce I was often on the phone or over at their house. Somehow it is a whole new ball game after a divorce.

Other professional friends seemed to suddenly “forget” that they ever knew me. A psychologist friend ran into me in the Post Office less than a year after the divorce. He introduced his son to me, less than six moths prior both of us had been to their house to have an evening of playing board games. The wife of this couple is a child psychiatrist, she had a strong competitive streak to her. She was always choosing up sides to play, she had great delight in moving the game pieces about the board always with a comment (sometimes delighted or not as to whether she was winning or not). I didn't care about winning, I just enjoyed the playing. This drove her nuts, especially with some games like Trivial Pursuit that needed an answer of oddball facts – which I can be good at. I still remember her being so totally unhappy that I knew that a ship's carpenter is called a Carfindo. How did I know? Did I memorize the cards ahead of time? She was sure I had cheated somehow. Yet time after time I would come up with the correct answer. She knew that I was bright, she never forgave me for that. I suppose if she was that unable to be relaxed enough to see me more clearly, I shouldn't lament her choice of who to remain on friendly terms with. No great loss, actually. I guess it shows that we are willing to swallow pretty much anything just to have contact with others. The question is at what cost?

Speaking of costs, being here in this facility day after day and so few people come by to visit, I can count the monthly occasions on a finger or two. What do you suppose that might feel like? I am tired of being overlooked or taken for granted. When the nursing staff come in the room first thing every morning, they are all bright and cheery. They ask politely how am I? If I just give the knee jerk response with no fore thought, Ok, or fine, they are happy and then go about their business. If I am truthful and say how much one day is the same as the next, how boring life can be here, they take that as their invitation to be a cheerleader, or my personal coach full of fixes and what I should do.

The message that keeps being sent to me is that the extra time and effort is not going to be made available, maybe to others I am not worth the added effort. Everything is reduced to a monetary value by which things are rated. I suppose this explains why I always was so comfortable in the woods, the animals, trees and landforms didn't care if I had the right socially correct clothing or accessories. I was accepted at first blush. It seems that most people can't do that.

No one seems interested in the things I have to say about people's lack of openness. There is often a very significant silence full of great meaning nobody wants to notice. So I notice and let it go unspoken to. This is so sad.

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