Monday, September 19, 2011

Catching Up...

Well, as you've probably guessed, the semester has begun.  So, less time to write.

It's a fact: the more you write, the more you write.

So I'm feeling a little out of practice right now, but I'll give it a go and try to catch up on the things I've been thinking and doing.

One thing I've realized since Ezra died is how angry I was about his illness last fall, winter and spring.  I think I did my best to be pleasant and keep a stiff upper lip, but inside, I was quite angry at the world and extremely stressed out.

And stunned.  And devastated.  I feel like I went through nine months of the past year in a state of angry disbelief.  In existential knots, maybe.  At times, I lashed out when I should have simply walked away.

I look at those moments now and wonder why I didn't just shrug, roll my eyes, and walk away, like I typically do.  If that's how people are going to be, well... that's their problem.

There are more nice people in the world than unpleasant people, I've found, so the unpleasant ones aren't ever worth the effort of their unpleasantness, really.

I think Ezra's mom and I have switched roles since then.  Now that he has died, she has begun to experience a lot of anger about what happened to him.

I know this because I scrubbed and refinished the deck on my house last spring, and she just did hers.  We have also both felt the need to suddenly dig up portions of our respective yards and flower-beds.

We have both aerated our lawns this year.  By hand.

You might not want to hire us as a team of landscapers right now, though.  My guess is, she will decimate everything in sight, and I will do the same for a brief period of time, but eventually, I will begin to weep quietly, make tea, and wax philosophical.

I take bike rides, and oddly enough, it began to bother me on a recent ride that I could ride my bike and Ezra couldn't anymore.

That just doesn't seem right.  He was ten.

Anyway, I rode out to Pojac Point today, which was nice, except for the brief period on one of the main roads when a Dunkin' Donuts tractor trailer seemed to feel I was in the way somehow.

Although being blasted into eternity by a truck full of coffee and baked goods would be a fitting end for me (I think the only thing more appropriate for a sedentary English professor would be to bleed out from a paper cut), I'm grateful he showed the proper restraint and let me go on my merry way.

I drive a lot myself, and I have noticed a couple of odd things over the past two weeks.  At one of the rest stops on the Garden State Parkway, there is a terrible blind spot as you walk out of the ladies room and into the food court.

I know this because I have collided with people twice, in precisely that spot, when exiting the ladies room.  I have to learn to navigate that corner differently.

I am also slightly amused by the fact that, when you get off the NJ Turnpike, there are signs alerting you to the fact that you are "leaving the NJ Turnpike" and you should now obey local speed limits.

I can't help but think that something must have spawned these signs.  Have New Jerseyans actually been unaware that they were no longer on the Turnpike and continued to do 80 mph on local roads?  Was this an excuse that local law enforcement heard regularly? ("Oh... I thought I was on the Turnpike...").

The Turnpike is such a entity unto itself, it seems hard to believe that you could actually not realize you're no longer on it.  It looks like nothing else in all of New Jersey.

I've been reading, of course.  I just finished Nancy Mairs' Waist-High in the World, her memoir about her life with MS and her experiences as a disabled woman (or, as she prefers to insist, "a cripple").  I'm still working on John Hockenberry's memoir as well--I got sidetracked and it slowed down a bit for me, but I'm determined to finish.

I'm very psyched because I have a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's Notebooks, complete with color photos.  Very cool.  I also have a biography of da Vinci's life, Charles Nicholl's Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind, that I'm going to work my way through.

My grant application was finished and submitted.  I have been entirely too good-natured and reliable at work, it seems, because I have been elected to be in charge of things.  No good can come of that.

And I'm teaching.  Always teaching.  And learning, always learning.

Life is good, in spite of itself sometimes, but always, life is good.

"In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time." --Leonardo da Vinci

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."