A Little Help From….

Bodily preoccupation must be among the most boring penchants. And yes, there you have it. It’s mine. Frequently, I do the numbers. Let’s count the working limbs. In the upper body, there appears to be one. That’s why any persistent trouble, e.g., pain in my shoulder, easily moves to center psychic stage. It is as though I am balancing on my shoulder. We’re talking Cirque du Soleil, if one wants to consider things metaphysically. Thing is, one doesn’t. This is extremely, boringly simple. It’s my shoulder. It’s my one shoulder. And in view of the time and energy and expertise that have gone into making it work, well it damn well better.

And the thing is that it will. In fact, it is. Damned if the shoulder hasn’t improved in the course of one day.  Whew. Actually, it’s not the shoulder. It’s worrying about the shoulder. Or more to the point, worrying that I won’t know what to do about the shoulder. Which is to say, that I haven’t learned a damn thing in life…which may be overstating things ever so slightly. Where was I?

I was in Menlo Park, worrying about my shoulder, and also having lunch with David, my friend. It was about time. David is my role model for book production. He gets the job done. I not only dawdle, but keep redefining the job. That’s another thing to worry about. Is this a book or a time sink? How much time is there? How much book is there?  The latter seemed indeterminate, as David and I chatted over sushi. The apartments, my old stomping ground, looked to be in good shape. Who knows where the water is coming from, but even the gardens look nice. Of course, the garden consists of just a few square meters of lawn, along with a few annual flowers. That’s the secret, if there is one. Go small.

And where is the water? Oh, I could go on about the drought. But that’s neither news nor interesting. My own theory is that much of the water in the Western Hemisphere has been sequestered in the hydrocephalic brains of people like Stephen Harper. He terrorized Canada for an astonishing decade. My friends to the north must find it a great relief to see him gone. He seemed so out of place in Canada, the sort of libertarian nut that the US normally produces for domestic consumption. Anyway, that’s one less global warming obstructionist. Bringing us full circle, and rather unpleasantly, to the drought. It’s not unlike my shoulder, a source of painful preoccupation.

The secret is to share the pain. Or, at least, the responsibility. And in truth, it is shared. The redoubtable Dennis comes in almost every morning to help me get my neuromuscular act together. Exercise, stretching, Dennis helps get the job done. And with shoulder stress, an old lament, the job is to wait. It was worse yesterday. It will be better tomorrow. People help. On this very day David helped set the record straight on one minor point. Were tenants in our Menlo park apartments wasting water? After all, the bill has doubled. Calm down, David suggested. The number of tenants has also doubled. Our former apartment, occupied by a middle-aged couple, is now home to a family of four. That includes two little kids. Everyone taking showers. We get by with a little help from our friends.

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