Have I been identifying with the weather? Gray, cold and wet? Or is it simply that I (and Jane) have mild colds and one not-so-mildly-ill cat, of whom we are quite fond and whose perilous health reminds me, if not us, of the sad fact of mortality. Note that not everyone feels it is so sad. The human kind, that is. But such is the vague sense of menace and threat with which I live.

I tend to take my background anxiety for granted. But recently I’ve been trying to shove it into the foreground. After all, I have survived a thing or two, and all these years should be gravy. But no, a cloud tends to hang over my life experience. Driving being one of the best examples. But actually even driving tends to get interwoven with everything else.

I was having some lower back pain, so began putting a pillow under my knees at night. Of course, this is somewhat complicated by the fact that the bed itself, a mechanical hospital-style contraption, already elevates my feet. But, as one of my musculoskeletal advisors suggested, a pillow under the knee would relieve some of the pressure on the back. Indeed it did.

But why stop with a pillow, I say? Why not go online and buy an enormous foam rubber wedge? This will really bend those knees and, in theory, relieve the hell out of the back. Of course this additional wedge does combine with the cranked-up end of the bed. And, to make a long neuromuscular story short, extricating myself from all these bedtime contortions in the morning, yesterday morning, proved to be one thing too many. I strained my hip dropping the semi-paralyzed leg to the ground. I had to seek some medical intervention today.

Which has done very little to relieve my general frame of mind. But I have grown weary of my frame of mind. It is, after all, just a frame. I am not laboring in a garment factory in Bangladesh. I have Jane. And I have Paprika, the cat. And more recently I have a 10-year-old to tutor. 

Naturally, he is tutoring me. He has trouble with reading, and I worry about this. But actually I worry about what’s behind it. I can recall as a disturbed kid in a disturbed family how hard it was to concentrate at times. So I’m trying to find a way to work with him without pressure. There’s plenty of pressure everywhere else. Yes, “teaching” is all about learning.

Such are my thoughts. And let’s not forget another one. Water. For once, this year at least, California has plenty. Do remind me of this next year when it doesn’t. Fortunately, Jane and I have a few days scheduled in Kings Canyon National Park. Never been there. Stay tuned.

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