This very morning I was imagining the next time I have to go through airport security. And thinking a lot about, not airports, but security…and, for once, I am imagining this moment with pleasure. Really, it’s because at the end I can collect my “personal items” and also collect Jane. She will be waiting just outside the “security” area…but well inside the general security area that is my life. Not too much lingering on the Orwellian name for the personal frisking and baggage probing airport department. But there is security, and then there is a security. More to the point, there is my wife. And oddly I am proud to have one. And particularly this one. And no sense in letting life go by without noting one’s achievements. And this is one of them. Neither I nor my two siblings were exactly primed for success in marriage. Yes succeed we have. And if I want to point out success, well, I have only to point to Jane. So, here I am pointing at her, and at me, and at us, in this imagined emergence from Security.
And why are we off on this tangent? Because insecurity rules my days. And this particular reflection helps me keep things in something like balance. And where are things more insecure than the open road? The road was open, to look on the bright side, rush-hour having past, and there I was, hurtling down the 101 motorway and filled, as usual, with anxiety. And yes, surprisingly, not about driving. Actually, that was going rather well, the semi-automatic response to traffic and construction rather pleasing, in fact.
So what’s to worry? Everything, it seems. As wiser persons note, there is much new in my life. But hasn’t there always been? Haven’t I faced one odd situation after the next all my days? I worry that this anxiety is a function of being older. And why one should worry about such an unavoidable state is beyond me. It’s all beyond me, that is the point. Unfortunately, when anxiety takes over, I am beyond reason. Which, as everyone knows, is just beyond Burlingame, where Jane and I hurtled toward San Mateo. Home of, you guessed it, Lamps Plus. Where, on the plus side, I offered a number of opinions on the merits of, well, lamps. Yes, Jane was well ahead in this sphere. Nonetheless, I opined about this and that pendant, tiffany, and so on.
On the negative side, my head was sort of pulsing. Well, maybe it was my upper cheeks. In any case, I could hear a sort of throbbing in my head. I considered the obvious causes, all of them fatal. Still, although a stroke seems an imminent possibility, fact is, this pulsing goes away as soon as I calm down. Which is very rare these days. It’s all the changes, I suppose. No more running on automatic in one’s apartment of 22 years. No, everything is new. Everything has to be fabricated, as it were, and there are no routines.
Yet, there are the old ones. And once we were in Menlo Park, I had a chance to examine them…the apartment house with its raised beds, now minus their garlic, and a new crop of tomatoes…not to mention that familiar run from Trader Joe’s to my old home. My lunch date had fallen through, so I had lunch on my own. Which was fine, just tense.
I was determined to take advantage of suburbia by washing my car. So, there we were, at my favorite Vietnamese carwash, and I was trying to get out of my van– but couldn’t. After all, there was a crew ready to vacuum, squeegee and spray. I needed to get out-of-the-way. I couldn’t get out of the car. I got quite annoyed with Jane who kept asking what I was doing. What was I doing? The release that holds my wheelchair in place would not release. Maybe that’s because the engine was on…all that noise of spraying and vacuuming making it impossible to tell. Well, in retrospect, not impossible, just difficult.
Everything is difficult, it seems. Did I mention that this particular Monday began with the 8 AM arrival of two carpenters, two painters, one electrician? Followed by the irruption of saws, drills and hammers? It’s enough to make a person drive to Menlo Park. It’s making me tense. Our contractor says it will be over this week which, translated, means next. I actually don’t believe it. But I do look forward to the day that I am passing through that most annoying of airport conventions–Security. And even now I do enjoy my new home. Only moments ago I was eating a bowl of chili in front of the trendy market down the street. A gale force 10 was blowing up Diamond Street. What else? This is San Francisco.