I do not want to be the one left standing on the shore gazing out to the green light across the bay, like Jay Gatsby. I stated this in an earlier chapter (XXXVI: Farther Away).
Rather, I would go on with my life. Immediately, therefore, and I might add, wisely, I step forward – and trip over something, falling flat on my face in the water. Crawling on hands and knees through the muck to shore, I pull myself together, stand on my own two feet and peel the seaweed out of my hair and off my clothes. I exhale deeply and smile.
I encountered a friend. “You have mud on your face,” the friend said. “I fell in ––,” I replied. I have many good friends, for whom I am thankful, who know me all too well and care about me, special people, selfless, spiritually evolved, who have performed altruistic deeds for the good of humanity and the environment. And I have my writing, plenty to do.
“Why don’t you run for mayor,” suggested the doctor on his visit the other day. “Sometimes I think, ‘Well, if I were mayor…,’” I told him. “But, no.” “Then why not serve on the town council?” he pursued. He is being thoughtful and supportive; but the person he’s talking to is not me. I’m not a controller. I’m interested in culture, the arts, the humanities. I’m a supporter. I am of the We generation, not the Me generation. I forget to think of myself. What do you need? Oh, I can do that.
My point here and reason for repeating in my opening statement that which I have written before, is because – the bottom will drop out; I will fall into a black hole. When Jetta, our teacup poodle, goes and Emma goes, my Hospice friends, with whom I relate to on an intimate basis, will go, like they died, too. Like Indiana Jones, I will have fallen into a pit of snakes.
Life is a battle. Arjuna had an awful mess on his hands, Lord knows.
The doctor and I had a conversation that feels to me like sketches of an unfinished symphony. Who actually answered any question but with the superficial? Oh, of course, he answered thoroughly and knowledgeably all my medical questions. He is a doctor, he told me, because he likes what he does. That is obvious. I would not want any doctor here but him. And I have said so, many times. He is perfectly suited for our situation.
But I want to ask, “Why are you here conversing with me? Are you patronizing me?” I believe he is sincere, genuinely sincere. He is just being him. Yet this is what he contemplates to be his correct action. He will be very wise when he grows older.
Just be straightforward and forthcoming, say what you feel and think, and he most often is. I feel that when so many of these healthcare givers and others I deal with professionally – you know, the customer “care” people – care about whom? – are not straightforward and forthcoming, that either they do not know what they are doing or they are devious. They try to control me by making me feel that they know more about the matter than I, because in fumbling through their scripts they can’t find the right page, and that therefore I am stupid. I’m not that stupid. It’s so unsatisfying and frustrating when having asked a question not to receive a truthful answer. I asked the question to find the truth. I asked a question three times the other day of our car insurance agency office administrator and when she realized she couldn’t answer, she said, “O.K. What’s the bottom line question?” The bottom line question? The one I have been asking.
What’s the bottom line discussion I should be having with Emma’s doctor or any of our healthcare professionals? They act like if I can’t wipe a butt then I lack intelligence. Well, let me tell you, I have wiped a butt or two. That’s how I know where and what the bottom line is. The doctor is being very gentle, compassionate, patient and intently interested, I know. He is doing his best to help. He is sincere. I try to do my best, too; and had I the quick wit, I would have asked him more direct, appropriate questions. Sometimes I just get blown away by it all. I want to stand and gaze at the green light across the bay. It is seductive. It appears so close. I want to reach out and touch. But you see how it works out for me. No matter what I do, I fall flat on my face in the water.
How was your Thanksgiving, by the way? Ours was very nice. I have a good friend, a registered nurse, around my age, who 12 years ago started the Middletown, Delaware, free Thanksgiving dinner. Her children were grown, she was going to be alone and she figured others would be, too, so why not cook dinner for about 25. That number has grown exponentially. She insisted Emma and I have a free Thanksgiving dinner delivered. It was delicious, beautifully presented, gourmet food. The other day, before Thanksgiving, she said she was up to her feathers in preparations and loving every minute of it.
–Samantha Mozart, November 26, 2011