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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Legends of the Fall: Day 7

Hello, everyone.

Well, it has been a week since I proved, beyond doubt, that I am better in the abstract than on the concrete.

We had a cold front push through the area over the weekend. I find I am susceptible to changes in air pressure and climate. For many years, my right ear warned me of impending weather changes,  after a bicycle accident in which I bounced along the pavement and semi-detached it, mashing up the cartilage in the process.

More recently, the best indicator of coming weather changes is the TV antenna. This is one of many nostalgic throwbacks, as my life seems to be evolving backwards to those palmy, low-tech, backward and fearful days of childhood we now call #MAGA.

But this weekend, it was my knee and my wrist who were the harbingers of snow and rain. I felt, most of the weekend, like I was actually backsliding some.  Everything hurt more, rather than less.

Still, the objective evidence is to the contrary.  Everyday I look a little less literally ham-fisted.  I should think by the end of the week, my pneumatic right hand will be matching the bony talon that is why I left once again (while my general build is that of my maternal grandfather,  I got my maternal grandmother's skinny wrists).

I am getting some range of rotation in my wrist, which is nice. Picking things up, or putting any serious pressure on it is still a ways off. The swelling is down to the point that I can just about clench my fist.

Today I got a necktie tied for an interview online, and managed a reasonably effective day's work at the keyboard. holding my arm and wrist in a typing position for extended periods, however, still requires breaks for icing it down. But I figure if I don't push it a bit, it will just get stiff, and everything will be harder, later.

This afternoon, I found myself contemplating the week's backlog of housework. I am not a good patient, left to my own devices. I tend to fret and ruminate. I get stuck in loops of gaming out possible outcomes - what if it takes longer? What if everything doesn't come back as well as it was? -  and constructing defenses against the little voice that is always sitting on my shoulder, ready to critique my every move, including the ones that involve falling down by accident. “ Well, if you paid more attention when you were walking…”

I was lucky as a child: I was positively cosseted through all the kid illnesses. And ever since, when I have been sick and alone, I have found myself wishing some deus ex machina would appear as in days of old, bearing ginger ale and popsicles.

Of course, pigs will fly first. Judge Crater and Amelia Earhart will be discovered to have run off together and become the first family of Pitcairn Island. Jimmy Hoffa will be discovered to have murdered Jack Nicholson and assumed his identity for the last 40 years (that would explain a lot).

During ice-downs, I've had time to think about my good fortune and being left-handed. I am the only left-hander I have ever heard of on either side of my family.

Actually, I am semi-ambidextrous.  In the 1960s, my parents had the good sense to tell my teachers not to try to retrain me to be right-handed. But in most day-to-day things, there were no left-handed implements or tools or sports equipment, so I adapted to right-handedness in those.

This adaptation has meant that my right hand is the stronger,  while my left is the more dexterous. It handles the detail work of repairing things I eat left-handed and write left handed. most other things I default to right-handedness with.

I guess, in the current political argot,  I am #AltRight, at least, physiologically.

This gives me a certain advantage when one side is down. In 2001, for example, I had a bicycle accident that left me with a bewildering array of bone fractures and my right arm in a sling for several months. I coped much better being able to do some basic things left handed than if I was a hard right sort.

And so it has proved again this past week. Left handedness does not have much to recommend it overall.  Schools see us as special rights pleaders for expensive desks only we can use.

I have read that left-handers recovered the power of speech more quickly after a stroke because of that crossover ability they have developed with the sides of the brain. I would prefer not to test that empirically for a while.

On the other hand, left-handers are also shown to be more prone to migraines, and I know this to be the case-  doubly so, since it is also a maternal inheritance.

Happily, in my case, migraines came to an abrupt end in 1996, after I came out. No get-out-of-jail-free card is absolute, however.  I still get more than my share of junior migraines.  These are called cluster headaches, and they tend to do just that. Mine settle behind my right eye. The general sensation during one is not unlike what I imagine having an ice pick driven through my eyeball would be like.

But even those have their uses.  But I may fret and fidget mentally when feeling subpar,  I have acquired a fairly high pain threshold. It is just something to be worked through, and having that set of skills to draw on has been handy over the last week.

Like Blanche Dubois, I continue to be grateful for the kindness of strangers among the Henry Bemis Books family.  Your continuing queries and concerns and reassurances have been a tonic.  The more traditional avenues of such messages are long grown over from disuse. They are like the roads to Machu Picchu before Hiram Bingham arrived with his machete.

My neighbors are pleasant but withdrawn people. When one neighbor was between jobs for a couple of weeks and did not leave home, another - eventually consumed with curiosity - came over to ask me if I had seen her, and to speculate on whether she might be dead inside her house. When I asked if she had gone over to knock on the door and ask, she looked at me as though I had suddenly begun speaking Esperanto.

I still sleep sporadically but have stopped worrying about it. When I get tired, I take a nap.  Today required two, as I only slept four hours before finding myself wide awake at 5.30 this morning.

Daylight Savings Time came in with the snow this weekend. The days are noticeably longer comma and I am like the old fire horse hearing the bell when it comes to wanting to get out and work in the yard. There is much to be done. I will have to let it wait, however, and like the housework, there will simply be much more for later.

Back, then, to worrying about not selling books!  I am besieged by emails and letters from people wanting me to buy their books.  They are very nice books being offered, too. But that is the way of the trade. Many more people want me to help them than want to help me.

I am always a little troubled by such communications.  Invariably, the would-be seller has done a little research period this consists of doing a search on one of the big online search engines for books. Their eyes fix upon the highest price they see for what they have, and that is what they want me to pay them.  I guess bookstores are perceived as somehow existing in defiance of the laws of economics. They are like my uncle Joe's Firestone dealership, where the accounting method is imagined to be, “First in, still there.”

But that is a tale for another day. Next to our former Governor, Mr. McCrory, I count my blessings.  He has given another interview about what it is like to be thin-skinned and, at the same time, a name-calling bigot. He says having been such an enthusiastic supporter of HB2 is making it hard for him to find a job worthy of his unusual skill set.

He gets depressed, he says, when people hold him to account for the things he said and did during 2016. He says he walks the dog or mopes around the house. As we both have some time on her hands,  I am trying to find out how to get in touch with the governor and invite him over for coffee.  

I want to sit and listen to him tell me what it is like to feel, roughly for the past year, like I have felt for the last 50.  I am sure, if he had the time to explain it to me, I could begin to understand how he insists that he is a good, church-going Christian without a bigoted bone in his body. He just believes that I am, by definition, a pervert who wants to wear party frocks into women's bathrooms, there to molest children. He might even be able to explain my family to me.

Readers, if any of you know the governor, please feel free to pass my invitation along. I am keen to learn. If I hear of any jobs that seem to suit his skills, I will be happy to pass them along and return.

Time to go watch the late news. The general assembly is still in session, so my remaining rights are still up for revocation at will.  Sleep well, y'all.

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