‘That you’re tired of yourself and all of your creations’

Sunday morning brunch in the suburbs (2017)

I hung the hammock out back on the ponderosas, tried to rest but couldn’t, drove to West Seattle to meet Anthony and Mike for Sunday beers. We got a letter they’re moving forward with the project next door, to tear down the house that was lost to auction and subdivide it into three lots. Good timing I thought, to hang the hammock and enjoy some quiet on that side of the property while I could.

I didn’t have much to drink but when I woke in the morning around 5 and flipped over to look at the clock, my vision kept rolling even though my head stopped, and I couldn’t track on the numbers, it just kept spinning, and then I felt nauseous, and remembered the BPV I had years ago, and realized it was back. I let the dog out and stood there waiting for her and when she came back she puked right on the rug, and I started thinking about work. “Monday, Monday.”

In the war between moss and grass in our yard the moss is winning and I’m fine with that, it doesn’t need cut. It has more interesting depths to it, volcanic orange and yellows, fluorescent-electric greens you want to pet, weird nodules, little antenna-shit.

I called my dad and told him about the project next door and he asked if I remembered what the neighbors did to us in Bethlehem but I didn’t, they built something two-story when it was supposed to be one, and it took out our view of South Mountain, which I didn’t remember either. And it wasn’t really a “mountain” but they hung a large, white star up there at Christmastime (Bethlehem being the Christmas City and all), and around Christmas one year I was just a teenager but hungover, and dad knew it, and forced me to walk up there with him to the top of it, he said it would be good for me. (There’s a love between us that’s hard to express I think, I know because I feel the same with my own kids.)

He said people are always doing dumb shit like that, and we moved onto the next topic, and he said tell everyone hello for us, and we hung up.

I made all my meetings Skype so I could work from home and had trouble typing but got through it, and gradually the dizziness wore off—Dawn and the kids went to Beth’s to watch the basketball game (we don’t have a TV) but I stayed home, went out back in my socks with a beer, listened to the birds, took in the manure smells from the landscaping crew, the compost, the dog lying in the dirt beside me.

And it was so quiet you could make out individual bird sounds in the trees, a neighbor coming up the gravel road, parking. Harder to relieve myself in the yard though, it’s light out late and there’s less cover now that the landscapers have thinned things out.

I called my dad and my uncle and my mom all on Sunday, though the connection was bad with my mom and crapped out, and my uncle wasn’t there so I left a message, said I was thinking about him (thinking about him every time I look in the mirror, thinking I look like him as I’m aging; he’s living alone in his parents’ house since my grandparents died, and that was so much of his life, looking after them). There was a call I had with him from the UK, the last time I talked to my grandma before her stroke, and I started telling Jim why I was doing this whole mid-career sabbatical thing, how I’d started losing touch with who I really was and so on, but he went quiet then and said well, we should probably get going.

We just miss each other sometimes, that’s how Dawn puts it: people try to connect but we go right past each other, even the ones we love most or need, we keep spinning past on our own trajectory. Bizarre about vertigo, about “BPV,” that just those little calcium crystals in your inner ear can break off and get caught in the wrong canal and make you totally lose touch…how fragile it all seems, remarkable things work as well as they do.

I realized Charlotte’s soccer jersey is dirty and she’s got a game tomorrow night so I washed it. That’s one way to say it, so I did.

Post title from the Bob Dylan song “Queen Jane Approximately,” 1965.

Painting by Marten van Cleve, “Flemish Household” (1581).

Categories: Memoir, musings, parenting

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. I like that unspoken love, doing things for people when they need it, not needing to be asked. And your uncle going quiet when you mentioned losing yourself – do you think that was how he felt, looking after his parents for so long?
    Another lovely post, Bill

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Connecting is easy. In theory.
    Another beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Connections are tricky. It’s almost like the way cells work, where a cell has to have a receptor on it for a certain kind of molecule, then they can hook up. Plus, it’s all in the timing.

    I hope the BPV has left the building for good. Sounds miserable …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sometimes a connection is hard to keep intact, some of the power has gone out or a line has moved or there’s been a storm or…..

    Liked by 1 person

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