During the haze of sickness these last few days, I have taken to diversions that might distract me from the sensations one feels when one isn’t “well.” I find it impossible to adequately describe those sensations. I don’t feel pain, exactly; it’s more like a generally unpleasant sense that one’s body is not happy with the way it interacts with the world around it. A physical malaise of sorts; discomfort that’s instantly recognizable to me as I experience it, but impossible to describe in any way that accurately paints a picture of how I feel. At any rate, while I’ve experienced this general physical disquiet, I’ve distracted myself with television and literature; the latter is a download I selected when I discovered the book I wanted was not available in physical form.
The television distraction is taking the form of a new made-for-Netflix series entitled “Unbelieveable.” The series is described as a “limited series,” which suggests to me I may not be given the satisfaction of knowing how the series ends; it may simply stop after the first eight episodes. I hope that’s not the case because I’ve become addicted. The series begins when a young woman reports being raped but later recants her statement, due in no small part to her inability to cope with suggestions from police and others that she might have manufactured the story. Two detectives, from different departments, follow similar rapes that seem extremely close in MO to the young girl’s case. The detectives, both women, team up to pursue what they believe is a serial rapist. I’m only six episodes in, but feeling a sense of loss in the knowledge that only two episodes remain.
The literary distraction is a book on tape. The Cellist of Sarajevo, written by Steven Galloway and read by Gareth Armstrong. I’ve only listened to a fraction of the full recording, but already I’m hooked on the book. It is an extremely well-written novel (based in part on true stories and people) that grabbed me within the first few pages. The book tells the stories of four characters whose lives are threaded together for a time during the assault on Sarajevo by Serbian forces in the war of the nineties. I can tell already that it will become one of my favorite books. Listening to it being read is not only fascinating but educational; I am picking up ideas that I will use in my own writing. I recommend the book. I wish I could find a hard copy in the library, but I’m satisfied with hearing it read; actually, I might get addicted to having someone read so I can rest my eyes.
It’s interesting to me that I probably would not have had much interest in reading The Cellist of Sarajevo before visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina and walking the streets of Sarajevo. Seeing the city first-hand and learning about the siege from people who survived it changed my attitude about reading a book that describes wartime experiences. Even though much of the city has been rebuilt, Sarajevo still has many, many scars from the war. Some buildings destroyed by mortar rounds remain, crumbling and unusable. Bullet holes and damage done by shrapnel are everywhere. On the one hand, the city today seems vibrant and alive and truly delightful; on the other, everywhere you look you see evidence of the monstrosity of war and the atrocities committed in the name of fanatical nationalism and religious chauvinism. I think I would have taken many photographs of the city, had I gone there with the idea of documenting the remaining evidence of war; I would have looked at the city through different eyes had I thought about, before going there, the experiences its residents had gone through. I wish, now, I had delved into the fresh history of the city before I went. Though I knew something of the war before our visit, I know much more now. My new knowledge changed the way I see what I saw; if I had known then what I know now, I might have viewed it all differently.
I went to bed last night very early, before eight. I was up and down (only briefly each time) many times during the night. I finally got up and made coffee around 5:30; spending so much time in bed may have helped my malady but it has left my muscles and bones achy and unhappy that they have not been exercised more often. I hope the aches dissipate with a little time and another cup or two of coffee.
Yesterday, when I got up just before 1:00 p.m. (after arising, then going back to bed for several hours), we went to the bank to have our ATM cards reactivated. It seems my wife’s card had been inactivated; we assumed it had to do with her attempted use of the card in Croatia. We assumed mine, too, had been inactivated, inasmuch as I tried to use it in Croatia to get money and had been rejected. As it turns out, my wife’s card had been inactivated because it had not been used for twelve consecutive months. Mine, we learned, was still active. But we also learned that our cards cannot be used outside the U.S. without specific instructions being given to the bank as to countries we visit and the dates. We thought we’d informed the bank about our trip to Croatia; apparently, we informed our credit card companies, but not our bank. So, our ATM card would not work. Fortunately for us, though, we had another bank’s ATM card with us during our travels; it worked just fine. Different banks have different policies, it seems. Best to check on all of them before embarking on such journeys as ours.
Tonight, our neighbors (with whom we traveled to the Balkans) will treat us to dinner at a very nice local restaurant, the Blue Springs Grill. We haven’t seen them since we got home almost a week ago, but my wife has spoken to the female component of the pair and I have exchanged a few emails. They seem to think they “owe” us because we had agreed that we would pay for the limo to the airport and they would pay for the return trip; because of the airline screw-ups, they got home a day before we did, so we had to pay for our trip back home. While I appreciate their generosity, I wish they would not feel compelled to “pay us back” for our expenses for something they had no part in causing. Anyway, tonight we’ll go to dinner with them. Assuming, of course, I feel at least as well as I do now. I hope whatever it is that ails me is on its downhill slide; this business of being achy, feverish, and deeply tired is of no value to me and I want it gone.
The few regular readers of this blog might note I’ve said nothing about the latest Trump scandal. Okay, I’ll say it now: though I want him gone, I think the impeachment efforts will not result in the desired outcome. In fact, I think they will strengthen his position with his deeply stupid and self-absorbed base. I read a message yesterday, on a community-based online service, that suggested a group of rabid Republican-types have baseball caps made that have “Make HSV Great Again” imprinted on them. These people walk the streets. They drive cars. They own guns. They are a danger to society and to themselves. Let’s just hope their actions place “themselves” in danger before they destroy the society in which they wallow.
Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, all mixed-breed dogs pose an existential threat to humanity. Let’s say they carry a virus, readily transmittable to humans, that humans cannot survive. The fastest way to address the problem is to kill all the dogs. So, the president orders all cities and towns in which mixed-breed dogs live to be carpet-bombed. The people who wear MAGA caps would support the president’s actions; they would label anyone who objects, anyone who argues for a more targeted approach, un-American. And therewith I end my current stream-of-consciousness exercise; my fingers are now much stronger and more flexible.
I need to create a title for this post. I think I’ll call it Confessions and Confetti. No particular reason; just want a label with which to identify this latest discharge of my mental messages.