Puzzling Me

I woke this morning around 3:00 a.m., much earlier than usual. When I’m in my own house, I have no constraints on my movements when I get up so early because I know how to minimize the noise I make around the house. But when I’m a guest I feel compelled to tiptoe with care. I feel a bit like an intruder as I wander around in the dark. Even after I turn on a light, I feel ill at ease, as if I might be “discovered” in places I don’t belong in the wee hours of the morning. Strange that I feel such apprehensions in a house in which I feel so welcome. But that’s just me, an inexplicable oddity who feels out of place even in my own skin at times. It always comes down to the questions for which there are no satisfactory answers: “Who am I, beneath the layers of skin trained to respond ‘just so’ to external stimuli? Absent this lifetime of coaching to which I have been subjected,  who would reside in my head?”

Today, at some point, I’ll go visit my brother in the hospital. If I have unusually good luck, I will talk to the doctor who will decide whether my brother should, when he’s sufficiently healed, go to a residential rehab center or be released to go home. I would argue for the former, inasmuch as his too-early release from his original hospitalization might have been responsible for his malnutrition and dehydration. We shall see.

Aside from the hospital visit, I’m not sure what I’ll do. The iPad on which I’m typing this post is not suited to writing (at least not stream of finger fiction). Perhaps I could go find a neighborhood bar where strangers are viewed with a mixture of distrust and dislike; I could engage the regulars in a spirited discussion about parochial paranoia, leading to fisticuffs. Given my inexperience in hand-to-hand combat, I would end up beaten and bloodied, a bad way to be on a Tuesday. That likelihood, alone, is enough to dissuade me from seeking out a neighborhood bar. I could drive to Katy to take a look at the first house I ever bought, but that would remind me that I lost upward of $17,000 when we sold it…well, that ugly memory has surfaced without a visual reminder, so there’s no value in fighting the traffic to see a tract home built in 1980. Another option might be to search for the Astrodome. I wonder if it’s still standing. As I think about that building, it occurs to me that I don’t care enough to wade through the traffic on the loop, so I shall not do it. If I could take a train, that be another story, but another story would require me to tell it on my blog, where I’m learning to loathe one-finger typing.

My solution: chill. Sit here and meditate or, worst case, sit here and vegetate. I shall consider myself an artichoke and will peel back each of my unappetizing fronds until, finally, I reach what I hope is a delectable heart, flush with emotional nutrients that can fill a thousand pages with hope and life.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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