The Week Begins

They stuck in my mind many, many years ago. I’m referring to the lyrics of a Leonard Cohen song, Famous Blue Raincoat. I think of those lyrics every time I find myself awake at four in the morning, which unfortunately is not all that rare. I never stay
awake until four in the morning, but it is not uncommon for me to be awake at four in the morning. Like this morning.

It’s four in the morning, the end of December
I’m writing you now just to see if you’re better
New York is cold, but I like where I’m living
There’s music on Clinton Street all through the evening

The lyrics of the song have no bearing on anything in my life, other than the fact that I’m awake at four in the morning. It’s the middle of July, not the end of December. And I’m not in New York. And so forth. But, still, the lyrics speak to me for some odd reason. They speak of loneliness in the midst of noise and activity. They conjure a sense of ennui, but with a disjointed definition that embraces a range of emotions that do not belong together. That phrase so often defines my state of mind: “a range of emotions that do not belong together.”

Just after I began to write this post, my wife responded to a text message I sent to her last night. So I responded to her response. And I suggested she call me, if she was of a mind to. She was and she did. We chatted for a few minutes. I learned she was channel surfing, trying to find something of consequence instead of the paid-programming hawking make-up. The staff had been in her room to do cleaning (in the middle of the night!); since they were there and had awakened her, she asked for assistance getting to the bathroom (she is not permitted to get out of bed without assistance, because she is so weak and because she is at hazard for a fall). So, being awakened in the middle of the night happened to be good fortune. Our call ended with my reminder to her that I would be back in again later this morning to bring her clothes, her mechanical pencil (a companion she requires when playing Sudoku, which is a frequent endeavor for her).

I never remember how to spell Sudoku, so I looked it up. I found this sentence describing the game:

The name “sudoku” is abbreviated from the Japanese suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru, which means “the numbers (or digits) must remain single.”

Hmm. Who knew?

I am tired, but I am awake and I sense there’s little point in trying to get back to sleep. My mind is not especially sharp this morning, which probably is reflected in my writing. But that’s true of my writing, in general, as it skitters from one topic to another, never stopping long enough to delve deeply into any one subject. My thought processes are like the rock I sling horizontally along the surface of a pond. My thoughts skim the surface for a moment, jump in the air, and repeat the process until, at some point, they sink like the rock I’ve thrown.

My thoughts are like my interests: broad (or is it wide?) and shallow. If I could explore all the ideas that cross my mind, but examine them deeply, I would be a far more intelligent man. Instead, I know very little about many things. And my interests run in parallel; nothing interests me sufficiently to warrant becoming even remotely “expert” in anything. A jack of all trades, master of none, as the saying goes.

I am hungry. Now that the clock is telling me it’s closing in on five in the morning (only twenty minutes to go), I feel less embarrassment that food is on my mind. I’m thinking I’ll mix some of the beans I made the other day (pinto beans, chunks of ham, jalapeños, onions, chile powder, cumin) with the canned tomatoes I left in the refrigerator several days ago. That concoction will form a thick bean and tomato soup/stew of sorts; add some Yucateca Black Label salsa habanero and I’ll have a magical, tasty breakfast. Well, it will do, anyway.

Before I eat, though, I feel a need to write something consequential. That may take too long, though, so I’ll settle for whatever spills from my fingers.

It’s always too late to be the person you wish you had been when you should have been the person you wished you were.  In other words, regret will always follow you if you behave in ways that you will regret. You can never un-do the things you did; you can never un-say the things you said; you can never un-be, the person you wish you had not been. Put another way, all the water under the bridge eventually reaches a dam, creating a stagnant pool. The solution is to go forward, being the person you wanted to be and saying the things you will be happy to have said and doing the things of which you will always be proud. That will give you the strength you need to breach the dam. Even so, though, your past will cling to you until there’s no more you to which to cling.

None of the preceding paragraph makes particularly good sense in the absence of the thoughts that prompted it; that will remain the case, inasmuch as those thoughts will remain locked in my head, where they should stay.

Enough early morning drivel. I will make my odd breakfast, take a shower, and begin to attack the day. My wife wants me with her at the rehab hospital, so I will go there after visiting hours begin. Once there, I can leave and return only once; the policies prohibit multiple in-and-out visits. So, I will spend the vast majority of my day there, leaving only when visiting hours end at 5:00 p.m. I wish I knew the schedule of her physical therapy; that could impact plans for my visit. But she does not yet have the schedule, so I will have to wing it.  As I said, even early morning drivel.

About John Swinburn

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