Last post I mentioned the Ides Of March. Now I’m living them. It’s snot funny! After eight days of gasping and gagging I descended into whimpish submission and made a doctor’s appointment to be told what I already knew. The sawbones advised me that I had pneumonia. So now I’m to trust in these colourful wee pills and to “Get plenty of rest.” I can’t lay down without coughing my lungs inside-out so I sit in a suspended state that is neither sleep nor wakefulness and spend all day staring into a garden-slug beige-green mist, rasping out the next breath while sitting in my living room recliner, aka “The Stinky Chair”, and trying to maintain a state of mindless zen; neither dead nor alive. There are many kinds of courage I do not possess and enduring this state of nothingness is one of them. Writing this paragraph is the most ambitious thing I’ve done in a week. How do people endure a long illness? There is far too much time for introspection. I feel a tide of madness advancing up through the lethargy of this illness, the boredom, and the weakness to change anything. Imagine this, old Fred has lost his voice!
The cold rain continues to hammer in tedious monotony. Jack the dog maintains a state of hibernation all the while eager, at a moment’s notice, to bound out into the weather for a change. Any small outing is a grand adventure. I stagger frailly along paths far behind him, my chest squeaking and bubbling pathetically. How we take the fragile, teetering miracle of good health for granted! How I hope to be doing exactly that again soon. Last night my wife took me to a local Chinese restaurant for a bowl of wonton soup, a perfect tonic for my state. I opened the car window to spit another bit of lung out into the pelting wet of the night’s gale. The window wouldn’t close again! We returned home, I fixed the window, we went for another try at the soup. The fortune cookie was utterly inaccurate, I returned to my stinky chair. Everything on the television is beyond my idea of edification, enlightenment or simple non-offensive entertainment. Meanwhile, old ‘Seafire’ continues to languish at the dock, sadly tugging at her lines waiting for the next adventure. Coming soon, coming soon.
A week later, I’m still honking like a flock of geese. Things are improving slowly and I can actually sleep lying down again. Now Jill is sick, I’ve shared the wealth and she has spring break to recover. Gee thanks huh! I suppose a benefit of the misery of an illness is to be reminded what a truly fragile species we are. This is only a flu virus that is striking people down locally, it could easily be some other deadly microcosm wiping us out by the millions. It has happened before, many times. I maintain that there is one non-indigenous organism on this planet: us. If we don’t learn how to co-exist as the guests we truly are here, we may well come face to face with antibodies which will erase us from our tenuous and infectious invasion of the earth, the host we insist on exploiting far beyond our minimal needs. There is a natural order to the universe which will be ignored for only so long.
All the while, my illness seems to have extended a negative karma elsewhere. Problems with my vehicle have had me crawling, repeatedly, underneath on the garage floor doing some nasty work over and over until the gremlin decided to quit fighting. The job was certainly not a cure for a chest infection! It’s extraordinary how a low time seems to attract problems. On a check of ‘Seafire’ I find the big compass at the main helm now has, mysteriously, a split bowl. There is mineral oil leaking all over. One of the joys of getting older is knowing all things pass. Life can be an ordeal or an adventure, it is all about attitude.
Well isn’t it funny how the pickle squirts! A lady in Queens, New York was doing a general search online of the term “Ides Of March” and stumbled on ‘Seafire Chronicles’. She liked my photo of a bicycle leaning on a post at surf’s edge and so now we each have a new friend. Justine Vallinotti posts her own blog. http://midlifecycling.blogspot.ca which is built on her passion for bicycling. It’s a lovely and informative sight, well worth checking out. You’ll find a link to her site on my Blog Roll in the right hand side bar. Another fabulous sight linked there is Sage On Sail, friends of mine from Victoria here on Vancouver Island. They have sailed from Victoria across and up and down the South Pacific. Now they’re sending incredible photos from South Africa as they methodically work their way Eastward along its coast. They are also avid bicycle folks and I believe they are heading up and across the Atlantic for the New York area. So heh! You never know what will happen when you pusha da button! I once set foot in New York for about an hour in the late sixties. I flew in and out of JFK as crew and vowed never to return there again. This old bog-stomper was terrified at the endless city I could see from the air and I’m sure it is even more horrific half a century on. Here rises that issue again about different types of courage. I much prefer the backwoods and wide-open ocean, the thought of which, I know, freezes other folk’s blood. Different strokes for different folks.
Still on the theme of how one little thing can lead to another, the bike business led me to thinking of “Fat Man On A Bicycle”, a BBC 4 travelogue and cooking show hosted by Tom Vernon. It was a good enough show that I still remember it and of course that leads me to recalling “The Two Fat Ladies”, another BBC 4 cooking show featuring two obese women who travelled Britain in their motorcycle and sidecar cooking up wonderfully rich food wherever they stopped. They were deadpan hilarious. While researching the above I stumbled on a site called “Fat Guy Across America” It is about a fellow named Eric Hite who weighs in excess of 500 pounds and is biking across the continent in an effort to regain his health and his marriage to the woman he loves. So all of that comes from taking and posting one photograph of a bicycle.
Spring seems reluctant here. There has been snow on the mountains since mid-September and although there are buds and flowers it remains chilly, even on sunny days. I know it won’t be long until the bitching about “Hot and dry” begins again and every layman can prove global warming. The world economy thrives on paranoia and while many things are in a sorry mess I do get weary of the masses allowing themselves to be steered in someone else’s profitable direction without asking obvious questions. Which leads to this one. Donald Trump!? C’mon folks, really? Is our Western Culture so ruptured that this dude continues to get anyone’s serious consideration as a presidential candidate, even for one day? That terrifies me.
All the more reason to run away to sea. I’ll just have to remember when crossing the US border to not have a black, bushy beard, to not be in the company of any dark-eyed children, to not wear a cowboy hat and when dealing with Homeland Insecurity to never, ever, employ any sense of humour. ON A CLOUDY DAY: Despite another gloomy day, both health and weather-wise, it’s uplifting to go and find some photos in the dull light. Here are a few from today.
If you like blues music check this out. A friend emailed me some Youtube links with a guitarist named Hank Shizzoe, another named Sonny Landreth, and a band calling itself “Loose Gravel”. It is all good stuff and I’m always amazed at these very talented people who can produce unique sounds. This from a guy who couldn’t carry a tune in a fish tote. Hopefully the next blog has me bounding around like a very frisky Easter rabbit. I’m due for surgery on a bum ankle in a few days and after that who knows? Perhaps I’ll end up with a band named “Wooden Leg”… or “Stumble Gumboot.” The possibilities are endless, the dream is alive.
“Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.”
.- George Carlin