Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thoughtful Man 2002

"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened"  Mark Twain

7:30 a:m on a Sunday and I was getting dressed to go for a run.  My husband came into the bedroom, pale and anxious and said he needed my help.  Worried, I hurried to finish dressing and found him sitting at the desk in the family room with his laptop open.   "I can't get this to work.  I just don't know what to do.  I feel terrible".  He was due to leave for a week long workshop in Colorado, a seven hour drive, and was trying to post a letter of recommendation to an application portal that was due the following day.  It wouldn't let him in. I couldn't help.  His despair deepened.  I suggested he call the listed contact number  the first thing the next morning for help.  "But everything is here in the computer" he groaned, "and I've got to get going".   I reminded him that the computer was a laptop, and he could take it with him.  His face brightened. I made us some breakfast, we ate, and he drove away, free of his burden IT burden.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Woman with Old Age 2003

In 2002 one of my students had just turned 60, and to show us that being 60 was no big deal, she stood on her head for us and I took her her photo.  Now, 14 years later, and well into my 60's, I marvel at how old I thought 60 was at the time.  Somehow, somewhere,(if we're lucky) this sneaky thing has happened, or will happen, to us all:  we will find that we are old. We will come to realize that, with great good fortune, we may have only another 20 years or so to live.  Our parents will be dealing with either serious disabilities, be dying or have died.  Friends and acquaintances that are younger than we are will discover a serious illness, or die from accidents, illness, or some terrible misfortune. Our hair and beards will turn gray, we will have to bend our knees and will grunt when we lean over.  For women, chins hairs will sprout like unkempt lawns. For men, morning erections will be only a faint memory.

But we are still the same us inside, still making the same silly mistakes that we have always made.  We are still sure that we will live forever  and think of death and misfortune as something that happens to someone else, but not us.  We swear that we won't make the same mistakes as our parents who refuse to go into assisted living even though they can't see and can't remember, but, of course, we will.  We carry bad feelings about family members, and it's only when they come down with a serious illness that we realize how foolish we've been, and how much time we've wasted thinking bad thoughts and saying hurtful things. We think if we don't eat sugar, and cut grains and processed foods from our diet, our memories won't go, and we will avoid pain and discomfort because we exercise regularly. I'm hoping that at some point we will acquire wisdom, patience, and tolerance to substitute for all that we've lost.  However, I'm afraid we may just keep bumbling along, just as we always have, thinking that as long as we can stand on our heads, we will be okay.