On a dare from my walking buddy, I have refrained from emailing updates about Dad to my siblings during my Spring Break. She was correct in her theory that they would not contact me for updates. Trouble is, if I don't write stuff down, I don't remember it. Does that mean I'm senile? Or does that mean the letter-writing habit begun in sixth grade has changed the way I experience events? Did the note-taking skills grilled into us in the old-timey junior high guidance classes of the late Sixties undermine my ability to hold onto the unrecorded thought?
I know, know, know I read a book review last Saturday from Booklist (2/15/11), or a recent Wall Street Journal or New York Times. According to the reviewer, the author suggests social media and the internet have changed the way we experience our own lives. Is part of our consciousness split off watching ourselves for potential blog posts, FaceBook status updates, or tweets?
I'd love to tell you more about this book, but I didn't write it down, and now I can't remember or find it online. It's not among my desk litter of scraps listing books with intriguing reviews.
365 Project photo op? Thank you, Ms. Janie!
Was I curious, or just looking for new material? Norton, the class rabbit, has fretted much over terry cloth towels I put under his cage. The bunny knows these are not HIS towels. Also, he doesn't appreciate the padding layer of newspaper I put under the bath towels in one corner to prevent orange rabbit pee stains on my ancient carpet.
Norton fusses every chance when he's out of the cage. He pushes the substitute towels around, nibbles at them, shreds the newspapers, and huffs his indignation. HIS towels are in the dryer and will be back in place under Norton's cages as soon as possible.
Was I curious, or just looking for new material? I stopped in to see Dad this noon. He was obsessing about the names of my four sons and their wives. He would not accept that I only have three sons. We reviewed his grandsons, the two wives and their whereabouts, and made more cue cards. "What about the fourth couple? What about the other Mike?," he demanded.
"I'm very lucky," I told Dad. "I have three wonderful sons. They have terrific wives and a girlfriend I adore. But one Mike was plenty!"
"That's the way I feel, too," Dad says, "but what about the other couple?" As we go around and around, releafing the family tree, I hear the approach of the hospice chaplain. I hear with the same relief and trepidation every woman experiences when the OB/GYN who has left her wearing that silly gown in the exam room for forty-five minutes (after an hour and a half in the waiting room) finally pulls her chart from the rack outside the door with a big whoosh. Well, finally, BUT, crap, here comes the pelvic exam.
During long visits with Melva and Elvira on the other side of the hall, the hospice chaplain plays a recording of hymns performed by a country western singer. Shall we gather at the river? The elderly ladies sing along. Nearer Mike Odd Toothy. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the anticipation. Would Dad be polite with the chaplain? Would he decline to sing, but tell tales of the choir loft at First Plymouth just after WWII? Would Dad tell the minister to go to hell or to drop dead the same as he tells the nurses? Since Dad has no filters, it could be a full-contact confirmation class. And then I could write about it.
Alas, the encounter didn't live up to a bloggable moment. The chaplain explained to me how he can help Dad phone my siblings and other faraway relatives. That would be good. Or my siblings could call Dad when they were ready for an update.
For now, Mike Odd Toothy is on the phone telling me his wife's zucchini pie recipe. Plus Norton has HIS towels back.
© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder