Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An Impossible Thread

You know, I have no idea how to continue on this thread I started, which has been leading to a kind of skepticism about skepticism. I've had a clot to my lungs which I suppose might have killed me. I have no real advice about what to do to prevent such things in the future, except for taking extreme prophylactic measures which would seem mostly to promote a kind of perpetual ducking for cover, as though the sky were always about to fall.

Control, of course, is always an illusion, but I want some sense to random which isn't just a colossal shrug to the shoulders and a closing of the eyes to leap off any and all cliffs. Actually, I want to see the insights which properly do descend from Einstein's revolution, Kuhn's enlightenment about the structure of scientific revolutions, and the more recent PoMo instincts, to enter in to actual life in a way to make a difference.

No one but me will buy the connection among those three seemingly distinct clusters, perhaps. But, as Foucault surely would have noticed, they all rehearse the very same theme. But we live as though it were still the Nineteenth Century and all that was important was to make our horses run faster.

I just stood up to get another cup of coffee, conscious now of the need to move my legs more often, and while emptying my pockets remembered the recent raffle at Subversive Theatre. I tossed those worthless numbered tickets, just as I did the hyper lottery stub I bought for a lark the other day, reminded of how I feel when raffle winners are being called.

Is everyone in the audience straining in hope to win? I'm not, ever. I'm always straining against the sense of embarrassment if I were to win, just kind of hoping that my number won't come up since I won't know what to do or how to act. If it were easy enough to do, I'd probably buy tickets and then give them away so I could have my cake and eat it too. But you know, it's hard not to look at your ticket and see if you might have won something you actually want or need.

When the doctor let me go from the hospital yesterday, I didn't exactly laugh at the instructions, though I wanted to. Since my legs were clear of clots, there was no definitive evidence that the emboli started there. But since the genetic testing also doesn't show any propensity, I'm left with random.

Now I can easily just chalk the whole thing up to the strangeness of my recent circumstance. Why worry about something happening again when you're right in the midst of free fall - at the top of a months' long arc of leaving a job, leaving a geography, selling a house, dumping a life's full of accumulation, radically shifting around in patterns of exercise and socialization. Why even pay any attention at all?

So here's another really bizarre factoid: I actually, for just a moment, have the largest cash balance in my bank account of my entire life. Of course there are all sorts of current debts which will whittle it down to size pretty quickly. And in the end, it grants me maybe a few weeks of clear and free against the future.

I can't claim very much of it as due to my own diligent saving and planning. The fact is that without the help of friends and family, my cash position would be quite negative, but I banked the proceeds from the sale of my house yesterday, right after getting a hair cut in extravagant self-indulgence upon release from the hospital. I wanted to look just a bit different from the way I felt; the way I knew I looked.

Of course the house sold for several tens of thousands below its demonstrable worth, and a few tens of thousands more below its actual replacement value. The commissions and fees I paid out were unconscionable on the face of them, premised on the tidy fiction of incredibly rising values from back when there was always plenty of wealth to spread around. And most of the contents of my bank account can be attributed directly to emergency funds generated from one or another hospitalization in my past.

So, there's a cup half-full/half-empty problem here of major proportions. No-one would argue for success as a definition of my life's trajectory. The very fact that I've never had this much money "in my pocket" argues pretty clearly for failure. But still, there you have it, and yet truly I never have felt quite so vulnerable. Especially up against what this hospitalization would have cost had I allowed the health insurance to lapse like good financial planning might have dictated. Like I really wanted to. I'd be in debt for a literal eternity, preferring in my mind to leave a note for congress instead of a 911 call to get an ambulance. You see, I'm also on the wrong side of any definition for "charity case" and so the debt would go right against my personal balance sheet.

I mean, come on I've got an Ivy education, lots of important and at least moderately well paying jobs in my past, and this is all I've got to show for it? What a schmuck! What a pikk! What a whatever the proper disparaging term is.

(Just a bit of oversharing here - too much information, TMI - I had to take a break for my first homecoming dump and to inject myself with some more blood thinners. Now where was I???)

Schlump? Slacker? Lazy ass?

I don't know. My buddy in the ER investigated serious and fatal auto accidents for the Buffalo Police department, and then got "retired" himself for having been hit by a drunk driver. His settlement allowed him to buy toys and move to the prosperous suburbs away from my his original West Side story. But he considers that all stupid, and the context where he was raised to be the happy one. Hit again and whiplashed, he landed next to me and in some sense might be considered to have quite a few more health issues than I do, but he's going home to wife and kids and cars and flush bank account. He seems a lot happier than me too! Well, whatever happy is. I have a harder time flirting with all the nurses.

Depending on how I look at it, I can panic that I'm about beyond my means to extend my indecision. Pay the credit card companies, a few more months' health insurance, rent, and I'm way deja underwater all over again. I wouldn't exactly go out and sign a loan for a new car now, like I would if I were employed.

But you know, it's ground zero all the time. There's never any certainty. That guy who tried to blow up the plane in Detroit was, of course, from the very best of families in his homeland. Did Chairman Mao come from the slums? I mean, what happens to "special" people when they figure out they're not? How far is it from balanced to self-exploding nutjob anyhow when you first uncover the dissonance between the fiction and the real?

We all know that we surf the pleasant illusion that even though today my doctor really can't tell me what to do to avoid clots in the future, just maybe tomorrow he will be able to add a whole arsenal of genetic tweaks to make my body run just like a well-oiled machine.

Bullshit! Pardon my English, but really folks that day is never coming. There's always a boundary between you and the context you dwell in, but there's also no way to place it with any real precision. Truing is the process of matching yourself against who you might be, I suppose, and then going for the best one. And there's no machining which can make a better you. You have to do it yourself from the inside. My roomie in the hospital and I agreed absolutely on that one.

Well, I've gotta go and get my blood tested so that they can set the right viscosity or something. I walk around now in a kind of confidence that for a moment I'm not going to thow another clot. I might bleed out into my brain, or eat the wrong vegetables, but you know there's always someone out to get you.

We live in a sea of metaphor, and the only really smart ones are like Rain Man who just sadly died yesterday. He could recall facts at will, read thousands upon thousands of books at a glance, one eye per page which would have made the Kindle damned inefficient for him. But he couldn't make sense of single metaphor, which must have meant that he couldn't make sense of anything at all.

I'm happier here being the full-on ironic me. The one just to the side of myself, never quite convinced of the one other people might be seeing. Or do I have that just backwards? What the hell? What's the difference? I'm all one. You take care of the machinery, Doc, and I'll go on being me. I mean, for so long as I can.

Matches, matches for sale!! Two for one, get your matches here.





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