I Cut My Hair … again …

I can’t seem to stop cutting my hair. I guess, now, I will, since there is nothing left to cut. No guard. (No self-control.)

c bald 2

I suppose I could use a safety-razor to remove even the stubble, but, I played Sweeney Todd once —

charlie sweeney

I don’t think I can trust my(Sweeney)self with a razor near my throat — the urge to do myself in would be nearly irresistible. P.S. Look how thin I was then. Of course, my diet consisted of water, one can of tuna every other day, and ExLax; so, much as I’d like to be that weight again (— AND P.S., according to the latest BMI charts — I SHOULD BE —) I don’t think I’ll make it. And live. Damn. What happened to that carefree boy I was?

baby foot charlie_edited-1 (2)

charlie at 3


C bald 1



You Gain Some, You Lose Some …

Apparently, just WATCHING the World Cup is NOT ENOUGH to make me lose weight. Or, restore my health. Somehow, I weigh three pounds more than I did at the beginning of the week. And I am increasingly exhausted, fatigued, my joints sort of — difficult to explain, not so much aching as saying, “Stop. Sit down. We can’t.” Now, because of the vertigo, I did skip the gym one day this week, and my attempted bike ride yesterday only lasted sixteen miles (as opposed to my training partner’s 50!) before I felt ill and dizzy and wobbly. I hastened home — well, my temporary home — to the lake. I spent an hour or so on the front patio, reading, because the house was being cleaned and I didn’t want to be in the way. Well, TRYING to read. I kept falling asleep in the wicker chaise longue, tucked in the sun. Gorgeous day and gorgeous location for a nap.

outside waiting

When M., who cleans, departed, I went inside and showered. I felt guilty showering since she’d just scrubbed that bathroom, but, what’s a fellow supposed to do? I wanted to be clean for the World Cup. The Brazil/Chile game nearly killed me. And then, the Colombia/Uruguay game finished the job. I mean, that James Rodriguez:

james rodriguez

But, too, Brazil’s goalkeeper, Julio Cesar, the way he catches things and handles those balls; his skill. His bulge. He was not wearing a world cup;

Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar and Neymar celebrate after their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match against Cameroon at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia

Honestly, how did it take me so long to realize I loved a sport in which balls to the head play such a huge role? Now, some might posit that heads being pounded with balls with such frequency and force might result in brain damage, but, anyone who knows me knows that a little brain damage only makes a man ALL THE MORE my type — and, BONUS, increases the odds he’ll consider me his type. Win all around!

Of course, I am also quite fond of Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani:


But, I haven’t given up my Wimbeldon lust, either. I was also delighted with Rafa’s progress yesterday. (That’s Mr. Rafael Nadal, to those of you who have NOT been involved in a stalking fantasy relationship with him for the past decade.)

nadal bulto 2 nadal bulto Nadal

In any event, I couldn’t spend all day ogling sportsmen and falling asleep. Though, I might have done just that had my nephew’s birthday party not been scheduled for today — he requested an Oreo-crust-chocolate cheesecake. As is my wont, I don’t just make a recipe (or give in and buy the damn thing at Wegman’s). I research, find multiple recipes, and combine elements from all of them, adding my own touches, screwing around with proportions and methodology and come up with my own thing. I gathered ingredients:

cheesecake prep

And during the World Cup, I started putting the thing together. The last one I made was too soft in the center. I did some secret adjustments involving the crust (you can’t make me tell you but think melted butter AND very expensive chocolate as Oreo crumb binder — and perhaps — just maybe — a period in the freezer for the crust before adding the filling to the pan — BUT I AM NOT GIVING ANYTHING ELSE AWAY!) and the filling and the cooking time and maybe — just maybe — at some point in the process the top might be covered, the oven turned off, but the cake left in to set the center without burning the edges — BUT AGAIN — I AM NOT GIVING AWAY MY SECRETS.

cheececake finished

It LOOKS kind of perfect. We’ll see what happens when we cut it later today. It needs 24 hours after cooling in the refrigerator for true setting and flavor mixing. I’m hoping it turned out the texture and taste I envisioned when concocting it.

After all that activity (and napping, I could NOT stay awake. Every time I sat down, my head lolled) I made a simple supper of bought rotisserie chicken and sautéed fresh veggies. HOW DID I GAIN WEIGHT YESTERDAY?

While eating I watched the Orioles. I know, right? But, my Mom does and something about watching the games makes me feel close to her. Although I am not as fond of Manny Machado as is she.

I then began my evening of reading:


Really enjoying this book. As dusk approached, the path around and behind this house — which leads to the lake for which this place is named — became quite busy, lots of people with chairs and coolers and such, and, as is often the case here, there were people in the garage of this house — which is not so much a garage as it is a mini-restaurant-grill-smoker-man-cave — “borrowing” stuff. Everyone in this neighborhood just walks IN and OUT of everyone else’s homes to “borrow” stuff. Uhm, that’s all well and good when the actual people who LIVE HERE are HERE — but I sure as shit wish they would NOT do it when I am house-sitting because it freaks the fuck out of me to hear someone wandering around in part of the house. I have the actual house doors locked so they can’t get in here, but neglected to secure the garage.

The dogs were going nuts. Which was nothing compared to what happened AFTER DARK, when, unbeknownst to me, there had been planned a HUGE and LOUD fireworks display/event on the lake. The dogs (and thus, I, so we) were not amused. I tried to read for a while longer — had a glass (maybe two, maybe three — maybe THAT’s why I am gaining weight?) of wine; but, I was pretty exhausted still.

In fact, I began to think that perhaps I am actually going to have to give in and see a physician if something doesn’t soon give. My vertigo is better but it is not gone. And, there is — off and on — a taste in my mouth after I eat which seems to be like poisonous emanations from my insides, of something dead — I know that sounds bad, but, it is not unlike the taste of how a dead mouse beneath the floorboards of the ancient family home in Libertytown used to smell — that’s what it reminds me of. Plus, I have noticed — off and on — blood where there shouldn’t be blood.

Now, usually — and with some success — my approach to health is to ignore everything and it goes away. It’s worked for years. Once upon a time, in another life, I worked for a health insurance company and had excellent coverage AND found myself coming down with things for which I had seen claims — after that job from hell (but paycheck from heaven) ended, and some other endings, well, I haven’t had health insurance in a while and prior to that while, the insurance I had was such a small pool that every time anyone on it went to the doctor, the rates shot up like mad — so I stopped going in the interest of saving money. And, frankly, my aunt, Sissie, didn’t go to the doctor for years and everything was fine — when relatives finally forced her to go, well, in record time she was blind, losing her mind, and dead. She said, “I wish I’d never gone to the doctor in the first place and had this all stretch out like this. If I’d just kept saying no, I would have died at a natural age instead of being strung along.”

I agree. Fuck it, who cares that I now have insurance again (thank you, President Obama, he truly is a great man; I admire him so much) I am not interested in the rigmarole. Plus,I have this huge packet of information I’m supposed to read and initial visits and blah blah blah and I am just not interested.

I have TOO MANY OTHER THINGS I have procrastinated about, keeping me awake and in fear. I don’t need to add medical shit to it. Plus, honestly, ever since Sissie went blind, couldn’t read any more, I live in terror I will lose my sight.

I already lost my vision.


It’s a bird … it’s a sign … no, it’s SUPER-CREEPY …

I’m not superstitious. Insane, yes. Superstitious, no. But I have always been creeped out by birds hurtling to their deaths by flailing themselves against windows. It was a thing with my Mom and my Aunt, both of whom considered it a portent. And not a good one. Thus, given my extreme emotional state yesterday, and a confluence of unpleasant physical and mental symptoms of late, and a discussion about the likelihood and method of my death with a loved one recently (this was NOT a discussion about suicide, back off), I was overcome with a new disquiet this morning when I walked onto the back deck, ready to water the plants, and this was waiting.

June 28 2014 Dead Bird 2

June 28 2014 Dead Bird 1

June 28 2014 Dead Bird 3

Not the best way to start one’s day … now, what do I do with it?

No Words … (well, it’s me, so, a few) … (hundred)

You’d think I’d find this funny by now, right?

Because I’m fucking crazy. I can’t even give the details. Today, however, I am at the gym. Still having vertigo. So, an hour on elliptical. Fine. Move to recumbent bike, long about minute 33 (lol) I am watching Venus Williams lose at Wimbledon and it is making me sad and all of a fucking goddamn sudden I realize my sister died eight months ago and I have a ridiculous breakdown, start heaving on the stupid machine, I have to run to the bathroom — or, well, stagger, trying to seem normal — I’m insane. This is what I did with my aunt. And Steve. And Allen. I was FINE FINE FINE until like nine months later and all of a sudden — BANG BANG THEY’RE DEAD.

I don’t believe in love anymore. Not really. And, you know, some days … I think in some ways I have spent most of my life doing things in an effort to please people who don’t exist anymore … or, never really did … my youth was spent living in a family that circled around a phantom, my absent father, and it was his disappearance and subsequent martyrdom that imbedded in me my ideas about “Men” — he drove into that telephone pole, everyone circled around the myth of him, and I, pre-verbal, learned that Love equaled Absence.

It was an easy leap to become a rabid Roman Catholic child, determined to become a religious servant and dedicate my life to the good works of — another myth, this time, a trinity. Escaped that early on, never made it to confirmation because I knew what I was, and in my early adolescence I fell for Heathcliff, of course, Wuthering Heights, what else?

The romance about running away, about the people you cannot have, a story around which I managed to build my entire life. To. This. Day. I am still missing Heathcliff. But things keep going. Don’t they? Damn fucking right they do.

And every empty liaison with another someone who is lying to any number of someones — me included — although, by another name — but, a Charlie is a Sebastian is a Cyril is a Ryan is a Rose (but never Mama) — every one is punishment for not saving him when I had the chance. But I didn’t. And so, I’d be alone. I was alone. Always alone. I WAS GREAT AT IT.

Because I couldn’t possible — no, not another one, like my father and that idiot Heathcliff who was so tortured about who he was and how he felt he hid inside — HE HID and he drank himself into oblivion. I haven’t the balls for that. So, I’ll just drink enough to land me somewhere with someone who doesn’t exist except for being on the other end of beating me to death. Happy Endings all around. Elegies.

Don’t worry. No one will ever know.

I was an actor once. For 53 years.

And I wish that I believed in heaven … or something … because I would like to see some of these people again … the ones I made up and am making up now.

I miss you every day.

Oh well, it’s always the leaving isn’t it … all that looking back … all that looking back …



Zeitbites Friday: If I Didn’t Care . . .

Since I was a child, the sentence I have heard the most — in one or another variation — “You think too much.” Always being told I take things too hard, too personally, make everything too complicated and that I ought just go on. Move on. Keep going. Well, now, I can’t. I just can’t. And if I did … who would I be?  Who would I be if I didn’t care?

… the world has gone completely mad. Day Five now of vertigo, making it officially the longest bout I have had. No worries. I can function. I can even drive; although, sometimes putting on the brakes gets tricky: it seems the dizziness is triggered by changes in direction, in speed, looking down, up, or changing my elevation – i.e. going from sitting to standing. Diagnosis? Well, I am more and more convinced this is not so much illness as reaction to a world so ridiculously out of balance, off kilter, impossibly illogical that to be in balance would be the odd thing. The Disorder.

I went out to dinner last night with one of my dearest and we got on the subject of Iraq and this mess. I am obsessed. I have always considered myself completely peaceful, that I would never be able to fight, to kill another, to be part of an action or choice that was violent in any way. Passive resistance. Sit. Refuse to fight. Let them kill me if they must but I will not take up arms. Now, I don’t know. If a group of people are ruthlessly killing others — do I stand and watch? If I don’t try to stop them, am I aiding their murderous spree? But, once I step in and “stop them” by killing them — have I sunk to their level? Is it EVER justified to harm another? If they were threatening someone I loved – could I kill another person? Would I recover from it? I don’t know. I am actually losing sleep over this — not just the practical side of it — but, even worse, the theosophical side: HOW HAVE WE NOT EVOLVED FURTHER THAN THIS?

Which begins an avalanche of PERSONAL philosophical questioning and mid-life crisis-ey shit — as in, “How have I not evolved further than I have? How have I managed to waste my life this way I have?”

A slippery slope on which I cannot stay up-right. I am off balance-d by it all. Vertigo. You see?

Life is all too much like some carnival fun-house/hall of mirrors/tunnel of terror ride with tilting floors and moving walls made of distorting mirrors and a soundtrack of hysterical screamings and manic laughter and too, strange limbs and freak-show faces jumping out at one, grabbing and mauling and whispering imprecations. Of course I’m stumbling, of course each step and breath must be taken with trepidation. Holy mother of all that is — LOOK THE EFF AROUND, PEOPLE? Who can stay in balance?


vintage gays bath bath

Gorgeous. Right? There is always a place for everyone, it’s a matter of finding it. Balance. Not finding your balance leads to shit like this:

  • I’ve got ten days (almost) left here in this beautiful house/pet sit gig. The vertigo is giving me an excuse to do little but recline and read — which is giving me an excuse to eat — which is resulting in weight gain and making me feel bad about myself — but, really, look at this view:

beautiful life

I have been taking breaks from reading in order that I might engage with the world outside. By which I mean, I have been watching the World Cup.

  • I am hardly a futbol/soccer fan; but find myself caught in the wild fanaticism of the whole thing. I do NOT, however, have any sort of wild nationalistic bent — all “USA!USA!” chant-y shit. That grates on every nerve I have. BUT, equally grating to me is the urge some people have to denigrate the love and devotion others have for the sport and watching the World Cup. I mean, the snarky, nasty jibes about it on Twitter are ridiculous. I said last night:

Perhaps if all you have to offer is witless, derivative snark, judgment, hating, & cruelty- maybe DON’T TWEET?

And, I meant it. I left Facebook ages ago because of how mean and commercialized it had become, and I am considering a Twitter exit as well, but, then I would have missed this pic posted by Clint Dempsey on his Instagram [CLICK HERE]. LOOK:

World Cup USA Team

  • I am also watching Wimbledon[CLICK HERE]. I have a thing for Rafael Nadal. While he is 15-25 years younger than me  depending on whether you are speaking to Charlie or Sebastian, he is my height and close to my weight. Why, I wonder, does it look SO MUCH BETTER on him? LOL.

nadal 2 nadal 3 Nadal

Oh life.




READING: “The Quick, a novel” by Lauren Owen

quickThe Quick, a novel, by Lauren Owen, 523pp, Random House, $27 [Click HERE to visit book]

It was two weeks ago when I was zeitgeist-pop-lit-culture-pressured into reading the hyper-hyped unto death The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (read about that HERE) and was sore disappointed. And cranky. I hate it when I invest my hope, energy, and time in something so large that I’ve been promised will be juicy and satisfying and am left feeling nothing but exhausted and empty; but, as they say, it’s not the size, it’s what you do with it. Thus, I was reticent when faced with Lauren Owen’s The Quick‘s five-hundred-plus page length and its lit-site, pre-release, hack reviewer and lit-webber buzziness. Plus, the effusive cover blurbs by Kate Atkinson, Hilary Mantel, and Tana French — three awfully well-known names for a debut novelist — led me to believe that Lauren Owen had a very connected agent (or powerful publisher) who had called in some favors.

This is from the Random House website [click HERE to visit]:

For fans of Anne Rice, The Historian, and The Night Circus, an astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London
1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England.

In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. The Quick will establish her as one of fiction’s most dazzling talents.

Okay, “most dazzling talents”? Hmm … suspicious. But, the cover was a gothic, sepia toned beauty of bookshelves and torn curtains. Of course, I bought the book. I’m a sucker for big, handsome things and promises of “gothic” and “macabre” and “elegant” and then when it was described as “creepy”… well, I’m easy. Can’t help it.

So, now, I’m done. It had its way with me and I’m left feeling sore — its size strained my arms — and a bit used. A little cheap. On the plus side, it was a fast read — despite its length. But, here’s the thing, or, rather, things.

First; there are too many narrators. The story leaps here and there, told from different perspectives but there is so little difference in the voices that — for me — it was difficult to keep track of who was who, when and where, and, frankly, why? I don’t think the switches added or aided or abetted the telling of the tale.

Second; I don’t like reading all those hundreds of pages to find I’m being set up for a sequel. Give me an ending. Even if the ending is precursor to the next beginning.

Third; in my review of The Vacationers [read HERE] I expressed my weariness of reading about rich, white people if there’s not going to be something new, insightful, unique, and fresh about the story. Same goes for vampires. And, sorry, but withholding saying the word through most of the book and again conflating them with what we now call “gay” doesn’t qualify as fresh. It limns an awfully predictable arc of action and character. This is a story we’ve read before and characters we’ve seen before. I recommend Anne Rice. Interview With The Vampire. Far more atmospheric. Far creepier. Far more fun.

And I say, again, I bought this book. Full price. So I’m writing from the perspective of a real consumer, a real lover of books, a person who prioritizes his budget this way: Books. Everything else. So, I feel as if the powers that be — you “real” reviewers and book bloggers and agents and publishers — who go crazy for these big-sells-next-big-things are doing a disservice. It’s all too “the boy who cried wolf” anymore. In fact, Quebert and Quick are both perfectly serviceable, okay, reasonably enjoyable summer reads. But to blow and blather and boast them into stratospheric “must reads” is — ultimately — harming the industry. I don’t expect critics and bloggers to be publicists. I expect them to tell me the truth — and, if the endless list of folks who have gone on and on with the adjectival orgasms about this latest batch of “brilliant” novels HONESTLY believe what they’ve written — well then, they are hacks. And if they don’t believe it — well then, they are liars or being paid off.

Then again, maybe I’m just a curmudgeonly old grouch who expects that when a book is said to be very, very good, it will actually be, at least, you know, GOOD GOOD and not a formulaic piece of marketable dead trees (or bandwidth).

Thanks for reading.


Vacationers_3D_LOW11The Vacationers, a novel, by Emma Straub, 2014, Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), $26.95

I confess that I’ve read neither Emma Straub’s first novel, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, nor her short story collection, Other People We Married. I also confess that I resisted purchasing The Vacationers because the flapbio located Ms. Straub as a Brooklyn writer, which — in my warped little, vengeful and envious mind — is just one more odious hipster-lit, in-crowd sub-species like those who flapbrag they attended the Iowa Workshop.

But, buy it I did. First, the good news. Ms. Straub is clever, conversational, good with a catchy turn of phrase. She is funny in that “at one’s expense” insulting way of the good friend with the uncanny ability to zero in on the pecadillo-cum-character flaw of everyone she knows and make light of it; while sneering. The downside of such tender-snark evisceration is that one is left not much liking any of the characters in the novel, all of whom seem unaware of their privilege and self-involved to a near pathological level.

Haven’t we had enough books about rich white people? What do most of us have in common (and what can we possibly learn?) from people who can afford to live in Manhattan and Provincetown, summer in Mallorca, accrue triple digit credit-card debt and discuss selling stocks to remedy it, get forcibly retired from long-term, big careers for sleeping with an intern/assistant, buy a baby (sort of), are sexually pursued by ridiculously hot island boy/tutors and — well, you get the picture — and none of this seems to much phase any of them? Walk in the park stuff. I — who am being pursued by no one but  Capital One (and this for pretty much SINGLE digit debt) even as I type — have trouble sympathizing.

I know. It’s a beach read. I know. But I’m not at the beach. I’m working. I’m poor. I’ve got no hot young men (or even, cold old men) with accents pursuing me. I can only afford the beach when my better off friends take me along as a guest. I can’t afford men with accents ever at all. And even my better off friends can’t hop a plane to Mallorca for a few weeks or spend a hundred thousand dollars on dietary supplements. I know. It’s a novel. And it’s a summer novel, written for escapism. Okay. I guess, for me, if I’m going to escape, I would rather not have it be with the one percent, and if it is with the one percent I want them to suffer more, and, it would be nice if it turned out that not every man was — to one degree or another — a pig. (And that’s NOT just about the book.)

Yet, despite all that, it was a fast read, well constructed, not the least bit taxing, but, for me, the aftertaste was … unpleasant.


On Shaky Ground … but my civic duty is done …

I honestly think it is life, itself, making me dizzy. Or, maybe I am just standing on shaky ground? Hmmm . . . .

The symptoms of the vertigo have receded somewhat. Well, as long as I stay in one position, don’t turn my head too quickly, don’t go from seated to standing or prone to seated, then, I am relatively fine. Mostly. So, though I probably ought not to have done so, I got in my car and drove into town.

I had to.

voteHere’s the thing; today was Primary Election Voting Day in Maryland. I feel as if I must vote. It matters to me what happens in government. I have opinions. The very least one must do is exercise one’s franchise if one is going to have anything to say at all. So, I did. It was made especially clear to me just how important this is because this house where I am staying is home to registered Republicans, and the robo-calls that have been coming in and playing on the answering machine have been horrifying in their appeal to hate, to fear, to prejudice, and to all of the basest of mongerings. I can’t — in good conscience — NOT do everything within my power to make sure none of the people paying for these “save the traditional family from the immoral Democrats” calls ever get elected.

Here’s another thing; skipping Monday at the gym resulted in me gaining two ounces. I cannot have that. I have worked way too hard to lose this weight, put in way too much gym time, and I still have twenty more pounds to go. No way am I letting it sneak back on. So, I HAD to go to the gym.

I was fine while driving. I was not so fine getting out of the car. It required some holding on and pausing before walking. But, then, mostly fine. I did the elliptical at the gym. For an hour. Holding on. Fine. Until I got off. Not so fine. But, again, just needed to hold on and hold still and adjust. The moment I stepped into the sauna, however, it was all over — the heat knocked me into an absolute drunken swirl and I exited immediately. Fine in the shower. Fine in the car. Fine in the school/voting booth — after adjusting to getting out of the car. Fine until I got home, at which point I was feeling extremely exhausted and hit the couch for a while. As in, eyes closed — although propped up. I can’t really be flat at the moment.

So, shaky ground, maybe. Probably. But whether it’s the earth moving or my brain mis-firing, there’s this danger of falling, which I am avoiding because . . . I am Charlie and I am always fine. Right?


??Psychosomatic Vertigo??

Jill and Rocky

Jill (top) and Rocky (bottom) on the couch in the sun room, my notebook and stack of waiting books on the table, my space on the couch waiting for my return — there, where I think I need to spend the majority of the next few days, training be damned.

I thought my vertigo was in retreat. I took a shower. I dried off and felt almost normal and thought, “Well, I am in training, maybe I should venture out and at least do an easy gym day.”

Apparently the mere thought of such a thing was more than my body/mind connection was willing to entertain. The lightheadedness and need to hold onto walls in order to ambulate roared back with an unpleasant and nauseating insistence not unlike Dick Cheney’s about the existence of WMD’s.

So, I finished reading Emma Straub’s novel, The Vacationers (about which I will be writing when I feel better) and am bouncing (albeit whilst prone) between Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. & The Quick by Lauren Owen & My Struggle, Book 1, by Karl Ove Knausgaard.

The odd return of symptoms and the near-elation I experienced at almost falling to the ground when emerging from the shower, leads me to believe that some part of me WANTS to have vertigo and be unable to leave the house. I have looked so forward to this gig the past few years; this solitude and quiet on the lake, this chance to read uninterrupted for days on end, this time to get back to me.

I forget — as life goes on day-to-day — just how affected I am by the moods and energies and psyches of others. As every psychiatric counselor I’ve ever had (back off, it’s only been three and never for more than a year — although, perhaps — oh shut up) has told me that I need to develop walls, that I am too emotionally porous, too empathetic, that, while being an empath is my greatest quality, it is also my could-be-fatal-flaw.

Rock and roll. Or, rather, Broadway Ballads and cabaret tunes. Yeah. It is. And maybe, just maybe, while it is truly essential for me to keep up my physical training for the Ride To Conquer Cancer coming in September, it is equally important for me to nourish my psyche and soul. For me, that psyche/soul nourishment comes from having time and distance enough away from anyone but me that I can — again — hear and feel just me.

So, maybe, I should decide to stay in for a few days and I wouldn’t have to be dizzy and wall-banging and periodically crawling to reach the next location. Move over Jilly and Rocky, we’re sharing the couch for the next few days.

Vertigo … my loss of equilibrium made physical

I woke in the middle of the night suffering from nausea. I sat quickly up in bed and was unbalanced, dizzy. In dire need of the bathroom I tried to walk, but each step I attempted, the floor gave way, bent and warped and was not where my foot expected it to be, I grabbed at the walls but they were equally prankish, refusing to stay solid, instead behaving as if I’d been dropped into a nightmare of a bad seventies’ film acid trip, all wavy and undulatory; my world was spinning, off balance. This made no sense. It could not be. I had not been drinking. I was not Sharon Tate.

acid trippMy first reaction when faced with anything other than that ordered, every day thing I have come to expect of my boring, little life is denial, and in my dazed, half-asleep state, rather than stopping to consider what might be happening — compelled, in part, by my desperate need to urinate — I kept hurtling in combination walk – crawl – stagger until I reached the toilet, where I had to sit to pee, after which I thought sure I was going to be sick — something I go to almost super-human lengths to avoid — and I ended up prostrate, naked, on the comfortingly chill tile, eyes wide open, as I came slowly to recognize and realize and accept what was happening; again: VERTIGO.

My first bout of vertigo hit in February of 2012.  That case was my most severe. I could not be in full recline or close my eyes for three days and literally — and I mean without exaggeration and in complete truth — had to crawl. I could not walk. To sit fully up, to walk, to close my eyes, all caused me to vomit — which, as I have already said, I will go to almost any length to avoid.

That case receded slowly, residual dizziness continued for weeks. Since that time, I have had minor spells of vertigo but none approaching the severity of the first. And I have not had any episodes since I quit smoking and started regularly gymming over a year ago. This attack is mid-level. A friend who also experiences bouts of vertigo told me that taking an antihistamine or allergy pill could help — I happened to find some Zyrtec here where I am house/pet sitting and downed one and the nausea is mostly gone but I remain off and on unsteady when walking, and moving from one position to another — as in from seated to standing — requires caution. I would not be comfortable driving at this point.

Which is fine. I am content not to leave the house. I am sitting on the back deck, in the fresh, beautiful breeze, looking over the lake as I type this. And, I can type. And read. Which is good and a gift, because there have been bouts where I could not do that. So, my life is affected somewhat by this but in no real way disrupted.

  • Dilbert on disruptive innovationSpeaking of which — catching up now with my magazines and newspapers and reading — when did “DISRUPTED” and “DISRUPTIVE” become a thing? As in, “I only want to invest in disruptive corporations.” Meaning, corporations which eschew the status quo and do business in ways that inconvenience or alarm other businesses in their field. Hmmm. A little too hip. A little too self-serving when used by anyone to describe themselves or their modus operandi, particularly when the “disruptive” is usually a pose, another marketing gimmick meant to manufacture maximum profits, frequently with just as little concern for what that profit-making costs the average person.
  • Speaking of self-serving, why, can anyone tell me WHY IN THE WORLD is ANYONE still asking former Vice President Dick Cheney his opinion about anything at all? He is a proven liar, prevaricator, denier, re-writer of history, server of his own self-interests at any cost, and that he could say what he said recently about President Obama’s handling and understanding of Iraq is the definition of gall. Unbelievable.
  • And while I am on what is unbelievable, while perusing my magazines and the magazines here where I am staying — which include one for motorcycle enthusiasts — I came across items describing a $550 pair of specially designed, water-proofed and “armored” motorcycle jeans. Wow. Bad enough, but, at least, to someone in some way, somehow, sort-of useful. On the other hand, how do you explain a $400 translucent cinder block? Why? And even worse, Sotheby’s sold a one cent postage stamp for $9.5 million!

Is it any wonder I have vertigo? How can one keep one’s balance in a world gone this mad? I can’t wrap my mind around troops being sent back to Iraq, however few and whatever they are being called, by President Obama, who won his party’s nomination by pillorying Senator Hillary Clinton’s vote to give President Bush authority to conduct the deceitful Iraq invasion — an invasion which fulminated this Sunni versus Shia explosion now happening. And still more giddy-making, the very man who headed the cabal of neo-con neanderthals who blustered and bullied us into that $6 trillion and hundreds of thousand lives conflict is now CRITICIZING the outcome and results?! What?!?! And now, again, this conflict is going to consume lives and fortunes — when more than three million children die every year of hunger, the $700 million dollars a day that was spent on the war in Iraq (THEN (Cheney time) and who knows what it will cost NOW) could have saved ALL OF THOSE CHILDREN; could have paid for health care for all the uninsured; could have rehabbed the more than 50% of the prison population incarcerated for non-violent offenses who need drug counseling and treatment. But, no. We live in a world where people pay $500 for jeans and $400 for a glass cinder block and $9 million for a stamp and — I am equally guilty — $6 for a cup of coffee and $50 a month for a gym membership —

dizzyThe question is not how I got vertigo — the question is, why are we not all dizzy all the time? The walls and floors of this world are wavy and giving way in ways we hardly seem to notice any more — DISRUPT? Yes, we need to, in a real and meaningful way, but, here’s the thing — and it is about me, not anyone else — am I courageous enough or moral enough or evolved enough to give up my $6 skinny latte and my post-workout saunas and showers?

I am today, because I can’t drive to get to them. But, what about tomorrow? And the day after that?