Friday, July 20, 2018


Last night, just as I put my head on my pillow, which is in front of the window so I'll get air in such warm weather, the whole room exploded in bright pulsing red.  My first thought was a volcano had sprung up in my front yard.  The second was a police raid.  The truth was a flashing ambulance that didn't use its siren and slid on up the curb to the corner.  I have no idea why and may never find out.  Valier is so small that one can actually see most of what happens, but so defensive and close-mouthed in an effort to have private lives that often one doesn't find out the story.

I doubt anyone in town knew that I didn't post yesterday because I had fallen and was immobilized with pain and OTC pills.  They may have known that I fell, though it was inside the garage.  Certainly everyone knew that I was seeing the Family Practice doctor in Conrad.  My knee symptoms didn't develop until I got home, so my doctor doesn't know.  I went thinking I had a kidney infection but it turned out that I didn't even know where my kidneys were -- much higher than I had thought.  The diagnosis was wrenched ischia crest (the top edge of the pelvic bone complex) attachments -- that's a painful result of the fall as well, but we didn't figure that out.  He told me to take Aleve.  It didn't work.  I went through aspirin, .222's (a Canadian failsafe that only worked somewhat), and Advil, which worked at a higher dose than is recommended.  They're all meant to combat inflammation.

I had no prescriptions and didn't call the doc.  I'm a stoic and there's really not a lot to do except wait for time to pass.  I found my elastic knee brace.  "Doctor Google" who is a quack, was some help.  Anyway, I couldn't go to either the post office or the town store until yesterday when I tried and discovered my knee buckles, so that when I tried to get into the pickup, I ended up dangling from the steering wheel and flailing for a second handhold on the door.  If I don't mind eating beans and pasta, I won't starve.

The cats are puzzled by my inactivity.  The two big ones have been going around the block like the Two Cats of the Apocalypse, looking for trouble.  When they turn their faces towards me, I expect grinning skulls.  I was afraid they would hide kittens in the tall grass, but their bellies are not wet from nursing.  The two little ones sleep.  A lot.  When they aren't demolishing what they can reach.  They aren't that little.

My office chair at the keyboard became painful -- bent in the wrong places -- so I dragged in from the garage a disreputable and collapsing old wicker chair that doesn't hurt to sit in.  There are four fans running and I'm about to pull in another one from the garage since I finally found its electric cord.

Mostly I'm sleeping -- sometimes with "little" cats sleeping on me -- which is good since the news is as unexpected and terrifying as a volcano in the front yard.  It's not just Trump, vulgar and repellant as he is.  The policies of his administration are now hurting the livelihood of the big ranchers around here because of his tariffs and monkey-business with the borders.  The state's universities have always been welcoming to international scientists and tech teams, let alone tuition-paying grad students from around the world.  The usual principle of business is that stability and predictability are the necessary infrastructure for successful dealing and development.  But Trump has invested in disruption, unpredictability.  It is a policy that snuffs everything but sin.

In the middle of this I get a message from a former classmate, who was asked to leave Meadville/Lombard.  He scored a Ph.D. at the U of Chicago, which some people think is like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and then began to lose churches.  The last time was for a cockamamie theory about what destroyed the World Trade Towers -- not what we all saw, airplanes used as rockets, but preplanted dynamite by the CIA.  He wanted to pick a fight about Trump because his girl friend left him and he doesn't have enough money.  Delete.

Then a blameless young woman in Coos Bay, Oregon, had discovered we were related -- distantly -- and wanted copies of everything I had about that part of the family -- I have two file cabinet drawers.  Years earlier I spent a lot of time copying, annotating and sending material to another branch of the family.  They were not interested, so I am no longer enthusiastic.  But I thought to send her a few old photos via email, since I could sent JPG's without a problem.  But my computer wouldn't scan because the red ink is out.  The photos are black and white and in theory I should be able to scan without colored toner, but like everything Epson that I touch, it won't work.  Everything demands updates and adds features I don't want, like taking a picture every time my old fingers fumble the keys.  Often.

What she didn't know was that the women who connected us were greatly disliked by my part of the family.  They were vengeful, mocking, and greedy.  This romantic young woman only wanted to know whether they were "Indian" which she considers honourable and glamourous.  She feels sure that a genetic spit test will prove which tribe, which it cannot but is marketed by promising it can.

In short, it's an impossible world she lives in.  But then, science is proving that we all make up the world as we go along.  Both suffering and fantasy are part of it.  We're finding the pitfalls by toppling into them -- we're getting bruised.  And we're told this immmoral-greed-criminality is only a few decades old but was there all the time until computers made money into digital three-dimensional chess.  We were going on and on about transparent when we should have been looking for the invisible.

In the meantime we frogs are beginning to feel the warming water, the high acid seas, and the unbreathable air.  I wonder whether I should take Tylenol.  My knee is improving.  I hope the same for whoever called the ambulance.

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