Saturday, April 30, 2011
Some of you who visit here regularly know that my girlfriend, @Christy, had a health scare recently. When it happened, her biggest concern was not being able to come see me for a visit we'd planned for months. We live in different states and haven't seen each other since New Year's, so it was a huge disappointment for both of us. But not being able to get on a plane stuck with Christy the whole time she was in the hospital. Her mother and I, on the other hand, quickly relegated the missed trip to well-there's-always-next-time status, and thanked our lucky stars that Christy was still alive. In her condition, a flight would likely have killed her.
Killed. As in died. Dead.
Other than two grandparents and an uncle, I've been fortunate to have never had to face the death of a loved one. I don't know if this is true for everyone, but the death a family member seems almost…normal, expected. It's no less tragic, but somehow it seems to be a natural Circle of Life thing. The death of a partner is different. Our partners are our peers, our contemporaries. They're not supposed to die. At least not for a long, long time.
The notion of Christy nearly dying hasn't really sunk in yet. I'll be going about my day, working, cooking, cleaning – and it suddenly hits me that she was in the hospital because a bunch of doctors, nurses and various technicians were saving her life. The reality of that sort of floats at the outer edge of my periphery. I understand it on an intellectual level. "Yes, this is what happened. This is what could've happened. This is what's going to happen next." But when I think it's about to really sink in...it's gone. I'm left kind of dazed and not sure what to think or how to feel.
In the last few days, Christy and I have been Skyping (thankfully from her condo and not from her hospital bed any more), and we both realized how often we tossed around...death. In our every day speech, we use words like death, die, dead and kill so casually. And now it feels intensely weird and wholly inappropriate.
"Dude, if you say that one more time, I'm gonna kill you."
"Geez, last night I slept like the dead."
"Man, I coulda just died when she said that."
"This morning I felt like death warmed over."
"Omigod, I was scared to death!"
"No, no, I'm dead serious."
It's freaky. When one of us catches the other saying something like that, we remind the other, pause, and then burst out laughing. I'm wondering if it's some sort of evolutionary psychological thing, that we toss around death so casually because to think about it seriously all the time would be, well, a bummer. If we didn't laugh about our mortality, we'd just wander through life in a funk, waiting for the Grim Reaper to tap us on the shoulder and tell us it's time. ("Time to go, Sport!")
I imagine if we really over-analyzed it, we'd probably realize we can substitute a word that's the complete opposite of death and dying more often than not. So, for the time being, instead of exclaiming "She's gonna die when she gets this", Christy and I are saying things like "She's gonna love this". I'm sure it'll wear off eventually, and we'll start tossing death about as casually as ever. But for now, talking life seems...better.
If you'd gotten on that plane a couple of weeks ago Christy, I'd have just died.
at 8:48 PM
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Don't get me wrong. Having people to keep in touch with is far better than not having any. Having too many people is where I get hung up. Sometimes I just find myself overwhelmed trying to call, email, Facebook message, comment, chat, text or otherwise reach out to people that I'm overdue to reach out to. What ends up happening is I put it off just long enough to start thinking, "Great. If I call him back now, I'm gonna have to come up with an excuse for why I didn't call sooner." So, naturally, not wanting to lie about my delayed response, I simply don't call back. At least, not until a reasonably obnoxious amount of time has passed. So that's my problem.
I learned long ago that problems often fall into two categories. One is a "quality problem" (Omigod, I've got so much money I just don't know what to buy!). Having too many friends and family to keep in touch with is definitely a quality problem. The other category is, well, everything else.
What I also learned long ago is that it's my problem, not anyone else's. Those who have been here before know of my aversion to drainers: soul-sucking social leeches that wring every bit of good will from the saintliest of people by talking endlessly about nothing – the same nothing over and over and over again. These are the folks that I need to establish boundaries with. I need to realize that it's okay if I call them back, talk for a polite amount of time (30 or 40 seconds seems fair), and then cut their gabby asses off mid-sentence and move on to the next drainer. Email should be even easier. I don't have to write a book when replying to everyone. A short note letting them know I'm thinking about them is enough. Gotta work on that...
One last thing, which I'll humbly file under Cell Phone Etiquette: don't use me as a 'filler'. If you're driving home from work; if you're in the grocery store; if you're at the bank; if you're ringing the doorbell at a friend's house and contact with them is imminent, don't fill up your semi-down time by calling me. If I'm not important enough for you to earmark a dedicated slice of quality time to get in touch, don't bother.
I've gotta go now. My mental inbox just dinged again...
at 1:44 PM
Sunday, April 3, 2011
I have two excuses for not posting anything for...well, I was gonna say "a while", but really, it's only been a couple of weeks. It just seems longer. Anyway, my excuses: 1) I've been really busy with work, which requires me to spend inordinate amounts of time on the computer. And 2) I've been really busy with work, which requires me to spend inordinate amounts of time on the computer.
But I will be posting something new soon. I promise. Really.
at 6:00 PM