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This is an amazing article.  It lights a tiny spark of hope in my heart.

Shifting Sands

There are many definitions to “function.”

Most days I find myself checking inside, feeling how I feel right now, and reminding myself that this is how I do “function,” at this moment in time.

Maybe in five minutes I’ll function some other way, but that is something I can neither predict nor control.

My goals are slimmer, tighter. I will take a walk. I will play with my dog. I will give a go at reading this book, and if it won’t read, I’ll put it down and try another time, or not. I will be happy if I remember to give both my dog and I our pills. I will consider it a triumph if I don’t get angry. These are things I now call “functioning.”

I used to go to work every night and save lives.

“Bye folks, I’m off to save lives,” I would say to my family. And I did. Save lives. Just not theirs. And not mine.

After the crash, it has been as much as I can manage to live from day to day. I don’t know why I do it, since there’s not much I can contribute any more.

Maybe I’m finished with the “contributing” part. Who knows.

At this point I just have to be sure I stay far away from the tongue cluckers. I’m too fucking old and busted up to let myself feel bad just because I did the best I could, continue to do the best I can, but now the definitions have all changed.

It’s taken me a long time to get this, to see it clearly. There’s a grieving process, mourning who you were and what you loved doing and how it defined you, both in your eyes and in the eyes of those who knew you then. It’s like giving birth to a stranger. Who the hell is this person in the mirror?

I guess that’s our job now…getting used to who we are, the shifting sands.

The broken shards.

I give the filthy homeless people money.

Critics disdain: why do you give those filthy people money? They’re just going to go buy booze with it.

That’s not my business, what they do with it. If booze is what they need to get from one day to the next, am I God to say that I know better than they do?

Tomorrow, that may be me standing there with a sign out. Or you.

Who knows, that filthy smelly person might be Elijah the Prophet. He’s said to take the form of a down-and-out person, the kind you wouldn’t let in if he came to your door begging.

How do you know this person’s personal tragedy?.

There but for the grace of God go I.

The longer I live in this tiny camper, the closer I get to myself. It’s not comfortable. Not the camper, and not myself. I can’t avoid the truth: in many people’s eyes I am a failure. They can’t boast about their “daughter/mother/cousin/niece the doctor.”

No, don’t. Don’t say I’m still a doctor, because I’m not.

I’m just me.

That’s all.

Just me, and if that ain’t good enough for ’em, fuck ’em.

I Understand You’re Right

Some people just want to be understood.

Some people just want to be right!

What’s not to understand?  If you’re right, you’re right.  Right?

I’ve been scratching my head a bit lately, wondering why it is that for some people, it is crucial to Be Right.  Doesn’t matter about what…..they’ve just…got…to…be…RIGHT!

Take, for instance, the computer geek that I recently dated for, like, 90 milliseconds.  He wrote me a whole email about the fact that I was mistaken about the date my antique Mac was released.  Whew.  I am so glad that I didn’t go around for the rest of my effing life with that misconception.  But he was right.  He.  Was.  RIGHT!  And I told him so.  I am wrong, and you are right.  And he was happy, and satisfied, and had a nice warm feeling in his belly.  Good-bye.

And then there was my weekly aggravating conversation (if one could call it such) with one of the people who call me every Friday, in honor of the Sabbath; his name shall not be mentioned, so instead I will call him Bob.

Now, Bob is a very good person.   A bit selfish, yes: always complaining that he gives more than he gets, always picking apart every woman who comes his way and then moaning about how God isn’t sending him his wife…but the thing that sticks in my craw is that the man Must.  Be. Right.

It hit me today, as I meandered about the kitchen with the speakerphone on, making myself breakfast at 2:30 in the afternoon.  He kept on saying, “But you don’t understand!  Yackity, yackity, yackity, yack….”  (It does not matter what we were talking about, because Bob will only ever argue about it anyway….)

“So,” I mumble, in between bites of egg……

“You’re mumbling!  I can’t understand you!”

“Yes, I know I’m mumbling.  I’m trying to eat my breakfast.”

“Oh, yes, breakfast.  I ate breakfast too, this morning.”  I am so happy that Bob had a good breakfast.  It leaves me in tears.

He is in a much earlier time zone, relative to mine.  I considered mentioning that it was 2:30 in the afternoon here, just for interest, but tossed that out, as it probably would not have drawn any interest on Bob’s part; and it would rob me of precious seconds in which to eat my egg while it was warm.

“Good, good.  I’m glad you ate breakfast, Bob.  May it be in good health.”  I took a bite of toast.

“What’s…that…crunching noise?”  He said accusingly, with no small hint of suspicion.

“A time bomb.  I’ve affixed it to your ear, and in ten seconds…”  Sigh.  No, I did not say that.

I changed the subject to one that I know is dear to his heart: the Splitting of the Sea.  Like in the Bible, right, when the Sea split to let the Children of Jacob through, and afterward it drowned all of Pharaoh’s armies?  We like to argue, um, talk about that one. There are jillions of ways it can apply in one’s life.  I like to pull that out when we talk, because I know it’s one he can go on about forever and I can get my breakfast eaten and the paper plate thrown away–I am not yet well enough to face dishes–without my having to say a word.

In my constant quest for learning something by which to earn a living, I came upon a sage who taught me that there are two broad categories of human beings:

–people whose only wish is to be understood;

–and people whose only wish is to be right.

It hit me like a ton of bricks today, while listening to him on the speakerphone whining,

“But you don’t understand!  You don’t understand!   It’s not like this, it’s like that!

“You’re right,” I said, having finally understood.  “You’re right!

“What?”  He said, sounding a bit lost.

“I said, you’re right!  You are absolutely right!”

By this time, I don’t think either of us remembered exactly what it was that he was right about, but it seemed to give him immense satisfaction to know that I knew that he was right.  There was a satisfied silence on his end of the phone.  Then I knew I was understood, which is, to me, the object of life: to be understood.

He understood that I understood that he…is…RIGHT!

“Well,” I lied, “Gotta have both my hands now, to do the dishes!”

“OK, I gotta go too!”  He sounded so happy, it gave my heart wings.  To fly away.  I hung up, feeling light and happy.  Now I understand.

Next week, I hope Bob will still remember that he’s right, and not need me to remind him.