Monday, May 26, 2014

John Jacob Alzenheimer-Smith

"John Jacob Alzenheimer-Smith...That's my name, too...
Whenever we go out, the people always shout, 
There goes John Jacob Alzenheimer-Smith....da-da-da-da-da-da-da--- **

Here follows a short rant.  Feel free to skip it.

How many of you folks a-readin' this here rant are over 60?  Can you recall?
I'll tell you what -- we are a lot more fun to be around than bein' stuck in a crowd of young knowitalls, sez I.
Why?   ...'cause we laugh!

We can be in the middle of some involved conversation and forget just what our point was -- and what do we do?  We laugh!  What do our younger compadres do?  They nudge the person next to them (assuming that person is under 60), raise one surreptitious eyebrow with a glance toward one of us,  and then they both nod, and roll their eyes.

Oh, and hey!  How about when you ask the same question after a reasonable passage of time.  Do that often enough and you get more than an exasperated "you already asked me that!"

Finally, it will come to "The Alzheimer's Talk".....  that matter-of-fact, down-to-earth, let's-face-it:  "You Have Alzheimer's" talk.  Sez I in reply:  "I don't even know a guy named Alzheimer... how can I have anything of his?  What is it that he's lost, anyway...  maybe I've seen it around."

But seriously folks... the oddest part of this "gentle" talk, is the undercurrent of anger.  I have (more than once) been informed that (herein unnamed) people are getting angry with my repeated questions.  Angry! And of course, what follows is that they become dismissive.  In their eyes, I am now irrelevant, confused, and not to be taken seriously.  I do not matter.

In my own way of seeing it, I ask a question again -- because the answer I got was boring! ...and I quit listening! I want a better one.  Besides, I often like what I am thinking about far better than paying attention to... well, you know.

Hmmm... I can't recall what else I wanted to say on this topic....

Anyway, it sure looks like there´s gonna be a beautiful sunset over the sea tonight. Clear skies.  Just might see the Green Flash again.

You know, early this morning, I was sitting alone at a table under a lovely surf-side umbrella -- after a GREAT session of body-surfing, playing in set after set of wild bouncing big waves, ducking under and diving over, in playfully wild careening abandon.  No one else was out there.  Just me and the sea..... ahhh...

As I was dripping myself to a dryer state... I was watching the crashing waves, utterly absorbed in my own thoughts.  Just then! ...a friend -- a man of my age (the kind that laughs and shares) -- STARTLED me with a simple hello!  ...but he had no problem understanding my explanation of why I jumped so.

I told him that just then, I was enjoying the flow of a particular crashing wave.  Rather than water, it looked like a vast skein of smooth, silken, silver cloth -- shimmering in the morning sun.  In particular, what had fascinated me was the apparent wholeness of the cloth... There was the smooth rise of the silvery skein, as if wafted up on the wind, then the billowing out in its fullness...  And ah, the shimmering light which it reflected at its full pregnant height and then... ooooh!  As the wind  beneath the cloth dropped, the left side gracefully fluttered down, simultaneously with the right side -- leaving the center of the long skein still aloft and billowing...

...only to be pulled down suddenly yet ever so gracefully, from both sides -- without a break in the smooth shimmering integrity of the whole.

**The original song (which I learned at Y-Camp in Iowa back in the early '50s) is about John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith.  You see, I was originally going to title this essay "Jack Jacob Alzenheimer Schitt"  and begin the essay itself with "I know Jack Schitt!!"  but it seemed rude and totally unnecessary.... so I snuck it in here.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Out. Of. Sight.

Rather literally -- out of sight -- as in, I cannot see.

Without corrective lenses, I am "legally blind,"  meaning I see only colorful blurry shapes.  I recognize people by the dominant color of their clothes.  So....  if I see you in a red shirt in the morning, and you change to a yellow shirt later on, I have no idea who you are -- not until you are right  up in my face (and then, well, I forget faces these days, too, but that is another tale for another time).

So here is how I became --Out. Of. Sight--  here in Mexico:

1.  Although I distinctly recall setting out a box of 6 contacts for my left eye, and a box of 6 contacts for my right eye -- neither box made it to Mexico.... which is to say, I have ONLY the contacts I was wearing when I arrived in Mexico (already a month in use, due to be replaced immediately, as in first week of May).

2. Oh well, thinks I.  I can survive by wearing glasses all the time except in the ocean... which is when I will wear the outdated contacts...  The ocean requires vision.

3.  However, within days, my glasses and the case they were in disappeared (along with my headlamp, which affects late night pee forays -- thus giving me another kind of out-of-sightness).

4. Seriously  >>out of sight<<.    All I have left are those outdated contacts.   I must carefully monitor when I wear them.

5. Then came The Big Glitch!!  I hear them first -- and then see them, even in the dark of night:  Cows are VERY big!!  So it was a snap for even me to see them.  Unfortunately, they were in OUR yard, where there are four mango trees with countless ripening mangos well within cow -- oh no, HORSES TOO -- reach. They can decimate the fruit of entire trees in a short while.   Robert took off with a big stick and a loud voice, chasing and corraling them toward where there was a break in the fence (always, it is in the corner of  our property that we share with one of our ...more casual, shall we say... neighbors).

8.  Robert needs help chasing them down and corraling them toward that corner.  I am blind!  So hell...  In the dark with just that little headlamp, I put in those precious contacts, grab a big stick (there are old tree branches lying around all over our wild backyard)... and start running around, shouting, waving the stick, blocking their escape routes. Mind you, I am wearing just a sarong tied around my neck, with sandals.

9. False security:  they seem to have returned to their side of the fence and so I take OUT my contacts and crawl back  under our mosquito netting, and nestle onto my Thermarest under a light sheet.

10.  Then, DAMN!!!  They are back!  So I put my contacts back IN, and take off shouting,  with my big stick waving.  Once back on their side, Robert sends me back to bed while he sets to making sure the fence and gate are truly secure...

11.  I take out those precious contacts, lie down on my thermarest and ---- fall sound asleep.

12.  Wouldn't you know!!!  In the morning, when I went to put my contacts back IN -- the only contacts I have for the next two months, my only line to SIGHT -- I discover that one contact is missing.  It is simply NOT in its little compartment of my contacts case.  It is gone.  It is my right eye-one -- the most blindest, worst fuzziest of my two eyes.  I quietly mention its loss to Robert.

13.  (Ironic that this part of the story is "13" -- let us jump on to "14")

14.  Robert quietly, carefully, slowly, walks over to the edge of our mosquito net tent, looking all around most intently.  My contacts are soft'lens water soluble-ish light blue thin things....  Could be ANYwhere, including stuck under a sandal for starters.

15. And yet, he f 'in FINDS it!!!!  Folded in half, dried hard like a teensy chip,  it was right there in the dirt, outside the opening to our mosquito net tent  -- he could see it there, among all the dust bits and little dirt chunks of last night's foray into our jungly backyard.

16. After a 24 hour soak and continual changing of the cleanser solution -- I could wear it again, no pain -- just good vision.

17.  Only THEN, did Robert discover that it was HE who had gathered up my glasses case, and headlamp -- and stashed them carefully in HIS ditty bag.

18.  Three and a half more weeks of this perilous hold on sight ...  two outdated contact lenses, and a pair of glasses.