Friday, October 08, 2010

Familiar Melody

Briefly today I ventured out into the world. The cats needed food, and for myself a small notebook in which to track my medications. So many pills need to be taken that it helps to write them down. Otherwise, my feeble mind keeps an unreliable record and that leads to uncertainty. The notebook was shoplifted by pretending to refer to it like a grocery list. A minor victory against a world that I do not recognize anymore. And I've grown afraid of it. Fear is with me often these days.

Last week, I took some stale bagels and bread to the riverbank where I fed the Canadian geese. Annie didn't seem to pay them any mind, and it was a cool, gray day. Despite the cars rushing by about 300 feet behind me, it felt as if I was at the edge of the world. It was peaceful, and I got lost in the slow movement of the river. A few colorful leaves floated on the wind, which was substantial, onto the surface.

Without my noticing, a middle aged man walked behind me, on the jogging path. He was dressed in such a way as to make me think that he was an athlete. Perhaps warming up before a jog. His feet on the gravel reported his presence, and I turned toward him, then back to the river. As he passed, he told me that I shouldn't be feeding the geese. He had a disapproving tone, as if he knew me. I'd never seen him before.

My response was that of a fearful man. Anger welled up in me. Here, at what felt like the end of the Earth I was being told what to do. As I turned toward him, I said, "I like to feed them. And it's none of your business." He stopped, and I faced him. "Well, I don't like running in goose shit. And it's against the law." was his reply. As he said it, he indicated his running shoes, which were snow white to my eye. I replied, "No it isn't. Even if it were, I would do it. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean it's illegal. I don't like you in those skimpy shorts." As my face grew red and my temper flared, "And even if it were, I'd do it. There is no law by God or man that will keep me from feeding these geese." I stepped forward, and he turned to continue his walk, "I'll call the police" was his final remark. "Go right ahead," and I yelled out my name, address and telephone number, "...they'll have to shoot me to stop me, you fucking asshole." He ignored me and walked swiftly on.

This is not the way a well-adjusted man acts. It is no secret that I'm not well, emotionally. My anger didn't fade until I got home. Such intensity of emotion. So much fear and loathing, of myself and the world. Annie and I went home.

As I sat down in my study, I reached into my pocket and re-discovered an unusual, white rock that caught my eye. Like alabaster, like the history of the rock in bas relief. Nothing discernible to my eye but bumps and crags. Parts of it glittered in the light. I took no small amount of comfort in knowing that the rock would exist long after me. That I have an end that will go unnoticed by so many things and people consoles like a familiar melody.

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