All Right Brain All the Time

Today. Partly cloudy with occasional showers. Temps almost chilly (low 46F, high 67F). That’s what I like about Western Oregon. NO HOT WEATHER almost hardly ever.

We went to the Old Cascades yesterday and hiked six miles. We used to hike and camp twelve or more miles in the High Cascades every week, but thanks to one knee surgery and two shoulder surgeries, yesterday was only our second trip in two years to any deep woods. I love places where a person could die and rot and no one ever know what happened to him. Every time someone gets lost in the woods near Eugene and is NEVER found, I think, “YAY! I LOVE living here.”

Today, like most days, I am sipping vodka. Two ounces is my limit, so sometimes I will drink on an empty stomach to get a little higher. I’m also—as you probably noticed—writing. I am most purposefully NOT writing a left-brain essay this time because, like a dog, I learn what people like, and that’s what I give them. Ha! Sometimes—for about two seconds—I AM tempted to write to please other people, but I do it so badly anyway that it’s useless. ME always leaks out, and most people aren’t going to like me no matter what, and I’m rather proud of that, actually, although I do make a studied effort to avoid alienating people unnecessarily.

In a few minutes, I’m going to go out and dig a hole. I only have once a month garbage pickup (a single small can), and I have no yard debris pickup, so I bury grass trimmings and compost, and, when they’re done rotting, I dig them up and put them in the garden or scatter them around the yard. Recycling and composting aren’t just about frugality; they’re about respect.

Anyway, digging a hole is something else I haven’t done in two years, and I shouldn’t do it now either because I’m probably not healed enough. Ah, but any day that I work with a shovel is a happy day; I have dug holes for the sheer joy of it.

Climbing way high up in my Ponderosa Pine and pruning limbs that could fall on the house during an ice storm is another bad idea that I’m planning to undertake (a neighbor took photo at top in 2003). Peggy protests it adamantly, but I am SICK of being a pain-wracked invalid. I’ll wait a few months though, until the sap is down, and I’m stronger.

I visited my friend, Doyd, this week. He’s 92, and in a nursing home, and breathes like a fish out of water even on oxygen. He’s also nearly blind, and his TV is broken, and his neighbor NEVER turns his own TV off, and the place is ALWAYS noisy, and the nursing home staff lost his dentures, and the place smells like shit, urine, and Pine Sol. Doyd is screwed. Doyd should die today. If I were Doyd, I would want to die today.

I have a big problem with trimming big trees because I’m afraid of heights. I used to fly an airplane, but even that didn’t make me like high places. The thing is, I always worry that I’ll jump off, which is kind of funny because the VERY LAST THING I want to do is to fall to my death. This incongruity used to make me think I was crazy, but then I learned that it’s a symptom of acrophobia, and I felt better about it. It’s like when I’m tempted to throw hot coffee in someone’s face, not because I want to, but because I so very much don’t want to that I’m afraid I might. I’ll think, “Wow, wouldn’t it be just the most horrible thing in the world to suddenly throw this cup of hot coffee in my friend’s face,” and then I’ll think, “Uh, oh, how do I know I won’t DO IT?” Then, I take my hand off the cup and sit back in my chair.

I’ve trimmed this tree before, and I’m hell-bent on doing it again because I’M the kind of person who does things FOR HIMSELF, and that’s the ONLY kind of person I want to be. When I have to give that up, what’s the use? Watching other people do my work is NOT ME, and sitting around in a nursing home is definitely NOT ME.

Years ago, when I was an undertaker, I went to pick a corpse up at a nursing home late one night. “She’s in room twelve,” the attendant said, but the attendant didn’t say that there were two women in room twelve. I stood looking at them for several minutes in the dim light trying to figure out which one was dead. I guessed wrong. No, no, no, I don’t want to be in one of those beds spending money like there’s no tomorrow for NOTHING that is of the least value to anyone—except to the people who are getting the money.