06 July 2015 – Don’t it just seem we’re all so frightfully busy all of a sudden. Clara, an HCA I’ve befriended, said this. In reference to a guy she’s been seeing. Matt. Who’s forever cancelling out on dates. Saying he’s too busy. Clara doesn’t buy it and has decided to let him dangle.
We went for a drink after work. Something I don’t do too often. Not because I don’t want to but because I tend to consider the after effects (getting home, my head in the morning) and what I’d be missing (chats with G, being there for dad). Today the timing was perfect. It’s my Friday. Dad’s off on a weeklong physio retreat. And G, well, there’s never really a problem there—being three time zones ahead has some advantages, at least on the calling side of things. Doesn’t make up for the physical distance, but I can be as late as I like, or tipsy as a heavy wrench, he won’t raise a fuss.
Clara’s 33. A single mom with an 8 year old named Dustin. She doesn’t have anything bad to say about his dad, who’s still in the picture, takes Dustin on the weekends, and otherwise helps out however he can. But she does go on a bit about the smaller stuff. Grey hairs creeping in, getting her nails done, vacations in the sun, meeting a hunk. It’s weird. She’s such a strong and free-spirited woman. Very independent, confident, determined. Likes to have her fun. Is brazen and spontaneous. Outgoing, flirtatious. Yet sometimes it sounds like she’s disappointed about only living half the life she wants. Almost as though she regrets the past that brought her to now. That she didn’t get to where she’d hoped. I know she’s just ventilating. Saying aloud what’s pressing on her chest. To someone she can be open with. Someone she trusts. A friend.
Talk and listen. This is what friends do, I guess. When it comes right down to it. With Clara I listen more than talk. I do talk of course. And Clara’s good about trying not dominate the conversation. Catches herself when she’s gotten herself going. Waves a hand in front of her face like it’s too hot in here. Exactly what she did after ranting on Matt.
We switched tracks and had a long discussion on busy-ness being the new norm. I’m not sure we came to any conclusions on the matter. To be honest, it twists the mind to think about it.
Or, as I put it to G this evening when I got home: it nothers the bothering cots.
He had a great chuckle at that. Said I should write it down. Then asked how the notebook was going. Which is why I’m at scribbling now, after ten, on the back porch.
I haven’t gotten around to making this, this jottering, a part of my routine. But I do think about it. Quite a bit actually. Been taking notes on my phone. Mostly a bunch of nonsense. Or stuff I’m not sure what with to do. Like this, from earlier in the week:
A woman without hands, a man missing an eye. Dozens in wheelchairs. The injured, the maimed, the addicted, the obsessed, the misshapen, the diseased, the conditioned, the broken. All in the course of a day. In the course of a day, all.
I wouldn’t know how to form a narrative around this. Yet it exists. A condensed and suspended expression on what one sees working in a hospital.
Many’s the time I leave work utterly drained and haven’t the energy to do much more than check in with dad, prepare a quick meal and plop down in front of the computer and watch Netflix. Any desire to put passing thoughts to ink evaporates.
Here’s the thing about being busy—it doesn’t have to be productive!
Inside now. Past 11. Getting ready for bed. Put on the latest G-mix CD. Reminded me of coming home last week to see the car in the wet sudsy driveway. Freshly washed and shining. A nice surprise.
Dad was in the garage tinkering. Loitering, really. He wanted to be there when I arrived.
I rushed up to hug him thanks. For getting the car, for washing it. The smile on his face taking me back to younger days.
‘There’s more,’ he said.
On the hood of his station wagon a package. From G.
In it the mixed CD, a pressed flower, a short letter, and copies of two sets of plane tickets. One for him to come thisaways in late July. The other for me to head out there late August.
And just now, last but not least, a photo from G. Texted with the message, ‘tonight’s sun in my forestfire sky’. Followed by a sloppy wet kiss good night.