Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Cat's Life, Sort Of...

It's so not what you think.  Though I certainly wish it were. 

Today, following the advice John culled from the internet yesterday, on the topic of shoulder injuries, I spent most of my time slumped back on the sofa in the den, trying to keep my ice pack from slipping down my back, or down my arm, or down the front of my tee shirt.  Hour after hour after hour.  Just sitting there.  Napping from time to time, thanks mostly to the pain medication.  But mostly just looking into space, or trying to find something interesting on my little portable exobrain.  Odd, how with everything in the world virtually at my fingertips, I still have the nerve to complain about being bored.

The cats, as we all know, have no such problem.  Even though, as far as I can tell, one day of Silas' life, for instance, is pretty much indistinguishable from any other day of his life, yet he sleeps all the time, as though worn out from exertion (which no one on earth would believe possible), and even seems to dream.  But what can he dream about, except the same life he has, over and over again, without any apparent variation?  If I ask him, he just glares at me with his yellow-green eyes, and then waddles off to find a different place to sleep.

I did manage to do something intriguing, while waiting for the planet to turn in space, so I could take my afternoon dose of antidepressants -- I looked up the website of the doctor/artist I met last week at Combat Paper, Dr. Eric Avery.  (His web address: www.docart.com)  When he was giving us a tour of his exhibit at the Print Center of New Jersey, and was talking about a particular self-portrait in one corner of the room, he mentioned the time he'd spent in Somalia, decades ago now.  Correction -- he mentioned the grueling, unbearable time he spent at a refugee camp, struggling with nearly no meaningful help, to feed children who were so malnourished that they had to be force-fed, because otherwise they just wouldn't swallow food anymore.  He mentioned getting out of the jeep, upon arrival, and being stunned by his surroundings, in that they seemed to consist of a great expansse of mud, and starving human beings, and flies.  He said that, in those first moments, as he tried to get his bearings, he gasped involuntarily, and inhaled a fly.  The first of many, no doubt, during his year-long stay there.

I also looked up this camp itself, and found some more recollections Dr. Avery had provided the author of the book 'Para-Site'; this was so compelling that I bought a copy, and can't wait to read it, although at the same time I'm afraid it will give me nightmares.

All this interest because, for some reason, the scant few images he tossed out, while we were in that particular corner of his spacious, art-filled exhibit, have continued to resonate, and I think I may be on the brink of writing something -- some poem, I think -- about this experience of his.  How cheeky.  But, when I told him I thought this might happen, if he didn't mind, he gave me the go-ahead.  Now, I just have to permit myself.

Late in the afternoon, I started getting ready for this evening's music rehearsal -- I'd been excused, because of a conflict, but it turns out that, when I filled out the conflict form, I managed to get the dates for the Contemporary Artists' Forum meetings all wrong, so I've been excused on the weeks when I'm free, and scheduled for rehearsals on the weeks when the group gets together.  In a way, it doesn't really matter all that much, as I haven't been making any artwork at all anyway, so all I would be doing, while everyone else unpacks work and displays it as best as possible in the meeting space, I'd just be kicking around, waiting for the critique part to begin, and then mostly biting my tongue.

In any event, there I was, at a rehearsal I wasn't scheduled to attend, and grateful to be there.  We worked on three of the group numbers, and I'm really looking forward to doing this singing on stage -- it's the jazziest stuff I will ever have sung in public.  The fact that, at the end of the show, I'll be, for all intents and purposes, nude on stage, is something about which I try not to think.  Besides which, I'll be one of six naked guys, and if I have my way, I'll somehow be in the back...

And now I'm here at home again, with a fresh, dry long-sleeved tee-shirt on, over a short-sleeved tee, and with a sack of ice shoved down over my right shoulder.  Re-arranging said sack from time to time, to make sure that most of my shoulder is receiving at least some coolness.  When I showered before rehearsal, I was surprised to see that there seems to be no surface discoloration, or swelling, apparent on my shoulder.  It would be too much to hope that this will all heal itself up by the weekend, but I'm going to do what I can to help things along, while also continuing with my workout schedule -- I just won't do anything that uses my shoulders, that's all.  (He said, not believing a word he was saying...)

Well, substance-free as this seems to be, I think I'm going to leave things as they are for the time being.  I believe I'll take another one of my enriched acetaminofen tablets, curl up with a long book, and drift off to sleep down here on the big sofa.  I hate sleeping with John when I'm carrying a rattling bag of ice in my shirt, just waiting to leak all over the bed clothes.  Plus, he still has a chest and head cold, which means he'll be snoring, and I won't be able to sleep there anyway. 

Maybe, in my dreams, I'll be one of the cats -- perhaps gorgeous Coco, who I've decided is a reincarnation of Elizabeth Taylor, except I think the dates are all wrong?  And I can dream that I'm asleep, and dreaming about sleeping.  (Yawn.....)

©    2013          Walter Zimmerman 


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