CULTURE

“It’s been a tough morning for me. I used to be a children’s…

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“It’s been a tough morning for me. I used to be a children’s librarian. But this morning I had to call publishers and tell them not to send me any more books. I just can’t read them anymore, not like I used to. And that was hard. It felt like I was cutting off a lifeline. It’s disappointing, the sense of not being in control of my own life anymore. Everything depends on my medical schedule, and the chemotherapy, and what my limits are. The doctor has told me to expect a couple more years, but my caretaker says she’s seen a lot of sick people. And she thinks I could be one of the ones who can beat it. For most of my life happiness was automatic. I might have had the only career where you get told ‘I love you’ three or four times a week. Maybe it happens with teachers too, but so many little kids said those words to me over the years. And I miss that. I was damned lucky to have that experience. Happiness isn’t automatic anymore, these days I have to work a little bit more for it. In addition to all the pain and the fear and having to pee all the time, I choose to do a lot of things that will make me aware of the beauty and loveliness of life. It’s not magic. I don’t stop thinking about the scary stuff, I just find moments to push them aside with the ridiculous. There’s so much in life that’s ridiculous. Every Saturday morning I watch Popeye on Turner Classic Movies. It’s so ridiculous. Olive Oil is so obnoxious. And you know, she has all these men after her. It’s just really funny. And Popeye is so full of himself and somehow manages to come out of everything, eat his spinach, and win. Then there’s my laughing yoga classes, which I can’t do in person anymore. But I do them online. There’s this thing we do where people will get in lines of three or four, and we’ll pretend to have a boat race. Everyone rows as hard as they can. Someone chooses a winner, and if you lose you get to create a big scene and make an ass of yourself. It’s ridiculous. And then there’s you. You’re ridiculous. You’re stopping random people, presumably to entertain yourself. You’re sitting in the middle of the street. I mean, think about it. It’s pretty dumb.”

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