Tuesday, May 22, 2012

on this day

He can ignore my advice on most anything I have to offer, but he cannot ignore it when I tell him he has a mole on his back. He can’t see it, but I can. Go to the doctor, I tell him.

He (almost) never listens to that advice.

But, yesterday, I had my moles checked and some promptly removed and I tell him that this is part of being of advanced age. You do this kind of thing. You cannot avoid it.
I’ll go to my old dermatologist, if he’s still around. I liked him.
When did you last see him?
Long long time ago. And he was already old then.

Ed’s banking on the guy being retired. Or worse. But an Internet search reveals that the doc is still there! At age 84, accepting new patients!

So off he goes and I tell him I saved his life and he scoffs and tells me that he acquiesced to the visit to make me happy. Some beloveds get flowers and candy, I get my guy to go have a mole removed. 
Can you imagine, Ed marvels, he doesn’t have a computer in his office. Just a typewriter.  
Electric? I ask. And is he married? Ed looks at me in wonderment that I should still ask questions for which I know he would not have an answer. (We do that to each other.)

In the meantime, I am done grading for two out of my three courses, but that’s not saying much because the third has the largest number of students and they’re of a generation that’s become demonically speedy with typing because the number of pages submitted has swelled over the years. No matter. I start in on this third course. If I work awfully hard, I’ll be done by the end of the month.

But I need breaks. You can’t read essays without interruption. Pages blur and run together and you confuse one person’s mistake with another’s brilliance and so you have to refresh yourself. I do so by once again attacking the raspberry patch.

That patch is so overgrown right now that the weeds exceed in height the raspberry canes. And I mean the really tall, unclipped raspberry canes. I’ve already devoted some days to pruning and clipping (and I've hardly made a dent), but today I make one huge effort at getting the weeds on one side – the side of the path leading to the sheep shed – under control so that a person could, for example, walk there without being attacked.

But in the process, I am, in fact, attacked. Whatever prickly stuff inhabits that patch is now fighting (and winning) the battle against my invasion and I am left with some horrible rash up and down my arms, a rash that alternates between an itch and a tingle – none of it very pleasant.

I say to Ed -- I saved your raspberries and ruined my arms in the process.
It’ll pass, he tells me without much concern.

Of course, everything passes. By definition, life passes, rashes disappear, skin wrinkles, raspberry canes suffocate and boyfriends get spots for you to see and point out.

The sun is so bright, so very bright and when I go on my bike to Paul’s to meet Ed there, I have this complete sense of joy in riding against the May breeze, even though I’m past the wistful years when sunshine was only a friend, a soothing pal, to love and trust and hold sacred.

Life can’t be perfect. Not for more than a short stretch, here and there.

At least that’s what I’m told.


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