Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lazy Summer Days

Those crazy, lazy, hazy days of summer have settled in like a fog over the wetlands.  After traversing the lumber on the boardwalk, Gal Friday discovered a new walkway to the beach.  The village has laid down a blue-colored plastic carpet which allows wheelchairs to actually gain entrance to the sunny sands.  I can maneuver my chariot down this ramp and sit at its edge and observe the beauty of the ocean.  More importantly, I am able to observe the lithe, tanned, nubile bodies of the female sun worshipers.

With my chair in the reclining mode, I bask in the sun watching people.  The beach is becoming more occupied now and the crowds are from all points on this earth.  I hear many different languages spoken, at least I think they're not the same.  Some sound more melodic while others are more guttural, so I assume they're different.  But my first visual reaction to the passing parade is, "Wow, people are getting really fat."

Please understand, this is not a criticism, just an observation.  I look like a stick with a basketball glued on about halfway down, so I have no room to render unmerited judgments.  And I will not don a bathing suit because I don't want to offend others.

But the fact that the general public is gaining a little too much weight is overwhelming.  Many of these sunbathers should consider doing so in more clothing.  I don't think a five-foot-four, two hundred pound woman in a string bikini is too flattering.  Nor does the five-foot-eight, two hundred and fifty pound guy with a little more bathing suit covering his body look too appealing.  I've noticed even younger males are neglecting to lose their baby fat.  Is all this obesity a byproduct of our life style?

In fact, seeing the supple bathing beauties I referred to is getting rather rare these days.  After factoring out the male gender, children, fat women, and grandmothers, very few people remain on the beach.  Because my eyesight is not up to par, I ask Gal Friday to watch and poke me when a young, good looking girl hits my range of vision.  I don't have any black and blue marks from her poking.

I also noticed the guys are wearing longer bathing gear, while the female outfits are getting skimpier.  Is this a figment of my imagination?  At one time I would have applauded this transformation, but now I'm not so sure.  Maybe we should take serious note of what the medical community is telling us--slim down.

What about exercise?  The exercise industry is booming.  Everyone's going to a gym or spa.  Even the retirement communities sport glorious rooms full of costly exercise machinery.  Where are all these chisled bodies?  Why don't they come to the beach?  How about giving an old curmudgeon like me a break?

I used to exercise in the old days.  Jeez, I sound like my grandfather..."in the old days."  At various points in my life I lifted weights, swam, ran, walked, etc.  However, my favorite form of exercise was golf.  It was oh, so healthy--climbing in and out of the golf cart, hoisting those cold barley soup cans, swinging so many times at the ball.  Why I'd get so tired, I'd have to go to the nineteenth hole to relax at the bar and have a cool beverage to gain composure for my drive home.

Well, I'm looking forward to tomorrow.  Gal Friday said we're going to the beach.  I remain hopeful.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Struggle

These last few weeks I've noticed more physical failings. Sometimes when the eventide softly escorts the silent blackness of night down, like the gentle, solemn draping of the flag over the casket of a fallen soldier, I yearn for sweet repose; not to ward off the stinging arrows of pain that pierce my body, but instead to nullify the doubting suspicions of tomorrow, next week, next year - will there be a next year?

We all know tomorrow is promised to no one, but to those suffering with a debilitating disease, the question of tomorrow becomes much more poignant. It's not just the length of one's future, but too, the physical reality it represents. Hate is mounting as I attempt to impede my independence stealing away like the ebb tide sneaking out to sea. Hate of my disease and myself is steadily climbing my mountain of self-worth inching toward the pinnacle, ready to fly its banner of conquest. Minimally as allowed, I perform my daily exercises to stem the progression of my disease, but it's a losing attempt. Loss keeps gaining ground.

With the help of drugs, I've learned to deal with physical pain; it's become a lifelong partner like a shadow ever present. However, pain is not my biggest foe or paramount contender in life's main event. Each day the realization of what I inflict upon others drags me deeper into the morose pit of guilt-ridden despair. Every day intensifies the knowledge of my burden on others and I hate myself because of it. Gal Friday has become my second skin. Undaunted, she tends to me night and day and without her loving care, I would perish and this is not fiction, but fact. My friends see me morphing into a physical state foreign to their sorrowful eyes, yet unable to formulate change, they too watch and suffer.

The loss of independence is a passive method of explaining what's truly happening and that is the onslaught of dependence. Relying on others for basic everyday functions is maddening. Even though I battle against it, my guilt factor worsens until I'm about to totally abhor myself. This is the struggle - not to hate yourself so much you are blinded to any positives. All this is truly a sad struggle.

Now the good news. My plus side is still scoring higher than my negative. Even though I blissfully ignore possible horrors in my immediate future, I continue to strive for and appreciate a life worth living. I have Gal Friday, my daughters and grandchildren, great friends and neighbors. The anticipation of publishing my novels , building a new home and once again volunteering for a cause close to my heart keeps me excited.

While wonderful expectations still exist, the struggle gets harder.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Small World

Cruising the neighborhood in my four-wheel drive, turbo charged power chair with dual exhausts, I ran into...er, no...I didn't literally run into this guy, I just met him...an old codger (later discovered his name is Bart and he's younger than me--ugh) walking with the use of a cane.  He had replacement surgery on both knees and one hip.  Since we live near the blue Atlantic, this area is as flat as the sole of a gander's foot.  I kidded this gentleman about walking up and down our monstrous hills and he took it as some form of humor--thank God.

He asked if I recently bought in the neighborhood and I explained we were renting while we built a house in North Carolina.  His response, "Don't know too much about North Carolina, but I lived in South Carolina for awhile and really enjoyed it."

Since I've lived in most southeast states, while staying low and keeping one step ahead of the law, I'm familiar with SC, so I asked him where.  His response, "Salem."

Ed: "No kidding, I use to live just down the road at Keowee Key."

Bart: "Actually, that's where I lived, but the post office is Salem."

Ed (in total amazement): "Holy moly!" Or something like that.

Keowee Key is a beautiful retirement community on Lake Keowee in the most northwest corner of the state, but it's dinky.  If you looked up megalopolis in your Funk and Wagnall, Keowee Key would be the example for its antonym.  I mean you need a magnifying glass to find this place on a map or even driving up the road.  That's why meeting one other human who not only heard of it, but also once resided there was so shocking.

This got me to thinking and those who follow my blog know this is not a good thing.  I began to recall some of the times I ran into people I knew while being far away from where I knew them.  Er...what did I just say?  I meant running into someone in faraway places.  No, that's not quite right either.  How can I best elucidate? ( I looked the word up )  How about seeing someone far from home where you never expect to see them.  This is as clear as mud.  Maybe I'll just give you an example.

While traveling on business in Hong Kong, I met a neighbor from Annapolis, MD.  I hope this clears up this matter.  Can you imagine how shocked we were--especially her because the guy she was clutching onto wasn't her husband.  Can you imagine traveling halfway around the world to have an affair and still get caught?

Another time I was aboard a flight to South Africa and two seatss behind sat an old fraternity brother.  While in Rome, Italy, I saw a fellow I played golf with in Alabama.  Now that I think about it, I'm glad I never put myself in an uncompromising position anywhere on this planet.  Gee, it's great to be as pure as the driven snow. (No comments, please)

Now please understand, all the incidences I referred to happened at least thirty years ago.  So way back then I realized what a small world we lived in, but today it's miniscule.  With current technology, I can turn my computer on and find a location any place on this earth; an even see the cars driving by.  I can talk to or see anyone on this planet who also has a computer with comparable software.  Viewing real time traffic in Oslo--no problem.  Wondering about real time weather in Bora Bora--no problem.  Discovering if your daughter's neighbor in Madrid is a sex offender--no problem.  One little chip and you're connected to the world.

Kinda scarey, huh?  If you think "Big Brother" is watching you now...just wait for the near future.