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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

SOLUTIONS

the road home



Rounding this curve is the beginning of the open road out of Sparta to Whitehead. Much as I dislike the gravel roads paved highway style throughout the county, it's another one of those issues bigger than anything I can do something about but acquiesce. If I had my way, there wouldn't be any progress. Then everything would shut down from inertia, and that would be worse. Best to leave everything like it is and not worry about it.




It's funny how it works, that often a gesture meant to help actually hinders. Like Jr has been talking for a few years about getting a telephone jack put in his bedroom. I've told him I could do it. Wire and the jack and staples; that's it. No. Doesn't need it. The air phone does plenty well.


A lifetime friend dropped by one day a few weeks ago and Jr muttered something about wanting the phone jack in his bedroom. So friend goes to another friend and asks him to put the jack in the bedroom for Jr. When he came to the door to do it, I told the guy there's no need for it. We have it worked out so he never has to use the buttons on the air phone. He wanted to put it in. I saw mayhem coming, but the guy was there to put it in and that was that. No big deal. Do what you gotta do.



Doing a favor for Jr was the man's motive and reward. Jr wanted to pay him, but he said, "You've already paid, all them nights I listened to you make music at your house on Wednesday nights. You paid in advance."
It was a nice thing to do, and since it's being done, it's being done.



Jr thought he could put the land-line phone in there with the number buttons that are 3/8 inch squares. Only problem, he can't see the numbers on those buttons either. Plus it makes confusion. Our pattern had been that I read the caller ID and take it to him, tell him who it is, turn it on as I hand it to him, saying, "Don't push any buttons. It's ready to go." That's the only way I can keep him from turning it off. If I don't say that, he'll push the off button thinking he's pushing the on button. That worked very easily and smoothly. Now I walk into the bedroom and see the telephone receiver on the floor so far past all those noises that tell you the telephone is still on it's been silent for an hour or 2.


I have to punch the numbers for him on the land-line phone like on the air phone. What I call an air phone is a land-line phone too, but the kind with no wire. Now Jr is so confused he's bewildered in his worries over what a mess the new phone has created. I have to answer the phone anyway, because it takes him so long to hear the ringing to start with, then to start moving toward the phone, which means sitting up, a major effort, then swinging legs around so he can sit on the side of the bed and reach for the phone, by which time it has quit ringing. That frustrates him so much he dreams about it happening, so in his mind it happens several times a day when it might actually happen once or not at all.



We're back to me picking up the air phone, reading the caller ID, telling him who it is, handing it to him clicking the on button, telling him, "Don't touch any buttons," and all is well. It works smoothly, he's ready to go when he puts the phone to his ear and doesn't have to go through any effort getting up. Every day Jr makes some remark about what a nuisance the phone in the bedroom is. I ask if he'd like it removed. It only takes unplugging one wire and it's gone. No. So we'll go on like this.



I see these interruptions in an everyday life flow act the same as a conversational interruption, the American form of communication. We interrupt flow before it even gets started. The flow of conversation or a way of doing something is not a consideration. Two people seen talking in conversation, every American is duty bound to interrupt their conversation with anything, just interrupt them. It's a rule here, you see people in conversation, interrupt them.


We've become like telephones now, rude interruptions. Years ago I let go of being annoyed by interruptions. To live in America, you get used to it or isolate yourself where you never see anybody. You get used to it. I've been in a few other countries and found it refreshing that interruption is not the form of conversation anywhere else. Just here.


What it tells me is we have nothing to say, we go about running our mouths saying nothing as perfectly as possible using the most words possible. Out of breath with the urgency to say nothing as fast as you can go, and get interrupted. The cell phone. Do-do-do-doot-do-do. They're just plain vulgar. That they're killing off the honeybees, like then you saw them, now you don't, is just one more vulgarity about them. Again, like Facebook, a whole lot of words breathlessly uttered, not even sound and fury signifying nothing. No fury. Just sound. Noise. Distraction. Gotta be distracted. Go to a restaurant and anyplace you sit you see 5 televisions playing sports. Distraction. And what is distraction but static. Like snow on television. Never ending dance of millions of little black and white dots with no meaning and no purpose. A dance of distractions, one after the other.



And what do you do about it? Nothing. It's just how it is. Be aware of it and flow in relation to how it is. By this time in my life there are so many generation gaps between mine and somebody in highschool, and so many cultural changes since Heartbreak Hotel and whatever is going on now, it makes my head swim to think about it. Leave that to somebody to write a book about and I'll read the book. No, I'd rather see the movie. But I come face to face with somebody in high school and I don't know what to say. I don't know if my acoustic language has any meaning. My friend who teaches at a college in Georgia said, "When I see a kid with his ballcap on backwards, I know he has nothing to say I want to hear." When I see a kid like that I think of what he said and have a humorous moment within.







In the nursing home Jr was given a portable cd player with headphones. The giver put a bluegrass banjo cd in it and put the headphones on him in the bed and Oh it was marvellous. Like seeing his first lightbulb. When the giver is gone, he'll never put the headphones on again and he'll never touch the cd player, because he can't figure it out on his own with little tiny buttons with symbols on them you're supposed to understand, but don't. He's not putting headphones on for any reason. Somebody else puts it on him, he'll let it happen, but as soon as he's alone, it's off and gone. The other gift cd was an old-time band, not knowing Jr doesn't like old-time and never has. When he was young he quit playing banjo until bluegrass came along, because he didn't like old-time. "It was slow and draggy." Still doesn't like it. He would let me have it if I wanted it, but I don't like the band. Plus, he doesn't listen to music any more. Today I put on some music by an old-time band with good drive and a dynamic fiddle. Jr liked it. I did too.

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