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Thursday, June 7, 2012

DEPARTURE DATE UNKNOWN

william wegman


In my mind today the song is Ella Fitzgerald singing, "There's a boat that's leaving soon for New York." It tells how I feel, like I have a boat to catch some unknown date in the future. I have the ticket, just waiting for departure date. It concerns me and it does not. For myself, I'm looking at possibly changing location. That's all it means to me. But to my friends, I will have vanished never to be seen again. That part bothers me. I won't miss this body and all its wants and needs. Suddenly, I'm looking at mortality, again. First time, I looked mortality in the face and found no alarm. Now I'm looking mortality in the face a second time and feel no alarm. This time, however, I'm thinking about taking care of some details before I get on the boat for whatever adventure is next. You might say, this time got my attention. Not to alarm, but to practical reality. It's not fear of death that is bothering me, but missing my friends already. I feel like I want to see all my friends and be with them at least for awhile, a period of appreciation. There are people I need to see I've not seen in a long time, people I care about as much as I care about the people I see regularly.


I'm having a fair understanding of what Jesus meant about loving neighbor as self, which I translate into my language as treat other people right. It's that "in the end" we find that other people are the very most important parts of our lives. I like my solitude, but I also need others to break the solitude. I like both, the balance. Solitude recharges my batteries as interpersonal relationships take energy. It's like the computer. I have been advised to unplug it and let the battery run down, then charge it back up. The idea is that the computer battery lasts longer running up and down the scale instead of staying up all the time. For me, time with others and solitude are important. Time with others I expend energy. Time in solitude recharges batteries. I like to hear other people tell their stories, say what they have to say. Knowing somebody is the same for me as reading a Faulkner novel, a really good living story. In the time of looking into the other side, the people in my life take a new level of importance. Maybe, too, it's that my friends are my treasure. If money were my treasure, I'd be looking at missing my fortune. I'm glad I don't have that disease. Carrying a body that needs clothes everywhere I go is disease enough.


Sunday I had what I'll call an incident. Like going to the floor from light headedness and puking really bad. I took it for food poisoning from my coffee thermos. Tuesday the "device clinic" at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem read my "device" (pacemaker/defibrillator) and Wednesday morning I have a call from doctor's office to schedule to see doctor first thing in the morning, upon his arrival at the office. This tells me the Sunday afternoon incident had to do with what we call a heart attack. I felt no pain in the heart region. Possibly the pacemaker took charge and walked the heart through the "attack." Maybe the heart just stopped. I don't know. I've an idea I'll be finding out before very long. Ever since the phone call from the doctor's office, I've been feeling mortal. I find that in my mind I tend to identify myself immortal, considering the evolution of the soul, and when this particular lifetime comes to its stop sign, mortality becomes an issue. Up until then, I feel like dying is not an issue. It's like the word rights. Our bill of rights lists our rights according to government. Inside myself, I feel like I have all rights. Everyone else does too. In like manner, because I (soul-self) am immortal it comes as a shock to learn the body's mortality is at hand. It doesn't mean soul (self) is coming to an end. Just changing horses. Chaning clothes. Changing.


I feel no urgency about leaving the body. The only urgency is my friends, leaving them like getting on a boat to someplace else. And there is Caterpillar. I'd prefer not to leave her alone. I'm thinking it probably is time to go on, because I find that this phase of my life is the best that I can recall. It's like I've learned how to live my life, so it's time to go. Finally come into appreciation and it's time to go on. That seems to be how it is. Like maybe it is that appreciation I need to feel before going on. Get there, feel it, and go. Strangely, I don't think of it as dying and don't think of it mortality. It doesn't seem to be anything. Just a transition from one state of being to another. It's like a ufo abduction, maybe abduction by angels---Up in the air, Jr Birdman. I find I feel a sense of loss for my friends I'll be leaving behind, and feel their loss for me, how, for a few, it will be painful, and for most just another obit. "Did you know him?" "Yeah, he was that crazy old shit lived up there at Air Bellows." "Which one?" "The one in the old schoolhouse."


Speaking of schoolhouse, did I learn anything worth carrying into future lifetimes? I think I learned quite a lot. This lifetime was a learning lifetime. Learning is the one thing I wanted to do in this lifetime more than anything else. I learned first hand, second hand, third hand, however experience could be found. I wanted to learn what was real, not just information. Information is one thing. Knowledge is another. Wisdom is yet another. All my life I'd wanted to meet a wise man, and found the wise man in Jr Maxwell, the only man I have known I can call wise without hesitation. I've enjoyed knowing a wide variety of people, a wide enough variety that I found my own place. By this time in my life I have found my people and my place. I know who I belong among and who I don't. In this period over the last 5 years, I have found that I am, indeed, stable in myself. Recalling a time 5 years ago a tough-guy set out to intimidate me by telling me about myself. I laughed, told him I am comfortable in myself, I know myself, and I know for a certainty he does not know me, because he had just proven it by telling me he doesn't know anything about me, going by what he said. I was struck when I heard myself say those words. It was like someone else speaking for me.  It was automatic. It surprised me that I knew what I heard myself say. Even if this isn't the last day, week, month or even year, it's still close. I do need to start making provisions for my vacancy.


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