Having missed the 171 bus from the Shoreland, a young man was tearing at top speed after it for a block or two until a red light at 55th and Hyde Park Boulevard cut him off. He had to settle for watching from the opposite side of the intersection as the bus, which runs only on the hour and half hour on weekends, pulled away from the stop. I’m sure he slumped. I wondered why a healthy young man with the energy to race two blocks to catch a bus can’t find the reserves to walk the mile and a half or so to campus, especially since he was not trying to make a class. John Adams and son John Quincy Adams used to walk five or six miles every day after breakfast at Auteuil. Walking, once a pleasure, is now something to be avoided.
After pushing to get all the major weekend chores done last Friday night, I realized I didn’t feel up to much. Every day drains me of life and saps my imagination. I want to hide. It turned out, however, another cause added to my inherent angst — someone from my doctor’s office called to let me know my strep test was positive. I’m taking an antibiotic (875 mg amoxicillin) and, just for a little balance, a probiotic. I just thought I felt lethargic before. Now when I’m writing at lunch, I fall asleep mid-word. I’ve been using lots of correction fluid.
Overnight last Friday I’d left the window cracked open to let in some air, and the sound of the blind tapping rhythmically against the frame in the wind woke me (the second time) at 7 a.m. It’s too bad I didn’t dream about the bat tapping at the window in Dracula. That sound, which I never heard as a child because we had curtains over windows that wound open or closed, yet there is something about that rhythmic tapping that my primal brain associates with gloom and storms. And vampires.
When I returned from my second of three trips to the stores last Saturday, the couple who bring their white-and-ginger tabby out on a harness was there. The beast seemed intent on eating some grass. Again I had a feeling that something else was there, so I turned to spot the rabbit to my left. The cat looked up periodically at the rabbit, but both predator and prey pretended they weren’t within 15-20 feet of one another. Hodge would have ripped the harness to shreds in his eagerness, and the rabbit might not have been so complacent.
Sunday afternoon, even as weak sunlight fell through the unfurling leaves and reflected off the dirty bottom of the pool, sheets of rain descended from a passing cloud. I could see no rainbow, but the lake was a changing canvas of deep blue and pale sea green — blue where the clouds overshadowed the water and green where the sun illuminated it. I watched through the rain as the wind blew the clouds about and the lake’s color patterns shifted with them. I wished to be an artist so I could capture the odd and changing juxtaposition of color and mood. Nature and art became one.
Saturday J. spent $117 at the garden fair followed by another small fortune at Bonjour. After we had sated ourselves and I had reached my saturation point, I went to Treasure Island. The two unisex rooms, one with urinal, were re-labeled Men’s and Women’s a couple of months ago. When I arrived, four men were in line for theirs. One of them was telling me that the women’s room was empty when another man in line darted into it. The man talking to me said something to him about, “There’s a . . .,” but the darter was so quick he missed it. After my turn, the line had disappeared, but the moment I opened the door to come out, a man dashed passed me to get in. Old habits die hard. Perhaps if a feminine products dispenser were installed, the male of the species would find he could hold it just a bit longer.
J. suggested a walk, so I dragged him over to Wooded Island, where the leaves are thick enough now for the birds to elude me. Except, of course, the ubiquitous Canada geese. I did spot some yellow birds and what I think was a female red-winged blackbird carrying nesting materials in her bill. Nearby, a male trilled our ears off. We also saw some dodgy people. I told J. that, if we were mugged, we should start coughing and comment how we’re almost over swine flu. He said that we could point out, “At least there’s no blood in the phlegm,” and I added that we could say, “Yep, no blood, so the tuberculosis must be under control.” Hack hack.
I need to bring a pedometer on that walk. It’s not that long, but as a measure of my winter torpor, my legs and lower back protested mightily all evening. And that was on flat land. On the positive side, J’s blood glucose reading, post-rustic sandwich and lemon tart, was 102. He knows what that means — should he suggest walking again, I will drag him far no matter how much it hurts me.
Only a few more days until I will be on my way to Pennsylvania, my first vacation since Christmas. This may not sound like a long time to go without, but I need it — now if only I could relax and enjoy it.