Calling The Universe

My son, since he quit his Amazon warehouse job nearly a year ago (godawful place to work), has gained a few pounds (all the walking made him slender and fit), so he rations his Dr. Pepper, his beverage of choice. It’s an adult decision, and he schedules the days when he’ll have a liter. Today was the day.

And I’m really working on sleeping better, which is a result of my mood brightening, which is a result of JUST SEEING PEOPLE. To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, we’re all just so lonely (it was his theory that this is why people join religious communities. He had a point). I spend my days with this 28-year-old autism-spectrum young adult, and often we have a great time together, but the age difference is starting to show, along with family dynamics. He’s a remarkably intelligent man, probably in the top 2%, but his view of social interaction is skewed and sometimes I get cranky.

So when my wife woke me this morning (it was nearly 7am, a miracle) to drive her to the bus stop, I had only a few minutes to put my shoes on, leave the sweat pants, slap on a heavy coat, and drive her through the breezes and chilly temps the few blocks to the bus stop. No coffee yet, not really awake, and John asked me to stop and pick up a Dr. Pepper for him.

I snapped at him, “How?” By which I mean, there’s not a guy standing on a corner with Dr. Pepper, so I can lean out the window and grab one. Just because I’m the car wouldn’t mean I’d not have to negotiate the Starbucks traffic around the 7-11 and I just didn’t want to do it. He was confused but understood, and later on he walked up to the convenience store, and we’re on good terms now.

But it’s a struggle, and the clock keeps ticking. I have no doubt that my son will be on my side for the rest of my life, concerned always, the adult son-aging father dynamic with some twists. I’d really like him to get busy, get his education and a good job that he’ll be great at. Needs to take classes and get certified, and he’s scared and procrastinating. All shall be well.

 Left to right: 3-year-old John, helping the old guy sing in choir (could that hymnal get closer to my aging eyes?), and today.

Left to right: 3-year-old John, helping the old guy sing in choir (could that hymnal get closer to my aging eyes?), and today.

This has become a low-interest year in football, which is fine with me. I have a very superficial relationship with local sports teams—I love the Mariners, but they haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, so it’s always about the love of the game and not the championship.

The Seahawks, on the other hand, are rebuilding and not looking at a stellar season, something that’s been dropping since 2015 but still keeping their hands in the race, and I suspect they’re getting better. Got a triple-threat running game, defense is getting really good, offensive line is superb for the most part. The bench is deep, coaching top-notch. I think it’s likely they’ll end up 8-8 or at best 10-6, but I could be surprised. They could end up 11-5; not likely but that would be fun.

Anyway, it’s nice to take a break, keep an eye on the scores, rewatch a game after I know the outcome. It feels like one less thing to get anxious about.

My adventures with the scale continue. I was explaining to John this morning how screwy it is, how a simple change in eating habits can turn this simple piece of equipment into a lying piece of shit. I weighed 154.7 pounds on 10/31; I weighed 10 pounds heavier about 10 days later, which I proudly announced to my wife, along with my knowledge that this would disappear. 157 today, the result of visiting the bathroom 5-6 times a day for the past two days. Stuff a lot of food in there, it has weight, it has water weight, and it’ll be slide off quickly without days on end of eating big time. And I guess I can’t keep that up.

But half a pound up is a good sign. Again, just trying not to be frail.

My friend John, a fellow blogger I’ve come to know over the past year, has developed a serious (but hopeful) cancer diagnosis. He’s going in for surgery next week, and he’s been clear and articulate about his fears. It’s an optimistic situation, although he worried about changes that might happen. Still, I have less fear about my friend than just concern for his struggles over the next few months, dealing with pain and recovery. His fears about being incapacitated in certain ways. Concerns about his wife.

I love all of this, as serious as it is, because it’s life and going to happen. Has already happened to me, at least by proxy. A cough lingers, a chest x-ray shows a spot, a PET scan clarifies, oncologists step into the picture, and suddenly life changes at 65 and a nice retirement.

Really, though, I was moved last night. I’m not a praying guy. Lots of reasons for that, and it’s more complicated. I think a lot of positive thoughts. I say corporate prayers, and I take them seriously. I just rarely do the intercessory prayers, because I don’t see how that works. Not that there’s not some logic in religious faith, but it really makes no sense. Too many moving parts. It’s personal.

But I was at a meeting last night, and we took a moment of silence, broken by whispered names of people who are on our minds. I murmured, “John,” even though (assuming anyone heard me) I’m sure no one knew whom I was talking about (since it’s my son’s name, and there are a couple of other Johns).

It just made me feel proactive. I doubt that me whispering a name out into the universe has any effect at all, but honestly I don’t know. I just felt sort of charmed, and connected. I’ve never met this man, know him only through his writing, but 2200 miles away I whispered his name, because I was thinking about him, and somehow I hold this fantasy that he felt that.

Prayer, though, good wishes, hope. Appreciation, affection, understanding. There may be more to this humanity thing than I thought.

Chuck SigarsComment