Home Is The Hunter
And happy spring to you and yours.
It’s been spring for a while. Certainly this week. And I wrote a column about spring, I think, eventually getting there. Columns are weird these days, but really so is any writing. I’m suddenly, after all these years (nearly 18), questioning myself.
Not my ability to write a sentence that will get your attention or make you smile. Not everyone reacts the same way, but generally I don’t feel as though any skill got amputated (except for typo avoidance, and that’s my eyesight anyway).
Not subject matter, though nothing makes me ready to hang up my local, community, Arlen Spectator version of journalistic cleats than realizing I’ve got nothing left to say. I could rail against Donald Trump every single week and probably do OK, get lots of reaction, and possibly get a whole lot more attention if I were good enough at it. But that job is filled adequately by more than adequate writers, and I’ve got nothing to add.
I don’t want to focus on local politics either, since I’m only vaguely local. People who read me somehow assume I’m connected to their community; I am, too, but I don’t live next door. I can’t write about the concerns of Edmonds while the concerns of Mill Valley or Edmonds or Everett or Montlake Terrace or Shoreline or wherever this extends are out there, in need of some helpful analysis and jokes.
Since I long ago lost any fellow political/social commentators at these newspapers, it’s just me and my stuff now, trying my best to conjure up my version of Erma Bombeck.
None of these are questions. I may just up and resign one day. I may take months to consider. It could be out of my hands. So many things, no answers.
I don’t actually mind being the old guy who rambles on for the amusement of other olds. I’ve read a few of those over the years in newspapers, people who didn’t know when to stop, or didn’t care. They weren’t train wrecks, just fender benders, and eventually people die anyway.
But I’ve never been in this place before, not really. I’ve been dealing with a fascinating story for a month, and even though I’ve touched on aspects (e.g., the high-tech ER visit) I’ve mostly stayed out of the details. Not even in this space have I really got into it, but maybe more than I should have, too. I’m pretty aware of the reasons for medical privacy, along with the ethics. It’s a line I don’t even want to get near.
Here’s how it’s changed, how my life has changed, how everything has changed in the past month: For the past 18 months, since he moved in summer before last, I haven’t spoken to my buddy here for more than a minute at a time. He keeps to himself and it’s awkward, moving in with your friend and his family. He tries to stay out of the way and live his life, the way he has for the past 50 years or so.
Now I bring him food every day. It’s possible I’ll be administering some medications. I’m certainly dealing with home health people and rehab people and medical people, all the time. Because I was there and willing, I became de facto representative for this man and his health.
Don’t go digging for resentment, because you won’t find it. Confusion and concern, absolutely. But this was an easy call. And if you think I stand out for stepping up, by being supportive to someone who has no one else within several thousand miles, then you don’t know my people. This is an old story among the groups I travel in. Nothing to see here.
But today will start something new. I’m dreading it in many ways, and mostly because I don’t know what will happen. This is a cancer patient now. Maybe the treatment will be mild, maybe not, but until further notice he’ll be under my roof. Maybe it’ll just be practice for the inevitable.