April 27, 2004

Fragile Mysteries

When I moved back to Los Angeles I discovered Joe Frank was no longer on the radio here. Now I know why.

I'm trying to get beyond this sadness, trying to keep busy. I attend concerts and art openings and the spontaneous coming together of flash mobs from online chat rooms. Last week I attended a singles dinner for professionals over 40 given at a trendy restaurant in Brentwood. I've tried male bonding. I've beaten a drum in the woods with middle-aged, balding men and learned that I might be gay. Certainly everyone else was.

I met a nurse through Match.com. Last night she said, "I spend most of my time drawing blood... emptying bedpans... changing dressings... wiping away feces and with a sponge absorbing pus and mucous—not to mention vomit on the sheets that soaks through to the mattress."

"I can't imagine how you do it," I said.

"I like it. I enjoy it. It's very satisfying work. And living in a world of illness and death focuses you on what's really important in life. Your perspective changes. There are so many things that annoy us. Where are my car keys? Am I late with my mortgage payment? Is my boyfriend being abusive? Did that old woman just cut in line in front of me? And I realize these trivial inconveniences of everyday life are a privilege. I welcome them. I say to myself: Ah, the car won't start. Thank God that's my problem, when compared to poor Mr. Jones, a sheet drawn over his bloodless face. And what's left of him now? His stamp collection, his books on African violets, the rugs he bought on vacation in Morocco, the suits he paid so much to have custom tailored in Italy."

"So the present moment is what really matters," I said.

"Yes, our lives are fragile mysteries and the future is unknowable. And every one of us will have to face that portal into nothingness."

She got out of bed, walked over to the window and looked out. "Ahh. Los Angeles at night. It's like being inside the body of a great vibrant beast."

"I think I know what you mean," I said.

Posted by thom at April 27, 2004 12:22 AM

its good to be alive, and summer rain is an amasing thing

Posted by: stephie at April 29, 2004 07:22 AM
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