April 26, 2005

You can talk in your sleep, if you can sleep

The "slut and a gentleman" I met at my friend's band gig and whom I don't know well recently said: "I think you and Bunny make a good couple because you both seem very independent, self-sufficient and easy to please. (These are good traits.)"

Very independent. Hmmm. Learned behavior? Need I say my mom did walk home from the hospital? I'm not sure it occurred to the doctor to tell her not to. Don't ask, don't tell was the premise with which my mother hit the sidewalk. I, on the other hand, wonder about a hospital that discharges even ambulatory patients with a wave as they walk out the door. (Upon further reflection, I don't wonder: every time I have been an ER patient, I have come and go of my own accord, except for the time I fell into the subway stairs and someone called 911 for the EMTs.)

After my one hospital stay, which I don't remember very well, as I was pumped full of barbituates for five days, some hospital employee wheeled me to the door to leave. (My mom then had to prop me up against a lamp post so she could hail a cab, since I wasn't standing of my own volition.) It hadn't occurred to me to ask anyone to come with me to the hospital initially, though my housekeeper insisted on accompanying me.

Bunny? Independent? Try, catered to: he gets three meals a day, plus hay, all purchased and delivered by me. The off-White Rabbit is of the sub-specialty "house," meaning that he plays Eloise every night of the week and doesn't have a blessed clue how lucky he is.

Self-sufficient? Somehow I am reminded of the zen koan, what is the sound of one hand clapping? Years ago I stopped screaming with migraine pain when I learned to live alone and realized that the only person to dispense meds to me was, well, me. This has not stopped me from more nights of hysteria than I can count, but the principle remains the same.

My mother has nightmares. When we travel together, I hear her scream -- if I am not sound asleep myself and talking to whichever wall is paying attention.

Easy to please? I am of an age when I have stopped asking so much of people, where I know the line between what I may want and what they may offer may not coincide. It took years to accept that just because I was asking for more than I could receive didn't mean I was a bad person for asking. I did, however, have to adjust my expectations.

I have had to rethink radically my brother's place in my life, to the point where I'm not quite as surprised as I once would have been that he didn't so much as send my mother flowers for her surgery. Yes, we can have a family reunion in the back of a taxi, and it doesn't need to be a minivan. I have since spoken to him, and it looks like I'll have Thanksgiving with him and his family. What a concept.

What I have learned, I fear, is that love, oftentimes, is not enough. What I have yet to learn is, what is. In any event, I talk in my sleep, whether there is anyone there to tell me what I said, or not.

1 Comments:

Blogger the dot said...

I GUESS WE ALL LEARN TO EXPECT SO LITTLE FROM OUR LOVED ONES. MY BROTHER WOULDN'T PEE ON ME IF I WAS ON FIRE, BUT BOY I'D BETTER BE THERE WHEN HE NEEDS ME, WHEN DID LIFE CHANGE AND PEOPLE BECOME SO SELFISH? LOVE THE BLOG, WONDERFUL TALENT!

9:11 PM  

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