HAS IT BEEN ONLY TWO MONTHS?
It seems much longer since I stopped writing regularly for this blog. During that time, I've been wrestling pretty actively--and yes, still--with the roles of electronic and print media in my life. I've found my online subscriptions a waste (I don't read them) and so will be switching back to print. A much bigger development is my sudden enthusiasm for fiction--novels and short stories both.
What else? My decision to join MoMA, despite my disgust at its $20 general admission fee policy; and, more generally, my determination to follow museum and gallery shows more actively this year. My enthusiasm for politics (particularly electoral politics) has waned, leaving more space, mainly for reading, but also for writing.
ON MY SIDE ON THE SIDEWALK
That one was more serious.
For several moments after I fell--who can say how many?--I lay where the bike had crashed, not quite believing what had happened and trying to figure out what came next.
I was in shock, moaning, even slightly hysterical. (And part of me, I'll admit, was watching all this as a scene from Grade B black-and-white movie with a musical score by Bronislaw Kaper.)
Once I reached home two blocks away, Ellen gave me a sedative to calm me down and let me rest. I was bleeding in several places and didn't clean the wounds until later, apparently after an infection had already begun to develop. I couldn't move my right arm in an upward direction for months. My shoulder didn't feel like itself for nearly a year afterwards.
WHAT A SCHMUCK.What I took away from that experience was the importance of disinfecting wounds immediately--and the realization that I had been a complete and total schmuck. I had endangered my life with my thoughtlessness. What cyclist gets on a bike and pedals downhill without knowing where the hand brakes are?
But this time was different. I was walking down street in West Brighton on a bright, sunny day, on my way home by my accustomed route through Snug Harbor. I had a lightweight backpack slung over my shoulder. I was even wearing my Mephisto walking shoes.
Should I have been looking more closely at the sidewalk beneath my feet? Possibly. If I had been, I might have noticed the corner of a cement block, sticking up at an angle above grade. But seeing more and more men of my age and older developing forward-thrust necks and rounded backs, I try to remember to keep my head high, my shoulders down and my butt tucked. Now I will have to become more aware of the need to look down and ahead at regular intervals as well.
I will have to, as we used to say, raise my consciousness. But what shall I be more conscious of? The physical diminishment and limitations of my soon-to-be 67-year-old body? And what will I learn? To be more careful and cautious, to take fewer risks? Will I conclude that this is the other side of a life's experience--that you gain wisdom and skill, but that time is winding down?