Monday, February 26, 2007

Muck & Mire

I know it's winter and the weather is supposed to be bad, but this latest round of meteorlogical misery really blows.

We had some kind of snow and sleet combination hit the city last night and its turned the streets into a godawful mess, yet again.

I haven't been feeling well since last week, but I woke up this morning actually feeling worse than I did on Friday.

I was extremely pissed, since I had kept a low profile over the weekend to make sure my system was clear.

Apparently I've got some kind of Australian malady as it went away and then came back and whacked me upside the head. I felt cold, sick to my stomach, and useless. I thought about the fact that I'm turning 50 in May and I felt like a sick old man.
My solo performer class starts next week, I don't feel like going to the gym and that just makes me crankier. I felt like some mean old geezer who chases kids away from the front of his house.
I came out of the subway, hooked a left and walked up the street to Broadway. The snow-sleet-rain-crap combination turned the sidewalk into a mudslide and because it was so crowded at this time of the morning, I found myself walking single file up the street with Trinity Church on my left.

Look at this, I thought, schmucks in the muck.

Yes, I know, not the most positive frame of mind. But I was sick. I looked over to Trinity Church, saw the tomb stone for Robert Fulton, and wondered what the hell I was doing here.

The Academy Awards were on last night and I kept up my tradition of skipping the broadcast, but I had fancied myself a filmmaker and screenwriter at one time in my life and here I was several thousand light years away from my dream.
I remember studying about Robert Fulton in grade school and I liked the guy because we had the same name. There used to be a kid's show called Wonderama starring a guy named Sonny Fox and one time he tried some difficult shot on a pool table. The camera crew giggled as he fumbled with the cue stick and he glared at them.
"They laughed at Fulton," he said.

I wish Robert Fulton was around today. He was an artist and an engineer, a rare combination. If the guy can perfect the steamboat, I'm sure he could me straighten out my life.
But then he died at 49, the poor bastard, the same age as I am, so maybe I should seek my advice from someone closer to this mortal coil.

The rest of the day pretty much bit the big one and then I came home, feeling slightly better. Somebody named "Tina" contacted me via Yahoo's IM set-up for some live chat.

Ghastly Business

Yahoo has been getting on my nerves lately. The home page keeps giving me the temperature in Hong Kong, for God's sake. There's nothing better than to be freezing your tail off knowing people somewhere else are much more comfortable. Now I'm being contacted by total strangers.
I was busy working on my novel--several years in the making--but I thought I'd "listen" to Tina for a while.

It seems Tina is from Las Vegas, but is currently living in Nigeria. She's a nurse, she claims, who worked with some UN AIDS/HIV program and is pretty much a prisoner because her hotel has conviscated her passport over some monetary problem.

I know I'm stating the obvious here, but if you don't pay your bills you're bound to have monetary problems.

I asked Tina if her parents could help her out, but she told me--are you ready?--her parents "died in a ghastly car auto crash three years ago."

Did you notice that--ghastly auto crash? Just about every Nigerian bank transfer scam includes some wealthly individual with tons of money who died in a ghastly auto crash. What's going on over there? Do they know how to drive? Do they know any other adjectives besides "ghastly"?

When we got to the other ghastly word--"monetary"--I decided to bid Tina a good night. As a born New Yorker, I know when someone is about to put the arm on me. It starts with a sob story and it's supposed to end with me reaching for my checkbook. But not tonight, Tina.

I also got a call from Edith, my day's former night aide, and that cheered me up. Edith's a lovely Jamaican lady and she was calling to see how I was doing.

She had gotten a good look at my bachelor ways while she was taking care of my father so I guess she was checking to see if I hadn't starved to death or reverted to feasting on alley cats. No on both counts, but it was nice to hear from her nonetheless.

I guess it's hard letting go of the life we all knew when my father was alive. We were all working toward the same goal--my father's care--and when he died we had this tremendous gap in our lives.

I tell people it's like losing a job, but for Edith and Mary, my father's daytime aide, it's really true. They did lose a job.

Two of the network TV news shows did stories about taking care of your elderly parent and not too long ago I would have made a point of watching these programs. But now, what's the point?

I got a letter from the Alzheimer's Association inviting me to another meeting and again that strange, useless feeling came over me. I have no reason to go to such a meeting, God willing. But who I am if I'm not worrying about my father?

I went to one of their meetings a few years back and it was very helpful, especially when you heard from other people who were in the same boat.

One constant theme was the lack of help from other family members. No matter race, creed, or color they all said their relatives were not helping them take care of the aging parent. It's one disease that yet has to be cured.

I even managed to help one lady in the group when I mentioned my father got a home care aide through the Veterans Administration. She came up to me after the meeting and wanted to know about getting an aide for her husband, who was a World War II veteran like my dad.

I told her the little I knew and advised her to talk to the social worker at the VA hospital nearest to her home. She thanked me and said she would do that. I haven't seen her since and I can only she's doing well.

So I'm feeling a little better now and I'll be going to bed soon. I picked up some vitamins at the health food store on my aunt's recommendation, so we'll see if they can help me.

I stopped reading or listening to weather reports because I know it's going to be some version of lousy and the ghastly details don't really matter. But even if I have to walk through the mud, I'll try to rise above it anyway I can.

Robert Fulton would be proud of me.


Anonymous said...


You are not alone. I think everyone is getting crankier because of the weather. Looking at my calendar, I noticed that Daylight Savings Time is coming up in about 2 weeks (is it me or is DST coming early?), so maybe more sunlight will turn everybody's frown upside down. By the way, where do you get all those great photos from?

Hang in there and be well.

Rob K said...

Thanks a lot! Sometimes you really feel alone.

As for the photos, I just type what I'm looking for into Google images and start scrounging around.

I can't get the photos within the body of the story though--if anyone knows how, please tell me.

Take care

Chris said...
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