August 27, 2012
Once in a blue moon, and there’s one in a few days so let’s pretend a serendipity, I can be spotted in the wild.
For the most part, let’s call it 90% of the time, I am homebound. There are factors: I’m sick a lot, I’m tired a lot, I’m grumpy a lot, I’m uninspired a lot—there’s a lot of things I am a lot that are not conducive to being socially interactive a lot.
At play in all of those factors is the fact that I cannot drive. I haven’t driven an automobile since December of last year and even then I was pushing my luck. After the event of late December/ early January*, it was made clear that I was not to drive until July—that is, six months distant from the rash of seizures I had at that time. July it is, then. Six months, no bigs. A few years back, I spent nearly as much time in bed with a pee-bottle and Garrison Keillor CDs.
Yes, July it was. As of right now, it’s February, 2013. And if you believe that date is set in anything more than mud then I’ve got some property in mud I’d like to sell you. I am stuck in this seemingly limitless Pez-dispenser of future dates because I continue to have seizures. Roughly once a month, some piddling to middling jolt will trigger that most obnoxious symptom of the betumored brain. (Think: charley-horse combined with a tongue in the power-outlet accompanied by a fearful disembodiment and an abjection in relation to your own will.)
Back to society, my sightings in the wild.
Jonathan-watchers have spotted me in libraries. These reports can be invalidated if the reporter claims to have seen me borrowing books. I borrow DVDs—movies to watch in my shameful surfeit of downtime. I buy books. Because I must have them. I must. I must hoard them and stack them and sit atop them like Scrooge McDuck sits atop his constantly avalanching mountain of gold coins.
[Sidebar: There is a used-book store in Birmingham, 2nd and Charles, that facilitates the ungodly Babel-tower of words now being erected beside my bed. They frequently run devil-in-the-desert sales like: buy five fiction books (fiction’s my addiction) and get five free. When you figure the books are already going for halfsies that’s quite a bargain for the unemployed gimp with a book fetish.]
Jonathan-watchers have spotted me in 2nd and Charles.
Jonathan-watchers have spotted me in grocery stores. These are my most frequent haunts. Short-distance trips. Carts that double as walkers for hop-a-longs and woozy-listers. An array of peoples who, with any luck, have babies I can make faces at.
Most recently, I was seen at a church function. Rarest sighting of all! A verifiable photo of which goes for thousands at auction.
In a way, all of this isolation suits me. My temperament is headquartered in melancholy. This may come as surprise to those who know me only in instances of hospitality or may be met with incredulity by those who have witnessed the conviviality of my bacchanal days; nonetheless, the essential aspect of my character is introversion. I have overcome my shyness by practice. Practicing conversation. Practicing argument. Practicing party-going. Practicing hugs.
For now, though, my predisposition is paying off. All of those times intentionally getting lost in the woods and making no haste to find my bearings, all of those times in a lamp-lit nook reading Dickens, all of these times in front of a white screen—just me and a pulsing cursor.
So, as it turns out, solitude is me in the wild, in my natural state; sadly for Jonathan-watchers, this state precludes many-a-fine sightings. They have to sneak up on me. Approach downwind. Build tree-stands and scatter books of fiction on the ground.