Subterfuge. What a great word. I don’t know what it means and I’m too lazy to look it up but I think it means like undermining or disrupting or disturbing or undoing something but anyway I think that’s how I feel. Subterfuged. If it’s not a working description of an emotion it should be.
So the note from Old Me really left me kinda hanging. I’m not really sure if he meant our time had passed and I was to move on without him or he’ll be back tomorrow with the new opportunities for wonder and laughs and all that happy horse-hockey he’s hawking. I guess it was sorta inconsiderate and selfish of New Me to just take off with all of Old Me’s digs and time and money and doing away with the dishwasher and the couch and all that. But hey, I’m the New Me after all, and seem to have been born with a certain blind spot for some of those “lovely intangibles” he claimed to cherish so. I mean, even when he was away there was still all his stuff here, so everywhere you looked you couldn’t help but be reminded of the Baron von Munchausen existence and desire to be one of everything and his endless and ever-growing list of “interests” or “hobbies” or “pursuits” or “callings” or whatever name you want to give to these evidentiary examples: bird books and binoculars, snowshoes and fishing gear, paintings and poetry, cameras and more cameras and guitars and more guitars and antique radios and more and more and more and more.
New Me tried. Made bold but brief attempts at replications of behaviors, going through motions, forced, acting, pretending- no, focused, driven, grounded- no, drifting, unmoored, grounded again but in a bad way. It was only his ghost whispering in my ear that drove me to keep the plates spinning then-I know- let’s put cups and saucers on the plates! The Tilt-A-Whirl again, only now made of china. Ceramic chaos. And I roll with it and this suits the New Me now because I like cleaning a lot more than I like plate spinning. In fact I never really liked plate spinning per se but, eh, it was a job, and with no formal education you take what you get, you know? I liked being good at plate spinning. I like being good at a lot of things. Good things. Like fatherhood and fishing and baking and chess and manners and kindness and charity and love. And guitar. I’m a really great guitarist, or so I’ve been told many times by both the Old and the New Me, but I digress again and you know how that can be.
So, you know, being in a waking-, walking-, working coma for five months isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You do a lot in a comatose state and when you come to it’s all done already and you’re a little startled but not displeased necessarily and you realize that Comatose Me was partly some kind of alter ego like comic book characters have like Bruce Wayne who is really Batman -ooh, hope I didn’t spoil anything for you there-and Comatose Me did a lot of things I wanted to do or intended to do or should have done or wished I had but just never did and right there is proof of the answer to the question why not? Well, actually there are several good reasons— Hold it! Let me cut you off right there Professor before we’re forced to listen to some crazy spiel- gosh that’s usually thought of as a Yiddish word I wonder if people know the word or I wonder if you can’t use Yiddish words in this weird world where people make a big deal out of the wrong things sometimes like- don’t get me started.
So I’m not sure how this is going to pan out between Old Me and New Me and the place Comatose Me has Shanghaied us all to. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad place. It’s new and you know change is never easy for people they say though sometimes it is really, if you want it, like having a baby, say for instance, which is a BIG change but we want it so much we just make all the space and accommodations we need to in our lives and it seems like the best thing ever, but you know sometimes new things take a little getting used to and also too don’t forget these changes aren’t anything we planned for so that makes a difference too. One thing that held on from Old Me was this compulsive drive to embrace the richness of life before me; these numbered and precious days in this world, my children, nature, wonder and art and discovery and growth and learning and love and laughter. Sunrises and comfy chairs and ethereal guests. Voices lifted in song. And good coffee. I hear Van Gogh: “I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”
I don’t know where it leads me some days and don’t care on others. There is a fading twilight shadow of a past behind me, and there is a glorious sunrise of a future before me. A great wide world and a sense of unbounded time fill me with ambitions and motivations and dreams and desires while simultaneously I am awash in a patient and peaceful stillness, a calmness and oneness with my world. It seems I feel for the first time in, well, perhaps the first time in my life as we know it that there is a sort of blank page, an unbroken trail, an empty stage. Space and time to contemplate and create, ponder and process, give and grow.
Old Me left behind a lot of little notepads. You know, those tiny spiral-bound memo pads that fit in a shirt pocket. Flashes of ideas, spontaneous spillings-forth of the heartfelt and hope-filled, observations of the ordinary catapulted into the mind and heart of the poet. Sentimental. Gibberish. Nonsense. Then a few hastily scribbled lines-
So, there you have it. There are no more “somedays” for us. Mind this lesson.
And wise Old Me has humbled brash New Me into silence.