I've not missed a lot of days since I began Dawn Reader back on January 6, 2012 (link to that first post). The reasons I have missed haven't been all that varied or unusual: illness, absence from home ("on the road again"), the unexpected oddity or complication or appointment.
There have been a few days, though, when I just didn't feel like it. And yesterday was one of those. For one thing--as some followers know--I'd just had some unhappy medical news: more ominous than devastating--just a little hint, a little reminder (as if I needed one) that I'm mortal. And that I probably know the name of my killer.
Oddly, there's a kind of comfort in that knowledge. Billy the Kid knew it was probably going to be Pat Garrett who got him (and did). Dumb example, I know, but Billy has been in my life for a while. Might as well let him get a word in here and there.
Anyway, I had one of those mornings yesterday when I didn't even want to get out of bed. I've had such days before. I lie there, listening to the voice that's telling me: If you just stay here, you'll be all right. Nothing will happen to you.
I've heard this voice before, and I generally fight to ignore it. And get up.
As I did yesterday. I found my way to the coffee shop, read my daily (self-imposed) 100-pg. quota of reading for Kirkus Reviews. Of course, it would be a grim book this time. I can't tell you what it is (ain't allowed), but I can say that it's a memoir that deals with some of the darkest days of the twentieth century--with that vast capacity of the human to be inhuman. Not the best of things to be reading on a day I'm in a battle with the Dark Demon. (I kind of like how his initials are the same as mine.)
By the time I got home (9:30-ish) the DD had found a pitch and modulation and message that I liked, and I went into our bedroom, closed the door, lights off, lay down, pulled a blanket over me, and went to "sleep" in the dreary, drippy darkness that was our weather yesterday.
Joyce, who'd gone to the Hudson Library to do some more research on John Brown, got home a little after 12 and came in to see what was what. I assured her I was all right but wanted to stay right where I was. She, of course, knew immediately what was happening.
And so I stayed supine for another couple of hours. I got up about 3, ate a little something, but by 3:45 the DD was back for some more suggestions--all involving bed.
To which I returned for about two hours more, floating the while on something fetid that resembled sleep. But was not.
Then I had to get up. We'd made arrangements long ago to have supper with an old Hiram College classmate, and he showed up, ebullient as ever at 6:15, and we drove off to Stow to get some Thai food.
The lively conversation eventually drowned out the whispers of the DD in my ear, and we returned to our house for more laughs and memories and complaints about What Is.
This morning, the DD was back. Feeling a little hurt. Ignored. But even though I wanted to listen, I couldn't. Some people were coming to work in and on the house. And I had a Kirkus date over at Open Door Coffee Co. Which I kept.
Home about 10. The painters/carpenters were still here, and I again resisted the earnest suggestions the DD was whispering.
I will work on this blog. Have lunch with Joyce. Bike to Starbucks and read and write some more. Head out to the health club to punish myself for eating too much last evening. Have supper with Joyce. And tonight--we're off to a campaign event for our son, who is running for city council down in Green, Ohio.
A great cliche declares itself: One Day at a Time.
But on days like yesterday--and this morning--it's more like One Hour at a Time. Or Minute.
I know this sounds whiney. (And I smile as I recall a line from one of the children's records I listened to a thousand times in my boyhood, Manners Can Be Fun ("He's a whiney who bores people so!"). (Who says we didn't have awesome childhood entertainment in the late 1940s?)
I know I have very, very little to complain about in this life. Probably nothing, really. I've been fortunate in just about every way it's possible to be fortunate. Health, family, education, marriage, etc.
I did not write this to elicit sympathy. In fact, I'd be quite happy with no responses whatsoever. I wrote it for the same reason I write most things: To figure out what I really think. And writing--for me--helps. A lot.
Still, the Old DD hovers near my shoulder. He doesn't care about anything but right now, and I know, if I allow myself to listen, he will say just the right thing in just the right way. And I will be heading upstairs for an afternoon of darkness.