I thought I would be embarrassed the other day. I was wheeling around downtown Berkeley and suddenly and inexplicably I started to cry and I was seriously considering being embarrassed, but Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility has nothing on a wheelchair. I swear, it’s amazing how nobody notices you if you’re a person alone in a wheelchair. So I just relaxed and let myself cry. It was a nice feeling.
One of the things that makes me luckier than most people is that I have a shitty memory for certain things. Like today, I couldn’t get my jeans button unbuttoned, and I was alone and I didn’t know how I was going to get my pants off, and I was trying to remember if I was ever able to use my left hand to unbutton my jeans, like ever in my life. And I could not visualize unbuttoning my jeans one-handed. I don’t know if that means that people don’t unbutton their jeans left-handed, or if I’ve just forgotten how to do these things so thoroughly. There are all kinds of things that I’ve forgotten, as though I was never able to do them, and I think that’s really a lucky thing. I don’t spend a lot of time bemoaning things that I’ve lost. OK, I spend a little time, but not that much.
On another note: I’m not one to brag, but I can now wipe my own ass. Just saying.
Poor Moira was typing blogs for me. She is so genteel and I am…not. I showed her my business card which I ordered to replace the one that said : Carla Zilbersmith – Good Singer. It made me too sad to give that one out so I got some saying: Carla Zilbersmith - Dying Woman. Moira who is far subtler than I said, “It should say Carla Zilbersmith – Femme Fatale.” Of course it should. That’s better on so many levels.
Moira is from another era. She arrived here in a time machine and I can only imagine that she switched places with some hapless soul born in 1962 who is stuck in the early 1900s, wondering when Twitter will be invented, why no one but Jack the Ripper will fuck her and what people have against the terms “douche bag” and “cock block.” Meanwhile, Moira wanders around the newsroom of her paper, armed only with a parasol, exclaiming “oh my” (and I’m pretty sure I heard a “my word”) while she wonders why her colleagues call her “dainty.”
I went to my friend Alison’s wedding last weekend, and she was a radiant and beautiful bride. Her hair looked great, her dress looked lovely, and I said a silent prayer of thanks to the gods that she heeded my advice and gotten a good bra, because it really made all the difference in the world to the dress. She has some big, beautiful girls and they deserve to be treated right! Her now-husband’s quiet, tender devotion to Alison made me cry. It was really lovely. [If you're reading this blog a second time, I have deleted an amusing story, in deference to a dear friend of mine. I don't regret telling the story, because that's what I do, but my friendship with this lovely woman is more important.]
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to handle staying for the wedding reception. I marvel at the fact that I, former wild woman/extrovert/party animal/big crowd lover, am almost paralyzed with anxiety when I’m in a big crowd. It becomes almost impossible to breathe. I start shaking. It’s crazy. But that’s how it is. And I have not got a bad enough memory to remember being the person that reveled in parties.
I was telling Barbara today that words have defined me -- either the written word or the spoken word -- for my entire life, and words are slowly being taken away from me. First I couldn’t act out words, then I couldn’t sing them. It’s harder and harder to type them, and late in the afternoon, difficult for people to understand me when I speak them. But I can still listen to them. And I’m hoping that I can reshape the way that I’m friends with people, so that they can feel comfortable just offering me their words or reading the words of others to me and not feel weird if I don’t reciprocate. Maybe I’ve talked so much in my lifetime that I used up all my words. (Moira, who is typing this, just said to me, “You don’t talk as much as some people.” Which could be interpreted as “You don’t smell as bad as some people.” OK. I concede that while I don’t hold the land speed record for talking, I love to talk. A whole fucking lot.)
I wonder if the reason I was crying as I wheeled around Berkeley was that I saw all the college students and I saw all the school supplies being sold, and I was reminded that Mac will be leaving soon. I fucking adore him. I know every parent goes through this, or, you know, most parents go through this (some parents probably wish they could go through this when their 40-year-old kids don’t move out, you know who you are, 40 yr old slacker.). But this feels a little more permanent. Mac and I will have our occasional weekends together and maybe a summer together, but not enough.
At least I will have left him lots and lots of words.