Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How did I forget?

I missed my mother's birthday this year. I never forget my father's since he was born on April Fool's Day in 1907. My mother's birthday is in July. It was July 10, 1909. My Uncle Lee Pugh's birthday was July 9, 1910 and he'd always say, "Cleo and I are the same age for one day a year...."

I don't think I've ever plum forgot her birthday before.Well, she did die a few days after I turned 25, so it's been a long time. Missing it once probably isn't a reason to go to The Home.

And though I know within a day or two the date of my mother's death, I don't remember my father's death date at all. I am normally 'lost in linear time'. I can only place things around events--'that was before Josh was born' is one, and, 'that was after Mimi was born' is another. But putting a date certain on things is beyond me.

Did you ever read Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse Five ? The main character is Billy Pilgrim and Billy is 'unstuck in time'. For  him it means he may wake up at 25 or 55, depending on the day. I'm not that bad, but I simply don't have a good handle on the sequence of events in linear time besides "before Josh was born" and "after Mimi was born" and, when I'm really sharp I can put an event in the three years between their births--but never the exact year.

Bern thinks it's because I'm never really paying attention--which may be so. One of huge, enormous, gigantic differences between us is that she 'really focused" and I, to be truthful, am seldom so intent on anything that you can't interrupt me and I'll be pleasant and not upset.

When Bern cleans the house or works in the garden, those two especially, I have learned after nearly 45 years of marriage and nearly 50 years of knowing her, not to interrupt (or, if I do...and I sometimes do, after all this time...expect either 'the glare' or a mumbled response.

Her computer got truly taken over the other day and she missed dinner fretting over it. I found the sockeye salmon (the only kind she will eat) I grilled and the grilled vegetables and salad wrapped in saran and in the refrigerator after I ate. I cut a wide path around her during that evening.

But my car could blow up and if you asked me a question I'd be totally yours. I live in a state of constant interruption. And I don't mind. Kind of like it, truth be known.

I can be in the middle of something relatively important (writing a sermon or working on a class I'll be teaching or reading a book I particularly love) and I'm perfectly happy to walk away from it and do something else, less important.

Part of the difference is that I'm an extrovert and Bern is an introvert. I draw energy from interaction and she draws energy from being focused. But, another part is I'm probably on the ADO (is that it: 'attention deficit disorder'?) scale and she isn't. She's the one who gets to be 'normal'. And, truth is, I've never particularly longed for normalcy! And another part is, as a priest, I've always believed 'the interruptions were my ministry.' People always were saying, "I know you're busy..." and I'd say, "not at all. I've been waiting around for this interruption...."

But forgetting my mother's birthday this year and not remembering I forgot it for over a month--that makes me wish I was more focused.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.