Takes No Vacation: A Midsummer Rant about Ailing Loved Ones
KJ Hannah Greenberg
Gravity takes no vacation on
weekdays nor does it hold only the worst fire ants hostage. Rather, akin to
earthly elluvium, it seems to be constituted by built up natural deposits, by
the frequent pushing and pulling functions of highly caustic happenstance. Sedateness’
“sediments,” thus, frequently result in unfounded miracles.
More specifically, people cling.
Life cycle events like births, weddings, and funerals buoy such resultant scrambling,
i.e. encourage small groups to struggle for a semblance of moral confidence,
or, in homage to specters of residual norms, to affix new connections to fresh
losses. That is, in between mundanities, we tend to create propaedeutical rites
in order to bolster our turpitudes. Perhaps, it is actually the case that we would
seek each other more during wee hours, at times when we are most in need of a bath,
some foot powder, or toothpaste, to build memories that could later be propped
up by eye sand and body odor, if we didn’t have the fallback of “special life
episodes” upon which to rely.
That said, even without sunglasses,
daybreak gazing can end up being deeply meaningfully. While “forever” might
seem like a long time, “waiting for sunrise” can feel, occasionally, more protracted.
In particular, when traveling
life’s alleged counties, more precisely, when touring its nether regions, especially
those areas mapped out by intensive care units or by elementary school
pageants, all of us get transformed into accidental witnesses. It seems that even
as few persons sing encomia of such passages, many admit to taking pleasure in
their texture; delight, strangely, in their nights and days of counting minutes
of regular respiration or of counting stitches for handmade costumes. Otherwise,
we become quickly wearied.
Sagacious sorts, in fairness,
might, alternatively, appreciate that when a loved one is slipping in and out
of a coma, when smog levels insist on rising, when unplanned pregnancies abound
among menopausal women, and when teenagers struggle to pass Algebra II, despite
notes passed back and forth on cell phones, that promotions and paychecks loose
their relevance. Sure, some smarty pants proffer that harvests’ bounties are
capable of displacing social cages, especially those of agrarian communities that
yield not only buckwheat but also loosely gathered prayers, but the greater
part of the population accepts that what’s important is a first grader remember
ten words during an assembly or a coronary care patient’s ability to continue
to wear slippers.
In brief, whereas joy can be feted by rural air, especially in locales with social
standards akin to those of European mountain villages, the stuff of creation is
what continues to awe. The First Wave of feminists, invigorated on select
hilltops, bought the rights to snigger at the Third Wave, many of whom merely use
Photoshops to release the texture of mounds and vales. What’s more, that
younger generation gets stymied, all rhetorically tongue-tied, when faced with
a bedpan or a catheter and likely knows nothing about sewing on sequins to
Contemporary kids, the ones who
refuse to appreciate that print was in vogue long before the convergent media
took over, have little sentiment for nurses’ stations or for well-muscled
orderlies. Those youngsters purely carp
that there’s no stimuli in hospital visitors’ lounges beyond the Game boys,
iPods and other electronics they’ve lugged along. Further, those initiates
deign to flaunt their verbs at us oldsters such that our catachreses fail to penetrate
them. In the world of adolescents, life is smooth moving as long as bytes can
be downloaded. It’s immaterial, to them, that they substitute icons for proper
nouns or exchange media heroes for the value of progenitors.
We grown ups can call and
respond until all manners of doctors have pulled sheets over corpses, until a
flat line has been constant for hours, or until we’re overwhelmed with funeral
arrangements. After all, children are as
vulnerable to acculturation as we are; gravity does not take vacation during
midlife or on weekdays.