Archive for May, 2017

No Next of Kin

I’m feeling as low as I’ve felt in my life. Every thing is about dollars that I don’t have. Because I’m not mad at those whose conduct — misconduct is more correct — I have allowed to steer me to this, I’m not going to describe that misconduct, and I’m not naming anyone; not even with a pseudonym. I’m going to describe what I’m doing and how I feel.

A few days ago, I visited  the eye  doctor I’ve been checking in with every six months since my cataract surgery a few years ago.  He was not the surgeon; he’s the follow-up fellow. The reason I’ve been seeing him periodically — not the usual routine following cataract removal — is that an evolving  degradation of visual acuity was discovered soon after my first followup:  It’s a force that I can’t keep at bay with eye glasses, even eye glasses with  prescriptions updated periodically. The condition is macular degeneration.  Every year information about symptoms I experience (allergies, broken bones. medications) is updated. When I visited last week, I was asked to update my information, and I was doing okay until two  questions lit a fire in my  head and heart that simmers as I write this.  Question 1. “Who is to be notified in case of emergency?”  “That’s easy,” I said to the receptionist. “Notify the coroner!”
I blurted a bitter “Ha-ha!” and continued to question 2. Next of kin? I didn’t have a snappy response. I  wrote “none” on the blank space.

Probably my most unexpected short-fall at my age is that I  am close to no one. It’s been three years since I’ve had “friends” or acquaintances to my home for conversation, a meal and drinks. I’ve walked away from everyone who might have considered me a friend, people I truly considered my friends for years. Now I’m at arms’ length with everyone I know. I KNOW a LOT of PEOPLE.  Many of that “lot” are friendly.  We get along okay for the perhaps 30 seconds of exchange over exceptionally rare phone conversations and short exchanges of typed text over Facebook .  I have no romance. One must have money to sustain the possibility, though even rarer, the POSSIBILITY, of a kiss or better. Yet I fall for pretty faces and dreams almost as often as I used to, just to prove to myself that I’m not becoming a better recluse,  though it sure as hell SEEMS that I am.

Some days, I am curious about how people who have no next of kin are dealt with when they die.  My sister has distanced herself, vowed never to speak to me for the rest of her life because of “slights” I committed against her storybook-perfect family.  I came along 12 years after she was born. I don’t even know if she’s alive. I hope she is. I adored her. Always did until she “lowered the boom” on my our relationship. My younger brother died about five years ago.  We were starting to reconcile after decades of estrangement

A barely functioning “gutter denizen” who begs in the street for food and wine, who finally dies in a dark alley from congestive heart failure or liver poisoning is no further distant from a better fate (What boyhood dream might he have as he exhales a final sigh and does not INhale?) than I am as I live, simply to prove I do not want to die.

I have no interest in burial.  What happens to the body (my own) where I will cease to “be,” is of no  concern to me.

So for now I consider myself lucky to sustain my breathing. I’m engaging activities and tasks I want to engage and ignoring MANY tasks that cause me anguish. When a person in deep water starts behaving as though there is no tomorrow, odds are good that as he plays the blubbering iconoclast, he has given up swimming. He believes he will never reach the shore line. He will never transit from the storm-tossed sea — in which he treads water — to the firmament of resolution beneath his feet and sunshine to warm his future.

“What’s the use of worrying?
What’s the use of scurrying?
What’s the use of anything?””

Live long . . . . . . and proper



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