Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More Dementia Blog; red eye ruminations

5 January 2010

I'm spending a very few days on the east coast to see my mother in her Alzheimer's home and to see her lawyer, her accountant. And so I go back, briefly, to dementia blogging.

--”You're inconsiderate,” I say to the man standing at the gate, who talked all night to his friends. “Well, you're a bitch, so who cares?” he responds. “As if some of us don't have to work today,” says the woman next to me.

--Sometime during the night I imagine asking them, the three drunken talkers, if they had mothers. Hours later, their talk turns to mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, the one whose little sister is so much wiser than he is, the other whose mother had so many husbands, or so I think I hear within these slurry sentences.

--The German man next to me lives with his family in China. He works in plastics. Traveled back and forth to Germany nine times one year, only seven this last. Was in Vegas for the new year, must be where he got his Harley jacket; said something about riding Harleys through town, flying a Cessa (he said Chessna) over the Grand Canyon with a pilot young enough to be the ground guide. After a call is put out for a doctor on the plane, he asks out loud what the next thing to happen in the movie of this flight would be. “Is there a pilot in the plane?” is his answer. He tells his wife the same joke in the gangway, in English.

--A white woman strides down the corridor between gates 73 and 74 at LAX, screaming into her cell phone. She is unwell, she yells at whoever is on the other end. A two year old Asian boy in bright red shirt approaches her. He is crying. They stop, look at each other, until the woman returns to her phone and another woman takes him by the hand. He has no idea where he's going, but knows his name is Wyden.

--After the self-help guru meets his Jennifer Anniston and sets free his cockatoo and leaves notes with big words on them at her florist shop; after he heals the sick and then himself, and after he tells them all about his own loss (car accident clips jump into the space of his speaking); after the self-help guru begins to look less like Ted Haggard and more like Brad Pitt, then we switch to muscular salmon fighting up a river, flying through the air, landing on stone or water and pushing their tails, hard, again, after the grizzly retreats from the wolves, a cut on his side, and after the little bears shake off the river water, then the big and the little bears take to the stream to hunt; after we've seen the eagle snatch a fish from the water's surface, the bear turns, slips, and misses, as Pujols might miss a fast ball down the center of the plate, except the bear's look is bemused, nearly helpless.

--Pathos of plane trips: the crying, the bitching (“I'M NOT in a BAD MOOD,”the woman says at the gate, as her husband feigns calm, making her look worse with every heavy syllable), the prospect of a father (long dead) at the other end or a living mother (long demented) or an unplotted circuit into the monumental city and not the quick stops for car and hotel and lawyer and accountant and dementia lock down and the trip that is remembered more by one because not by the other.

--She advised leaving out the politics. Liked the disjointedness, the distractions between, but not the politics. That politics passes, if too slowly. Pauses, perhaps, within decline's rough arc. Ark. The plane is one. When there's not a fundie in undies, or drunk to say “find a bar and I'll see you there,” or a child to frame the sentimental journey, the inwardness of outwardness or push of a private grief into the airport's corridor. Gate 73 is now for Kona. You want 75D, instead.

--The man next to me on the next flight was off to boot camp in South Carolina, and the young woman next to him. He pulls out a stack of small white tablets, takes them out of their plastic wrap, writes a letter to his wife. She's pregnant again; they have a 17 month old boy, and he's off to what the younger ones call “kindergarten.” He calls it a vacation for getting in shape. They'll yell at him on the other end. At Dulles he pulls out his phone and texts “Wife.”

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