Weight of the World
photo collage C. Ascher
I’m experiencing some difficulties due to a temporary problem with structural integrity. It’s making me out-of-character jumpy. I have one cartilage-less knee that needs replacing, another feeling abused and acting up in solidarity, and a shoulder that wants to freeze because it resents the extra workload. They conspire to keep me up at night, sometimes solo, taking turns to yell and scream, sometimes throwing temper tantrums all together. Not one is the forgiving kind; not one accepts to be eased with pills, massages, hot water bottles or snacks.
Last night was the worst. I spent long, tortuous hours failing in my attempts to find a position that might please even one of the complainants. I ended up pacing the halls, moving from couch to chair to couch, standing at the windows staring out into the darkness, envious of all those people sleeping in the still, quiet houses I saw.
As if all that were not bad enough, there was this bird, see. I love birds. This one sat somewhere right near my house, seemingly just outside my window. A small bird, I think, and it chirped. It didn’t sing, I swear it was tone deaf. It chirped, chirp, chirp, chirp, pause, chirp, chirp, chirp, pause chirp, chirp, no pause chirrrrp, chirp, chirp, chirp, pause … It didn’t do this at sunrise. It didn’t do this while other birds were around to answer it. It didn’t do this because it stood any chance at all of attracting a mate. No. It began sometime around three am and continued manically on and on until I imagined grabbing an elephant gun and going to find it.
Where are cats when you need them?
It must have sensed my mood, because just as, in desperation, I stuffed my ears with enough bathroom paper to look like a rabbit, it stopped. I didn’t believe it at first. I was sure it was part of a diabolical plot to drive me to distraction. With trepidation, I pulled out the big plugs of paper. Silence It as 4:15 am. If it hadn’t been for my joints I might have gotten some sleep.
There is nothing for it but to turn the whole thing into some kind of artwork. I just have to be able to think. And my joints have to let me.