Monday, April 15, 2013

A Thirty-Pound Learning Curve

Loss comes in all sizes, shapes and varieties.  It arrives when you least expect it, when you have a mind filled with scattered details, and in the ironic way of coming even though you've prepared for it and thought to take preventative steps.

Something you once had as a possession, implement, friend, lover, idea is now gone.  You feel the sting of the missed subject, trying to remember where you were last in contact with it, wondering how you became separated from it,

A week or so ago, your keys went missing, leaving you in your frustration to leave a note for the maid.  Mis llaves son perdidos.  Yeah, well.  When you returned home, there they were.  Aqui estan.  A few days before that, going to the loo at Carl's Jr. cost you the half hamburger sandwich you'd thought to share with Sally, but the loss worked out when you simply ordered another, which was received with the innocence of one who'd not noticed the loss.

You've lost two close friends this year, which has proven irreparable in the sense of you not being able to accomplish retrieval by writing notes or ordering a new hamburger.  Rather, you cope with the losses by living with them, recognizing how the differences between you are in fact the things you miss most, how the differences were the things that cast back light on the friendships,  They've been gone long enough that when you hear someone talking about them, the descriptions don't sound anything at all like your absent friends, at which point you're reminded how we all see a person, place, thing, or the like back lit by our own perspective.

A thing you see or speak to or use every day is another kind of loss, its frequency of contact creating more of a constant sense of static electricity between you.  How do you, for instance, stop being shocked by an electric eel?  Answer:  Let go of it.  Having let go, you are aware of the loss of being shocked or, on a more probable basis, the sound of a particular voice or the energetic vibration of a particular personality.

Sometimes, a loss weighs in at about thirty pounds, a fact noted each time you take the subject to the vet, where she is weighed in, her weight recorded down to the tenth of a pound.  If she falls too much under thirty, Bonnie, the vet, chides you before suggesting such delicacies as salmon-flavored cream cheese or your own discovery of room temperature Brie cheese.

In your time, you've lost fountain pens, pocket knives, books, reading glasses, sunglasses, notebooks, and in one awful misadventure, a week's unemployment insurance cash, to say nothing of romantic relationships gone astray, a remarkable cat named Sam, a cantankerous blue-tick hound named Edward, teaching appointments, jobs, teeth, cancerous tissue, and of course a wife.  Although in many ways you remind yourself of the you in your early twenties and thirties, you have lost some of the outward appearances of those ages, but it is always a cheer when you are spoken of as not acting your age.

At one time in your life--you're no longer sure when--you lost your innocence although it may be said of you right now that some of your behavior reflects naivete.  You've lost nearly all the things possible for a person of your age to have lost.  Of course with this comes the gain of perspective, the kind of perspective you discuss at some length, sometimes continuing the conversation over a period of days.  

You may have been set in your ways in earlier years but now, through this informed discourse some persons foolishly call maturity, you become set in expectations,  You know who to expect all the nourishing expectations from and how, quite often, the price of admission to the discussions is a Super Deluxe Torpedo from the Italian Grocery on De la Guerra Street, cut in half, then transported to Orphet or Hale Park.  The rhetoric and exchanges must be kept at a suitable level if there is to be a growing connection between the involved parties.

At the moment, loss weighs thirty pounds.  Loss answered to the name Sally if she were of a mind.  Sometimes she required a "Hey, you."  In her early and mid years, she loved to run. her slim body seeming to hug the ground and yet provide a rippling effect.  Some of your fondest visions of her running were when she saw you at a great distance, recognized you, and came streaking toward you, every bit as much mirth as spittle seeming to fly from her lips.  The notion of someone so obviously thrilled to see you often seems the most recognition you could ever want.  Who else but a thirty-pound package of control freak herd dog, rushing to you could so validate your presence and importance.

When the thirty-pound juggernaut could no longer run so swiftly or turn with such sinuous eclat, you began offering to help with a hand up a stair or two or a trip down a driveway, but even then you were made to feel somehow she was allowing you to do this out of some noblesse oblige, thus the care and concern passing freely back and forth on both sides of the equal sign.  A thirty-pound juggernaut, whatever her place in the equation, kept up the balance.

You've heard it said--you may well be the one who said it--that learning comes from loss and how we respond to it.

Your thirty-pound learning curve began somewhere in November of 1997.  The rerun season has begun.

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