Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Getaway

The word "escape" has been regularly creeping into my vocabulary lately. Escape from what?  How about what not. Work is an escape from home (and vice versa). The verisimilitude of  Facebook is often an escape from reality in general. And then I am brought back to earth by the fact that there simply is no escape  from the indeterminate prison term that is life (don't worry, that's me talking while on an anti-depressant).

But last week, we went on vacation: my parents very generously shipped themselves, my family, as well as my brother and sisters' families to Club Med Punta Cana . The word "vacation" itself implies escape: We vacated our "real"  lives in deference to some facsimile of our lives which did not include responsibilities as an employee (I was very good and did not check work email once), homeowners (my sister-in-law, thankfully, housesat and watched over the cats and fish);  and to a certain extent as parents (most days, the kids were in "Mini Club Med" camp, including circus school). And it was an all-inclusive resort, which meant that over-indulgent meals (white chocolate bread, yum!)were generally a matter of a walk ( or golf cart ride) to one of two restaurants and drinks were delivered to us pool or beach side ( have you ever had a conga, virgin or otherwise? Delicious.). as much as I reveled in it, I find the idea of all-inclusiveness amusingly overambitious (it puts me in mind of the old joke, "What did Buddha say to the hot dog vendor? [Punchline: "Make me one with everything."]) So that pretty much stripped us of our entrenched roles and, hopefully, left behind the husk of our most genuine selves. I know I was still identified by my cane and my leg brace (once again wishing for a T-shirt that says, "It's not my leg;  it's my brain."). Twice, Club Med staff ran down the beach to the sight of me being helped from the water by my family, and I was asked a number of times whether my injury had happened there (obviously, a liability concern), though I also reaped the benefits of my disabilities. Being whisked through airport security in a wheelchair, passed the simultaneously annoyed and sympathetic looks of those waiting in long lines,  I kept wanting to say, "I must be in the front row!"

I specifically asked Jamie to leave behind her identity as my caretaker (my parents, brother, sister, and brother- and sister-in-law were more than willing to pitch in there)  and focus on spoiling herself. Not to mention it was a good opportunity for me to spread my wings, even if they were water wings -- I did a lot of walking (often out of my brace, even once feeling the sand between my toes) and discovered that wearing a life jacket in the Caribbean allowed me freedom from struggle but still granted the opportunity to kick my way around. One of the best moments came when Jamie and I played "King of the Waves", standing in the relatively gentle surf and trying to push each other over. This was not only good balance exercise for me but also an opportunity to escape my nemesis Gravity, since the most problematic outcome would've been falling over and floating to Puerto Rico. It was also a chance for Jamie and me to have a few moments of levity ( which are often few and far between).
I'm not sure whether "escape" and "getaway" -- which suggest beingon the lam --  or "vacating" -- which suggests intentionally leaving the premises to make room for someone else, is better. Either way, it was a great chance to both escape from and find myself and my loved ones. And to immerse myself in this:

Spotty Wi-fi, a frozen Kindle, some stomach distress, and return flight hiccups couldn't change that, even though they were also included, unintentionally, in the package.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

As ye sow...

It's been a good week for the blog, which puts me in mind of an Old Testament quote chiseled into the side of my freshman dormitory: "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."I'm not really one to quote the Bible, but that one stuck with me. It also reminds me of a mash-up I've been holding onto: "When life gives you a stroke, make cerebral lesionade. Boo, hiss, moan. Maybe I should have kept that to myself much longer.

So, the good week. I happened to be checking out the website for the software I used to make my mind map and noticed they were having a contest. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I won! A couple days later, a few people pointed me toward a New York Times blog post about semicolons. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I sent the author a link to my blog, and he sent back a very complimentary note. That got me thinking about why I call my blog what I do (it's always bittersweet to see what I was thinking BS (Before Stroke) -- how I thought the lull before my surgery was my semicolon pause. It was certainly one opportunity I've had to step back and reflect. But the stroke has been a much longer, grander, and heavier reflection. Hopefully, I'm coming through to the second half of the sentence. How's that for heavy metaphor -- life as a sentence?Which gives me opportunity to recommend the series Life (both seasons now available for instant streaming on Netflix).