The Other End of Sunset

Saturday, May 13, 2006

It's a hard life wherever you go....

This is likely to be a “forced” posting. My heart is only partly in it today. But I'll try to come through, gentlebeings…

I’ve been thinking in the back of my head over the past few weeks about the movie “High Fidelity”. You remember that movie? John Cusak as a heart-broken… well… heartbreaker. He seems unable to maintain a meaningful relationship, and he’s crushed over it. Part of the story in his break-up is that he’s totally fixated on a set of previous relationships. He decides to go back and revisit the relationships, and the women. As you might expect, he finds out that the “facts” he remembers are not so “factual” after all, and he wasn’t always an innocent victim.

The story is funny, and touching, and totally beside the point here! I'm interested in one particular scene. Apparently, every time he has a major life event, he reorganizes his records. Sometimes it is alphabetical, sometimes chronological, and sometimes… weird.

In this scene, he is organizing his records in terms of life events – the music that surrounded a particular event is grouped together. So, to find a record, you have to recall a life event, and hear the music from that event, and, voila, there is the album.

// A brief side note here. Sorry. I was in a car this morning, on the way to the airport (yeah, I'm on a plane). The driver was a bit surly, but not really too bad. I was rude to him, not once, but twice. I'm feeling terribly guilty about it. I have an excuse, but everyone has excuses. I think that one should be polite to folks who are doing you a service – it’s not cool to be snotty. Sorry, dude. Hope your next rider makes up for my bad behavior, and feel free to blow your nose on my karma. //

Anyway, back to John Cusak, and his musical foray into autobiographical memory.

I think this is a great idea – music is, indeed, the fabric of my life, and so I can totally imagine organizing my records around them. In fact, JR once gave me a present – she went through my iTunes and made 6 CDs for me of music that captured periods in our relationship – the 80’s summer, the dark days – each CD was a random set of music that we were listening to during that phase of our relationship. They were perfect! The “dark days” CD includes such lustrous tunes as “I feel like a bullet” and “Cake and Sodomy”, while the 80’s summer CD includes Cyndi Lauper and other (more upbeat) Elton John tunes.

I carry the CDs in one of my cars, and use the associated playlists on my iPod regularly. In fact, I'm listening to one of them now, as I write this. Perhaps that is why I am thinking about the topic.

One of my friends commented on a recent posting, telling me how cool it was that I managed to stay on a single topic for the entire post.

Of course, in recompense, I'm going to change topics now. Can’t employ a foolish consistency, now can we?

I'm off the plane, sitting in a hospital room. It’s quite sunny in this room, on the second floor of a hospital in the East Bay (an area of the San Francisco Bay Area that is, remarkably enough, east of the bay). It’s somewhat rural out here, most buildings are low rise, and fairly spread out. The whole area grew in about the same time, so everything looks exactly the same as everything else. Well, not everything, but there are eras. There are the 70’s tract homes, and the 80’s McMansions, and the 90’s circular developments, and lots of 3-5 story box office buildings. A more than a few strip malls, and several enclosed malls, usually near the intersections of freeways. All in all, an odd combination of lovely landscape – including miles of ridges and forests that are state or national parks – and that awful American suburban sprawl.

This is, of course, all irrelevant. I look out this window, of this hospital room, on the top floor of the hospital (that’d be the 2nd floor, folks), and see a long beautiful ridge with trees, and it feels like we aer in some lovely rural fantasyland.

And then I turn my attention to my left, back into the room, and see infusers and vital sign monitors, and all kinds of nasty warning messages on the bags hanging from the IV trees.

The irony is overwhelming – better living through chemistry, indeed.

Three days of Heparin, and more than a few bags of several different antibiotics, and she’s home. She’s tired, and she has more metal in her, but she’s home.

Our brown dog is running around the yard chasing invisible doggie satellites, and squirrels, and whatever catches a young dog’s fancy.

It’s a lovely sunny day. There are still hills in the distance.

But there are no IV bags and no warnings, just a ceiling fan, some art glass, family, and gluten free brownies. It's nice here, in my home.

I can feel the sun on my face. Can you?