Wednesday, September 24, 2008

24, Changing Oil, Looking Up/Within

First, I want to thank you for your encouraging emails and comments. Believe it or not, they have made a huge difference in allowing me to having something to focus on (and I use the term loosely), other than my lap and feet. 

I couldn't have imagined how isolating it is not to be able to look at people when I was talking to them or 'listening' to TV as opposed to watching it. My family has become addicted to '24' and we have been catching up on the seasons over the last year or so. Of course they offered not to watch it while I have been hanging around face down, but I told them to go ahead and that I'd watch it on my laptop after. Well that was NO fun at all! Oh well, while they were watching all the action, you know, Jack torturing people or being tortured and who had been kidnapped AGAIN, I was catching up on old movies......and I mean old.....I have a penchant for Laurence Olivier, Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton in those old Shakespeare movies that my family would rather drill holes into their heads than watch.

I did go the doctor yesterday and, HALLELUJAH!, I can look up again. I still can't lie on my back, but what does one do on one's back anyway? At least that you can't do in a different position. I mean, rats, no changing the oil in the car for at least another week? 

I still can't drive until this gas bubble has completely resorbed, but that's not such a bad thing since Dad is the 'acting' chauffeur. I get to laze in bed in the morning while the rest of the family is hustling around trying to get out of the house......hmmmmm. I could've gotten used to that! Jak, my youngest, however was thrilled to hear that I was better and more importantly, would soon be able to drive again. "Does that mean you'll be grocery shopping soon?" I think we've had enough QFC roast chicken to last us all a lifetime!

Now for some profundity, because I feel the need to add some in here to keep from being maudlin. I had never heard of David Foster Wallace until I read an excerpt from a commencement address he gave to the graduating class of 2005 at Kenyon College. I found it on a website, which one totally escapes me at the moment, possibly The Atlantic? The following is an excerpt from the excerpt from the Wall Street Journal, but you can read the entire thing at:

"A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. Here's one example of of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness, because it's so socially repulsive, but it's pretty much the same for all of us, deep down. It is our default-setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: There is no experience you've had that you were not at the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV, or your monitor, or whatever. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real - you get the idea. But please don't worry that I'm getting ready to preach to you about compassion or other-directedness or the so-called "virtues." This is not a matter of virtue - it's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default-setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered, and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.

David Foster Wallace committed suicide Friday, Sept. 12th (the same day I had my surgery!?) at the age of 46......perhaps because he could not succeed in altering or getting free of this hard-wired setting? Is it even possible to do so? 

Food for thought.

UPDATE: Seems the address is not working when you cut and paste, but it does work if you type in the URL. It's from the Wall Street Journal, Sept. 19, 2008 in the BOOKS section.

No comments: