Wednesday, August 13, 2003

---a comment in my comment box, a comment about that old man bent over double, with breathing problems...

like this entry... it reminds me of an old man I used to see all the time in downtown hollywood - he lived under an interstate bridge and social workers came once a month with nurses to check up on him... then one day I never saw him again.

Yes, I can "reply" to this comment, here...

when my father was about 72, he had, by then, about five heart attacks and his blood pressure was off the charts, due to 40 years of working with Lead filled products. All that blood pressure had stroked his brain into
[if senile-ness is a room, there are many doors: one is alzeimers, another is stroke-damage!]

no long term memory at all, he could only remember things that happened about when he was ten or twenty. He actually was, at 72, about "7 years old"!

One day, on a long walk, I had an Inspiration, about my father Dudley. I had known him, of course, all of my life, and I could recall many of the "amazing exploits" of his lifetime of his 72 years.
Like a poetic Expression, a "poem" of sorts, was inspired.....

----Ya, look upon your father, freestone, look at him in the Nursing home.
But remember that a river is measured by its high water marks, and a pole vaulter
is judged by his highest jump, and a movie is not judged by the three minute credits shown at its end! What you see is a exhausted hulk of a physical body: ye do not see the Accomplishments of his soul, that were done throughout his lifetime of 72 years! We all, who tend to Judge a person by 'appearances", only see what is before us *now*; an old man in a wheelchair in the Home! We see not his soul, his soul that will bring all of the accomplishments back to his TrueHome, in heaven!------

Yes, I often see "ruined" old people, people who now must spend every bit of their time in "body managements", just to keep that body going.
I have seen my share of "old people under bridges' too....and this bring to me a STORY!
san Francisco 1967. I had just, that day, been discharged from the Air Force, and had *just* gotten off of the bus, and rented a room in the YMCA for a week. By the time that I had unpacked, I felt supper-hungry, so I walked out onto the street and found a place to eat, late, about 8PM. I was alone, Me and about ten empty tables. I ordered, and soon the meal came. I salted, peppered, sugared, stirred my coffee: I did not see an old man bring his coffee-cup over to my table. He sat down next to me
and he did not even ask me if he could. As soon as he sat there, he looked at me
with "doe-like", tear filled, eyes....and he told me...

"I can cope with loneliness".......

Then he began a monologue: His Life Story. For an hour or more, a "video tape played back, frame by frame, unable to
synthethize any of his life! Thus he had to talk it out, in literalness, like of a movie, and he could not find any "meaning" to it, as this takes a kind of "summarization", which he could not do. I recall, now, that I listened to him for about an hour, all a monologue by him. He wanted to have someone hear out his life, event by event, all of it, each hour spent, his getting up at 7 am on June 3rd of 1917, what he ate for breakfast on that day...eggs, toast [two slices with butter and strawberry jam], coffee, beacon. His walk to work, afterwards after cleaning up the dishes: each building Described, on his four block walk to work. His June 3rd workday....[568 words]...his walk back....his supper...

I told him I had to leave the cafe, and Do Things.
[ I knew that he had about 18,000 more days yet to describe to me!!]
He seemed to be not able to "put two and two together", not be able to summarize his life. I see this often, in our culture: "what you see is all there is".
thus all of what anything is, is only a "video tape", and thus what this old man really wanted, from me, is to have me watch his whole life, each and every moment of it, the Movie of his life, frame by frame!
"what did it mean?" a question that he Could Not Ask, of himself!!

perhaps he wanted ME to do that for him!!
[much like some women want their man to do their thinking for her: and some men want their women to do their feeling for him!]

Later, as I walked the nearby streets, In san Francisco, I learned that this ten-block district was filled with cheap hotels and many many cafes, where I peered into the windows to see many 9PM cafe rooms where there were perhaps 20 tables, each with ONE alone person, old person, nursing a coffee-cup