Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Was I Drunk When I Mentioned Iowa?

It's snowing. Again.
Which brings to my Kansas City neighborhood, approximately a foot of the white stuff that is far prettier to look at than to navigate a two-ton vehicle around in. Is that grammatical, that sentence? I don't care.
Twelve inches of snow means my anxiety is high. Hypochondriacal thinking peaks right along with new mounds of snow: What if ambulances cannot get to me in time, supposing I fall over in the kitchen (myocardial infarction) trying to scramble the morning eggs? What if emergency personnel do arrive in timely fashion but then get delayed on the Interstate because Audis and P.T. Cruisers are sideways in the middle of the road. What then?
Twelve inches of snow means I am stuck indoors, freezing my cahunas. Not sure if I spelled that right. Don't care. It's friggin' cold in here. I have on two pairs of socks and furry indoor booties. I cannot feel my toes. Because of cold temps, my arthritis (assuming I have arthritis) in my left shoulder, left elbow, and left wrist acts up. I think, because I know probably too much about heart disease signs and symptoms, that this pain is of cardiac origin and there exists a real possibility that falling over in the kitchen isn't just hyperbole.
Twelve inches of snow means I am still in my pajamas and ratty robe, the one I bought for the hospital when I had Elizabeth ... in 1991. It is too cold to shower; it is too cold and snowy to venture outdoors. Why bother getting dressed. Right? I am torn apart with this thinking, however. If I should collapse in the kitchen while scrambling eggs, shouldn't I be dressed when the paramedics do arrive? Should I try harder to be prepared?
About five years ago, in casual conversation during a neighborhood get-together, in the midst of August heat (think 102 degrees), we fifty-somethings started talking about retirement and where we were going to land once and if we ever got a satisfactory price out of the homes we've been living in for the last fifteen to twenty years. Someone said Texas; another, Florida.
"Iowa!" I blurted. "Where it's winter more than it's not and it never gets over a hundred."
My husband, who started out on the Nebraska prairie in 1959, agreed. We looked at each other and nodded our heads. Yes, Iowa. We could see ourselves retiring there, out on some small green acreage, unburdened with city crime and air pollution.
The next morning, when we awakened, all cotton-mouthed and head-achey from the prior night's revelry, we remembered what we'd said. Iowa still sounded good to us. Field of Dreams was a mutual favorite. What's the famous line from the movie? Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa ... . We'd visited the film site already, taken a dozen pictures, run the bases that, really are, to this day, set up in the middle of a cornfield right there in blue-skied Iowa.
But that was five years ago and two dozen snowfalls ago, and now I have changed my mind.
That should be my prerogative, being a woman and all. Also, I am five years older and more arthritic and hypochondriacal. Retiring in snowy, ass-cold Iowa is not where I need to be.
Not Iowa. Not Nebraska. Not Missouri, unless we head south.
Kentucky. On this miserably cold day, I'm thinking Kentucky. And I'm not drunk, so maybe I'm on to something. Unless great change happens in my/our lives. Maybe one of our kids will get married, settle down, procreate.
And if that happens, I'm retiring to wherever the grandchildren are.

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