I'm not really all that mysterious

last thoughts of the day

My mind has been everywhere today. I suppose one of the good things about getting older is that there is a wider field for my brain to wander. I could probably keep myself usefully amused for several days just letting my thoughts meander.

Or maybe it’s just a reflection of the fact that for the past four years, I have effectively lived in a bubble. (I’m thinking of those SCID patients. Or Jake Gyllenhaal.)

I’m so happy, ‘cause today I found my friends. They’re in my head.

— Nirvana “Lithium”

Here’s a run-down of my more arresting thoughts:

  1. I thought about what it would be like to have some kind of serious, possibly fatal, disease, and about living your life as a patient in the hospital. I mean, here I am, on the other side of the glass wall, never having experienced being on the wrong end of daily needle sticks, lab draws, and an entire surgical hierarchy from medical student to attending demanding to digitally penetrate my anal orifice, and I’m supposed to empathize with you. How much empathy can you muster for someone going through something you’ve never experienced?

  2. Somehow, this degenerates into the following question: why is it that people really pay attention to you when you’re dying from cancer? I’m talking about how the general public reacts, here. People always seem to band together when someone they know has some kind of cancer. Entire extended families end up being reunited through their dying relative. Even ex-wives and ex-husbands frequently let bygones be bygones (although, in the balance, no one ever really kisses and makes up, either), most especially when it’s they’re child that’s dying. The thing is, people seem to get far less attention when they’re dying of sepsis. Or liver failure. Or tertiary syphillis. Definitely tertiary syphillis. Those guys always die alone.

  3. Whenever I go to a wedding reception, I am always transfixed by the slideshow. On one hand, I frequently fantasize of what it must be like to have someone in your life whom you love so much that to not be part of them would be unthinkable. I mean, this whole love thing. I just don’t get it, I guess. I sort of wonder if I’ll ever get to present a similar sort of retrospective in front of my friends and relatives. Morbidly, my mind turns to the day that I’ll die. Would it be disgustingly narcissistic to start crafting the playlist and sequence of images I’d like to be played the day I bite the big one?

  4. I fear that love will only come to me when I really am dying. Which, I suppose is better than nothing. I guess it would be extremely fitting and natural to spend my last days in a hospital. At least there, someone would be obligated to see me at least every 8-12 hours.

  1. I started thinking about writing a fake blog detailing the life of a patient in the hospital who has got some awful, uncurable disease that they are definitely going to die of. Which would be an extremely cruel, perverted hoax. And, because of thought #2, I started wondering what sort of disease it would have to be. Cancer is a good one, I guess, but, realistically, you’re not always in the hospital. You spend a good amount of your time actively dying in the outside world. It’s only your agonal moments that tend to get spent in the hospital. Hell, for most solid tumors, chemo is administered on an outpatient basis. You get your port, they give you poisons, you go home to puke your guts out, then come back and say, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?” But liver failure? I’m not sure it would make as good of a story. For one thing, most of the time you’re out of your mind and encephalopathic. For another, dying from liver failure is probably one of the most horrifying ways to die, ever. If I ever find out my liver is nothing but scar tissue, and there’s no way in hell I’m going to get a new one, I’ll make sure to bite on my cyanide pills. But then the field of protracted, fatal diseases narrows considerably. AIDS is somewhat similar to cancer in the sense that you spend most of your time dying outside of the hospital. Hmmm.

  2. On a completely different track, I started wondering how I could ever simulate the sensation of escaping the gravity well. Breaking free from Earth’s grasp. How awesome would that be? But I’m too out-of-shape to ever fit into a NASA shuttle, so the real thing is completely out of reach.

  3. I kind of wonder if I ever managed to capture that sensation of cutting myself loose from something as big and massive as the Earth, just how easy it would be to untether myself from thet pathetic accumulation of excess baggage I’ve managed to attain in these 30+ years of my life.

  4. Imagine if I had to power to let go of anything I wanted to. If I could literally just pack a few changes of clothes and strike off into the wilderness, living off of the land. Fantasy, I know.

  5. But if I seriously manage to defeat my packrat tendencies, I wonder if I would be happier.

  6. Certain songs remind me of certain women. For example “untitled” by the Cure makes me think of ε.

  7. If I could seriously just learn to stop wanting, I would be an incredibly happy person.

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