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« Breath: The Only Requirement | Main | a dose of self reliance »

Your Future's Truth

It’s amazing. Once you understand yourself. You revel in the fact you are you. Stepping out like a new born from inside your head. Free at last to join the human race. You pay your forty dollars and go right ahead and apply to the New York International Fringe Festival. Sending them your sixty-minute solo show script, “A Coffin Turning Clockwise: A Comedy in Real Time.” Where you mine your eccentricities and have performed it twice. Without dropping dead. Proof; you're living your future's truth.   

Born without my consent, before the mid-point of the twentieth century, I now bear the indignities, while holding onto a pole on the subway, listening to a man in his late twenties say, “I lost my job as a master gardener.  I’m about to be evicted. I’ll take a penny. A nickel. A dime. "  No eyes look his way. He goes on. “This is the wrong car. My mistake. Here, no one has a heart. Otherwise, you'd give this elderly lady a seat.” 

He points to me. I wave.  Where am I going? I'm on public transportation, exposing a face bearing not a shred left of the last petal of the flower of my youth. Called “early elderly” by any gerontologist, going from 5'’9” to 5’8, ” reason enough for me speaking to an endocrinologist. “Doctor. I’d like to replace my height loss with a gain in my substantiation. How may I do this?"

She says, “Two pills. One to enhance bone density. Your scan shows a 17% loss.  The other, to control your Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder. Obvious from your rapid speech and your putting together such an odd and unlikely association, meaning to me, you’ve weakened cognitive inhibitors; a filter system near collapse; in desperate need of a dopamine fix."  

“No thanks.” I say. “I’m not living in a somnolent state. I’ll align myself with my energy. For spinal shrinkage, out of respect for my liver, I’ll apply diligence. Eating calcium enriched foods., taking twenty-three almonds daily, along with four calcium citrate pills, a Vitamin D and a Vitamin K.  For focus. I’ll make my bed. ”

That last suggestion, a recall from an October, 2001 event, where I'm sitting inside the Sheraton Ballroom, listening to experts discuss ways to maintain emotional balance in a post 9/11 world. Make your bed. Be that a mainstay among your habits. If what you wish is clarity in thought, and a way to train yourself to use structure and routine as the means to increase your productivity. And here I am, years later, feeling as if I've flat-lined while breathing, turning to that chore to rescue me.

The next morning, I'm smoothing out sheets, fluffing up a comforter and pillows, bedazzled by my results. My bedroom goes from chaos to order. As a can-do-will-do spirit sends me scampering into the kitchen, checking out the larder. Raisins. Dry cereal. Stale bagels. “Poison,” I say aloud, the very word issued by my Chinese acupuncturist when she asks, “What you eat?” and I say these three things, while she's examining the many cracks on the surface of my tongue during a sciatic nerve treatment.“You dehydrated. Bad for heart. Need food with juice. Fruit. Vegetables. Protein. Chicken soup.” Which is why I’m inside a Morton Williams perusing shelves when exiting the Q train’s East 83rd Street stop.

Previously, I'd think food shopping too repetitive for a creative soul like me.  Eating what you buy, having nothing left, where does that get you? Back to where you don’t want to be. Suddenly, I'm connecting food intake with life expectancy, replenishing my vitamins as well. Inside Duane Reade. Where a stranger gives me a buffalo head nickel. "It's for luck" he says. I say, “It’s designed by James Earle Fraser.” He says, “I knew you were an artist. That's why I had to follow you. You communicate on a different plane.  When you’re standing still, you exhaust most people. That's why you're lonely. Toughen up. It comes with the territory. Get used to being you. Grow thick skin.  Do what you want. The clock’s ticking.”  

He wants me to go to Spain. I get that from his inference. To continue studying Spanish. Since 2014, when I drop out of the Instituto Cervantes after my fourth class. Right in the middle of learning the past tense, I've been meaning to go back. The idea coming to me in the first place in 2012, at the Havana Airport, when an official says  “pasaporte.” and after that I understand nothing. I've no excuse. I live in New York. Around 1868, there's a Spanish language presence, on Calle Catorce, or 14th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. That year, well-to-do inhabitants establish on that street the Sociedad Beneficia Espanola, or Spanish Benevolent Society, to aid Spaniards fleeing Cuba during its war for independence. It's still here.

I know, too, pursuing a long-range goal would help control my impulses. Get me to prioritize. I’d have homework. I'd want to volunteer in class.  And reason enough to register for the “Golden Years” program, for 50-80-year-olds, at the Don Quijote Language School, in Salamanca, Spain, before I age-out. Going from October 14 to October 28, then Madrid until October 31. Choosing in Salamanca to stay with a Salamantista family. Miranda, 62. Head of household. Divorced. With oxblood brown hair. Not a gray streak or a highlight anywhere. A color better for a shoe. And her two daughters, Esme 27 and Isabelle, 29. Students at the University of Salamanca.  Changing majors continually, claiming there’s no work out there. Their long dark brown hair, combed nightly by Miranda, as I say nothing. Wishing my father was here. He tried to teach me, “Silence is an option. Think of that the next time you open your mouth." 

I get it now.

Eating paella and sausage. Trying not to gag. I'm mute. Miranda observes. “No es veneno, pero no me gusta estar en la cocina.” It’s not poison, but I don’t like being in the kitchen. I'm thinking, no kidding, as I stare at a glass of water asking, “Puedes beber el agua sin morir?”  May I drink the water without dying. Miranda stands and points to the kitchen's faucet’s filter. “Tranquila.  Puedes beber todo lo que quieras”. Relax.  You can drink all you want. Good. That liquid could sustain me when her breakfast and dinner food fail.  And I'm also eating lunch out.

Relieved, I'm also blessed to have twin beds in my room, doubling my chances for emotional equilibrium. I straighten each daily, leaving for Madrid, in a heightened state of awareness.  Once there, my single bed inside the school's dormitory  is also free of detritus. Meaning, when I'm unable to find the lock with the horizontal slit that matches the key to the third-floor where I'm living, I calmly go onto the street and approach a man in his fifties. Saying, "Soy un principiante en espanol. Me quedo aqui. Tengo la llave, puedo no encontra la cerradora en la puerta.” I am a student of Spanish. I am staying here. I have the key, but I cannot find the lock on the door.

In English he says, “Your Spanish is terrible. Are you an actor in a Candid Camera episode? What you’re asking is crazy.” I say, “Forget my age. I’m a new language learner. Starting from scratch. Having the time of my life. And you?” And three days later, at the airport, anticipating my flight home, waiting for my refund on the Value Added Tax line, ten Chinese tourists join their friend in front of me, moving me to the end of the line. I ask, in Spanish, for help. I get my money in minutes, as a steel rod goes from my cerebral cortex and attaches itself to the top of my spine. Performing inside my integrated self, November 14 and November 15, my eyes later gaze at the Fringe.  A reward for staying the course. They seek off-beat performers. In summary then I proclaim this:      

Know. As you go. Within you is the beauty of you.

(Saber. A medida que avanza. Dentro de ti, esta la belleza de ti.)




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Reader Comments (7)

As always enjoyed the saga of your self discovery. Keep making your bed..How you make your bed is how you will lay in it.. Onward!

April 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Interesante e importante para todos nosotros. Por favor, continúa revelándonos tu auto revelación.

April 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAnita Kulman

Anita: Te agradezco a mi querida amiga por tus buenos deseos; y en espanol.

April 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Everything you do seems to have an adventurous spirit. You are lucky to have these adventures and we are lucky to get an inside view. Not sure if you’ll ever make elderly status; you are forever young and that is one reason people are drawn to you. You will have to get used to people not giving up their seat. No one thinks you need it.

April 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAnita Lippman

Verdad, querida Jane. Siempre...Dentro de ti esta la belleza de ti. Besos, b

April 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

I see my son mentioned you on Facebook....something like you are the one that knows NYC better than anyone. It was a nice little blurb

April 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLois

I like the flat line while breathing... hee. Knowledge...any knowledge in any language is power! I love this journey of discovery you're on like Cristóbal Colón... we are the seekers xx

April 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFizulu

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