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Linearity, Zombies, and Community

My recovery from bronchitis is proving annoyingly non-linear (which I think is also the case for everything else in the world, except for some intellectual constructs). I had an amazing day yesterday, full of energy, coughing only lightly and infrequently, feeling mostly like my old self. I walked about a mile and a half in the sunshine, ran a few satisfying errands, and still felt pleasantly energetic in the evening. I slept well (though only for about 6 hours). Then, this morning, I was feeling reasonably good, well enough to spontaneously decide to go to CWC instead of staying home as I'd planned. I even swung by the post office on my way there, putting a Christmas package and some holiday cards into the mail. But when I left CWC about 2 hours later, I sat down to wait for Crystal, and after 5 minutes or so I just felt like I wanted to curl up right there on the cement steps and sleep for a week. I'd been planning to walk home with Crystal and Susan (Susan is of the canine persuasion), but it just suddenly sounded as exhausting as a hundred-mile trek through the Andes, so I bid Crystal (and Susan) adieu and caught a bus home instead. I got home and started coughing and coughing and coughing. And coughing. And coughing. I lay on the couch and felt like my body was made of lead, but I couldn't sleep ... because I was coughing. A great day yesterday, and a crappy day today. Grrr. And yet I'm doing laundry and dishes this afternoon. Perhaps unwise, but chores need to be done, and I feel like I'm not really sick anymore ... or I shouldn't be really sick anymore (because I felt fine yesterday) ... or something. My body has frequently frustrated me over the entire course of my life thus far, and I see no indication that this is going to change, so I just need to learn to interpret this fact differently. Easily said. Not so easily done.

(I think it's telling, though, that I already had a "the world isn't linear" tag for this journal.)

I forgot to write in previous entries, but this week's "Walking Dead" season finale (or mid-season finale, I forget) blew my mind, and not in a "this is how you kill zombies" kind of way. This show centers around such phenomenally nuanced characterization that it often just amazes me, perhaps more than any other tv show I've ever watched. Yes, it's that good. The show's writers impress me with every single episode. In this particular episode, I found myself suddenly (and rather unwillingly) sympathizing with a character I'd always despised, marveling at the complex growth and maturation of another since the beginning of the series, suddenly realizing the true depth of the incongruously child-like vulnerability of another, and ... uh ... watching another guy get a huge piece of glass stabbed through his eye. Ew. Yeah, the show is often really really gross (which I expected from a zombie show), but it's also deeply thoughtful in its exploration of human nature and the complexities of morality, Man's instinctive treatment of his fellow Man, and the very purpose of Society in the world (none of which I expected from a zombie show). It's sometimes stunning in its beauty. Strange, that the two -- the ugliness of the gore and the beauty of the philosophical explorations -- coincide in one show. I think it only strengthens both extremes in some strange and unexpected way by contrasting them in such close proximity.

Completely unrelated and very different in tone: Last night I wrote a holiday card to Berkeley Dog & Cat (our vet office), all about how wonderful everyone there has been to us this year, supporting us through very difficult times. The vet techs, the front desk staff, the pharmacists, the emergency personnel, and of course the vets (especially our vet, Dr. McBride) all treated us with compassion and a determined effort to help both us and our cats. I interacted with them far more often than Shannon did, and I developed a fairly personal relationship with some of the staff, especially the women who work the front desk. My frequent talks with them since the beginning of the year (or even earlier) gave me a sense of a community supporting us, caring and extending their helping hands. So I wrote a card to this effect, and just writing it made me cry and cry and cry. And then, this morning, I walked the card over to Berkeley Dog & Cat to drop it off, and I was crying the whole way as I walked there from our house, and the woman at the front desk who took the card was one of the staff members I had spoken with most often (and she knew my name immediately, and knew our cats' names, and just generally made me feel like I was part of a family), and I was still crying, and she was so nice and understanding. It was a little cathartic, though, acknowledging all the support all these different people gave us this year, and the caring relationship they had with Cobweb and Munchkin. Still, just writing about it now makes me cry again.

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