I had a strange, almost holy experience this last Friday. On Thursday, I got up at 5 a.m. to take Conrad to the SF-bound bus. He was attending a four-day writers’ conference, and I’d be on my own until Sunday. I came home, grabbed a little more sleep, and launched into my day. Belatedly, I’d realized that my driver’s license would expire that very day, so I needed plenty of time to stand in lines at the DMV. I also hoped, on the same trip, to retrieve my resuscitated G4 “dome” computer from MacAdvantage in Rohnert Park. Both errands worked out fine, to my great relief. At my age, the vision test isn’t a piece of cake, but no problem. I got home, made a simple but indulgent dinner, and went out to see Buried Child at Main Stage West. Fine actors, fine production, and so good to see old theatre friends. Home, ruffled the cats in the otherwise empty house, and fell into bed, content.
At 3 a.m. I woke to realize that I had to hit the bathroom fast—problem being which end to deal with first. I had somehow gotten a stomach bug. I was mostly in the bathroom till dawn, then staggered downstairs to feed the cats and collapse on the sofa the rest of the day in my woolly bathrobe and down vest, curled under two blankets. Damn, I was cold. Eventually I got smart and carried an extra pillow into the bathroom with me so I could curl over it in my lap while my rebellious gut did its thing.
So all day Friday I was alone with our cats in a silent house, no one to take care of me—but then no one I had to take care of. I slept on that couch from dawn to dusk, the same one where Conrad would take refuge when his post-surgical discomfort made him flee the bed. Something wonderfully accepting about that big soft couch, which we trash-picked from the corner of 18th & Dolores Streets years ago.
The cats tuned in, lay next to me, and helped keep me warm. I spent the day in my cocoon, thinking about nothing, worrying about nothing, doing nothing but staying asleep to heal. I have never before felt so released and focused. By nightfall the spasms had passed, I ate a little rice with milk and cinnamon, and wondered if I could sleep again. Yes, I could, all night.
I didn’t turn into a butterfly, but I had a great empathy with the evolving caterpillar, losing battle with its imaginal cells, dissolving into a nutrient soup that would feed its next life-form. Friday wasn’t such a bad day.