— From CB —

Returning from a San Francisco dental session, I caught the northbound bus at McAllister and seated myself in the front right-hand seat so I could easily see my stop coming up. My mind wanders after a two-hour ride.

A few blocks later, a tall, very thin man got on, followed by a squat, elfin older woman. As the man stood beside her, she dug in her purse and said to the driver, “Let me pay for my son.” “Fine.” It took a while to find her dollar bills and shove them one by one into the toll slot. At last it was paid, she got off the bus, and her son sat down beside me. I shifted to give him room.

He looked to be late thirties, early forties perhaps. Brown jacket, brown hair, neat beardlet, aquiline face, passive eyes. After a minute, as the bus crawled up Van Ness, I sensed that his lips were moving faintly, speaking to people inside him.

No, no, I really … I wouldn’t … Only not so much if … Just for while … That’s okay if…

He was barely audible over the droning moan of the bus, only in phrases, but it seemed his voices could hear him. A few times I glanced in his direction, his eyes too were set on an inner world. Once he shifted, looking quickly over his left shoulder, then resumed his personal business.

At San Rafael, many passengers got off. He too. I watched him down the steps, across the bus landing, the parking lot, and into the past. He walked purposefully, as if walking through snow.

— From the Fool —

I don’t watch TV very much. There’s supposed to be funny stuff on, which my friends say, “You should see this because you’re a Fool and it’s funny so you could be like them and get famous.” But mostly I just get scared.

They had on one show, it was supposed to be the candidates. I think it was a bunch of famous comedians — I’d seen some of the faces before — pretending to be candidates and saying real silly stuff and others pretending to be newsmen asking stuff like “Do you want to torture guys?” And then the candidate would say, “You betcha!” and get a big cheer. I guess it was funny if you had certain sense of humor. Everybody’s different.

It did get funny when one guy called the other a jerk and the other said the first guy was a dummy. I thought, well, it sounds like the playground in third grade and we’re voting on giving these little kids atomic bombs, that’s pretty funny. But they didn’t really follow it up, like calling each other poopy-head or saying his dad wore a dress.

If they’re going to keep on with that show, they’d better get better comedians.

— From EF —

The Longest Night

On Monday, 12/21/15, the dark will be with us at its maximum, and then the balance will tilt toward the light. All hail, Light.

My personal upward journey actually began last week, when I had the first of my Medicare-approved physical therapy sessions, two per week for eight weeks. Oh, my brothers and my sisters, I feel it already.

I have been steadily declining in stamina and mobility in the lower back and hips for a while, and have given silent thanks for the fact that the Fool performs entirely from a sitting position. (Getting out for the curtain call is assisted by an unusually benevolent Lear.) Let’s not even go into the issue of pain.

A recent set of assessments says it’s not rheumatoid arthritis (thank you), but claims that my lower spine is an advancing train wreck, and that there’s a lot of arthritis in my hips. My doc started to float the idea of hip replacement, took one look at my face, and veered off into “Would you consider physical therapy?” Would I? You damn betcha. I run at the gym on the elliptical machine (no-impact) for ten minutes at a time with smooth-as-silk hip action, no grinding or crepitation there.

When I was a little kid, my mom tried to get me to “tuck your tail under”, because I had a prominent swayback, as it was called then. Nowadays we say lordosis. I had absolutely no clue how to comply with her edict, but I wish I had. Some gifted dance teacher recently had the brilliant idea to tell her students to “point your tail feathers down,” which avoids the negative opinion of a round butt. I am glad I have a round butt, but after my mom’s withering criticism it took a while to get to that opinion, and in the meantime my lower spine was consolidating a forward skid.

I had already noticed that if I was standing at the kitchen table chopping onions and bothered to “point my tail feathers down,” I got an inch taller and a whole lot more comfortable. Now my PT compatriots are validating this move.

Some of the assignments require faith that impossibility will yield, but some feel great right off the starting block. It’s my own body, my basic tool in my art, and I’ve gotta tune it up to the max. Hail, the rising of the light.


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© Bishop & Fuller 2015

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