Saturday, January 6, 2024

My Dear Norman

The short story: Thursday and Friday were both entirely uneventful days. The best thing about Thursday was the sunshine. The best thing about Friday was having an entire day without speech after our morning walk with our friends. The worst thing about Thursday was the 1.5 hour Zoom session with my fellow FNDers in the UK. Speech is brutally hard right now. The worst thing about Friday was waking to an email telling me that my long-time and wonderful friend Norman had died. I met Norman in September 1950. We’ve been friends for 72 years.

Sometimes I am glad that I am single and without family. I watched the movie Carnage last nightIt’s what made me think about being lucky.

Carnage reminds me of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf because it’s four people in one room, all of whom are over-the-top caricatures of personality. If I didn’t have FND, it would have been a good ride, but I trembled and shook through much of the last half. But let me tell you, I’m glad I stuck to it.

One of the most magnificent things about the movie, is the last thirty seconds. I think this film is breathtakingly brilliant. The writing, THE BLOCKING, the acting, the fun of watching people spar before devouring each other. It is clever, clever, clever, and horrifying at the same time.

It took me about eight months after the onset of FND, to be able to go out looking normal. I’d become used to wearing two sunglasses to keep the light out of my eyes, and a lot of ear protection. I was entering Stanley Park, and I passed a tall man in conversation with a shorter woman, and as I passed them, I was shocked and angered at the tone of his voice and at how he was speaking to the woman. As I continued walking, I cried for 200 meters.

I’d always been sensitive, too sensitive. Well, now it’s clinical. I overreact to many stimuli. I’ve never had a physical fight with anyone in my life. This is me: I tap every piece of wood that I am going to burn on the concrete floor of my shed. I do not want to kill any insects. I am allergic to conflict—in life, in conversation and in movies and television. I’m a runner, not a fighter.

I paid for my extreme compassion for animals. The Tyrell’s had a neighbour names Ralph Jackson. I believe he saw the lack of engagement of my parents, and like other people in my life who engage with me. If I could have one wish, I would bring back Mr. Jackson. He treated me like I was his best friend. He let me walk his gorgeous Red Stetter, Benji, around the neighbourhood. He took me for rides in his convertible. I helped him create a pond in his backyard. I adored him, and still do. He moved away after about seven years as neighbours.

One day he asked me to go hunting. I didn’t want to go. But I didn’t want to say No to Mr. Jackson. So, I went. But at some point, I told him that I had moved the scope on the gun. I don’t remember why I did it. All I remember is how angry he was. He told me what he had to do to refocus it and how long it would take. He was furious.

I am pretty sure I did the jiggering on purpose. It’s been a major theme of my life. I kill nothing. When I break a branch of some tees, I see time lost as well as the limb. It’s that kind of sensitivity I’ve had my entire life exploded when FND came on. And now it has taken a turn: I’m getting the shakes. I shook through all the long second part of the film.

I can stop it by lying down or slouching in a chair and totally relaxing. Having had to do that several times now, I believe I am carrying a lot of physical tension. I can feel various muscles relaxing when I lie down and concentrate on relaxing. There have been times when I’m rather shaky on my feet. 

I’m waiting to see where this goes. It only happens when I’m relaxed, such as when I am on my chaise or comfortable in a chair. It’s a gentle issue sometimes, often I don’t feel it at all, and there are times where it’s very, very busy. I shall see where this goes.

I can’t believe I went through that movie. It made me extremely tense. Me, who was upset hearing a man berate a woman. Carnage was a festival of the emotion I felt that day as I walked.

Today has dawned bright and clear, but it's cooler than it’s been since last Winter. Snow is predicted for late in the coming week. My fires will be big this week. For the coming months, I have nothing scheduled except a few scattered medical appointments. I will have little to write about. All I do is walk Her Highness, eat and read. It’s dull, but I’m always happy. I love my slow life.

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