Private Future

Category: Uncategorized

Jump Into the Fire

When I was a kid, we had the Nilsson Shmilsson album:

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Which always weirded me out for some reason, so I never gave it a chance (unlike the Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers”, which had a *REAL* zipper on it and a pair of underwear in the gatefold, which I listened to almost daily for a time). However, it came up in one of the Spotify weekly playlists, presumably based on my listening habits. What’s weird is that this song also came up a few weeks ago when I watched Goodfellas

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(again), and honestly, I had no idea who it was but fully enjoyed it in the movie and it’s a frequent earworm. I’ve seen that movie a million times and I always liked the tune, but I never bothered to look it up.  It’s like the universe is coming together. Or something.

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Got it, thanks.

To do without self-respect, on the other hand, is to be an unwilling audience of one to an interminable documentary that deals with one’s failings, both real and imagined, with fresh footage spliced in for every screening. There’s the glass you broke in anger, there’s the hurt on X’s face; watch now, this next scene, the night Y came back from Houston, see how you muff this one. To live without self-respect is to lie awake some night, beyond the reach of warm milk, the Phenobarbital, and the sleeping hand on the coverlet, counting up the sins of commissions and omission, the trusts betrayed, the promises subtly broken, the gifts irrevocably wasted through sloth or cowardice, or carelessness. However long we postpone it, we eventually lie down alone in that notoriously uncomfortable bed, the one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends, of course, on whether or not we respect ourselves.

(Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem)

I’ve been reading a lot of Joan Didion this term break. This passage, in particular, struck me as I sit alone in my living room on new year’s eve because this is historically a time when I look back on the year and account for all of my unskillful responses to events that occurred. I take inventory. What does that even mean? To lie awake at night…counting up the sins of commissions and omission. This speaks to me.

I’m not saying I’m a complete knob or that I’m a horrible person walking around doing horrible things that I have to atone for at the end of the year, an arbitrary time to take an inventory to be sure. On the contrary, I’m doing the best I can. I think this “self-respect” can be paired with the “self-awareness” that comes with age. I’m aware I’m being an asshole at my job right now. I’m aware that life always seems to be in a state of flux. I’m aware that I’m essentially lazy now that I’m in school again and that I give myself lots of license to do nothing. I’m aware that my family and friends are flawed and that has nothing to do with me.

Anyhoo…no deep thoughts or anything. I just loved this passage, as it spoke to me and all the nights I lay awake counting my sins of commission and omission.

 

“Don’t, Luke…it’s a trap!”

Really.

Tonight, I was washing the tetanus colander and I cut the shit out of my finger. It’s a tiny cut, but it bled and bled and bled, right on my cuticle. Kind of deep. It didn’t really look like a dangerous colander when I got it, but it is terrible on top of being not very good at the thing it’s designed to do. I’m going to give to Goodwill or my worst enemy, I haven’t decided yet.

Anyways, I finished washing the dishes and went into the bathroom to wash the cut out (I already have a jenky infected finger on the other hand–don’t need another), because of cooties. I found 1 (one) packet of neosporin in my medicine cabinet and then labored over whether I *really* needed it because it’s the only one left for about 5 minutes while I washed my cut. Um…I’m an ER nurse. I can get another packet at work. Tomorrow.

Then, I went through my entire bathroom, all of my bags, my sock drawer, the toolbox, some shelves, a box full of paperwork that I’ve needed to go through since last year, with my still-bleeding finger up in the air wrapped in toilet paper (I don’t have any gauze, either) and couldn’t find ONE bandaid. Not one. I was tempted to go out to the car but it’s cold out (for these parts) and I don’t think there’s one in there either. I WORK IN THE ER. NOT ONE BANDAID IN THE HOUSE. Ace wraps, ice packs, weird splints, slings, pumice stones, mini hot water bottles(s), nicotine replacement of all varieties…one packet of neosporin and no bandaids.

If the apocolypse really happens, I’m screwed.