A little summer inside me


It’s been a few days. I can tell I’m full of unsaid things; it’s hard to figure out where to start. The red is back on my news button. I can walk again without pain, thanks to finding out just how sadistic my physiotherapist actually is. And I’ve collapsed in on myself.

Went out for a walk yesterday, the first actual walk in weeks. I got my lotto ticket – plus a freebie because once again my ticket hit a couple of numbers – and made an appointment to take care of my hair. Felt a bit Frankenstein-ish for the first 15 minutes; I kept expecting pain, so I minced my steps and kept my eyes on the sidewalk because the last thing I wanted was to trip over an uneven paving block. I was also just nervous. Being out in public, dealing with Dutch again first hand…I don’t know. It was weird. I felt overly shy and intimidated, though there was no bleeding reason for it. I realize now what I didn’t realize a few weeks ago: my language teacher wasn’t just teaching me Dutch, he was giving me a lot of confidence to continue to TRY to tackle the language. Feels like I did a runner; haven’t used any of my language skills lately and although there’s much more I can read, I think my comprehension of the spoken language has taken a nose dive.

Not pleased about that.

But it’s great to move without pain or some sort of tugging sensation in my back. And my physiotherapist…well, he said some patients call him a sadist, and I get it now. He took my leg, crossed it over my body, then pulled it up so my foot was about the level of my head. HUGE stretch. I thought my leg was gonna snap off. Then there were the sitting twists, with a pain point on my spine that was SO bad when he touched it I really didn’t think I was gonna twist at all. In the end, though, I sat up, then stood up, without pain. Can’t argue with the result.

Yesterday I woke up to a bloodbath in Nice, today to an attempted coup in Turkey. Portugal is just about bankrupt, Italy’s oldest bank is about to go bust. As I wrote to a friend, I was very excited to be here for the beginning of the euro. These days I wonder if I’ll be here to see it break up. I’ve also been following local news, and a pattern has emerged. There’s a neighborhood half way between me and downtown that’s a problem. If someone’s been shot or arrested in Rotterdam, chances are 60% or greater that they’re coming from this location. I’m keeping an eye on it. And the neighborhood. Things get too hairy and we’ll bug out to a new location. Of course, things have to get a lot worse than what they are now before I’d consider moving. I’m living in a land where one shooting will be talked about for days, even weeks, because it’s that rare.

…So I feel like I need to stop lolly-gagging. My bro is nagging me to take it easy and I agree; I can’t go off and start hauling around a bunch of heavy shit or crawling on the floors to clean something right now. I also can’t continue to sit on my ass like I have been. Or if I AM sitting on my ass, I should be doing stuff like language lessons on my computer. Language is weird right now. My reading skills are above my speaking/hearing skills, so I catch far more from subtitles on tv than I do from listening to dialogue. But the written word has become symbols to me; put a few letters together this way and it I know what it means in Dutch, tho I probably won’t recognize the word if it’s said. I’m not reading with that inner narration voice I use in English. I just recognize the symbols. And I realize I could become fluent in the written word and not be able to speak for shit, if I let it happen. Trust me to do it the opposite way of most people.

Keep finding myself saying ‘no, I don’t WANT to smoke’. That’s weird. And I’ve been having a few headaches, too. Don’t know where my smoking level is at because I haven’t cared to keep track. Whatever level it is, it’s going down.

Off the pain killers, too. That’s good; I’ve managed to stop with 8 pills in reserve for the next emergency.

*sigh* Funny how when I’m up I have nothing to say about my emotions but when I’m down that’s all I can write about. Maybe that’s denial. Or maybe that’s just a touch of normalcy. There’s more things going on outside of me than inside right now (or so I tell myself). Can’t tell and I could give a fuck. All I know is that I need to concentrate a bit on the outer stuff. Walking normally. Being able to respond to simple things in Dutch again. Going out alone without feeling weird. That’s tough, but manageably tough. A challenge, but a challenge I can handle. Though I have to admit I was probably red in the face and sweated up a bit yesterday after Dutch this and Dutch that. I’ve got the weekend to walk out some of my stored up mania. I can go back to some language lessons and listen again. Get my ear back. Move forward.

And I’d like to do something summery. I don’t know what. BBQ, swim in the lake, a festival. Something. Something to tell me that yes, this is summer and I did something that only this season offers. There’s a deep ache in me for summers of old. Running thru the grass. Boating on a lake. The smell of charred meat in the air. The taste of corn on the cob, lathered up with butter and salt. Sitting around in the sun, drinking beer with friends. I miss all of that.

Somehow I’ve got to get a little summer inside of me. A little sunshine nonsense to tell me the world isn’t all that bad. People still have fun. It isn’t all red news buttons and pain and work.


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