Rewiring the System


Tuesday In California


Hey, It’s a Tuesday after the long holiday weekend. It is time to get back into the grind! After all the avoidance, all the convivial gatherings, it is now time to take care of details and doctors. I went off to my appointments with a general gladness. Here I am, at this time and place, where I am able to care for my body injured which was injured from that bad fall way back at the beginning of this year.

The uneven ‘art’ construction by the builder, on what is city sidewalks, surprised me.  (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Minna+Street,+San+Francisco,+CA,+United+States&hl=en&ll=37.788005,-122.3988&spn=0.005664,0.008497&sll=37.857507,-95.712891&sspn=45.803434,69.609375&oq=minna+street&hnear=Minna+St,+San+Francisco,+California&t=m&z=17&layer=c&cbll=37.788201,-122.398543&panoid=4fVDYkSs_AH-fE4dX7n7wQ&cbp=12,307.64,,0,0)

Even though I am sure footed from years of running cross country with a running club, the paving surprised me. Cross country running in Nature connects the soles of my feet with the balance hairs inside my ear structure. All runners know what I am talking about even if they have not looked up the inner ear or the name of its parts. “Stereocilia are the mechanosensing organelles of hair cells, which respond to fluid motion for various functions, including hearing and balance.” (* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereocilia_%28inner_ear%29)

Going to the doctors offices at the University Hospital San Francisco, I get a clear picture of our human condition; that people get sick or injured every hour of every day. People lose balance in such a variety of ways which science seeks to address in an unending cycle of science and magic. I settle into my issues as I try to actually get in contact with and feel in an authentic way. I ask myself, what exactly is the octave of pain that is here and there, right now, held inside my skin. What do I feel? How can I understand the pain I am having as the expression of my human experience rather than as a monster attacking me?

I am returning home, from the City, where I had an early morning meeting with a truly kindest and most insightful doctor in my group. I have a lot to think about in preparation for an important visit with a new doctor in two days. Nonetheless, I remain interested in my fellow humans since we all share a plight of facts and fancies, pains and aches, joy and sorrow. Just after lunch I have yet another dose of the culture of Californians.

California people are a well documented class all into themselves. People talk about New Yorkers in a certain way, but real New Yorkers are kind to one another. There is a way of talking which is regional which is so different from the Heartland singsong or the slow southern drawl, yet the core of regionalism is based on caring for one another. Here in California I have heard stories and suffered the direct experience of a self centered-ness that borders on human destruction.

I cannot imagine a New Yorker or a Bostonian talking at me as this particular Californian did from his perch to keep out the world flowing on around him. It is beyond arrogant. He was on a chair within the confines of the sitting area of my absolutely favorite cafe on College Avenue. I had just come out of the same cafe and as I turned the corner I caught sight of his knee brace.

Five days ago, I got a shot of Novocaine and cortisol in my right knee. This was a step by the Sports Medicine, Orthopedic doctor to help my combined issues that made every step shiver with some level of pain. The latest was the bad fall, before that is the negative effects throughout my body and especially my knee joints of the Radiation treatment for the cancer. Before that the strain of being addicted to running. I choose to run with a brace rather than to slow down to a walk!

The man was sitting at my favorite cafe which is so European in character that I supposed he would be open to my asking about his very high quality brace. I wondered what happened though first I wondered about the brace. It looked like something which would help my knee. So I spoke to a complete stranger!

I actually believe that I do not know everything! Is this my greatest flaw and the trail of experience traditionally an East Coast quality! When I speak to people I get to learn a piece of the fabric of reality that is new to me. For me this is a good thing. To many of the Californians I meet in my travels, this is not the case. New information, new thoughts, new people, all rock their cloistered minds out of the response of Maybe unless something better comes along. The sense of being busy reminds me of a walled medieval city. The boundaries are interesting to the historical eye but the here and now aspect of externals and veneers separates with a chilling effect.

He looked approachable! We had a short conversation. I asked about his awesome brace. He asked me how I got my injury and where I went for the shot. He said that his knee had a very invasive surgery but he was biking after just a few weeks later. That was interesting. He asked who was my doctor and I took out my smart phone, called up the calendar entry and told him the name. He went on that he knew the building, that it was just down the block from where he was treated. But my doctor was in a building that was less wonderful! He gave an air that his doctor was better than my doctor which dumfounded me and I became silent both inside and out. REALLY?

Then came the ‘put down’ that can only be created, imagined, felt, and uttered by one of those overly tidy on the ‘outside’ ordinary folks with something invisible to protect. It is a distressing inhuman view that anyone slightly different than who they see in the mirror is to be avoided. Have you had the experience with this sort, who are rotten to the core on the inside? And, Oh My, devoid of a warm hearted easy communication with people. Especially those bothersome strangers wanting information or a helping hand.

Then he said the totally California Space Cadet Thing! “I don’t smoke pot or eat it either’!

Really?

Here was a man in a blue blazer and professionally starched shirt who assumed since I smiled and talked to him that I was a druggy! He had to announce his assessment of my being friendly and interested in his brace as a marijuana inspired conversation! Was it my red hair or that I have an easy outgoing outlook that made him think I was stoned? REALLY?

I was stopped right in my tracks, turned toward him, and said directly to him: It’s called DOPE for a reason. Then I walked down the block to my awaiting car.

A post thought: After the Boston Marathon my dear friend called me to tell me that his family was ok and how except for some odd circumstance they would ave been a that very place greeting the runners at the end of the Marathon. Then R. said a very important thing. It was a huge wake up call to me as I listened to him. It is about the choices we each have in the interactions with our fellow beings… He said, ‘Did you notice that the bystanders and Bostonian who were in the area Ran Toward The Explosion?’

He told me that and I heard it as well. The newscasters commented on the caring nature of the people who live in Boston. I have been told by another that he does not want to move to California because neighbors will not help neighbors here as everyone does where they live. I need to ask, Has the good weather and sunshine gone and altered the California human?

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