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Float or sink. - Anna Rosenblum Palmer
The oldest man in the world is doing laps in front of us. As the boys bicker over whether or not to play ping pong I watch him bob forward. I am both impressed and alarmed. I imagine he wouldn’t mind going this way…but I’d rather not be here for it. His loose skin, having lost the elasticity of youth is half a stroke behind him, dragging in the water like a peach parachute. The boys have moved on to a tickle/taunt game. Right now giggles. Coming soon shrieks. The pool area is pretty empty, our fourth visit all summer and the first where friends haven’t swarmed. I’d call it relaxing except of course it isn’t. The boys swam for 4 minutes and now drape their wet bodies over my chair. Asking “aren’t you bored just sitting here mama?” If only they would be quieter or further away I might be bored. Instead I am waffling between overly sentimental and disproportionately annoyed. I’ve been thinking today about how I can feel myself lifting out of my bad weeks. A project pitch interested me. The firing of nerf gun bullets at my neck while driving upset me about the right amount. (Cheap refill here if you want to give them more ammo.) I’ve been gifted the secondary view of my boys at our afternoon dentist visit. It isn’t that I care what the hygienists and office managers think about my kids, it’s just that I can see it through their eyes. Like that diagram of the eye lens, where the image is first upside down then corrected. This is my boys at the appointment. I know about their flossing (non existent) brushing (1x/day for a length measured in nanoseconds) and their eating habits. Sugar=totally allowed. Instead the office staff comments on their hair, manners (?!), honesty (genetic), and collaboration (fostered by lack of choice.) The cascade of compliments keep coming. It’s not that I feel uplifted, just that I remember both/and. Poor flossing, and asks his hygienist how her day was. Not a bad blend really. “Ok, now you try…like this? Yeah, like that. Try to drive into me. The pool side lounger is a race car. They are at “driving school” the chair car an imagined weapon/training tool. “Ok” “back to simulation stage” I’m not sure at what point the game left the simulation stage but they have returned. Now they are gone and I am alone for a minute. The post that has been in my head all day is about how to know when a bad mood is part of mental illness. I only know for me. It took a while to be able to know the difference. I would sit across from my therapist telling him that I could manage. I could. It wasn’t like I spent the day in bed with the shades closed. I just WANTED to. And that’s normal, right? His raised brow told me I just needed to suck it up and stop ...