Closed Mondays

Inexplicably I had a note on my calendar today to have the sutures removed from my left hand where we believe I suffered a small but lingering blow from having fallen upon a piece of coral while wading into Florida Bay off Key Largo one afternoon this past March. Apparently the coral – which is a living organism – can if left unattended remain and grow beneath the skin, rendering signs of infection. In a prolonged series of evolving meetings in the Emergency and regular offices of the Almonte General Hospital over the past several weeks, the physicians and nurses have conducted a number of investigations and a biopsy, including most recently the stitching of the wound. I was told about a week ago that Dr. Matthew Tiffany (my family physician) would contact me to arrange the removal of the sutures. As a result there was this note on my calendar today to do so (but I haven’t any recollection that the precise time of 9:00 am had been arranged).  Nonetheless I aroused myself early this morning from my virginal lair, bathed and dressed then headed to the hospital for nine o’clock. I was determined to conclude this minor drama without further obstruction.  It naturally pleased my ears to hear the desk clerk at the hospital observe that, while there was indeed no record of my appointment to do so, she would do what was necessary to have this petty matter disposed of.

I hadn’t entirely overcome my trepidation regarding the acquittance of this trifling annoyance as I sat in the hospital waiting room and watched a succession of patients come and go, many of whom had arrived at the check-in counter later than I. Finally however I heard my name called. It was Dr. TIffany’s nurse.  She conducted me to her inner sanctum. In short order she removed the sutures.  She reminded me upon my enquiry that she is the daughter of Keith McIntosh, a former client.

In this state of unwitting euphoria I returned to my vehicle and prepared to enter upon a more engaging enterprise; namely, a drive along the Appleton Side Road into Stittsville to have the car washed. The ribbon of highway from our digs (at the most northeastern end of the town) through the vast farmland openness to Stittsville is an incomparable passage. The North American passenger automobile is illustrated to best advantage upon smooth and well maintained highways. Consider by contrast the German persuasion for limitless speed on the Autobahn.

It is my custom during my daily enactment of this ritual venture to lower the windows and draw back the landau roof. The weather today could not have been more conducive to this windy exploit. The temperature was 76°F but the air was from the north and dry. I fully exposed myself to this sensitivity of the vehicle because I have lately adopted a change of retail habit. To summarize the transition, I have abandoned the metaphor of the automobile as the primary deliverance from life’s imperfections. I am no longer certain I’d attribute any material with perfection.

Now normally that would be sufficient to close the curtain.  Without the retail leading edge, there’s a great deal different about what to do. Gone are real estate, automobiles, tricycles, artwork, furnishings, rugs, silverware, accessories, porcelain and jewelry! Everything! Now what? While there is no question that the foundation of our knowledge circulates in broad terms about the material world; there nonetheless persists the recognition of psychoanalytic definition.

a system of psychological theory and therapy that aims to treat mental conditions by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind and bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind by techniques such as dream interpretation and free association.

It is admittedly a broad jump from the blunt perception of the mechanics of a new automobile to the wistful melancholy of a family favourite (or some other personification). Yet surrounded as we are by endless decomposition and reappearance (especially in springtime) it seems less challenging to rise above the complications of nature and submit instead to its poetic manifestations.

Years ago I recall moderate disturbance upon learning that my father no longer wished to handle his own annual income tax returns; and that instead he agreed with me to submit to the professional advice of a chartered public accountant. Initially I had thought my father had acknowledged the accuracy and perspicuity of the accountant. I learned however that what promoted the shift from his own management to agency was simply that he no longer cared. The daily drudgery of the process had outweighed its utility or amusement. Meanwhile he continued to drive his old Buick Riviera until at last he struck a supporting post in the garage. Not long thereafter he went to a retirement home where he died.

The procession from the beginning to the end is traditionally marked by diminishment and declension. It eventually becomes superfluous to attempt to preserve one’s buoyancy. Nor have I discovered is it any easier to do so through the metaphor of novelty. The picture of a distressed mariner hanging onto the side of his submerging vessel is no less perilous if the bargue is new. What overtakes and insinuates our performance at any level is our inescapable being.

Other reflections of amendment have arisen in my current absorption of the tricycle. It is probably no more than a variation of downsizing which is a common undertaking of people my age. Our latest transition to Riverfront Estates punctuates this seeimingly inevitable process. Last evening as we sat upon the balcony after dinner overlooking the Mississippi River we heartily agreed that by yet another fortuity we had secured a favourable outlook of the future. Imperceptibly I have accepted the alteration of perception. No longer is it workable to insist upon an annual refreshment of existence.