I would have posted this centennial entry sooner, except for the fact that my mood's stability has not been reliable from one moment to the next. I suspect that my desperate overuse of ibuprofen last week has wreaked havoc on my lithium balance, so my body is not properly processing the 600 mg I take daily. I haven't been in a constant state of depression (I always picture that as being like Joe Btfsplk, the Li'l Abner character who constantly dressed in black and had a dark rain cloud above him at all times), but when I'm in a good mood about something, I fall from it twice as far as usual. (It's analogous to using sugar as a stimulant. Yes, it will make you feel more awake, but once it wears off, you feel twice as wiped out as you did previously.)
Over the weekend, my mood was all over the map, but some of the reasons were legitimate. On Saturday afternoon, Susie and I went to the Northside library. She left before I did so she could play at the Weinland Park playground, and we agreed to meet at "the dollar store" at 3:15, so she could buy Christmas wrapping paper and some presents for her friends.
Cutting right to the chase, our scheduled meeting didn't happen. I left the library on time, and hurried to Family Dollar, a few blocks south. I waited around for a decent interval, and bought a Diet Coke, so it wouldn't look like I'd been loitering, and made it a point to sprint home via Weinland Park. No one was there, so I headed home, getting worried.
Susie came in about 15 minutes after I arrived. The thought, "Thank God she's all right, I'm gonna kill her!" passed through my mind, but I didn't have time to worry about it. Steve was on his way by soon to pick me up so we could go to the Qabalah Christmas celebration, something I was afraid I was going to cancel if Susie was still at large. (As it turned out, Susie and I got our wires crossed because she was at Dollar Tree, just across the street from the library, and I was at Family Dollar, a short walk away. We forgot there was more than one "dollar store" near the library.)
The celebration was a blessed way to wind down from the worry and frustration regarding my miscommunication with Susie. It was a ceremony that quite lent itself to turning inward, centering, and decompressing, and I needed it at that moment. I know very little about mysticism, and it's nothing that can be explained while standing on one foot. The service was a Builders of the Adytum ceremony (adytum is Latin for "holy of holies"). (Before I reveal my lack of knowledge any further, I'll refer you to the Wikipedia entry on Hermetic Qabalah. If nothing else, remember this spelling during those Scrabble games when you have a lone Q sitting on your tray and there's no open U anywhere on the board.)
Monday night, I was saddened, not depressed. I came home from a meeting and opened my Facebook page, and there was a note from a classmate. "Paul, you need to check Dan's page." I did this, and found out that my friend Dan Bush, with whom I reconnected (thanks to Facebook) a year ago, died this week in Tennessee. His sister posted this news on his page.
I have heard no further details since that time, and several scenarios and possibilities are going through my mind. Dan and I re-established contact in 2009, and he called me several times in the week that I was recuperating from my gallbladder surgery in February. Additionally, we had communicated by email, Skype, and IM, and he was a frequent follower of this blog.
Dan and I were both active in the Audio-Visual Club at Marietta High School. I joined because of a fascination with magnetic tape recording, and I knew A-V was the place for me when I sneaked a look at Playboy and found myself mooning over the stereo equipment advertised more than the centerfolds. We were front and center doing lights for school assemblies and plays, and in our sophomore year, Dan and I were immortalized as we were setting the lights (I was setting lights before I was setting type!) for a community theater production of Man of La Mancha. This picture appeared in the yearbook, I suspect, because the idea of me on a scaffold was appealing to quite a few people when I was in high school. The picture appeared in the 1979 edition of the Orion, MHS' yearbook, and, in Dan's honor, I'll post it here. The picture is flipped, because I never have worn my watch on my right wrist, as it is in this picture. (Yes, that beardless beanpole in the checked shirt is me!)
Many thanks to Robin Lynn Pyatt
Bellamy (Class of '80) for scanning this
photo from the yearbook and emailing
it to me.
Four days off from work are coming, for the next two consecutive weeks. I've ranted about the 10 mandatory days off ("cost-saving days") demanded by our current union contract; December 23 and 30 are two of them. The Agency will also be closed Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, since Christmas and New Year's Day are both on Saturday this year. We'll open presents on Christmas morning, and that night Steve is taking us to the third episode of Nite Owl Theater's return, where Fritz will be showing (what else?) Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. (I remember when I was a teen my private way of celebrating Christmas, as I braced myself to pretend I could tolerate being with my family, was to watch the Pope's midnight Mass from St. Peter's in Rome.)
It's just after 11 p.m., and I am making a trip to Kroger, since I've just realized we're out of milk and eggs. The walk isn't a long one, and the temperature (per the Weather Channel icon at the bottom of my screen) is 30 degrees, so I won't have to worry about getting too cold on the short trip.