Tuesday, March 07, 2006

bloodless in florida

Did you miss me? I missed you. I thought of you often last week while I was visiting my Grammy down in Gainesville, FL, land of Grammies. A word about Gainesville: in a post-appocolyptic tomorrow, the swamp would swallow this cozy university town in about six weeks. It's a classic little suburban hell of a town, city-planned to death in a grid of subdivision after subdivision, shopping strip after shopping strip. At the same time, the place is over-run with skinks, geckos, ibis, herons, snapping turtles, anhanga, and gators. The spanish moss grows long and gothic on anything that stands still. There is a constant sense of the swamp waiting to close in. And more power to it, as far as I'm concerned.

Grams is a health nut and nature lover, with prodigious energy for an eighty-six year old, so we did a lot of hiking through the swamps, in between little old lady activities like getting our hair done and watching PBS. She's always been about the closest thing I have to an Adult Role Model, even more so now that I'm older and we can talk like grown-ups. This visit she filled in the rough sketch I have of her life, and the more I know the more intriguing it is. Like me, she grew up on a farm, and like me, she couldn't wait to get the hell out.

Only, this being rural Michigan in the 1930s, her way out was to get married and move to town and have four babies. Suburban housewifery is probably not the career path life she would have chosen for herself if she'd had many other options, but she soldiered through the Eisenhower era, got her youngest son into high school, and then ditched the whole scene, drove out to Berkley, and got involved in yoga and meditation, right at the height of the flower power movement. Her kids thought she was abandoning them and her husband thought she was in a cult, but she stayed out there for a year until she "got her mind clear" she sez. She did come home eventually, but she stayed involved and interested in all sorts of arcane material. Over the years, she's studied or practiced ayurveda, paganism, tarot reading, energy healing, magnet therapy, and on and on and on. She's crazy as a shit-house rat, and a class act, to boot.

While I was down there, the symptoms of anemia finally got too loud to ignore any longer. My red blood cell count is, like, four. Dizziness, weakness, bruising, fainting, and my two favorite symptoms: forgetfullness and irritability. It's hard to remember your grocery list, let alone keep your tool cool, when there's no oxygen in your brain. On the plus side, maybe this explains why I've been a grouchy retard for the last two weeks. I'd love to think the problem was mineral imbalance, not deep personal unworthiness. Four tablespoons of molasses in the morning will not cure deep personal unworthiness. Also, on the plus side, lots of babying from Grams -- nasty iron tonic drinks and enforced naps in the afternoons. Used to chap my fanny when she did this stuff to me as a kid, but now it's sort of a luxury.

Speaking of my stupidity and irritability, C. missed me terribly and is overjoyed that I am home, so I guess he loves me again. He didn't even mind that I gave him a flight arrival time five hours too early -- 3's look a lot like 8's when you're suffering from a slow, biochemical asphyxiation. Four or five days of no aerobic excercize (uses up the RBC's -- too much gym time is prob'ly the problem in the first place), eating mad ammounts of spinach and drinking nasty tonic will have my mind back in steel-trap form. Thanks Grams. Thanks C. And thank you, dear Internet. I really did miss you, you know.


Anonymous said...

I found your blog yesterday and have been reading it through ever since.

Just wanted to say hi.

And that I'm from Gainesville too.


Blamb said...

Your Grams sounds a lot like the kind of senior citizen I want to be :-P