I was advised to write my blog entries as a stream of consciousness. Whenever I have done that in writing or conversation I have irritated some one. Stream of consciousness for me has always meant loose associations, sometimes very loose associations. On the other hand my psychologist reflects that I am very cerebral, which means that I consider things over and over before I act. Let’s see if I can split the difference.
Yesterday was a good day. Pickleball was enjoyable, did some good play and some unforced errors. I have recognized several physical deficiencies however. My vision is changing. Whether that’s due to aging or some other cause I don’t know. I take hydroxychloroquine for arthritis. Yes the very same drug that “he who must not be named” has touted as a cure for the coronavirus. One of the potential side effects of the drug is a negative effect on vision. My vision is getting blurry with episodic field cuts especially low and to the left. Sometimes I loose focus on the ball. I can’t get into see the optometrist for quite a while. The second deficit seems to be a slower processing speed. In other words it appears to be a slower recognition of events at speed and slower reaction to them. I am undecided if that is due to my vision issue or not. I need to sort out the vision first. Decrease in coordination is also a listed side effect.
But even with the above issues, it was still a good day. I truly enjoyed the conversation with my Pickleball partner post-play even if some of the conversation was about serious subjects. I miss those types of conversations.
Towards evening I felt that I was becoming melancholy, not depressed or anxious, but that something was missing. The “what” was elusive. After dinner I was channel surfing and happened on “Pride and Prejudice” and cued it up. P&P was Tish’s favorite show. I watched it so often with her that I know most of the dialogue. She would be irritated when I would recite the dialogue ahead of the film. But it’s a comfort food version of film.
I went to bed when the flick finished, had a slightly difficult time getting to sleep. Something was rolling around in my head that would not come out. I awoke about 5:45 this morning to find that I had already begun to process yesterday.
I realized that I am here alone, with little contact except for my Pickleball peeps and whatever minor contacts I make when going to the store or for a walk. I have no real physical contact with others. No hugs, no handshakes, no rubbing shoulders, no nothing. Not to be overly dramatic but there is little physical validation of my physical existence. A version of Descartes’s “I think therefore I am.” would be “I am touched therefore I exist.” This really has little or anything to do with sex, but has a good deal to do with concern, affection, approval, and positive regard. Verbal statements convey the same but physical touching meets a more visceral and primitive level. The effects last longer.
As I have noted, most people have anchors here even if they have recently moved to Stockton. However I made my choice to be here. I was intellectually prepared for living alone. The emotional impact sometimes sneaks up on me.
What do I do about this? I certainly will not begin grabbing passersby and hugging, or shaking hands with everyone I meet. In the current situation of distancing I can’t bring myself to demand physical contact. I recognize that I may be a vector and do not want the responsibility for infecting family members or friends. I can’t change the situation. I can’t make it go away. I can’t take the chance of being a vector. I can’t react, but I can respond by being as attentive, nurturing, concerned, and positive as I can with others with the realization that it will someday come back to me in some form.