One year ago today, I was home in Victoria, with my father in the hospital. I remember watching him, a confused old man in UVic sweatpants, hobble down the hall with his walker. His false teeth were still a bit too big for his face, and he shook when he walked, and he kept forgetting I lived in Los Angeles, not Vancouver or Seattle. And he was better than he had been the month before, but he was still so sick, and I went home to L.A. miserable and broken hearted to see my father so ravaged by his own damn stupidity. No one thought he would walk again, or regain much more use of his brain – the recovery he’d already made in the five weeks since his minor stroke was considered exceptional.
That was the last of three emergency visits, and by the time I went home again in May of 2005, Dad was up to a cane. When I came home two months ago in September, he was absolutely zipping around with it. When I go home in two more weeks, fifty-four weeks after that last fall visit a year ago, I imagine he’ll be better still. He’s graduated to increased weights and resistance in his physio work, goes to the gym twice a week to work on his legs with the therapists, and looks/acts like his old self. I can’t say enough how proud I am of him for working to get better, how grateful I am to my mother for pushing and encouraging him, and how happy I am just to whatever Higher Powers there are for seeing fit to help my old dad regenerate his brain.
I know I post about this a lot, but every time an anniversary comes up of one of those horrible trips home, it reminds me again, I am lucky. Many things may be wrong in my social life right now, and people may be upset with me, but as my father says, “well, it’s all a bit of a tempest in a pot of tea, isn’t it kid?”, and compared to the big things – my family, for example – it is.
This morning, I was woken up by someone listening to or watching some sort of Baptist evangelism at a high volume. So I got up, realized I was still in my tights and miniskirt from Bar Sinister last night, changed into jeans, and stumbled into the living room to make coffee and watch TV. And after a minute of flipping through the DirecTV guide, I found…an entire HOUR of Depeche Mode themed programming on VH1 Classic.
I *heart* VH1 classic, by the way. I will watch classic alternative videos for HOURS. And I was delighted to find a program that interspersed a “hanging out interview” with the band, with classic Depeche Mode videos. Especially since it’s such a contrast from, say, “The Meaning of Love” video to “Halo”. (Yes, sammynella, they showed the HA LO video, and I thought of you.)
And then I flipped over to the History Channel, and they were running a documentary on Vikings. So that was another half hour.
The problem is, with the TV, I tend to lose time. I should have made it to the Farmer’s Market and back by now. But I’m still moving slowly – having everything I’ve done wrong in the past year come back to haunt me all at once tends to paralyze me still, especially when I stop and think about everything that’s been said to me this week. TV is just a way of distracting myself until I can get over it completely.
But last night did cheer me up immensely. I went to Bar Sinister with a few of the core group of really good friends that I’ve been extremely lucky to have. And I also adore Bar Sinister. It’s one of the most fun places for me to be. When we got in, Nine Inch Nails’ “Ringfinger” was on, and it went directly into an Assemblage 23 track. They play Joy Division, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, and the remix of Depeche Mode’s “Fly on the Windscreen” and the Rammstein cover of “Stripped” over the course of the evening, and before I left around 1:30, played “Cities in Dust” (Siouxsie), “Cuts You up” (Peter Murphy) and “Lucretia, My Reflection” (Sisters of Mercy) all in a row. And I will go in there and dance for two hours to that kind of goth music, and wonder where the time went.
And it’s been a great experience also in that all the friends I take there love it. They come and dance, and even if they don’t know the music the way my roomate and I do (Andrew and I were yelling back and forth over whether one track was Seabound or Covenant – it was Seabound) they still love to listen to and dance to it. Everyone seems to like going. Which makes me very happy.
And of course, all that dancing wears me out. Last night, I fell asleep fully dressed, in the poofy pinstriped miniskirt, cut-up black T-shirt, patterned black tights and layers of eyeliner I’d worn out. I still have a piece of black velvet ribbon tied around my neck, and the studded leather wristcuff I bought years ago around my right wrist. But I felt so much better for going.
So now it’s noon, and I’ve been up since 9am, and I’m not quite sure where the morning went. I still get paralyzed by sadness, or lost in distractions to avoid thinking about everything that’s been said to me, or about me. But I’m starting to come out of that daze, and focus on the things that do make me happy, and on being with the people who also make me happy, and I hope, I hope, in two weeks or so…I won’t be taking any of this sadness back to Victoria for Thanksgiving.