out of context

March 12, 2010 at 10:42 pm 1 comment

It’s so funny what new surroundings can do for you. For example, last night watching a movie, it didn’t even occur to me to eat chocolate. I always think about chocolate when watching a movie. This makes me curious about all of the invisible cues that cause me to do anything. Do I wake up when I hear the neighbor’s gate click closed? Maybe I get ready to walk the dog when I see the garbage truck rumble by. Maybe I start thinking about cooking dinner when I hear the “Pea Green Boat” come on the radio. Maybe I feel sleepy when I hear the heat click off at night.

I’m sure there are hundreds of cues each day that I unwittingly follow. It’s kind of creepy.

On the other hand, without those familiar sounds and changes of light, I am a bit adrift. I have no idea what time it is. Henry, the dog, whined at the door to be let out during the night, and without thinking further I found myself naked in the backyard (there isn’t a gate yet so if left unattended he will follow his nose too far), waiting for him to do his business, not having any idea if neighbors were about to pop out of their homes on their way to work. I couldn’t tell if it was one a.m, or six.

In this new environment basic needs like water and food, are left unmet. I had no thoughts of dinner until nine forty-five. I forgot to drink water because the glass jar I use, my constant companion, is sitting in our not yet empty house down the street. Did I even brush my teeth?

I’m sure some bad outfits are coming next. Where are the shoes I normally wear? What pants do I wear with this shirt? Where are the shirts?

It’s kind of fun. Outfits, eating habits, routines, these are all passing phases anyway, they don’t actually describe a human being. Supposedly who we are isn’t any of this. There is a nugget below all these ideas of who we are that is actually who we are. So if I don’t drink tea until after I’ve been awake a few hours instead of first thing, and if I walk the dog at daybreak instead of eleven, I will still be me. That’s a comforting thought. My me-ness won’t slip away with a change of address.

I also am no fool. I can see that if I had any inkling to start a strange new routine, then this would be the time. If I wanted to train to be a ballerina, or change my handwriting, or start going to karaoke, the time is ripe.

While I’m pondering the options of change, I probably will soak in the sounds and smells of this new place, build a dictionary of cues that help me find a secure footing. Before you know it I’ll start waking up when I hear the new neighbor fill his bird feeder or slip into his hot tub. I’ll start to fix dinner when the sun slants through the kitchen window. Soon, even if I try to remain unaware, I’ll know what each creak and bump in the night indicate.

(And whether or not it’s appropriate to take the dog out for a pee while nude).

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a new view not enough arms

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Angela  |  March 13, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    ha, this one is so true. we are about to embark on some big changes, too, and know that our daily routines are often dictated by our familiar surroundings. so it will be interesting to see how that all changes. hoping the new sounds and smells will become familiar to you soon.

    Reply

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