Almost done

In bed on time, and slept well, yet somewhat restless the last hour or so before the ocean song ended and the alarm went off. I layed there for a few extra minutes stretching my leg out before I tried to stand. Overall, things have physically progressed wonderfully, and I am happy. Also, I don’t have the same mobility or freedom from pain as I previously did and that is something that I am getting used to.

A good routine, after showering and getting dressed upstairs I came downstairs and had time to brew and drink a cup of tea and browse my phone after finishing my breakfast. Not just browsing, I was playing games. A few days ago I downloaded the NYT games app. Although I’ve outgrown my phase on Wordle, I’d recently heard of their daily ‘mini’ crosswords. I’m glad I did, it only takes a few minutes each morning and I’ve been going through the last week’s worth as well (that much for free, the full archive requires a subscription.)

I was looking forward to classes today, starting at 10 a.m. with Humanities. Knowing the drive time from Monday, I stood to leave at twenty til the hour and my calculation was exact. I pulled the key from my ignition precisely at 10:00. Perhaps I saved time in the last minute before I walked out the door of my house, I had turned back to check my map for the closest parking lot to my first class. The walk was short (better once I get a handicapped parking pass,) and perhaps a longer walk inside the building, down a long hall, up a double flight of stairs, and back down the same hall on the second floor to the center of the “H” forming the building.

Turning the knob, I pulled open the door, entered the room, and was instantly greeted with a warm welcome. So quickly and authentically, I did not hesitate to mimic exactly as I continued walking up the flight of stairs to my open seat. As I walked up, with the generous amount of time it took, as (ha, would a person say certainly?) the entire class already seated watched me, I began to consider my response to my teacher’s “Welcome”.

Was I in turn welcoming her into the next scene of my life? It was the exact set as before, the first glimpse of the entire room identical and I was again, nearly identically late. Just over a few minutes, four by my count, I knew attendance was complete when I heard a “Good, everyone is here.” as I completed my ascent. My tablemate welcomed me to my seat (an interesting spring-loaded contraption, connected to long tables across the lecture halls,) as he turned and held out my chair. Once I was situated and had opened my laptop, he took the time to communicate to me that the teacher had already given instructions to open our courseware, read then follow her post on how to create our accounts on the textbook software’s website.

Within another minute or two, I was fully caught up and began to wonder if my four-minute walk may have been six or seven minutes. With elevators in all of the buildings, any number of small scooters commonly available now could vastly aid in my mobility. Probably not a One-Wheel, something with a handlebar at least. Like a cane, I mostly only use it to get from place to place and not for short distances once I’m in a room, as long as I’m comfortable. In the same way, I could use electric assistance for distance- solar powered of course. Using my messenger bag as I already do, the loss of my other hand would be a good trade-off with the speed gained. And at some point… yeah, I could probably ride one-handed if I needed to, or get a cup holder.

Hmm… that may have to wait for the next GoFundMe… or not, we’ll see, good things come.

The class continued very well, with a period of lecture combined with leading questions and drawing out discussion points from the class, after first giving us the topics to work on independently to form our own ideas, then also having us share our ideas with our tablemates. Also now is the second class, interjecting movement (four types of music were called out, then assigned to the four corners of the classroom and students resituated themselves according to their preference,) and a continued welcoming and inviting tone, positive to all appropriate responses from the teacher, all seemed to come together quickly into a more lively discussion and my perception of a more general openness to share as compared to Monday.

Ending with another period of music, now four, one for each type, I was able to listen to two new songs that I had never heard. The first was “Rich Flex”, or perhaps that was the title of the song. In any case, it was certainly the attitude of the performer. The song described parts of his life, his relationships with his friends and with women, and repeated a lyric, I think, “Who can do something for me” in the beginning. With some comments pertaining to women later in the song, some internal filters went up and I had to continue listening critically rather than openly.

“Party in the USA” is a song I have heard before- that I didn’t know by the name (or the name of the artist,) until the video started playing. With the first few notes my mind began to nod along, already familiar with the beat. This was perhaps the first time I had really “listened” to the song. Interestingly, I noted the dance instruction in the song “put your hands up”, “nodding your head”, and “moving your hips”. A story about a girl going to Hollywood and perhaps, introducing herself to the local scene? How, with song and dance- another noted that dance, while also expounding energy encouraged synchronicity in groups as well and suggested the visual of line dancing. As used in the music video, I think the moves may have been used to draw attention to the singer’s physique. Perhaps all dance is?

Next “Last night”, a country song by… um, someone. This song was about a man telling a story about, well you know. Talking to his friends, he describes the night with his now former girlfriend. They drank a fifth of liquor going “sip for sip” all night, he doesn’t know everything they said, doesn’t remember how it ended that way, but she left saying it was, well you know… the last night. Talking to his friend, he described how he thought her friends might be consoling his now-previous girlfriend, envisioning them telling her “WTF, you left him?”. In his delusion, the singer can’t seem to imagine that his actions chose the end of his relationship.

Lastly, as suggested by the least attended corner of the room representing metal (and including rock-n-roll right? my tablemate asked,) we listened to Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. Here is where I really noticed the openness of the class. With a vast majority, with roughly 37 of 40 students, there was a high level of confidence among the students working as a group to come to a consensus on the song. Almost half of them had never heard it before (a familiar stance as I had been in with half the songs as well,) and I found it very interesting to hear their provoked responses and notes to it for our ‘active listening’ class demonstration.

Very intuitively many were able to ascertain the mood of the song and the transitions that it made with its lyrics and instrumentation. Sadly, there was no video accompaniment available- which, although lends to the true listening experience also leaves the listener with a lot of work to do to figure out the story (hmm… is this the opposite of a silent movie?) To busy trying to absorb each person’s full commentary, some in quiet reluctance as the teacher pulled for her hidden agenda of creating participation points in the class, I missed some notes. Polled at the end, most, perhaps all said they were not likely to listen to the song again even though the consensus landed on the song being mostly okay, kinda weird, creepy at first into ecstasy, and way, way too slow.

To be fair, I’ll never listen to Rich Flex again though I would likely listen to Last Night. It would be better if I listened less well- less actively, objectively. Rather, that would be a good song to sit back with a few beers (a fifth maybe, if I was twenty years younger,) and reminisce about my exes. Which is the “enjoyable recollection of past events,” so for me, like the singer, it would only be possible with the simultaneous delusion that I was never wrong and my girl wasn’t right to leave. In that state of mind, yes, that would be a pretty good song- for the right state of mind.

Class ended. Wow, it’s 12:32 and I’m at 1520 words, we’ve got to go quick now.

Drive to my lunch date, the person I had met Secretary of State at Virginia Coney Island. I had extended the invitation a month ago after I had first met her. As we sat at the SOS her number was called and we parted ways in the middle of a good conversation. As she stood and then walked back around the chairs into the roped section, we traded Facebook information and she was quick to inform me (or perhaps already had,) that she had a boyfriend. Notwithstanding, I repeated my offer and she said she would message me.

Well, she did and we had lunch. I now know more about the details of some of the work she does, more about her family, the last several boyfriends, and some of the friends she has- especially the one we shared. In between the time of my giving my full name for her Facebook lookup of me, and her actually sending the request & messages, an apparent background check had been run on me. She had gone to school with one of my sisters’ children, our mutual friend on Facebook and reached out to him for his perspective on me. I’m trying to imagine if someone asked me to vouch in a similar situation for one of my uncles, that seems awkward. Interesting to know a person their whole life and learn another perspective, as brief as it was.

Her going to work and I had another class at three, so we parted ways at the restaurant. However, not before I asked for clarity on the timing of her acceptance of my offer. It had come in a short private message of congratulations about my recent enrollment. Leading my question past the timing and into the cause and desired effect without saying nearly so many words. No changes, happy with the boyfriend, yet after some time, she thought lunch with a friend sounded nice. I’m just glad she likes Virginia Coney Island.

Back home shortly after one, I had enough time to smoke a bowl and do half of a full-size crossword puzzle before leaving to go back to class. Now, with just one more opportunity for learning this morning, I decided to leave 30 minutes before the start time and that seemed to work nicely. I was the second to arrive in the room. Mostly as the class came in they greeted others, then each sat quietly with their phones out myself included, with a game of solitaire.

English, as an extension of writing, I am finding much more palatable than at any time previously. Also, I am understanding it – communication – in a whole new way, as many readers may have come to realize even before I’d received the MRI results. With just a few classes, Mike’s clear passion and enthusiasm in his teaching, and today, Holly’s clear defense of the Arts as a solid career path for those minded towards the management of organizations.

Mike, announcing his routine for how class begins (other than the first class we already had, he explained,) is with the opportunity for idle chatter posed with the sharing of our answers to his one question: what’s interesting today? With his dialog, he was clear in explaining the wide variety of experiences acceptable and the unique qualifier required: What is interesting to you? As this was a new game to me, a verbal show-and-tell, I enjoyed it while I observed the responses. I’m sure this portion of the class will be something to look forward to even if I wasn’t enjoying the rest of the content, not to mention a ninety-minute class was released 30 minutes early with no homework.

So much for STEM, IT, or programming. Computers are just fancy typewriters to me now. After class, I came home. Had the last of the spaghetti for dinner and smoked more than enough to feel relaxed. One more class tomorrow, early at 9:30 then a holiday weekend with my first ever full week of full-time in-person college behind me. And I didn’t even die. Even when I told people I was going for a liberal arts degree. Even when I told myself.

And, I finally mowed the lawn- and used my iPhone to track the time and distance for one of my two workouts for the week, that part worked well. The mowing part was less well. First, the muffler broke off. A few years since I replaced it last, and now that is on the list. I carried on and almost finished. Although the tank was full and it usually only takes two-thirds of a tank for the whole yard, it ran dry. On the exact opposite side of the house as the container of gas. Walking around, then back, was nearly pointless: maybe only another ounce of gas. I aborted the last rows in the side yard and tried to finish the smaller half of the front yard and almost got it.

One long mohawk stripe of 12-inch grass and a large spot near the porch, so I placed my bike on the spot and hammock near the stripe and called it good enough for me. It’s more of an artsy answer, a beauty in efficiency from my own perspective. 1:37 a.m.

Time to rest.