Fatigue

July 29, 2009

It had been such a tiring week I spent the whole weekend doing absolutely nothing.
†† Wasnít too long ago such things wouldnít have phased me. Nowadays, at the inner circle of middle age, it doesnít take long for me to tucker out. Thatís why most of my trips to the creeks happen on a Saturday: I need all day Sunday to recover.
†† Let me tell you, I hunkered down. I canít sleep late anymore. Time was I could happily snooze until noon. No more. Like a premature old geezer, I wake no later than six, and have to get up because thereís no getting back to sleep. How I miss being able to sleep the morning away, pretend it never even existed! Of course, back in the day, I was a lot more active, riding Main Street in my í66 Mustang, listening to really loud rock and roll and cruising for chicks.
†† Of course, I weighed about 135 pounds, was in 30-inch jeans back then and had all my hair. I could see pretty good, too, though Iíve worn glasses since I was two. Nowadays I start yawning at 9 and snoring by 10, 10:30 at the latest, and I canít see a Brahma bull unless he crosses in front of the television set.
†† So I had one photo assignment Saturday morning that I took care of, and that was it. I wanted to stop and get some grub for the weekend, but I didnít have the energy to get out of the truck so I went on home. I collapsed on the sofa and turned on the tube, and pretty much stayed there watching season six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Kindly keep your comments to yourself.
†† The naps would come and go without my being able to control them. The only way I could really tell they happened at all was that it seemed like Iíd blink and Bogie would be curled up on his little rug, then Iíd blink again and heíd be across the room on his back near the front door and then Iíd blink again and heíd be licking me in the face, desperately trying to wake me to let me know he was in dire need of going outside. It was like a scene from one of those horror movies where things are filmed all herky-jerky. When I finally roused myself to let the dog out, I realized I had drifted in and out of napping across a span of about six Buffy episodes.
†† By then I was getting hungry, and of course, I had been too tired to stop and get groceries. I rummaged around and found nothing until I uncovered two containers of chicken and sausage gumbo we put up in the freezer a month or two ago. It was like I had hit the mother lode. I was happy as a bug on a rug, because I had begun to get the horrid feeling that I was going to have to actually put my shoes on and go to the Trading Post. I made some rice and voila! A single container of gumbo saved my life.
†† After the gumbo, I had a sweet tooth, and since I am trying to uncover my schoolgirl figure (I know itís in there, somewhere, I just know it is!) there were no cookies or nutty bars or anything I could get my hands on. I rummaged through the pantry until finally, waaaaaaaay in the back behind a couple cans of tomato sauce, I found about a quarter of a bag of semi-sweet chocolate morsels for baking. What, you think I didnít? That and a half glass of milk and I was in utter bliss.
†† All this scrounging and rice-making and morsel-munching left me listless so I let the dog back in and fell asleep on the couch again. By the time I awakened it was near dark. I grabbed a little cigar and a Diet Coke then went to the workshop and there, as my dear late uncle Ray once said, began doing the one thing I do best: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
†† Not long after that it was bedtime, so I plugged in another DVD and lay on the sofa. I surprised myself by still being awake at midnight, but faded away a little later. Still, I was up at 6, and kinda repeated the whole story again, so just reread the last few paragraphs and youíll have read Act II.
†† Time was, me and my buddy would get up before dawn, be on the lake at sunup, fish until nearly dusk, come home and clean a hundred perch, either put Ďem up in the freezer or fry them, clean up, then head out to town to hang with our buddies until the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes weíd see the sun come up again. Of course, thatís when I could sleep to noon.
†† Here I am, knocking on 45ís door, and my get-up-and-go done got up and went. I used to be able to outrun both my kids, at least in a short sprint. Now I canít keep up with them walking to the bayou. Only 45, almost? Hey, Indiana Jones said it best. Itís not the age, sweetheart. Itís the mileage.
†† Iím gonna be a happy idiot
†† And struggle for the legal tender
†† Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
†† To the heart and the soul of the spender
†† And believe in whatever may lie
†† In those things that money can buy

†† (Jackson Browne)
†† Not only that but despite my best efforts, I have become a participant in the damn rat race. I thought I had avoided it, but here I am. There are worse things. Long as Iím still located somewhere above the daisies, I guess Iím doing pretty good.
†† So I got up Monday morning, made coffee, took a shower. Took a long hard look at the part of the front of my head that is starting to look like deforestation in Brazil. Luckily, I canít see the other one on the back of my head, or I might have really been depressed. I studied this spare tire Iím carryingÖgranted, six or eight months ago it fit a sedan, now itíd do well on a compact, so thatís an improvement. I am aiming for a mountain bike if I canít do better.
†† I got dressed, went to get coffee and took four pills: One for my acid reflux, one multi-vitamin and two for my knees. I started thinking I was tired again, taking that many pills, I hate taking pills or any kind of medicine with a raging passionÖand was tempted to call in sick. Or at the least, call in fed up. But I got in the truck and went anyway.
†† I missed my calling. I should have been a trout bum, that venerable character epitomized and popularized by writer John Geirach. The sole purpose in life being to make just enough money to fish as much as humanly possible. Fishing, itís been said, turns men into philosophers, but itís hard to buy good tackle on a philosopherís salary, so most of us go find jobs that wear us down and beat us up and we spend weekends when weíre too tired to fish watching season six of Buffy on the DVD and napping our way through a catharsis.
†† ďIn these sad and ominous days of mad fortune chasing, every patriotic, thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes or not, should lament that we have not among our countrymen more fishermen.ĒGrover Cleveland
††