Friday, December 11, 2009
Sitting around your house, with your feet up, watching stupid television shows, and having your family wait on you sounds heavenly. For about five minutes. Then, it's pure torture.
Under doctor's orders following minor foot surgery, I've been doing just that for three days now. I finished a book, edited a couple of chapters in my under-way novel, checked email a bazillion times a day, and occasionally ate something. I have asked my kids to return the remote control to me at least seven times a day. I have hobbled to the bathroom only when absolutely necessary. I have endured those pitiful, wanton stares from my black Lab who will never forgive me, I suspect, for abandoning our daily walking ritual.
And I find this whole 'sit back and relax' concept to be a bit overrated.
But I also find that it forces me to take a look around, and a listen, and so on. By sitting here I realize the fireplace needs to be swept and the floors desperately need vacuuming, and it reminds me of how much I hate housecleaning, and dust. I listen to the sounds of water in the pipes after someone's taken a shower or flushed a toilet and it makes me worry: with all the subzero temperatures we've been having, what if a pipe burst? I hear a distant dog bark, somewhere in the back of my subconscious, and it dawns on me that someone (me?) has left the dog out for too long.
I feel the cat rub against the back of my head as she creeps along the top of the sofa behind me; her fur and my hair generate static electricity, and she too wonders about my sudden fit of laziness, as though I had turned into a cat like her. I hear the clacking of my laptop keys; I am thankful my arms are no longer than they are else the thoughts in my brain might dissipate before they get to the keys. The sparkling water, I notice, tastes a bit sweeter than I recall.
Outside, the pine needles quiver as the branches bounce around in the breeze. How often do I even look at those trees? The snow looks like a frozen souffle about to collapse. The sun is shining and the sky is blue but I know they're fooling me; it's still bitter cold and for a brief moment of insanity I am grateful I am stuck inside.
But then I listen to the tense voices, observe the creased foreheads, feel the thickness in the air. The cupboards are almost bare. Christmas is still in boxes. Everyone is tired of the slavery.
The expression 'getting a leg up', I've read, originally referred to the help offered to a horseback rider when mounting her horse. In a way, I feel like that rider. Climbing a big horse can be a challenge for the inexperienced rider; climbing a big mountain poses obstacles for the inexperienced mountaineer. And climbing onto a sofa, to just sit around as a blob, is nearly impossible for the inexperienced couch potato. She needs help.
And with that help, the world begins to look a little different, whether sitting atop a steed or sitting right here on my sofa. Things look and sound and feel and taste (and even smell) a little different right now. And maybe that's a good thing. Sometimes it's good to tweak your perspective on your world. So I think I'll stay put, with my leg up, for a few more days until my doctor gives me permission to put my foot down...and do things my way once again.