This has been one unholy bitch of a year. Bob Dylan comes to mind, as he does any time I have a bitch of a year, and there’ve been very few. Which is to say Dylan doesn’t often come to mind any more, especially since that horrible concert I went to a couple years ago during which I couldn’t make out a single note of anything played and CERTAINLY nothing he sang. A concert we left early, sadly disappointed, especially since it was a small venue and you’d think, a great event.
So where was I?
Oh yes, hey! Mr. Tambourine Man–play a song for me.
Because if you’d played it last summer after I flew with an upper respiratory infection, well, I wouldn’t be able to hear anything in the jingle-jangle morning because I had no damn hearing. Or rather, very little damn hearing. And it took weeks of steroids (and aren’t THEY fun, especially in massive doses) and then weeks of waiting to get relatively normal hearing back.
But, as I said to my doctor, It’s not cancer!
So back to Mr. Tambourine Man:
Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
Yes, left me blindly here to stand.
Because mere months after my sense of hearing went all old-age on me, so did my eyesight, as I sat eating Indian food with my gay husband and some spirit took a big calligraphy brush and exploded a big Z for Zorro! across the field of vision of my left eye.
My instant phone call to my internist and the ride to Stanford,the visit the next morning to the eye institute, the follow up visit to my retinologist and the news that I had something like a split retina and we’d wait and see another month. Maybe we’d laser it to prevent a detached retina (which I’ve already had in the other eye) but really, not unless we have to because the laser will rob a little of your vision, Carol, they said.
Did I mention the gift it left me? That big, new floater in that eye that wreaks havoc with reading? At least it isn’t the Z. THAT was disconcerting.
But as I said to my doctor, It’s not cancer!
That’s the benchmark now for any ailment. It’s not cancer.
All my senses may be stripped as I age, but I’ll be DAMNED if I get cancer.
You’ll have to excuse me if I relate this story to the news of the day, the week, the month and the year, and that is to say that maybe it’s a damn good thing some of my senses are dulling so that I don’t have to see and hear a fascist regime take over America. Just maybe I’m better off, as Dylan says, disappearin’ down the foggy ruins of time… with all memory and fate driven deep…let me forget about today until tomorrow.
Here’s that excerpt, and the song in a version when Dylan actually had a voice we could understand.
Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.