Cloister Commentary, Day 213: The Simple Things

I usually try to lift myself out of a funk by just doing simple, easily completed tasks, so that was my goal yesterday morning. On the plus side, I smoothly made a check-up appointment for young June Bug, skillfully scheduled myself in to chat with my financial guru Alex LaBrunerie, and seamlessly executed a notarization of a Stephens student’s absentee ballot.

However, when I received a call from the local endoscopy center inviting me to a “procedure” party, things began to fall apart. I wanted to get it over with, so I told the receptionist November 3rd sounded great. I hung up–then realized that prepping for a colonoscopy in the days leading up to this election, then getting it on Election Day, were dubious choices.

I called back: “How ’bout the Monday afternoon that?” “Perfect! I’ve got you changed.” I hung up, swung my legs onto my desk, and smiled smugly–but WAIT! That would be the day after Nicole’s birthday; would I really want to celebrate with her while chugging Gatorade, eating Jello and popsicles, gobbling Dulcolax, and excusing myself on the hour? NO!

“Sorry, it’s me again. I promise I won’t call again. What’s the next appointment you have available? November 23rd? No, no travel plans for Thanksgiving (unfortunately), so that’ll work.”

Next, I emailed Nicole’s financial advisor to make an appointment for her, then settled in to read and blast away the COVID blues–forgetting that her money magician really prefers calls, and will call you if you forget. The phone snapped me out of my bibliophilic-discophilic trance: “Phil, I just have one question–” Oh no. “–are you sure Warren Zevon’s who you want to be listening to right about now?” We spent the next half-hour talking about Zevon, Alice Cooper, Jesus Christ Superstar (“Sacrilege!” his mom yelled at him as she tossed it), Cher, Glen Campbell, Bob Dylan, and, oh yes, a financial issue. It was actually a very enjoyable visit, but upon hanging up, I realized I was late to our appointment to finalize our estate planning, then, a block away, discovered I didn’t have a mask, then, after the receptionist gave me one, looked at our lawyer’s face and inferred that he was not pleased with the fact that the Chiefs game had just started (at 4:15?). Fortunately, he was forgiving and patiently, even cheerfully, walked us through our wills and stuff.

I successfully got myself home…and found that, despite my stumblings through simple strivings, my funk had lifted. It’s the little things…like shooting layups to get out of a jump-shooting slump.

Streaming for Survivors:

Pass the peas, like they used to say.

Cloister Commentary, Day 137: Tenterhooks

We voted. Actually, we already had, via absentee ballot. The occasion was mostly a primary, but voters approved a Medicare extension, so that was cool. However, early indications are that barely 30% of eligible Boone County voters exercised their right. I hope to be corrected on that percentage.

We’re also both on tenterhooks waiting for our schools to decide on an opening. With the kind of planning that goes into days, weeks, months and semesters of hour-by-hour teaching, August 4th (make that 5th) shuts the window to a bit of a crack. I know these decisions are difficult, but quality education should be a high priority, y’know?

The two big reminders of my own mortality this summer has presented me pushed me to get in for a check-up. Also, I’m changing physicians, as my last one seemed to be just checking me off the clipboard and couldn’t even keep my medical history straight. I attempted to return to my previous physician, whom I’d left after he scheduled me for a colonoscopy, where I heard the surgeon tell me right after I came out of anesthesia, “Hey, I know you love this procedure, but you didn’t have to come in for another two years!” Smart ass! BUT I was chapped off that I spent some money I didn’t need to and wasn’t even given a choice. According to the receptionist, who asked me to explain why I left the clinic in the first place, my previous physician is “conservative”–I don’t find that word perfectly comforting, but if it means he’s not into taking chances with my health, OK, I get it. Anyway, the receptionist had to check on a couple of matters and call me back, which she didn’t. Gripping reading, eh?

I started what promises to be a great book, Lawrence Wright’s The End of October. Wright’s one of my favorite nonfiction authors–his The Looming Tower, about the historical run-up to 9/11, is a classic–but this is a novel–about a pandemic breaking in Jakarta with a 70% lethality rate. I needed some light reading after the events of the last two months.

Streaming for Strivers:

“Trad jazz” sounds boring, but not when Sidney Bechet’s in the house.