Mrs. Marchedown

We are all just budgies of truth. *original photo by Valerie MacEwan

Sitting in the dark exchanging tall tales and short truths as we sit under a canopy of hundred year old loblolly pines. Tonight we speak in campfire conversations where I can barely see anyone’s face — how does this darkness affect me?

Do I tell more lies or more truths when we’re alone by the fire?

How does the story go?

What effect does solitude and crackling logs have on our truth when we speak to each other in the shadow of the lonely pines? I’m trying to explain my week but my family is more intent upon adding larger and larger logs to the fire.

It’s rough going lately. Walking — my new nemesis — my Moriarty. And the boys, so kind, still can’t help but demand visits to the gardens. I’m crippled, a disarray of confounding maladies cause me to lumber and stumble when I try to walk.

Earlier in the week, I met “my” new psychiatrist. We’re very possessive of our medical staff, aren’t we? My doctor, my psychiatrist. She seemed kind but then again, they all seem kind at first. Ready to listen, actively listening, posed to listen and appear enraptured in our dialog. These days there’s no ready pen and pad, it’s the keyboard and computer that record our session. No couch in the office.

It’s the same every time. Interest wanes, paperwork is foremost.

Not that an internist or a neurologist would ever sit, posed with a looked of rapt attention, perched on the edge of their little rolling stainless steel stool. No, those of the physical specialities always know what your truth before they enter the room. Before meeting me, their dictation begins and the whispers permeate the inch-cracked door, barely heard above the whoosh of the air conditioner and the shuffle slide of the nurse practitioner as she pushes open another door to another room with another one of me in it.

“Good morning,” good whatever time of day. I’ve had neurologists and lately two different dentists! walk into the examining room without identifying or introducing themselves. Try that on my mother, would you, the stiff-backed, glorious posture of a 91 year old women dressed in 1950s “I care for my family and I am proud of it” style, hefty handbag and small pillbox hello Jackie O hat, white gloves, try to enter a room and begin a discussion about illness, tell her how sick she is, without introducing yourself.

Years of social graces subtly abused silence my protest and render me mute. Those all-knowing, smart-than-you, rude ones will mispronounce my name, never hesitating in their false carevoices, “Mrs. MARCHdown” they say, not caring that it is spelled “Marchedawn” as in Marshdown, the central-Glens’ pronunciation so easily spoken in our house, in our town.

What do they care? See me once, never see me again.

See me once, see me next with the anesthesiologist, all smiling, still mispronouncing only now we are on a first name basis as they watch the nurse check the chart, shoot a beam across my patient bracelet and confirm that I am indeed Mrs Marchdown.

Fucking idiots.