THINGS THAT I DID NOT KNOWTHAT I LOVED* (an entry inspired by a poem I read while I was visiting next door to Alice 17 June 2009)
It is May 15th, 2012 and I am in school awaiting my 10 o’clock class to begin on gloriously bright and warm spring morning. As I lock up my bike, I remark to another student at how nice a campus this is, and in fact, at how nice all of the campuses are for Metro Community College. He nodded in agreement and we exchanged more small talk and waved as we head to where we each were going.
The instructor for my Information Systems class last term passed me in a corridor, one who I had my first term. He is an avid cyclist and that gives us a point of common interest to speak to one another when our paths cross. But today I am unable to recall his name, and that frustrates me to this very moment. But I am not alarmed as this was a common occurrence while I lived “in the provincial town that I jogged ‘round” and I have long ago been “over it”. Still, it frustrates me because he is a good instructor and it is always nice to return warm greetings. I smile and ask if he is riding today and since we are going in opposite directions, I leave him with a colloquial “See ya”, and I head to class.
I never know if people like my instructor feel the same kind of lift when I see them and they acknowledge me, though as for that, I am sure that they do. Not to seem as if I was their “pet” or anything, but he and my English 2 instructor often speak to me when they see me. The English instructor, most pleasantly and almost informally, address me as if we were actual friends beyond school, and it isn’t about any of the rules of attraction, at least on my behalf. She is a slight, petite single woman who was mildly amused by my varied taste in music. She began to speak to me this term each time we would run into one another and make real conversation… telling me about her daughter and her search for a new home, which did result in her purchasing a house and the note being less than what she paid to rent. Today, I would see her as I tried to pull up this photo on my cell phone, but she was off to her first class and I had a bad case of the fumbles.
As I sat in the corridor waiting to go to class, a fellow student and her Mother (who is also a student!!) came by with their pet Cockatoo out of its cage, perched upon the daughter’s shoulder. The daughter is another one of the people that I speak to every day and for the longest did not know where I had made her acquaintance, but I did recall where I know her from, my association with her beau, also a student at Metro. So I guess the instructor’s name was pushed out to make room for this young lady…
…and now her Cockatoo! I remembered thinking how nice it would be to have a pet bird, a big one like a Cockatoo around, to teach tricks and to speak, an animal to keep me company. They are long-lived and as you can see, able to show affection. It was exciting to see his feathers crown (or whatever it is that it is called) as she spoke to it. In the initial clamor that he brought about by his appearance, the bird must have gotten a little nervous and made a dropping. The young woman’s Mother was prepared to bend down and clean after the bird when I took the tissue paper and fell to my knees and did the job. I was suddenly an 8-year old boy, and I was taking care of my neighbor’s bird. I asked if it would be fine if I touched the Cockatoo and as you can see, she did me one better by putting the bird on my shoulder and telling it to give me a kiss!
In my first class, we did evaluations of our group members and turned them in. One of the members of my group, a young Hispanic male, had sent me an email about, wait for it, AMWAY! This was done the night before and I wondered if he knew what he was getting into. He asked if I wanted to participate and I had to tell him, “Thanks, but no thanks, I’m drivin’”, as most distributors that I know are as successful as Dick DeVos gubernatorial bid was a few years ago with Amway. I did not tell him I thought it was a pyramid scheme, but I did make it clear that I thought it was going to be difficult to sell, but at the same time it could be possible that he was the next Amway success story. It isn’t for me to dash his enthusiasm, but I was clear in elucidating that I thought there were other more reliable ways of success.
As the last group made its presentation, I turned to the female member of our group and said, “I am glad we went first,” and she agreed. While we don’t know what our grade will be, after watching everyone else do theirs following ours, I feel more than comfortable with our work. The instructor also told me that a paper that I turned in a day late would receive full credit, because, “you know”. Often, because I don’t go around shouting to the world that I am disabled, it slips my mind that I am, as I am immersed in the moment and focused on doing. It never really dawns on me that being disabled I have certain allowances that can be used to help me out. Having enough time to do an assignment is one of them, and while I aim to get things done “on time”, I do get to turn things in a reasonable amount of time, if slightly late.
Of course there was a quiz in my Algebra class… and as always I left thinking that I scored 100%. It isn’t that it is wishful thinking as I have said before, but I studied, took my time and did the best to my ability. What has become clear this term, as it showed itself in the previous term I have to find a way to get vacuum-tight with arithmetic. But what I really wish is that I could take the quiz on a totally separate day, without the “static” of another class, but that may be of future referencing. Who knows, I think it is still feasible that I pull this out of the crapper and move on. You can’t say it is over until it is over!
Unlike most people, the things that often they take for granted, I don’t. I am glad that I get to walk up and down the hills in town, especially now that I have a great big walking stick to do so with! Before long, it will be as characteristic as my bike or school bag, or even my running, as many people recognize me through that association. And that is something else that I am thankful for, that people know me by the things that I DO, not by the things that I talk about or wish I were doing. I don’t talk about being pleased with my life and then act like I have been sucking on a brine-soaked cucumber. I stay upbeat because I am upbeat, and it is sincere. I think that my school-mate and her Mother got just as big a kick out of my reaction to their pet as I did to the bird. It is the honesty of my actions, the integrity of my spirit that is a part of what makes people “like” me. It also helps that people are simply nice here in Omaha, too!
While I don’t have a car (but I have a pair of Reeboks!) to show KT around town in, I am sure that between the taxi and the bus system, wherever we need to go will be gotten to, some kind of way. There are a couple of “date places” that I had thought I would have already gone to that I will take her, and I can’t wait until my co-tenants get a glimpse of her! Not like I plan on showing her off or anything, but the kind of glow that I think I will have cannot be but noticed! And I do plan on taking and sharing pictures of her as well!!
I hope that I am not being morbid when I say this but if I were not to wake or see another dawn, I will have lived quite a full life. Each day as I expend my energies to making a future happen, I am still well aware of the moment and how mortal I am. My Mother, two Aunts, and of course, my dearest, darling younger brother, have left this mortal coil before any of their family and loved ones wanted them to. And the poem made me think about the things that I did not know that I loved even more, as I try to appreciate the opportunity I have had with this existence. The Jungle Brother’s declaring that, “You don’t know if there will be anymore,” really sparked something in me. I cannot stress that enough, especially if my genes are not meant to go much further.
While I would ache for my daughters, I do not hold any fear of my death. Mainly because I have filled as much as I would have wanted into my life, as I have lived my dreams, not as full as possible but lived them nonetheless, and I am cool with what has happened.
Man, I am tired. Next week I will have my orientation, and I am stoked about that! Then I will be awaiting KT and my summer of love and fun will be set to begin!! And as always… I will see you later, unless I see you first!!