Pages

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Today morning as I woke up, my 7 month-old girl was sitting next to me in my bed, babbling. As I hugged her she started licking my cheek. These moments make life easier in the middle of busy work & home weeks.

I'm expecting to resume blogging at the regular frequency (whatever that is) sometime next week.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reflections by Tony Judt

As I was getting my hair cut today a strand of hair slided into my ear. It was itching a bit but I didn't want to distract the hairdresser by asking him to stop so that I can clear my ear. Or so I thought. Within a minute the itch grew strong and all of my mind was completely focused on how to get that strand out. I then asked him to stop and shook and scratched my ear until I thought I was all set.

Now read this passage from an essay by Tony Judt, a professor and historian who's paralyzed from neck down:
Ask yourself how often you move in the night. I don’t mean change location altogether (e.g., to go to the bathroom, though that too): merely how often you shift a hand, a foot; how frequently you scratch assorted body parts before dropping off; how unselfconsciously you alter position very slightly to find the most comfortable one. Imagine for a moment that you had been obliged instead to lie absolutely motionless on your back—by no means the best sleeping position, but the only one I can tolerate—for seven unbroken hours and constrained to come up with ways to render this Calvary tolerable not just for one night but for the rest of your life.

My solution has been to scroll through my life, my thoughts, my fantasies, my memories, mis-memories, and the like until I have chanced upon events, people, or narratives that I can employ to divert my mind from the body in which it is encased. These mental exercises have to be interesting enough to hold my attention and see me through an intolerable itch in my inner ear or lower back; but they also have to be boring and predictable enough to serve as a reliable prelude and encouragement to sleep. It took me some time to identify this process as a workable alternative to insomnia and physical discomfort and it is by no means infallible. But I am occasionally astonished, when I reflect upon the matter, at how readily I seem to get through, night after night, week after week, month after month, what was once an almost insufferable nocturnal ordeal. I wake up in exactly the position, frame of mind, and state of suspended despair with which I went to bed—which in the circumstances might be thought a considerable achievement.