I have accepted, after much deliberation, that there will always be two lenses through which I see the world, that of extreme gaiety and extreme moroseness. There is nothing novel about this; I have seen the strategy of bifurcating vision work for 3-D glasses and in both cases they make the stream of passing images pop out at you.
Two weeks ago, as I got out the shower I was besiege by mania. The song on my makeshift shower somehow inspired a feverish running around my apartment. By now everyone is used to these sudden outbursts. The Cat, the three dogs, Mrs. Mary, Sista Mary – they all continue on with their day and ignore what to an outsider would be grounds for immediate psychological treatment.
So I’m running around in a towel (or less when I hop over the dogs), singing those sweet words made famous by Rod Stewart some decades ago:
If you want my body and you think I’m sexy
Come on, sugar, let me know
If you really need me, just reach out and touch me
Come on, honey, tell me so, tell me so, baby
MrsMary asks me, while I dance a dance that would have given a male stripper a deep rooted confidence that all his bill would be paid that month in singles, to get her, her blow-dryer and a can of hair-spray, a curling gel and some product that though escapes me probably further impoverished the ecosystem of the Amazon Basin so replete with exotic botanicals it was. The dancing continues albeit with a little less hip thrusting now that I am juggling more than a handful of hair care and maintenance products. Gradually I calm down enough to get dressed comb my hair and talk myself through the things I need to do before I leave the safe-haven of my apartment.
After much waling and waiting, we get to see images of our child but we’re are unable to heard the heart beat clearly. I sent the pictures to all my friends and family and before long my cell phone is inundated with congrats, promises of drinks to be drunk and jokes about the motility of my sperm and the intactness of my reproductive system.
A week passes and we are back at the clinic. This time today there was no naked singing and dancing around the house. The world and everything in it is enshrouded in grey. I feel a little heavier than usual and it’s harder to get up and move. I’m very distracted and cannot think straight, and between the frequent bouts of day dreaming it takes me 7 minutes to put on my shoes which is a crime of course as they are slip-ones.
Finally we meet the doctor. Finally! As always the doctor ignores me completely and talks only to MrsMary because after all I’m just a walking wallet that pays for things with my own blood so that other could live life more fully. What follows next is a lot of clicking sounds and questions for MrsMary.
Just as I start to succumb to the call of sleep I am struck by the intrusiveness of the sound of rushing water filling the room and spaces of my imagination. A steady beat emerges out of the water and a number flashes across the screen telling how many beats per second. For the second time in my life a mix of joy, approbation and worry give way to smiling. No friends or family members are called nothing is shared or discussed. I chose to savor this moment, like I do all things dear to me: silently.
Whether under the duress of either gaiety or solemnity something happened in the doctor’s office that was outside of me, and not under my control. And it is pretty profound to realize that the most necessary things for life to go on are those that are not under our control like love, like an unborn child’s heartbeat, like the two lenses of perception that make what I see pop out. I’m starting to feel that there is no difference between the road not taken and the well trodden road; between mania and depression that is as long as we are moving. Life seems to me to be now more than ever, movement without regard to the destination, and so I move on into the next batch of weeks.
Just some thoughts