So I spend a lot of time making sure things are just so, opening or closing the blinds per time of day, swishing the bathroom curtain into a jaunty shape, mopping or teaching the kids about not spilling pop corn, or making the bed in a particular way so that the image and function of the bed sends a particular visual message. I dislike mess. I do those things, or get in jags where I'm super tight about keeping things in order, nearly militaristic in my own head about cleaning the coffee pot or making sure my office is presentable and lovely and purchasing cheap versions of nice things so I look like the faux executive that I suppose I desire to be, or am by default.

I work hard not only at my job, but at other things. "Making change" comes to mind, as if there is any change I've been involved with that wouldn't be there anyway, performing, utilizing my well honed comic defense mechanisms, planning parties, worrying worrying concerning myself with community and feelings and making sure I take high roads, and trying to convince myself that being in this show or that show isn't the end all be all or the end of the world, and focusing on this minutae of being "busy" and "in charge" and "looking forward" and I don't know if any of it is cracked up to what it should be or if I"m just chasing my own tail, doing all the right things for the wrong reasons, or wrong things in the wrong way.

There are parties and shows going on this week. I'm not there in that system, I've diverted a trickle of the systems theatrical bloodstream off into my own little world and find it odd that I do not miss it, and am perhaps not missed. For all that worry about community, I don't know what role I play in it, unless I am there to see it. Not being seen, community just goes on. A relief actually.

I considered all these things as I sat with my mother this morning. Mornings at the nursing homes, as I bitterly noted earlier, smell like failure. Primarily, they smell like bowel and bladder failure. The tang of waste is sharp in the air, mingled with antiseptic whiffs of pine or citrus. I'm not sure how anyone gets used to it, but it carries with it an emotional tone, that smell. It's a bad smell, a smell of an orphanage, a smell of abandonment and despair.

She was eating oatmeal. Ironically, that's what the kids had this morning. She was being fed by a nice nursing home aide, around my age with an eyebrow piercing and heavy eyes. She encouraged me to talk to my mother, mom stared at me and off in the distance, and I fed her, baby spoonfuls of oatmeal and had her sip milk from a straw. "Maybe she'll still snap out of it, If that's what God wants.", the aide said to me. I think she meant it, meant that if God had a moment he or she or it could just snap those magic fingers and the brains of those in the home would rebuild and wasted muscles would re-tone and the smells would disappear and I'd have my mother again.

I don't know how she and I exist in the same world, that woman. God? Really? I smiled and fed my mother and tried not to cry.

The nice woman who believes in God does more to effect change than I do, she is there to feed my mother, change her diapers and clothe her. I am not doing those things every day or even every week. Those things were paid for, and taken off my plate, but the pain of it remains in larger form, than if I actually had to do it or so I imagine. There are people employed to take care of my mother and all the other sweet zombies in that home. I think that makes me an asshole. I wonder if that's where the woman sees God, in the faces and bodies and waste of those she serves. Or maybe she hates them. Hates her low wage paying job and hates me with my cheap briefcase and smart phone and "having to get to work" self, a job which requires no ass-wiping, and even affords me the time to write lovely stories like this one.

All I really wish is that her death would come quickly and painlessly. A quick cardiac situation while she slept perhaps, and her worn out soul, or essence, or life force, or Barbaraness could just completely be released into the wild where it belongs. Her body is, surprisingly, hale and hearty at this point, so her death is going to be a slow one, lingering and the effect of all of it over the past few years has been like an oyster releasing nacre over a trauma. Only in my case, I doubt a pearl is what has come of these many years, but a dull, dun colored stone, settled someplace in my center. How big can that stone get? How long will she live?

All these things I do, dashing this way and that and trying to be involved and make a difference and get ahead, seems so much like running in circles, not to anything but certainly from something. If I stop running, I have no idea what I'll find, so I won't stop, not anytime soon.