Friday, June 11, 2010

Being There

It's funny what comes to mind at this stage of (my) life. Being There happens to be the name of a book by Jerzy Kosinski that I was supposed to read for a Mass Media class back in college. I have no clear recollection of what it was about,really , but I think a film version--starring Peter Sellers?--was made of it later.

But, as usual, I digress.

Being There-- the concept has all sorts of possible implications.

This afternoon, I spent a bit more than an hour in the head-below-feet position of my friendly, neighborhood periodontist. When the last stitch had been tied off, I'd been fitted with my 'flipper' [middle-aged version of a Retainer], and I had pocketed the all-important prescription for narcotic drugs (!), I noticed that, indeed, over in the waiting room, someone was 'being there.'

"Hmmm, another poor sap!," I nefariously thought, as I glimpsed a figure out of the corner of my eye. Double take.

There, patiently waiting, was my partner and completer.

"Well, that was so sweet of you to come and wait for me like this!!! Thanks!," I blurted with unsuspecting delight. To the receptionist lady, I explained, "this is my husband."

"I know," she twinkled...I guess he had been there a while.

Of course, there's usually a back story, and there is here, as well: Back in the
1980s, when we first met and decided we 'fancied' each other, the unwelcome realities of grad school kept interrupting our idyll.

One particularly low point was the evening I shuffled into an evening class for a midterm exam, opened my bluebook to begin writing, and found my mind completely and utterly blank. As in, how did I spell my name? What WAS my name? Did I really register for Restoration and Jacobean Literature, and if so, WHY?

I remembered that the book had a red cover adorned with illustrations of notable dead-and-dust English authors; I had fallen asleep with this volume many times over the previous week but, alas, osmosis did not occur and the subtleties of The Duchess of Malfi, let alone The Alchemist, had not made a sufficient impression on my little grey cells to allow for any recall, whatsoever. Nada. Zilch.

It was an unhappy, virtually dissociative experience that I could barely believe was happening. As the hands of the clock moved at a glacial pace, and my classmates busily scratched away page after page in their blue books, I sank lower and lower.

When we were finally told to close and turn in our blue books, I slunk out the door in a daze. A few feet away, seated on the floor was someone I had recently met. And begun dating. Just waiting. Being There: at the moment I most needed to be propped up and validated, in spite of my immediate academic disaster.

Just There. That was (dare I count them?) almost 30 years ago now. Obviously, the delight of the discovery is with me still.

Since then, there have been many incidents when one of us has needed to be there for the other; somehow, it seems to me that more often it has been me on the table, in the chair, or in the hospital bed. What a difference it makes to have the Important Someone being there Being There, too.

I need to make it a new aim to be aware of ways I can Be There...

No comments:

Post a Comment