Worked more yesterday on "What the Mouse Knew." I estimate that I've probably put in 100 hours with this story that is 1500 words long, but citing word count with me is a slippery slope exercise. A given number of my words are not a given number of anyone else's words. Someone had read a story called "The Honkers," which is 1400 words long, and said that it could be called a novel for all that is in it. Things are changing, being redefined. Different possibilities are being revealed. Additional worlds are being opened up. I should go back into "The Honkers" and see if it needs work. It dates from the fall.
I was speaking to my mother who was going last night to a dual birthday party for two women who are eighty. One of these women has a husband with dementia, and she is starting to suffer from dementia herself. My mom was telling me that a couple times she's found her at the supermarket, which where my mom lives is called Jewel. I had my first job there as a teenager, bagging groceries and rounding up carts in the parking lot. I was much better at the latter than the former.
Each time this woman had walked to Jewel from where she lives, which is in a condo for the elderly. She can't drive. She knew my mom, but didn't know things about her--like where she lived--that she used to know, on account of those incipient stages of dementia. My mom asked how she was going to get home, and the woman said she was going to walk. Then my mom mentioned that she had a lot of groceries, and she'd drive her.
This made me very sad. I found this heartbreaking. That this woman walks to the supermarket and then has to try and carry everything back? I don't have a car, and when I go to the Trader Joe's, sometimes I don't walk home and just take the T, because it's a pain lugging everything, and I'm not an eighty-year-old woman with cognitive decline. She could fall, she could get hit by a car, who could forget where she is. And it's just hard to carry groceries. Someone like her stage of life shouldn't have to.
So I pitched my mom about pitching this woman. I suggested that she approach her tonight--with people around, so they could voice enthusiastic support--and see if she'd be amenable to being Jewel buddies, of a sort, and having my mom take her. This might sound strange, but I'd feel much better knowing that this woman wasn't trying to walk there and back. It's not a far walk, but that's not the point. My mom would have to call her, because she wouldn't remember, but she said she'd make sure she brought this up tonight. I know they're hoping that the woman remembers and shows up at this party. I don't know how she's getting there. Just awful.
This was another opportunity, too, for me to point to my mom to control what she can control. Don't take things for granted. Drink her water, do her walks, see her doctors. Take care of herself. I make these little speeches, and it might be annoying, but it's only because I care and I understand that people have a lot of things they don't think twice about--ambulating, getting in a car and driving to the market--but when you can't do them, it can be traumatic. And can be hard to get back, if you ever do, which becomes less likely the older you are. You want to put yourself in the best position quality of life-wise. Whether you're an octogenarian or a Zulu warrior. When I run stairs, I'm not just running stairs for today. I'm running stairs so I can dominate at eighty-five. I'm looking to where I want to be, and making sure I'm doing what I can so I'm strong, fit, and capable when I get there, and for all of the time that I'm there.
The pages of this journal are ported into Word documents. (That's how I know the word counts.) This is a work of literature. Life and literature. The final destination for this record is not this site. Nor is that what will be its ultimate form. We are in new waters with everything here. Out of curiosity, I did a word count yesterday of the last month of entries, and it came to over 50,000. That's how much fiction has also been worked on in that time. I think that is very hard for someone to process.
Yesterday I ran 5000 stairs in the early afternoon, then went back out in the late afternoon and did another 5000, all on the big stairs at City Hall. The 10,000 helped make up for the poor showing of the weekend.
A friend on Instagram posted a photo of what she described as a little bird on an outdoor table who stuck around the entire time she was on her lunch break. This allowed me to comment, "He's a house sparrow! (You can tell he's a he because of the 'bib' on his front.) He's also a proud member of the most successful bird species in America! They're very friendly and inquisitive, so they'll hop right up next to you. I think they can also sense gentleness."
Any excuse to shill for house sparrows. When I am in the park, there'll often be one on a bench. If I approach in a sort of gentle way and sit down, the house sparrow will usually stay where it is. That's how I tend to regard animals anyway. They're there and doing their thing. I never want to chase them off because I happened to show up.