• James Eric Fristad

New Tablet, Old Angst

Updated: Sep 7

Uncertainties are spreading like a jar of homemade apricot/pineapple** jam dropped on the kitchen floor just now. Messy and probably yummy but cloaking you in wretched feelings, as you look at it, because your un-jammed toast will be dry and blah. Partly of course it's like the pandemic itself -- whose ferocity is unknown but whose influence spreads, like that sticky stuff discoloring the tile down there by your toes. How it will affect your own tootsies, can only be guessed at. So many have got such stuff on their own toes, now blithely spreading it to their beloved ones and enemies alike. Folks in the U.S. seem determined to misbehave that way, showing their peculiar patriotism (which decrees that they must behave in the most self-centered ways possible) ... uncaring about the lives of others whose health their very presence in the room likely alters, and almost certainly compromises.

That overarching health worry underlies my fears about U.S. citizens being welcome anywhere in the world, anytime soon. Hence the angst part of this. Uncertainty and also regret because, well, those planned segments were places and times we really wanted to experience. Reservations had been made (to be practical about current implications), deposits had been paid, and in at least one case, rents paid in full. Partly it's the looming uncertainty of it all, the waiting for the other shoe to drop, which will not only startle us, banging on our ceiling, but likely will smash our tidy and designerly room all to pieces.

Will the whole, present "cunning plan" (Blackadder's Baldrick) need to be scrapped, reworked, imagined afresh?

Maybe. Over the past weeks/months we have enjoyed the idea of being in those places. Imagining seeing whether St Emilion may have any wine for sale that we can afford a glass of, at one of those plaza tables (FWIW does that blue storefront in the lefthand photo remind anybody else of Fitzgerald's Pub in the Ballykissangel series). Or in Levanto sitting at that corner table out there near the Illy Coffee sign, with camera gear at the ready, sipping our morning Americano while deciding which of several colorful little towns within range, we're going to ride the train to visit. Or later, headquartered near the Tiber, wondering at the creepy and also awestruck sensations mingling inside our hearts, as we thread our way through first-century catacomb tunnels deep burrowed by early Christians beneath the soil of ominous Rome. A hazard of over-planning, maybe, getting too-well acquainted with these odd places beforehand? Imagining, visualizing. Wondering what our rare dinners-out will look like in those exotic towns.

At the same time, I must admit the planning part of it is a thing I enjoy. Wondering where can I reasonably get to from the previous place that I wanted to spend time in; to absorb history of; to people-watch from tables... where? To have pretend sword-fights in ancient castle courtyards then retire to enjoy a picnic up there on the battlements, our backs resting against ancient crenellations, sandwiches in hand, with forests and meadows stretching beneath.

And if all that detail needs to be reimagined, how much time will there be to do it wisely, successfully? No doubt I'll arrange at least some of the present pieces to appear on the new schedule of events, if the next Plan appears needful. But certainly not all.

Fact is we cannot do everything, even if we were much (!) younger and had an unlimited travel-budget. The fact that our means are finite has a bearing on things, 'tis true. But looming bigger than that dollar/euros limitation, is the health factor. Or really factors-plural, since such issues are less in-the-future nebulous minutiae, at this time of life. Our minds are now able to define all sorts of ailments, along with appropriate cures or palliative measures that we are getting (uncomfortably) conversant about. Whose nearness makes for bothersome bedfellows. Fact is that in a very few years we shall find ourselves staring at the beginning of our eighth decade. [And yes, many there are for us here, and for you reading there, whose smiles we miss sorely still, who we trust are waiting to greet us up yonder -- I know that.] But we still want to venture out if we possibly can, with as few frailties as we can avoid carting along.

Carpe diem, they say indeed.

Back to the present. We are both vaccinated (and will be happy for boosters, should such become a live option), continuing to visit the YMCA regularly, dealing with fairly serious issues like a possible other-leg TKR or vein ablation. Sheesh.

So this most recent collection of photos and comments from me, up to the present, has been Plan J. I did skip the letter i just because J looked more recognizable, but still you get the idea there has been some tenacity over the months past, trying to get it all just right. Now there is a Plan K on its own spreadsheet. More sheeshes.

Other part of present blog-title: this is happening today via a Samsung Galaxy S7+ Tablet, new to me and proving its worth. Eric-sized finger keyboard, for one.

**Apricot/Pineapple jam happens still to be my favorite-ever spread, whose splattering would be catastrophic indeed.

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