written May 21, 2006
This morning I slept until 9:30 (well, I was in bed til then, but thinking for most likely half an hour, just lying there). Finally I made myself get up and take a shower, to feel fresh for my day “off,” finishing just in time to make it to the start of brunch. I sampled everything, and asked for everything in my eggs, inwardly laughing at your silly plain eggs when you will overload your potatoes and such with the kitchen sink. Must be a Southwest thing, I reasoned. Of course a movie was playing, but it was thankfully a comedy, and most where laughing along to Wedding Crashers. My Norton Anthology, having been carried around with me for the last day, has been asked about a lot, and I feel… enlightened to say, “Yes, it is a collection of some of Antiquity’s greatest works.” Brunch was good, and has not made me feel sick. Actually, I have a bit of a cold, from being in the rain a few days ago while on top the ship while refueling the ship alongside a tanker. It was not for lack of sleep, but I guess I can tell you how I spent my Saturday night: a command-wide drug sweep was suddenly called after dinner for everyone to take a urinalysis by the end of the night.
So I was in a long line for quite awhile in Engineering Berthing (because our own have been backed up for days) to pee in a bottle. Yes, everyone, even the captain (the only way it can be legally done). Even when I know I’m clean of course, there is still that vaguest of worries, like if it got mixed up with someone else’s, just because so much is riding on this routine test, and I am so close to the end. It’s like when you see police, even when you know you’re going the speed limit you might instinctively tap on the brake or worry for no reason.
The first story in my battered copy of Norton Anthology, as you know, is “Gilgamesh”, which I was excited to read because you talking about it. After reading the introduction I was even more so, because it is the world’s oldest example of literature, going back 4,000 years, the poem being a collection of fragments of stories found throughout the old world (And it doesn’t hurt that there was an historical Gilgamesh). It was so interesting to read something so distant and crude (the classic epic of a perfect hero against absolute evil, like Ulysses or Beowulf), but still have so many themes that play out today (such as Gilgamesh’s ego to be know by men, when yesterday Barry Bonds tied Babe Ruth at 714 home runs). With all of the cliches (the god’s helping the hero, the dreams of prophesy, a la Jacob in the Old Testament, I was really looking forward to the battles and climaxes). I thought it very interesting to that one of the last tales was that of “Gilgamesh and the Flood” (that one), especially since the entire story was lost for most of time until the late 19th-century, and people had to swallow that Noah wasn’t unique or original.
Even devoid of a Sunday paper to read, which I feel odd about, yet I was able to watch some of Face the Nation. This made me very happy to be able to watch American current events, and I hope the news of the days ahead can keep us connected as we can talk about common things. Today was actually a very well-mannered discussion on immigration and the problems of what to do what illegals already here. I would not call them “aliens,” because I think this is a way to dehumanize, but I also think “illegal” is apt, legally speaking. As for as I have understand the case so far, I do think that whoever is here should stay, but should, as they say, get to the back of the line and have to wait for a proper green card, while having to pay a fine for breaking the law. How they might pay it is problematic, as they already make very little, I understand, and I may not be very high. And I think they should learn English, but how to gauge how much is appropriate is difficult, and reminds me of the Jim Crow laws of reading and voting. More over, it is hard to tell others to learn English (here goes my own personal rant) when so few of us know it properly ourselves! Or am I mis-underestimating Americans? I also see no reason why we cannot get off our own butts and learn Spanish (what, is more knowledge bad?)! Okay, enough of that. What’s with this Jimmy Hoffa thing, and The Da Vinci Code being booed by critics? I can understand the Church, but can a movie with Tom Hanks and Ron Howard be that bad?
I understand now that I haven’t “talked” this much in nearly a week, and am getting out everything I’ve had no one to tell.
So that is my Sunday so far. The best part of it is being left alone and not being amidst silly squabbling. Most have the strongest need to comment on how dumb or retarded someone is, so that a little side attack is offered whenever you do so much has ask where something might be. I know it is a projection of their own frustrations and worth, even if they will never think so far along themselves. I always just thinking it is sad and a waste of breath by all involved, and remain still. My knee still hurts much of the time, especially when I extend it, so that I have gone back to medical, and have asked to be x-rayed when it’s possible. I feel it is some form of tendinitis or strain. I don’t expect the x-ray to find half of a knee or massive damage that I must come home, but I would be very surprised for them not to notice something. This is not to have my cruise shortened, but to have it in my record if I would possibly need disability. Even a few months ago I would have thought this claim might be too far for my condition, but now I feel differently.
But more about Sundays. The older I get the more I like a little routine. I’d hate to get bogged down in always doing this the same way (how boring!), but I like they way we’ve tried to give ourselves a little tradition like Sunday. When I was little Sundays of course always meant going to church. I don’t remember it of course, but there is a picture of me a barely three years old going to my first day of Sunday school. It was really fun, and so many of my friends were there. I loved listening to stories, and they had such great, odd, plots, but always seemed to work out alright in the end. I always liked the Genesis stories more than ones about Jesus, but Moses’ was always my favorite, and for years when I was stuck in the middle of a boring service I would turn to the story and begin to read. When I was young of course we only had to sit halfway through church before being allowed, after the children’s story, to go to the nursery. Stripped of the heavy rituals and rites of Catholicism (which I knew nothing about), I actually enjoyed going, because everyone was very nice, and would greet at the door with handshakes and we would sing songs- and there was nothing on TV but news shows anyway. I liked sitting with me parents, or at least I like to look back in time like this. Home by noon Mom would prepare the meal that had been slowly simmering all morning while we were gone, its smells torturing me as I run into the house and into my room to rip off my Sunday clothes, most likely left for dead on my floor. Now it was time to play! Again, when I was little, I couldn’t care much for football (probably because of that whole down and yardage thing…), but I liked watching the games downstairs with my Dad because he liked them, and because it was the only way I was going to be able to eat in front of the TV and not at the table. And sometimes for the football snacks too. By halftime I was off on my own. Sunday nights we would pop popcorn on the stove, with the seeds in a pan being shaken over the burner, then drizzled with butter that had been heated next to it. It was my treat for being good and not getting into trouble.
So it was easy to fall into a Sunday pattern with you, and welcomed. Very much of what I do I cannot tell you from one moment to the next what will happen, so that I like a few things that I can be reasonably contain of, even if it is that a single day is cleared away that we can do anything together we wish. I miss our breakfasts, our Sunday papers, me sitting with you at a Starbucks as you study, me watching football as you entertained yourself with chocolate overload. Making dinners together (or me watching and then washing dishes- a few times over), renting movies, going to Langley, or watching Grey’s or walking along Hampton’s beaches. Even ever taking an entire day and going to King’s Dominion, because it was our day to relax and have. I’m very glad on our last Sunday we did some driving, you proved me moderately wrong about Troy at a library, and I was able to make a dinner for you that you liked.