10 March 2014

0 the living

so's all of a sudden it's like i have street cred and can just write people who knew jackie at their gmail accounts. and yeah, they may turn me down, but i can still do it. which is beyond weird.

the upside of this is that the inside joke where my father reads aloud a review of a biography written by someone who interviewed 500 people and i respond that my review will read and she interviewed three people may come to naught.

because there's hope of two more and tonight is #3.

which means my response will now have to be and she interviewed FIVE people.

which also means i spent the early afternoon anesthetizing myself with house of cards.

because this is the part i HATE.

not the actual talking to the actual people, but the run up. the dialing. the waiting.

waiting sucks. waiting makes me anxious. waiting makes me worry that the skype connection will be rotten and i'll sound like i'm on the moon and, as everyone i deal with is 80, they'll not be able to hear me or there'll be a language barrier or they'll have dementia or my brain won't be working and i'll seem like i have dementia.

there are so many ways in which to embarrass one's self on the phone. it's deeply hilarifying that, in boxing myself in to write about this woman, i have also boxed myself in to having to regularly talk to people on the phone, whether that be through the podcasts or through interviews.

the discovery that there are living people is amazing. it can only help.

the reality that i have to talk to said living people is harrowing.

but this is how we tell stories. this is how we get stories to tell. and we do all of this because stories are important, stories are essential.

today i went with my vicar friend to help do a church service at a nursing home. one of the women was there to see one of the elderly men. after the service, she and another woman with us were talking about him.

he was a hero, said one of them, the one with the rose lipstick and the green eyeshadow. and, as i looked across the room into the blue eyes now so vacant, the other woman, the one wearing a wooden crucifix round her neck, unspooled the story of how, in the early 1980s, before it was an understood thing, this man, this priest, had helped gay men in his parish suffering from AIDS. he was a hero, she repeated.

stories, people. they are essential to life. because they are life. and they are what's left after it.

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