Years ago, I did all of my writing at a desk in a lonely room. I would write on yellow legal pads and then when I had something, I would type it out on my portable smith corona. When my daughter was little, I showed her my old typewriter and she was fascinated with it. She had never seen anything like it. I told her about white out, which for those of you who don’t know was like white paint you put over your mistakes so you could retype over the error without having to retype the whole page. I hitchhiked across the country carrying a backpack, a sleeping bag and my portable typewriter. I went everywhere with it, but when I used it, I only used it at a desk.
Over forty years later, I do most of my writing on a $125 Google chromebook that sits on my lap — whether I am in the front seat of an ambulance or now, sitting in a gym (mask on) watching my daughter’s AAU basketball tryouts. Her coach called the other night and was talking with me about her playing up another level with older girls, and we discussed the pros and cons — whether she plays with her own age girls where she can be the star or with other girls where she may struggle. I talked with my daughter about it on the ride over here tonight and she said, Dad, it doesn’t matter which team I play for, I get to play basketball!
With COVID numbers creeping steadily up, we don’t know if there will even be a basketball season, but it sure would be great to be able to keep watching her and other girls out on the court running and shooting The ball swishing through the net. Seeing them all smiling. It’s basketball!
The town opened the pool up so I have been swimming four times a week. I am not in the shape I was pre-COVID, but I am slowly getting back in shape. Today I did several 50 yard freestyle sprints. I got plenty of rest in between efforts drinking Gatorade while I caught my breath. It felt great to push myself again, head down, arms reaching fast and long, kicking tight and strong, driving for the wall. Swimming! Racing!
When I work the ambulance, the shift is long, but I try to clear the hospital quickly when it is busy. I am in the rapid response fly car. When the fire radio goes off, I hit my lights and sirens on and notify dispatch where I’m headed. (In our system Fire gets the call first, then they notify the ambulance.) The fire radio gives me a jump on the calls, and I often am the first to arrive on scene. Up the stairs, through the door, down the hall into the bedroom, where a person lies unconscious on the floor, everyone else in the room now looking at me. When I punch out at the end of ten hours, I am tired but fulfilled. I earned my pay and felt my work was valued.
My days are full between work at the hospital and on the ambulance, with taking my daughter to her sports, doing chores around the house (not enough chores as my house is always in a state of disrepair), trying to keep up with the events of the world and trying to make sense of it all with the words I write.
Sitting here pounding away at the keyboard, I feel that life is good. I am making use of time. Every night when I go to bed, I am sad that I have to go to sleep and say goodbye to another day on earth.
I don’t sleep as well as I wish I did. Too much on my mind. COVID-19, Race Relations, Opioid overdoses, the presidential campaign, division and violence in the world. And on a more personal level: Am I being a good father to my daughters? A good husband to my wife? Was I a good person to others? When will I see my father who lives in Florida again? How is my health? (My shoulder hurts, I have a nodule on my thyroid, I cough chronically, I am due for a colonoscopy, but don’t want to go). What repairs do I need to do to my house? (One gutter is falling down. I will soon be in need of a new roof, the back steps are starting to rot, all the rooms need repainting). Have I saved enough to retire when my body can no longer carry me through my working day?
I am still tired when I get up in the darkness of morning as my world spins farther from the sun on its annual trek. But I don’t linger in bed. I don’t tarry. So much to do. So much life to live. I may slip up, and I have no white-out to fix my mistakes, but I keep on typing. Keep on keeping on.
Now I look up and see the ball swish through the net. Joy on my daughter’s face, and then determination and she hustles to get back on defense. No rest on the court. Playing basketball!
Stay safe all. Keep on keeping on!
Tap Tap Tap.