When That Thing Happens

‘Astral Traveling’: Pharoah Sanders, the ‘Thembi’ album

Just when I thought I was on a good foot with my health – wham! Acid reflux.

I’ve revised my dietary habits (again, still?), try to sleep with my shoulders, neck, and head slightly elevated (for some reason, I tend to slide down toward the foot of the bed, so this whole propping things is, in actuality, a drag), I am taking a 14-day course of the OTC, non-branded Prevacid.

Yet, 1am or so, and over the melatonin I take before bed, I’m awake with my stomach burbling and the feel of acid in my throat.

Today, tonight, I’m going to try the no-name Prevacid with dinner instead of with breakfast like the package indicates. I’ve read a few things about taking it at night instead of at breakfast.

I’m willing to try that before I succumb to a trip to the doctor’s, where they might make me get an endoscopy.

Reflux comes from stress.

I know I’m stressed.

Did I mention I started a new job?

So, this isn’t instead of the one I had but in addition to.

I’m not stressed by that precise thing: I can do them both. It’s just a thing, getting a new job and having stress. I mean, there’s the learning new places and people, systems and processes, and whose toes are okay to step on, however lightly. Navigating a new system is a thing, particularly if you tend not to be the greatest extrovert.

I put myself out there and God saw fit to have them see me, choose me.

It’s humbling and frightening and it stresses me on top of the other things that stress me.

Staying ahead of the grime that tries to overtake the entire house stresses me.

I lug out the vacuum (Dysons are great, but they certainly aren’t lightweight. I am not complaining, mind you. My uncle has a Kirby from the 1970s — that thing is a tank. I’d love one and am thankful the house is just one floor. Who knows, maybe I’ll give the purchase an honest consider once I stock up a bit of coin) and try to tame the coating of human and animal hair that is only partially visible as we walk around each day — how can the hopper fill twice and then some after only a week?!?

I bought a new wet vac for the rugs too, like year before last. It sat in the room, just being new, and then, all the bottoms of my socks were black. I lugged out the wet vac, two weekends in a row, and the water that it pulled up was darker than the soil in the front yard. I’ve done it since and can’t get the rugs clean, to the point that the water in the dump tank isn’t some shade of mud. I am loathe to try and hire a company to do it because I certainly can’t move all this furniture, find space for the dogs so they wouldn’t eat the people doing it, find space for the cat so he isn’t terrified, find space for us — the people — to do what we do while the rug people do what they do.

That Kirby expense feels better and better.

The fence took a beating during the last wind storm. One section fell and my beloved was able to get it back up. It looks … forlorn, like it knows it isn’t what it used to be and that one day in the not-distant future (depending on those coins), it will be replaced with a younger, newer version of itself.

I stress about the electric outlet I burnt out by plugging an old space heater into it. I forgot to turn it off and the next morning discovered that the outlet no longer worked. My beloved had said he smelled something when I had the heater running and I thought it was the heater itself. I think about what an electrician would cost to replace all the outlets in the house; I had my regular electrician tell me a per-outlet cost some years ago and the number set me aghast then.

I stress about being the one to remember to empty the lint trap in the dryer. I think about it, even when I’m not doing laundry.

So, my stomach protests these things, burbling in the early morning darkness, causing me to rise and clean and work and write, like I am now.

But before the burbling began and before (or maybe it was just after) I’d dropped off to deep early night sleep (because after all, I usually go to bed by 9pm at the latest, unless I ate dinner after 6pm or if, like the latter part of this week, I’m attending to three nights of special services from my congregation), I was reminded of the song ‘Astral Traveling’. At the time, I couldn’t remember who had done it, so I looked it up.

And there was that thing.

From the first note, I was flooded with good memories, sad memories, memories of a past. There was nothing in particular but various scenes, like sitting on the tile floor at the blood bank, waiting for it to open so I and the several others there at dawn could donate plasma — memories of the dude who listened to Billy Cobham and a few other jazz cassettes each time we were there.

Like lugging my milk crate of albums up to the radio station at 1am because I was on the 2 to 6am shift on Saturday morning as a newbie.

I played ‘Astral Traveling’ most sets.


That thing.

And I cried.

I just put my head back and cried.

Cried with the joy I felt at those memories, cried with sadness at the innocent girl I was then who lost her joy over years of pain and loss and fear and anger and more loss and …

I cried at the beauty of the songs as I let the album stream.

I’m crying now.

Because that thing, that thing that keeps us going, the moments of memory and joy that remind us the world is bigger than the stress and the tears and the anger and the disappointment and the burbling.

And we go on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: