Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A noble gift

Neckties and noble truths.

I have in a pile--and let's be honest with each other, everyone has piles of something, somewhere--and in my closet I have more. A lot more. A lot more.

Time was, I'd wear them all the time. My job required "grownup clothes," the most conspicuous item being a tie. For which you got upbraided for not wearing. I used to go to the Magic Castle all the time, and it likewise requires grownup clothes with ties and such, for evening wear (evening being most of the time that it's open).

I don't wear them anymore. I don't wear grownup clothes any more. I don't go to the Magic Castle any more; being a hundred-year-old manor, it sure ain't ADA.
I was pondering what I might do with said ties... Maybe give them to my nephew, but he's only 5 so it'll be a while before he needs them. Maybe give them (or at least some of them) to the son of a friend of mine from Yale; this lad used to do things like dress up as Dr. Who (the most recent ones) or Stephen Colbert, so I think he'll like costume stuff. I have other costume stuff that'd he might like, clearing out the costume closet is for another day. Another project. Not this one.

But of course, I don't want to give them all away. The Jerry Garcia-designed purple tie. The wooden one, which I used to wear regularly to the Magic Castle. The didn't care what the tie was, as long as you were wearing one. Same with the hollow plastic one which contained a cow standing on a beach. Sorry I can't get a picture for you, but it's cute and funny. And c'mon, you're forced to wear a tie, so the one you wear has a cow standing under a palm tree on a beach. F--k with me and I'll f--k with you; not a "noble" truth, but one that gets invoked when I get pushed to hard. Maybe I'll keep a couple of others, the white tie to go with the black shirt, something somber for funerals (other people's, thanks for asking) and maybe one that I "borrowed" ("liberated") from my own dad, who also has lots and lots of them.

"Minus two or three," he says with a grin.

And the plaid one, the district tartan from my maternal grandfather's region of Scotland. My brother has a kilt in the "hunting" version, which is green and orange and brown and such, a really nice design for him, but the tartan makers from whom I got this tie said they'd make a woman's skirt but they would not make a kilt out of it; even by Scot's "ugly tartan" standards, this one absolutely reeks, as though it might have been designed by Red-State Americans to celebrate their homeland but still, red white and blue! (Gakk...)
And here we come to the Noble Truths; specifically, impermanence and attachment.

Us MSers deal 24/7 with "Things have become... different, now," and for anyone who doesn't really really know that the world is impermanent, look at the clothes that a child used to fit in, things you yourself used to wear, for people like me the wheelchair you've now been relocated to, the car you can no longer drive, lots and lots of "impermanence" things. Just go outside and look at plants, and you'll see that things change. All the time. Nothing is permanent. Nothing.

And, attachment? I can't bring myself to let go of a necktie. Now, let's each of us think about things we're "stuck on," or "stuck to," or that we work very hard to ensure that they stick to us... Compare those to a necktie.

You--anyone-- who are not willing to give up rage, fussing, delusions of all kinds into which a lot of work may be put. Not willing to give it up. Well, that's attachment!

I'll admit, I sometimes like being full-on "taken care of," I like to do the things I want to do and I'm attached to simply being able to do them, and things like misbehaving machinery (computer problems), hands that can't type well or even use a mouse, being stopped from creating music hurt. Because, I guess, I'm attached.

"Acceptance" sometimes rankles as a word. So, I'm supposed to not walk and give it up? I can't drive, I give up missing all the things I used to do when I could?

And somehow, I've always found that hard... the "does that mean I have to give up?" thing. As Ram Dass says, if you put all your effort into thinking about how things are "supposed to be," you'll never see how they actually are.

So what am I supposed to do? Ram Dass says his guru told him to love God and tell the truth. A simple statement of truth may be all that's called for...

Today, I'm not driving. Today, I'm in a wheelchair. Today, I'm not typing well.

The MS Medico's would say, that's ok (I think they'd say that, not that I care) because I'm not claiming and declaring the permanence of disability. And I'm not really saying ... anything, besides what's there anyway. Today. Here and now.

Hard to not "accept" being in a wheelchair when you can't just get up and walk away. Although my doctor tells me he once had an MS patient in a wheelchair for 25 years who one day, got up, and walked out of the hospital.

MS is impermanent. People that I know have actually seen that truth. And for any of us MSers, wouldn't that be a noble truth?

And which among us MSers is willing to fight for our own disability, the way we're so often willing to fight for our many other attachments?

Not me. Well, as far as the disability goes... I'm working on the other bits that are still with me.

Does that make the impermanence of MS into a noble...


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