Sunday, December 20, 2009


After the snow storm yesterday and last night, it looked like a Christmas card out there today. I couldn't resist taking a stroll through our little village with the idea of doing some holiday shopping.

I went into two little stores, one that sells only things made out of recycled materials, like coasters from the center of old 33rpm records, and another that sells artsy odds and ends which seem pretty unique.

In the first store there was Christmas music playing—Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons singing "I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Claus" in that falsetto voice of his that only a tough Italian kid from Jersey could have gotten away with back then—and four or five customers in a very small shop.

I circled the tiny place looking to see if there was something I might get someone and found one little item and then after going through the whole store decided on another I had seen. But when I tried to find it I couldn't, and as two of the customers paid for their merchandise and one of them took a cell phone call and the music changed and I kept circling the room unable to find this item, I began to feel overwhelmed by it all. I focused on one thing until the other customers left and then asked the store owner to help me find what I was looking for.

In the next shop, just as small if not smaller, there were even more customers, but the music wasn't as distracting and I was able to grab a few small items quickly and a young woman asked if I wanted them wrapped before I even took them to the counter. But as she was wrapping them and I was paying I realized I wouldn't be able to remember what was in them so I borrowed a pen to write names on each one but then stopped because I couldn't remember who I had intended to give them to!

I left there anxious and exhausted and went back to my apartment feeling like I needed a nap. So, not entirely recovered. But still, the reading is almost back to where it was, and writing this has been a lot easier than it was just a few days ago, and I made it through the day with my 12-year-old here this evening with two classmates and another on the phone finishing up a project due in school tomorrow morning and I'm alive and cancer free with almost all my faculties intact, so still feeling enormously grateful and very lucky.


Elisabeth said...

You know, in some ways your experience of pre Christmas shopping sounds almost normal, as if it could happen to anyone who has not even endured brain surgery.

Christmas shopping is like brain surgery. It's de-stabilising.

Lally said...

Yes, a lot of what I've been experiencing others experience without brain surgery, even the early days of not being able to read and write was like being in the mind of someone who is illiterate, etc. But then there is the added disorientation of my mind not working the way I'm used to it doing. So I have these insights into the problems others face while at the same time seeing my own problems. Interesting.