by Danny Irby
Unemployed person musing about numb hand in winter and approaching life's problems.
|My Hand by C. O. Irby, III
This morning when I awoke, my right hand was stiff and lifeless. It had no energy and was white and cold as if death had come to it. During the night, in an attempt to get warm at this time of winter I apparently cut off the blood circulation to my appendage. As I waited for the blood flow to continue, I went to the kitchen for something to eat. I was always hungry. Yet, I had a pooch that overlapped my belt line. I needed to get rid of it. I needed to walk it off. Depression came easy as I was unemployed for almost a year. I looked at my hand and prayed again to God to heal it. I have heard of people losing a limb over such things. The cold in the house probably was not helping, so I turned on the heat. I had been up and down all night going to the bathroom because of my overfilled bladder caused by drinking either coffee or water. During those times, I turned the heat on or off. Usually, I waited for it to turn off on it's own and then I would click the switch. I needed to keep the electricity bill within reason. The feeling slowly returned to my limb so much that I could flex it. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God that I did not lose it. That couch was not comfortable until I put extra padding on it. I had two rubber inserts originally from some European army's surplus that I had bought probably over ten years ago from an Army surplus store. They came in handy after I started to use them in earnest. The middle of the couch where I had been sleeping for around two years after my mother's death had been my primary bed as I had disassembled my bed to make more storage space in my bedroom and my mother's bed still had many clothes and other stuff on it. I remembered when mother got the couch. It replaced a very uncomfortable one that we put in the carport where it still is these almost ten years later. A neighborhood cat sleeps on one of the back pillows and runs away whenever I approach. When mother was alive she fed the cats in the area. When she died, I had to conserve money. That's probably why I have a rat colony in the house that occasionally transits from their respective nests in the kitchen to the fist sized hole to the back and side of the washer. I can see it from the kitchen. Wow, those guys sure have sharp teeth. I feed them a little bit of food every couple of days. It gets lonely to the point that even rats are better than no one. For a time, I let the cockroaches in summer congregate without attempting to limit their population. Something that mother said about two times that I can recall, namely that God for some reason created them. I have tried and tried to figure out the reason. Finally, I couldn't handle them flying in the living room while I was attempting to eat and watch television with the lights out at night so I bought some poison. I didn't see them for a few days. Roaches aren't that great a wonder. The rats, though, are mammals like us. They have a concept of community and like their privacy. Several times I have noticed insulation from the wall and from under the stove out in the open like a peace offering from them thanking me for allowing them to roost in my home. I thought that it was a sweet gesture coming from a rodent with a brain smaller than various parts of my anatomy. He or she was more civil than humans sometimes.
Ah, my hand is back and I have the arm as well. Well, I'll be. You know in order to stay warm I have four blankets that I choose from during the night. I used to use pillows, you know, the small ones not even ten inches on a side. Now, I use a bundled up piece of wool or polyester blanket. I don't know which as I lost the tag probably around thirty years ago. It was probably a baby blanket that I had back then. It is very warm and covers several feet over my feet and head. It is a comfortable makeshift pillow, so warm for my head and keeps my neck straight and not crooked as do other pillows on that irregular couch surface. Outside, I have taken to cutting down little trees if you can call them that measure around an inch in diameter. Some of the wood is very sturdy and I can use as walking sticks. I have begun making some into wood cutting jigs and fixtures as well as home decor the type that you might spend around twenty dollars for at a store or county fair. I will see what I can do with it. I have even thought of making wind musical instruments from it, just for fun or who knows maybe profit. When it was colder a few days ago during the "polar vortex" my hands were freezing. Now, they are warm and yet my head is cold. I wear a polyester or acrylic watch cap to keep it warm, too. In the daytime, it is warmer than at
night, though when it was cold my hands were cold as well. Not much is going on during the day. I look up jobs, but they are usually the type that can be filled by the first batch of applicants. Neurology was not my field and my nonexistent law degree is aboard the mother ship. My skills
are clerical and computer oriented. I took courses in Computer Networking, but no certification in anything. Most people on the Internet want persons trained in systems that I have never heard of. I think that they got their fair share of people with my skills some time back. They probably work in some room with similarly clad persons, content with their employment, but maybe dreaming of something better. In the meantime, most probably got married and have more important things to worry about such as affording a nice house or a child. In short, life. For some people, it becomes their life until they are buried, to another they start substance abuse to rid themselves of the pain of obscurity, loneliness, and of a nonlife. Personally, I think that if they can afford video games and eating out they can afford certification or training in something better. There are so many different things on the Internet that one can learn from, the only thing is to learn and then figure out how to market the skills. Enough of that, I get up go out on the back sundeck and check my potted plants which I am growing during winter. The freeze which lasted for three days almost killed my crop. I have poured hot water on them in the morning to unthaw the soil. As I flex my hand, I raise it up to my face, look at it, and ask what about it?
This story illustrates that while small issues creep into everyone's life, there are a few issues which are everpresent.
C.O. Irby, III
January 16, 2014