A series of moments from the past weeks, a collage, if you will. The moment that keeps sticking to my attention, that I'm trying so hard to relive, is that moment in the ambulance, where I didn't have ALS for the first time in a year. So let me start off with a few of the moments where I didn't feel it but where I still had it.
Tom, I'm glad you pulled through for me. I really thought your best days were behind you. I mean, we both know the greatness of Real Gone, although I have never really forgiven you for planning that tour, your first and only visit to The Netherlands in my entire lifetime, in the same month that my sister got married in New Zealand, but anyway. Make it rain has long been my favorite song, no matter what grumpy "only his early work counts" assholes may say. (God, I will really go over the word count with this one). But, c'mon, that discgasm "Orphans" and that live registration….We both know you've got better in you. And when 'Bad as me' came out and I thought it was quite noisy I should have known directly. It took me a while, your music takes attention to beappreciated. I haven't really LISTENED to it until recently and as so often with you: listen through the noise and beauty awaits. I hadn't expected it to be all in the timing. Not just in the title song but pretty much in every track of that album. Your timing is unlike anything I've ever heard before.
The same goes for the rhythm that this drummer is laying down. Menko brought me to jazzclub The Standard and I am five feet away from this guy who is creating something which is probably, mathematically speaking, entirely logical (therein also the difference with Tom, mathematics that describe his music hasn't been discovered yet (except maybe by one guy, but then he went crazy)). The guy typing this for me is getting such a headache…imagine how I used to feel when i still wrote this. So that drummer, he is really swinging. I mean, you know when they say "I feel it in my bones"? Like that. But the first few songs, he just has this dead-pan look on his face. Jaded or bored? He's won five Grammys but his gaze says "just put your attention on the piano player please". But me, I can't help but grin like a fool. And then his drifting eyes lock with mine and all of a sudden it's like he realizes: you know, actually I am swinging pretty good. He's still looking at me and erupts in pure joy. I blush…There's a pleasure now that we both share, something intimate and at the same time really basic and for everyone to see.
Ok. A few moments that are shorter to describe.
I'm trying to sleep, my head racing over what he said or she said and what I should have said and I'm really concerned about getting something or not getting something and then I feel Zomer move because I have my hand on Iris' belly and immediately every ounce of my attention and care is right there. I have an insight: so that's how this is supposed to work. Kids deliver us from constant obsession of self and ego. At least for a split second.
As my friends cart me into the restaurant in Vinkeveen and help me stand and sit, casually remarking "Nein, das ist kein alcohol" to the wide eyed German tourists who are about to make a joke, I notice not for the first time that my loved ones adapt to the situation faster than I do. Ronnie is not ashamed to lift me. Stephan is not embarassed to undress me. Martijn is not uneasy about cleaning me etc. Then why am I?
I go for a beer with Paul in Utrecht. Someone remarks: "Hey, nice walking stick!". Damn right. Mahogany wood, crafted by one of the most exclusive woordworkers in Holland, my cousin Maarten.
I stroll through Haarlem with my friend Anne Jan.
"How often did you meet a woman and were naked in your shower with her, within 5 minutes of knowing her name?"
"….. not yet, I think.."
"Me, three times, this week alone."
Of course, I am cheating a bit. I am the only naked one and it's a strictly professional relationship between the nurses and me. But I have to try and give it a positive spin. Divine retribution follows an hour later, just before what happens in the next paragraph. I should have brought that cane.
So I wake up in that ambulance and I am trying to piece together the situation. AJ is right there with me, but I have no clue how I got here. I am calm and start to look for clues. I realize I don't remember too much. One of the first things that comes back is the idea that I have ALS. I think I ask for confirmation; this can't be, ALS is a really bad thing. The name of my blog floats to mind and I realize it's true. I start to cry; it feels like a bad dream just came true. God, what a nasty moment. I recall the name of my daughter, what a proud moment!, and want to tell AJ, but he is just out of reach. Next, I remember that Holland lost on penalties – when I offer that information, the medic tells me it is OK to stop talking.
What just happened, is a true "remember Sammy Jankins" moment. Did you see Memento, that movie about a guy with amnesia? In almost every single scene, he transforms from a happy and open individual into a man with a burden and a mission, when his tattoos remind him of what he thinks is reality. I am fine now, my memory is back, except for the fall itself. Four new stitches in my chin and another point scored in Utrecht-Amsterdam. It's now 0-2 because the first aid people over here talk to you and handle you with love (which I didn't feel so much in the Amsterdam emergency room). The moment I am trying to get back to is that moment in the ambulance where I briefly didn't know I had ALS. I remember the shock of realizing it again for the first time, but I can't get back to that blissful ignorance.
But hey, only bad guys close their eyes for the truth.