Steve Hutchison (foomf) wrote,
Steve Hutchison

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ten weeks

Ten weeks.

I mentioned to some friends at Intel about some of the openings I'm being pestered for, because there are people on contract there whose contracts will be ending, and Intel is going through one of its occasional spasms of seeming panic about spending too much, so they're making it harder to get contract positions, again.

This was part of a letter I wrote in response to one of the "how have you been, considering?" questions:

I'm doing passably well, considering that there's been a conspiracy of sorts to remind me of what's going on in my life.

Penny died of cancer, on the 12th of January; we had expected that we had a few months to try palliative chemotherapy, but it had come on much faster than we knew. That weekend at 11:50 on the 13th, Rik Milholland (web cartoonist who does the strip "Something Positive") ran the somewhat-postponed shocker episode. The lead character's father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and had postponed telling his much-younger wife (of 30 years, which was exactly how long I'd known Penny, I hate synchronicity) about the diagnosis.
The lead character's mother died suddenly, in her sleep, before he could tell her about it. Since Penny and I read that comic regularly, it was kind of a boot to the head.
Since then, four people in my church, or related to people in my church, have died of cancer, two have died of Alzheimer's disease, and three more have been diagnosed with terminal cancers. My grandmother's Alzheimer's disease has gotten to the point where she's wasting away, but this past weekend, she was marginally more lucid than she's been in months, actually recognizing me and having a more coherent conversation than I'd seen on the previous two visits.

And of course, last night the new television murder-mystery drama "The Evidence" - one which Penny had heard about and wanted to see - included a scene in which one of the two main detective characters detailed finding his wife murdered, and expressed everything I have been going through with Hollywood clarity.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

I went on after that to other topics, of course.

The television show was kind of surprising.
The character whose wife had been murdered is Inspector Sean Cole, played by Rob Estes, whose partner is Detective Cayman Bishop, played by Orlando Jones. Cole was being cajoled, pushed, by his partner. "You should be dating, you should be getting over it."
Fortunately nobody has said anything that stupid to me, yet, but I fully expect to hear it later on.

He went into a soliloquy, marvellously presented, about how he's been forgetting what her eyes looked like, what her voice sounded like. I found myself just not hearing or seeing the television, for a few moments, or at least, not registering the content. A year and a half ago, when Penny and I were still in the house on Timberlake, when we were watching Monk, the same idea was the base of the story. Monk had the ability, due to his combination of obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism, and the opposite of attention deficit - hyperfocus, perhaps - he had the ability to relive his life, to remember as if there every detail. It was even the central theme of one of the episodes, that Monk had finally given in and let his doctor drug him. He didn't gain any social skills, but he mellowed out, stopped having compulsions. His detective abilities suffered greatly, as he wasn't paying attention to everything any more. In the end, he stops the drug only when he finds that he can't remember his wife any more. When we saw that we were both sniffling away - what can I say, they know just how hard to tug on the heartstrings.

In theory I could do the same kind of thing Monk does, for a short time. In fact, I have deliberately used my narcolepsy, with the continual dream-in-background effect that I get sometimes, to increase the vividness of remembrance. But there's a trap in that - if I do that, then I also make myself susceptible to all the noise and strangeness my subconscious can bring up, and it invariably turns strange.

I need to get in touch with my brother-in-law, get the dates for my neices' birthdays. I think I've figured out a gift Penny would have wanted to give them.

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