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Allusion is not Illusion

You'll pry my books off my cold, dead body. By the time you shift them all I'll be flat and dessicated.

Currently reading

Winter's Tales
Karen Blixen, Isak Dinesen
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Penguin Classics)
Rebecca West, Christopher Hitchens
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Already Dead
Charlie Huston
The Rings of Saturn
W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse
Lady Audley's Secret
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, David Skilton
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back
Thom Hartmann
The City, Not Long After
Pat Murphy
You Can Sketch: A Step-by-Step Guide for Absolute Beginners
Jackie Simmonds
Lonely Werewolf Girl
Martin Millar
Maxie - Mildred Kantrowitz A solitary old woman living in an apartment follows a strict routine until she starts asking herself why she even bothers. When she fails to get out of bed one day, her neighbors all become concerned and investigate.

This is a realistic portrayal of the loneliness and isolation that often afflict retired or homebound individuals who don't have family or hobbies to give meaning to their days. When Maxie's neighbors realize how she feels, they make an effort to connect with her. And that's nice! But I did think Maxie could have made an effort, too. She did not try to make friends, or find activities that would interest her.

My first "real" (i.e. non-babysitting) job at 14 was helping seniors in their homes. Those folks were much worse off than Maxie. Maxie seems mentally sound and is able to go out on her own if she wants to. The people I assisted were trapped, often unable to get out even with help. Frances, for instance -- the widow of a WWII veteran, no family, only her long-dead husband's meager pension to live on. She lived in a tiny, decrepit flat, above a video rental. The stairs were narrow and rickety, and she couldn't move without a walker, which meant she couldn't leave the apartment. Ever. In the year I knew her the only time she left was when the EMTs took her away on a stretcher to die in the hospital. The rest of the time... I don't know what she did. She had an old cat, and a fern in a hanging pot. An ancient radio, maybe she listened to that all day. Her stove was the old gas type where you have to open the bottom and light the pilot before you can turn it on, so she couldn't cook. I came once a week to clean and water the fern and get groceries (cat food and whatever else I could get for $5), and then cooked things and put them in the fridge for her to live on during the week. There was no microwave so I guess she ate them cold. Did she really like pies or did she just ask for them because they're good cold? It's two decades too late for me to ask her, or to find out if anyone took care of her cat.

See, Maxie, things could be a lot worse! Stop being such a grump and smile at your neighbors. Frances didn't even have neighbors. And what's with lying down to die when you have a cat depending on you? That's the problem with old people these days, no sense or responsibility, no initiative...