Don’t worry: I’ve slept soundly from about 10 PM until now. What wakes me is the throbbing in my hip, and I know it’s time for a pain pill and a clattering trip (well, yeah, walkers moving across tile is the equivalent of marbles in a pie pan) to the bathroom.
The trip made, the call light turned on, I settle back down for the rest of the night, computer balanced on my stomach. The nurse arrives with two pain pills, and I know I have a half hour before the meds begin their work on my mind. This stuff works strangely…the pain goes, yes, but so does reality. I can be typing away, composing sentences and constructing thought blocks. Then suddenly I am surprised: I look at my hands which are idle and asleep on the keyboard, and at the screen which is filled with a neat series of ‘k’s’ . The third finger of my right hand is the culprit, as it rests sluggishly on the keyboard, taking an unauthorized nap. My mind, however, could swear that I had typed the last half dozen sentences of deathlessly fascinating prose. It’s a total disassociation of body and mind, and I see my mind taking off, floating lazily away from my body, on an ephemeral expedition of its own.
But more on pain and pain pills later—what I wanted to write about is the sound of laughter. I think Orchard Creek, Inc. hires people based on their ability to laugh. Perhaps laughing is a part of employee training—“Make it musical, ladies. First up in the upper register. Not shrill up there—that’s always a danger with the higher octaves. Just light and musical.”
“OK, now: let’s try the same thing in the lower octave. No, no! Don’t rasp! Don’t force! Project the sound well, and let it float freely on the air. Be a cello. “ And so they practice: it’s mandatory employee training. They are practicing tonight, the aides at the front desk just down the hallway. I lie awake waiting for the pain to subside and listen to it: musical laughter spilling into my room as the aides converse about whatever there is to talk about at 3AM. Laughter as I wake and as I drift off to sleep—this is truly a gift and I am gratefulkllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk…………………………………..