austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Playing the games that we know and in tears

I don't know if this means anything, or if it ought to mean anything. I came home a bit after dinnertime from some shopping and found one of the stove's burners had been left on. It was on quite low, and the flame wouldn't attract much attention in the not-quite-sunset light, but my parents had finished dinner and put dishes in the sink ahead of going to the dishwasher. Probably it's meaningless. The natural state of affairs is to forget small, unimportant chores and in the natural chaos of getting dinner ready turning off the burner that something was kept warm on would be an easy thing to overlook, and after dinner likely neither parent had reason to look at the stove. And yet ...

There are several reasons I haven't moved into a place of my own. One is symbolic; as long as I'm staying with my parents I'm implicitly not admitting that I'm out of academia and working for a small database-based company, instead of just resting there between positions. And I know my next real move is to the house I set up with bunny_hugger, and any other place I might rent is a delay on that. But there is this small practical thing ...

If my parents start to slip, I'm certain neither of them will notice it in themselves. It's hard to imagine in yourself, and easy to rationalize away if you do catch yourself forgetting something, and I know my parents' stubbornness. I also know they might recognize it in each other, but won't accept the other's diagnosis. My father refuses to believe I can see how offended he is by my WiiFit exercise, and that's transparent. When the family stubbornness goes up against that, imagine the case to be made for ``you're forgetting to turn the stove off''. Somebody has to be the reasonably independent witness.

And yet ... this is a trivial mistake. It's one I remember making myself a couple times. It probably doesn't mean anything. I just ... see one possible future in it, one that weighs heavily on me.

Trivia: Attempts to explain the ``railroad neurosis'', of passengers who survived accidents without physical harm nevertheless suffering mental harm, in the 1860s through 1880s tended to fall into the categories of either a simulated, as in pretended, ailment in the hopes of victims claiming compensation from railroads; or else ``railway spine'', microscopic deterioration of the spinal cord due to the accident. Source: The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century, Wolfgang Schivelbusch.

Currently Reading: The Winds Of Time, Chad Oliver.

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