Friday, March 05, 2010

Cultural Senses

A week and two days after my eye operation I've at least another week of heavy drug use, as the hospital makes adjustments to the procedure they undertook. Feeling healthy in myself, but with a red, blurry eye; needing to stay near to home because of the regular eye drops I need; and also needing plenty of rest; the key challenge for week two is going to be boredom. I can't easily read, watch television or use the internet - or rather these are the "eye" activities that tire me out most. I can't go anywhere for long, either. Didsbury, for all of its pleasures, is full of shops, restaurants and bars; it doesn't - unless I get religious - do contemplative spaces. If the weather is nice, like it was on Thursday, then there's some nice parks.

So my cultural senses are on a ration; only the ears get continual stimulation. I've a tottering pile of discs next to the stereo; and I've even been digging out old vinyl favourites. Be careful for what you wish for of course - a couple of weeks recovering after, say, a broken bone, would probably give me plenty of catching-up time on my reading, but I'm pretty sure that the thing I'm least capable of doing this week is picking up "Summertime" or "The Children's Book."  Maybe I'll see if I can read an hour a day of J.G. Ballard's "The Drowned World" for the next SF book club, even though I know full well I won't be able to go along to it. I've found the internet the hardest thing to keep away from; and with good reason; its a 2-way communication space - and with Twitter, live streaming and other such things, a vital "real time" place to "hang out." There's nothing like a couple of weeks of enforced isolation to improve one's understanding of the challenges for anyone is housebound. It's clear that unless I'm into online poker or World of Warcraft, we've still got some way to go into creating a really interactive web. Surely there should be some conversations I could join in? I "attended" a virtual event in Liverpool on Thursday, which was okay, until, "that's it folks, we're off down the pub." This virtual viewer was suddenly left to his own devices.

The one thing that "recovery time" does give you is time to think - and though this can be a bleak time to be doing thinking, I've noticed that because I feel pretty healthy in myself, I've been feeling pretty chipper. Life, for once, is on pause, and I can't do much about it. Rather than cramming a dozen things into each day, I'm spreading them out. The intense concentration required for creativity is a bit beyond me at the moment; this blog post is more than enough challenge for now.


kim mcgowan said...

This was really interesting, thank you. I'm due to have an operation in the next few weeks and I'm sure the aftermath will limit me in all sorts of ways I haven't considered yet.

Do you listen to audio books at all? I borrow them from the library to listen to during my long drives to and from work, they are especially good when I feel as if I've heard the same bloody three news stories a million times over.

I hope your recovery continues to go well.


Adrian Slatcher said...

Always been a bit adverse to audio books - probably because I tend to be doing 2 or 3 different things at once when I'm listening to stuff, rather than just listening. If I was properly bed/housebound I'd probably be listening to some of the stuff on ubu.web but at the moment that would mean me being here at the desktop computer (must sort out that wifi.... Yes, "rolling news" is the worst of worst things to listen to. Check out the Internet Archive ( as well as ubu.web and you'll find some fascinating stuff to download for free. There's also