Kage Baker was fond of the saying, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” She thought it was a lie, a whining excuse – but she had a black admiration it for its enormity and its universal abdication of personal responsibility.
“If the spirit is willing, you can summon up the damned flesh,” she would say. And as she got older and more fragile, she’d add: “or at least you can suborn someone else’s.”
It was only the last year that she admitted she may have rushed to judgement on this one. I think it was that horrible Christmas Eve when we both collapsed on the bathroom floor – I dropped her, by then too weak to walk unassisted, because I had fallen victim to a truly horrendous stomach flu … after we had cried and laughed and taken counsel and called the paramedics, Kage allowed that maybe there did come a point where the flesh would not serve.
“Take me to the knacker’s,” she advised, leaning on me where we sat on the bathroom floor. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is royally screwed.”
I could only vomit in reply. Which at least set us both off laughing again.
So. The point of this tale is not to make anyone feel bad – remember, we were still laughing! – but to explain that my plans for lots of work today went down the drain. I slept late – got up for two hours and then fell asleep for another 4 hours – and am considering gluing my eyelashes to my eyebrows now in order to stay awake. Dinner hit a stumbling block when the white sauce failed – creamed ham with peas (Yum!), but the white sauce went sour, and now poor Kimberly is off chasing down cans of Aunt Penny’s for an emergency substitution.
Spirit may be as exhalted as the heavenly choirs around here today, but the flesh has faltered flat on its face.
So sorry. I am like a balloon with a slow leak right now, vaguely wrinkled and leaning over sideways as I deflate. Or like a pumpkin about a week after Halloween – you know, when all the edges of its features start to shrink and curve inward, and the inside is breeding new life forms … apparently my body has given up, smug in the knowledge that in three more days it’ll all be someone else’s problem for a while. You know how it is when you really, really have to pee and you finally find a bathroom – and those last 10 feet are the hardest to get through while retaining bladder control? That’s me and consciousness right now.
I don’t feel that bad, mind you. I am just exhausted past all my prior experience. And that experience includes three day weekends at Renaissance Faires, and vigils with labouring mothers, and 12 hour drives through dubious lands, and the year that Southern Faire ran straight into Northern Faire with no gap and we ended up doing a 26-week event. Man, we all went into October about dead that year …
Anyway, Dear Readers, the interesting news about tortoises and manganese and pistol shrimp and such will have to wait a day. The world is so full of wonders that my limited strength is, at the moment, overwhelmed. Neither the spirit nor the flesh is especially on the ball right now, I’m afraid.
At least I’m not throwing up. If I were, I’d be in danger of drowning, because I would most certainly fall asleep on the bathroom floor and topple into the toilet. And I don’t want to achieve my 15 minutes of fame by virtue of a ludicrous demise.