Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Power of Negative Thinking and Sunday Karma

In the world of prostheses and health insurance approval, patience is without question a virtue. I’ve been getting around on a malfunctioning C-Leg in its safety mode—a stiff leg as it were—for four months now. I delicately navigated from point A to point B by adopting a paralyzed right side kind of gait and dragging the right leg along. I got more than a few “poor fellow” looks from locals, who, most probably, assumed I had suffered a stroke or some such setback.

So, this past Friday when I dragged myself to a scheduled appointment at the prosthetic clinic, I knew at least the pendulum was shifting in the direction of progress—of brighter tomorrows. I nonetheless employed the power of negative thinking—never for a moment believing I’d walk out of there with a bend in my knee and a spring in my step, which is what happened. It was both unexpected and exciting—an early Christmas present if ever there was one—even if my new knee was only a “loaner.” I anticipate becoming a full-fledged owner in the near future.

With my new lease on life today, I ventured into lower Manhattan for the first time in a long time—since late July as a matter of fact. While the day was chilly, damp, and gloomy all around, being back in the saddle was all that mattered to me. But good things come with a hefty price attached, I suppose. When a mother, father, and their two little girls took over the subway car I was in for five long miles of my journey, I should have just internally rejoiced as the kids twirled around subway poles and generally ran rampant in the aisles. I didn’t, however, and neither did countless exasperated straphangers, who were compelled to continually dodge the girls’ awkward ballerina moves and incessant jabbering. Ma and Pa nevertheless gushed the entire time. Predictably, too, the subway car morphed into a classroom—a common occurrence—as the smugly doting parents taught their youngsters all kinds of life lessons, except the one that I believe is most important in a New York City subway car: Take a seat, shut your mouth, and mind your own business.

The rancid icing on the cake here was when I heard Dad tell one of his children that we have “twelve more stops to go,” then “eleven,” “ten,” “nine,” etc. Hoping against hope this bunch would exit after several stops just wasn’t in the Tarot cards. When their stop count got down to eight, I took it upon myself to do a little arithmetic of my own. Egad, they were getting off at 18th Street, the tranquil station I sometimes exit when tranquil is what I desire above all else.  Now just where did all this bad karma come from?

Happily, the Brady Bunch wasn't in my subway car as on my return trip home to the Bronx, but a well-educated and highly informed lunatic was. Among many things, he put in a good word for Jesus, noted the passing of Larry Hagman, and informed one and all that he couldn’t rightly defend Kobe Bryant for his actions, nor the woman, who he felt was equally culpable. Fortunately, this man of many opinions and insights exited after only a couple of miles and several stops. I must admit to being impressed with his parting salvo—something akin to Val Bisoglio’s words and jaunty manner after robbing the patrons of Kelsey’s Bar in an All in the Family episode. “Bye, bye, everybody,” he said as he headed off to Lincoln Center. He knew who he was and endeavored to be the very best lunatic that he could, which I find very admirable.

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