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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Flu And Fine Art

Norma and I got our flu shots in the Fall, just before winter holidays when large extended families travel far to gather and kiss germs all over each other as an expression of love and a test of faith. True, some people decline gatherings of celebratory infection in favor of safer demonstrations like snake-handling --unfortunately even they consider it virtuous to go to church sick. The snakes must suffer greatly. This is the sort of civilized social dynamic that guarantees whatever virus slipped the vaccine will go forth and multiply.

Norma --whom I refer to in times like these as my stunt double-- caught that virus two weeks ago and I came down with it three days back. I now feel lousy all the time. Since I can't lie down without coughing this evening, I decided to see what's bloggable. Slim pickings. Had wanted to continue Advanced Art Appreciation with this old favorite from the 1500s by Titian. It's called "The man with a glove":
But then my brother saw old pics in a previous post entitled, Venustraphobia, A Case Study and sent me an old photo I'd not thought about for a long time:
It is called "L'Homme au aluminum chaise de jardin", or "Man with aluminum lawn chair". Perhaps it would be useful to inject an explanation. As Brother Frank wrote, this was taken "long ago", and long ago aluminum lawn furniture could oft be heard clacking and flapping overhead in mass migration to northern breeding grounds in August. These creatures would land for the day in peoples' yards to rest and were content to be sat on. With sturdy hollow bones and articulated joints they could support most people on their aerodynamic webbing. I would come home after 10 hours of working in the hop fields and collapse upon one or another of them. This brings us closer to the present.

Forty years after Frank's photo, 2009, I retired from gardening for this city's public school district. Strangely, my meteoric rise from farm laborer to gardener did not intimidate my children and cause them to live in my shadow. I have no explanation for this. I also have no explanation for my delirious, flu-flummoxed venture out into the garden today, seeing my reflection in the back porch windows, then hobbling in to report to my stunt double:
"Do you know there's an old diseased man creeping around in our garden?"

"Gah," said Norma.   

37 comments:

  1. So sorry you and your wife have flu, and hope you will feel better soon.:) It's noticable that there is a remarkable likeness in these two photos. Same oval face, mustache, and reflective gaze! His gloves are well worn, which makes me wonder why!

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    1. Similarity between the 2 pics is because they're both of me. Wore gloves all the time because there were germs everywhere 500 years ago.

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  2. Now the odd thing is that when a 'bug', i.e. a germ, is doing its togetherness thing, it seems to pay to use separate bathrooms. Fortunately, when we bought this - at the time - run down, "in need of a bit of renovation", (aka shouldn't that place have been demolished decades ago?) French farmhouse, we decided to renovate with an extra room or two for guests. Thus when the germs are feeling friendly, we can use separate bathrooms, but not change our normal sleeping arrangements. And it works! If I do catch a cold, it invariably means that a cough quickly develops, and for me that's bad news.

    Now of course it may be entirely impossible to make use of a second bathroom, on the grounds that you may not have one. I suppose one could resort to a bucket (to wash in, I mean!) on the back porch, although I doubt that pneumonia would be seen as preferable to a cold or cough. It might not last as long, but we'd like you to hang around a bit longer, if poss. :)

    Have you noticed (on a related subject) that all too often, disinfectants are often advertised as capable of killing 99% (or whatever) of all known germs? Big deal! It's the other 1% that usually gets you.

    Wishing you and your wife a full and speedy recovery.

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    1. On second thoughts, not sure it would work with flu'

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    2. Thanks Tom! Norma is recovering and I am still wretched. Your home sounds delightful. We live in an old farmhouse too, which we've untumbled and added to over 30 years. Bathroom, with its stalactites of paint and creative retrofittings is the scariest room in the house. Germs flee it in fear.

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  3. Even with a flu-wracked body, you write a better post than most of us. So sorry to hear the flu shot didn't protect you and your stunt double. Take care of yourself, and get well soon. Dude. LOVE that old picture of you.

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    1. Kind Susan! Thanks, it helps when you call me dude (sniff!).

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  4. Ugh, I hope your family's recovery is swift.

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    1. Ugh indeed, ughing along the best I can.

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  5. Oh, poor Geo. You bravely took the shot, but got hit with with the flu's relative (or vise versa). I hope it is a mild strain and you and Norma are better soon. Sit down in a comfy chair, not an aluminum one. Those aren't good for our older, sick bones.

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    1. Oh Arleen, I wish it was a mild strain but Norma just told me 50 more Californians have died of it --that makes about 200. Keeping my old bones indoors and I'm OK.

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  6. Sorry to hear you and your 'stunt double' have been (as the saying goes) under the weather. We've been 'under the weather' here too but all it has given us is snow. Hope you are both feeling more like yourselves very very soon.

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    1. No snow here --never is-- but I just went out and there was rain! Hope it continues. All our reservoirs are empty from drought.

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  7. I hope your recovery is smooth and as swift as possible Geo.

    At least Norma shared!

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    1. In sickness and in health, yes, but shouldn't she leave my health alone when she gets the flu?

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  8. Dear Geo.,
    I hope you and Norma will be better soon! The flu hit the Olde and the New world - husband suffered a few weeks ago, but I, loving the limelight - though these years more in form of candlelight - refused to double him. I never take flu- vaccination; I drive almost every day with public transportation - that immunises.
    Best wishes for your recovery - and as doctors' say: 'Laughing is the best medicine' - your post are a very special form of health care too, thank you!

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    1. Happy to hear you escaped suffering. I should use public transportation oftener!

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  9. I'm so sorry you both have the flu. How do you manage to be so funny when you're sick? It's not FAIR, how good you are. I am glad you mentioned the Venustraphobia post, because awwww. I'd missed that one. And this "man in aluminum chair" photo? Rawr. (Norma must have this pinned up somewhere, surely?)

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    1. Stephanie, you're beautiful when you "Rawr"!

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  10. Usually my cheaper half and I go to tight nitty comparisons as to whose flu's the worse! Being ill together can be appreciated as much as it can daunting! I'm sure Norma, as am I, is a patient patient!

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    1. Norma is indeed a patient patient, but I am not. However I believe this flu contest can end satisfactorily in a tie. Should be an Olympic event, you think?

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  11. It's wonderful to know that you can still maintain a sense of humor when you're sick. I can't. In fact, I'm finding it more and more difficult to maintain a sense of humor when I'm well. I can fully relate to the fact that you can't lie down without having bouts of coughing. I was that way for two weeks the last time I was sick.

    I truly hope you will recover quickly and soon start seeing reflections of a much healthier man.

    I like the man with the glove painting and the man with the lawn chair photo!

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    1. Thanks Jon! Humor is something without which I couldn't recognize myself --or it's a product of delirium. Same thing.

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  12. Oh no, I hope you get better soon, Geo.
    You have a great sense of humor (even when ill)

    And such a handsome young man , love the shot :)

    I will keep you in my prayers.

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    1. I have only to see your angelic smile to feel better. But you must feel better too. Deal?

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  13. We still have lawn furniture like that! Only brought outside for Fourth of July... :)
    Feel better soon!!

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    1. Ah, a small domesticated flock of aluminum chairs. Good idea!

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  14. I'm sorry you and Norma have been sick. I hope you are feeling better. The man with one glove is handsome and more than a little creepy. I prefer aluminum chair guy. And not because he reminds me of Cat Stevens. Hey, I just thought of this, what if Peace Train was just a metaphor for an aluminum chair, huh? What then? I think this calls for a picnic.

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    1. Now that you mention it, flocks of lawn furniture did fly by moon shadow and preserved its coolness in fabric all day. That's what's so refreshing about collapsing onto it. And yes, picnics!

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  15. I've got it, too. Ick.

    I see I am not the first to notice the remarkable similarity between the men in the pictures. Reincarnation? Time travel?

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    1. Not sure. All I know is one of them is me but forget which --would give worlds to know.

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  16. Did you know there is a place where aluminum chairs go and talk about the sitters who used them. I think it is called "Heaven of the empty aluminum chairs" or something. Maybe you have a better title.

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    1. There IS no better title! I love the idea of an Elysium of lawn chairs clattering and flapping together over their adventures.

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  17. Wishing you a belated get well soon! Love the pictures.

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  18. I feel your pain. It took me a month to completely feel alive again.
    P.S. Mildred loves your sense of humor also!

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    1. That's encouraging. Norma's had it 3 weeks and shows some signs of returning humanity --sounds like I've got farther to go!

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