Sunday, July 3, 2022

Right and Left

Being a good Samaritan, I stopped my bike passing the tennis courts to retrieve a ball hit over the fence. Getting back on my bike, something got tangled up and I fell hard on the asphalt, scraping my shin and feeling discomfort in the wrist that stopped the fall. Some short time later, I played piano for an hour at the Jewish Home for the Aged and it seemed to be okay. But by the time I got home, I was in great pain and couldn’t do the simplest thing with—of course, my right hand. Some ice and ibuprofen to see if it would help and I toughed it out through the evening. But not without deep anxiety about how this would turn out.


For someone whose life and identity is based on playing instruments and writing, two hands is a necessity. Who would I be without one of them? Not only in professional terms, but it quickly became clear how much one hand needs the other for most of the simplest actions— chopping vegetables, lifting things, tying shoes, dental flossing, cutting with scissors, opening jars, scrubbing pots, riding a bike and hundreds of more activities. Spend a morning with one hand tied behind your back— preferably your dominant one— and you’ll see what I mean.


Being whom I am, I couldn’t help but think about the way the Republicans have crippled our two-party system that once gave a healthy check-and-balance and had senators disagreeing on the floor having amiable lunches together. And —gasp!— occasionally even changing their minds on issues after some intelligent conversations! But ever since Newt Gringrich started the ball rolling in the 90’s, Republicans have refused to cooperate with the left hand and the country is unable to function at anything close to normalcy. We are a one-armed nation, with the other arm purposefully refusing the handshake, refusing to lift democracy up together, refusing to do the simple tasks of a decent and civil government with a shared concern for all its citizens with both sleeves rolled up.


It feels okay to type, but Doctor Ronnie, my hand-therapist son-in-law, advised me to use my injured hand as little as possible. So I’ll keep this short and go practice Ravel’s Concerto for Left Hand on the piano. The morals of the today's post:


1) It sucks to be incapacitated (though my compassion for all those suffering in any one of the thousand ways the human body can let us down has increased). 


2) It sucks when a whole country is purposefully incapacitated by short-sighted, hard-hearted and mean-spirited people breaking their oath to serve and represent so that the two hands of the major parties and the three branches of the Government can’t function.


3) Be careful on your bike. But still help people out retrieving tennis balls.  

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