Cemeteries, Water, Cats, Black Squares, and Loneliness

I'm sorry to post late this week. Things happened.

On Saturday, we had a big event at the Sonora Odd Fellows Cemetery. I am an Odd Fellow. As an organization, Odd Fellows care about cemeteries. It's part of an Odd Fellow tradition—honoring the dead, wanting those who passed to have respectful burials. When Odd Fellows lodges were first founded, they often bought cemetery plots nearby. Our Sonora lodge, the tenth oldest in California, established this cemetery in 1865. Now, as members of this lodge, we have a responsibility to maintain it. We conduct research to find out the stories of the people who are buried there. Once a year, we hold tours where actors tell some of these stories to raise money for our cemetery. This year, I was one of the guides. One of the actors lent me me this great dress complete with petticoat, and I had a straw hat with flowers. As a shy person, it was a big deal to do. I was outside of my comfort zone, but it felt good to stretch.

But in the early morning hours after the event, I woke up to a very painful headache. It hurt so much I couldn't read. In my world, that ranks as an emergency. I felt in too much discomfort to sleep. Both the black-and-white cats cuddled up near me. The two times, I had to run to the bathroom to throw up, they accompanied me and stayed by my side.

During this experience, Mike woke up and questioned me on symptoms and began Googling things. We ended up deciding it was dehydration. We had been at the cemetery since two o'clock that afternoon. I had felt particularly parched when I got there and drank a bottle of water once others arrived with the refreshments. Then I got distracted and didn't drink anything else until I had some more water at dinner after the event. It apparently wasn't enough. Once that mystery was solved, I took two aspirin, borrowed an audio book from Libby, one that I had read before and enjoyed, Eleanor and Park, and eventually dozed off.

The next day, I felt better but not 100 percent. And I had messages from some of my women friends. Apparently there was a call for women to stay off social media today. We were supposed to post a black square as our profile picture and keep our voice off the Internet. I never did change my profile picture. To tell you the truth, I had mixed feelings about the entire venture. Weren't women's voices erased enough? But I ended up staying off social media, primarily out of love for my friends who messaged me. Is that a good enough reason? Maybe it is.

So it threw me off my blogging schedule. I thought that, as a tribute for my cats, who seemed to really be attuned to when I felt sick, I would post this article about Oscar, a cat who is more reliable than the doctors on who is going to die.

Also, right before I went to write, I saw this piece on loneliness that hit my heart. At the core of many of character's problems is this feeling of isolation from the world. I have felt it often in my life, too, particularly when I was young, and I didn't understand how I ticked. (The recipe for my current workings: I need a lot of time to myself. I need a lot of time for my work. I love to work and to walk. In other moments, I like to hang out with Mike and my cats. I love my friends dearly, especially when I can have one-on-one conversations where we really talk. Groups can give me the willies. If I'm in a group, I often need time-outs. You might wonder why I'm constantly going to the bathroom. It's a place I can go where I can escape from a crowd and just be for a moment in my own locked stall. That probably sounds weird, but it is enormously comforting to me.)

Anyway, that's the update on my world. If you would like to tell me about yours, please comment below.