Practice no vice because it's trivial... Neglect no virtue because it's so.
- Chinese Proverb, Anonymous Saying of Chinese Origin
My friends, my friends! I was away for a while, but now I am back!
It was almost a year to the day since the last time I made the retreat to the Health Care Center in Santa Ana. Same place as last time, same place I referenced in singing my song for Miss Vu. Part of me was distressed to find myself right back where I had been one year ago, but another part of me was happy to see the faces of some of the people working there who I admire and respect.
I also saw four guests who I remembered from my last stay, two of whom remembered me as well, two of whom you wouldn’t expect to remember much of anything. From the latter two, I said to one girl, “Hey, I remember you from when I was here a year ago! Was that the last time you were here or have you been back since?” She answered, “I wouldn’t know.” I wouldn’t know? LOL. Now that’s what you call living in the moment.
I read three books the first nine days I was there, The Da Vinci Code (like it almost always is, the book was better than the movie) and James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard, both of which were annoying in their punctuation and style, both of which proved that the author wasn’t just a recovering addict but an unrepentant bullshitter as well, both of which were also well worth the read despite all of that.
My nine day reading binge gave way to more time getting out and about the compound. There were some epic rivalries and competitions at the ping pong table, at the foosball table, on the basketball court and playing volleyball as well.
Most mornings, VH1 was the channel of choice playing the same songs over and over, Fun’s “We Are Young”, Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been”, Neon Tree’s “Everybody Talks” and Maroon 5’s “Payphone”. Completely oblivious to the pop music scene, not one of those songs had I heard before I checked in and now, all four of them will be forever linked to my three weeks in exile. Twenty years from now you can play me any one of those four tunes and I’ll immediately be brought back to that time and place.
In the evenings, I found myself sequestered with a good group of crazy basketball fans. Alternating nights with the Western Conference Finals, for two weeks I was rooting against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals along with most of the rest of the room and it was like Déjà vu all over again, hating on LeBron and Co. just as most of us were doing last year as we cheered Dallas to one of the most improbable NBA Championships ever.
Again like last time, I was able to shed a healthy pack of pounds by fasting for days on end.
Last time, I entered at 234 pounds and left at 217, dropping 17 pounds in 14 days by fasting for 10 days straight.
This time, I entered at 242, eight pounds heavier than I was last year (whoops!) but the extra seven days that I stayed this time allowed me to drop 23 pounds by fasting for 16 of the 21 days.
So after three weeks in exile, my head is clear, my body is much lighter, and I’m back to rolling with the lithium. In a couple weeks, I’ll be going unplugged again on an even longer sabbatical, but therein lies my escape plan, my path to freedom. I’ll keep the blog live while I’m gone, so you’re welcome to come back often and enjoy some good reads from the Random Posts listed on the upper-left.
A few more weeks of blogging fun with y’all and then I’ll be gone, but with the same resolve General MacArthur had on leaving the Philippines in 1942, you can have faith, my friends, for I shall return.