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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Time and Temperature

Monday
December 5, 2016

"When seconds pass slowly
And years go flying by"
-Ben Folds Five "Factory"

The final month of 2016 has arrived, so perhaps I should write something else on here before I slam face-first into 2017, metaphorically speaking. This year has had its ups and downs, to be sure. Being back in the Nashville area has been great in many ways, though it's not exactly an across-the-board positive.

Sometimes it feels like the accelerator is stuck and there's no slowing down, a feeling only amplified by the realization that I turn 40 in less than a year. The crazy/fun Tampa era ended more than a decade ago. And the older I get, the faster time seems to move. And I don't anticipate that trend changing.

In some ways, I feel like I'm living a version of the song "Time" by Pink Floyd. "Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines." The latter part feels like the half-dozen or so columns for this website that I've started but nixed since August.

My last living grandparent, Grandmama Blaylock, died in April at the age of 98. She was feeling miserable by the end, with her hearing failing (and hearing aides proving to be mostly ineffective) and being primarily restricted to her room in an assisted living facility. Most of her friends had passed away, her sisters were all deceased, and her husband (my Granddaddy Blaylock) had died nearly ten years prior.

And me writing that she felt miserable isn't supposition on my part; it's what she told me just about every time we talked. She told me to never get old, saying how terrible it is.

But, of course, the clock only moves in one direction.

Grandmama Blaylock beat breast cancer two years ago, which is rather remarkable considering she was 96-years-old at the time of her diagnosis. But she also suffered from dysphagia, a medical problem many elderly people face where food and drinks have trouble moving properly from the pharynx to the stomach. And, ultimately, that's what claimed her life -- she literally choked to death as she was eating dinner on a Monday night.

At the wake, I overheard a woman who I didn't know actually have the audacity to say that it seemed fitting that Grandmama Blaylock died that way considering how long she had been suffering from choking/swallowing problems. I felt a flash of rage like I hadn't experienced in a very long time, and it took every ounce of self-control to not slug that unknown woman there on the spot. Or tackle her and start choking her to see how fitting that seemed to her.

Of course, I didn't actually do anything. She didn't mean it as a dig and wasn't even addressing me directly when she said it. But it really infuriated me.

I had a very disturbing nightmare several months ago. In the dream, which felt very real, my father was walking Clyde the Yellow Lab along the side of an interstate -- and Clyde had apparently been hit by a car, with blood pouring from his head. It put me in an exceptionally bad mood to start the day, even by my normal waking up in a bad mood standard.

Here's hoping that, wherever he is, Clyde is doing okay and being treated well. I still really miss him. It has been an exceptionally long time since I have truly let my emotional guard down for anything or anyone else, but Clyde was the exception.

I've been planning on adopting a dog of my own, and I was all set to do so earlier this year after the NFL Draft. But then plans changed and I found myself in a bona fide official relationship for the first time in four years. That story really deserves its own column. Suffice it to say that, with Heather in west Nashville and me in La Vergne (a suburb southeast of Nashville), it simply wasn't practical to get a dog at that time. But with that relationship being over, perhaps 2017 will provide a good opportunity to add a dog into the mix here.

For now, the occasional visits from my brother Matt's bulldog Titus will have to suffice.


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