1. Billy Collins has been off the air for a couple of days, but his poetry broadcast returned today. I didn't tune in live, but I waited until around six o'clock or so to watch today's broadcast. Billy explained his absence. He had some kind of what he called a neurological episode a few days ago and when he called it in, he was instructed to check in at the ER. He spent about forty-eight hours in the hospital. He underwent tests, had blood drawn, the works, and now is home.
Billy Collins told some pretty funny stories about his hospital stay. As they did some preliminary testing of his mental acuity, a medical professional asked him some simple questions. When this questioner asked Billy Collins to name our current president, he didn't want to speak our president's name. So, instead, he started reciting the names of the previous presidents -- Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Kennedy, stopping there I think. Still, the questioner wanted her original question answered and Bill Collins surrendered and told her our president's name.
His strategy for getting through his MRI tickled me. He was fairly relaxed because he'd managed to drink a wee dram or two of whiskey someone smuggled into his room and he had taken some other relaxing drug. Once in the cylinder, Billy Collins further kept himself sane and distracted by reciting forward and backward William Butler Yeats' poem, "Lake Isle at Innisfree" and by counting out the poem's meter and focusing on its rhyming words. It worked. He survived the MRI without having an episode of claustrophobic panic.
2. During his broadcast, I thought Billy Collins was tired, not quite as sharp as usual; in fact, he was bit more error prone than usual. But, he read a splendid poem by Elizabeth Bishop entitled, "The Sandpipers". Then he returned to reading from his just released publication, Whale Day and Other Poems. First he read a splendid poem about geese and death, "Lakeside Cottage: Ontario". He closed by reading the five poems that might be called bonus cuts that appear in the exclusive Barnes and Noble edition of the book. He read them for the sake of listeners who might have bought the book from a different vendor and didn't have these poems in their possession. I had heard him read these five poems before, and enjoyed this encore reading of them, and enjoyed reading along with him, having purchased this book on Sunday.
3. Every so often, it crosses my mind that the Sube is sixteen years old and might not last forever and so I go online and look at cars. I texted Debbie and she told me she might like a compact SUV some day and I looked at some of those. It's too early to tell what I'm going to do; last time I had one of these days of poking around, looking at cars, was back in the Greenbelt days, but, we stuck with the Sube. I've been driving since I was 14 -- over fifty years. I've bought exactly five cars in that span of time. I never really got into the habit of buying vehicles and I've never cared much for car ownership -- I've had a couple of stretches of time, one of them for seven years in the 1980s, when I didn't own a car at all. I could pull that off when I was single, living in Eugene and Spokane, lived close to grocery stores, had a bicycle, and could rely on buses to get around. Those days are long gone. <Shrug>