Someone sent me a picture the other day. It was taken a long while back. None of us can actually place it in time. I spent a lot of time looking at the picture, and not only because I was one of the two people in it nor only because the other person has only recently passed away. I looked at it for those reasons, but mostly I looked at it because I was standing.
Standing is one of the things I can't really do any more. I can walk, a bit, and in fact, if I'm going to be upright, I need to be moving. I can't just stand. I fall over. I have adapted to this, it's fairly easy to plan ... stand up and then immediately start walking. The worst times happen when I'm on my way too or from the bathroom at work and someone stops me to ask a question. I look at them with panic in my eyes, I know if I stand more than a few seconds I lose any sense of balance. At first I didn't want to be rude and interrupt their questions but I figured, quickly, that that's better than traumatizing them by falling to the floor in front of them.
But here I am, in this picture, standing.
I can tell by my posture that I'm not standing there thinking, "Wow, I'm standing. How cool is that to be a person who stands?" No, I'm just standing. It was clearly, for me, simply a normal thing to do.
Then I remembered things like standing to shave.
Standing to give a lecture.
Standing beside Joe on a subway car.
Apparently, my memory tells me, I used to stand a lot. I don't think of the past in that way at all. I don't think of the past as 'the land of the standing Dave.' I just think of the past as the past an my memories don't have a lot to do with the physicality of my movements but rather the nature of my relationships and the changing foci of my passions. Hmm.
I had no sense of loss. I realize looking at the picture that if I had been sitting in a wheelchair, I would still have been there, still in relationship to the people in the picture, still having the same conversation, still deeply involved in my surroundings.
And people make such a big freaking deal about standing. Like it's morally and spiritually superior to sitting. We even call good people 'upstanding'. Sheeeit.
I used to stand.
I don't any more.