Monday, November 23, 2009


Why this strange title? I had eye surgery on November 10th and am now at home recuperating. This is my third eye surgery, but the first in my right eye. I have out of control glaucoma, and the surgery is called a trabeculectomy. If you are interested, you may look it up. As far as I understand it, the procedure involves creating a new drainage area in the eye by cutting, pasting, stitching, and creating something called a bleb.

The recuperation period is six weeks during which time I am not allowed to lean over (anything that involves my head being lower than my heart), or to pick up anything heavier than 5 lbs. Memory of painful events is blessedly short. Now, three weeks after the surgery, I remembered that before each such surgery I fantasized about trying out every one of the variety of restaurants which grace my neighborhood. Every day I would take a book, eat lunch and write a review of the restaurant, or cafe. In truth, I do no such thing. I simply do not feel up to this pleasant task.

My days are spent resting. I sleep inordinate amounts, then take sedate little strolls around the neighborhood. I love this time of the year, late late fall. When the sun shines, and it often does, the quality of the light filters out shadows and the leaves on the trees, the pebbles on the road, and the houses on Albany hill and in the Berkeley/El Cerrito hills are sharply delineated. The sun turns home and apartment windows into sparkling gemstones. The fallen leaves crunch underfoot.

Over the last few days I walk to a neighborhood tearoom, drink a pot of tea, listen to classical music, and read. This feels like such a civilized way to pass the time. Back in South Africa, promptly at 4 in the afternoon Martha, our servant, brought in a tray bearing a pot of tea, cups, saucers, a small jug of milk and a plate of biscuits. The only change in this routine would be cake instead of biscuits. Years later, in America, I learned that what we call biscuits they call cookies. Cookies for us were what cupcakes are to them, and what they call biscuits we never heard of.

I say toe-mah-toe.