Friday, November 17

Dear Jim,

How are you? I´ve been weak since last Saturday. I stayed home for two days, then yesterday I got a helluva headache at work. It was so bad that when a customer asked me a difficult question, I went to get somebody else to answer it. I would have gotten sick if I had tried to help her.

My headache was an allergy headache. I took the wrong kind of painkiller after lunch. I wish I had taken something different. I almost didn´t make it until the end of the day.

You got a lot of headaches in high school. They had something to do with your glasses or needing glasses. When you returned from Seattle in your twenties, you got lots of headaches. I remember you refused to take aspirin.

All of us kids get lots of headaches. Sis I only gets them during allergy season. I used to get a lot of headaches like the one I had yesterday. One of the reasons I don´t get as many now is because I do not eat as much bread, cereal, soy milk, and pastries. I have more energy too.

Remember how your hands used to turn purple in the cold? I think that kept you out of Vietnam. I had really cold feet and hands for a long time, especially my feet, but in the last few weeks with the start of the cool season, they haven´t been as cold.

I think it has to do with eating more salt. I read a review of a book on salt in September. The review said that many people today do not eat enough salt, and that even more people eat too much sugar. It said that salt is essential and people should eat more. I knew I wasn´t eating properly, that I had to cut down on sugar, eat more protein, and increase the variety of foods I ate. So I went out and bought some classy salt.

Wow. It tasted great and I felt better. I felt lighter.

When the book about salt arrived for me at the library, I read it intensely. A lot of it was too hard to understand. But when I read the list of symptoms of possible salt deficiency, I felt good when I saw ¨cold appendages¨.

I´ll see how it goes the rest of the winter. I wonder if your hands were cold and purple because of a salt deficiency. I laugh thinking about your story of asking the guy in the mountains to go into your pocket to take out the car keys and open the door for you because your hands were so cold you could not feel.

I talked with dad today. He sounded really good and he felt really good. It is interesting to hear him struggle to be articulate. He´ll ask me what I ´ve been doing. I´ll say, ¨I just got back from the store. I wanted to go before it rains.¨ He will hesitate then say firmly, ¨You never know when a big storm will blow in.¨

I feel sorry for him. He also reminds me of myself and my struggle with speech.

I have been telling myself and others for years that I do not have enough people to talk with and that I desperately need to talk. When I go to work it is difficult to talk because, like I told you, most people are not interested in talking with me.

My talk at work is like the speech of a desperate man. I struggle to speak and sometimes I make no sense. I feel like I am an old man lost in the world he is no longer part of and that does not want to recognize him.

The other day I was working on a project with a guy. As we were finishing, a woman walks in and hears me sigh then say OK as I walked over to do something. She said, ¨People say ´OK´ a lot around here. Always talking to themselves.¨

Then two more people came into the room. She said, ¨I hear ´Allright´ a lot too.¨ I said ¨I say ´allright´ a lot.¨ Somebody laughed. ¨Yeah you do.¨ Then I gestured with my arm and fist – ¨Allright! Right on!¨ – and everybody laughed.

We bantered about more expressions from the 60´s and 70´s. I said, ¨My generation is easy to make fun of – ´Far out man!´¨

I don´t laugh much at work, but I did that day. I cut loose too – but that can be dangerous at work.

The problem at work is I need the people there to provide me with the conversation I do not have outside of work. It´s like people would rather give money to a successful man than a homeless man, so people would rather talk with somebody with a lot of friends than somebody with hardly any friends.

I´m worried about my mental health. I do not know what to do to have people to talk with like you and I used to talk, and the guy I used to play music with talked, and the way my friend who I met on the quad at Sac State talked, and the way I talked with some of my girl friends.

They say you´ve gotta grab the bull by the horns. Everything I have tried to do to embrace the world and meet people hasn´t worked.

I remember you telling me about a Scandanavian woman you met. She told you that friends in her country had long intimate conversations. You contrasted that with the horseshit relationships people have here.

I don´t move quickly. It would take a lot of time to make intimate friends, but I´m running out of time. Help me to think of something, and to have the courage to do it.

Love,

Dave