Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Icy Famous

I just learned that the guy who created Dippin' Dots got his undergraduate and graduate degrees in microbiology from Southern Illinois University--Carbondale, where I got my undergraduate degrees. When I first saw these Dippin' Dots being sold, I was drawn to them. They never hit me right, though. Cool idea. And they look cool, Willy Wonka-style, Candyland-Style. My kind of thing. But I'd much rather have a gigantic bowl heaped with ice cream.

Jenny McCarthy also went to SIUC. And Jim Belushi.

Why am I not famous yet? Because I'm not yet dead. Because I'm just not.

Musical Booster Chairs

It occurred to me to make a mix CD of my favorite first songs on CDs. It also occurred to me that this could be quite a dangerous blast to the system, severe sensory overload, like feeding the brain many potent hits of acid all at once. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

1. Modest Mouse albums always begin with bang: "Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine", "Dramamine", "Never Ending Math Equation", "3rd Planet".

2. "Overcome" from Tricky’s Maxinquaye. Before I bought it I borrowed this CD from someone who’d let many scratches get to it, causing the first ten seconds of the song to repeat and repeat and repeat. That was fine with me.

3. "Kissing the Lipless" from The Shins' Chutes Too Narrow. The first time the vocals flare up is great. I could listen to that moment on repeat and repeat and repeat. In fact I did in the car on the way home from work yesterday.

4. "Bug" from the 50 Foot Wave 6-songer. Except for the Tricky song, I see that what I really like in a first track is a good hollering. I’m always driven to re-start this album when it finishes.

5. While I’m at it, "Mercury" from the last Throwing Muses CD rocks, as well as "Call Me" from their first and first self-titled CD, particularly the earlier version on In the Doghouse. From Kristin Hersh’s solo albums I tend to lean toward the middle songs as favorites, but she’s still my hero.

6. "Luv Machine" from Blonde Redhead’s In An Expression of the Inexpressible. Send that to a new lover. Pink geometry and orgasmic exhalations. After I saw this band for the first time, I shook Kazu’s hand and told her she was phenomenal. In case she didn't know already.

7. "South on Western" from La Makita Soma’s Brighton Park. It’s the best song for waking up to a crisp, slightly cool sunny day and doing fully whatever pleases you. Way to go, boys.

Damn, I’m at work and have only 6 CDs here. I must use brain power. Coffee me. Memory-enhancement-herb me.

8. "Oscillations" from that fantastic Silver Apples album, which calls me to Jessamine who covered this song (which was the first time I heard it)…

9. "Say What You Can" from Jessamine's Long Arm of Coincidence, which I haven’t heard in a very long time because I have it only on a sketchy cassette. I shall have it. The world will be mine. Hopefully I’m naming the song I’m thinking of, with the great hot moan-wailing female vocals.

And one more for Santa’s elves and all the dead porn stars…

10. Colder’s "Crazy Love" from Again. Another to play on repeat. This song woke me from a long sleep. Sunshine in your eyes.

Is that a full mix CD? Depends, I guess, on the year and its precipitation levels. I know there are many majors I’ve left out, and there is defecit in the lack of diversity and comprehensive timespan, which I say to beat up on myself for my own pleasure and not as a disclaimer in attempt to prove my social worth.

New Year’s Fortune #1: Resolve to love the shit that happens for a reason. It will metamorphose into some other kind of shit to love and hate, which is crux.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

From the Oneironaut Collection of Past Potential Scandal and Beyond

You have to go here and see the top picture on the right-hand side, and then scroll down to the picture at Monday, December 13, and heck you might as well peruse what's in between. (caught via 8ZERO8, thanks (and while you're there check out the Baghdad Christmas photo))

Man, I do have dark humor, but I usually don't laugh so heartily at violence to babies.

And those blasted Ninjas. I've been so naive.

Yesterday evening I recalled a dream I had about one of my students when I was teaching required English composition at a community college. We didn't have sex in the dream but we were incredibly in love. We went to Paris with a group of people who strayed from us. While we were looking for a place to eat he strayed, too. I was confused and hurt. I ate dinner by myself in a large cafe. Finally we found each other in a big room with a silky cushioned bed and plush carpet. The rest of the group was there too. It was never resolved or even further important why everyone had strayed. This fella and I were so in love our bodies were like champagne. We were giddy and kissed.

When I woke up I felt just as giddy as in the dream, the same feeling I had for the first two weeks after I met Mark. This was when I worked at Borders. The customers must have loved me then. I smiled and bubbled at everyone. I didn't sleep for two weeks. This student of mine usually sat in front of my desk, which allowed me to see his one tattooed leg, his only tattoos as far as I could see. Mark too has tattoos only on one leg, all the way up (use your frisky imagination--or don't), which I suppose is the giddy-love connection in the dream. This student also wrote very well. He never did what the assignment asked for, and I knew he knew that, so I couldn't give him A's like I wanted to, but his writing was rich, gritty, and potent. He was also very intelligent, far beyond any of the other students I had, all of which I suppose is also why I had such dream about him.

Anyway, the next day I'd kind of forgotten about the dream. Memory of it flickered quietly across my brain as I was reading before class. That day I was giving an in-class essay. Easy for me. I walked in and when the time came I began handing out the little blue booklets. The Dream Student walked in, looking emotionally troubled. I am terribly empathetic, but I thought maybe I was just reading into things because of the dream, thinking it gave me some extra connection to him. While I was finishing handing out the booklets, a scene flashed into my mind: The Dream Student dramatically closed his blue booklet, tossed it up on my desk and then ran out of the room. I looked at him, and he was concentratedly writing. Ok, I thought, you're just reading into things.

When I finished handing out the booklets, I sat down at my desk and everyone was writing. A full second later, The Dream Student dramatically closed his booklet, tossed it up onto my desk and left the room quickly. My whole body gasped. I was thoroughly freaked and fascinated. I opened up the booklet and in it he had written a paragraph explaining a particularly troubling situation he was in, omitting some personal details, and that he could not concentrate. During the semester, I gave him every chance in the world to make up this essay and other work, even though some of the times I shouldn't have. He always told me when he couldn't come to class and why, but there were many many of these times. Based on what I perceive of his personality I don't think I was just being fooled with dog stories, if I need to justify my special treatment.

For some reason I felt more deep compassion for this student than any other. I've always been one to root for intelligent underdogs; he'd been in some trouble with the law, multiple times from what I gather, and like I said, he was fucking smart. He talked about the kind of things I would talk about with my friends, along the same philosophical bend. He delivered bright monologues that annoyed the dimmer part of the class, but which I found entertaining. But there was something bigger, I think. That dream, and psychic happening the next day, affected my whole self, emotionally, physically. I don't think love = love in the dream, but I do think the dream was especially significant somehow. Someone get me an interpreter, stat, s'il vous plait.

Tale from a Muffin

As I mentioned recently, I’ve begun reading Infinite Jest. There is a scene near the beginning (I am still in the beginning; I will still be in the beginning several hundred pages from now) where Hal the young tennis star is in an office with some administrators and his uncle (do I remember correctly?) for an admissions interview at a prospective school. The uncle is answering all the questions and Hal is sitting there mute. The administrators begin to question Hal’s academic standing and potential, and they want Hal to answer the questions. They ask the uncle to leave the room. At last we get a response from Hal, which is respectable and confident; we then, however, get the administrator’s perspective: Hal is flailing and convulsing and they have to restrain him.

This sort of perceptual divergence happens to me frequently, people responding to me as if I’ve done or said something other than I think I have done or said. In fact, it happened a few minutes ago when I went to the hospital café to retrieve a muffin (the kind you mix and bake). I usually get a bagel and sometimes coffee, but I decided to stray. The cashier went directly for a coffee cup, but I said, "Nope, just a muffin today." Then I said, "How are you today?" She replied, "Ohhhhhh, I see." I assume she thought I said that I was getting something new today. I just went with it. Smiled, nodded.

Another instance: The week Mark and I were going to Las Vegas, The Good Doctor I work for was going to Prague. Someone from the sleep lab came by my office and said something about what it would be like with the Doctor gone next week. I said, "Well, actually I’m going to Las Vegas next week, so I’ll be gone too." She replied, "Well, at least you’ll be able to get work done with him interrupting you. A little break." I like this woman, and I was planning on telling her I was going to Las Vegas, that I would be out the whole next week and wouldn’t see her. I still haven’t said anything else about the trip to her.

This is more proof that everything, absolutely everything, is rooted in illusion and people perceive only what they want, have conversations entirely by themselves, read their very own versions of books, watch their very own singular sit-coms. There are many more such occasions in the bank. It can’t be just me. In the past I've tried correcting matters on impact but with the same response. Besides, I find these exchanges satisfyingly peculiar and worthy of microscopic study.

By the way, that blueberry muffin (which apparently is the official muffin of Minnesota) was fantastic: warm, soft, and tasty. Will I have the requisite healthy shit later? Isn’t that what muffins do? More later on Illusion and The People.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Baklava and Lunatics

A few minutes ago, I was invited to the sleep lab for some baklava, which one of the residents had brought in. On the counter was a box, about 18" x 18", full of rows various baklava. It looked like a garden. I could twine my mind in its rows all day.

This morning I went to Service Excellence Academy II, SEA2 for the seasoned. This involved a video of dramatic enactments of various employee-patient scenarios—how to act and how not to act. I had 12 hours of this when I started this job in June. This morning it was only an hour. This one themed itself on wizardry. A wizard taught young hospital employees the ways of service excellence, of moving from good to great, of making patients say "wow". I got a glossary of terms: "good to great", positivism, service excellence, teamwork, compassion, patience, tolerance, and enthusiasm. At the end, we learned that the guy wasn’t a wizard after all; he was an escaped mental patient. However, he did make us believe that we can break the cycle of negativism—if we just believe we can. There was a quiz and a survey to complete at the end, which I have to give to the neuroscience manager to prove my new skills.

I understand the purpose of these sessions. It’s important to keep in check, get a refresher boost to make sure people are treating each other and patients properly. At the same time I feel somewhat cocky about the whole thing. I guess I was raised with a sure degree of common courtesy and born with a similar degree of intuitive sense about how to treat people. For example, I can tell when someone is lost and unless I’m in space—it sometimes happens—it occurs to me to ask that person if I can help him or her out. This is whether I’m at work, out in the world, in traffic. Something that wrinkles my eyes is that during this kind of orientation session "the teachers" act like the tips they are giving are new ideas to practice at work. Something that wrinkles my whole face is that usually most of the people participating in these sessions act like these are new things to practice and apply at work.

What are these people like out in the world? Self-centered, high-strung people, who have difficulty making connections and who can hold only their part of the conversation is my guess. There are a lot of people out there who at first seem to be friendly, talkative people, when actually they are good only at talking. They never hear what the other party in the conversation has to say; they do not respond to the other party but instead either repeat what they already said or say something unrelated entirely. These are the people who treat these "service excellence" tips like new information to practice and learn. Smile at people, inform people. Hey, imagine what you yourself might want. The Golden Rule. Do unto others… For example, don’t hand the patient with an injured hand some crackers, a cup of juice, and some painkillers all at once, particularly when there is no table to set any of it on and you’re going to walk away. This is what happened when I went to the emergency room for my dog bite. I was sure to note it in my survey rating the ER’s performance.

Do I feel like I learned anything this morning? I do pay attention at these things. Re-hashing the rules of common courtesy is never a bad idea. Everyone at some point gets caught in his or her blinders and nets. And I laud the efforts of whomever it was who went to the trouble of making the video. The acting was better than last time. I do believe in the efforts toward breaking cycles of negativism in interpersonal relationships. The cynic in me, however, doesn’t believe enough people understand it or will act on it, though, to make much difference in a large group, though I leave open a pore of hope. Most people even when they understand something only think they act on it. Like people who say they keep a clean house but really keep a clean house only in their imaginations. Lunatics. (Or maybe the above is actually an extension of my own driving psyche.) At the end of the video, the camera shot for the first time to the administrators. One of them said, "We do not believe in wizards. We do not believe in magic." How dull. Wasn't that the point? Believe and you will achieve. Lunatics. Meet my imaginary friend with courteous fractals in her eyes.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas Eve with Foreigners

Illinois was biting cold and full of snow. Christmas with the family was good. Christmas Eve went as planned and then some. My mom, Mark and I played Cranium, which I won but found that my humming skills are in need of improvement, particularly when I can remember only three notes of a song. Then my mom, dad, Mark and I went to our ex-neighbor’s house to have snack foods and visit. The guy who usually comes with jumbo shrimp came but without the jumbo shrimp. We laughed at his jokes anyway. After an hour or so there we drove through the park and a couple neighborhoods, looking at Christmas lights during which time Mark delightfully made Wookie noises. Then on to The Orchard Inn, the seedy bar across the street from where my mom works and from where my dad worked when he and my mom met. By seedy I mean dark, grimy, smoky, just right.

As soon as we walked in a young guy, probably early twenties, sent a drunken gaze across us. We procured our beverages and stood next to a table, and the young guy came over, roped his arm over my mom’s shoulders and planted a kiss on her cheek. "Do you know him?" I asked after he fumbled away. Big I’ll-just-go-with-it smile, "No," she said. We went into room with the pool and foosball tables. Mark put a quarter down on the pool table for him and my Dad. The lad who planted the wet one on my mom was playing teams with a much less drunk young guy and an older guy wearing a hat with "PRECEPT" spelled out in all white caps on it. (When we’d been playing Cranium earlier, my mom got a question containing the word "precept"; she asked me what it meant and I didn’t know. It’s one of those words on my list of words that provide me with no visual so I can never remember what it means. I guessed half-accurately at least.) Our young drunken friend and his teammate had no idea what was going on and protested blindly when the other team won. Then he came over and hugged my mom again, and planted another kiss on her cheek. She asked his name: Neil, he said. (Or Neal maybe.) He began asking her questions, his eyes wobbling between both her and me, and she informed him that Mark was her boyfriend, and so was my dad, who was also her dad, and I was the daughter of her and Mark. He was cool with all of it.

There are two scenes Neil oscillated between: 1. Stumbling over to my mom (who was sitting next to me, on the outside of the booth), leaning in to talk to her, losing balance and crushing both my mom and me into the booth, the whole time trying to talk. Then pointing a wavering finger at my dad on the other side of the booth and saying, "I know…him…from some…where." 2. After hanging on the bar, stumbling away with at least three drinks balanced between his hands, thinking he was going to make some drinking folk very happy. These oscillating scenes went on all night.

Eventually I got a wet one on my cheek. Eventually Neil got thrown out. It was very cold outside, Neil didn’t have a coat, and his promised ride didn’t look like he was planning to leave yet. Things didn’t look good for Neil. I hope he got home ok, not frozen.

My mom and I played songs on the jukebox. While I was standing at the jukebox waiting for her to get dollars, a 40-something guy said something to me, then gave my mom and I a dollar to play whatever music we wanted. A little Metallica, a little AC/DC, Johnny Cash. As we were leaving the guy came over, I guess to say goodbye. On the way home I learned that the guy was under the impression he’d be going home with my mom. Delusional bloke.

During the night I got a game of foosball in. My dad and Mark destroyed my mom and me. I can’t help thinking we might have done better if my mom hadn’t been dancing the whole time, but it's no matter now. As I sat in the booth again, observing the scene, I heard loud laughter and unusual language being exchanged between the pool players. It went something like this, in various configurations:

"Jriguarlkiasfoij God Damn Fusgoiuari God damn Hyuuu Huyy Haw Haw"

followed by collective guffawing. They seemed to understand one another. Was it in Middle Earth’s backwoods where I sat? Had I fallen asleep in the booth? Whatever it was, I was on lively alien soil. When I was very young, five maybe, I had been in this bar with my mom and dad, after my mom and I moved in with my dad across the street and around the corner. Strange I didn’t learn the language. It's at that young age when the brain is most receptive to learning such things. I maintain that I was kidnapped by aliens, or at least by Europeans, while time was stopped, when I was young, taught their manners, and then slipped back into the country. It's the only explanation for why I don't have a "hick" accent, have not even an intuitive hint for this strange language, never wore a mullet and prefer efficiency in conversation over repeating the same phrase or story again and again and again.*

*I do not mock my heritage. I simply observe and describe. And I adore my parents.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Poorsomnia and the Wookies that Sang Christmas

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." –Buckminster Fuller

This was in my horoscope for the week and I shall let it stand because I am nauseatingly exhausted. Nauseatingly.

I would like to add, however, that while I was in college in Carbondale, Illinois, during the summer I lived alone in a barren studio across the street from what I told my family were crack houses (I need to keep them on their toes), I also lived down the street from a Bucky Fuller dome home. I walked by it often and sometimes spied it through the fence. Some time in the next two years I finally got inside. Some art students living there were hosting a party, where I believe the previously-mentioned Brian stalked me. I lurked behind curtains while clutching a bottle of beer. That is mostly what I remember, if that’s even true.

Ok. Now I’m out until next week. Tomorrow morning I will be transported to my parents house for Christmas festivities. Hopefully we’ll drive around on Christmas Eve and look at the lights decorating the houses while my mom sings loudly to Harry Connick Jr.-style holiday tunes. My brother won’t be there this year. Usually we sit in the back together and make unintelligible Chewbacca-like noises. Mark, however, will be there.

See what happens…

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Excuse Us All

I just sent a reminder to one of the reviewers for the journal, who was late returning his review. This is common modus operandi among these reviewers. I don’t like sending the reminders, but I see that it’s something I’ll just have to accept.

Anyway, I got a light-speed response to this particular reminder. It said: The review is done. Check with Jennifer.

Who the hell is Jennifer, you might ask. That was my thought at least. I don’t have an answer, but I’ve decided that the next time anyone asks me for something that I don’t have done yet, I will say, "Check with Jennifer." I suggest that you do the same.

Slicing Up Eyeballs and Sex Drive

Last night I was driving my motorscooter on some Jersey back roads, coming home from a friend’s house. Just as I was about to pass New Brunswick Road, perpendicular to my right, I remembered that it was a good shortcut home. I made a short arc back to turn onto the road. A car drove by. I thought it was good a cop didn’t see that, though if he did he should have understood and forgiven my move. I came to the next road, which I almost missed, but made. The red lights and sirens began. A uniformed cop appeared at my left. Said he’d seen what I’d done. I felt frustrated and mildly bad-lucked but relented and accepted that I was getting a ticket. The cop began to handcuff me. I had the sense that I was being taken to jail. I protested with a wide-open "what?!" and the dream shifted to another scene entirely. I surfaced awake momentarily to decide that I really did have a motorscooter…

I was at Sarah’s house, a Sarah I went to school with from pre-school through high school, a Sarah I never thought about much but was fascinated that her last name also began with an "S", along with another Sara whose last name began with an "S", all of us in the same grade. I was at her house, down the street from mine. We were simultaneously junior high-, high school-, and current-age. She had slender fingers. She had dark half-curly hair, strange straight mouth and face-shape that reminded me of boogers and grimacing. Her slender fingers held a cigarette. It was my first time hanging out at her house. She and some other girl tried to make me feel comfortable. They took out an electronic poetry game that shone onto a screen in the living room. The game resulted in our words appearing together on the screen. Neither of girls cared much for writing and played only for laughs. Then my words came onto the screen. They were markedly different from those of the other girls. Nobody understood, everybody skirted the moment and moved on.

Then I was on the beach, about to go into the ocean with five or six people. The ocean was crowded. We all went into the water and immediately began sinking. I decided we should get out. I called for them: xxx, yyy, zzz, and Julie (a girl from high school), please get Tommy! Tommy was very small, 6 or 7 years old, and floundering out there among the saltwater, people, and floatie devices. We all connected by our hands and walked to shore.

It occurred to me when I woke up that nobody but us was sinking.

I’ve heard that water dreams are really about sex. What does it mean that I was having a sex-rooted dream about people I went to high school with and a little boy named Tommy—and that I saved us all from sinking in the water?

Today I am enjoying the Pixies' disc one of Death to the Pixies. Call me Caribou.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Linguafarm Machinery

If the man weren't so endearing I might have shoved my vitamin bottle in his mouth and strapped his hands to his thighs. We received the first online submission to the journal today. The Good Doctor, as I may have mentioned before, is not in any way technologically savvy. In no particular dialogic order:

Me: No, no, scroll up, the link on the left, the blue text, click on it, no don't hit "back", ok now scroll to the right and click on "history", no scroll back up, now at the top of the page, I'll check on that, now click on...

Him: Look there are already problems...

I actually began losing my voice trying to explain on repeat what can and can't be done on repeat on repeat on repeat. He is feeling hesitant about the new online system. Nevertheless, I began our letter to our audience, "We are delighted to...".


I saw Finding Neverland yesterday. As forecast, it brought tears to the eyes of me, Mark, and his dad. It got me thinking about how much the way we speak has changed since the time when people were very formal with one another. There was a scene in the movie where it took a good several minutes at a dinner party for two people to express that they were happy to be there together and how they should have gotten together sooner.

That kind of talk is no longer necessary. It's implied in the history of communication that we grew out of. What's up?-What's up? Or 'Sup.-'Sup. Or less, a back-nod of the head. I still have anxiety in hallway courtesy-talk. It seems too insignificant to deliver honestly, yet I don't have an alternative. I see the purpose of hallway courtesy-talk; it tempers the silent cold, offering a soft rapport between people. I would like an alternative. This morning The Good Doctor's secretary saw me from the end of the hallway. I waved and she asked, How are things? I don't believe it was practical to have hollered down the hallway how I was really doing. Probably I should have made it more of an exchange and extended my wave to a How are you? But I didn't. I was at the other end of the hallway in a doctor's office in a hospital, and this person is more an acquaintance than a friend to whom I most certainly would have hollered down the hallway. (I throw my arm up Hitler-style to one of the resident doctors when I see her in the hallway; it is our little joke.) There was an awkard pause after I answered The Good Doctor's secretary: All right. I think I shall never master the silk of hallway courtesy-talk.

I'm glad we're no longer required to use twenty words to say what we could say in two, just for the sake of being formal. At the same time, the kids in Finding Neverland (yes, I know they're just characters; I'm using them as models) showed much better respect overall for people, speaking formally and respectfully to adults, where kids today in general (what am I, 65?) show little respect for anyone no matter the age, and are often reluctant to do anything that doesn't directly benefit them. I think this has a lot to do with the way they speak, and the way they're brought up to speak by their parents, their teachers, and, most frighteningly, television. Intelligently written and delivered shows must be sought out, and most people just flip on the tv and settle.

This is a rich topic, however, that I must leave right here. I have to go edit an article about obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) now.

Infinite Questing

It’s cold and somebody keeps taking my printouts at the end of the hall, thinking they belong to someone else. I wore my skirt like a blanket and I am most certainly bone-chilled. It was two degrees with wind chill in Central Park this morning. The coffee here tastes like a recently-dumped-in bathroom smells. I have shut my door. There will be warmth only when I start a fire with everybody else’s printouts, upon stealing them from the end of the hall and bringing them into my office, thinking they’re mine.

Finally I have begun to read Infinite Jest. On Saturday I drove Brooklynward and met with two friends, one of whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time, and who burst into appalled gasp when I said I hadn’t read Infinite Jest. It startled me. So when I left Jerseyward later that night, the other friend sent with me his copy of Infinite Jest. I’ve had difficulty finishing books lately, so I’m hoping that writing about it here, and repeating its title three times, will keep my brain in gear. My goal is now out in the blogosphere. Everybody knows.

I am embarking on an adventure in my fuchsia ship decked out in wood barrels of salt and wine. My bearskin is warm against the cool ocean winds.

I am listening to Wire—Pink Flag. With the door shut I feel safe and much too isolated. The goats are far, far away.

I am goosepimpling with arctic neuroscience and eager beaverhood.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Last Thing I Saw Before the Sacrifice in the Woods

While I was wrapping Christmas presents a little bit ago, I was listening to Sonic Youth and was reminded of college when I listened to Sonic Youth on repeat, any and all albums, while I wrote papers. (In grad school Sonic Youth became Erasure (for the one final paper at least).) Does this mean that in my post-school life wrapping presents has taken the place of using my brain to write papers? How domestic and dull. I hope not.

I had a Young Goodman Brown experience at work today, post-work holiday party. Near the end of the party a girl who was wearing black hoochie pants came from the table to our right and sat at our table. At our table was the crew from the sleep lab, Mark and I, and the head of the Neuroscience department.

I had said to Mark earlier in the evening that almost all the people at the table at the right always wear scrubs to work and looked weird in "real" clothes. Today I saw the girl who was wearing the hoochie pants, today in her scrubs again and easy pony-tail, no make-up. We shared a look of recognition that said something like I remember you from outside of here, drinking wine, dressed for the red night. Like when Young Goodman Brown saw all of the "devout" acting as normal after his night witnessing their revelry, perverse and shocking to him, deep in the woods. Scrubs, pink ribbon. Those whores and their holiday cheer.

It wasn't like things got all that debaucherous, or debaucherous at all really, at the holiday party, though people acted more loosely, and in their night clothes and makeup transformed into probably who they are most of the time outside the workplace. I wonder what my scrubs-personality would be.

Which reminds me, while I was in college, Rodney Jones told me to dress like a dominatrix when I went to take the GRE so that I would feel like a different person and feel less anxiety. Then he offered me a black banana from his desk. This poet, this man, this cigarette-smoking sage, rocks.

The Hive Is So Big It Hurts

The images are not copulating today.
I think I misheard this in the hallway earlier.

The images will not reproduce.
How sad. How not hot or sexy is the hospital day.

My wrist that moves the mouse is made of bees buzzing.

More to come on wildlife and the debauchery of copies.


Prompted by Kate's change in blogface, after long laxity, I've finally put a new dress on mine. The change is minor but for the better. The black was too much. Made me feel like I should be angsty, awkwardly dressed, and drawing Cure logos on my high school calculus notebook again. Disjointed. That time is past. I feel lighter already.

More later.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Reflection and Smurf Food

I’m such a school girl. And also a china doll, a foul creature, a space cadet, a stoic spider, a passionate geyser, a clever dirty-mouth, a slurring drunk, a sleepwalker, a meticulous grandmother, a corny uncle, a scatterbrain felt-tip.

I just got a call my Irish boyfriend with whom I’ve developed a dialogue so much so that I suppose I can drop the pretend-talk because he’s real now. He asked about my dog bite, and about Mark’s knee. Turns out he too had ACL reconstruction in the past year.

All my life I have conjured this type of fantasy relationship in which I find great pleasure. Then the fantasy becomes real, loses magic. Rather, loses cloud-magic, magic not attached to anything tangible, but gains tactile magic. The tactile then gains complexity. Here are two examples:

1. Vampire Boy College, he dressed in all black, including a trench coat and purple-lens glasses, in darkness and in light. He had an odor, something like an enduring accumulation of multiple bodies and death. It was pungent and unmistakable. I wrote stories about him. I encountered him everywhere. Everywhere. Often at Discount Den where every day I bought at least one 44 oz. fountain soda (either Diet Mountain Dew or a mix of a few). The kicker was the day I came back from Christmas break. I came back early because relations with my mom were terrible and I couldn't bear being there. Nobody was on campus. Nobody. I set off to enjoy a solitary, peaceful walk in the cold and snow, and out from behind a tree came this dark, purple-eyed figure. I think I jumped. Within a month I met a tweaky fellow who later became my even tweakier roommate, who not only introduced me to Vampire Boy but also told him that I had been calling him Vampire Boy and writing stories about him. His voice was nothing like I imagined, average-nasal, not deep and gothy. He was very intelligent, and also self-righteously straight-edge. I was too, when I met him. He began to shift away when the acid streamed into the group.

2. Brian (this is also the name of my Irish chum): We were in the same core curriculum biology class in college, which by the end of the semester almost nobody came to because our professor, a pompous fellow named Aristotle, chose to talk more about his relationships with elite scientists than what we were supposed to be learning about biology. He even showed us a video of a decaying gray biologist, who had been his teacher, walking down an aisle to accept some award. Anyway, I had noticed this Brian walking around campus. I liked the way he walked with his backpack and held onto the bottom of his shirt sleeves. I began writing stories about him, at least one of which I was asked to read out loud in my fiction class. Red face. At the beginning of the semester this Brian sat in the front of the room and toward the left, asked questions, the whole bit. I sat in the back right-hand corner as always, so I could keep tabs on everything. Week by week I noticed us noticing each other; week by week he moved closer to the back right-hand part of the room. Eventually he sat in the row ahead of me and we began talking. Soon we began hanging out, and then dating and kissing and such. We had a fun, kid, Candyland kind of relationship. Once we drove to a cemetery in the middle of the night, then my car wouldn’t start to get us out of there; another cemetery trip, a cop approached, disrupted our nap, and told us to leave. Jerk. Once we took a long walk and the sky dumped niagra-rain; we sat under the awning of a building for hours waiting for it to stop. Things began to change. I was very consistently depressed at this point in my life. It wasn’t something I made a big deal of, or needed to talk about; it was just fact. However, he always talked about it, asked me about it, spotlit it like it didn’t need to be. Sometimes his tales of rampant drunkenness at his trippy party house bored me, though his tales of colorful and sometimes spiritually-flecked drug use intrigued me. He dressed as Rasta Smurf the Halloween we were together. We talked books and music and drank coffee. For Christmas we went to our respective homes and on his way back to Carbondale—he lived near Chicago—he stopped in Effingham and stayed the night. Things continued to change. I developed a crush on someone else, and he told me every time we talked that his friends thought he should get rid of me. I decided, then, that we should part ways. He began calling and begging and following me around campus and to parties, and in the same sentence calling me a bitch and telling me he loved me. I actively avoided him after that, with cold-bitch stoicism. Eventually I felt bad for cutting him off so entirely as if he never existed. I’d like to be able to tell him. That period is so encapsulated unto itself it seems like just a story. I have no idea what Brian's last name is.

I don't think I capture people solely for story-food and fantasy like I did then. Then I had no skills talking to people, none, nihil, zip. I was in a glass tower. Instead I had vast relationships in my head to compensate. Those stories still go on, but now there is better balance between the relationships inside my head and the relationships outside my head, though probably you all are just stories anyway.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Holiday Party

They served wine and fine hors d’oeuvres at the party.

Introductions went on all night and people laughed.
Unfortunate work-stories were told unfortunately.
People laughed.

The woman who said to be aggressive four times too many
resigned. She has reckoned with her office malfeasance.

Cheesecake arrived.

It was decided that the purple and black scrubs
are favorites.
They will win the Super Bowl.

One has an ancient and tragic relationship
with his parents, obscured by television.

The other is so tired her body is expanding to Sumo-fit.
Walking is difficult, and child-bearing and sporks and sex.

A shiny man with a moustache came out
and played his shiny mandolin
until his hands fell off. Then he disrobed.

Over the river and through the woods a red man said
You are the oracle.

I keep expensive and expansive secrets from you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

High on White-Out and Beach Boys

The Midwest farmers' daughters really make you feel all right. As a native Illinoisan, I can assure you it's true. There's nothing like a corn cob or a pig's foot pumping in your orifice of choice. Or a horse tail tickling your pink spots. They also bake good bread.

I don't know why I say or think the things I do. Today's excuse could be...

MNOTS and hallucinatory sleep trouble. Unable to rest last night I stumbled downstairs for unknown reason in the dark. The dining room table was missing, gone, no longer in the dining room. Just dark empty space. And then it appeared. I stumbled back up the stairs and tried to get in the bed a foot before I reached it. I watched more I Love the 80s on VH-1. It didn't not knock me restful.

The sun is out today. Out like your wine-drunk mother.

My friend Lauren's insurance guy came to my work earlier and took pictures of my dog-bit hand. At this point my hand is nearly healed on the surface. It's deep down where it dulls and throbs for long gone teen icons. Turns out I'll probably be reimbursed for the day I took off work, even though it was a paid day off, because it was nonetheless a day out of my time bank. Cool.

Tonight is my work’s holiday party. I have been asked by many if "The Mister" will be there. The Mister will indeed be there. I look forward to this event for a few reasons:

1. I’m curious to see how these people behave outside the workplace. Is it true people get drunk at these things and lick their bosses?

2. I’m curious to see how I behave with these people outside the workplace. One of the doctors came into my office earlier just to say hi. Then he asked me how I liked working here and commented that my particular job doesn’t bring me to interact with others who work here except The Good Doctor. This is true, I said, I hear people buzzing out there, but I am in this bubble of an office. Rarely is it necessary for me to interact with the others, though I put in an effort. I think I served as a confidante over lunch the other day, and often I translate The Good Doctor’s ways for his secretary in order to keep the peace.

3. I’m curious to get Mark’s input on these people. He doesn’t know it yet, but tonight I send him in as my spy.

Here's to MNOTs and Good Vibrations. Embrace the demons. It's the only way.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Holiday Smarm

The holiday season makes me feel free, restless, moody and paranoid all at the same time. Every year.

Buzzing brain. I’ve been high-speed for the past two days. Yesterday I cleaned, mopped (which is separate from just cleaning), did mine and Mark’s laundry, hand-washed six of my sweaters that had been sitting dirtily aside for months (which is separate and much more grueling than just doing laundry), and hand-made some little books to give to my family for Christmas.

Now I have only one book to make and to write the text in each of them, a poem of mine spread out through each. For this I had to be selective, considering my family doesn’t really "get" my poems and, frankly, it’s probably better they don’t. There is one, however, that my mom gets—it even made her cry. This one goes in her book. There is another that mentions my having bad thoughts about my family on occasion, which hopefully won’t seem as important to my aunt as the rest of the poem when she receives her book. There are pros and cons in every relationship.

My friend Lauren, whose dog sank his teeth into my hand a week ago, has been teaching me how to make books: ripping the paper to size, placing the pieces into signatures, sewing the signatures together. We didn’t have a chance to do my lesson on making covers before she left for mighty Egypt, so she gave me some bookboard and a quick summary. After six hours yesterday with glue, thread, and utility knife (the very knife Mark gave me when I worked in the back room at Borders), the little things look pretty good. Hopefully they didn’t stick to any surfaces while drying overnight. Hopefully when I go home tonight Christmas won’t have been ruined.

Suddenly I really want to go home. My dog-bite hand hurts. I still like the vicodin, and want some now. I think it’s rather that I have an obsessive personality than an addictive one. When I get bored with Ye Olde V, I’ll find something else to think about insect-like all day every day. Suddenly I’ve become abstractly self-reflective and grim. I have been eating leftover pad thai off and on for almost three hours, chopsticks in my nostrils.

Hey, is that Rudolph in your ass or were you in the shower too long? Silver bells, silver bells...

Friday, December 10, 2004


Here is a list of things I feel like liking, upon concluding the following: I don’t feel like being at work, I don’t feel like being misinterpreted, I don’t feel like being criticized upon misinterpretation, and I don't feel like complaining about it.

1. Coffee, good coffee, coffee like acid, drinking lots of coffee until the world is crisp.

2. Magenta. When my brother was younger he called it Magneta. This will be my superhero name when I die. Magneta.

3. Bubbling e-mail conversation with a stranger. Pop the cork.

4. Vicodin. I admit it. I like the Vicodin. I’d like to be liking the Vicodin all the livelong day in the life of Sara S. Rations.

5. Playing the pentatonic scale I learned on my guitar (even though I’m not sure I'm doing it correctly post-guitar lesson).

6. Everything. I feel like liking everything so that then nothing will be problematic. However, that is too broad, and thus problematic, so #7…

(I find myself wanting to make a list instead of all the ways people are oppressive, greedy, and otherwise selfish. Persevere, friend, and strike a happy match.)

7. Edy’s Fudge Tracks ice cream. I don’t know which came first: Turkey Hill’s or Pathmark’s Moose Tracks or Edy’s Fudge Tracks, but it’s all good milky on the tongue.

(I’d like to break for a moment and say I lament the way that people access more and more their pushy indignant asshole qualities, whether driving or just loping around, the closer we get to Christmas.)

8. Cabernet-Savignon. I’m not picky about which brand, but I do like to siphon this breed of wine until I’m warm and happy and fluid. Even though it turns my lips and teeth purple.

9. Grape Nuts. Mock and bock as you will. I like Grape Nuts, and I’ve been eating the hard little beads out of paper coffee cups in my office for weeks.

(There is, of course, a semantic quandary in this "feel like liking" business, because feeling like liking something isn’t the same as really liking something, which suggests deficiency in the capacity to like on the part of the potential liker. Bah lingo, Scrooge! Who cares about deficiency and Christmas and what’s to like about a pulsing red heart bloody trapped in a hard guitar case. Bumbling tongue, hot-potato synapses!)

10. Sometimes I envision myself an old gray-hair lady at peace inside and out; sometimes I envision myself an old gray-hair lady cranky and bitter as fast-food coffee. I feel like liking the former.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Coat of Nasty Arms

Remember my story about the bathhouse and all that vomiting onto the streets of Manhattan? I was wearing a mid-thigh length black coat at the time, which I tried to be careful to keep out of the line of fire; however, in the throes of the hurling such attention to detail is bound to dissolve, apparently. A few days ago (a full week after the vomit incident), I thought my coat had a smidge of vomit-odor on it. At the time I thought I was just being neurotic, which would have been likely. Yesterday, however, I picked it up, smelled it. It smelled like vomit all right. Still keeping my faith in the neurosis, I put on the coat and went to work. Later in the day, I reached into my pocket for my cell phone—whooooo!!! Oh my god, the scent of vomit was ripe and superpowered. I didn’t put my coat on when I left work. After work I went to Mazda to give Gracie an oil change. After I talked to the guy inside, I came out to my car to get my cell phone (weird—I’m not really all that dependent on my cell phone but it sure sounds like it). Oh my god, the scent of vomit was ripe and superpowered—and in my Gracie. Immediately after the oil change I drove home and tossed the foul coat in the washer. Now, I, the air outside me, the air in Gracie, the air the graces and fates breathe in and out, is clean clean clean. Never has a drunken escapade taken on quite the long life as this, and this one was all an accident happened upon by Mark’s generous hand with the Vodka.

As a side note, Saturday I went team Christmas shopping with Shin. Just after we took off in my car, while I was wearing my criminal black coat, he sniffed at his coat and said, "Whew." I said, "What?" He said, "That’s bad." "What is it?" I asked. "It’s bad. It smells like it needs to be washed," he said, "I don’t want you to smell this." It must be bad, I thought to myself. Now I think to myself, I wonder if it was my coat all along. Could we both have had equally foul coats? It wouldn’t be the first synchronous event.

p.s. My dog hand is healing nicely. I can pick things up, I can put my hair in a ponytail, I can pleasure cats. This morning The Good Doctor checked my wounds for infection, and there was none. Hoo. Ha.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Heavy Dog in the Machinery

Monday night I was rushed to the Hunterdon Medical Center emergency room after being bitten by my friend Lauren’s dog Rourke. I had driven to her house to attend her work holiday party. We were going to eat scallops and that was going to kick ass.

I got out of my car and Rourke was standing at the deck fence, barking as usual when someone pulls up. I walked up to the gate of the fence, said, "Hi, it’s me." As I began to reach out to pet him to let him know it was me—we’d knocked back a few together before—it occurred to me that he could still only see me through the fence and might not be able to see who I was. Unfortunately, this thought occurred too slowly. Rourke launched and his teeth sank into the meat of my hand, just below my thumb and just above my wrist: two puncture wounds and a more minor nib.

Lauren’s dad paced and asked me several times if I was going to faint. If you’re a regular you may remember that on Monday I was suffering from no sleep. When I got to Lauren’s I was already spent. The nap in the office wasn’t working out so I finally went home an hour early, feeling shitty. In this already emotionally and physically weakened state, when Rourke bit me I broke into tears more out of exhaustion than pain. The bite didn’t really hurt at the time. It looked freakier than it felt, particularly the deeper of the two puncture wounds. There was blood, but not horror-gore blood. Knowing how deep the tooth had gone into my flesh, by sight and by feeling, was the worst and most fascinating part. Lauren and her dad got ice. My first thought after a good ten minutes was, I hope I can still play my guitar; I just learned the bar chord after all. My second thought much later: at least it was my left hand.

After consulting with Lauren’s mom, Lauren drove me to Hunterdon Medical Center. Fortunately the ER, as they call it, wasn’t too busy. I got right in and even got a fast-track bed. Within 15 minutes I’d talked to six different people, had told six different people I didn’t remember when my last tetanus shot was. My temperature was 99 degrees F.

I gotta say, some of those people, particularly the one nurse, didn’t have much grasp of patient perspective. When I told her I hadn’t eaten in while, she retrieved some juice and crackers for me to have before I took the painkiller. She handed me the crackers the juice the painkiller. Mind you, I had only one good hand and no table to set things on. She put the crackers, then, in my lap while I still fumbled with the pill and the cup full of juice. Thanks for your help.

More people came in and asked me questions about the bite, my job, and my address. Then, as if he were telling me he was going to get me a sandwich, the goofy male in scrubs told me they were going to IRRIGATE the wounds. Terrible term to use in conjunction with fresh open wounds. He left with the lesbian in scrubs to get their materials and I said to Lauren: Irrigate? That sounds awful.

The Scrubs returned and I lay down on the stretcher. First they had to numb both wounds with novacaine because they were going to put needles filled with cleaning solution into the wounds. Holy shit. I’m ok with needles. I usually watch the needle when I get shots. This, however, had me suspicious and inquisitive.

Goofy Scrub administered the novacaine. Then the first nurse came at me with a needle containing the tetanus. What the fuck, I thought. They can’t all get me at once. I raised my hand and told her the Scrubs were in the middle of something.

After a couple minutes Lesbian Scrub approached me with her flushing tool. I asked how she knew I was numb. I was nervous. Novacaine has never worked for me in the dentist’s office. I have had to be shot with it again and again. She begins the flushing. At first I just feel the sensation of the cool solution going in. That was fine. I thought she was doing one flush for each wound. Stupid me. She moved back to the first wound. My skin got tight and it fucking hurt. "Aaahh," I bellowed, "How many times are you going to do this?" "At least ten," she said firmly.

At that I had to re-adjust my psyche and pain threshold. Because the third flush hurt, she brought back in Goofy Scrub to re-shoot me with novacaine, which also fucking hurt. I screamed and then I cried. I didn’t really need to cry, but it felt good, and if possible I wanted to make those assholes feel bad for hurting me. (I also knew they dealt with this shit all the time and probably weren't affected. It was all an act to help me through.) Again I re-adjusted my psyche to prepare for the next infinite flushings.

Finally Lesbian Scrub finished and skin on the meat of my palm, now filled with fluid, was tight as the virginest virgin. I thought it might pop open. Then in comes that damnable first nurse with her needle again: tetanus shot in my right arm. After finishing, she gave me my first dose of antibiotic and had a Darvocet ready for me until I told her I would be driving later. Would I be able to take it later? The bitch wouldn't even answer me: gave me a dirty look, took the Darvocet and left the room. Excuse me I was just bitten by a fucking dog and I need that.

The doctor prescribed for me antibiotics and vicodin. This is sweet and funny because Mark was also prescribed antibiotics and vicodin (among others) following his knee surgery. Yesterday we lay crippled together, sleeping off and on, each other's hands and legs filling in where needed. My mom told me not to get addicted to the vicodin, and my grandma told me not to operate heavy machinery.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Thieves and Liars

Not much will be done today at work. With only a few hours of sleep in my body and The Good Doctor out of the country, I’m thinking of napping later. My office has a door that shuts and locks. At first this was a joke, but I might actually do it. After I finish the few things I have for today, I’ll be getting paid either to play on the internet, read, or nap. And I need a nap more than the others right now. I’m so tired I’m dizzy, my head aches, and my typing fingers do not coordinate to functioning very well. Scanning back through recent blog posts, I see that disjunctive sleep has become more regular. I don’t remember the drive to work this morning, except that it was slower than normal and there was a guy driving an Infiniti the same color as my Grace behind me, and a girl in a green Pontiac to my right, throwing her head about while singing. She had red hair. Cokie Roberts was talking politics on the radio which I didn’t have turned up loud enough to comprehend.

Every thing is built on perception set askew by each person’s cumulative wiring, and this is making me grimace today. Causes are fuzzy and intangible, effects moreso ad infinitum. Not everybody sees this. It makes me grimace; it makes me forlorn.

Our neighbor Chuck had 12 free tickets to see Ministry at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville last night. I hadn’t listened to Ministry in a long while, except for a song here and there that happened to play somewhere. The show was good, but much louder than I realized as my ears tell me now. It was good to re-conjure a place I once was, the way my head heard the songs and the way my body reacted, in high school, in early college. The band that opened, Hanzel und Gretyl, was fronted by a disputable girl. She was, I at last concluded, a girl. Long dyed-red hair in pig tails, short black leather skirt, tall black boots, black net stockings. You might think the above ensemble would obviously suggest girl, but she had deathy lungs that wrenched out a deeply deathy scream nearly every song, which was very masculine. I gave it a whirl myself and was able to growl out a few comparable tones but came away fully impressed she could do a whole show that way. She made the guy who growled a song or two seem rather mediocre-puss.

Not long before Ministry ended, some guy began kicking Chuck's ass. We had rented a wheelchair for Mark, and as we were wheeling him out Chuck ran up in front of us jabbering about some fucked-up guy, and I was thinking "yeah, whatever, out of the way, pal." Then I looked up and he had a couple of shiners. The fucked-up guy also managed to yank away Chuck's ear jewels. The odd thing is that Chuck didn't know this guy, wasn't even interacting with the guy. The guy just decided on a whim: I'm gonna kick that guy's ass.

There it is. We went home. Sleep was difficult. I am here.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Armpit Bruxism

There are a few things I should be doing but concentration eludes me, in which case here are a few things in my head today:

1. I love the Halo Benders because of lines like this:

The pitchforks have been sharpened.
Wrap your tentacles around my head.
Repeat our names until they rhyme.

Now this last one, just try it. Another line in the song is "lose myself in you". Select someone in whom you might want to lose yourself and repeat yours and that person’s name until they rhyme. For example, MarkSaraMarkSaraMarkSara, and so on. It’s fantastic.

2. Another thing in my head: anti-perspirants really work. I know this because yesterday I forgot to wear any and I was sweating seas. Fortunately I did not muster any foul odor. It’s possible, I realize, that I became one of those people who stinks so badly I couldn’t smell it. Those are the breaks.

3. A third thing in my head: I said something about blogs while in the kitchen with Mark and his dad a couple weeks ago. Mark’s dad perked up and asked me about the blog. He asked where he could find mine. I was sketchy and elusively came forth with only the title. I don’t know if he found it and is reading it right now or not. While I was trying to dodge the question,

I said, "I don’t know if you’d want to read my blog."
He said, "Why not?"
I said, "Because I can be a rather foul creature."
He said, "I know. I’ve read your poems."

My mind bolted into its race car and sped back through every poem I’ve written and that he might have read, while trying to gauge his responses. I have no idea.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Pink Places: Roast Beef and the Broken Machine

In the words of The Good Doctor, "These people are cra(z)zy."

In case you hadn’t heard, plastic surgery to the female genitals, otherwise known as vaginal rejuvenation, is quickly becoming very popular among women who might perhaps feel they have too much labia, or they’re too loose and they’d rather be tighter. You can read more about this here. (Forgive me for being a pussy at work; I didn’t feel comfortable searching further for better info.) I read about it in last Sunday’s New York Times. A 22-year-old girl had the surgery done before she ever had sex because she wasn’t comfortable enough with the way her pink place looked beforehand.

While I was in a stall in the bathroom earlier, just finishing up, a woman raced into the bathroom and straight to the sink. She was making a sound somewhere between a laugh and a cry of pain. She was hunched over the sink, slapping her mouth with water. I looked at her through the crack where the stall door opens. Should I wait till she leaves? Is she puking? Does she need my help? I opened the door. She looked at me and in a French accent exclaimed, "Pink! Pink. It’s pink! What do they put in these cakes? It’s no wonder people get sick!" It's true; her lips and tongue were bright pink. No kidding, I said. Then the paper towel dispenser wasn’t working. Together we took it apart and tried to fix it. No luck. It’s a broken machine anyway. Plus she was more concerned about removing the bright pink from her lips and tongue. She had a doctor’s appointment later, she told me. I had work to do and things to blog about, so I darted.

Room for Improvement--You Copy?

And I’m not even at all pissy today. I went to the copy machine to pick up something I printed. There was a woman standing there. I could see she was about finished copying whatever she was copying. So I stood back and waited. She turned around and said in a motherly tone, "You have to be aggressive, Sara." She probably spelled my name with an "h" in her head. This scene bothers me for a couple reasons:

1. It’s condescending, which is something I don't tolerate. A person who speaks this way to a person like me—and, saying this, a person like her has only an illusory perception of what a person like me is—thinks she is helping out the less skilled; however, the "less-skilled" has her own way of doing things and reasons for doing things in such way which this person does not understand. What does it matter that I stand and wait for three seconds until she’s finished? Doesn’t matter to me to wait. I could use a little break from the computer anyway. It isn’t passive; it isn’t meek. In fact, it's polite. In fact, it could even be considered lax of me to stand there idling for three seconds.

2. This is at least the fourth time she’s said such a thing to me.

Why don’t I say something back to her? By not retorting am I indeed the meek person she implies? Why does it bother me so much? I’ve learned something. All my life I have been quiet and waited my turn, and while in the past I have been the meekest earthling and while I still don't always step forth, I’ve climbed the crags to an assertive quietude that I'm mostly satisfied with. I still often wait my turn, but I also get what I want. Generally I don’t see the urgency to, say, race and climb on top of the copy machine in front of someone else in order to snag a paper I don’t mind waiting literally three seconds for. All my life, people have been telling me to be more aggressive, to speak up. Well, fuck off. How’s that? I’ll be how I am. Every time I've confronted someone when their behavior displeased me, I’ve been clobbered by the receiver, been called bitchy, thoughtless, selfish, pushy, and the rest. I don't think I'm worse off for keeping quiet when I can sense a person won't understand my confrontation any better than he or she understands my behavior.

It doesn’t work for a person to act or speak as another person tells him or her to without some inner drive. This is why you can’t tell someone along the wall to get out there and dance. If that person doesn’t feel it it won’t work. Not to say a person should never bust out of his or her own bounds. I make a practice of doing so and find it entertaining and educational; e.g. Fuck me daddy, Get me a steak Bitch, No the whole bottle of wine is mine get your own. Sometimes the new roles work and I adapt them. In fact this very woman encountered me at the copy machine one day and showed me the way she prints onto letterhead. It’s about ten degrees more efficient than the way I was doing it, but still more efficient so I’ve picked it up. (I admit that sometimes I get snippy when people get critical, but I do know and try not to.) But why does this whole schmess bother me at all? I guess it’s just cumulative frustration with people and their actions caused by roots they’re blinded to, and their general lack of awareness while thinking they're on top. Ah, human nature. Why not try a nod or smile of acknowledgment, or hi-how-are-ya if you really care, at the copy machine?

Stereotyping and deep-rooted insecurity cause a person to say, "You have to be more aggressive, Sara." Or, I don’t understand who you are or why you do what you do; it would be better if you did it my way; that way I wouldn’t feel unstable or scared.

If I’m at fault or lacking I am so for being just an observer and watching how you do things in your own way and not telling you how you could do them better my way. Ho, ho, ho. I will continue to observe, and if I think it will matter, I will speak up. Otherwise I will observe and go back into my office to write it down for the gods to include in their epic. Which perhaps indicates my own quick clipped judgment.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

International Nurse Goes Carpal

Yesterday I took Mark to the hospital to be knocked out and mended. We woke up dark and early at 5am (after I’d been asleep for a mere nonconsecutive 3 hours due to insomnia and MNOTS). With a felt pen Mark wrote all over his wounded leg while waiting for the knife and caused anxiety and pissiness among the nurses. After the anesthesiologist wheeled him away, I sat in a tired daze in the hospital café, ate a bagel (not bad) and read some more of the Sunday New York Times. Finally around 10am Dr. Gomez met me in the waiting room for an update. The surgery went well, he told me. He also explained to me everything he did and further what else he saw going on inside Mark’s knee. Dr. Gomez rocks, Dr. Gomez is the man, Dr. Gomez deserves awards.

Here’s why: beyond being cool and down-to-earth while clearly caring about his patients at the same time, he sent home a video of the operation. Watching the video (I prefer to call it "award-winning independent film") you see up very close the tissues and ligaments inside Mark’s knee, flapping in the wind. Seriously, they’re flapping like leaves on an island tree. Dr. Gomez’s metal instrument moves and prods around and with each movement he explains precisely what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. At the same time he commentates as though he is talking directly to Mark (even though Mark is knocked out at the time); his comments are specific to Mark the person, not to Mark the next patient. This impresses me. It’s difficult to find a good doctor who is sensitive to emotional and psychological human needs, i.e. acts like a real person. This award-winning independent film is one of the most fascinating and incredible things I’ve seen.

In conclusion, Mark has been intermittently groggy and in terrible pain, and I have been Eager Nurse Sara. He was sent home with this vacuum contraption attached to him. It’s round and plastic, with a tube running into it from his knee, draining blood. Draining a lot of blood, which every so often must be poured into a pee cup, measured and recorded. Afterward, it is disposed of in the sink. Weird. Or not that weird. I do find it strange, though, that doctors think they can loose the average patient and trust him or her to accomplish this task. Scenes of bloody catastrophe and misread measurements flash through my noggin.

In other news, Amsterdam is becoming my Ireland, maybe. Just had a web conference with my new "contact’ for the journal’s new web-based system, an Amsterdam fellow. Friday afternoon the Amsterdam fellow in charge of the whole publishing company will be here in the office. If I go see a band from Amsterdam in the next week, I will know how the world works: in internationally coincidental triplets that add up to nothing but giddy blog-banter.

Ok. I think I’m getting carpal tunnel, really, and my posts, especially the last one, are usually big-windy anyway. Onward, ho. Today is a Flaming Lips day, any album.