Monday, March 28, 2011

the healing power of pessimism

Having not been raised religious, my guilt muscle seems disproportionately defined. I shy from sloth and rage and all those sins, even while I tell my friends they ought not bother with such parochial concerns.

If I practiced what I preach, I would have a lot more fun.

Be that as it may, I do not enjoy convalescence. An afternoon is one thing. A hungover Sunday with fettucine alfredo is another. A prescribed ten day hiatus from all activity is about to kill me.

Day one: prosecco followed by pudding cake. Pain.

Day two: overdid it—courtesy of work, class and the NYPL. Discovered chemical burns caused by Thermacare patches. Thanks, Universe.

Day three: more library (but hell, at least I was sedentary), Paganini caprices at Carnegie Hall with Jack, then late night Bedford biergarten. Took a lot of taxis, rode the service lift. More pain.

Day four: bed, followed by pasta, followed by bed. Less pain.

Day five: spent three fifths in bed, but spent the other two limping and seizing from stem to stern, blinking back tears. Lots of pain. Thought it would be a good idea to meet Jack at Roko. I was mistaken. (Don't worry, I didn't try to dance. Just sat at the front desk trying not to cry.)

Here we are at the close of day six and the situation continues to spiral. I've gained five pounds, choked up in front of my boyfriend, and had to postpone work until seven pm because I couldn't put weight on my left leg when I woke up this morning. I'm sick to death of the sound of myself complaining, sick of calling in favors, and sicker still of saying thank you to those who give and give and give. I'm afraid they must be sick of me.

I've never been good at asking for or accepting help. But I'm getting great at gratitude.

I'm saying this now, in case the Universe is listening in: please just fix my back. Restore me to my yoga mat, in tango shoes, where I belong. And to the arms of Jack.

Friday, March 25, 2011

on the fragility of existence

Point of fact: I have a newfound patience for the elderly and the impaired.

Never again will I curse in exasperation as some hunchbacked or otherwise limping soul struggles its way down the subway steps, holding the rail for dear life, thus causing me to miss the R train.

There will always be another R train. Moreover, that simple schlep can be both daunting and excruciating for the in-any-way infirm. Since I sprained my hip, I've come to dread the simplest exertions made necessary by life in NYC: that easy twelve block walk, the madcap dash to catch a train, the idea of being on one's feet from dawn to dawn . . .

On the bright side: I was sent to a charming young orthopede named—shityounot—Dr. DuChey (please withhold your snickers til the end of the post; it's not pronounced that way), who took x-rays and determined the problem to be soft-tissue (and thereby not bone) related. He prescribed ten days of Fat Lady Rest: no tango, no yoga, no stairs, no . . . "et cetera." In essence, I'm to eat bonbons in bed. Alone.

On the brighter side: I had a hilarious run-in with my former boss while wearing my paper examination bloomers (see above). Followed by a trip through the waiting room clutching the aforementioned shorts and exclaiming, "Yeah, you want a piece of this."

And, on the brightest side: with me was the Waldorf to my Statler, to translate me out of speculative doom—and ply me with Prosecco when all was said and done.

Monday, March 21, 2011

the what-ifs are coming all in red

Monday night, forty four degrees.

A doubting night. For every blessing a riddle left unsolved. I think I love him, now what? I'm going to Columbia, now how will I pay for it? I've sprained my hip, now how am I supposed to dance?

To add insult to injury, it's Spring. Or, at least, it was. This morning there was snow, and then the piercing tendegreesfromfreezing rain. I stayed home last night with my spasming joint and Jack went out to dance. He said stay, but I was on the train by midnight, turning tail. I am afraid of losing him, yet I'm almost sure I will. There is a surplus of uncertainty. An ocean, three months distance—and what if this injury doesn't heal?

I get the feeling every time I thaw, and send my crocus spears to look for light, that there is always going to be another snow. This is my overdeveloped sense of dread.

It's hard to think so much in I when the world is such a bloody mess. Haiti, Libya, Japan. Love falling apart around me, people losing jobs. We all keep carving out our shelves behind the waterfall, I would just like to see some damn waterproofing.

And not just on my shelf, but on yours.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

nothing at all to do with elizabeth bishop

They say jewelry is first to jump a sinking ship.

I can count the major moments in my life by the baubles I have lost, trinkets that verily have leapt from my person to form a trail of breadcrumbs back to all my former selves. There are pieces of me in cities and subway cars across this and nine other countries. I've learned to watch them go with grace—no matter the sentimental value.

I used to keep a box of single earrings, a graveyard or an orphanage, I could never quite decide—you know, just in case that lost pearl stud would find its way back home. Now that I've maximized my minimalist existence, I've been even better at goodbyes. An earring is just an earring, and usually it absorbs a world of pain before it bids adieu.

You see, my mama taught me well. Jewelry will often dive off your body in response to major change and/or the close of questionable relationships. Sometimes we mourn the loss of particular people and pieces, but we always overcome.

A couple months ago, I lost my bracelet. The one with the cedar beads I worry like prayers on airplane trips, my good luck charm since August (when I quit adulthood). There one day and gone the next.

I thought the world had taken my bracelet because it had deigned to give me Jack, so I spent the past two months trying to trust the face that launched my thousand ships. Then I spent the past two weeks trying to will a phantom menace from my lady parts. I've done my downward dogs and my trikonasanas and more than once I've wished I could roll on that comforting clump of beads when I emerge from sleep and showers.

Well, kids, as of this morning I am cancer free. And, at approximately four pm, I found the absent bracelet. Tucked into a fold of the suitcase I took out to pack for an imminent weekend away.

Either I'm about to lose something else (please, lord, anything but Jack) or this is the Universe's way of saying: keep your chin up, kid. You're gonna be okay.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

doubting in the digital age

So here we are, two and a half months in, and Jack has finally acquired a phone.

This means I can reach him if and when I find myself locked out of the loft, or the C train gets stuck and he's waiting by the fountain at the Met, in the cold. It means thoughtful text messages at twenty cents a pop, which I know will be few and far between, but still they make me smile.

It also means abject dread. You see, the phone is the final province of privacy, the primary medium of liars and cheaters the whole world over. Suddenly, I'm on high alert for shady cell behavior. The damn thing rings—and it is a garish ring, the overly obtrusive jangle of the electronic toy—and I panic. As if the hordes of eligible women wanted only this mode of contact to be opened to descend upon him, begging for dates. As if I had him tucked away in a place apart from all this texting and being always available for interruption, and now he flew the coop.

I suppose I ought just to trust that he is not of that unfortunate ilk, and stop searching for trouble before it has time to track me down. But it is hard, still, not to see the little LG mobile device as the foreboding beginning of the end, and I hereby mourn the moment on Friday afternoons when I would turn my phone to silent and surrender to these weekends out of time.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

here comes the rug

If tomorrow brings bad news, this may be the last two am I will greet with optimism—not to mention a belly full of brilliant cuisine. Here I am at the Tour d'Ivoire, keeping Peter Pan and the Fetus company, in the very room in which I spent my very most upsetting month (October Twenty Ten), in my puppy dog pajamas.

I will spend the majority of these last eight pre-diagnostic hours asleep. But even as I drift away, I will do so dreaming of Thomas Keller, mignardises, and Jack.

Goodnight, world. So long and thanks for all the fish.