Sunday, July 30, 2006

I'm at the doctor's office with my mother, waiting for him to interpret my chest x-ray and tell me I have acute hypochondria, when it occurs to me that as long as I have my doctor's full attention, now would be the time to tell him about my gross deformity.

Wait, I would just like to share, for the record, that the reason my mother is accompanying me to the clinic is that I have just picked her up at the airport for her annual week-long visit, and the only same-day appointment I could get was adjacent to her arrival. I could have offered to drop her off at my house for a nap or an uninterrupted session of digging in my drawers, but she would have insisted on coming with me. Whenever there's an opportunity to go to a place where healing happens, you can bet she'll be calling shotgun.

Back to my deformity.

I'm in my jeans and one of those washed-a-million-times-and-looking-like-it gowns, sort of draped over my front like a paint smock on a preschooler. I couldn't figure out how to tie it in the back, so I'm just resting firmly against the upright exam table in a manner that I hope appears to be casual.

My doctor enters the room after giving me the courtesy knock, and proceeds to prescribe ibuprofen and rest for the stabbing pain in my chest. We have been here before, and I have the suspicion that he thinks I'm a little Nuts, but he keeps his personal opinion of my flourishing symptoms behind a mask of professional kindness that makes me want to cry onto his starchy white coat.

I know I'm one of those overbooked appointments, but I dive in anyway.

"Say, there's one more thing I wanted to ask you about."

He looks apprehensive, glances at the door, then composes himself and resettles in his rolling chair.

"I have this skin tag, well, a hideous deformity, really, and it's in A...delicate location. I'm always catching it with my razor and I was wondering if I should make an appointment to get it removed, or if that would be something you could just take care of right now?"

"I could take a look at it if you'd like. Where did you say it was?" He rolls toward me.

"Well, let me have just a second here..." I stand up and scramble to get my pants down to my knees to give him visual access to the sight. "Um, pardon's right here on my inner thigh." I point to the location, right where my leg meets my body, and he immediately says: "Let me go get the liquid nitrogen and I can freeze it right now."


He leaves the room and my pants are around my ankles and the gown is flapping open and my mother is in the waiting room reading the new issue of 'Health' and this is not cool.

I kick my jeans and underwear across the room, unsure of when my doctor will return, and try to tie my gown one more time, then realize that a far more awkward thing is I'm still wearing my shoes. My sense of aesthetics is wrestling with my practicality. (In case you don't know already, I have no sense of modesty.) I take the shoes off.

When the doctor reenters with what looks like a whipped cream canister, I look like the perfect patient. My bare legs knock against the table, and he asks me if I want to lean back. I accept.

I flip the gown up and basically flash him my nether parts. He looks unfazed, but gently brings the fabric back down and arranges it carefully.

"I'm just going to try to make this as respectful as possible, here."

"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to, uh..."

"That's alright, just lie back. I'm going to freeze it a few times and wait for it to thaw inbetween to make sure that the most tissue damage occurs. It'll fall off more quickly that way, and more completely as well."


I sink down, hear the compressed material hissing out of it's container, and feel something tiny with needly teeth biting at my nodule.

"Just let me know if it's too much for you."

"It's fine so far."

He stops, leans back and looks at it in a detached way, kind of how I look at a pile of bills or bird crap on my car. Well, that's interesting, how did that end up there?

He leans in again and the teeth dig in a little deeper. Stops. Waits for the thaw. Starts. Stops.

His gaze is intent, slightly frowning. I wonder what it is that has captured his attention, and I imagine that the slight layer of frost melting might be visually captivating so I ask: "Is is steaming?"

Finally, after years of him taking me seriously, although I like to be taken seriously where my bodily functions are concerned, he cracks. Laughter comes out of his bearded face for an instant, and he catches my eye, and I realize what I have said. I laugh too, and we have, together, in this ridiculous, intimate moment, made real contact.

He zaps it a few more times, gives me instructions to keep an eye on it, as well as take my ibuprofen, (like giving me homework, he knows I thrive with specific instructions, can't stand to be told to just wait things out), and bids me farewell as he leaves the exam room, his exterior rebuilt, professional demeanor restored.

But I know. I have seen him laugh.

My mother is sacked out on a loveseat in the waiting room when I join her.

She asks "What happened in there?" and I tell her that my doctor and I had a lot to talk about.

Monday, July 24, 2006

"I'm not going to spend any money. I'm just going to get a quick snack with Chris after work, maybe go for a walk, and then going home."

Yeah, right.

I spend most of a gift certificate at Reading Frenzy where I listen to an author (who is there to sign autographs but has no takers) talk to the counter person about how he screams "I am loyal only to Allah!" whenever he gets on a plane.

Yeah, right.

I have to walk right by Buffalo exchange to get to my car and I still have 15 minutes until Chris is done with work so I swing in, sure I won't be able to fall in love with anything in that short amount of time.

Yeah, right.

I walk out with a black cardigan with skull buttons and a green jacket that Chris would say looks "smart." I can't believe it though, since it is about 92 degrees outside and I am already in what some cultures would consider to be my underwear and here I am picking out long-sleeved clothes that I totally cannot bear the thought of actually wrapping my limbs in.

I pick Chris up at the library and the first thing that comes out of both of us in lieu of greeting is: "Sushi?"

And so I spend $50 all while telling myself that it's all necessary. Especially the sushi.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Kristi and I are in trouble. Not the kind where possessed pumas are chasing us on our bikes through a remote wooded area with no chance of us out-running them, or a serial killer pursuing us through a maze-like hallway in a 4 star hotel where all of the employees seem to be taking a mass break or anything, but still.

We can't find a screwdriver small enough to unscrew the last two screws on this picture frame to reorient the wire hanger. This is important because we want to put up this new print that her boyfriend bought before he gets back from getting coffee. He likes this print, but hasn't had time to frame it. We conspire to make his day. This is consuming all our energy, wrought from Subway's delicious Vegie Delights. (I prefer double mayo, Kristi likes double cheese.)

"I've only got this one screwdriver," she said, brandishing the oversized thing at me like a weapon in a street fighting movie.

I'm eye level with the frame, trying to figure out how someone twisted the screws in so tight that they almost touch the mat.

"Don't you have one of those little ones for fixing glasses?" I ask, picking up the picture and shaking it slightly, contemplating hitting it on the edges with a hammer, like you do when you need to get a new jar of pickles open.



I try a dime, a butter knife, a piece of plastic of unspecified origin, a few more attempts with the too-large screwdriver, and I'm ready to give up.

I blow away the metal shavings that are piling up from my stripping out the screw.

I hear Kristi pulling apart yet another drawer in the hopes of finding something adequate for our hardware needs.

Upon close examination, it appears that the screw no longer has any sort of ledge at all, well, perhaps just a small lip of ragged metal. I think about what it would feel like to have it shoved in my eye.

I get an idea. I pick up the original tool and try to fit the end of it in the sad opening. It fits, sort of. I press down and twist, oh so gently, and feel the victorious sensation of the metal giving way, physics on my side, the torque coaxing the stupid 1/4 inch piece of crap screw from it's cold steel embrace with the frame.

"Hey. I got it."

"What? How?"

"I damaged it to the point where the original screwdriver fit. Are we geniuses or what?"

Or what.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I tripped over the edge of the curb and went flying forward, legs pedalling, arms clutched tight to my bag. Don't want to let go of that bag. Happily , I caught the first wave of my fall with my elbow and my right palm, abrading the surface in several inch segments, but missing my skull almost completely. My hip took the second bounce, and before I stopped skidding across the sidewalk on the busy downtown corner, my body happened to roll face up, and I saw Chris looking frozen and horrified, hands out, mouth open.

For the record, he couldn't have stopped me if he tried. I would have taken him down with me. Unstoppable force.

Having ascertained that I hadn't knocked myself out completely, I asked Chris the most logical question that popped into my mind:

"Did anyone see my underwear?"

"All I saw was legs."


Next question: "Is there a hole in my sweater where I utilized it as landing gear?"

Answer: No, however, further inspection at the coffee shop led me to discover that I was, in fact, bleeding all over inside the sleeve of my new cashmere sweater.

After having Laura put aside her schedule changes to help me bind up my arm like King Tut, I felt the actual pain start to seep into my left side.

It's amazing how often I casually rest my elbow on the edge of tables, desks, and other flat surfaces. Wow.

The next morning in the shower, while trying to clean the rest of the cement particles out of the scab, I noticed that there were sweater fibers ground into the wound. Under the crusty layer of dried blood.

What do I do with that?

I dumped hydrogen peroxide on it, slapped a bunch of band-aids over the worst of it, and decided to not worry about it for now.

I'm sure the material will come off when I'm healed up. I think. Yuck.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Nothing funny has occurred in the past two weeks. Not that I can write about, anyway.

However, I have been to 2 birthday parties, ditched out on the 3rd, attended a swank housewarming party, found a bag in our hedge that was likely stolen in 2003(evidenced by the expired driver's license and the slug-dissolved cigarettes found within), consumed a drink with 'pureed kiwi' as the main ingredient (second to the vodka, of course), and bounced around during daylight hours at a lesbian dance party while my sister took my drink orders and did the server's tango through lots of touchy-feely grrrl reunions.

I basically drank alcohol for 10 nights in a row.

Now, after no days of reflection on my somewhat drunken behavior, I am about to take the bus home to greet my boyfriend's dad and step mom, who are here for a week of no air conditioning or cable, a cat that ejects all her hair the second you touch her, and us as their exciting Portland instigators.

I'll have to let you know how this goes.