Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Learned incapacity.

I've been in bed so much this last three weeks that it starts to feel normal. Getting up and doing things is a project, even when it's nice out. Worse, even the simplest thing I can do at home becomes impossible when I realize, oh wait, I'll have to take my laptop over to the printer to finish this. What an insurmountable roadblock that is. I think I got here because I usually do too much. Now I'm hesitant to do anything. Last week I had a tooth pulled, one I've been dying to get rid of for at least a decade. There was nothing really "wrong" with it, it's just that my lower jaw was so crowded it pushed this one out so I was biting myself in the lip with it nightly. There was no room for it. When I was a kid my orthodontist pulled out all my bicuspids so I'd have room for the straight teeth he was planning. But even with two years of braces and all that extra space, this tooth kept popping back out of alignment and wreaking havoc on my smile. Now it's gone, and there's barely a 16th of an inch gap left, but it hurts. All. the. time. Healing. The other teeth moving to claim their share of the extra room. I'm out of pain pills. It hurts to eat, to drink, to think. It hurts not to feel sorry for myself, so there.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lesson from the lotus pond in Bali

To the fish the lotus is a shady stalk
mossy, dark
its leaves a shelter from the blistering sun
and hungry beaks
on the other side of life.

To the lotus seed the pond is the world
its surface the unreachable heavens
the bottom a dark and quiet home
safe, soft
a lap from which
it will someday leap
compelled by the flickering lights of heaven
the seed doesn't know what it will become

To you the lotus
was just a flower flashing pink as you passed by.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Just as I was starting to feel a little more able, I realized that the real reason for it is that the cast is on too loose. When I cinch the bandage back to its proper position, I can no longer use the fingers on my right hand. Which is what I'm supposed to not be doing. I've discovered some more little tricks that help in the shower: I stole one of those plastic umbrella bags from the doctor's office lobby (the disposable ones they pass out so you don't drench the floor and kill some unsuspecting guy with crutches or old lady in heels). It slides up the arm much easier than the kitchen garbage bag I was using. If you slip the rubber band up over the cast to your shoulder first, the bag goes on and off easily. Trying to bring the band up and down over the bag is a waste of good standing time.

Yesterday I had to sneak into my office to get my tax forms and pubs, because I'd left them behind, thinking I'd be back at my desk by now. The floor was completely lit because the architects who are redoing the other half of our floor had walled off the lobby where our light switches are so we can't turn them off. I kept thinking I heard one of the editors on the phone somewhere, but there was no one to be seen. Eerie to break into your own desk for your own stuff and half expect to be challenged for it. A ghost in the office machine. I could have gone during the week and said hi to everyone and showed off my cast, but I hate being the center of attention. One or two people, fine, but I never know how to handle a large group unless I'm teaching a class (that's easy). Then it's more like they're all parts of one person who needs to know what I'm saying and won't think badly of me if I misspeak. The last remnant of what used to be paralyzing shyness.

Being injured and less able makes me regress: I'd almost forgotten what it was like to be this self-conscious, to plan an appearance in public like a war strategy for a small tactical force. I am unarmed.