Friday, October 23, 2009

The World is As Soft As Lace

I have a rare talent for chaos. It's actually kind of a special gift, like the ability to play the violin or recite pi to 14 digits. Case in point: it was Steph's birthday last night (happy birthday, Steph!) and I went out for dinner, which should have been a simple exercise in social manners and stuffing myself to the point of exhaustion with garlic-saturated meat products. Wrong! Before the first appetizer had been served, Hurricane Arley had been upgraded to a category 5 storm.

Steph had told me that the dinner was at the Greek restaurant on Columbia Street, so I arrived, as promised, at the Greek restaurant on Columbia street. Simple enough, yes?, but Steph and Adrian were nowhere to be found. While looking for them in the restaurant, I walked up a flight of stairs and my cane struck a pottery vase on the landing, which promptly shattered into roughly 8.7 million pieces. If there had been a bomb inside the vase, it could not have made more noise and, of course, most of the shrapnel landed on the owner of the restaurant. Everyone in the restaurant stopped and stared and, just when the owner was probably thinking, "Well, at least she's going to buy $20 worth of chicken souvlaki and she's going to need a drink after this soul-crushing embarrassment and Lord knows she's going to tip well..." Adrian walked in to inform me that, whoops, the birthday dinner was actually being held in the Greek restaurant across the street. Party. Foul.

Happily, I did not destroy any decorations at the actual restaurant and had a good time. Three hours later, I arrived home feeling nauseous from way too much tzasiki and pita bread, poisoned with garlic, and generally overwhelmed with the suckery of my current state of medical ridiculousness. Long story short, I wound up downloading some Felt in an attempt to cheer myself up. Felt is an indie-rock band from the '80s. Ever heard the Belle & Sebastian song "I Don't Love Anyone" with the lines "I met a man today/and he told me something pretty strange/ there's always somebody saying something/ he said the world was as soft as lace"? That's an allusion to Felt.

Everything was well and good until I put on "The World Is As Soft as Lace," which is my favorite Felt song. The minute that the opening chords began, instead of feeling buoyed by memories of happier times, I felt as if I'd been hit in the stomach with a sledgehammer. I hadn't listened to that song in years. I don't own as much music as I would like because a) I stupidly left my CD collection in my car four years ago and some fucktard broke in, taking every CD he wanted and breaking in half every CD he didn't and b) for the past three years, I have had access to A.'s stellar record collection, which is like the indie-rock version of the Library of Congress, and he often makes me tapes for various occasions; (I am a sucker for a finely crafted mix tape).

Because most of my Felt collection is on tape and my only tape deck is in my car, I associate "The World is As Soft as Lace" with driving: cruising through the Midwest in A.'s Dodge Aries with its smell of lemon hand-wipes and dust while drinking truck-stop coffee from styrofoam cups with way too much sugar; crossing the bridge into the Bay Area after three weeks on the road to see the city spread out before me practically radiating hipness (or was that smog?); fishtailing along fresh snowfall at 5:30 a.m. in the dark on the way to basketball practice. And that, of course, reminded me of my three years in Illinois, of a time when I was happily driving my hip into the ground with a frenetic, mono-inducing life of friends, basketball, teaching, school, Ninth Letter, road trips, and thesis writing. And that reminded me of a time when my first novel was just getting published and I was on the national team and everything was looking rosy. And that reminded me that here I was, lying in bed with my stomach massively distended by white bread and garlic, after four months of medical purgatory and no action plan and no indication of when I can return to Illinois and no idea of what to do even after my hip is healed....Yeah, I definitely had a moment where I wanted to throw something across the room, only to realize that I had already thrown one artifact across the room and should probably keep my destructive rage in check; (this, by the way, is the power of Felt, ladies and gentlemen).

So, yeah, another day in Medical Purgatory. Still haven't heard from Dr. __. Still approaching my birthday with the chance that I will be celebrating International Arley Appreciation Day in the operating room. But I guess if I didn't have a few "fuck the world" moments I would be like one of those beauty queens receiving the fifth-place pity trophy on stage and trying to keep the five-hundred-watt smile up without shanking a bitch with her eyes.

No comments:

Post a Comment