bad week

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Coming off too many days in a row where I was not getting anywhere near my normal 50% sleep efficacy, I began noticing that every time I tried to concentrate on my reading my brain started acting as though it were in a washing machine. It was a little like, over all, my weird intermittent vertigo thing was coming back even just walking around, but, truly it was the worst when I'd get in my newly liberated abundantly overstuffed reading chair to laser down into the heart of my subjects.

This is the chair in which I read everything that was not nailed down for years on end when I lived off in the mystical remove of Little Valley in my little cabin by a pond under a gorgeous stand of redwoods. That's where I raised pollywogs to frogtude and cooed at mountain lions strolling past my window. That's where I could watch herons and bobcats in daily gopher gulping competitions in the field I could see through the trees out my kitchen window. Where callers from the population centers would suddenly stop mid-conversation to ask, "nines, are those frogs I hear?" Millions of sex-crazed batrachians trying to outdo one another each night from my birthday to midsummer formed an impenetrable wall against perfect silence where I consumed every word shelved in my friends' house, numerous magazines and generally everything available in print.

Mostly it is safe to say I read at least ten books a week, but there were some weeks where I read so many magazines from cover to cover that the number of books was probably less. Five short years, punctuated often by my relationship with 86, the genius logger artist drunkard from the caves of Mount Olympus.

My point is, I have a lot of experience reading everyone and everything from this chair... to the point where bears would sneak up to investigate because I was so quiet in there they couldn't sense me as they approached.

I have printed out over a hundred articles and posts from the internet, maybe a tenth of the total I'm going for, in an effort to wrestle these into some sort of flow for others. It's complicated, but the bottom of it is me in my chair lasering them into a certain shape... like when I would write short book reviews and insert them into Peggy and Jim's unread books for when they ever got the leisure to finally get to them. A completely doable project, if epic in scale. Piece of cake... especially since I can get up and work on my house when the content becomes too demoralizing to put up with another minute.

Shortly after plopping myself there at my post with a fistful of printouts on Monday, I realized the lines on the page were moving around, that my eyes were having to chase the phrases, that it wasn't sinking in, that my very physiology was not having it. At all. There's a piece in front of me that is but three double spaced large print pages long, with plenty of paragraph breaks so as to make the reading and full comprehension not longer than a minute of my life and I can't get the lines to hold still.

This is the worse because my use of the space around me to aid my processing and functioning means that a big part of my reading comprehension lives in where on a page or in a book a particular bit resides. So if it's swimming around it isn't going to correspond with the right point in my mind to do its thing. I found myself reading one paragraph over about five times, still not understanding it, scribbling over it in frustration and then, finally, giving it one more go, realizing it was an exceptionally easy to understand two sentences. Maybe the stylish use of only commas where lawyers would insist the use of both semicolons and commas is needed was what threw me... or... maybe there's something wrong with my brain.

I got up off my chair to go out and run around the drive, shake it out, try to recover the perfectly functional feeling of inspiration to get a lot accomplished in this project that day that had been right here and the incarnation of me not fifteen minutes earlier. MacGyver, my handyman, was out there. I tried to converse with him... I did converse with him... but it felt disjointed and not sensible and I felt something like dizzy, but not quite that, more like in a washing machine that's on a gentle agitation cycle.

I came back inside. I sneezed from the little fat pads under my toes.

I'm trying to get sick.


I have to go dig out my vitamin C from somewhere in the boxes in the back bedroom. Maybe if I just take more D and some zinc lozenges that will do. It did not do. I went into my weird wanting to lie down but then popping right back up thing, with the still weirder constant feeling of hunger where I get to the kitchen and find I do not want to put anything in there in my mouth. I have a specific yen for something that is nowhere to be found... not even its identity. It is very, very strong and I can't go more than a couple minutes without it hassling me to be requited, but it won't identify itself.

Oh, fuck, I haven't had this in a loooong time. I don't want it back. I spent Monday in this shape and took a chill pill really early to stop it and me. On Tuesday I dug out the C right after a sneezing fit confirming that a bug is trying to knock me over. I just kept nuking myself with C and D and zinc here in my washing machine all day Tuesday and most of the day Wednesday, but Wednesday afternoon I had to go to town for my haircut and make my rounds of bill paying.

I'm not a happy camper, but I also have a thread of buoyant good humor right over there to inspire me to press forward despite the downer of the pitched battle taking over my bloodstream and trying to throw me to the ground. Mistake to stop at the cable company first, I guess, because the friendly bunch at the front counter has lost heart in recent months, the core of it, I think, having left to go start a new life in a new town with his sweetheart. Now I find they will not give me a special rate so I don't have to die in abjection just to be on the internet. They have given me a special rate for years and years because I'm too poor and they love me.

They don't give a flying fuck now.

Off to pay more bills and stop in to hassle my old insurance agent before I get to the beauty parlor. He's glad to see me. I wheedle some good candy out of him and then instead of just joshing there in the office for a few minutes before I sail off into the rest of my life, he wants to come outside with me. We keep joshing out there... only... only there's one line in there that's sticking funny... something about him being available in the middle of the night for this joshing...? Whut? Married, former cop, two disabled kids, twenty years younger... available to me in the "middle of the night"? Oh, that just came out wrong, right? Right. Oh surely right.

So I go get my hair cut. Then I go to Walgreens to get my thyroid pills. I pull into a parking space and get out to turn my head upside down and spray some goo into it so it will stick out in every direction in my favored Einstein chic way, I throw my little spray bottle in onto the passenger seat, lock up and head for the front door, both hands busy mussing and tousling as I went.

They don't have my prescription ready, despite the lie their computer told me on the phone, and they have to get a refill fax from my doctor first and so it so ain't happening that I'm going to get my prescription this trip. I'm a Zen mistress. Just because I feel like crap, am demoralized by the fuckheads at the cable company, and can't remember when was the last time I just went to the pharmacy and everything went smoothly without even a hiccup, doesn't mean I have to come unmoored and scare this vapid little airhead behind the counter.

Nope. I can just walk away and make sure I don't miss something I need made in China that is on sale for about 90% less than anywhere else on the planet, and even if nothing I need is that affordable today, I'm screaming peckish-to-dead-of-starvation right now and this is definitely a day where I spring for a candy bar to keep me till dinner. In the midst of this search and candy bar grab I notice about three men approximately my age rather avid to make eye contact with me. It barely registers, but one of them registered a little more than the others. He planted a wry smile with it. But, not having spotted a deal too good to pass up, I'd just grabbed a Snickers and got in line to pay for it and he was in the other line and I didn't notice him again.

Back out at my car and opening the door I see a note tucked under my windshield wiper. I pluck it off and open it up and it says, "Text me," and then a phone number, and then "Discreet." Whut? It's written on the back of a drug facts sheet for a guy with a distinctive name I never heard of. Probably mistaken identity. I get in my car and drive off. Whut? WTF is this note about? Nobody would say that to someone they knew and just mistook the car. It dawns on me someone may have dented my car while I was inside and the note is about wishing to take responsibility for it but not wanting his family to know about it. I should have looked before I drove off.

I got home and could not find anything wrong with my car, but I called the number. A man answered. "You left a note on my car."

"What? I did not. Where?" Sounding aggravated. "You must have the wrong number." Click.

I'm all, I'll be goddammed, that was a masher note from a married man! I haven't had one of those in decades. Sheesh. Okay, okay, fine. I'm not going to get mad. He's just an asshole who thinks I'm cute. Preposterous. I'm looking in the mirror now for ordinary looking into the mirror instead of not-seeingly dropping bits of mentation to stick there on hold until I get back to them, and, seeing all the wrinkles on my face, thinking it's a drag that being thinner makes one's face look older and that guy doesn't realize he needs new glasses... and I'm pounding more C and D and not losing the sense of doom from feeling like crap and the world malfunctions, even if I'm supposed to feel this "compliment".

See, I can't even hang with that being what it was, that it was a married guy trying to pick me up. It had to be a prank, no? Yes. Thursday I go out to greet MacGyver, see what he did to my back porch light, and I bring him the note to ask him what the heck that means. He's all, "That is a very weird note, but I think you must have an admirer... had to see you get out of your car on the way in." I tell him what happened when I called the number, how that's either a married man who can't talk on the phone around his wife or some victim of a prank. MacGyver says he'll text the number and say, sorry, nines doesn't have a cell phone.

Seconds later comes the reply that he'd seen me and wanted to know if I wanted to get together to hang out... and am I married? MacGyver thinks I should respond that sorry, I've got a boyfriend. I'm all, no, tell him, sorry I don't date married men. Seconds later, "Who me? I'm not married. I'm just looking for a little no-strings-attached fun." MacGyver shot back that I wasn't around and he'd let me know when he saw me again.

Depressing. Even MacGyver was offended.

This has been my week. The C and D nuking managed to pull me out of the washing machine and prevent me from full scale illness, but it has been a drag of a week and these little buds of sexual interest from various persons of the male persuasion have not brightened it a jot. Maybe every one of us owes our very life to this ancient fact of manhood, but it's so full of death I can't talk about it, let alone be cheered by it.

I just have to turtle through the impediments, and be thankful for my turtle MacGyver who is the slowest handyman conceivable, but does outright excellent work using mostly only what is lying around and still is not worried at all about how long it will take me to pay him for it.

always and any time....