Friday, July 12, 2024

The Law of Attraction

As we coast down the hill toward the intersection, I wish for a green light and, way down at end of the block, as if in response to my wish, the light obediently turns green. I also know, with absolute certainty, that we’ll make it through no problem, and sure enough we slip through, barely even slowing down, only to be caught at the next long stoplight a block later.

When I mention how much I love catching a green, she agrees, adding, “But I’m sure that’s gonna be the intersection where I get straight-up t-boned from somebody just ploughing through a red light.”

“Yeah, let’s not manifest any unwanted experiences in our lives,” I say, nodding ruefully.

Horror Books

“These books are heavy, off putting, and have a good chance of making you dry heave!” Katie says, quoting a book recommendation video, then she repeats it. “A good chance of making you dry heave!”

“It’s not for me,” I say, waving my hand.

“I mean, maybe I’ll like something on it,” she says, pressing play.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

They Were Just Trying To Be Nice

Two pretty young women rolling a bright yellow cart stacked with thin, glossy paperback books and craft materials rattle up to me as I sit in the waiting room for my doctor’s appointment.

“Would you like to do an activity while you wait?” one of them, an asian woman with long black hair, asks. Her expression suggests that, while concerned in a friendly sort of way, she takes a certain pleasure in demonstrating her concern, but wouldn't want to show either her concern or pleasure in a way that was too obvious.

I’m polite, midwesternly so, and I smile, showing none of the rankling I feel at their (entirely inadvertent, and probably felt only by me) condescension in treating me like I’m some sort of child who needs to be entertained and distracted by crosswords or origami or macaroni art, and I just say “No thank you,” indicating the book I was reading before they walked up, and they smile back and nod and roll on, content and secure in their beneficent goodness. 

Customer Service

“And before we finish this call,” says the customer service rep on the phone, “can I just ask, purely for my own nosiness, what kind of art your wife makes?”

I mean, it’s the reason why I mentioned it in the first place, so I tell him her website, the name of the piece we’ve been discussing, her insta handle, the whole thing.

I hear him typing and then he says, “Oh wow….”

“I didn’t think I’d see anything as beautiful as that today,” he says, his voice softening from his customer service voice to something gentler, more emotional, more real.

Monday, July 8, 2024

MRI

After they’ve strapped my feet together and attached me to the machine that will pump a chemical into my veins that allows the bigger machine to read my insides with greater accuracy, after they’ve put plugs in my ears to ensure I don’t go deaf from the buzzing mechanical symphony of physics and enormous magnetic fields that will see through my skin like a man looks through a window to check the weather, after all of this preparation for what is effectively a miracle of science..., we hit a snag.

Now three people are futzing with the table upon which I am trussed and blanketed, raising it, examining the readout, lowering it, shoving it into place with a jarring clunk, consulting, shaking it back and forth, wiggling it, several more clunks and finally a smooth slide into place.

You know that feeling when the ride operator at the carnival checks the straps and the shoulder pull-down bar, just to make sure everything’s kosher, before the chair upon which your very life depends lifts off at ridiculous speed to spin you through space, but you notice when he does it he has to really shake it once or twice, like maybe he’s not entirely confident, but finally he leaves it, because, you know, good enough? I have a brief moment of trepidation as the open maw of the machine receives me and the cacophony of the scan begins.

Think Small

I’m hanging out with Katie in her studio (which is really only set up to comfortably hold one person) seated behind a desk about a foot-and-a-half away from her as she works. We often joke about how it’s a good thing we’re obsessed with each other, because we spend an awful lot of time right up in each other’s business. 

But when I need to get up, I feel like an enormous, clumsy lummox, gingerly rising, being as careful as I can to not accidentally knock over the tools and supplies she’s surrounded herself with to do her job, and I wince as I try to get stiff muscles to move with a dancer’s grace that I didn’t possess before I had cancer, let alone now.

She looks up from her work to watch me sympathetically but without pity, and says, “Yeah, it’s a little crowded in here.”

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Scooting Big and Tall

I love riding my scooter - with my leg banged up, riding a bike is tough, so it’s the easiest way to get around for the time being.

But occasionally, I am confronted by the limits of the technology, namely that I am kind of a big dude, and  maybe tending towards the upper limit of the weight that your average scooter can bear.

So sometimes, on a hill, say, or even just from a standing start at a stoplight, the little electric motor that makes the scooter go vroom has to do a little more work than it might like, and even though it never complains… I know.

And I know I’m at an okay weight for my height, but when my scooter starts to chug going uphill, man, I kinda take it personally.