Thursday, July 30, 2015

it doesn't really matter

This afternoon I went met CC for lunch.  We worked out that we have not seen each other in two years.  Two years.  We live thirty-five minutes apart.  The only possible explanation is that are both neurotic shut-ins who struggle with normal kinds of socialization.

The dynamic is always confusing because she is the most mentally ill of my friends, always has been.  I find this jarring because I generally consider myself the most mentally ill (although I prefer the term quirky) of my friends.  For example, when I go places with my colleague/friends, someone else always drives because it is known that I am likely to make nervous mistakes or get hopelessly lost.  Someone else always makes the dinner because it is known that I cannot cook anything edible.  Someone else always hosts because it is understood that my house is full of peculiar nervous dogs who will require too much of everyone's attention.  Etcetera.  In all honesty, being the kook of the group is a good position.  It comes with little responsibility, and what I lack in responsible stability I can make up for with generous gifts, and unexpected moments of thoughtfulness.

But with CC, I have to drive.  She doesn't own a car.  I have to manage the time because she doesn't own a watch.  Or care.  I have to pay attention to the road because she won't warn me if I am about to crash, and  I have to remember how to parallel park because she can't help.

It isn't that I don't love her.  I do love her.  But she requires something from me that does not come to me naturally or easily.  Still.  Two years is far too long to spend not seeing someone who is important to me.


When I drove home from CC's place, I put my hands on the steering wheel and looked down at them, and saw my mother's hands resting there.

Last year, one of my autistic students sat next to me and put his hand on mine, tracing the blue veins that are visible through my skin.  He said, I can see your veins through your skin.  You can't see my veins through my skin.  I said, That's because you are young and I am old.  He said, No, it's because you are white and I am brown.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

unreliable narrator

In the summer, the book budget gets inflated.  I read a lot anyway, and in summer I read constantly, simply because I love it and there is suddenly all this extra time in which to do it.  One day I will shrivel like a raisin because I spend so much of the summer in a lawnchair reading.  In the sun.  We all know that sun in bad for us; so why does it feel so good?  I blame my Egyptian relatives, whose blood still must seek heat even as it disperses its way through North America.

The last few books I have read have been somewhat awful, which hasn't stopped me from continuing to read the genre.  I like non-fiction books, memoir type books, especially the kind that are meant to teach the reader something not previously known.  In that vein I read Fierce Conversations, which has made the rounds among our staff, recommended and purchased by the head honcho.  Yuck, what an obnoxious piece of garbage.  Then I read Songs of the Gorilla Nation, a book about an autistic woman learning to understand her fellow humans better through her interactions with gorillas.  This was a pretty interesting book which taught me more about gorillas than I had previously known, and I would have liked it more if the story had not be interrupted every so often by the author's lousy poems.  Now I am reading Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight.  So far I'm not finding the confessions particularly engaging.  So she uses and manipulates people to her advantage… I'm not sure what is meant to be interesting or shocking about it.  People do that; most of us learn to spot those people when we are still in elementary school.  Don't we?  The author strikes me as having an unrealistic and grandiose sense of her own importance and ability to impact others.  I suppose this is a symptom of psychopathy.  


Yesterday Shawn and I went to see Southpaw, a Jake Gyllenhaal movie about a boxer.  Pretty formulaic, but it was pleasant to spend an afternoon together anyway.  J is in the States now at a horse show, and we are enjoying our empty nest.  If only she had taken her cat with her.  The poor cat is terribly lonely without J, and in his desperation for affection, he has begun hanging out with me.  He lies behind my head across the back of the couch, purring in my ears while I read.  It's not altogether unpleasant, although I am not a huge fan of cats.  He's rather sweet, and I could probably learn to love him if he would stop leaving hairballs everywhere and pay me back for all the damage he has done to my house over the years.


M. has gone home for the summer.  He comes from a place near to where I come from.  And he posts pictures of it, the long straight highway under the enormous sky, fields and fields of canola on all sides. It gives me a certain ache that is hard to describe because it is so mixed in its composition.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015


My boyfriend broke up with me on Monday.  He says that my treatment is over and there is no longer anything he can do for me through physiotherapy.  Now it's just up to me to go home and get better.  It's like recovering from an injury, he says.  I just need time and to stay active so that the things that are supposed to compensate will learn how to do it faster.  Okay, it's not the most painful breakup I have experienced.  This one leaves me with hope that I will be alright on my own.

Strangely enough, following the break up, I have been feeling significantly better.  Perhaps I had allowed myself to grow too dependant on the physiotherapy.  Or perhaps knowing that he thinks I'm fine has a placebo effect on me.  Whatever it is, I like it.


Most mornings I go for a walk/run at a park near my house.  Yesterday BB asked if she could come with me today.  This was surprising because BB is not the walk-in-the-park sort of woman.  She is more the come-over-for-pizza kind of woman.  (I happen to love this about her; it is not a criticism.  Just an observation.)  But far be it for me to discourage a friend who wants to get more active.  So I told her where to meet me, and off we went.  To my surprise, BB was a fine walker.  She kept pace with enough breath left to talk, so in the end she turned out to be a pretty good companion.  I am not a person who generally enjoys exercising with someone, but since BB has decided she wants to exercise with me, I have realised it isn't so bad having someone to talk to rather than focusing on my knees.


Friday, July 10, 2015

these so-called vacations

Those people who talk incessantly about their illnesses make me feel sick.  It is certainly to repay me for my lack of empathy that I have developed a chronic problem that I cannot seem to stop talking about.

I have BPPV.

For the uninitiated, that's Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.

Benign - non-cancerous
Paroxysmal - sudden attacks (of)
Positional - referring specifically to the position of one's head
Vertigo - dizziness

What this means is that I might stand up, or lie down, or look over my left shoulder at my alarm clock,  or tilt my head quizzically, and suddenly be overcome with the sensation that I am spinning drunkenly and might fall down.  (Actually, wine is the only thing that seems to make me feel normal.)

I meant not to talk about it, the way I mean not to talk about things that make me seem frail or aged or stupid or vulnerable.  But whatever.  It has been going on since the end of April.  I had a terrible flu in March that may have triggered it; it's some kind of inner ear disturbance.  And it has been mostly unrelenting ever since.

But I do not mean to spend my life lying down watching the ceiling spin around above me.  So I am still running, dizzily and drunkenly, amusing myself with the strange sensations that overtake me.  But I have stopped yoga.  I simply cannot turn my head upside down without experiencing sensations that are too alarming to manage in public places.  I still hike in the mountains, searching for connections between autism and vestibular functioning as leaves and shadows throw my world into inner chaos.

In the positive column, I have a new boyfriend.  His name is Nav and he is a physiotherapist.  He tilts my head back gently and turns it at unexpected angles while he stares deeply into my eyes, looking for signs of nystagmus.  Sometimes he makes me feel better.  Sometimes he doesn't know what to do with me.  I hardly blame him.  I do not know what to do with myself either.  We like each other, I think.  We talk more about other things than we do about vertigo.  Things like Valentine's Day.  Things like droughts and racism and politics and family.  He is a lovely boyfriend.  I see him frequently.

But that is not all.

I still operate the chain saw, in spite of the dizziness that is made worse by the vibration.  I still dig up weeds.  Several days ago I accidentally sliced through an extension cord with the chain saw, which resulted in sparks and smoke and great excitement.  I could blame the vertigo but I probably just wasn't paying attention.

I still refuse to remove the superfluous space between periods at the start of new sentences.

You know.  I'm still me.  I'm just in recovery.  At least I hope I am recovering.

And it's summer, a good time to focus on that sort of thing.