Monday, July 26, 2010

Among injured people there is an instantaneous bond.   Within 30 seconds, all the people in the subway car with injuries--broken arms, walking casts, sprained ankles--have made knowing eye contact.  Much in the same way that you immediately begin to notice every other red Jeep on the road once you get one yourself, your eye immediately, almost involuntarily, gravitates to those who are sharing your particular state of being.  It's an instant topic of conversation.  The waiting room at the orthopedic surgeon's office is a veritable cocktail party, with the requisite bad jokes ("You shoulda seen the other guy!" "Hey, doc, after I heal will I be able to play violin?") and easy-flowing conversation ("Dude, I'll NEVER try windsurfing again").

On Saturday night, I managed to break a big tendon in my thumb while I accompanied my son on a carnival slide ride.  Amazingly, I got in the door of a great surgeon today who will make it better.  I had to withdraw from a much-anticipated gig (the Monadnock Music Festival) because neither tendon surgery nor long-planned festival programming can wait.  I'll be in a cast for five weeks.  No beach, swimming, tennis, etc. for the rest of the summer.

It would be silly to say how tough it is to suddenly be a lefty, inasmuch as it is far from a permanent problem.  Rather, I'd prefer to focus on the fact that doing tasks requiring dexterity with the non-dominant hand supposedly develops the brain and can help stave off mental deterioration.  I am already developing some skill at one-handed shampooing, left-handed toothbrushing, and clutching bottles in my right elbow and wrenching them open with the left hand.  Whether this will prevent me from becoming senile in my dotage is a matter of speculation.  When I regain use of my hand, it will take me time to unlearn all this, much as the time when, returning from Brazil, I was unable to type for a week because my body had learned the Portuguese keyboard a little too well.

I am embarrassed to say that my left hand is still too weak to turn the (very stiff) key in my own door.  Nor can I type very effectively or floss my teeth (must master that today).  However, my temporary cast is a great thing on which to balance my book or hot cup of tea (it's basically a giant, rigid potholder).  In addition to being a conversation starter, my removable cast actually represents the difference between comfort and protection, and agony and fear.  I have never worn one in my life, and I expected it to be unwieldy, itchy, hot, and uncomfortable.  To my astonishment, it is none of the above.  So, my summer's plans have taken a different path, but it's alright.  I now have a whole new group of unexpected compadres everywhere I go.  Who knew?

All this comes hard on the heels of Charlie's accidentally attempting to ingest two nightshade berries--as few as two can prove fatal in children--found in a badly overgrown garden in our local park.  Poison control was called, as were the paramedics...who helped us determine that by "I ate them", Charlie actually meant "I put them into my mouth, intending to consume them, but upon discovering them to taste bad, I ceased masticating and ejected them from my mouth, but not before smearing a good deal of residue on my cheeks so as to adequately confound and distress my mother."  The paramedics departed, having revived us from our gratitude-inspired fainting spell, Charlie was totally fine, and the next day I hit the ER.  I can only manage what Aetna will think.

So these are the latest in a year filled with unexpected, occasionally agonizing episodes.  At this point, I just plan to sit back and let the next five months unfold as they will, hoping for a better year next time (because of course, EVERYTHING will improve at the stroke of midnight on January first, twenty-eleven).  I have decided that this is The Universe's way of shoring us up for the future, building up a few psychic calluses just in case.  Funnily, this is not unwelcome.  If everything else that has happened so far HADN'T happened, I think I'd be feeling a lot sorrier for myself right now.  I realize this year has given me the gift of perspective and forbearance.   July, however, is probably the wrong time to make this observation... what if I suddenly strike it rich, become unimaginably famous, and achieve perfect self-awareness?  It will ruin everything.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Date Skirt

Given the frequency of my postings about food, you are probably wondering if this is a posting about some kind of ground date marinade for skirt steak (hmm, come to think of it, I'll have to try that sometime).  No, this is a posting about an actual skirt.

Long ago, ten years to be quite exact, I was a single woman living in New York City. More precisely, I was recently single and eager to meet some people.  I did not know at the time that in September of that year I would meet the man who would eventually become my husband.  I simply knew that I felt like going out on a few dates, like any reasonable woman in her early thirties might, and I bought some new clothes in anticipation of some evenings out.

The men I met (husband excepted) were underwhelming, but my go-to date skirt was great.  It was (is) knee length, cut narrow, and is black with a black mesh overlay imprinted with oversized roses in my favorite colors (red, orange, yellow).  I always fell back on this skirt because it was both demure enough to demonstrate that I was not out for a wild night of first-date debauchery, yet slinky enough to imply that I might be convinced over a series of evenings to dip my toes into the waters of tomfoolery.

Clothes always wind up hanging around in my closet too long.  Once in a while I'll have a fit of clear-mindedness and become able to follow the famous closet cleaning rule, which is "if it hasn't been worn in a year, out it goes".  The skirt has always stayed (along with a men's black-and-white polka dot shirt I've had since college that manages at once to look vintage and modern.  My dad borrowed it once when we were on vacation and he forgot to bring a dress shirt.  He looked like Errol Flynn.)

I'd be the first to admit that for not a few years now, especially since becoming a mom, my figure has been not quite as lissome as it was when I purchased the Date Skirt.  Although holding on to clothes (or worse, buying new ones in too-small sizes) in anticipation of the day one achieves one's goal weight is a cardinal sin, it should be said that this skirt wasn't a carrot at the end of a stick.  It is just a reminder of my last hurrah as a single person, and gazing upon it made (makes) me feel happy and empowered.

I got together today for a lovely lunch with a new friend.  She is dazzlingly-yet-effortlessly stylish, achingly lovely, and great fun to chat with.  I felt a need to come up with a Sufficiently Slick Outfit so I wouldn't feel abashed when seated next to her.  For the first time in a decade, I reached for the Date Skirt.  I paired it with black patent sandals, a clingy cap-sleeved tee shirt, my big, dangly gold filigree earrings shaped like leaves, a wrist-full of jangly gold bangles, and my favorite black quilted bucket bag.  Definitely a SSO.  It felt odd to have my past clinging once again to my hips, yet familiar and comforting.  I did not feel like the same hopeful, expectant newly-minted single person I was when last I wore it, but I felt close enough to bring a smile to my face.  To be honest, it's a big more snug than once it was.  But these days, my life and heart are feeling more snug than they did back then, too.  Which, I suppose, was the whole idea behind the Date Skirt in the first place.