What Brought You Here?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Assemble-at-home? Not so much.

Sorry, I had to delete that picture which displayed my flabby boniness in all its splendor Like, gag me with a spoon.

I had this build-it-yourself beverage cart in a box that I left idle for a good three years. I bought it while I was still staying at my mother's house; it went with a cute little bedside table that apparently- being comprised essentially of six sides- was simple enough for me to assemble by myself. I bought a matching trinket case/ bookcase that I left in the skilled-at-reading-Chinglish-hands of my father & the handy-dude at my miniscule Chicago apartment, and it, too, stands perpendicular to the floor. But the beverage cart- cobbled together by me alone- never did hold a right angle for very long.

I'm sure that my inability to comprehend the sketches and crude written instructions except by doing ( as a result of which the top table frame was never actually fixed to the legs, after I attached the brackets to the bottom of it, rather than the top) conributed to the rickety quality of the cart, The fact that the two glass surfaces that served as a center-of-balance of sorts were detached for my move and I found replacing the second one to be too much of a task until a few weeks ago made it even less stable. The really fun part is that last night, I jostled the cart with the balance ball I was sitting on, and the glass shelf I had recently placed fell and smashed the dulcimer that was laying on the wooden shelf beneath it, making a spectacular amount of noise.

I haven't played the dulcimer (bought at a white elephant option for 3$ 12 years ago) in nearly as long. And while the cart was convenient for collecting random junk, it truly did not fit anywhere, and it made a great deal of noise as it fell apart over the past 11 months.

So this morning I finally dragged the POS out to the dumpster. And I put a "free" note on the dulcimer and left it inside the front doorway, being as I'm certain that it's an amp I keep occassionally hearing, and I image an active musician would appreciate it more than I.

I held on to the two plates of glass, for some reason though.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Pedant Still Lives

Despite what my browser and /or the Blogger "New Post" template would like to believe, I did not misspell "filet" in the previous post.

More adventures from the Mcfabulous state hospital

Amy was beautiful and always gave away her arrival with the forcefield of urine-stench that warded off predators for a good solid 6-8-foot radius. Those rank molecules were not contained solely by the black duster she wore day in and day out, nor in the white blouse that she never changed- not even in the elegant long black pin-around skirt that fortnightly alternated with the denim miniskirt, for the odor continued to penetrate the miserable air even in the showers.

Of two things I was certain: one- that Amy had been seriously overmedicated at some point, leaving her shapely legs unable to adapt a normal standing pose, and two- that there was more to Amy than met the eye.

Carrying a perma-stench was a grevous sin, unlike- for instance- shitting your pants. Sure, one might stew for half and hour or so during shift change, but shit was an inherently temporary state. With shit, eventually, depending on your perceived level of competence, someone would either come along and clean you up or berate you until you cleaned up after yourself. With urine, eventually, stuff dried.

By affirming my vegetarian diet somewhere in the shuffle of intake paperwork, I’d foolishly assumed that I had kosher in the bag. So comfortable and homey was the system that I didn’t even know from which end to begin my rant when the day came that my tray came out with a sticker on the side reading “BEGONIAS- VEGETARIAN” and bearing a steaming fried catfish filet.

Such are the times that testify to the utility of the trays being served by through a slit in a steel door, visual contact between patients and food first being made through Plexiglas and (if the tech is so kind) drawn blinds), requests for condiments being heard (or not) through a hole drilled through. Presumably, there was some rhyme or reason behind the restrictions placed on the number and variety of condiment packets issued each patient: the mind reels at the possibilities: Secret hallucinogenic properties of a sugar rush acquired from the consumption of greater than four packets of sugar in a single sitting? A magical midnight feast drawn together of mixed jelly, mustard, aspartame, and pepper? Generally the reasons behind condiment rationing weren’t so exciting: most often, they were simply out of stock. Occasionally, the serving tech would deem the requested condiments inappropriate for meal congruence and deny them on a whim.

Sometimes, they would decline to serve an entire meal to a patient whose behavior was, in their opinion, not suited to the kitchen on a unit of a high-security state mental hospital.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A *real* Bipolar Life

. . .not descriptive my moods nearly as distinctively as my life. It takes a year or two for my depressive episodes to successfully mentally castrate me.

For instance, I became pretty gung-ho about suicide at the ripe old age of 9. Or maybe I was 8? What I know for sure is that I was in the fourth grade. So commenced my long, boring, often worthless/ detrimental life in therapy. However, it wasn't until the 6th grade that I opted to trade off leisure time and my brain-mouth filter for passing grades and freedom from the tyrannies of detention.

5 years after that I quit high school and, over the 7 years to follow, spent my time essentially being a winner at life. I travelled around the US and to the opposite end of the Earth. I followed the Grateful Dead (the *real* Dead) I travelled the Russian countryside "riding the dog" (Russian colloquialism for taking the train without buying a ticket.) I dyed my hair blue, red, pink, and purple and taught college classes without considering removing my nosering. I won over 20,000 dollars in grants, largely for the express purpose of going to study in countries known for hard drinking. I met a fabulous girl and married her.

Unfortunately, in my 2nd year of grad school I was socked in the belly by the most ruthless depression I had, till then, experienced. My concentration was so poor that, not only could not read for awhile, but I couldn''t even sustain attention long enough to make it through a sitcom anymore. I also lost a huge chunk of my appetite; I probably averaged a couple hundred calories a day for about 3 weeks. Oddly enough, I didn't notice that I was getting malnourished until one night in bed I discovered my cervical vertabrae. At the time, I also noted how much money I hadn't spent on groceries.

Of course, cash flow from starving myself ended very shortly. I relapsed with my bulimia in all its former glory. I was genuinely aurprised and secretly proud when I was diagnosed with Anorexia a few months later. I mean, I knew that I could puke my way thin, but this was the first I'd heard my 100,000-calories-per-day habit included in the criteria for AN.

While its true that earned my M.A. that year, and, two years later, was awarded my second FLAS fellowship to spend a year drinking in Poland, I never recovered totally mentally/physically and certainly not intellectually. My flame had burned out, and I slogged my way through the fifth year. Unfortunately, 5th year is when your committee and your advisor seem to expect brilliant ideas to actually be developed and ardent copyediting of every last draft. The ten=day long exam sounds like it would suck, as well. I started getting occasional Cs, whereas in my first term I'd actually cried about A minuses. I always felt like a mental midget in graduate school after maintaining a 4.0 GPA (in my field only) through my BA. While my specialty isn't large enough to be considered a big pond, I did feel that I'd gone from big fish/small pond to small fish/small pond.

It's pretty much been upstream in cold waters since then. I've gradually lost interest/ability in everything that once made me at least minimally sociable and lucky enough to have varying regular opportunities to appreciate singlehood (from taking exstacy to going dancing at the S&M club, to taking random jobs- some under the counter- and leaving them on a whim and dying my hair to clash with my mostly Goodwill couture). My friends were family to me and our fundamental duty to one another was to let the good times roll. Having to quit graduate school did a number on my self-esteem & my work ethic. When I thought nothing could be any worse, 2004 really was spectacularly bad, especially exogenously. (Nearly had my foot amputated, the last year of my 20s, an awful president was elected for the first time to a second term, my wife left me.) 2005 sucked me dry and spit me into the wind as I dealt with the end of my marriage by honestly applying myself to suicide. I just went round-and-round the drain of my own misery, pulling anyone who tried to care about me in to drown, too. To top it off, my eating disorder- which is now old enough to drink, BTW- has managed to mature into its most feral and extreme depths in the past 4 years.

I would really like to grow out of this stage, but I honestly believe that 34 may be too late for me to accomplish a life worth writing about, not to mention worth reading about.

(If you actually managed to read this thing, kudos! Leave a comment so I can single you out on tEEf)