31 July 2006

Near Death By Derby

Death By Derby

I almost made it, folks, I almost got to hit the rink, hit my friends
and say yes, indeed, I am a roller derby queen. Unfortunately, the
fates have other plans for me and more than likely you'll find me
manning the ticket booth.

It's true.

Last Thursday, on what has become a routine flogging, trouncing and
ass-flashing head first dive to the floor, I managed to split my elbow
open to the bone.

Ew. I know.

Only I didn't know it when I did it, but an hour later, as I pulled my
elbow pad off and flashed my funny bone to the team, no one was
laughing. Immediate gasps, shrieks and calls of, "Oh mah gawd get some
stitches, girl!" filled the room.

Unfortunately, medical care more advanced than a splash of Betadine is
foreign to me, and as I crawled into bed a few hours later I had no
idea what kind of festering adventure would be awaiting me on the
other side of dawn.

By the time I'd finished throwing up the next morning as I stared,
bleary eyed, at the pink tinged surface of my elbow bone, I wasn't
sure what to do next.

Thanks to my mother's occupation as a nurse, I know how to clean and
bandage the mess with near-bizarre precision. Unfortunately, I've
always suspected my mother's career was a hindrance later in life as
it removed any sense of concern or urgency in relation to pain. Many
of my closest friends have found this out the hard way:

Moving into a stereotypically hilly apartment in San Francisco a few
years back, my friend Kelly smashed her hand while leaping,
maniacally, into my precariously balanced U-Haul van. Rushing out of
the apartment, mindful of the 3-hour window the rental place had given
us to move all my crap across town (SF may not be wide, but it makes
it up in hills), I stopped, looked at her limp, pale limb and asked,
as the tears of pain rolled down her face, "Can you move it?"


"You're fine. Let's go!"

If it can be moved it cannot be that bad, and therefore it's good
enough to go back outside and play, damnit, and leave me alone….

And with the move test as my litmus I slunk into the doctor's office
the next afternoon, where it became obvious that freedom of motion is
not the only way to gauge the severity of a wound.

Potential for amputation is.

And as I sat, shaking, wondering how on earth I'd ever floss my teeth
again with only one arm, I started to think of all the other things
going on in my life I'd been missing since roller derby took over my

And I decided that the injury, while probably not fatal and likely
(hopefully – I have to go back tomorrow at 7:30 a.m.) not to result in
anything more than a nasty scar, was a sort of wake-up call to
remember that I've got a lot of great things in my life in addition to
my beloved fellow derby girls.

Like writing, drawing, and general art-making.

And my friends, and my family, and someone who falls somewhere, I'm
not sure where, in between.

Not to mention the job, no matter how square, and apartment, and, one
day maybe, a dog.

And, well, hey, most of all, let's all give a big round of applause
for: my arm.

As the drummer from Def Leppard can attest, two is better than one…

25 July 2006

Somewhat Back From the Dead

I’m going to have to start explaining away these long electronic absences, aren’t I? What’s believable? But then again, does anybody care?

I mean, I could have been whisked away to an exotic isle by some dashing prince or sultan or something, to lounge about on pillows while sipping mimosas fresh squeezed by virgin albinos.

Or injured in a horrible car crash that left me unable to remember anything but all my old phone numbers, and I’ve been spending the last month dialing them in the vain hope that someone will answer and have an inkling of who the hell I am…

But then again, I barely know who I am sometimes, so to expect a perfect stranger with themisfortune to have been passed down my old digits to clue me in to the answer to the existential crisis I suffer on a daily basis would be futile at best, a really shitty story at worst.

The truth, of course, is never as exciting as fiction, and with that I must admit that, in addition to being absurdly busy, I’ve been globe hopping and recuperating from the effects of living in one of the worst air quality regions around.

Thanks coal… you killed my grandpa, great-grandpa, and all their friends, and now you’re going after me…

I’ve got asthma, folks, it’s true – hence the forced rejection of the rock’n’roll lifestyle in favor of albuterol inhalers and moments of looking like a purple Chihuahua, all bug eyed and suffocate’y – and that ailment tends to result in at minimum two bronchial infections a year.

I got this most recent the week before I was supposed to go to Canada for work. By the time I got back, old men carting oxygen tanks for their emphysema were offering me hits.

Although, I did resist the urge to attempt to joke with customs.

“Are you carrying any plants, produce or live animals into the United States?”

“No, but I’m pretty sure I’m an incubator for the Hanta Virus…. Kill me, please!”

Thing is, as much as we joke about it, Canadians ARE really super nice. It creeped me out. I was afraid to turn around because I was sure they’d be making faces at me…

But, I survived long enough to make it back on American soil and into my snuggly, Venus sleep trap bed.

Also went to the acupuncturist, which is always fun but even more so when you’re sick: walked out with my usual dazed and confused look, along with a back covered in perfectly symmetrical purple bruises and a chest littered with small metal dots.

Apparently the former is an ancient Asian tool used to draw toxins and bad stuff out of your body and into these glass suction cups. Thus, it’s called cupping. All I brought out was some suntan lotion from the 1970s and a few gnats I’d swallowed while running along Forbidden Drive a few weeks ago.

The latter are press balls, which I usually have scattered along my ears. They’re little metal balls placed strategically along pressure points, covered by a small square of Band Aid material. You’re supposed to press on them at regular intervals. They’re certainly a conversation starter.

“What the?”

“Oh these. Yeah, you haven’t heard?”

“No, what?”

“I’m beta testing a new government program to imbed personal data, ranging from blood type to credit rating, directly into the body. Less need for paperwork, saving trees, blah blah… Granted, the Wallet Makers Union Local 666 has been protesting since its launch, but I think the MIBs have pretty much disappeared most of them by now. Wanna’ press on them? Ooh, that feels gooood!”