Thursday, September 29, 2016

Speaking Too Soon

My radiation nurse comes in for the hug when she sees me, and then pets my head (a move I have totally given her clearance for, since a. I love to be touched, and b. I'm very proud of my hair growing back so nicely). 

"So how's it going - fatigue, swelling, anything?" she asks as we sit down in the examination room.

"Well, I'm feeling like the fatigue has sort of leveled off, so maybe I'm getting used to it?" I say.

She makes a sympathetic face, and says, "Well, it tends to really kick in towards the end, so it might be a little early to say that."

One year ago today: I Feel the Jerk
Two years ago today: The Evening Commute - One

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Work it Out

"Well, you're in a good mood," my co-worker says after catching me singing at the water-cooler.

"Well, I had a fight with my wife this morning," I say with a smile, and then, seeing her look of incredulity, "oh, but we worked it out! The thing is, when you feel that bad, and then it finally gets sorted out, you feel incredible."

"Nice dress, by the way," I add as I'm leaving.

One year ago today: Final Push
Two years ago today: Dolly Zoom
Three years ago today: That's Not What I Asked

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I'm An Object Lesson

I haul the laundry and a bag of Chinese food in to the apartment, and I explain that my lateness was due to seeing a guy we were friendly with downstairs on the street.

"We ended up chatting for a while," I say, "and I guess he's really having a rough time: lost his job, had to sign up for Medicaid, went to rehab for drinking but it didn't really stick, depression, the whole thing."

"Poor guy!" Katie exclaims.

"Yeah, but you know, it's amazing how people pull themselves together and say their lives aren't that bad when you tell them you just got over cancer," I say.

One year ago today: Performance Anxiety

Monday, September 26, 2016

Perfectly Decent

I get out of treatment late, and the sun has already gone down, the days growing shorter. The gloom before the street lights turn on after dusk above the slate sidewalks of Brooklyn, leaves me feeling nostalgic for my friends, the ones I had back in high school and college, and all the dreams we had before the inevitable slide into middle age and mediocrity, with nothing more to show for our time than a mountain of debt and a sense of creeping dissatisfaction that leaves us aching and empty....

Wait: I just got done with treatment for the day, and I'm tired and hungry, and my leg is sore like it's got a stomach ache. 

I take a deep breath, keep walking, and stop searching my perfectly decent life for reasons to be bummed out.

One year ago today: Holey Shoes
Three years ago today: What's Her Story?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

His Life Matters

The little black boy at the bagel shop, while he couldn't be more than seven, reminds me of Huey Freeman from The Boondocks: a shock of wild hair framing an intelligent face and curious brown eyes. His mother pays for his bagel, and the man behind the counter hands him the brown paper bag with a smile, for which the kid thanks him in a sweet, piping voice.

It hits me all at once, a shrinking, sinking feeling in my heart - this boy's mom is going to have to give him "the talk" someday soon, about how to be careful around cops, about how to talk to white people who will be scared of him, about how to dress and act so as not to attract undue attention from those who will judge him, fear him, possibly put him in jail or even kill him, just because he's black.

But for now, he takes his mother's hand without hesitation and, swinging the bag in his other hand, walks with her out into a sunny, blue sky Sunday, while the man behind the counter, still smiling, watches them go.
Two years ago today: So Close, Yet So Far
Three years ago today: All Us Babies

Saturday, September 24, 2016

They Don't Make Me Money

"And Kevin's been pushing me to go into distilling, really get that absinthe idea I had going," I say to Katie on the way to help our friend move.

"Are you detail oriented enough, though? You turn the risotto off before it's done, you turn the oven off before the turkey's done at Thanksgiving," as she proceeds to list a number of instances of my impatience and lack of attention.

Seeing I'm hurt, she adds, "And you have a number of very excellent qualities, too."

One year ago today: Dog v. God
Two years ago today: Ice Cream Sutra
Three years ago today: Snapshots of Prospect Park

Just Try

The dog hates most people, but she has a special fear in her heart for our friend Kevin, who inspires her to a frenzy of barking whenever he has the temerity to stop by.

As he prepares to leave after an evening of hectic barking, Katie, finally having had enough, says, "Could you please get her to stop doing that?"

"No," I say, laughing, knowing that she'll bark no matter what I do, and for my remark I am favored with a flash of anger from Katie's eyes, which baffles me for a moment.

Kevin caught the look, too, and, seeing my confusion, explains, "You made it sound as if you didn't want her to stop."
One year ago today: Not Great
Two years ago today: In the Board Room
Three years ago today: Winter is a Hill