December 22, 2004

Food on my face-anger in the ocean...

My title isn't a haiku is it?

"I feel anyone who does anything great
in art and culture is out of control.
It is done by people who are possessed.

Anyone who is gong to practice on the piano
22 hours a day is crazy.
He or she has to be crazy
and it is an embarrassment
to deal with crazy people.

-Nancy Grossman

I found this quote yesterday about crazy folk. I was trying to calm my nerves after an episode at the Wal-Mart one hour photo center. I typed all this mess out and ended up shaving it down to me being over anxious about somebody elses blunder. How just by telling the truth they could have prevented me from a sea of heartache and left me with a permanent case of the "Judy FACE." Apparently putting chilli on that will remedy it. Just ask the lady at Wendy's when she literally threw my bag at me and got hot chilli on my face, my car door, and my coat. Then she asked, "do you need anything replaced?"

(Only my dignity and last shred of patience, foul wench!)

What do you guys think about crazy people?

December 21, 2004

9021-no!

So I’d taken a sabbatical from the blog for about a week. After reading CA’s epic novella of what will become the anti-“Beaches”. (The One with the Bad Friend) Barbra Hershey and Bette Midler this rag tag group is NOT. Hell, we are not even a good 90210 class. You can’t have a cast of all Shannon Dohertys. My mind was awhirl with various words of wisdom; some of spite, some of crazy evil. Words so crazy, in fact that I began my own novella: which consumed me through most of Monday and Tuesday. With my thoughts being so errant as they often are, my novella composed itself in awkward places: during a power point presentation, a trip to the gym, and during inappropriate times at work. Therefore, it was never properly laid pen to paper or what not.

An OBF visited me in my dreams last night. She told me I needed to call my brother as soon as I woke up. Rather than the contents of the message I seemed overly pre-occupied with the messenger. I sorta knew why it was her, but not really sure why my mind conjured her up to give me important warnings for the day ahead of me. I did heed her warnings and I called my brother to say good-bye. However, I can’t say the whole thing didn’t leave me with a slight chill.

This particular dream sequence guest had been an extreme source of angst for a period of time for CA. She had been the “tha original bad friend” or as CA would have said a thousand years ago, the source of all that is evil and unholy. I tried to abbreviate to “the OBF” but Tiesha said way to many other inferences could come from those initials.

Bad friend, if you really think about the word, it’s sort of an oxymoron. I mean, they can’t really be your friend if they are bad. I do not necessarily think not returning phone calls makes you a bad friend. Even sending mass emails rather than taking time to compose a thoughtful note doesn’t make you a bad friend. If so I’d be willing to bet there are a lot of bad friends out there. I don’t think it makes you a bad friend, just a neglectful one.

I’ve only had one OBF in my entire life. A bad friend (by my definition) is someone who willingly and mischievously sets out to injure you in someway, using some personal tidbit of information that you’ve shared with them out of trust. They take this tidbit and reveal it a key moment when it will do a colossal amount of damage. I think CA uses the term “nugget.” A bad friend listens, but doesn’t really care. I think a bad friend doesn’t evolve with you. They maybe only willing to accept the person they first came to like, without really being able to grasp who you may become.

My OBF laid waste to my self-esteem in ’92, by a very public refusal to share a seat on a school bus. This sounds silly, but I considered this person to be my FRIEND. It’s been a long ass time, but when this OBF talks to me now (which believe it or not, sometimes OBF’s attempt this) my blood boils. Maybe this is a sign I’m not mature enough to move past, but you know what, this bitch hurt my feelings! It brings me an odd sorta glee to see her handing out cheese clumps at Wal-mart and even more evil glee to walk over and get one from her.

I try not to think about OBF’s that often, whether my own or someone elses. As for friend neglect, it is punishable offense, but can be cleared with community service and the occasional “zany” phone call.

There ARE more important things to worry about like:

I told Tiesha last week that the end of the world was nigh. The first harbinger of the apocalypse had arrived in Norfolk last Wednesday. No, not the war in Iraq or a rash of random domestic violence; when I talk about the end of the world coming, I will say it started with a tomato.

Food Lion was the first to see the crisis, followed by Wendy’s, Wal-mart, and the Farmer’s Market in Covington (or so this is the order in which I discovered the impending doom). A sign in the produce section decreed “Due to a drought from our primary growers, tomatoes this year are in short supply leaving us with high demand. Bare with us as our prices rise (or something to that effect).” On my second trip to Wendy’s the other day, there was no tomato on my sandwich, the cashier then informed me, “Mam, you must ask for tomatoes now, please pull ahead.” A similar case ensued at Wal-Mart, then reality set in at home when the always ample Farmer’s Market selection looked barren.

Larry left for the Air Force. Mom’s talked to him twice since last week. He sounds really happy from what she said. He’s safe until August anyway. Nicole B. gave me the best advice I’ve heard on the whole debacle, saying that maybe by then there would be some closure to this mess. I don’t believe it, but all the same-it made me feel better. Justifying and explaining my political feelings is a blog in itself and this one may just be long enough. Things are different for me now that it’s MY little brother jeopardizing his life.

Last week, I believe reality T.V. got its first taste of domestic violence. I didn’t see it, but it was enough to cause yelling and shouting across the board from a few of my co-workers and a couple of my friends. You guys watch the “Amazing Race” right? I stopped watching last season after Mirna and Charla got cut. I’ve switched my focus to “America’s Next Top Model” it really is funny how girls discover the true hardships of being a model. Hell, I’d stick a tarantula to my head for a quatzillion dollars. What are those girls complaining about?
.....more to come...

More stuff...

I’m sorry about your fish.

Valentine, a magenta purple beta fish I’d had through the entirety of college, survived a similar fish versus floor episode, only to become paralyzed on one side. One day my mom grew tired of watching the poor fellow and cast him into the swirly deep blue ocean where several other..ahem…things are laid to rest. CA didn’t you actually fish sit for me at one point? Don’t I recall you feeding him carrot tacos and playing popular television themes so he could sleep at night?

Here’s my random stuff:
I really hate the word nurture. I don’t thing I’m capable of it, perhaps that’s where the dilemma lies. I can care for something, but nurture just sounds icky. I really like the word “zany” just because I haven’t met someone I would give that classification to and it’s hard to use in a sentence. I also like the word “somatoform.” Now this means someone who is lacking in personality who takes on traits of the people around them. This is the first psychology thing that my room-mate, Lakeisha (her alter-ego) taught me as well as M.O. meaning Mode of Operation. My M.O. is making you think this paragraph is going one way, but it’s really going someplace else.

I’m from the teen pregnancy capital of the state of Virginia (circa ’96); nothing suprises me. With that being said, I’d like to visit Montana or Arizona before I get old. Simply because my mom says they are both beautiful states. After my experience in customs, I’m rather reluctant to leave the continental U.S. heh? While traveling the U.S. I recommend “The Cheese Monkeys” by Chip Kidd. It’s pretty much what being a college art student is about. I recommend any Harry Potter book for the misanthrope 12 year old in all of us. Sigh..once a dork..always a dork!

Pencil sharpeners make me think of Art class (both High School and College). My friend Mac would draw a comic strip called “The Naked Chic” featuring this busty naked lady, doing the most mundane things without clothes: grocery shopping, skiing, playing basketball. Everyday after class when everybody would leave-I would draw clothes on her. The next day he would be left to decipher how she went from nude to wearing a 3 piece business suit. Hey, I figured she would get cold.

I can’t think of a movie better than the book. I would say Lord of the Rings but am afraid I will be beat up by wild Tolkien enthusiasts in the street. I couldn’t get through the first chapter after page after page of talk of Hobbit feet.

I’ve been listening to a lot of No Doubt/Gwen Stefani lately, I guess if I had to choose one particular song to sum things up it would be “Simple Kind of Life”. Where she says all those “simple” things are simply too complicated for her life. Sorry guys, Jimmy Eat World is as Emo as I get.

December 16, 2004

Cowbell can’t help me now…Answers to your MS questions

I’ve been meaning to write about my recent medical adventures, just to have something to act as a sort of primer for when people wonder why I might walk into the corner of a wall or they get a bonus clump of my hair in their holiday greeting card. Everyone has a different level of info, and since this blog is for me and my electronic friends, I had them submit questions.

Leslie P. from Norfolk writes:

“I read up about MS. So here are my questions:
Which type do you have? What does it do? I mean get the twitching and stuff,but are you in pain? Are you spending a lot of time in the hospital? AndWhat exactly did you do to your leg? How often do you flare up?That's it..I'm too mature for these silly questions. Back to work wench.”

Thanks for the questions, Leslie. I have relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Here’s textbooky definition of it:
Relapsing/Remitting MS - A clinical phase having distinct relapses (also called acute attacks or exacerbations), with either full recovery (no disability), or partial recovery and lasting disability. There is no visible disease progression (worsening) between attacks; but *stable* periods, span and mask, the continuing subclinical disease process.- Relapsing forms of MS are the most common beginning types, comprising 85% of the total. However, 50% of cases will have progression within 10 - 15 years, and an additional 40% within 25 years of onset; as the disease evolves, into the Secondary/Progressive phase.

My personal grab-bag of symptoms are the uncontrollable twitching, tiredness, dizziness, and occasional nerve pain. Other crap happens when I have a flare up, Like one eye going all wonky (and hurting like a bastard), and severe nerve pain where it feels like I’m having the worst toothache you’ve ever had all up and down my arms & legs. I’m not really sure if my symptoms will change over time, I’m pretty new to this business.

I spent an ass-load of time in the hospital this past spring/summer. The first time they were just trying to figure out what was wrong with me, as neurological issues were mounting…they took a CT scan and concluded that I had had 2 strokes. At 24. And yes, while I am a fattyboombalatty, I’m in pretty good health. So they gave me some baby aspirins and sent me home. Over the course of the following 36 hours, my condition (or rather, multiple sclerosis attack) had progressed to the point that I couldn’t hold a butter knife to make a peanut butter sandwich (my hands weren’t really working), and ultimately I fell and broke my leg while very casually walking through my sister’s bedroom. Smooth. This brought on hospital visit #2, as there was obviously something seriously wrong. The next morning I had an MRI that showed that it was MS, and they started me on IV Steroids, which I guess put some kind of chokehold on my MS symptoms, because I started to improve right away. The next day I had surgery to put in my custom-made 8 inch titanium plate & screws to hold my ankle together. After that, I just had to wait out the rest of my steroid treatments (it was a five day course) and I went home. Three of my other hospital visits over the summer were due to optic neuritis, which is where my eye goes all wonky and I have to go get some more IV steroids to fix it, three days apiece. Towards the end of July I had those really bad pains in my arms and legs and they weren’t going away like they normally did. So my neurologist put me on an anti-seizure medication to get it under control. That worked fine, until I got enough of it in my system for my body to be like “Fuck THIS shit.” And I had an allergic reaction. I had a 104 fever and a really bitchin rash all over my body. It took them five days to make sure it wasn’t precisely the thing I predicted it was, testing me for every affliction underthe sun and some on mars.

I’m not sure how often I’ll flare up because I’m still pretty new to the MS game. I know that if I get too hot, tired, or stressed out I’m asking for trouble, so be warned. If I come to your house always keep the AC cranked, lots of fluffy surfaces around for me to nap on, and don’t act like a crazy whacked-out douche. It’s simple, really.

And Stephanie B. from Falls Church, VA writes:

What happend to make you fall and break your leg?2. Did it hurt or were you in shock?3. How come you were going to the hospital a lot this summer buthaven't been recently (I hope I haven't jinxed you!).4. How often do you give yourself injections?

Thanks for numbering your questions, Stephanie. I’ll answer in due kind.

1. I fell and broke my leg because of a rapidly progressing MS attack. My arms and legs were acting all crazy. I’d touch something that was a little on the cool side and my arm would fly back towards my body like a magnet. When I fell and broke my leg, my legs just didn’t do what I thought my brain told them to do, which was walk over to the desk chair in my sisters room and sit down. I just sort of went straight down. I heard four really loud pops, and my mom screaming from the other room (she heard the pops too).
2. It didn’t really hurt at first. I just kept telling my sister that it wasn’t broken, and she pointed out that my foot was facing the wrong direction. Even in the ambulance on the way to the hospital I was telling the EMT that it was just sprained. Silly me.
3. I think I was in the hospital so much this summer and not much lately (thankfully) because we’re starting to work out the kinks. My medicine is really starting to kick in (which explains the hair loss) and do its job. I’m actually feeling pretty great lately. I’m all inspired to write and talk endlessly. I’m pretty annoying, actually.
4. I shoot myself up three times a week.

Did I miss anything? Thanks for your help!

Mealin on my Stuff (tee hee)

1.Word(s) that you really really hate:

The C& P words referring to female anatomy, The “N” Word


2. One place you would like to visit before you are too old to travel:
Strongbadia

3. One thing you believed in college that no longer holds true:
That a college degree would garner me respect in the working world?

4. One sound that will always make you smile sadly yet fondly:
I’m with the Hench on this one. The skateboard sound is a nice one. Especially all the middle-schoolers that congregate in my cul-de-sac and make really scary attempts at the simplest of ollies. I just want to yell “push down, then up!” from my business-casual attire, but they’d just laugh at me.


5. Word(s) that you really love:
Discombobulated, Rufus, Mer (of course)


6. One book that you would recommend to anyone, anywhere:
The Things They Carried, by Tim O’brien

7. One movie that was actually better than the book:
I haven’t come across one yet, but they’re making “A Confederacy of Dunces” with Wil Ferrell as Ignatius so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

8. One person who has shocked you by having a child out of wedlock:
Well, I can’t say I’m shocked about that one, if it is indeed out of wedlock, cause we all knew she was a flaky whore to begin with…but uh…actually I can’t even think of one. All of my friends are morally pristine and minty fresh.

9. One person you think lives in a bad neighborhood so they can feel superior:
Kristen Visalli.

10. Song quote that expresses your feelings on current events or life in general:
It's a dead heat between
"Happiness is such hard work, and it gets harder every day And it can kill you, but no one wants to be that tacky about it, yea If you spin fast enough than maybe the broken pieces of your heart will stay together But some things I've seen lately make me doubt it. " from "Gyroscope" by the now-defuct Dismemberment Plan

and

“You’ll be accepting my apology, for taking things too seriously. Sometimes I’m old enough to keep routine, sometimes I’m child enough to scream.”—from those arbiters of sap, the Get Up Kids

December 15, 2004

Stuff

Don't feel you have to fill this out, but if you want to post but are feeling creatively drained, it could be fun!

1. Word(s) that you really really hate:
"Dollop." "Moist" is a very close second.

2. One place you would like to visit before you are too old to travel:
The Tower of London

3. One thing you believed in college that no longer holds true:
As long as you work hard, you will succeed in what you do.

4. One sound that will always make you smile sadly yet fondly:
The sound of a skateboard

5. Word(s) that you really love:
Lemon

6. One book that you would recommend to anyone, anywhere:
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

7. One movie that was actually better than the book:
The Last of the Mohicans

8. One person who has shocked you by having a child out of wedlock:
A friend from high school, Natasha Embry

9. One person you think lives in a bad neighborhood so they can feel superior:
Answer upon request

10. Song quote that expresses your feelings on current events or life in general:
"Made up rules to follow for good; no wonder we're fucked up, some of us did."

December 8, 2004

Ode to Olaf

I dropped my fish. It happened on Sunday while we were cleaning out the fish tank. I was trying to put him in a bowl and he was flopping around and fell on the floor. We don't have carpet. I scooped him up and put him in the bowl so he wouldn't suffocate, but honestly, it probably would have been better if he had. Because when I got him into the bowl, he had little bruises on his poor head and also internal bleeding. A big red circle on his head. I looked at him and I felt like I had physically beaten him up. On purpose. I felt awful. Did I mention he is albino? That is how I could tell he had internal bleeding. He seemed a little dazed but wasn't really showing any adverse reactions. We hurriedly cleaned the tank so that we could get him back in his home and proceeded to check on him a hundred times that night. He would occasionally swim around as if he were berserk, as was his habit (hence the name Olaf) and then settle back down in a corner.

Monday morning when I fed our other fish, Gina, I checked on him. Still alive but now his left eye was totally red like it was filled with blood. Monday evening when I came home from work I checked on him again and he was still holding his own, hanging out in his corner. I made him a cheerful sign telling him to get better soon and hung it over the fish tank. I joined an MSN group called "Fish Help" but did not recieve any helpful advice from fellow fish droppers. Super.

Tuesday morning, he looked the same, maybe a little wobbly. I started getting concerned that he wasn't eating. He eats the algae on the floor of the tank, running around like a little vacuum cleaner, but since he wasn't vacuuming I didn't think he was getting any nutrition. So I dropped this huge tablet that is supposed to be tasty to nocturnal vacuum cleaners and turned off the light, but he didn't even look at it. I guess because he was maybe blind in that eye. I checked on him after work and he admitedly looked a little worse. Still, when we came home from Baxter's parents house last night I was shocked to find him laying on his side with labored breathing. Every once in a while we would swim around all crazily, swiriling around upside down and then landing on his side. I watched him struggle to breathe and prepared myself for his passing. I checked on him again, and he wasn't breathing. I didn't want to flush him but was scared to leave him in the tank with Gina until I could bury him. She is a big eater and so I feared she would start in on him.

Telling myself that burial is more for the benefit of the living than for the dead, I scooped him up with the net and put him in a little tupperware container. It occured to me that if we had used the tupperware container instead of the little bowl I might not have dropped Olaf. I put the thought out of my head immediately, but then Baxter said it out loud. Fantastic. We flushed him down the toilet to the sounds of "With or without you" by U2. Totally accidental and very upsetting.

I think the hardest part is that he was such a cool fish. He just liked to swim around, minding his own business, cleaning up the tank. He put up a good fight for those two days, a real good fight. Now I think he was right to put up such a fight on Sunday when I was chasing him around the tank with the net. Maybe he knew something that we didn't.

I don't know if I would have felt that bad if it had been Gina that I dropped. She is sort of an evil bitch and will probably outlive my children. We have started withdrawing from her, telling her that we hate her as we walk by the tank. I think that is wrong, but perhaps we are just dealing with our grief in our own way and will warm up to her soon. I think she may be in mourning too, so I am trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. We'll see.

Rest In Peace
OLAF

December 6, 2004

This is what Leslie has to say...err...draw. Posted by Hello

December 4, 2004

I'll be stone-faced and pale, you'll pout in stereo: Nonsensical rambling of epic proportions

I had to drive to the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania yesterday for a few hours of lying in a big ole’ magnetic tube and trying not to move. I gleefully found that Ben Folds Five’s self-titled debut album provided me with almost door-to-door entertainment. Okay, maybe Wawa-to-door, but who’s counting? Me, obviously. I also maybe not-so-gleefully recalled some seriously sage words that Mr. Folds wrote a long time ago, that were basically a frying pan upside my annoyed head this week.

From “Video”:

“Well I’ve seen some old friends sort of die, or just turn into whatever must’ve been inside them…or whatever all of us then had in common grew up. They left home. They don’t think that way no more.”


Regardless of what set things with Nicki in motion---and no, I’m not going to be vague here; the timing of it all, or any of the details, the fact is that where things stand now was inevitable.

Since you’ve decreed for your queendom of internet subjects that you’ll not entertain my attempts to handle this matter privately, I’ve decided to delve into my stable of big words and fanciful prose to state my case.

I can only speak for myself with a clear conscience, which is why, my dear FOUR loyal readers (that’s Leslie, Hench, Sheiko, and myself), it’s my name down there at the bottom of this here textual manifestation of the hot air I blow. My liking to read myself type aside, yes (REDACTED!), this was a long time coming. I can understand how you might think this came out of left field, an unfortunate side-effect of your being quite a terrible friend, and I might go out on a short limb to say delusional as well.

The fact is, you never really were a great friend. Often maniacally wrapped up in your own personal, and more often than not self-inflicted, drama…you only had time for your “best friends” when you needed a void filled. More often than not that stemmed from the guy in your life doing something thoughtless, to which you’d swear off the entire gender for all times. Or at least until your hangover wore off and suddenly your “best friend” was telepathically expected to have forgiven “the bastard” and be fine with getting brushed aside once again.

This is not to say anyone who wants to have friends cannot be in a relationship. I have friends (ahem, Saint Hench of Woodside Lane, ahem) who were (gasp!) in a relationship when we became friends, but has come to be the best friend I’ve ever had, through college, through her marriage, and despite the fact that she lives five hours from me and we have spent mere hours together in the last three years. Not to overtly deify anyone or anything, but she’s a pretty goddamned perfect friend.

Never once has Hench expected anything other than honesty and maybe a few hot dogs along the way. We have had exactly one argument not related to music or hot men. I remember it exactly. We were driving (OK, she was driving) down Hampton Boulevard towards ODU, crossing over 38th street and passing Camp Zama record store. We had been talking about middle names, and I asserted that I did not have one. Hench firmly informed me that Ann WAS my middle name; point blank, period. (Big ups RWNY2 Nicole). I felt betrayed and murderous. I don’t remember how the argument ended, probably thrown off course by a sighting of some beautiful bomb boy, but it was over regardless by the time we hit BAL (I know you bitches know the geography) and Hench has quite a lead foot. Over the years, Hench has taken a lot of guff from me, and still gave me rides wherever I needed to go. She carried the enormous burden that is the asshole flag, which she surprisingly only waved a few times, and always knew the exact thing to say that would make me accept her ruling. Usually something along the lines of “You’re going to have to drop out of school and you may never lay eyes on (Mike Presta) again.” If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s probably better for you.

(I’d like to take a hot second to thank
(REDACTED!) for this opportunity to be as obnoxiously verbose as I have been in years. It’s fucking fantastic and no, Hench, I’ve held no beers this evening. By the by, would “obnoxiously verbose” be considered an oxymoron? I wasn’t an English major, but I played one on TV.)

While I am extolling virtues, I’ma go ahead and put one Leslie Paxton on blast (me and my damn RW-begotten slang). My first memory of Leslie is from the night before Thanksgiving break in Rogers Hall at ODU. There were about 7 people in the dorm counting RA’s and custodial staff. Needless to say, Leslie and I bumped into each other. We bonded over Foo Fighters and Super Nintendo. Now, Leslie and I weren’t the tightest of bros. She had Tiesha, and Hench & I had very demanding people-watching schedules in the Webb. But we shared some belly-laughs from time to time, and admittedly my being friends with
(REDACTED!) facilitated my being friends with Leslie. Further, I don’t really think it was until (REDACTED!) left ODU that Leslie and I grew any kind of close. We walked a lot in the residential neighborhood adjacent to Powhatan and tried our best not to look like poor college students desperate for a peek at a normal life in suburbia, a land where ramen noodles are a novelty rather than a necessity, and taco night is an afterthought rather than a feast deserving of actual plates. To speed this montage up, Leslie came to work with me at SAC, which ultimately put the choke hold on our friendship. We dealt with some big-time, knock-down, drag-out shit, and didn’t talk for like a hundred years. Or two. Yes, it was about two years. A year and a half? I don’t know from math.

Alas, Leslie and I began to bump into each other in oh-so-chic downtown Norfolk nightspots, and managed to build up a limited cordiality in the sterile environment that is Backstage CafĂ©. Too loud to string together any kind of sophisticated unpleasant conversation to further widen the rift, too loud not to only manage pleasantries and neutral commentary at best. Actually, I’m not really sure how we came to actually have a real conversation again. Forgive me if I have a massive legion on my brain that makes me have cognitive and memory issues from time to time (we’ll touch on that later)…but I believe it was the night of the Ludacris concert at ODU. I had some tickets and tried to get a hold of Leslie, knowing she’d enjoy the show. We never did get to meet up, but she called me as I was walking out of the convocation center, and we talked all the way on my drive back to Chesafreake. When I got home, I sat in my car talking on the phone for two hours. We didn’t talk about what caused us not to talk in the first place, but rather just about our lives at that moment. We traded horror stories about our wretched first jobs out of college, frustrations about being out of college, and just kind of gabbed. I missed Leslie’s accent, her tendency to not only impersonate people but write fictional dialogue for them that totally sums up them up better than actual dialogue of theirs could, and her frankness. I will try to don the cap of a good person and suggest that a guy someone describes as an all-around gem, good church-goin’ folk that helps old ladies across the street and loads their groceries into the car for them is actually a nice guy, and Leslie will explain him away as “a 30-year old virgin and you know it”. This is why I must have Leslie as a friend. She does not dilly-dally, and she keeps my brain on its toes (or cord?).

I have learned a thing or two about what a good friend is in the last 7 months. At the end of April, I broke my leg as a result of a mounting as-yet-undetected Multiple Sclerosis attack. I was diagnosed two days later, and my life changed forever. The details of my disease are for another manifesto. This one is about friendship. My true friends showed themselves in all different ways. The ones local to me were big on bringing gifts to the hospital or just coming to sit with me. Some were real troopers, fielding messages relaying yet another phone number to use for yet another hospital stay (there were six in all) and finding time in their busy schedules to take a minute out to call and say hello. It reminded me that there are normal people in the world, not just sick people, people who take care of sick people, and family members who wanted to tear their hair out in frustration over what was happening to me. It was a time when I didn’t want to go to sleep, because I didn’t want to wake up and find something else wrong with me.

The day I came home from the hospital after diagnosis, my friend Daina came to my house armed with a stack of packets full of information she’d gathered on MS. They were collated and bound, and there were enough for everyone in my family. I for one was grateful if only because I had no real grasp on exactly what this disease I had was, let alone the risk she took making all those copies on the company dime (kidding!). Daina called me every day, and even though she knew I had my sister graciously serving as my personal nurse and attending to my every need, she constantly called to say she was stopping at Target on her way home from work and did I need anything, or do I have to go anywhere and need her to take me?
Or take Dena and Gabriella. When I was released from the hospital for the third time, Dena and Gabriella both happened to be in town (from DC and Florida, respectively). I’ve kept in regular contact with Dena, but Gabriella not so much. We haven’t spoken in years, and in fact, had some bad blood over an ancient fight. When they could have been out whooping it up, and laying the mack down on their vacations, they became seasoned professionals at carting my crippled ass around our tiny island, loading me and the wheelchair into Dena’s Jeep at record speed and efficiency, and never once making me feel like a burden.

Throw in some awesomeness from the Hench (of course), Horns, various co-workers, and most of all my sister. She is most certainly going to get one of the cushiest clouds to sit on in heaven, if only for that one time, during my second visit to the hospital when I was on industrial-strength medications too numerous to name, coupled with a broken leg and confinement to a bed pan…I umm…made a mess and somehow had enough wits about me in my stupor to hide the evidence in a bedside drawer. She never took the opportunity to use this against me (at least not in front of me), and for that I have abstained from sneaking into her room when she’s not at home and farting on her bed to alleviate any ill-will I may build up towards her.

I bet you didn’t expect to read about poop and farts, now did you? That’s probably something you didn’t know about me. I’d be modest to say bodily functions account for at least 40% of my conversations. It might not help that I live with my sister, a critical care nurse, who deals almost exclusively in the bodily function, fluid, and dysfunction business; but who’s counting. If you think this is a slap in the face of sisterhood, you clearly don’t know my sister. She nasty.

Hey, how about I make a point regarding my original inspiration for this composition? Let’s talk about what a bad friend might do faced with a situation like mine.

A bad friend, like
(REDACTED!), might happen to call you on your cell phone during your first hospital stay. They might be absolutely distraught over your condition. They may dutifully keep in touch throughout your initial ordeal. Just hearing their voice and knowing that they are thinking about you may comfort you more than the most optimistic outlook any doctor could give. They may offer to rush to your side, but you insist that is not necessary, that knowing they care is more than enough. The bad friend puts on a very moving show. And then they disappear. After a handful of more hospital stays, and some seriously scary shit, you come to find out that, no, your bad friend has not driven off the side of some mountain road, thereby explaining their mysterious vanishing act. Your bad friend met a guy. And even if this is the guy that your friend may spend the rest of her life with, you can’t help but be hurt. Your bad friend makes small attempts to reconnect. Your bad friend blames an odd work schedule for not having better contact. But you scratch your head at the notion that an odd work schedule would prohibit someone from maintaining a friendship they purport to be very important to them on the least demanding of levels: an occasional phone call, but this bad friend somehow found the time to not only establish a new relationship, but establish one so deep that they’re gonna bring God and some paper into the equation. You didn’t expect your bad friend to have dropped everything, rushed to your side, and hold your hand through the whole messy ordeal. She didn’t need to empty your commode or buy you a teddy bear urging you to “Hang in there, baby”. All she had to use all of her scruples; her extensive education, her deep sensitivity, her strong sense of self, and her abilities to really bang out those Jack Handey quotes; to do was pick up a mother-fathering phone and say, as a good friend (Leslie Paxton) said, “I don’t really know what to say, but I’m here.”

If sickness scares you, I understand. It’s not offensive to say that. What’s offensive is someone who’s your biggest cheerleader until some wayward quarterback saunters by and hocks a loogie in her general direction, thus indicating true love, and ceasing the need for your late-night drunken Instant Message support system.

I have taken a few wrong turns with this entry for sure. I’ve stopped in rest stops and read “Us Weekly” for the hell of it. But at least if you’ve read this far, I’m taking away a fraction of the time from you that trying to make sense of your special friendship tactics has cost me.

And like you, I’m not upset anymore. Like the little lady in Poltergeist say, “This house is clean”.

Revisiting an earlier point, yes, this implosion was a long time coming. The things I’ve mentioned here are only a few in a long line of warning signs that I really should have taken as my cue to bow out gracefully a long, long time ago. Maybe then we would have the opportunity to come together some time in the future and start fresh. I take responsibility for not speaking up in favor of not wanting to make waves for an already strained long-distance friendship as it was. And I take responsibility for not making a better effort to adapt to the reality that our friendship had changed from those heady days at ODU; drinking really terrible vodka, assaulting amphibians, and foolishly thinking life could be that simple forever.

You seem extremely concerned that your position be public, and if I do say so myself (with extreme self-awareness) that this lady doth protest too much. You tried to point a similar finger in my direction for inferring something from what you said in your blog about other people’s opinion of your wedding prattle. To which I call a sincere bullshit, as you cannot say that what was exchanged over e-mail (my sending you a link to this here blog and your subsequent reading) and what you posted on your blog (which you handily reminded me of the link to) are mutually exclusive. No way, no how.

And, speaking of blogs, if you really want to know my personal inspiration for creating Our Electronic Friendship…it was your penchant for electronic communication, and truly, I envisioned it as a new way that we could keep in touch. Do you know what Hench’s immediate response to reading it was? “I want in.” And access was granted. Yours? “I’m glad you two are so tight.” Which, despite what you say, is dripping with judgement and/or bitterness. While I had the stupid hope that you might be interested in participating as well, I didn’t even get the chance to extend the invite before the whole thing gained a taint.

But you know, everything happens for a reason. I’m bummed that you didn’t come on board, and in an unfortunate turn of events we’re not friends anymore. But I really love the electronic friendship that I have with Leslie, Hench, and even though I’ve never met her, our loyal reader Sheiko (what’s up girl! Leslie thinks your alright, and that’s alright with me.) . I’m embarrassingly giddy thinking about the possibilities down the road. And admittedly, my friendship with Hench didn’t really need a boost, but I’m glad to have the opportunity to nurture it in a whole new obnoxious way. But the real success story (I think) is that Leslie and I have found a way to do the same, that is, nurture our friendship in a whole new obnoxious way. I hope to do the same with others and for others someday.

And as I make a dent in my 8th page of text in Word, I know I’m way past the time to wrap this crap-fest up. I haven’t made much sense, but I have medications I can blame for that if I get in a jam. As for resolutions, there are none, as has already been stated by both parties.

I think breaking up with a friend is a million times more bewildering than breaking up with a boyfriend. There’s no property to divide, no real embarrassment or consequences when you accidentally call your next friend by their name, and unlike the convenient excuse of “he cheated on me” or “he kisses his mother on the mouth”, you’ll never really be able to wrap your head around it.