October 31, 2003
Hospitality

On Wednesday I was running late for Pizza-n-Teevee Night at Eís, and didnít have time to go home first and change out of my cube monkey uniform. I bitch to him about this over the phone before I leave the office, and tell him I may need to borrow a t-shirt and possibly sweatpants.

When I arrive I find a selection of t-shirts piled on the pizza box, keeping the pizza warm and giving the t-shirts a just-from-the-dryer toastiness.

October 29, 2003
Starbucks: the Ninth Circle of Muppet Hell

Thereís a bin full of Miss Piggy finger puppets, each of them oddly svelte, apparently designed to keep customers from having second thoughts about that venti caramel macchiato. In the middle of the bin thereís a single Rowlf finger puppet, eyes to the ceiling, mouth open in a wordless howl roughly translated as, "Why, God, why?"

October 28, 2003
"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fish-Men"

Over at Eric's, notes on a Lovecraft Christmas.

October 27, 2003
Tattling

Walking down the hall in my apartment building Sunday morning I heard the persistent shriek of more than one unchecked alarm, alarms trying to wake owners who had slept in other beds. The sound included an undertone pulsing along with the beeping: "someone got laid...someone got laid...someone got laid..."

October 22, 2003
IP Address of the Beast

The disaster recovery meeting is spinning out of control. Weíre talking about things that are further and further outside the purview of our team, and eventually I canít help myself:

Do we have a Sinners List?
A Sinners List?
Yeah, so if the Rapture comes weíll know who will still be around to reboot the servers.

October 20, 2003
Reversal of Fortune Cookies

I had another weekend of heavy-duty cleaning, most of it in my cubicle at work - I moved to a new one in July, and have been navigating around boxes ever since.

The boxes are mostly full of old paperwork, reams of which could be recycled if Iíd just take the time to sort out the few things I actually need to retain. I had to go into the office Saturday to help test an application whose server just moved to the suburbs, so I decided to stick around afterward and finally go through the files Iíve been dragging from cube to cube for years.

I was deep into 1998 when I found this note written on the back of a torn-off piece of cardstock:

This morning I put on what I think might be a clean shirt. I guess it isnít because thereís a half eaten fortune cookie in the pocket. I start to throw it away (itís all soft and icky) but it conjures up some fond recollections so I put it back and carry it around for a while. Then I realize that I spend most of my whole dang day pondering the many wonders of you and/or take-out Chinese anyway, so I finally toss it.

Itís a relic from that fertile ground for love letters, the time after a relationship becomes long-distance but before the distance begins to dissolve the relationship entirely. The note arrived in an envelope full of other bits of paper, each with just a few sentences on it, small stories and things that occurred to him throughout the day. I took my favorite to work, and kept it nearby up until the day I dropped it into whatever file was handy, just to get it out of sight.

Only to have it turn up years later, a half-eaten fortune cookie in a manilla folder.

October 17, 2003
Cheating

Last night I wrote the first seventeen words of the new novel (okay, actually, the last seventeen words).

Technically Iím not supposed to start until November 1st, but, you know, these things happen.

October 15, 2003
Donít Break the Corn Flake

Thursday
Someone from the oral surgeonís office calls at 8:30 to confirm my appointment and make sure Iím not planning on eating or drinking anything before the surgery at 2:30 (Iím not). While Iím on the phone, I ask her about the triazolam (aka Halcion) tablet Iíve been instructed to take an hour before my appointment.

ME: And whatís that for?
HER: Itíll keep you from being anxious before the procedure.
ME: What if Iím not anxious?
HER: Itíll just make you a little dopey.
ME: What if being dopey is the only thing Iím anxious about?
HER: Youíre going to be dopey after, you know.
ME: But I donít really need to be dopey before, right?
HER: Well, some people take it, and you canít even tell.

And thereís my out. If they canít tell if Iíve taken it, they wonít be able to tell if I havenít taken it. I decide to take half, but by 1:30 Iím feeling so loopy from not having eaten that I figure I donít even need that.

Later, just before the procedure, the surgeonís assistant asks me if I took the little blue pill before I came in. I tell her the truth. She frowns a bit, but then notices the heart monitor I am hooked up to.

Apparently itís hard to scold someone for not taking a pill to help her relax when sheís sitting in the chair two minutes before surgery with a heart rate of 62. Instead, she says, "Can I ask you a personal question?"

ME: Sure.
HER: Is that your natural hair color?
ME: Oh, no. Natural has nothing to do with it.
HER: Really? What do you use?

I am explaining my recipe when the oral surgeon comes in, and while he puts in the anesthetic drip he tells me that immediately after the extraction the tissue separating the hole from the sinus cavity will be the "thickness and texture of a corn flake," as in thin and brittle, and I shouldnít blow my nose for two weeks.

Thirty minutes of general anesthesia and fifteen minutes of recovery later, the assistant gives me my two formerly impacted wisdom teeth, nestled in gauze but whole.

I feel well enough afterward to go with my mother and E to the drug store for the antibiotics Iíd been prescribed, and then to the video store. I had gauze in my mouth the whole time, and when I got home the bleeding on the left had stopped entirely, and on the right it stopped after another ten minutes with fresh gauze.

I only blow my nose once that night, hollering, "Shit shit shit!" when I realize what Iím doing. I don't feel air coming out of the hole, though, and no liquid comes out of my nose when I drink, so apparently the corn flake is still intact.

Friday
I eat poached eggs and soup and ice cream and watch the first season of The Osbournes on DVD with my mom. Some of the ice cream is lavender flavor. Most of it is chocolate.

Thereís no more bleeding, and very little swelling. At one point Iím sure Iíve torn out a stitch on the left, because I feel what I take to be a bit of loose flesh. It will turn out to be some of the thread from the stitches.

Iím very smug about how easy this wisdom teeth business has turned out to be. Iíve only taken a few of the twenty hydrocodone (aka Vicodin) I was prescribed, and have been getting by with ibuprofen.

Again, I blow my nose only once. This time - possibly under the influence of The Osbournes - I yell, "Fuck!" My mother threatens to hang notes all over the apartment that say, "Donít blow your nose!! Love, Mom."

Saturday
I wake up at 6:30 a.m. paranoid, sure the wound on the left is infected, because it aches and is much more swollen than the right side, which is itself considerably more swollen than it was yesterday. Iím also feeling feverish and logy. I gather up all the paperwork from the oral surgeonís office, trying to determine whether this is normal.

I was feeling muy macho up to this point, but the very idea of infection makes me want to spend the day in bed whimpering. I am like the aliens in The War of Worlds - I leave a trail of destruction, oblivious to all attempts to thwart me, but a cold will take me down.

Around 4:00 p.m. I find the bit of paper that assures me all of my symptoms are normal.

I catch myself halfway through blowing my nose. Progress!

Sunday
Iím feeling better, but I canít stop thinking about that corn flake.

My mom leaves for California, and leaves behind a note in the bathroom that says, "Donít blow your nose!! Love, Mom."

This is the first day that I don't even try to blow my nose.

Monday
Another stitch must have come out, because the loose bit of thread is at least an inch long now. Itís like a damn cat toy in there.

Tuesday
The thread broke off. I kinda miss it.

October 13, 2003
Citizen Jane

Iím still resting up from the wisdom teeth extraction - thanks to everyone who sent kind wishes. The short update:

Everything went smoothly, and my swollen cheeks have given me an eerie nose-to-chin resemblance to Orson Welles.

The young, beardless Orson Welles, though, so it's okay.

October 09, 2003
Dumbing Down

I'm off to have my wisdom teeth removed this afternoon.

I'm not sure how it will affect future posts. Better prepare for more banality, just in case.

October 06, 2003
Miss Information

I was on my way home from work yesterday evening when a guy in a pickup truck hollered at me. I followed my usually policy (ignoring it), but he actually pulled the truck over.

GUY IN TRUCK: Excuse me, can you tell me where to find -
Heís drowned out by a passing bus.
ME: What was that?
GIT: Strip clubs!
ME: What?!
GIT: Iím supposed to meet my friends, they told me there were a bunch around here, like right together.
ME: Well, Dťja Vu is a couple of blocks up the street, and Lusty Lady is down on First.
GIT: Thatís it?
ME: Thatís all I know about. You could try asking one of those guys standing around on the corner.

Now, the GIT didnít seem like he was getting his jollies from asking a single woman on the street to give him directions to a strip club - I would have given him very different directions if I thought that were the case. I was reasonably sure he was just a loser with poor judgment to match his poor sense of direction. I had spent a few blocks puzzling over this and was waiting at a light when an attractive Japanese woman standing next to me got my attention with a little wave.

AJW, in hesitant and heavily accented English: Excuse me, please, what day is it? Saturday? Sunday?

I smiled and said, "Sunday," realizing just before I answered that she was asking me resolve linguistic rather than temporal confusion. For a split second I thought it must have something to do with the International Date Line.

She thanked me as we crossed the street, and I started to wonder what it was about me tonight that made strangers think I could answer their questions. I was also thinking that, structurally speaking, this walk home would make a better entry with three queries rather than two. And thatís when one of the pair women I was approaching said to her companion, "Letís ask her."

W1: Excuse me, do you know if thereís an internet cafť near here?
ME: Well, there was, but it caught fire a couple of years ago.
W2: Our friend told us about a place called the Bistro or something like that...
ME: The Speakeasy?
W1: Thatís it!
ME: Yeah, thatís the one that burned down.

I gave them some other options, and then continued on to my building.

There were no further queries.

October 02, 2003
"Penguin" Isn't One of Them

Sometimes Iím prone to Pooh-like songs (thatís as in silly-old-bear, thank you very much). Today it was a sort of rhyming fugue based on the phrase "Noodle Nose", which is the nickname of a friend of mine whose real name is Monster. She is not especially monstrous, except maybe in a Where the Wild Things Are way, nor does she have a noodle-like nose.

It would probably be more accurate to call her Gnocchi Nose, if all gnocchi were adorable-shaped.

A lot of words rhyme with "nose".