Thursday, February 7, 2008

Whistle While you Work

If you're one of my friends who was so worried I found some kind of rabbit hole or accidentally wandered off the face of this earth that you decided to give me a call or send an email recently, then you know the question, "What are you up to?" is met with a list of large, looming complaints that all overlap while having absolutely nothing to do with each other. You might also note that it seems I've been giving this same, impossible-sounding list since sometime in December. That is because it is the same large, seemingly impossible list of complaints, but now the complaints are really really real, and I'm not a hypochondriac, I swear. Hi. I love you. I miss you. I cannot see you right now. I see my mom, sister, my laptop screen, the lady that gives me my Methadone dose first thing every morning, and the guy in Jamba Juice who I believe is starting to know me by name.

Anyway, this pity time has caused me to develop Writer's Ear.

Writer's Ear is a constant hazard of my life as a writer, and I should have known I was headed right towards it, but I've been too icky to notice I wasn't taking the best care of my head. But last night it was undeniable -- Writer's Ear. My right ear aches, deep inside, like I'm developing an ear infection. Now, I haven't had an ear infection since I was little. I used to get them all the time. All the time. At least once a month I had strep throat or tonsillitis, and usually that came with a monster ear infection that would leave blood on my pillow and cause the most monstrous nightmares where giant ants were throwing enormous bricks off a building. The bricks would shatter and it would feel like my eardrums were bleeding. This was because my eardrums were bleeding.

I've later learned that those kinds of ear infections are pretty common for children growing up in a house with second-hand smoke. Both my parents smoked inside when I was little, and it's funny that we just thought I was a sickly kid. I'm on my back, ears bleeding, asthma racking my lungs, and my parents were like, "You need to calm down. You're stressed about school and friends and it's making you sick." No lie: even our dog had asthma. I got older and was home less often, and once Dad had lung cancer, at his place they started smoking outside. That last sentence wasn't a joke, by the way. It's the sad fucking truth. Including the part where all of us smoke outside. Together. As a family. And it's one of the few things we all do as a family. Still.

But this is supposed to be a funny story about Writer's Ear. So uh, ignore that last little brain spasm of a paragraph.

So I'm not living in a house filled with smoke, and I'm not seven, so the fact that my inner ear was hurting and popping whenever I yawned was troublesome to me. And then I realized it was probably due to my headphones. I've been wearing headphones for I don't know how many hours a day, and sometimes I'm walking and sometimes I'm writing or reading, but for a good part of my day I'm plugging my head shut with little buds that play loud loud music. I push them into my head while I'm at coffee shops because the cappuccino machine is loud and the constant pulse of techno they play there is even louder. So every day I mash these little buds into my ears.

And then, in the morning, I go walking. Well, when I'm not vomiting. Because since I've been sick, all I do is vomit. So now I'm mashing the buds into my ears so they don't fall out, and I'm mashing them as I walk faster, which means I'm sweating, which means I'm pushing sweat into my ear canal and then plugging it up. I've made an ear terrarium, and I'm wondering why my ear might have developed an infection? I'm not so smart sometimes.

Writer's Ear has other side effects, which include getting so focused on whatever it is you've been writing all day that you zone out of conversations, end up taking showers that last close to half an hour, and can't do anything without pulling a pen and the back of an envelope out of your purse to jot down sixteen things you thought about in the time it took for you to get from your house to the clinic which is 15 minutes away, driving.

Writer's Ear is more annoying to the rest of the people in your life than yourself, because you are constantly:

A) Distant.
B) Distracted.
C) Bitching about your ear hurting.
D) Talking about iPod headphones.

I've switched to the headphones that don't go inside my ears, which are too big for my head and don't block out sound the way I'd like, but I think I need to give the inside of my right ear some time to dry out. I can deal with it right now, while I'm sitting here at home and sitting still and writing, but it was a pain in the ass this morning, when I was trying to actually get things done. And I can't really stop walking, you see, because I don't have a driver's license and I'm at constant war with Office Ass even though I don't work in an office.

I am battling Office Ass with everything that I am. This is also a condition that makes others suffer because it makes you:

A) Hate yourself.
B) Tell everybody you hate yourself.
C) Feel extreme guilt about every calorie consumed.
D) Apologize for wearing clothes.
E) Constantly fluctuate between indulging and punishing yourself.
F) Constantly discuss the waves of guilt that involve the size of your own ass.
G) Forget that others really don't want to spend their day telling you how not fat you are, when you know for a fact that you are and they are all liars.
H) Lose all of your friends. (see A-G)

I do a pretty good job avoiding most of the junky food my house has to offer. I've ordered every soup and salad combo Santa Cruz County has to offer. But I have a hard time resisting some of the Starbucks treats when they're right in front of me, beckoning. "You'll come up with the best blog posts if you have just a taste of sugar. With pumpkin. And chocolate."

I was recently complaining about Office Ass to my friend Elizabeth. "You don't look fat," she says. "But. Are you snacking in between meals?"

There isn't a word to describe how guilty I sounded when I responded, "Kinda."

Elizabeth summons her inner Dr. Phil. "Look. You're working hard, and you've been sick and you're detoxing. You can try not to eat, but you're still walking some, and you look fine, and you won't always feel like this and then you'll lose anything you gained in like a week when you go back to normal living. So what if you gain a couple of pounds. You're sick. Skinny is not always more fun. Quit beating yourself up about it."


Office Ass is a concern of more and more people as the holidays end. The other night I was with a group of people discussing Weight Watchers, and more specifically, what the hell a POINT was. This conversation, I should mention, was led by a heterosexual man. Sympathetic women were trying to soothe him as he basically admitted he was fucking starving and hated life, but dammit if he wasn't going to stick to his alloted points. One of them found the entire points thing fascinating. "How many points is a bag of Doritos? Wow! How many points in, like, a pint of Ben and Jerry's? Holy crap." A couple of years ago I tried to explain the maddening reality of my best friend's metabolism, which allows her to have Guinness and ice cream for a midnight snack without even a single calorie hanging around to cling to her body. (It's maddening! Maddening, I tell you!)

OK. I don't have a lot more to say today. I'm actually supposed to be writing a review for some hotel in Pennsylvania for peanuts, that I've never actually been to, but hey, at least it's money, and it keeps my mind off of how fucking sick I am. But this is another place where I'm supposed to write, to check in to say I'm okay. It is, in many ways, the only way some of my friends have proof I'm alive. So hi. All of this which is to say, I'm fine. I'm a dork, but I'm fine. And thanks for the emails, and checking in on me, even though I've been neglecting this blog and neglecting so many of you that seem to care so much about me, but I'm just so fucking sick and haven't held ANYTHING down for over a week. Again, I'm rambling! Hopefully, soon enough my writing will be back up to par and I'll stop being so annoying. I know I'm boring you all lately. I'm even boring me.


  1. Given all the cr@p that's happening to you at the moment, it's not really surprising that you don't feel great. Give yourself a break - be kind to yourself.

    It will improve. x

  2. You must run. get an i-pod with your best tunes, and run.
    Start slowly for 2 miles.
    After a week do 4 miles, every other day. 45 mins. run, run, along a park route, or a strand by the coast.
    Run and clear all the stale stuff away.
    I promise you: it works.

  3. Check with your Dr. about the ear, and withdrawal from pain medication. I remember something coming across my desk about that or something.

  4. I'm trying to think of something that will weird you out. Hope, got nothing today. :-)

  5. Take care of yourself and it's ok to bitch in your blog, after all it's YOUR BLOG. If you want to here bitching look at mine and I'm not going through half the crap you are. Hang in there.

  6. Sometimes just letting it all out on your blog is just what you need. I agree with others. Give yourself a break. Just take it easy this weekend and things will be better.

  7. Hope the "healing" process is getting better, easier? Your body is all out of wack, you could experience all kinds of bizzare things and never really have any good explanation for it.

    Hang in there!

  8. Your friend is right. Get through the detoxing first, then worry about your office ass. One thing at a time!

    And don't worry about keeping us entertained. It's your blog to do with what you wish! If you want to ramble, so be it! We're obviously still reading it and leaving comments, so it can't be that bad!

  9. We are all here for you girl!

    We understand you have a life away from your blog.

    Take care of yourself girlfriend!

  10. Kitty, thanks for the words of encouragement.

    Lorenzo, I do like running and jogging when I'm well enough. The honest truth is that right now, it's too hard for me to get up to change the channel if I can't find the remote.

    Malach, my ear is actually feeling much better today. I still can't hold anything down, though.

    bbc, that alone, will suffice. You creep me out in general.

    Ron, I know that after awhile, no one likes to read a blog that has tons of bitching on it. All I have to do is look at how my comments have been diminishing. It's proof that my blog isn't as entertaining as it used to be.

    Jay, I have every intention of taking it easy for as long as my body allows me to. At least one more week of rest and relaxation to stabilize myself just a little bit more.

    Malicious, you're probably right. Just like i said above, my ear isn't even bothering me anymore. My symptoms come and go and they're different a lot of the time. I'm a tough chick. Not to worry.

    Ann, I did used to get a hell of a lot more comments when my blog was more fun. I kind of miss waking up in the morning and having to answer a bunch of emails and comments. Now I mostly get emails of concern for my health and well being. In any case, they're still all appreciated.

    Pre Po, thanks a bunch. I guess it still amazes me that so many people have reached out like they have. Thanks for coming b so often to check in on me.

  11. hey if you are sick and can't keep anything down, wouldn't you lose weight? just a random comment.

  12. hey if you are sick and can't keep anything down, wouldn't you lose weight? just a random comment.

  13. Messy, actually, I've lost close to 10 pounds but it's not exactly the healthiest, or most comfortable way to go about it.

  14. It never fails that at least one asshole comments on each of your posts.

    I hope you're feeling a little better tonight and I think you know that losing wight when you're sick actually sucks pretty bad. Everything you lose while you're sick comes back like 10 fold once you're better.

    I think we all struggle with office asses. :P

  15. Well, I'll bet you creep yourself out.

  16. you sound pretty stressed out girl. i hope things are better for you real soon. and don't worry about writing things just to make people happy. you might not get as many comments but your still getting a bunch and people that come here care a lot about you! i wish i could send you a get well card or some real balloons by mail. it might be too much to ask but would you share your real address with me by email?

  17. Sinead, I'm used to it. Not to worry. Assholes rarely get under my skin. I know EXACTLY what you mean. Like when you have the stomach flu and you lose 5 pounds. It's inevitable that once your body realizes it's not starving, it holds on to every little thing it ingests.

    Bbc, I hope you didn't bet a lot.

    Lucky, I don't only write to make other people happy, but it's nice to know that you're entertaining people. If I wasn't entertaining you, you wouldn't keep coming back, would you? You're not the first person that's asked for my address. If you really want to send me something, I absolutely love getting mail. Especially presents. So send me an email and I'll reply with an address where you can send things to me. That's a very sweet offer.

    Ron, hugs back! Thanks.

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  20. I had no idea, until today, that there is a term for what plagues me . . . Office Ass! I love it . . . the term, obviously, not the problem. I don't snack between meals until I'm sitting at home bored, then I eat cheetos and shit. I'm a bad monkey.

  21. glad to hear everything is going so well. the prolonged absense made me worried.

  22. Repent girl and Jesus will care for you, yes, yes

  23. I answered all of the comments and then blogger failed to post. Gonna re-type them. Grr.

    Alex, I'm doing a little better. Still having trouble holding most things down, but I'm holding a little bit more down and for a little bit more time. This evening I bought a couple boxes of those Pedialite Popsicles. Hopefully that'll save me from having to get an IV when I go to the doc in a couple of days.

    Vulgar Wiz, I think office ass plagues many of us, both men and women alike. It's really disturbing. I do most of my snacking at home, as well. I think it's because most of the time I hate having to spend money on shit that I've already spent money on and have in my fridge.

    Ted, didn't mean to worry anyone. I'll try to post more often so people don't think I've dropped off the face f the earth. I'm sure when I'm feeling better, I'll be back to my usual, annoying and crazy but fun and entertaining self.

    Pope B, you first.

  24. You've been tagged! Go see my blog for details!

  25. oh my friggin word i have missed you! i feel like i haven't been here in a month...
    i'm so sorry you're still feeling grotty- but i seriously think, judging by the pics you posted of your ass in december, that you need worry about "office ass"... i am still jealous!!
    connection willing- i will be back here soon!

  26. Ron, I am! Or at least, I'm trying to.

    Kab, I saw and left you a comment about it on your page which I'm sure you've seen by now, or will at least before you see this answer to your comment.

    Angel, you don't come by as often. Yes, I've noticed and no, I don't forgive you. Kidding