15 July 2008

Tuesday Afternoon, Expectations

Tuesday afternoon. Remember that Moody Blues song? It's actually called "Forever Afternoon," but its repeated refrain of "Tuesday Afternoon" gave it its unofficial title.

And it's not really a "song": progressive rock albums, especially "concept" albums, didn't really have differentiated songs. "Forever Afternoon" was really part of a larger suite that included "Peak Hour" and "Evening."

So what is it about Tuesday? It's almost always been, for me, the longest day of the week besides Thursday. Of course, right now I'm teaching a class on Tuesday and Thursday nights after my regular job. But it seems as if Tuesday has always been a "packed" day for me, even when I'm on vacation.

Of course, the sea and the sky don't know what day of the week it is. Nor does my body, at least in theory. But when my body adjusts itself to the pace and schedule of my schedule, it seems to know when it's Tuesday or Thursday. If that's the case, my body surely knows I'm 50: I feel as if I've gained a few pounds since my birthday.

OK, call me paranoid. Tell me that I'm falling for the body-image mind-fuck that is inflicted upon so many females when we're young. But if you saw my body, you'd know that I'm just, well, fat.

And I feel bloated. I don't know what I ate in the last couple of days, but my stomach has felt and sounded like a missed shift on my father's old stick-shift VW bus.

Not very ladylike to talk this way, is it? Oh well. I guess I'm just a wimp about pain. At least I have an excuse: Neither a baby nor my blood has ever come out from between my legs, so maybe I don't really know about sickness or pain.

Or maybe I've never even really experienced Tuesday. Perhaps I've only experienced an idea, an expectation, of it, just as some people can only experience their expectation of a place. I can't count how many times I've told someone about a trip to France, and the first thing that person said was, "They hate Americans, right?" If I tell them about my impending surgery, they'd say--or think-- something like, "So you're going to get it cut off?"

I still don't know what to expect, really. I've read about it and talked to people, and I've thought for a long, long time about it. I know more or less what the doctor will do and what will, and might, happen as a result. I also know that, should the operation succeed--and there's little reason to see why it won't--my body will conform, at least in perhaps the most important way, to my vision of myself.

Speaking of bodies--of mine specifically: When I was about to start taking hormones, my doctor said I would be more vulnerable to certain maladies, at least for a while. I doubt that the hormones have anything to do with the current state of my stomach. Or Tuesday.

Then again, if my body does act in concert with the tides and the moon, maybe it does know, after all, what day of the week it is. Or, perhaps, as Marcia P. "Pay It No Mind" Johnson might've said, it knows what time it is.

I knew, too. It just took me a long time to do anything about it: a lot of Tuesday afternoons.

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