25 November 2009

Pregnant With A Hammerhead Shark On One Side


Have you ever seen those ads that promise to tell you your "true age?" Well, I think I don't need one of those ads: My body is telling me, loudly and unambiguously.

Today I've been packing for my move, which is the day after tomorrow. Actually, I have until the first, but Friday was the only day for which I could rent a van. And, the month begins on Tuesday.

I'd forgotten how much work it is to pack for a move! Another problem is finding anyone to help me on such short notice, especially during this holiday week. Plus, Bruce has pneumonia.

When you've been as inactive as I've been for the past few months, you feel it after you've lifted things or bent a few times. And the injury I incurred today isn't helping anything, except my memory of why I don't normally use bike lanes.

I was on the nice old Raliegh three-speed I bought a couple of weeks ago. I was riding it about three blocks from my place when I experienced one of the worst nightmares of most urban cyclists. Yes, I got clocked by a car door and went down hard.

The thing about most falls is that you don't really see what injuries you have from them until later. It's as if you're in too much shock to notice. The scrapes on my arm weren't as bad as they felt when I first got up. But where I didn't feel any pain on my first--on my left side--there's a huge, particularly ugly bruise about half the size of my hand. And, the swelling is noticeable under a form- or close-fitting top. Someone who doesn't know me might think my liver is swollen from booze, even though I haven't drunk alcohol in more than twenty years.

Speaking of which: Having been around a lot of active and recovering addicts, I've seen people with what I've just described. Someone in that condition looks like he or she is pregnant with a hammerhead shark on one side of his or her body. I can recall one particularly extreme case: A woman I knew named Jackie, who worked with me at MacMillan Publishing at around the time I was getting sober. About the same age then as I am now, she was vivacious and very knowledgeable about so many things. I saw a photo of her when she was young: I would not mind looking the way she looked then! Well, except for one thing: Her eyes seemed incongruously dull, save for a twinge of sadness.

As I recall, she died not long after I left MacMillan. I hadn't thought about her in ages. What's happening? A college friend I hadn't heard about in at least twenty-five years has gotten in touch with me. Now I'm thinking about Jackie. Will I be revisited by more of my past?

Right now, I wouldn't mind some of the physical stamina I had in my past. But I certainly wouldn't want to be in the mental state I was in back then.

And I hope I'm not pregnant with a hammerhead shark on one side of me for too much longer.





2 comments:

Filigree said...

What! I am sorry to hear about your bike incident, that's terrible. (But the "hammerhead shark" comment is hilarious.) This is one reason I was so concerned about the mandatory lanes in Vienna.

And I did not ralise you bought a 3-speed; I clearly need to go back and read your older posts. Did the bike survive? Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Justine Nicholas Valinotti said...

Other than having wrecked the right pedal, the bike seems okay. But the bruise on my left side has grown and swollen some more. That may have to do with the bending and lifting I've been doing.

The first chance I get, I'm going to lie down with a hot water bottle on my side and let the cats curl up with me. I am convinced that cats (and chicken soup) have healing powers.