Saturday, June 11, 2016

the weekly newsletter

As the season for obligatory near-nudity fast approaches (groan), I had every intention of staying active during my long weekend trip to London last week. I was also as enthusiastic as tepid can be about my plans to experience the city like a true tourist.

I can't count how many times I've been to London, four since this February alone. My father lived on a wharf of the Thames for much of my childhood so from the age of ten I kind of gave up on actively getting to know it, the way one so regrettably does when he believes he'll always have another chance. So despite my UK citizenship and frequent visits, I really don't know the place at all. I was intent on changing that last Friday. 

The first thing I did upon arrival was take off my shoes and walk straight into a wall. My pinky toe in martyrdom beared the full weight of my inertia and now I needed morphine. 

I instinctively stood on my injured foot with the healthy foot, remembering that lecture in neurophysiology about the Gate Control of Pain: 

"Observe the figure of the dorsal horn, which shows that large, mechanically sensitive A-beta afferent fibers in the skin excite interneurons that inhibit C-fibers- the neurons that carry pain information from the dorsal horns to the thalamus via the anterolateral tract".  

In other words, destroy thyself and then quickly put pressure on the surrounding area for fast and natural pain relief. If you've ever had a bikini wax you know what I'm talking about. For emotional pain instead, just pour some liquor on it.

Consequently spent the other morning in the emergency room waiting for my X-ray to reveal just how bad the break was. As I waited there I read very publicly the only book I had around- a self help about divorce. Other patients kept interrupting me to ask "what I was in for" the way they do in prison movies. The situation was dire and the wait was long.  When the orthopedic surgeon called my name I quickly hobbled over to get my results so I could finally be vindicated for the fact that I could no longer walk to the bar to order my own tequila. I was sure it was a fracture. But apparently medical school taught me nothing of practical use because there was no fracture, not even a shadow of a very minuscule one. Zilch. All I learned is that I have no excuse, and that I'm becoming more of a twat as I get older. I also still don't know anything about London.

I was ordered to "chill", so I worked from home for a few days. This afforded me the opportunity to also take care of things like laundry which I hadn't done in a while. On Wednesday I threw in a very big load. And since Wednesday my clothes have been in the washing machine. For reasons I've yet to understand, that machine spontaneously stopped working with the door locked, effectively holding all the dirty water and all my underwear hostage. I really don't know who to call or what to do so I'm just ignoring the situation until it resolves itself. 

This reminded me of hanging with the girls in Hungary last summer. It was here that my mother fully developed her "never throw anything away, no matter how functional or dysfunctional" attitude. She believes that things with no obvious utility in the present may eventually reveal their utility in the future. She and my grandmother were right about the vintage Russian washing machine that still, after more than half a century, is able to purge our unmentionables of their impurities. Meanwhile my German-made four-year-old device is currently challenging its worth on this planet. For now, I'll hold on to it holding onto my clothes. You never know what could become of it.

The best part is at the end of the clip when the machine stops and you can hear my grandmother come to its defense: 

"it just needs to rest for a moment." 

Words of gold, words to live by. 


Current mood: feeling like a domestic hero.

Since writing this post, I received some virtuoso advice from several irreplaceable members of my social network and managed to fix the washing machine all by myself! All it took was uncapping the filter, flooding my bathroom with putrid, filthy, three-day-old lint water, and blindly digging my meandering hand up the washing machine's insides to search for anomalies that might be clogging the system. And I found them- two pieces of pocket-essential material! This is the kind of thrill-seeking that happens after age 30, and I've never been so satisfied. 

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