Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This is How Much I Love Being Right

Saturday night I got home from work feeling perfectly healthy.  I watched TV on the couch for a couple of hours.  Then I turned the TV off and realized a pulsing, writhing monster had taken up residence inside me.

I knew this feeling:  I was aching all over, and I felt like my eyeballs had just been microwaved.  I knew I had a fever.  Nonetheless, I consulted our thermometer, just to be sure.

And that's when our thermometer slapped me in the face.

This must be a technical error.  I was so convinced I had a fever that I resorted to trying our other, newer thermometer, which I'd been avoiding ever since we moved because I found it packed in the same box as our toilet brush.  But desperate times call for desperate measures.  I asked Ari to dunk it in alcohol, and then I took my temperature.

Even lower?  EVEN LOWER?!  And now I was going to get toilet sickness.  Obviously, the thermometers were conspiring against me.

I confided in Ari about the treachery of our household electronics.  I could tell he was trying to be polite, but he was secretly siding with the thermometers.

By the time I showered and got in bed, I was having chills.  A plague-monster was devouring my insides, and my thermometers didn't even care.  I decided to plea with them one last time.

Before I went to sleep, I took two ibuprofen anyway, out of sheer spite.

The next morning was more of the same.

Do I have a fever yet?




Not even now?


Finally, Sunday night, I took my temperature one last time, and a miracle happened.

And that's when I realize how much I love being right.

The best part, though, was that my fever had earned me the privilege of being openly sick.  No more moping around with my game face on.  Now I could wallow under a blanket on the couch making low-pitched groaning noises that sounded like they came from The Grudge

All was right with the world.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grocery Store Parking Lots: Where the Laws of Physics No Longer Apply

I went to Ingles the other day to buy groceries, and I lost all my faith in humanity.

All I needed was to point my car in the general direction of the exit.  The simplest way to do this seemed to be by making a right turn.  The lanes in this parking lot were two-way, yet the one I needed to turn onto contained a car straddling the yellow line like a wild beast guarding its territory.  As far as I know, Ingles did not paint its parking lot with an arrangement of bright yellow lines for aesthetic value.  If you delve back into your deep, dark memories of learning to drive, you may recall being told that those are lanes.  Cars should generally stay in their own lanes to avoid something called a head-on collision in which your car will be totaled and you will probably die. 

I hoped when I used my turn signal (an ingenious tool whose benefits I lauded in a previous post) the other driver would make her turn and get out of my way, but apparently she was really just using this Ingles stop sign to apply lipstick or balance her checkbook or maybe finish up an especially riveting chapter in the book she was reading.  So I made my turn anyway.

I had just rounded the corner when I realized that not only was this car slightly over the line, but an oversized truck was parked to the right.  Its giant truck bed was jutting out of the parking space, leaving about 0.0000000001 of an inch between it and the other car.

I had a split second to react.  It was like the moment in Titanic when the crew on deck realizes that despite efforts to turn their hulking behemoth of a ship, they are doomed to hit the iceberg.

There was no time to stop.  I had to keep going.  And then something amazing happened.

Somehow, at the very last minute, I managed to bend the space-time continuum with my mind.  It almost felt as though if I just imagined my car were smaller, it would actually be smaller.

And that's how I lost all my faith in humanity, but gained considerable faith in my own driving skills and psychic capabilities.  If you ever need to accomplish something that seems physically impossible, visit your local grocery store parking lot.  The laws of physics no longer apply there.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You & Your Pamphlet

Going to the gynecologist is awkward.  If you've never been to one, think about how awkward it is when someone just talks about gynecologists (like now).  Then multiply that by infinity.  Now, maintain that level of mental awkwardness as I tell you a story.

If you're on the verge of running away, I promise you, I'm not even going to use the word vagina.  Except for just then. 

When you go in for a pap smear, as with any other visit to a doctor's office, you're led through a labyrinthine network of hallways to an exam room.  Then, you're told to get naked and put on an obligatory robe that is made of tissue paper.  I guess you could leave your shoes on, but that would just look silly.

The robe is left on the exam table for you and is folded as tightly as a road atlas.  Once unfurled, it is basically a huge rectangle with slits for your arms.  By the time you've wrestled this delicate garment open and punched your way into it, you're basically wearing shredded toilet paper, waiting for the doctor to walk in and discover your inability to dress yourself.

Pap smears require you to lie down in the most awkward position possible, with your ass teetering precariously over the edge of the exam table and your feet thrown up in metal stirrups like you really just came here to do your daily yoga routine.  But generally, the pap smear itself only lasts a few seconds.  Then you gather your dignity and clothing and pretend you're never going to have to do this again.

Unless your pap smear is irregular.

If your pap smear is irregular, you are stuck in your toilet paper toga much, much longer than anticipated.  You don't even care about what may or may not be wrong with you.  The whole time your doctor is telling you what the problem was, how common or uncommon it is, and what you need to do next, all you can think about is how badly you want to put your clothes back on.  You're so relieved to finally escape that you might not even remember you had an irregular pap smear until you're back in your car.

Recently, my best friend discovered that you may also be given a pamphlet entitled "You & Your Irregular Pap Smear."

This has opened a whole new closet of gynecological terrors.  Getting handed a pamphlet at the end of your pap smear might actually be more awkward than the pap smear itself.  If your irregular pap smear turns out to be cervical cancer, do they give you another pamphlet?

Eventually, they'll have to give you a pamphlet to ease you through the process of reading all these pamphlets.

I can only hope that when men finally reach the age of 40 and must undergo the dreaded routine prostate exam, they, too, are handed a pamphlet at the end.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The 5 Stages of Eating at a Mexican Restaurant

1.  Excitement
Ari and I get excited when we realize we have enough money to eat out anywhere, and the fact that we both like Mexican food only adds to this jubilation.  I'm always especially excited because I have no disposable income whatsoever.  Sometimes I imagine how I would've reacted when I was eight years old if someone told me I was going to have pizza and brownies for dinner every night FOREVER.  Ari asking whether I want to go out to eat probably elicits a similar response.

2.  Chips
Your Mexican restaurant experience begins with a basket of crack-chips being placed before you with a bowl of salsa.  The quality of the salsa varies depending on the restaurant, but the chips always have crack in them.  I don't even like store-bought tortilla chips very much, but something about those crack-chips activates a deep and primal instinct inside me, turning me into a chip-shoveling machine.  I look down after what feels like a few seconds only to discover I've steadily and efficiently devoured the entire basket.  And somehow, our server always drops by to take our meal order just as I've crammed an especially over-ambitious fistful of crack-chips in my mouth.

3.  Man vs. Mexican Food
A burrito the size of your head is delivered to your table after a surprisingly brief period.  This burrito is always perfectly proportioned so that you will have to choose between being not quite full enough and begging to die.  At first you strategize by cutting it in half, thinking you'll save the other half for later.  But when you finish the first half, you still want more.  So you take a few more bites.  This is when you reach the breaking point.  You're finally full, but there's no longer enough burrito left to warrant a takeout box.  Nevertheless, it's a sizable enough chunk that you'd feel guilty letting it be thrown away.  It was an excellent burrito, after all.  And you make a crucial error:  you think, I'll just finish it. 

4.  Burrito Gestation
You force down the last bite of your burrito, and for one deceptive moment, you honestly believe you have triumphed--but your struggle is only beginning.  The warm, soft burrito you swallowed only moments earlier is now solidifying into a rocklike mass and expanding by the minute.  Gradually, you realize your intestines are now harboring a sinister burrito fetus.  Any minute now, this thing is going to rear its ugly head, bursting from your stomach and clawing its way into the world through the remaining shreds of your flesh.  The movie Alien comes unpleasantly to mind.

5.  Relief
Just when you're certain the moment of reckoning is at hand, you realize your intestines have overpowered the writhing burrito creature within you.  Your brain begins releasing massive amounts of oxytocin so you'll forget the agony of the digestion process and ingest Mexican food again someday.  But for now, in the epic battle of Man vs. Mexican Food, man wins.