Monday, April 27, 2009

Parachutes and Shattered Glass


I jumped out of a plane again. About a week ago my friend Alisa and I decided to treat ourselves to a little adrenaline rush. It's been a rough month.


I have discovered this about myself. I love the sight of people falling out of airplanes. Is that wrong? On the way out there Alisa said, "Wouldn't it be unfortunate if we died doing this?"


Yes, yes it would. Though oddly the only times I've been really fearful for my life, my feet were firmly on the ground (like the Millennium New Years celebration in downtown Madrid when I was sure I'd be crushed to death by a rowdy crowd singing Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!)


The scariest part of skydiving is the plane ride up. The plane itself is not much larger than some remote control models I've seen. It fits about ten people straddling two benches. One guy, doing a "hop n' pop" jumped out at the halfway height and the whole plane lurched as a canoe might. It's quite unsettling.


My second skydive was a more aware experience than my first. My first time I think I sort of just flailed around a lot, unable to breathe or control my limbs in the 120 mph winds rushing past me. But this time I picked up my head, posed for the camera (a lot) and enjoyed the vision of the earth one usually only sees from the tiny window of an airplane, a long and winding river, an ocean in the distance and the green patchwork of surrounding farmland. It's like being superman or seeing earth from space.


When the parachute opened the tandem instructor passed me a beer. I toasted Alisa as she sailed past us at 11,000 feet in the air and drank my Bud Lite while hovering far above the treetops.


We had dinner later in the afterglow of the experience. As we enjoyed our fried clam strip appetizer (ordered out of sheer curiosity) we got a call and learned that while I had been hurtling toward earth, my car had been broken into while parked at my friend's house. Three bored kids had thrown a large rock through the window.


The police officer was awesome. She sat with my little red wagon until we returned, to make sure no one messed with the car or stole our empty diet Pepsi bottles or reusable grocery bags. The funny thing is, I wasn't completely incensed until the cop told me the same kids smashed the windows at the nearby library. The LIBRARY! I mean my god, is nothing sacred?


On the way home Chris and Alisa told me about the time their house had been broken into and how terrifying it felt. I still shiver to think about them getting home and realizing someone had been in their house, taken their things, disrespected their space.


So evidently, the danger does not lie in jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 feet, but rather right here on the ground. Next time I will leave a sign on my car, "Gone skydiving, don't ruin my buzz (and leave the library alone for chrissake!)


Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Official

Saturday I officiated the wedding of my dear friend Natalie. First I have to say that Natalie, fellow radical feminist and social justice lawyer, is exceedingly cute. (After viewing wedding pictures on Flickr I have determined she could possibly be the cutest person on the planet.)

The day was one of those “grown up” moments in my life. One of those moments where I realize, again, that I am indeed an adult member of society. Never mind that I myself have been married for five years, or that I have a mortgage, a literary agent and more health problems than most 70 year-olds, I have performed and officially notarized someone’s nuptials. Put another mark on my official grown up card.

Generally, I cry at weddings. It’s a privilege to witness two people you care about publicly declare their love and commitment to each other. Love is palpable at a wedding. And so I was not sure I’d be able to actually perform the ceremony without my face twisting into that I’m-about-to-cry expression.

I prepared for the day by purchasing an awesome (if I do say so myself) Jackie Brown inspired suit and reading the ceremony aloud about a thousand times. I pronounced Danny and Kiddo husband and wife at least six of those times. (I sure hope that’s not legally binding.)

Marrying two people turned out to be quite an enormous experience. I was beyond honored to have been asked, and tickled pink when Jim, the groom, gave me the good credit line on the movie poster he designed for the occasion. Stephanie Seguin as “The Officiant.”

Joining Jim and Natalie in matrimony was a more intimate gesture than I ever expected. There I was, not crying, guiding my good friends through their vows and promises of lifelong commitment in front of a crowd of more than a hundred people. The bubble of love that radiated from them was close enough to touch. It was pure magic to be part of such a profound moment in someone’s life, especially someone I care so much about, and her new husband who has my official stamp of approval.

I wish Jim and Natalie much love, happiness and many, many magical moments.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Strip me, Cut me, Stitch me, Heal me

Last Tuesday I had surgery to remove two large cysts from my ovaries.

They’d been causing chronic pain that was at times so excruciating that once I thought my appendix had burst and another time found myself on all fours crying for mercy at a gas station somewhere in South Carolina. So, needless to say, I’m not sorry to see them go.


After the procedure, the surgeon left Danny with a picture of the cysts as a souvenir. I thought about posting it but, that seems excessive even for me. Suffice it to say the cysts looked like two gooey softballs nestled into the innards of a pumpkin.

It went fairly normally as surgeries go. The anesthesiologist's name was Dr. Killman (really, you can’t make this shit up.) It’s already hard for me to keep a straight face in these situations. He might as well have said, hi I’m Grim Reaper and I’ll be putting you under today.


Since I am, at 31, something of a surgery connoisseur I definitely know my preferences. I like to get the happy juice BEFORE I get wheeled into the operating room. I do not want to see the person who has to move a folding chair aside so the gurney fits through the door. I do not want to see people wrangling with strange equipment, or feel people undoing the hospital gown strings that it took Danny and I both ten minutes to figure out.

And I certainly don't want to see a woman trying to attach what looks like metal leg stirrups to the end of the operating table. Honestly, the last thing I thought before I sank into oblivion was: Are my legs going to be in stirrups? Fuck. What's my situation like "down there"?

I came to in a drunken stupor. The nurse nodded politely as I prattled on about how much I love my mother-in-law while she removed my bedpan and helped me get my underwear on. Those of you who have had surgery will know that you simply have to accept the fact that strangers will be witnessing, and assisting, your bodily functions. But it's okay, copious amounts of narcotics ensure you will not care that a nurse is walking down the corridor with a container of your pee.

According to what the surgeon told Danny, (I was too doped for conversation) I have the dubious honor of having the worst case of scarring from endometriosis the surgeon had ever seen. Because you know, I don’t believe in half assing things. When I do something, I do it ALL THE WAY. I imagine my uterus looks something like Freddy Kruger's face (metaphorically speaking).

So this past week was spent popping percocet and watching movies on Netflix Instant (god bless it). I have been spoiled by friends with magazines, cookies, cupcakes, pudding and pastires.

But I think I'm ready to get back to normal now. I am doing well and looking forward to feeling like a regular person. A person who does normal things like drive through South Carolina without having to touch the ground at its trucker gas stations (no offense South Carolina I'm sure your trucker gas station pavement isn't any nastier than anyone else's).

Monday, April 6, 2009

You're Turning Violet, Violet

I love having purple hair. The way I figure it, I don’t work in a bank or a nine to five desk job, so if I want to have purple hair, I can.

I first did purple on my 30th birthday, because I was feeling a little crazy. The original plan was to go all over blonde but when I balked upon discovering that going from dark brown to blonde includes processes that sound like they should be done to raw lumber and not hair, my hair stylist suggested patches of purple underneath the dark brown, so they would peek out from time to time.

I got immense pleasure from the peekage. Next I did pink, then orange, then pink and orange together.

I am addicted.

At my last trip to the salon my conversation with the cerulean coiffed receptionist could have been coming from the mouths of two heroin addicts. "How long have you been on this color?" "It fades fast but it's sooooo worth it." "You know, you can come in between appointments for a quick color fix."

I’ve heard people say that tattoos are addicting. I imagine this is similar. Now when it comes time to do my color, a couple under streaks are never enough. Every time I go in I ask for a wee bit more. Do a streak on top. Do some in my bangs. If I don’t slow down, pretty soon I will be rainbow all over.

I like the slow surprise of health care professionals who ask, “Is your hair purple?” I like that I otherwise look like a completely normal human being except for a surprise shock of neon hair. I like catching a glimpse of costumish color on a day that is not Halloween.

If it were practical to color my entire head bubble gum pink, I’d probably do it. I’m reaching the point now where the hairs on my head are probably half and half. Half deep brown, half violet. So where do I go from here? A whole rainbow hued head?

I might have to get that tattoo I’ve been wanting. But then, I fear, the problem starts afresh, where do I stop?