Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Laughing Matter

In my last post I informed you all that I have contracted mononucleosis. I made light of it, which is, quite frankly, what most people’s response is to this illness. When my youngest brother found out he just laughed and then crowed, “The kissing disease!” before laughing some more. Even my dad, the health professional, didn’t seem too concerned about it. So you have mono. You’ll get over it.

To be honest, my initial reaction to hearing that I was sick with something more long term than, say, strep throat, was to almost burst into tears. I was disoriented – how could this be true? How did this happen? I immediately felt like a ball of contagion. But those feelings waned, particularly when everyone I talked to laughed and joked about it, calling me Mono Girl, pretending to cover their mouths when I walked by or threatening to sic me on people – “Go spit in his drink, he’s irritating me”. And it is funny. When my cast mate sang, “Supercalafragalistic-mononucleosis, if your glands get swollen then it’s really quite atrocious” I had to laugh. How can that be taken seriously?

I was doing okay. I was a little sick, that was all, and I was washing my hands a lot more than normal, but I was fine. I heard that there was a vague plan for an understudy in case I got worse, but I doubted that would be needed. I was fine.

Until that Friday night. The glands in my throat were so swollen that swallowing and talking were becoming difficult and painful – not so great at the best of times, but as an actor that spells death. I had no strength. I was in a daze, spending all my energy to stay upright, never mind doing my blocking and lines (which I also somehow managed to do – autopilot is a powerful tool). S. sat next to me every time we were off-stage together, holding my hand and bringing me whatever he thought might help me. After the show he brought me into the hospital, where the doctor told me what they’ve all told me before and since. It’s a virus, we can’t do anything for you, you have to rest and drink lots of water and just wait it out. I did get some Prednisone to take the swelling down but that was about all they could do. They sent me home.

The next day I slept. And slept some more. My understudy did my part in the show and I slept, too tired to even – really – care, although it did feel strange to look at a clock and think, “I’d be done my hair now, N. must be getting into his beard, S. is just putting on his moustache while r. puts in his contacts…” and know that I wasn’t there.

I felt like I had failed in some way, like my body had let me down, like I had let down everyone involved with the show. I couldn’t do what I was supposed to. I was a failure.

My health has improved every day since then, with liquids and rest, but I’m still tired and my throat is still sore. At least I can talk now without wincing and I have a bit of an appetite. I’ve done the show this week, although I am supposed to tell the stage manager every day whether I’m doing the next day or not.

You’d think that feeling better would make me happy but now that my brain has some function again I simply feel like crying.

I didn’t really even know why until S. and I went for a walk. He asked me yet again if I was really going to be able to do the show tomorrow and I almost snapped at him. YES! I just wanted to scream. I’m doing the goddamn show tomorrow, I know I’m sick and you think I should be in bed but I can do this. I can. FUCK!

I went home to get some more of the Advil I’ve been eating like candy and sat in my room and cried. It’s hard enough feeling ill without everyone around me doubting whether I can be trusted to do the show and take care of myself. I feel like now people don’t trust me either to do the show or to know my limits.

And for S. of all people to constantly question my choices made things so much harder to bear. In the midst of my tears he walked into my house. “What’s wrong?” he asked me. I spilled out my woes and he held me while I cried, and then he told me that he wasn’t upset with me, although he doesn’t think I should be doing the show. He’s more upset with the theatre because he thinks it is unreasonable of them to expect me to put a show ahead of my long-term health. He thinks I shouldn’t be allowed to finish the show. He is worried for me and it comes out as impatience and anger.

That did make me feel better. I understand misplaced frustration. I’m a well of it right now. It’s not bad enough that I have to feel tired, that my throat hurts, that I have no energy, that my throat is filled with phlegm that tastes like rot. I have to give a day’s notice of whether I’m even going to show up to do my job. I can’t kiss or even fucking touch the man I love without us both wondering if I’ve just infected him. I feel isolated and it’s not just the moratorium on kissing. I feel like I can’t touch anyone – or anything – unless I’ve just washed my hands, and even then I feel questionable. I haven’t got the energy to socialize and no-one else has the time to slow down to my new level. And as much as I hate these things I understand that they are all the reality that I have to adjust to because I am the abnormality in this equation.

One of my cast mates told me to tell him when I got sick of the mono jokes. “I don’t want to be the one that pushes you over the edge,” he said.

This did certainly stop being funny, but I don’t think I’m going to stop people from laughing about it.

I think I need all the laughter I can get.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

One is the Lonliest Number...

...and I should know, since I have mono.

Which means '1' as S. so gleefully told me.

He wasn't so gleeful when he found out that I can't kiss him for two months.

Lonely indeed.

Monday, August 06, 2007

83 Random Things

This is for Troll. Happy Belated Birthday!

1. I just realized that if S. and I ever broke up I couldn’t get rid of all the things that remind me of him without getting rid of half of my possessions, a lot of my journals and writing, and several pieces of art that I have created in the last year.

2. I have woken up with a song in my head pretty consistently for the last two weeks. The songs vary from “Got Me Where You Want” by Our Lady Peace to “Stand” by R.E.M. – other bands include Sarah McLaughlan and Three Days Grace. It’s been weird – I don’t remember this happening so often before.

3. I dreamt that I was performing dinner music with my friend R. and two patrons wouldn’t let us leave the room, to the point of the man punching me in the face several times with blood and all. I dream like this all the time so it doesn’t disturb me anymore. I’m not sure it ever did. Violence in my dreams fascinates me on some visceral level.

4. I only have to hear a song once or twice to learn the melody, and only a few times after that (if I’m listening carefully) to learn all the lyrics.

5. Since I was 2, I’ve had Top 40 songs in my repertoire. I believe my parents gave me a Madonna record for my 2nd birthday, which I memorized and danced to in my own toddler way.

6. Although I’ve had the newest Harry Potter book since the Thursday after it came out (and it is Tuesday July 31st as I type this), I haven’t gotten any further than Chapter 3. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me.

7. I have spent a lot of time with S. this weekend though. He helped me move and among all the stress of that we bickered more than we ever have – and yet I still wanted to have him around.

8. And we still haven’t had a big fight yet, after 13½ months.

9. Although I don’t know what a big, serious fight would be anyway. It could be that our fighting styles simply look like an extended argument (which we have had) instead of the rip-roaring, swearing, throwing-things fights I’ve seen and am waiting to have myself.

10. I hope I never have a fight like that.

11. I am a packrat. I’m staring at the peacock feather that a co-worker gave me when I worked at A&W four years ago.

12. I worked at A&W for 18 months, 16 of which I was a supervisor, in order to jump-start my schooling here. I paid for a year of tuition and living expenses out of pocket without any financial stress. It was wonderful.

13. I want to be in the summer show next year but I won’t be able to afford it even if I do get cast.

14. My brother’s wedding conflicts with the show anyway – and for some reason that seems like a more legitimate reason to turn down the show than the fact that I would be starving and homeless.

15. I dreamt that my brother and his fiancé had a baby girl with perfect light brown skin and dark hair and they named her after me, so now I really have to go to their wedding. (I’d be there anyway – don’t feel any pressure to name your future daughters after me, D&D!)

16. Once I discovered that it was ‘cool’ for Christians to like U2 my interest in them flagged. I still have a hard time admitting that I like their music well enough to own an album or two (which I do).

17. I have a naïve faith that everything will work out somehow, even if I have to work hard or struggle through to the happy ending. This applies to everything in my life – school, money, relationships…

18. Whenever I listen to country music I realize that I like it more than I’ll admit to. The songs seem to have more happy messages than the depressing emotional/meaningless sex songs that tend to fill the rock and pop stations.

19. I don’t understand my youngest brother’s relationship and I don’t like the dysfunction I see within it but I stay silent. And I don’t quite know why.

20. I have started more stories than I have finished but the good ones still live in my head, clamouring for completion.

21. I think that a monarchy is the only system of government that has even a chance of working. There needs to be one person who is ultimately in charge, someone who can take responsibility for the good and bad decisions.

22. I’ve harboured a secret dream of being the dictatress of Canada since I was about 15 – part of my youthful idealism clashing with harsh reality.

23. I get distracted very easily. For instance, my plan for the afternoon was to file receipts and organize things in my still not completely unpacked room, and instead I just took out things for supper, walked to the office to get a Student Loan application form to find out that they are locked early again, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, swept the entire house, and somewhere in there I took many pictures of a small tree that is pushing it’s way to freedom and life through the asphalt of a friend’s driveway. It makes me ridiculously happy to see that small sapling winning out over man’s rock hard world.

24. I love trees. Inordinately so. A part of me was an Ent in a former life.

25. I’ve recently been introduced to Taoism by Pooh and Piglet. I think they’re on to something that needs to be incorporated back into our all too Western philosophies and religions.

26. I like listening to soundtracks, even the ones without lyrics. Sometimes I prefer them that way, actually. The Narnia soundtrack is very evocative of the film, I find. So is the one for The Pirates of the Caribbean.

27. Sometimes when I listen to music without lyrics I see colours and shapes and essences of things that just fit the music. It’s very pretty.

28. I think that some numbers are better than others. I also have months of the year and days of the week that I prefer. May 5th is my least favourite date. It is so round and oppressive and heavy. February 28th is also round but not so heavy – it has some light in it although it is kind of serious. Like Pooh. September 17th – ahh. Such a nice date. Sharp in a kind of dangerous coyote way, it fascinates me and makes me happy all at once. There is no logic to how this works. It isn’t a system, although people have tried to analyze it. It is simply how the numbers and words hit my mind.

29. I write with my left hand but I cut watermelon (and indeed, everything) with my right hand. I wear my watch on my right arm. I think of myself as ambidextrous with a slight preference for my left side.

30. When I was a young girl, I wanted to have either auburn or black hair, and either green or violet eyes. I couldn’t decide which one was better, or which combination would be more striking.

31. Now I’m content with my light brown hair with blonde streaks, and my grey-blue eyes that occasionally look green.

32. I wear contacts now for the first time in my life. I like being able to see on stage but I don’t like it enough to replace my glasses, much to S.’s relief. He likes my glasses.

33. I have put a lot of thought into what illegal career I would pursue if I had to pick one. I think being an assassin is cool, but I’d be able to handle being a thief – I’d love to be good enough to steal from large famous art galleries and museums, as well as pick the petty pocket here and there.

34. I like action movies. I’ve never admitted this – I always felt a bit foolish because it goes against my whole ‘intellectual’ reputation. Plus I’m a girl. And S. doesn’t like them. So I feel a bit silly and defiant, but now I’m admitting it. I like action movies. It’s great if they have a plot but they don’t even need to have a great one for me to enjoy it. There you go.

35. 83 random facts about myself is proving to be easier than I thought it would be. I wonder if anyone else will take it on and do this too? Perhaps I will have started a trend – huge long lists of personal facts on an international electronic forum.
Probably not.

36. I like hats but I’m not so sure that the hats I like look good on me. I know I pull of the cute ball-cap look, but I like feminine hats and every one I’ve ever tried on I haven’t liked on me. I don’t think it’s fair.

37. But since every other piece of clothing I like looks good on me, I guess I shouldn’t complain. I love – no, I delight in – the fact that the fashion industry caters to people who are my size. It means I never have to worry about finding something that will fit me. It’s glorious.

38. I also feel a bit guilty about that sometimes because I know there are women who can’t find stores that even carry their sizes. I wonder if those women hate me for my svelte physique. I hope they don’t. I got good DNA, that’s all.

39. I just bought a filing cabinet and I am discovering how much I like filing things. It’s so organized! Ahh…

40. I get cold even in the summer, so that people mock me for wearing hoodies and sweaters at 8 or 9 in the evening on a blistering hot July day. What can I say? Svelteness has it’s down side.

41. I have often felt like a horrible Christian because I don’t see things the same way as the leaders of the churches I have grown up in. The biggest area in which I don’t see eye to eye is homosexuality. I don’t think it’s what God planned but like so many other things, human sexuality got bent and broken. Lots of things aren’t how they were planned out in the beginning. I know, this one is actually laid out in the Bible (at least in the Old Testament), but I still don’t understand why God would allow someone to be drawn to their own sex from childhood and then deny them romantic relationship. So I feel like I’m missing some integral Christian something because I see two men giving each other flowers and sweet nothings on Valentines Day in New York City and I think, “That’s sweet”, while some of my classmates see that and are repulsed. I don’t understand! I don’t think I ever will. I’m not sure I want to.

42. When I took the playwriting course last summer, I had to list five things that worried me. One of those things was that I am too liberal. The above random fact reminds me of that – it is the exact phrase that runs in my head when I ponder how my personal beliefs run against what I hear from the pulpit.

43. I went to a family gathering a year ago and one of my young teenage cousins asked me if I loved S. I said I didn’t know. About a week later I was getting ready to go to work and I was thinking about that moment for some reason and I realized my answer had changed to yes. I stopped dead, staring out the window over the sink at the white metal fire hall outside. I spent half of the ten minute drive to work crying and half of it laughing, and the whole day I was quiet for fear that something would send me over the edge into either emotion.

44. I get upset about how the world is and I don’t know what to do about it. It makes me feel quite helpless because I can’t see how to make people care about those around them and that seems to be the root cause of all the problems I see. Think about it – if the majority of people really cared about those around them, perhaps there wouldn’t be as much poverty or abuse. Maybe we would reach out to those around us and help them out when they needed a hand instead of living our lives according to rules and systems that don’t contain any mercy.

45. I think that we are headed towards some kind of meltdown – either political, social or environmental – and my naïve sense of well-being keeps me from panicking. I’ll either live or die and really there isn’t much I can do about it now anyway.

46. I really like dark chocolate.

47. I would like to eat more healthily, and I know that if I had a vanity reason to do so it would happen faster but because I don’t gain weight I have to work on eating properly.

48. I am very vain. I always have been.

49. I used to believe that if I wasn’t the smartest I was worth nothing. I am letting go of that but it still irritates me if someone is better with words than I am. I didn’t know this until last year when I took a Shakespeare class and one of my classmates had a BA in English and thus, by simple dint of education, knew more than I did. I laugh about it now but the little bruise is still there on my ego and can be poked. Painfully.

50. Speaking of bruises, I have several mystery ones right now. I got a big deep purple one on my butt from something – I couldn’t remember what I did but I remember swearing about it when it happened, how odd, eh? There’s a green-yellow one on my shin and that could have been anything. My shins are like delicate butterflies. The least jarring and they’re damaged.

51. I once chipped my shin bone by tripping up a set of stairs. I stumbled, struck my shin, and the next thing I remember I was sitting at the top of the stairs (I was two steps from the top) rocking back and forth, holding my injured leg with tears streaming silently down my face. My mom, who was in the next room, didn’t even know I was hurt until she saw my damp face when I finally got up and limped into the room.

52. Whenever I’ve gotten hurt (like chipping bones, not stubbing toes) I don’t remember the actual pain-inducing event. I cracked a bone in my foot and I’m not sure how – I was leaning over a fence, I lost my balance, then I was sitting on the side of the fence I started on curled up, rocking back and forth holding my injured foot with tears silently streaming down my face. Again no one knew I was hurt until I limped into a populated area. A trend? Perhaps.

53. I miss having pets. I still have a dog, and I miss seeing her every day and tending for her every need. I think I need a pet to get me out of my own self.

54. I have really good teeth and I’ve never had braces.

55. I had all four canine teeth pulled at once. That was to keep the next in line adult teeth from growing in crooked, so that I wouldn’t need braces. See? Tricky, tricky.

56. Every time I see the White Sox emblem I don’t see the word ‘sox’. I see the word ‘sex’. So does my dad. One day my dad and I took a White Sox hat and with a Sharpie® changed it to what we see. I wear the hat around town and people’s brains fill in the blacked out bit. My friends have all noticed it, but it still took the quickest of them at least an hour to realize what my hat said, and that was with a bit of prodding on my part.

57. I’ve never had one, but I’ve always secretly wanted a black eye. And a broken jaw. Just to know what they feel like. And for some reason when I was a child I thought black eyes were cool.

58. I also thought it would be a good skill to learn to stand still for three hours at a time. I read a book about a boy who was a prince but didn’t know it, but his father had trained him in the ways of royalty and being able to stand still was a royal trait I guess. I had a crush on this prince boy and wanted to be just like him. I never succeeded. Which is good, because I rather like being a girl.

59. Women complain about getting their periods, but I see it as a feminine mystery. We have the power to create life in our bellies! It’s a miraculous, mysterious thing, and the monthly cycle is a part of that power. Yes, it can be inconvenient and downright painful, but it’s still kind of cool.

60. I have a bit of a flirtation with goddess worship. I don’t worship any goddesses, but I like the idea of God being both masculine and feminine. A wholly masculine God doesn’t captivate or understand me the way I need to be captivated and understood. I think God gets that. I certainly hope he does – otherwise I may be inadvertently damning myself to Hell.

61. I believe that those who die can watch and look over us and even send us messages – the intercession and protection of Saints is very real to me.

62. When I get very scared at night and all the scary movies I’ve seen crowd into my shadows, I ask the Virgin Mary for a mother’s calming touch as I pray to God for spiritual protection. People I respect don’t agree with this. I respectfully disagree with them. The mother of God deserves our respect, and to those who say we shouldn’t worship anyone other than God I say that respect is different than worship. Look it up in the dictionary.

63. I got my ears pierced when I was 2. I sat on the step of the place that pierced ears and I wouldn’t leave until I got what I wanted. It strikes me as funny, and sad, that my parent’s didn’t just pick me up and carry me, kicking and screaming, to the car instead of ‘acquiescing to my request’. Good thing I wasn’t an only child. I would be such a bitch.

64. I did continue reading the Harry Potter book – and today (August 3rd – this is taking some time, people, sorry) I discovered that my copy is missing 33 pages, from page 257 to page 288. The misery that has caused me was assuaged by S., who consoled me (I was almost in tears) and Troll, who leant me his copy during the show so I could read the missing pages and continue with my copy now. S. also found the copy that exists online in case I couldn’t find a copy to borrow, which touched me deeply because S. could care less about Harry Potter and whether he lives or dies. I found it very sweet that he would go to so much effort to console me.

65. In all the realm of illegal substances, the only one that has ever really fascinated me is LSD. Since learning about flashbacks my curiosity has waned. The Parental Units can breathe now.

66. For the last two days (August 4th and 5th – if you have a problem with how long this is taking, try doing it yourself. It takes a lot of thought to not repeat myself. Anyway…) some gland in the right side of my throat has been swollen to the point of being able to touch that dangly thing in the back of my throat. It hurts a lot and this morning I didn’t think I could swallow anything thicker than pudding. Since the long weekend means that all the doctor’s offices are closed I ended up going to the Emergency Ward (sorry Dad) where I was told I likely have strep throat. I am now sucking on a very medicated tasting lozenge and talking as little as possible in order to not lose my voice.

67. I’ve worn glasses since I was 2. Before I got them I was a very obedient child in public but once I could see I immediately began going and looking at things like toys, leaving my parents to freak out when they discovered I was missing.

68. I steal blankets, pillows and bed space when I sleep with other people. I imagine I steal them when I’m sleeping alone too, only there isn’t anyone to witness this event.

69. Apparently I also respond violently to those around me in my sleep, with elbows to the face and kicks to the limbs.

70. My dad and my brothers and I share a sense of humour that my poor mother doesn’t get. Example: The phrase, “I’ve got to go take a pee” – don’t take pee, leave it. It’s not nearly as messy.

71. When I’m driving alone in my car listening to the radio, I sing along and pretend I’m in a band performing at a concert.

72. My laptop (which was a present from my parents – thank you parents) has one of those little mouse pads in it, with ‘palm check’ which is a curiosity to me, but I don’t know what it means and I don’t care enough to find out.

73. I talk to myself a lot. Almost every time I’m alone I hold conversations with myself, sometimes telling stories, sometimes going over past experiences or possible future confrontations. I’m always afraid someone will walk in and hear me, but if it’s happened no-one has told me yet.

74. I would like to have a particular scent that is mine. You read about women who always smell like a certain perfume – I’d like that, but I can’t find a perfume or scent that I like that doesn’t give me a headache or hasn’t been claimed by others I know. Plus it’s a lot of bother to always make sure I wear a certain scent. I suppose just smelling like a clean me is going to have to do.

75. Occasionally I hear words according to their spellings. The first time this happened was when my uncle asked me how my dad was enjoying the ‘log hall’ – at least, that’s how I heard it. He actually said ‘log haul’ (Dad was hauling logs at the time). It gets very confusing because people repeat themselves but it doesn’t help – I’ve heard ‘burleigh’ (which apparently isn’t even a word) instead of ‘burly’ and ‘b-day’ instead of ‘bidet’. It doesn’t happen often but when it does people look at me like I’ve lost my mind while I look at them like they’re speaking Chinese.

76. I like to read the dictionary. Okay, I don’t know if this one counts because if you read this blog often enough you already know that. So I’ll tag onto it that as a child I decided to read through the entire children’s fiction section of the Grande Prairie Library in alphabetical order (which is how they’re filed in case you don’t ever go into the fiction section of a library). I didn’t end up succeeding – I didn’t like some of the authors – but it did introduce me to people like Avi, who I really enjoyed, and Lloyd Alexander, who I can’t help but think I would have run into anyway but perhaps not so soon. It also led me to a series called “The Swallows and The Amazons” about some English children who learned how to sail, and knew Morse code and Semaphore, and had the coolest adventures ever. Because of them, I learned Morse code and about half the Semaphore alphabet before running out of steam (you can only get so far with a code like that without anyone else to talk to, but I was so fluent in Morse that I could read and write with Morse as quickly as I could with the Roman alphabet).

77. When I got older I decided to try the adult section. Once again I didn’t actually read them all, but this time I was wiser and knew that would happen so I just looked at them all and read the ones that caught my interest. I believe that is how I met Terry Pratchett (well, re-met actually, since I had met him in the children’s section and then forgotten about him – Truckers, Diggers, and Wings are such wonderful books that it shames me a little to admit that I’d forgotten them but thank goodness I was reintroduced so the shame can be abated in the light of the fact that since that reintroduction I’ve read almost everything else that he’s ever written).

78. I love that my lava lamp is called a ‘peace light’ on the box. I also love how the wax makes fantastic shapes before resolving into the typical up and down balls. It reminds me of dancing aliens or how cave architecture – what are they called? Stalactites? – would look if it could move in the wind.

79. I have always wanted to see if I could be self-reliant. At one point in my life I wanted to own a farm and have sheep, chickens, either cattle or goats, horses to plough and travel with, and enough land to keep me and my critters alive. Eventually I realized that I couldn’t do all the work on my own but I still think it would be a worthwhile endeavour. It would be a lot of work, but surely it would be very satisfying, to know that all your work was keeping you alive in a very direct way?

80. I also considered the following careers – family doctor, surgeon, exotic dancer/stripper, security guard, police officer, librarian (this could still end up as my day job), thief, computer hacker, spy, secretary, lawyer, biologist, writer (this one is still on the table), mechanic, truck driver, something in the oil field, high class hooker (like Xavier Hollander – don’t worry, Mom and Dad, this was more a flight of fancy than an actual consideration) or escort, stewardess (back when they were still called stewardesses), pilot, Mary Kay consultant (I tried this one for a very brief time and decided the MK women were too crazy for me. Their almost fanatical belief in their product – which is very good makeup but not enough for me to get into a religious fervour over – scared me. Greatly.), archaeologist, philosopher, anthropologist, university professor (probably in English or Philosophy), linguistics, or someone who studies things like symbology, which I was into long before it was all cool from the Da Vinci Code. (Please read that last bit in a snooty tone.) Oh, I also went through my required little girl phase of wanting to become a vet, but I added several other facets to that phase, including sheep shearer and jockey (I did read all of the Black Stallion books). I also wanted to be a magical entity or a minor god (I suppose I should have wanted to be a minor goddess but meh.) and failing that, a princess. Or dictatress or ruler of the world/universe/country/or at least a small island somewhere where I could make all the rules.

81. I sometimes think that pictures of people actually have little cameras in the eyes through which the original people are watching me. I know that isn’t true – but sometimes I turn pictures over when I’m changing, just in case.

82. I like stuffed animals. I have a lot of them, most of which are sitting in a box in storage at my parent’s place. However, some of them made their way here. Piglet, Mr. Rabbit, Mad Cow (who looks crazy and is a little scary but since he’s so small it’s okay – Piglet could take him if Piglet wasn’t so timid), Gregory the dragon, Lamb (who is a boy), Lulu (who is a girl lamb but has one ear missing from some adventure we went on when I was a toddler), Rocco the Raccoon (his tag says Ringo but I keep calling him Rocco so I guess that’s his name now), Mr. White Bear who tells me stories and Yellow Bear, who S. keeps insisting is a boy but since I’ve known her since I was 9 months old I think I know better, are all sitting in various places around my room. Rocco, Mr. Bear and Yellow Bear live on my bed, the reasons being that Yellow Bear has supreme seniority over all the other stuffies and Mr. Bear and Rocco were gifts from S. I also have Ernie and Bert living in questionable harmony, a gift from my father. S. thinks they’re gay but I’m not so sure.

83. I took two years of violin lessons, during which I went through three levels of Suzuki training. My violin teacher didn’t understand how I learn music until my very last lesson, when he told me to turn my back and repeat what he was playing on the piano on my violin. I did, almost perfectly. I learn by ear, see, not by reading the music. I sensed a great disappointment in him then. I think he wished he had known that earlier because we could have gotten a lot further if he hadn’t been trying to teach me based only on reading the music. I can read music – I see the black spot and I know which note to play – but I can’t read rhythm without a lot of stopping and counting, and it’s like listening to a severe dyslexic trying to read (it’s just painful) because it still doesn’t come out right. I still don’t know what it is supposed to sound like. But once I hear someone else play the notes, it’s as if they put the emphasis in the right spot and then it all clicks together like magic. It’s the most amazing thing, that moment of clarity. I wonder if that is what it is like when people first learn to read. I learned to read when I was 4 or 5 and I don’t remember it – as far as my memory is concerned I’ve been able to read forever. I sometimes feel like I got gypped because I don’t have that memory of the first time the black marks made coherent sense but I don’t complain because at least reading has always been easy, like breathing, for me and I’d rather not have to struggle with the words I love so much.

Well. I almost didn’t realize I was done. 83 goes a lot faster than I thought it would.

I just hope Troll doesn’t misread this title as 183 Random Things – I don’t think I have the time or patience for a list like that…