Monday, September 08, 2008

A Dylan Moment

Oh the times...they are a-changin'...so they say.

Today was one of those days where I got knocked out of my routine, and I was actually at a loss.

The first moment of the day should have been key that something was up. For the first time in almost two months, I woke up without pain.

I haven't really been talking much about this, but starting in July, I came down with something. I have no idea what. Neither did anyone else (this includes medical-type people). It seemed to vanish, but the pain remained and (for lack of a better term) flared up. When I returned from Seattle at the end of August, the pain was almost unbearable and fatigue set in constantly. Again, the medical people had no idea.
"Maybe it's Cancer," one said to me.
"Maybe you have Leukemia," another said.

September started, and the pain and fatigue remained. I thought I was just having a hard time snapping back from a stressful and difficult time in Seattle, but that was not the case. At this point, including last Friday, so much blood has been taken that I think I worry there's another me out there.

So I've taking the pills that apparently (I am told) kill Anthrax...and I feel better. Am I perfect? No way, but I'm not dying...yet. There's too much to take care of first.

Still, it's been weird spending so much time with doctors and nurses. Outside of teachers, nurses are the most looked down upon workers. The nurse in the Emergency Room (post Seattle) was fantastic. She talked to me, made sure I was warm, brought me water, and explained terms to me I didn't understand. What I found fascinating was hearing a conversation as I was being wheeled to the x-ray or MRI or whatever it was (don't remember totally well) between the doctor attending me and the nurse where the doctor was dressing her down for explaining things to me. That saddened me. She made me feel better, and she was being scolded for it. Not fair.

The other way my life is changing is that I'm turning more into my father...and that's a very weird experience.

Many people will agree that I am very good at reading into people. I know what people are thinking, I know how to diffuse situations, I know how to screw with minds, and I know what's going on between people. Yet today I could not get a read for myself.

A few weeks back I was in a car accident. No blood or anything, just need annoying body work done. Today I got my rental car, so I stopped by the rental place near the body shop. There was a nice young lady working behind the desk.

Now, being the nerd or dork that I am, I joke around and try to make people laugh, and usually I'm good at it. However, I am also polite when I talk to people who I can tell are having a bad day. She was smiling, but something said she wasn't happy, so I asked her how she was doing. There was a pause and her head tilted slightly as if a cartridge was clicking into place in her brain. She looked me over and then started talking to me in the non-clerk voice.

When we went outside to look at the car, she wrote the normal notes and I signed the forms, but then she took the form back after it was ripped off and wrote something else.
It turned out that she was writing a phone number. "If you need anything," she said, "You can call this number, or this number is my cell phone. Call anytime."

I didn't think anything about it. I was actually focused on picking up my son and a lesson plan I've been kicking around in my head. I smiled, said, "Thank you so much (and used her name...it's polite), and then hopped in and drove off.

Hours later, my wife saw the paperwork and said, "What's this?"
"That's the paperwork for the car."
"No, not that," she said coyly. "This...at the top."
I looked it over, because I hadn't before. There, at the top of the paperwork, was the clerk's name...but she put a heart in it. The number she gave for the cell was not the same area code as the rental place.
My wife began to make fun of me. "You got a number?" Then she laughed hard.
"I did?" I asked.
"Oh my Gooooooood," my wife said. "Tell me what happened at this place."

I told her the story, and she laughed harder. "You really didn't get that she liked you?"
"Umm...no. How was I supposed to know?"

It's at this point that my wife quietly laughs again and says, "You are turning into your father."

This might be true. My father is a professor, and his brain is wired like a professor's. For example, he once had a car accident. The EMTs asked him, "What day is it?"
"I don't know," he responded.
They kept asking him about the day, his clothes, etc. My mother finally wised up and said, "He's a History professor."
Immediately an EMT says, "Sir, tell me about the Magna Carta."
As if a switch had been flipped, my father begins talking about King John, the document, and more.
"Your fine, sir," the EMT says.

However, the best example comes from my childhood. My parents, though living in New York, maintained a small home in Connecticut (a place to get away). There was a hurricane (Gloria) that managed to maintain its strength and hit the North East. The rain, the lightning, and the wind took its toll, but we kept our power and phones. So did some other people. One person in particular is who we will focus on: her name was Libby.

Libby was married to a friend of my mother. She was somewhat promiscuous, very forward, and about fifteen years younger than my father. She also had a crush on him. Everyone knew this...except him. He just thought she was really nice. So here it is, post-storm, and the phone rings. It's Libby, and she wants to talk to my father.
"Dan," she says to him, "My power is out...I can't believe my phone works. I'm alone and kind of scared. Could you come over and keep me safe. I even have a bottle of wine to pass the time."

A couple of things happen. My father hangs up and goes to my mother and tells her about the call. She does the exact same thing to my father that my wife did to me today.
"Dan...do you understand why she called?"
"She's scared?"
"Dan...let's think about this...."
He doesn't get it. However, she knows that he's not going to cheat, so she sends him over.
"Go ahead, Dan. I think you'll get it when you get there."

Libby told my father there was no power, but when he arrived, the porch light was on. However, the inside of the house had candles. She had wine...but he stopped drinking when he decided to marry my mother (in a very romantic gesture). He was clueless...but when he saw she was ok, he merely said, "Oh...everything's ok? Good. Have a good night." Then he got in his car and drove home.

He still didn't get it. My mother had to walk him through it. His response? "Huh...."

So I guess that's what is starting to happen to me. I recall my boss once saying to me that she was afraid I would end up on the front page of the newspaper for doing something inappropriate, and I swear the first thing I thought of was decking one of my colleagues or something like that. I didn't get until later that she was alluding to the idea that I might do something inappropriate with a student (not going to happen...ever) because I predominantly had female students in my room last year.

It's funny, because when I was in high school, it was all about Mr. Khan. He was the girls' Basketball coach and he taught religion and ethics (when it was in schools), and every girl in the school wanted him as an advisor or teacher. You know the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the girl blinks "Love you" at Dr. Jones? That happened to Khan, but change love to the vernacular for fornicate and add a question mark after "You" and that's what happened to him. Come to think of it, he left after my sophomore year. Headed East...it was very sudden...hmmmm.

Thanks to genetics (I think), I can officially: I'm stupid, but I'm friendly.

Of course what do I know? I can tell when a person is concerned, but not when someone wants a date. I could be wrong.

Namaste.

2 comments:

soxanne said...

You crack me up! Date schmate!

And btw, the Magna Carta scene reminds me of the nurse asking my mother what year it was (she wasn't sure) and then asking who the President of the United States was, to which my mother responded, "The worst president we've ever had in this country!"

cat said...

That is quite an entertaining post. Some of us just do not get it. My boyfriend always gives me crap when I am talking about something and he is like that dude was hitting on you. I am like he was, and he is like yeah... so I know how you feel Leab!!!