Chimera Song Mosaic
Thursday, April 08, 2004
I have been avoiding posting lately because last week(s) has been incredibly stressful. I guess it's always like this around the end of the semester. Students have a glazed look on their faces, ask the same questions over and over (but not because they are being silly), and look physically depressed when you describe a major assignment. They are thinking, "Not another one!" I try to explain to them that it's the worst time in the semester because all major assignments are due at roughly the same time, but it's not because their teachers are malicious. It's just because that's the nature of school--you build on something, then you test on it or you produce it. But almost nothing I can say to them will calm them down; they are almost beyond that point.

This isn't helped by the fact that I am almost beyond that point. There are so many things demanding my attention right now that I am reduced to a blubbering mass of tension, manifested in eyelid ticks and illegitimate word substitution. But I try not to show this to my classes; I joke around; I have a fun time; I am calm. This is very stressful to have to pretend I am not walking a fine line, emotionally.

One of the things that has weighed most heavily on me is my upcoming eye surgery. I am getting LASIK surgery on my very poor eyes tomorrow (!). Don't get excited; I don't have the money at all. My Dad is paying for it; he approves of surgeries. Anyway, my eyes are pretty important to me, and of course I have anxiety about the surgery, even though I keep telling myself it will go fine. But I've made it worse for myself by getting the surgery done in Houston (half price!), which is 6 hours drive from my home in the Valley. So this weekend, the only long weekend left in the semester, I have had to drive *home* (here I am, in Houston), rest, will prep for the surgery, get it done, drive home Sunday, face another nightmarish week of classes, drive to Austin on Thursday, read at the Austin International Poetry Festival, miss class on Friday, drive from Houston to Austin (3 hours) for my eye check up, go back to the festival, read again on Saturday, play with friends in Austin, buy some books (must have: new Jeff Clark, new L B-B, Court Green, Nils's new book), drive back to the Valley on Sunday.

If this seems like a really dumb schedule, it is necessary because I have no other time to do the surgery, unless I want to wait until late summer (which seems like a pretty good idea right now). A week after graduation (mandatory attendance), I am going to NYC for a week with Lance, my mom, and my sister (and see Caeli while I am there!). A week after I get back, I am hopefully going to Saint Petersburg for the Summer Literary Seminars. I have been offered a partial scholarship to attend, but it's another thing I truly cannot afford. Perhaps I should allow myself to go further into debt. I really want to go. I am worried my dog will die while I am gone (I feel your pain, Catfu!). Anyway, I can't get surgery and get on an airplane for a month or so after it (something about the nasty air encouraging infections of the eye). So here I am.

I wish I had the pre-commitment clarity to see how much of a jackass I am for doing this to myself. Right now, the simple solution to the surgery would have been to wait until the end of summer. But this only occurs to me after writing about it, so perhaps I should write everything out whenever I have a big decision(s) to make, and that will help me reach the best conclusion. It's better on paper than in your head. Writing will be my salvation. Hear here!

Although I have been avoiding writing lately (especially writing poetry!), I have been more or less keeping up with some of the exciting posts of late: Nick's *moving* chronicles, which I sympathize with; Jim's speech of 2/15/03, which inspires me; Stephanie's April Fool's Day quest for THE name for her new press (how about: Who's Your Daddy Press or feelingluckypunk? Press or perhaps just Punk Press), which moved me to actually respond by posting in the comment box; Chris's irrepressible and awesomely dependable recent manic bits of information and of poetry, which befuddle and delight. There's more, but I forgot. Also various genius South Park episodes, such as the recent ones on J.Lo. and on The Passion, which seem to fit so beautifully in my head and let me know that I am not along in the world--South Park is not a blog, but it makes me happy like a blog does (maybe expect for last night's yucky one with the gore, which amused me but didn't appeal,-- and maybe except for some big blog fights that I missed entriely and that have been so rudely stricken from existence. Hey, I already have some kind of problem with technology; the idea of someone erasing something that's *published* is very disturbing. Let's stop doing this, okay?). I also forgot everything I had to say along with this--responses to other's posts, perhaps--or my own ideas. I have been keeping a running blog in my head, but haven't had time to type it. All those wasted posts! Where is my voice-recording device!

Also, I have this fear (an obvious one) that my surgery might raise the risk of blindness, and after reading Shanna's painful concerns about possibly losing her sight, I am humbled by this and by the blind in general (although one is always humbled by those who achieve). I have been made to practice blindness a little bit myself. I have to administer a drop of antibiotics in my eyes four times a day in preparation for my surgery, and each dose presents some interesting problems. I have to wash my hands immediately before; I have to not touch anything but the dropper bottle; I have to tilt my head back; I have to make a small pouch with my lower eye lid; I have to squeeze one drop into each eye; I have to close the eyes immediately; I have to exert mild pressure on my inner corners of my closed eyelids (to keep the medicine from escaping there); my eyes must remain closed for one or two minutes (which one?); I have to count the seconds because I can't look at a watch; I sometimes don't count the seconds and simply guess.

I have performed this task with the many steps in several different locations as accorded by my schedule: the restroom in my office building at work; a public restroom stall at a gas station on the side of the road on the way to Houston; the empty bathtub at my Mom's house. Because I have to keep my eyes closed for a while and can?t do much else, I have been interested in experimenting with this to accommodate my previously very busy schedule. I had to leave class yesterday immediately after it was over and couldn't stop at home before driving to Houston so that I would make it to my appointment. So I had to put in the drops at the gas station. Lance and I worked out a system where I put the dropper vial in my mouth, washed my hands, didn't touch anything, walked into an empty stall, tilted my head back, followed the above steps, and with my eyes closed, closed the door, dropped my pants, sat down on the toilet, and went to the bathroom. Having to break things down into categories of what I can and can't do with my eyes closed. Going to the bathroom is one of the former.

The bathtub experience was even more interesting. I took my clothes off, washed my hands, dropped in the drops, closed my eyes, searched for the vial cap on the counter where I had left it, found it, closed the vial, felt my way to the tub, crouched in the tub, ran the water until it was hot, turned off the water, closed the stopper on the tub, felt the bottom of the cold tub with my hand for ferrets, sat down in the cold tub, felt a furry ferret against my arm at the rim of the tub and flinched in fright, but relaxed upon realizing it was a ferret and not (what?), turned on the water and splashed in it as the warm water began to fill the tub.

And after that I felt the entire world opening up around me. I wasn't in my mom's tub anymore at the house I grew up in. I lacked my primary sensory information receptors but was enveloped in warmth and smells of mint and the musky smell of ferrets and the knowledge of the existence of ferrets and not much else. I perceived that I could be anywhere. The world had never felt so big before. My thoughts immediately jumped to a clearer understanding of the end of Raymond Carver's "Cathedral."

Anyway, that took a long time, but that's what I really wanted to say today.

Powered by Blogger