Friday, April 04, 2008

Leading up to my birthday...

Life's been exhausting lately. Not just for me, but for Lou Ryan and Violet, who (as you may recall from last post) was feeling poopy for a while.

sotired It snowed last weekend. A lot. The biggest, wettest flakes I've ever seen in Washington were coming down like crazy - it was almost as drenching as an Ohio rainstorm! I took this picture last Saturday night, just before I trudged out to a nearby store.

wetsnow See that wet pavement? That's a half-inch of chunky icewater. I splashed through it all the way to the store. Why? Because toilet paper is just that important. And yes, I was soaking wet before I even got there. When I made it home I put my clothes in front of the electric heater (that horrible thing we're not supposed to have here), but Lou Ryan somehow wound up picking them up and burying them under the pile of Future Closet Items on the couch.

The next day, I had things to do and was wondering where my clothes were - which I had assumed had dried out in front of the heater all night. Meanwhile, he was sitting on the couch and just happened to touch one of the pant legs sticking out from under the pile. He exclaimed; "Br! Something is very cold right here!"

Ah, my wet clothes! They didn't get dry at all! That's why they were wet! Indeed; burying soaking wet clothes is not conducive to their drying. Keep that in mind. As if you need to know. Then again, not everyone does: When I was eleven there was this moronic guy who was wrong about all kinds of stuff and didn't believe me when I told him he was wrong unless an adult later backed me up.

One sunny day outdoors, something of his got wet so he put it on the ground to dry, then covered it with a baseball glove. I asked him why and he said, "Covering wet things helps them dry off." He didn't believe me when I told him he was wrong, but luckily an adult said the same thing, so he was forced to believe me. Ah, the people in the world!

Anyway, I was very busy on Sunday and didn't get un-busy until four - which was when the gym closed. So, Lou and I decided to go jogging and kick the soccer ball around some. (On grass, of course, not pavement, because we'd like to keep our knees, thanks!) Unfortunately, it was snowing again. Even harder. And it was very wet, though somehow also so cold it didn't melt when it hit the ground.

Despite the fact that my feet were soaking wet from kicking the ball and from the mounds of snow on the grass, I was pretty warm. Curiously, though, I had to stop jogging when the wind hit my eyes. They stung so sharply that I was getting images of hooks pulling my eyeballs out! Why? I've thought about that and decided that the pain must have been giving me flashbacks of being tortured. (Luckily I still have my eyeballs, as it went.)

It was so traumatic that I felt like screaming in horror, but I didn't show it because I thought just how retarded the whole thing was. Screaming about nonexistent hooks in my eyeballs? Come on! I'm not about to give into that crap! Nevertheless, there were giant flakes coming down so thickly they were hard to see through, sticking to my face, and now there was wind blowing on them! I was practically blinded!

In this way, the scenery was able to sneak over and beat me up - there I was, tripping on unexpected dips, slipping on slushy grass, and running into things. I was also having trouble breathing all the mucus and icewater that had accumulated in my respiratory tract, which tends to induce tons of coughing and nose-blowing.

I couldn't stay out there any longer, I reasoned, because my very damp and stinging eyes would surely get frostbitten if I kept trying to open them in the icy wind. I tried calling out to Lou, but he was so far ahead he didn't hear my bubbling, inundated voice. My eyes really hurt!

Believing that I would be in an emergency situation if I didn't jog straight back to the apartment house to get warm (involving knocking on someone's door to ask for some warm air, which would be utterly humiliating to me), I left for home immediately.

On the way, I found that jogging on the sidewalk with your eyes closed is not a good idea. First, you'll whack your elbow against someone's mailbox and then slam yourself into the side of a parked car so hard that you spin around, fall down and crack your head against a decorative boulder. Trust me. I've tried it.

Why not walk instead of run? Because; a) I was desperate to get back inside as soon as possible and; b) walking doesn't keep me warm when I'm drenched and not wearing a coat, and I was drenched and not wearing a coat! Luckily, streets - and businesses and public institutions - are deserted whenever it snows in western Washington because the locals don't know how to deal with it.

So, I wound up jogging in the middle of the street where there wasn't anything to hit or any uneven ground to trip me up. It was so wet that each step made a huge splash, and squinting my now cold-numbed eyes away from the air rushing past me I saw that I'd left an ice filled wake behind me on the road. No matter - both pairs of pants I was wearing were already soaked all the way through.

Finally, I showed up at the apartment house. Even though I didn't have the keys, it sure was better than being outside! By the time I had cleared all the slush off my body and was regaining the feeling in my eyeballs by pressing my hot hands against them - yes, they were hot despite my not wearing gloves - Lou returned.

He was kind of pissed that I'd just disappeared and didn't tell him. (I would have if I'd had my cell phone with me, but I left it in my coat which as you'll recall I wasn't wearing.) I was really sorry. Still, as my eyes stopped aching from the cold, we were both so tired we slept from five in the afternoon to nine at night.

Sunday also happened to be First Day of Spring Quarter's Eve, and I had to get up early in the morning lest I disgrace myself and miss something important on my first day of anthropology class.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get back to sleep because - being less tired than I had been - the simpler parts of my brain were more concerned by a gas leak near my head that often kept me up at night. It had been there since we moved in, actually, but I didn't notice it as the carpet was full of the smell of t-butyl mercaptan (the yicky-smelling stuff in natural gas).

Why? Evidently, the person who lived there before had let themselves be bullied by the slumlord to the point where they submitted to use the stovetop burners as a furnace (because the oven doesn't work) and that really stinks up the room after a while.

The mercaptan smell seemed to go away, but more and more I noticed that it was still pretty strong around the head of my bed. ...Right around the remains of a defunct furnace even nastier and older than the one we'd used as a 'Holiday Tree' stand in our old apartment.

I didn't even mention it before, probably because it was buried under a bunch of our stuff when we moved in. Even so, it was considered a non-furnace because it didn't have a flue, which in case you didn't realize, results in the death of every living thing in the room if the furnace is used. A scary thought. No indeed, the stovetop was our only 'official recommended' heat source.

At first, Lou thought I must be crazy, but eventually he was able to smell the mercaptan if he leaned over top of me and concentrated really hard. Alright, answer me this; how is it that you can be kept up all night by a nauseating gas leak right in your face, but the person lying next to you can't smell it at all? Hello?

Eventually I could tolerate it no more, drank a bunch of booze, covered my head with a blanket, and fell asleep before I felt too suffocated to take the blanket off. After my two hours of sleep, I was roused into a zombie-like state (similar to Ohio), which my Anthropology and Botany instructors were nevertheless glad to meet.

When I got home, Lou Ryan and a public utility guy were over to get rid of the non-furnace and seal off the gas pipe. Boy, was I excited! So was Violet, because she thought she'd found a nice new ambush spot - until they moved the non-furnace out!

gasleakaverted Hooray! And I got to clean up the mess I couldn't reach back there before! Nas-teeee!

On the second day of school, which was Anthropology and Music, the sun shone! Unfortunately, I didn't feel so sunny myself. I felt sooo tired. And it wasn't just my lack of sleep. When I went to the gym, I had to stop working out after 25 minutes because my arms and legs were shaking and I felt extremely weak. I went home and took a nap.

The next thing I did was...

violetexploring ...take the Leashcats Exploring!

letsgosomewhereelse Violet was so happy not to be cooped up anymore - and finally she could climb to a decent height!

afterthebarkingcrow Vada, on the other hand, has gotten progressively less and less thrilled with these little outdoor trips, even though she meows at the door. She actually runs from the leash now - just as she runs from anyone trying to pet her.

vadaisstillunresponsive Mainly, she just sits there when her harness is on. I don't get it! I think she just hates the harness and leash that much. But, I don't dare let her off of it anymore no matter how much she enjoys it because last time she started running around and playing with Violet, went straight up a tree and was too scared to come down again!

That's the thing about discomfort. Pain doesn't bother me so much, but other things have generally been overwhelming in my life. Same thing with Vada. She has always had a hard time with harnesses and people touching her. I don't know why, but she doesn't like it. (Violet, on the other hand, is always pawing at my shirt because she wants to crawl inside with me!)

In fact, Lou Ryan had a talk with me about my own sensory irritability and how my tactile sense distracts me from considering other people's feelings. Like when I was panicking about my cold eyeballs (I could practically feel cold metal piercing them because that's what it reminded me of!) I was thinking about avoiding the humiliation of knocking on someone's door and asking if I could come in and get warm. I wasn't considering his feelings at all, was I?

I could have continued blundering after him to tell him that I needed to go home, but no, I didn't even try because that was interfering with my plans - to race home before I couldn't take it anymore! I also could have, if I'd realized why it was bothering me so much, tried thinking about something other than metal hooks scraping the cold and stinging insides of my eye sockets, thus avoiding a wave of anxiety.

Can you tell I'm not a very good decision-maker when my senses and emotional triggers cloud my rationality? Lou also brought up a couple other things I'd done but didn't realize they even bothered him because he didn't tell me. Like for example, a couple days before I made him wait 20 minutes to cuddle with me while I was busy frantically shoving my loose tooth back into place before it falls out.

Sure, like it's actually going to fall out! It only feels that way, and I shouldn't let it bother me. It can wait, you know? And maybe, when my tooth audibly pops out of place - I can hear it through my skull - I ought to stop thinking about having my jaws cut into (like I actually did have when I was being tortured).

Honestly, while I was aware that my traumatic past has tended to affect my concentration, I had only recognized this concerning thoughts about my crazy dad. Any little thing, imagined or real, would set him after me and there was never any way to talk myself out of his delusions.

For years after he was gone, I still imagined him baselessly criticizing me for any type of thing I would anticipate him criticizing me for, and myself unable to tell him off: Even in my present, coherent state I don't think I could make him stop griping at me for completing a simple action like opening or shutting a door, or using a spoon, or doing nothing at all!

I'm serious. He was just impossible to deal with! On the other hand, I never thought that the whole 'being tortured' thing really affected me that way. I guess that's because certain kinds of pain happen sometimes while normal everyday actions happen constantly.

Though I was eventually able to turn the tides bearing a nonstop flow of imaginary criticism, the whole 'thinking about torture' thing wasn't really in my awareness, and I was glad to keep it that way, seeing as I don't like pain. (I mean, come on, when your fingers get cold, do you enjoy picturing your fingernails being ripped off?)

On the other hand, though I'm generally aware of myself enough to not slam my head in the car door like I used to all the time, I'm still absent-minded enough to let go of a pneumatic door at just the right time to slam into Lou. Not looking behind me while walking through these doors, however, I did not realize that I still did this. In fact, at school I always make sure I don't do that to people!

Realizing this has been a big step - at first I was like, "Damn! Just when I thought I had pulled myself together and now this happens! I had no idea I was this messed up! I'm not fine at all!" But now I'm thrilled to have found it out because by now I've almost gotten it completely under control!

The lesson of all this rambling is that sure, I've always been aware that letting fear control you and not being aware of some aspect of yourself can make anyone act selfish and inconsiderate, but there are so many ways in which this applies that I haven't thought of them all.

There's another lesson, too: Shut up about this crap and go do something productive! People will start thinking that maybe you're a freak! ;) Heh heh! *puts on aluminum foil helmet*


Cara said...

Hi SEEquine!

Sorry to hear about your weather woes.

That last picture is breathtakingly beautiful. Me like!



Simon Sterwin said...

This was a great post.

And I am deeply excited by the thought of you in your aluminium foil helmet.

Galtron said...

Thoughts whilst reading throughout the post:

Don't you know, Spoony? You never close your eyes when running because that's when the scenery realizes you're most vulnerable for it to *get* you!

OH MY GOD! You've been living with a GAS LEAK all this time? That's scary.

Cara obviously stopped reading in the story of your hooks in eyeballs thing OH MY GOD A GAS LEAK IN YOUR FACE? I think that's more of a problem than weather.

The next thing I did was...

My first thought was 'give the cat a proctological exam?' (Look at the picture!)

Methinks Cara definitely stopped reading before going all the way through. Weather woes?
Didn't you say that incident was all about letting fear and stuff control you?
` Though that would freak me out, to be honest. Next time you go jogging when it's raining slush, I suggest wearing goggles!

And don't think of hooks in eyeballs.

Don't think of hooks in eyeballs.

Need I tell you again?

Don't think of hooks in eyeballs.

Or slam your head in a car door.

Galtron said...

P.S. My new sig is


of doom!

S E E Quine said...

` Really, Cara? You like that last picture? I'll keep that in mind: Dramatic lighting is what can be done to make vacant-looking animals stop looking silly!

` Oh, Simon! I just love the way you say 'aluminium'. It's so... it's so... correct! That's just one more thing American men are lacking.

` Wow, Galtron... of doom... have you been doing drugs again?
` Thanks for the advice; scenery will get me with my eyes closed. Got it.
` I see your affliction is picking up. Are you coming over to 'the dark side'?

Cara said...

Oh yes indeedy I love that last picture and am thinking of posting a copy of it on my blog (I will ask your permission of course).

Something about the tranquility in the blue eyes of that cat made my heart skip a beat. Lush.



S E E Quine said...

` Tranquility? Are you sure you don't mean 'blankness' or 'strabismus'?
` Sure, use the pic if you like. Maybe even link that to Cattain Niyu and Lieutenant Myeer's web page, which will be growing again soon.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Spring will be with you soon! Alex and I have been enjoying warm, spring days—at least until today. At the moment Alex is napping under the high intensity lamp on my desk. I think it’s the warmest place around.

S E E Quine said...

` Smart cat! Today up here it was 76 degrees!

angel said...

sheesh... snow! that picture even looks cold!

such beautiful cats seequine...

S E E Quine said...

` Thanks. They are beauties. Fortunately, the weather is warming up once again - not long ago it was 76 degrees Fahrenheit (or 24 C)!