Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A short yarn

I want to be hibernating. This is the time of year to hibernate. Yes, I live in California, but the northern bit of it. It gets dark before five p.m. That means hibernation.

But, no such luck. I must muster out of bed in the dark of the a.m. and make my way to work, then home again home again in the deep dark of a winter's eve. Normally, the bus commute is reading time. But when it's dark outside, my stomach lurches by the second block, and by the third I'm reaching for the bell, sweat pouring down my face and hands a-tremble.

So reading's out.

Somehow, though, knitting is fine. I can look up often enough to see where we're going, no sweats, no trembling, no dry heaves into the lap of my neighbor.

Tonight I pull my knitting from my bag as soon as I'm seated. I'm practiced at this by now, removing the stoppers from my needles, checking my pattern to see where I am, I settle the whole works in my lap, when I see my yarn isn't where it should be.

The red ball of yarn has escaped from my bag, and now it rolls quietly down the aisle of the bus.

The bus is in motion, my hands are full, the ball rolls, playing out the line that leads all the way back to my needles. I'm sitting near the back, and all I can do is watch its progress. It rolls neatly ahead, then dips to the side as the bus turns, then out again into the aisle, passengers one by one taking note as it passes, it's pointless to chase it down while we're moving: the yarn is nimble and light, I am an ox carrying panniers of water.

It rolls all the way to the front, at last coming to rest against a passenger's foot. It nudges at her instep like a kitten, but she doesn't see, doesn't feel its soft insistence until I rustle, lumber, clank to retrieve my prodigal yarn.

I murmur a sorry as I brush against her shoe to pick up my rebellious red ball, then scurry back to my place.

No - I correct myself: I murmur a sorry, barely holding in the guffaws that inflate my cheeks. I'm laughing, all the way, I'm delighted, and as I pass, the other passengers look up and into my eyes and share the joke.

I resume my seat, the whole bus shaking with silent laughter, those invisible walls between stranger and stranger dissolved for a moment, and I'm glad, finally, that I emerged from my cave today.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This is my brain

According to credible reports, I am still here.

Not only that, my brain demonstrates no evidence for intraparenchymal signal abnormality.

The major intracranial signal voids are demonstrated, and the sagittal midline image demonstrates no evidence for pituitary mass or cerebellar tonsilar herniation.

To cap it all off, my ventricles and my sulci are age appropriate.

So I don't want to hear any more jokes about my immature sulci. Got it?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Do I know you

He's just across the street from me as I'm waiting for the bus. He's focused intently on something in the gutter. He reaches both hands for it, carefully, stooping down, he scoops at empty air, gently gently handling nothing, bringing nothing close to his chest, cradling nothing tenderly, he steps around in a circle, letting nothing go, he begins all over again.

I can't take my eyes off him. What does he see? What is he holding with such delicacy? His hair hangs down over his face, I can't read his expression, but he performs these actions over and over, with variations: now he is cradling with both hands, now one hand holds while the other supports - what - a baby's head? Is he rescuing babies in the street? Or kittens?

Or something else, something of inestimable value? Something I can't - with all my busy-ness - begin to imagine?

He shakes his hair back, and I see his face for a few seconds. He smiles at whatever he holds. He looks like Viggo Mortensen, dirty face, long hair, beard. But his beard is trimmed. He wears a clean corduroy jacket - if slightly worn at the elbows - clean khakis. As he steps around in his turn, I see a wallet in his back pocket.

Who was he, before his doors of perception were thrown open, when he could tell the difference between the world Out There and the world In Here?

My bus comes, and I get on. It's time for me to be back at work, but I turn in my seat and watch him as we pull away. Do I know you?, I think. Do I know you?