Oof. Doesn’t it suck to have Christmas right after the semester is over? Ideally I’d have about a week of ‘Quil Time and writing to recharge between the two, but instead I essentially had to finish my schoolwork and immediately start Doing Holidays. I spent the night before I left cleaning my apartment, so that if the plane falls out of the sky and I die, whoever goes through my things won’t judge me too harshly.
I don’t handle flight well. I don’t really believe in the science behind it, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve really grown to fear being a victim in a group tragedy. Can you imagine Meg, my parents, and Giant Camel at a candlelight vigil for me, swaying? I can, and it’s not rosy:
Meg: “Look! Evie’s holding a candle! Eeeeeevie. Sleeeeevie. Eeeeeevers.”
Mom: “Oh, you think it sucks so much being dead? Try staying behind and having to hear about how this tragedy drew the community together.”
Dad: “God, this is an awful crowd. Why is everyone rocking gently? This is profoundly uncomfortable.”
Giant Camel: “Where is the beer guy? Don’t they come around at these?”
So therefore, I like to “Xan out” on airplanes. It’s a matter of delicate timing to take the right amount of Xanax at the right time so that you pass out directly after fastening your seatbelt. I’ve gotten pretty sharp at it over the years, although I’m less precise about taking an amount that will wear off over the course of the flight. I’m the calmest person you’ve ever seen at a baggage claim.
Overall it was a very nice and not terribly bloggable Christmas.
Except for the purse.
My mother’s principal gift to me this year… was a purse. Not a “murse,” not a man-bag, not a billfold. A straight-up woman’s purse in a “Lucy and Ethel” print.
Did you know that shock looks a lot like gratitude? I was staring, open-mouthed, at my Christmas Lucy Purse, and she just burbled away: “Oh, I knew you’d like it. It has Lucy on it.”
So, I have a purse, now. I’ll be carrying it through Kensington later.
Anyway, purse aside, it was a nice reasonable Christmas with few crises. I went to San Francisco for New Year’s, which was nice. I bought a ring with a human tooth set in it which I proceeded to leave in California, but it’s the whizz of a ring. I’m itching to get into a fight and sock someone with it, once it gets mailed to me.
I also tried two hippie-dippy thing I assumed I’d hate: “candlelight yoga,” and an oxygen bar. The yoga was much better than I’d feared – there was a lot of “breathe in the good vibes” and “om”ing, which I refuse to do. I’m about as Buddhist as I am telekinetic, and I think it’s rude and silly to “om” in that context. I don’t expect Buddhists who to preface games of cricket or bouts of emotional repression with the phrase “according to the ancient rites of the Church of England,” and I’m not going to “om” at yoga. Doesn’t that seem almost sarcastic and hipster to do, to essentially throw in part of someone else’s religion as a PS to the exercise I’m doing, frankly, so that if we do book signing I’ll get attention from men instead of pity from women?
Aside from the “om” fiasco, I did like it. It’s exercise that isn’t particularly fast, and I could do it in the semi-darkness, without other people looking at me with that “Oh, You’re New At The Gym” face. You’ve seen it. It’s pity and disgust, but they stretch their lips and claim it’s a smile? It’s the same face you get at the grocery store when you pay in nickels. The instructor knew I was new, so he helped me, which was kind but beyond emasculating. As the class went on, he bought me two foam blocks, a blanket, and a bolster to support and cushion various parts of my body as I went along. I was FAR more heavily padded than the pregnant lady. If the class hadn’t ended when it did, I have no doubt that he would have fed me with an eye-dropper and put me on antibiotics.
Now, this is disgusting, but the yoga helped me “fix” something. I had a painful, swollen lymph node under my arm, and I did not feel like caring about it. I talk about bowel movements because they’re a rich vein of humor – some comics work blue, some work brown – but otherwise I don’t care to talk about health or the body. I think it’s low-class to talk about health, to hurry, or to wear short-sleeved shirts with ties, and I don’t do any of them if I can avoid it. I had essentially decided to go ahead and die of cancer rather than have my doctor gently feel my armpit, make a concerned face, gently feel my armpit, then order some tests. If I wanted a cheerful Irishwoman to prod around in my various creases, I would have arranged my life very, very differently. Nevertheless, some pulling or stretching or “good vibes” thing I did during yoga unblocked that lymph node. It was… decidedly unsettling to feel the… interior drainage, but I did feel better afterwards. Revolted, but better.
The oxygen bar was less of a thrill. I met up with an old friend from high school – we’ll call him “Alberto,” because that’s his name – and we ran across an oxygen bar. I’ve always wanted to try one because I’m convinced they’re bullshit. A healthy person’s blood is generally 99% or so saturated with oxygen from air, so somehow I don’t think sucking gently flavored oxygen out of a tube changes it much.
TC: “Oh, look, an oxygen bar.”
Alberto: “I’m glad you can read. Don’t slow down, they’ll see us.”
TC: “Let’s go in! Don’t you want some oxygen?”
Alberto: “You know what? I do.” Inhales “Oh, gosh-a-mighty, I feel like a million bucks now. Let’s go.”
TC: “I’ll pay for you to go. Come on. It’ll be fun.”
Alberto: “I bet not.”
TC: “Don’t you actors have some ‘method’ that involves doing all the dumb shit you can so you ‘experience life’ and… inhabit the character, or some queer shit like that?”
Alberto: “Yeah, more or less, although that doesn’t explain why you want to do it.”
TC: “Well as a writer I need to gather experiences so that my characters…”
Alberto: “You write a blog about your bowels and your friend’s cat. It doesn’t have any characters except Kevin Yang.”
TC: “HE’S REAL. WE’RE IN LOVE. HE SENT ME FLOWERS.”
So, ultimately, we hooked up to the oxygen machines and spent 25 or so minutes watching the hippie lady who ran it “encourage her child’s free spirit” by letting her make noise until she got tired of making noise, then make a mess. The hippie lady was far more of a trip than the flavored oxygen because she thinks she can fly. She plans to convene 100,000 didgeridoos, and 1000 drums, and 1000 something elses, and fly on the vibrations. She’s making her wings now.
Now… not to be an asshole (“Too late,” I hear you cry), but… surely even hippies aren’t that altruistic?
“Yeah, we’re all going to get together so this one dame can fly.” I don’t want to owe 102,000 people a favor. She sent us – specifically us, presumably not a lot of people leave their addresses – an email about “sending healing vibes to Haiti on the anniversary of the quake.” Which is very nice, but… wouldn’t you rather have the cash? After all, “vibrations” are what caused this whole problem, and California is on a fault line…
Yeah, so anyway, the oxygen didn’t do anything except condense a lot of water in my nose, despite having the “invigorating” flavor of eucalyptus. We were invited to “take the nosepieces home,” which requires a deeper lust for souvenirs than I have.
“And to my cousin’s daughter, I leave this canula, which I used at an oxygen bar in 2011…”
Anyway, I left Cali-for-ni-a for DC, where Meggles and I had an INTENSE writing weekend, which really deserves its own post. Our twitter followers got a taste of it (@2birds1blog @TulaneChris69), but it’ll take a whole post to really elucidate how wonderful, how unearthly, how phenomenal Meg’s Maya Angelou impression really is.