Health Scare in America

I had to see my doctor today. I was looking forward to it because I honestly like him and have had good consultations with him in the past.

To give you some background on this, I’ve been having some strange pain and fever lately. The pain is not the worst I’ve ever had—that would be a tie between when I had tears in my trachea and when I thought my appendix was about to burst—but let’s just say it’s distracting and, at times, consuming. Needless to say, I was a little concerned, particularly after a little internet research led me to believe I might have developed shingles.

I get to the doctor and am disappointed to discover that instead of the doctor, I’m seeing the physician’s assistant. She asked me to describe what was wrong and barely waited for my answers before firing off the next question. She poked my abdomen, knocked on it, and said, “You’re too young to have what I think you have…”

She made some notes and said, “Well, I don’t think you have shingles, but I’m going to treat you for it because it won’t hurt if you don’t.” She wrote out some prescriptions for me. She said, “There’s no reason for me to think you would have it…”

I said, “Well, I had chicken pox three times.”

She looked me right in the eye, steely, and said, “No, you didn’t.” Not in shock, but in a tone that suggested there’s no way in hell I had chicken pox three times. When the clock struck minute nine on the appointment, she vanished from the room, leaving me to get out on my own. A nine-minute appointment and half a diagnosis is what I got. Now maybe you can understand why I’m not enamored of her. And maybe why men hate going to see the doctor!

So now I’m home, still achey, not interested in having ANYTHING touch any part of the right side of my abdomen.

But wait, Charlie. Could this day get any worse?

I’m glad you asked! Yes. Yes, it could.

Because when I got my quick lunch from Whataburger, which I love, I started munching on the fries in the car. And when I got near the bottom—having eaten almost the whole thing—I discovered:

A PUBIC HAIR!

Thick, black, and curly, you can faintly see it in this on-the-spot camera phone shot, near the high side of the carton’s bottom. And the photo doesn’t do it justice because this looked like Rapunzel’s pubic hair, like some small insects were going to use it to climb out of the french fry box to freedom.

Thanks for listening.

It Finally Came Around to Me

After thirteen years of bona fide adulthood, seven years of consistent living in more or less what you would consider “the same place,” after watching countless friends and colleagues go through it, it finally happened to me:

I got my summons for jury duty in the mail earlier this week.

It’s not necessarily an invitation to participate, though. In Arizona, you are given a date upon which you must begin calling the courthouse to see if you will be required to come down and sit through the vetting process. To see if they event want to see if they want you.

Apparently, it involves a day of sitting and waiting, no reading, and having to watch some strange “civic duty” movie on a TV/VCR while you make time with your fellow citizens.

I feel a civic obligation to do my part as much as the next person, but I’m pretty sure my lifestyle just isn’t ideal for jury service: full time employment, a part-time at-home literary journal gig, extensive volunteering in the community, plus a nine-credit student course load for the term. A dog relying on me for love and nourishment. A boyfriend who can’t cook. Does it all make for a compelling argument to disenfranchise me from my civic responsibility?

Furthermore, is it ethical or not that the state is willing to pay me $40 a day to determine someone’s guilt or innocence?

Further Tales of the Shoe

It turns out I may not have ordered the Diesels online after all. After all that.

I checked my email, no receipt; my bank account didn’t show any shoe-related activity, either. I don’t know what happened, but apparently my purchase didn’t go through. I was pissed because I asked for 2nd day air and they hadn’t arrived by yesterday.

Then, when I googled the shoe, I couldn’t find anymore in red! I was shut out. My shoe had sailed. It was over.

On a whim, I got in the car and drove down to my local sporting goods store, which I think was a Sports Authority. I walked in and found a nice pair of on-sale New Balance shoes for the gym (because Sketchers also ruined the gym for me, too), and then I tried on Pumas, Nikes, and Adidas, until I settled on these:

Except they have black stripes.

They’re pretty comfortable! I like them. And they have a little Goodyear logo on them…maybe because I’m going to exceed the walking speed limit?

I still want another pair of shoes, but maybe I’ll wait until I get to New York this month to buy another.

Arden

Arden was attacked last night.

My boyfriend was walking her when one of his neighbor’s dogs—a vicious, snarling thing—started beating against the security door of his neighbor’s house. This dog has done this every time we’ve walked by since he moved in. The door wasn’t latched properly and after a few pushes, it sprung open and the dog made a beeline for Arden.

It bit her four times and, in the process of saving her, my boyfriend was also bitten. The dog attacked them for about a minute before the neighbor came running out, hysterical, and tackled the dog. “I’m so sorry,” she kept saying, “It’s my son’s dog and I’m taking care of it while he’s in prison. I don’t have any money.”

My boyfriend wrapped Arden up in a towel and called me in class to tell me what had happened. I left and we raced to the animal hospital.

She has one puncture on her back foot that bled so much it looked like her foot had been chewed off. Her thigh has an enormous double puncture wound in it that required staples to close, and she has two shallow bites on her flank.


The vet says my boyfriend’s quick thinking saved her. He grabbed the leash and held it up as high as he could so that her neck wasn’t exposed to the attacking dog.

Arden can’t walk today and is uncharacteristically quiet. I’ve got her on the couch next to me, wrapped in a blanket to keep her warm, and she’s sleeping and resting. I’ll be spending the day with her to help her recuperate.

I am completely and totally outraged that someone has a dog that would do this. It’s irresponsibile to even treat a dog so poorly that it reacts this way, and it’s even more irresopnsible to have a dog like that, not muzzle it, and then leave your goddamn door unlatched!

One in four did not read a book in 2006

WASHINGTON – There it sits on your night stand, that book you’ve meant to read for who knows how long but haven’t yet cracked open. Tonight, as you feel its stare from beneath that teetering pile of magazines, know one thing — you are not alone.

One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn’t read any, the usual number read was seven.

“I just get sleepy when I read,” said Richard Bustos of Dallas, a habit with which millions of Americans can doubtless identify. Bustos, a 34-year-old project manager for a telecommunications company, said he had not read any books in the last year and would rather spend time in his backyard pool.

That choice by Bustos and others is reflected in book sales, which have been flat in recent years and are expected to stay that way indefinitely. Analysts attribute the listlessness to competition from the Internet and other media, the unsteady economy and a well-established industry with limited opportunities for expansion.

When the Gallup poll asked in 2005 how many books people had at least started — a similar but not directly comparable question — the typical answer was five. That was down from 10 in 1999, but close to the 1990 response of six.

Verbosity.

I finished the first draft of my first short story in seven years. While I was in Vegas I started writing the second story, concerning one of the characters several years later. I know what happens to a third character in the future. I think he’s in this new story too. It takes place in (surprise) Vegas.

I can share my good news in, like, two days. I’m really excited about it. I was playing it cool before.

I went out in search of a lover yesterday—a particular lover. A pair of black Kenneth Cole Flex-a-bits. They look like this:

They feel like this:

I just tried to order them online and they are backstocked until October 10.