I was born jaundice – some kind of issue with blood incompatibility and got to hang out under those wicked baby sun-tan lights for awhile (I hope my mother was sensible enough to give me some wee baby Ray Bans) before I got to go home and annoy the shit out of my family with my lilting wails.
At my six-week well-baby checkup, I had an ear infection.
It’s been like that ever since. Excepting the Ray Bans – never owned a pair. And I stopped crying and started yelling – it’s more effective.
Wailing non-withstanding, I’m the Sick One around these here parts. I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t something wrong with me*. I was plagued by ear infections as a tot. When I grew out of those, it became strep throat – which I had at least once every three weeks until I turned 14 and got my tonsils out (this was back in the day when they didn’t put in ear tubes or lop out tonsils very often). By the time those puppies came out, they were necrotic – er….dead. Like for reals.
You’d think that by lopping off my dead tonsils, I’d somehow get an immune system – I mean, why else would you go through that particular type of agony?
I try not to talk about my shitballs immune system very often, because the conversation invariably goes like this:
Anyone Else: “How are you?”
Aunt Becky: “UGH. I’m sick.”
Anyone Else: “AGAIN?”
Aunt Becky: “No, I mean I’m STILL sick from the last time I told you I was sick.”
Anyone Else: “Wait – that was like 6 months ago.”
Aunt Becky: “Yup.”
Anyone Else: “How are you?”
Aunt Becky: “Sick.”
Anyone Else: “You should try standing on your head 18 hours a day – my friend’s friend’s barber’s wife did that and she’s feeling better than ever.”
I get a couple of days a month that I’m in decent shape, but most of the time, my walking, talking, breathing, pissing, moaning petri dishes of children bring me home whatever lovely virus is currently circulating around. I invariably catch it and am laid up for longer than anyone should be.
And you know what, Pranksters? It’s damn depressing. I *loathe* being sick. I’d gnaw off my ear if it meant that I’d grow an immune system.
Rather than sitting around moaning about it – it sucks, we all know it – I’m trying something new.
I took my happy crappy ass to the local health food store and picked up some motherfucking herbs and homeopathic shit. I figure, modern medicine isn’t doing a whole lot for me, I may as well try something else.
I’ve been drinking gallons of tea that tastes remarkably like garden clippings, downing all sorts of vitamins and supplements that make my pee electric yelor low, and trying to spend some time away from the computer. I’m one small toke away from bathing in Patchouli Oil while listening to my Grateful Dead LP’s.
So far? I’ve gotten a chest cold. And my pee is hilariously colored.
But I’m willing to try anything**.
So, Pranksters, give me your tips and tricks. Tell me all about the weird shit you do to keep healthy.
Should I bathe in the blood of vestal virgins (assuming I know what “vestal” means, because I don’t)? Should I sacrifice some goats? Find a voodoo priestess to take this curse from me? Sleep with a raw egg under my bed? Perform some weird black magic to get this evil eye off my fucking back?
*BESIDES my sanity, naturally. That’s been gone for years.
**I will not renege on my New Years Resolution to “not become Lil Wayne” even if it means I’ll be healthier. Probably.
I remember when I got a pager. The thing was gold, tiny, and worn by a nice white suburban girl who was all Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangster. I think it increased my street cred by at least -37 points. (those are NEGATIVE points, yo). If the thing played music, it’d have chosen with, “Up Town Girl.” It was THAT cliche.
Apparently, I’ll never be, “Becky From Tha Block.” Which is prolly good – I don’t want J Lo or Jennifer Lopez or whatever her name is now to be all, “bitch you be stealing mah shit,” as she smacked me in the face with stacks of fat cash. This is how I envision it – I’d probably just get a cease/desist letter from her lawyers, which, SO not fun.
Anyway, back when I got the pager, my friends would page me and I’d have to scramble to find 35 cents to call them back (like I was ever HOME or anything) Usually this was our conversation:
Aunt Becky: “Hey, what up fool?”
My Friend: “What up, stinky-butt?”
Aunt Becky: “Whatcha doing?”
My Friend: “Nothing. Wanna hang out?”
Aunt Becky: “Sure! I’m doing XYZ – come join us.”
My Friend: “Only if we can go whip donuts at old people.*”
Aunt Becky: “Whaaa? Okay.”
Then we’d scamper off into the night, merrily pranking our way through life.
I proudly showed it to my mom one day. And by “proudly” I mean that I said, “hey, can you pull over? I gotta make a call.”
She shook her head as she pulled over and allowed me to make my very unimportant call. When I popped back into the car, she sighed deeply and said, “I don’t know why you do that.”
My mother, always oblique, confused me, so I waited for her to go on. I knew a rant was a-brewing.
“You’ve gotten this thing that connects you to the world – why the hell would you want that? Don’t you want times of your life where you’re unreachable?”
No, no I didn’t. And I told her as much.
She shook her head, “Someday, you may feel differently.”
I was pretty sure she was full of shit. Until recently. Recently, I’ve been kinda digging on the time I’m able to unplug. I’ve got just about every sort of social media outlet, just about every type of communication device you can think of – usually multiple accounts. Therein likes the beauty (read: rub) of being the founder of a site that staffs upwards of 100 volunteers (that would be The Band Back Together Project) – someone always needs me for something.
Generally it doesn’t bother me. I love what I do, I’m thrilled to do it, and I’m over-the-moon that I’ve found such an amazing group of people to work with. I know how blessed I am.
But damns, it hurts to say this.
(small voice) My mother was right.
(somewhere she’s rolling her eyes at me, feeling a smug sense of satisfaction)
There are times that I simply don’t want to be dealing with anything but whatever is directly in front of me.
The worst part? My mother was right BEFORE her time – BEFORE email became the standard method of communication. Before The Twitter expected that you reply to each! and! every! response!
Before the world became so fucking urgent.
Sometimes, it’s nice to stop and remember that life? It’s not always such Serious Business.
Sometimes – it’s worth it to stop and smell the tulips**.
*still don’t know what that means.
**I don’t think tulips smell. But DAMNS they’re pretty.
I’m not very good at relaxing. Those who know me best are sitting at their computers, nodding vehemently while (perhaps) shouting, “No shit, dumbass.” Even if I win at life*, I suck at relaxing.
When my life gets stressful, like it has been for the past few months, instead of doing the smart thing and taking a nice bath** or zoning out and watching some reruns of The Girls Next Door, I work. More. I take on more projects. I buy diseased plants from the nursery just to prove to myself that I can rehabilitate them. I add more pressure. When I feel that pressure? I add even more.
I actually DO own this orchid – and dozens more like it. They’re blooming right now. It’s gorgeous.
It’s a vicious cycle. It’s also how I get so much done.
Until I hit That Point. The point at which I realize I have so much on my plate that it’s going to smother me while I sleep like that pink goo from Ghostbusters II if I don’t watch out.
(I don’t imagine my pressure goo actually dances to that (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher song – I imagine my goo is into either thrash metal or Burt Bacharach or both)
It’s now the time of year in Chicago in which dead people vote, roads begin to get worked on, and everyone slithers out from their houses, all pasty, sluglike and squinting into the sun. We’ve not been outside unless it’s on the way to or from the car for the better part of four months, even after a winter as mild as the one we just had. We’re all a deathly shade of what I like to call, “Midwestern Pallor,” and we’ve, of course, forgotten how to be neighborly. After all, we’ve been hiding in our houses for months now – we’re just as likely to try to gnaw on our neighbors as we are to invite them for a BBQ. Our social skills have gone down the shitter.
But this weekend was one of the first genuinely nice weekends we’ve had in months that I didn’t feel like I was going to die from the flu or whatever. It was 80 degrees and sunny, though the chance for thunderstorms loomed large, they didn’t happen until nightfall.
I strapped on my ugly gauchos and an ill-fitting tank-top, noting my particular pallor was even more pronounced than normal, as I prepared to Tackle The Garden. If you’re read my blog before you will know two, maybe three things:
1) I love to garden. I also love hotdogs, the color blue, and Tom Jones.
B) The people who first owned the house went all bush-wild and added a fuckton of professionally landscaped – yet hideously fug 70′s style bushes. No, not vaginas. Although everything WAS a bush back then. The people who I bought the house from had let it all go to shit, so I’ve spent the better part of two kids and four years trying to hack the garden into submission.
3) I consider proper punctuation bullshit.
For the better part of two days, The Guy on my Couch and I tackled the garden. Mulching, seeding the lawn, bagging up refuse, watering, pulling weeds, training roses (sadly, not to shake or speak).
It was the best, most stress-relieving thing I’ve done in months. I’m reminded again of how much I need balance in my life. How much I need to stop, smell (or spray) the roses. How much better I feel after a good solid day’s worth of solid hard labor. How I need to remember that not everything is such! serious! business!
How I need to stop pushing and learn to breathe.
**No, I’m not 800 years old, I just know the value of a good bath. Oh shut your whore mouth