I last posted almost two months ago, which is devastating to realize. Where has the time gone? Who took my summer away? It feels like yesterday that it was May, and it was light outside in the evenings, and I still saw my friends regularly.
It hasn’t been a very nice summer. I had something like five hospitalizations (I’m losing track of exact dates at this point). I spent my birthday in hospital – and more than a week afterward, too. I used up a godawful amount of time at home pumping IV drugs into my arm on a schedule, or dealing with the tubing from a wound vac that, for the first two weeks, wouldn’t stop revving like a locomotive engine all day and night. I saw doctors and more doctors and then a few more doctors. I took a ton of antibiotics. I willingly became an amputee. I thought I was fixing problems, and they’ve only kept re-emerging in new and fun and fascinating ways.
Fuck you, MRSA. Fuck you hard.
Then, about six weeks ago, I found myself in the emergency room with a new and exciting and totally unrelated issue that led to unexpected intestinal surgery. And as much as I’d had a pretty rubbish summer up to that point, nothing prepared me to be knocked so completely flat on my back. I spent two weeks on a tube not eating or drinking anything, almost three weeks on major, addictive painkillers, and it was only about a week ago that my brain finally started to wake up and say, “Yes, I think we can begin to function normally again.”
Focus has been hard without a fully-functioning brain; reaction times have been poor, and the ability to multi-task? Basically non-existent. Don’t even talk to me about driving, something I usually love. I had to make the decision to give up three of my four classes for the semester, and all of my extra-curricular projects are on hold, too. I haven’t even been able to concentrate on reading a novel. So what has that left me with? Well, I’ve been watching nice, uncomplicated television (hello, Great British Bake-Off), sleeping, pumping more IV antibiotics into my arm (hooray!), sleeping, sitting on the porch, sleeping, eating easy-to-digest food, and – oh yes – sleeping. Do you know one of my least-favorite activities? Sleeping. C’mon, already. I’ll be dead soon enough.
Fuck you, entire year. What did you do with my life?
Something that always pisses me off are those little memes you see on social media where people willingly victimize themselves, usually under the guise of humor. Sometimes they even say it outright. “Why do I have to be an adult?” or, worse, the Buffy-style verbing of “I just don’t want to adult today.” Oh, come off it. In the most literal sense of the phrase: grow up. We all become adults – hopefully – and part of the badge of honor of being a grown-up is being able to deal with life and roll with the punches. For some of us, it’s not getting to sleep long enough, having obnoxious coworkers, and being unable to afford tickets to the Black-Eyed Peas. For some of us, it’s having two wound vacs, six weeks of IV meds, and a rotating set of doctor’s clinics that would make Kafka blush. And for some of us, it’s cancer, or lupus, or a car accident that causes complete lifestyle apple-cart turnover. All of these things are, to one degree or another, completely legitimate. I can guarantee you, though, that the people with cancer aren’t posting memes about “how hard it is to adult.” If anything, they’re posting about how nice it is to still be waking up in the morning.
My dad tells me that I must be doing better because I’ve regained the ability to be grouchy and bad-tempered. I’m recognizably myself again, apparently. (He’s probably right – I was extremely quiet and agreeable for a long time, there, chiefly through exhaustion. Very disturbing.) What he is perhaps missing is that my grumpy exterior is largely diversionary. I crab off (<—new term!) about little things to avoid being really frustrated by the big things outside of my control – and perhaps, as whiny as I think they are, that’s the point of those stupid little memes, too. (See how self-reflexive this is getting?) So now that I’ve had my own little whine – sorry, just have to get this in here: fuck you, everything else I’ve forgotten to curse up to this point – what am I going to bloody well do about it?
I feel like I keep looking into Nietzsche’s famous abyss, and it keeps cheerfully, even ebulliently, waving back. “Hey buddy!” it says, clad in a sparkling, sequin-covered suit, like someone out of Cabaret. “Come play with me! We will have such fun! We don’t need anyone else – ever! – and I can think of so many games for us to enjoy.” It wheedles, and it charms, and it tries to distract me with shiny, pretty things.
Here’s a pretty thing, too – not a temptation from the dark side but a gift from a friend. As most people reading this blog would, I hope, recognize, it’s a “blue crystal” from “Metebelis III.” It’s charming, surprisingly lightweight, and I can already hear my mother bemoaning the lost shelf space. Perhaps more pertinently, it’s clearly meant to be a message: time to stop avoiding my life and get back to it. I guess that means I’m supposed to start blogging again.
The truth is, though, that I don’t feel much like blogging. I don’t think I’ve got much to say about the third Doctor and his James Bond-ian adventures right now; I couldn’t feel less Bond-ian if I tried. When did the third Doctor ever express anxiety, confusion or lack of confidence?
That’s right: he doesn’t. In fact, it’s a deliberate choice on Jon Pertwee’s part to play the role as upright and indomitable as he possibly can. Ultimately, that’s what makes his regeneration in “Planet of the Spiders” so affecting; it’s hard to watch this most Boy’s Own of heroes collapse to the ground, let alone die. Up to that point, though, Pertwee spends all of his time consciously Not Showing Weakness, even in publicity photographs. Hartnell’s Doctor looked like he was going to give up the ghost about every fourth episode. Troughton’s Doctor was the first (and for a long time, the only) one to express fear at the sight of the Daleks. Pertwee’s Doctor…well, this is a typical Pertwee reaction:
…Which looks, frankly, like my dad clowning around at Halloween. Or there’s this:
…Which implies that Mr. Pertwee didn’t see the bride beforehand.
Seriously, the man does not do fear. He’s too busy being amazing (at least, I think that’s what that’s supposed to translate as). He probably doesn’t even know what the abyss looks like – well, except for that one time he faced down a gymnast in a kabuki mask, obviously.
How do I keep writing? How do I keep going? Well, it’s really pretty simple: I don’t know. And as they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there (c.f. George Harrison, Lewis Carroll, and the Buddha, all of whom are pretty good guys to pay attention to). And whether I like it or not, the reality of the situation is that I have no clue where I’m going at the moment, and that feels anxious and uncertain. My family have gathered around me, though, and I’m out of immediate danger. It’s just more waiting and being careful – very, very careful. I have to bide my time, keep putting one wheel in front of another, and regain my ascendancy, bit by bit, day by day. I have to at least pretend to have the confidence to move forward.
Not all spiders sit on the back, you know.
So I guess it’s back to blogging. I’m not sure what I’ll have to say, or whether it’s worth saying, but we’ll see if I can’t work myself back into the groove. And who knows? Maybe it’ll be better than ever before. Maybe it will be deeply philosophical and revelatory.
Wait. Two months ago, I left off on “The Curse of Peladon.”
…”The Curse of Peladon,” everybody.