First there was the hearing, like when my 14-year-old niece commented on how loud I had the radio on (she thought I was cool, but I’m really just deaf). Then there was the eyesight, which went from “I need glasses to drive” to “I need glasses to watch TV” to “I need glasses to see who’s sitting across the room from me.” Then the ankle. I sprained my ankle climbing and couldn’t even step on it for three days. I had to roll around the house on my office chair until I got a pair of crutches. “Old age” Tanya said. “We’re getting old.” Now it’s allergies. Every time I sit on my couch I start sneezing. I’ve vacuumed the cat hair off of it and kicked the cats out of the bed. I even got allergy wipes for the cats. I wash the bed sheets every week and the comforters every month, and I’ve bought a lifetime supply of Claritin (well, really Walitin). Still sneezing. So last night I got on NationalAllergy.com and ordered dustmite covers for my mattress, box spring and pillows, anti-dust mite spray for the couch and anti-dust mite powder for the laundry. Did you know that most beds and couches and pillows have dust mites, microscopic bugs that eat your dead skin, then shit, and it’s dust mite shit most people are allergic to? Isn’t that disgusting? We’re all living not only with these gross bugs but their shit, too?
Monthly Archives: September 2005
After writing the last entry, I set down my computer and picked up my cell phone (still on silent). Two more missed calls from a private number. Carlos, stop calling me!
The other day I called my brother on his cell phone. Wrong number. I got a guy named Carlos, who doesn’t speak much English. “Sorry, I must have dialed the wrong number,” I told him. My brother had obviously changed his cell phone number. Carlos called me back, but I didn’t answer. I deleted my brother’s number from my phone so I wouldn’t accidentally answer Carlos’ calls, thinking it was my brother. Carlos called again, this time, private number. I told him again that I was sorry I dialed the wrong number. “Who are you?” he said. “What your name?” “Sorry, I dialed the wrong number,” I told him and hung up. He called back. I didn’t answer. He didn’t leave a message. He called again. I didnt answer. He didn’t leave a message. Two nights ago the phone rang at 3:45 a.m., 6:45 a.m. Carlos’ time. Then again two hours later, at 6 a.m. Last night I put my phone on silent and this morning there were two missed calls from a private number. Please stop calling me, Carlos. Por favor.
This isn’t new news. People have been losing their socks in the wash for decades. There are dozens of jokes about it, I’m sure. But three in one load? THREE? My three favorite pairs of socks came out of the wash last week without their mates. I lined them up on the chair in the bedroom and went downstairs to the dryer, thinking there must be another load that hadn’t yet been folded. Nothing. Empty washer; empty dryer. No socks in the floor and none in the hamper. I searched the bath towels, the kitchen towels, my underwear drawer. Nothing.
Maybe they’re stuck in some bedsheet in the hall closet and I’ll feel them under my skin the next time I change the sheets. Or maybe they’re just gone, into the void, like my cat. First, I lost the mates of two pairs of similar socks, so I wore the widows together, one with flowers and one with stripes, but no one seemed to notice. Now the striped widow has disappeared, too, perhaps to join its striped husband in sock heaven.
When I was a kid I remember buying these colored plastic rings that had triangle teeth in the middle like the top of a Wet Ones container. My socks didn’t get lost, but they came out with a zig zag design in the middle where the plastic rings had pinched them too tight. I suppose they have new and improved sock rings today, but why should life be so complicated? Why can’t I just wash my socks and wear them the next day?
This makes my reading list look really pathetic. A quote from my grandfather’s memoir: “For six years I read a volume a day, average.”
Fourth day without caffeine. Made it without Advil today. No headaches at all.
I still get to drink my English Breakfast tea with rice milk and honey every morning – it’s just decaf. Although I am getting less sleep due to deadlines, I am sleeping better and am more awake during the day. Caffeine is bad for you! Bad, bad, bad! I hope I don’t become one of those people who starts lecturing others that they should quit drinking tea and coffee – like ex-smokers who used to smoke three packs of day and can’t stand the smell of smoke once they quit.
I gave up caffeine today. We’ll see how long that lasts. I’ve tried several times before to give up drinking tea and I’ve managed more than once to cut down to half a cup a day, but it just takes one long day without enough sleep to get me back to two or three cups. In the past month, I’ve been getting headaches immediately after drinking caffeinated tea. It got to where I would drink a cup then take two Advil 20 minutes later. So it was time to quit. I didn’t have any today and I had no headache all afternoon. When I got tired, I took a nap. I love naps. They remind me of kindergarten and staying home sick watching movies all day. Unfortunately, as evening approached and the tension of multiple deadlines set in, the headache set in, too. So I took two Advil. Now if I just need to get off the painkillers.
This particular Sept. 11 is the first anniversary of the disappearance of my cat, Bustopher Jones. He was born on May 10, 1999, in my linen closet in LA when my roommate’s cat had kittens. The six of them ran free inside and outside of our apartment for several weeks, until we started looking for homes for them. I kept one, Tahimbi kept one and my friend Lara kept one. The others we gave to strangers looking to adopt a kitten. I chose Bustopher because he was the most adventurous of the litter. While all the others slept curled in a ball on one chair, Bustopher slept alone on another. When the others scratched at a small tree then walked away, Bustopher scrambled right up it without hesitation. It was difficult for me to think of a good name. I described his personality to my brother, whose cats were named “Buster” and “Shoe.” “Bustopher Jones” he said, after the T.S. Elliot poem by the same name. “Perfect,” I told him. I was madly in love with Bustopher since the day I decided to keep him, even putting up with the dead birds and rodents he frequently left on the doormat (or sometimes just a foot, a beak, a head, a tail). He was the ideal cat, both cuddly and tough. Sometimes he followed me around the house, waiting for me outside the bathroom and sleeping next to me in bed. Other times he disappeared for a night or two and came back full of burs, or with a tic or a bloody hole in his fur. On Sept. 1 I moved him to Berkeley, where he was fine for 10 days. Then one day he went out and never came back. I looked everywhere for him. I visited the shelter twice a week and posted fliers around the neighborhood for two months. I was told later that I should have kept him in the house for three weeks; I should have had him microchipped; I should have hired Sherlock Bones. I received dozens of false calls that sent me chasing after every tabby cat in the neighborhood. One Crazy Lady down the street said maybe he was picked up by a sicko and used for scientific experiments. Thanks Crazy Lady. I had nightmares that night about cat torture. I like to think Bustopher got lost in the Berkeley Hills, trying to make his way back to Montclair, that he’s lounging by a poolside snacking on rats’ heads and birds’ feet.