Thursday, May 31, 2007

he goes

Tonight I met Harry and a few of his friends for Indian food. At dinner one of the guys made reference to a girl 'who goes', meaning she puts out. Have you ever heard that? I hadn't, but in terms of word efficiency, I think it's clever. Anyway, one of the guys there, a South African entertainment lawyer, was very charming. We talked a fair bit through dinner and I must say his accent was very sexy.

After we left the group, Harry and I went to see one of his musician friends play in a bar near Koreatown. Between sets we sat at a table having a drink and Harry casually brought the South African up. He asked me if I found him attractive. I told him I intially thought he was average-looking, but that his personality made him more attractive. Then he told me how, while nice, the guy wasn't the relationship type. 'More of a quantity guy than quality', I think were his words. I got the feeling that Harry had picked up on the chemistry and was a little jealous. Ok, maybe jealous is too strong a word. He's not the jealous type. Protective? I don't know. Maybe a bit of both, but whatever it was, it was kind of nice that it triggered 'something' in him.

When he dropped me off at home, out of the blue I wanted so badly to ask him to stay. I didn't want the night to end. I love these kinds of nights. Warm, without a chill in the air and to top it off I don't have to work tomorrow or the next day, or the next. But it's more than that. I wanted him to stay. I just couldn't ask.

Friday, May 25, 2007

blame it on the rain

Remember in star wars how Princess Leia (I think that's who it was) is trapped inside a room and the walls start to slowly close in, threatening to crush her? That's how it feels, like there is no way out. No escape button. It's either i'm in or I'm out. For me there's nothing in between.

I'm trying to remember how Princess Leia got out, not that I think it's going to apply, but for the life of me I can't remember.

I woke up from a dream this morning in which my older brother was screaming, calling out to me as I came in the door and I found him on the floor of the living room.

"Rachel! It's bad. I hurt my foot".

I took one look and knew it was badly broken. I woke up shaken by it, as if someone had died in the dream. I was afraid it was a premonition of some kind and I couldn't fall back asleep. I had to call to check on him. He was fine.

Later when I told my mother about it she said, "See? It means you're family-minded and that you'll take care of us". The weight on my chest settled even deeper. I wished I hadn't said anything. I don't need any more to carry around. I've only just started to come out from under it, but of course that's how she'd shape it. It's what she does, which shouldn't surprise me. I guess I don't know why you would try to squeeze so much out of your own children? The ones you love?


This isn't going very well. I can't keep blaming it on the hormones. They've surged and waned already. I could say it's the shiftwork. I can't really tell night from day anymore, like I'm permanently jet lagged. I'm wide awake and it's 2 AM. Perhaps the ativan I just washed down with the left-over wine will help. I can't be up all night because I'm switching back to days. That's what my schedule is; two twelve hour days, and two twelve hour nights.

So yes, maybe that's part of it, but the truth I'm afraid to admit is that maybe 'it' is part of me. All I know is that I have a line-up of phone calls that I have to return, but I can't see myself having these conversations over and over so I screen the calls and don't return messages. The more I have, oddly, the more I feel like a failure. They serve as a reminder of my inabilities to function normally in this world. If I was a glass half full kinda girl I'd count my lucky stars I have so many friends, but they only want to hear what they expect I'll say.

"Yes, I like my job. I'm learning a lot. It's a challenge, but it's exactly what I want."

I guess that's partly true, but everything is not fine. No one wants to hear that. They only ask questions they think they already know the answer to. I'm tired of lying.


Harry just left my apartment. He's sleeping with a 21 year old, you know. Still, when he tells me I look beautiful I know he means it. It's always after he's gone that I think about the ways things could be different. There are so many times he's set it up for me with such precision, but it's like I'm dead in those moments, deadened by fear of I don't know what, and it's always too late.


So yesterday I asked my shrink if there'd been any pharmaceutical breakthroughs for people like me and he just smiled, the warmest most honest smile I've ever seen.

"I know. It's not pills I need", I answer for him. "It's living. A life"

He raised his eyebrows.

"Don't worry", I told him. "I'm willing to give this life a chance, at least for a few more years. But after that I make no promises".

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

his red thatch

I took the subway home very early in the morning after working a night shift. I sat down in an almost empty car. A heavy set man walked on. I barely noticed him at first, but he came and sat directly across from me even though there were a million places to sit. He was a redhead and, I couldn't help but notice, had a thatch of chest hair to match bursting out the top of his shirt. It was so thick it looked like a full head of hair. Wincing, I looked away. Too much stimulous.

A few moments later I looked up to find him staring at me. He held my gaze unselfconsciously, which made me uncomfortable, and then looked back down at the pad of paper he was holding. He was writing something with a sharpy marker, He looked up again a second later and then down to his pad. He kept doing this and I tried to ignore him. And then it hit me. This guy was DRAWING me. I glared at him, but he just continued to draw, looking at me and down at his pad, looking at me and down at his pad, over and over. He didn't care that I knew he was doing it. It infuriated me that he was being so unabashedly creepy. I didn't know what to do. Should I get up and move to the next train? I didn't really have the balls to do it for some reason, Part of me felt sorry for him, so I did the least assertive think I could thing of. I dropped my head pretending to nod off in a position I knew he wouldn't be able to see my face, which worked. Almost right away he got up and moved to sit by an Asian lady, the only other person on the train. He immediately got to work on a drawing of his new subject.

A couple of stops later as I was waiting at the door for the train to pull into my stop I had a direct view of the man's pad of paper. He was partway through his drawing of an ELEPHANT. Like a kid would draw! I mean seriously, was that really what he was seeing in this poor lady? I was dying to ask him to show me my portrait.

Friday, May 18, 2007

bottom line [I freudian typed 'lion' instead of 'line', probably because of my lack of courage]

I don't think I've been this bone tired since my first job in the ICU. In one hour I do more important work than I do in a month in my other job, and for significantly less money. It's frightening and demanding and rewarding and frustrating and there are moments when I am so impressed with myself for all I've learned in such a short time and then, only seconds later, I get a flash of the vast canyon of all that I have yet to learn and it's bottomless.

I'm working the whole holiday weekend, which is fine with me. In a city with no family, I've found these three-day holidays a little too sparse for my taste. So here I sit, on my couch, heating up mexican left-overs from dinner with Harry last night. I'm missing his show tomorrow night in Montreal, unfortunately. If I wasn't working, I would have been there. There's nothing like Montreal in the spring. Still it is spring here in T.O., and although it's colder than it has been, it's beautiful. I love that the sunsets are back. For the good months of the year, the view from my apartment is uniquely breath-taking each night. I've taken hundreds of photographs although they never quite do it justice. One day I will do something with them. I started painting my sky once but never finished.

So it's beautiful, it's spring, and I finally made the career move, so why do I suddenly feel like I could cry? I mean do you KNOW how much it took for me to do this? It took taking a job that pays less and doesn't recognize my graduate degree, more balls than I thought I had, delicate navigation around an incredibly difficult boss and a small professional community, and convincing myself and everyone else in my life, over and over again, like what I'm trying to do now, that this is what I needed to do.

Maybe it's hormones.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


There are some things I just can't take on anymore.
You're nothing like me.
I'm somewhere between indifferent and zealous.
I've worked myself to that place.
Away from status epilepticus.
It's good to be one or the other
They tell you, and there's
The sense that one must choose.
I used to pour it on
What I thought was for the best
Like rubbing alchohol on an open wound.
Sure it'll be clean
But there are other ways you know.
I didn't
But I do now.
There are other ways.

Today on the subway
Out of the corner of my eye
I saw what I thought was a cockroach
Slick and dark shelled climbing the grey wall.
Turns out it was a metal bolt
But jarred me of my comfort.
Maybe this train I ride everyday
Maybe it's not so safe
Maybe I've become too comfortable.
Like when you walk down the street
Lost in your own happiness
The sun on your face
Like this is your moment
Only to turn your ankle.

Maybe if i'd paid more attention...
But if I look hard enough in any direction
I'll see the dirt
The carnage
The vermon
The cracks
The holes
The cuts.
But even an infant knows
When they've had enough
They avert their eyes.
They turn away.

Well part of me is relieved that I've come to this
That you've come to me
In the way you have
And kept your distance
Doing your own thing
Carting around wounds
Consuming everything in sight.
It all seems poetic on paper.
But even sunshine is menacing
And I'm looking away.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

no karate kid here

Ice on. Ice off.
It's been 24 hours like this.
Throw in Advil every four hours
And my foot up on three pillows
Using my new american apparel leggings
As the "C" in R.I.C.E.
Until I could walk far enough to buy an ace bandage.
All day I watched taped show after show and then
The girls came over to keep me company
And I opened up the red I brought home from Napa.
We ordered sushi, which was all wrong for the wine
But it was great.
Ankle shmankle.
Nothing a few too many glasses of wine can't fix.

Friday, May 11, 2007


I comb through a million drafts of things to post and nothing seems all that important. Nothing rings my bell. You know how sometimes things just resonate?

I'm in bed in the middle of the afternoon trying go back to sleep so that I can work all night. I'm hungry. Maybe that's why I can't fall asleep. I still want to eat my breakfast lunch and dinner and then I'll be working all night and I'll need to eat then too. I can't very well eat six meals a day. Scrubs aren't flattering on a good day, unless you star in greys anatomy and I assure you they sew those girls into their scrubs. That material has no give. There's no way they'd be able to get their scrubs on and off that tight.

This morning I woke up from a dream of the perfect kiss, with whom I will not say. I did some reading, cleaning, and organizing. Then I went for a run in the beautiful sunshine but the bra I wore wasn't the best and the whole time I kept worrying that I was going to cause permanent damage, or saggage, if you will. Then during my cool down I called Lana to see if she wanted to meet me Sunday for a mani-pedi. I figure it's not in my budget but I need to reward myself for making it through my first week, only Lana reminded me it was Mother's Day and she, in celebration of her first Mother's Day, was spending the afternoon in a spa. I hung up the phone as I was turning onto my street and it hit me. I just don't see why it isn't me. Why am I still alone?*

The thing is, I can handle it right now. I'm still young enough that I can do new and interesting things. I still feel like I have my own life and that there is still some time left for those things, but I'm just not going to be able to go one like this forever, watching my friends celebrate all of the milestones of life. I need my own and I just don't see the point without them. Look, the cool thing to do would be to not admit this. It's not attractive. I realize that, but it's the truth.

*and don't answer that question, especially if you are going to chime in with how you're above that whole coupling off thing and kids are over-rated and how life is about more than that blah blah blah because that's shit and you know it. What else is there?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

whole foods

I'm back in the trenches...only it doesn't feel so much like trenches. Up until last night I thought I could smell it; the smell of human flesh and stagnant hypoxic spaces, but it's been nothing like that. I'm not known for jumping to the best conclusion, but I have and I'm excited, I'm interested, and I don't feel like I've entered an isolation room, gowned, gloved, goggled and N95 airway protected. It's alive and human.

As a small child I used to think everything could fit into two categories: geometric and organic. Everything. I didn't even know what organic meant, and it was certainly before grocery stores specialized in it.

Anyway, I need to eat and shower and watch Law & Order, so I'm not going back into this to make it make better sense.

Now that's organic.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

netting odd particles

If I had an expert commenter who popped in every once in a while to explain me to the rest of my audience, I'd wonder how the fuck do they know? Let me tell you something. I don't know myself that well. I cut through the thick summer air of my mind with a billowing net. Most of the time I catch an odd dandelion fluff, a particle, or a shriveled leaf from last fall, but still, I persist with the broad swoops and every once in a while I surprise myself. Or maybe it's more like a baffle system of air filtration. I picture air moving, lazy and uncoordinated, through convoluted metal vents. Which for some reason makes me think of the other day in the supermarket. I could have sworn I overheard someone talking about a "suprise boob job". I would think that would be hard to spring on someone. See? Odd fluff. Particles.

I don't have very many letters left on my mac keyboard. E,I,O,A,S,H,L,C,N, and M. Gone. They must be popular. They wore away and none of my friends want to go near my computer anymore, which is fine with me. Even better. I'm always afraid I'll leave something open that I don't want them to see. The other unintentional perk with this product flaw is that slowly, as one letter after another wore away, I was forced to memorize the keyboard. Now I barely have to look down when I type. And they told me in high school I was stupid for not to take typing class. Typing class!!! Ha! Obsolete.

I've fallen in love with my friend's babies. I see them regularly. I love the time I spend with them, but they trigger my anxiety. I think my concerns are mostly neurotic, fed by my experience working with critically ill children who really had the worst case scenario; you know, the one it could never be.

The other day I nudged my friend's sleeping baby when no one was looking because she was so peaceful, for a second I thought she was dead. One of my girlfriends sent me a photograph of her baby at about a month old. In it there was a white reflection in one of the baby's eyes. There's a rare cancer of the eye in newborns that presents in this very way, and so I scoured through photos until I was 100% convinced there was not one other suspicious shot. My other friends baby has a tendency to only look in one direction; a mild and common muscular problem of newborns, so I told her mom to ask her pediatrician what to do to stretch the muscles and enourage full range of motion. I always play it calm. I almost never give unsolicited opinions and so a gentle nudge to see her baby's health care provider is more than enough. The problem in this case is that I sometimes feel that when I'm holding her, her spine isn't straight. Maybe that's just a cascade effect from the posture of her neck, but I keep worrying it's more. She sees a pediatrician regularly, so it's really not my responsibility to be pointing everything out. Sometimes I find myself running my fingers down her spine when I'm holding her, but it's hard to palpate it properly without turning her over and taking off her clothes and I'm trying not to get involved. I'm a little saturated in these sorts of things.

I guess with all of this I feel like I'm back in the ICU and I'm looking at an ominous ECG. It's a visceral frozen kind of fear. I know it's an over-reaction. I know it's irrational. So I suck it up.

I just talked to this new guy and he seemed really nice, but he said, "fair enough" after everything I said, which was annoying. As I hung up a whole weight lifted from my shoulders. I mean, we've been playing phone tag for days and it was a real burden for me. A chore. A task. It's stupid really. It doesn't make sense, but in dating, before I get to know someone new, I feel threatened or like I'm under seige; like these guys are just out to take something from me, and I find it hard to pretend I'm ok with it.

Fair enough?

The End.