Sunday, November 14, 2004

just kidding! leave the south alone

sometimes, when i was kid, a bus ride alone could make me nauseous. the lower skool nurse knew me well: i practically had a bed, not to mention kneeling space in her bathroom, reserved for when i arrived in her office at 8:05. sometimes i wouldn't make it to her office. i recall vomiting miserably onto the shaky ground between my feet. i remember vomiting into one of those hardy skool hallway trash cans.

it was part motion sickness & part stress because yes, even as a nine year old i had the ability to work myself into a panic over the fact that i didn't know what was going to happen over the course of the day. regardless, on the occasions when i did indeed throw up, my dad would pick me up and take me home, and nothing soothed me like marx brothers movies. we would watch them together and i laughed when he laughed until i no longer needed to take cues from him.

when i was in sixth grade and my first boyfriend told me he thought he might like someone else, i cried a little. then i watched the simpsons and forgot all about it.

in high skool, sometimes i had shooting pains in my stomach that i didn't want to tell anyone about -- god knows everyone already considered me fragile enough. jack nicholson movies worked better than pepto bismol. terms of endearment and chinatown were my belly's personal favorites.

at swarthmore, when i didn't want to think about swarthmore, it was sex and the city.

media is my pacifier. i can't tell you how many books i've curled up in when i can't stand what's happening outside my window, or, worse, the thought of what might happen outside it tomorrow. lately i've found solace in massive doses of the west wing. this past thursday, when i had a Moment on my way to work, a Moment that connected my stomach, my throat, and the West 4th street subway station, i knew i had to get out into the open air, preferably Washington Sq. park; i knew i needed to calm down, clear my head, stop driving myself crazy worrying about all the stuff i was worrying about; and i knew that, once i walked home, west wing would be waiting for me to make it all okay.

also, i finished jonathan strange and mr. norrell, and it was marvellous. consider this yet another plug for escapist art. it's the sort of thing that works particularly well & is particularly important when so many of the people you love, who you're accustomed to being surrounded by, are so irretrievably far away.

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