Technically I should be in Prospect Park at the free Joan Osbourne Sings the Blues concert, one of countless free events NYC has begun to offer in honor of the delicious weather. Just the other night I was swaying to the enthusiasm of Sharon Jones in Rockefeller Park. But this evening I felt compelled to attend to one of the characters in my novel, the mother, Abby. She's been sort of shortchanged. Things tend to happen around her, not to her, and it occurred to me I should fix that. And I haven't had time: this week has been as packed as last week was.
Yesterday, for example, after some necessary but fucking expensive dental work, I wandered around, continuing to make purchases, on the assumption that solace could only be found in the hair of the dog that bit me. Although this experience in the dentist's chair wasn't as bad as the last one with the x-rays that left me in tears, it wasn't fun. Once again I resorted to reciting poetry in my head to keep my mind off the fact that my jaw had been hanging open for an hour.
It's funny, the poems that go through your head at such awkward moments. In fifth grade, when my teacher assigned us all to memorize and recite a piece, most people came in trotting Shel Silverstein behind them. When it was my turn, I got up in front of the class and began at verse 52 of Macaulay's Horatius at the Bridge:
But meanwhile axe and leverI was an overachiever but more importantly, my father was. I still think about poor Horatius from time to time, like when I'm immobilized and Novacained and being prodded with sharp silver sticks.
had manfully been pried
and now the bridge hangs tottering
above the boiling tide ...
But fiercely ran the current,I rose; I tried to ignore my lopsided facial numbness as I ran errands. Shopping for flatware when you can't feel your mouth is an experience, let me tell you.
Swollen high by months of rain:
And fast his blood was flowing;
And he was sore in pain,
And heavy with his armour,
And spent with changing blows:
And oft they thought him sinking,
But still again he rose.
I'm also very partial to the Pied Piper of Hamelin from listening to Gielgud recite it over and over again on a tape I had as a kid. But my memory of it is spotty, sadly. You should read it if you haven't: it's fantastic, full of wickedly clever rhymes.
I have one more dentist appointment before this horror series is over (it's my fault for putting off visiting one for three and a half years--and, um, for not flossing). Maybe I'll work on memorizing something meaty and substantial in preparation. Let me know if you have recommendations.