Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Grand Opposition and Its Friends

There's always a ton of things to write about; happenings at the Great Muffin Factory Institute of Some Freakish Misunderstanding of the Basic Elements of Health Care, trips to here and there, new musical experiences, and maybe the odd bits and bitters down in the caliche supporting Phoenix life. Sometimes, there's even time in the day to put things down to pixels, bits, and bytes.

Some mornings I have been writing three or four pages. Real pages, on a legal-pad sort of writing surface. With a pen. I like "clicky" pens, as do all nurses. We do not have the time to uncap a pen, write, and cap the pen again. Even a momentary click to raise the writing point from the barrel of the pen, when added up over thousands upon thousands of times, assumes mountainous proportions.

It eats away at your time like radioactive decay chewing off Carbon-14. A persistent hound nipping my ankles, this very weak beta decay to nitrogen-14 with a half-life of approximately 5,730 years tears a little life away from me each moment I live and work. Good quick read. Pretty cool basic article, the kind of thing my child and I can share.

My Kid, Part 415: For a while they were interested in old stuff like H. floresiensis. That was back when I took them to meet Donald Johanson. The man! Can you even imagine this guy? He's fresh out of university on some lonesome dig in a slowly disappearing triangle of the world when he finds The Findingest Find in Finding History of Finding Finds, Ever:

Now shrimpbowl seems more interested in far-away stuff like the recently-documented star-collection 13.1 billion light-years away. (More here.)

So they're this kid and they've met this skeleton-discovering guy who basically invited them to come study at the Institute of Human Origins which is, quite luckily, rather nearby. Already they've had a taste of The Edge.

My lead doctor right now says to tone it down on stuff like this at work. This doctor thinks; and as I consider it too, quite rightly, that I myself have had something of an "exceptional" life. With my history of anxiety, PTSD, depression, and general disturbitude I've never been one to seek input at a merely acceptable level. It had to be more or it would not hold me. And I needed to be held. Held over. Held into. Held back. Held onto. Held from.

I liked music so I auditioned at and gained entry to a New York music school. I had three finger-picking lessons with a local guy back then (he taught me "Freight Train!") but I basically taught myself classical guitar. One summer at a music camp before my high-school senior year I met a musician named Roger Harmon and he set me straight on a lot of things classical guitar-wise.

Then I studied early music with the woman who wrote the definitive music history textbook of that decade, Edith Borroff. I learned to play renaissance lute "thumb-under" style by looking at the facsimiles of old lute books on microfiche at the fine-arts library. Sight-reading the special notation used by lutenists; at the least the "French" style tablature used also by the many wonderful composers of the English Renaissance, is actually a little easier than reading traditional music notation once you get the hang of it.

Not mention stuff like that. People think I'm bragging or something when actually I am marvelling at such fortune and; well, stuff. As if it happened to somebody else, not me. I was just there, or something. Maybe in some ways I wasn't.

Martin-Logans. If you're going to listen to music at home, save save save until you can get something like these. I saved a few dollars a week for like a freaking decade to get these.

Down the listensities: I worked summers at SPAC back then where I heard *everybody* on top of the classical-music orchestral/concerto scene and saw all the George Ballanchine NYCB choreography. One summer was a Stravinsky Festival.

None of my coworkers has ever seen a NYCB performance. I've seen many of them several times over. A whole week of Coppelia. Can you imagine? And who gives a fuck about the two weeks of Ravel? Nobody I currently know.

I shouldn't rub their faces in it. But I am that. But this lead doctor, my EMDR specialist, suggests I can that personal stuff, float through the workday maintaining light and casual interest in my coworkers, and leave my freaking intense esthetically hyper-life out of conversation.

The nursing we do on my little unit is different too. One of my coworkers is very fit and she does triathlons and such. She says that we do "X-Games Nursing," like "Extreme Nursing," because few people get to do exactly what we do. That's why I never mention it. You'd know who I am immediately because I'm one of rather few nurses in The Valley that get to work around the types of patients I do.

I'm not proud. I don't have to try to get myself into these intense little M-space wormholes. It's the way my life works. The way a tree grows, some droopy like a willow, some sway like a pine, some immobile against an ancient sky, it grows me and I grow it and We Are All Together HeeHeeHee HahHahHah HoHoHo.

Maybe your life's like that too. Gonzo. Then you know what I mean.

Doc Hanson gave me an ever-growing appreciation of long musical forms and motivic development. The way Shostakovich turns over that D-Eflat-C-H(B-natural) musical proto-idea in his 8th String Quartet. He never specifically discussed that with us, but we did get a good understanding of fugue, sonata-form, rondo, da-capo arias, binary dance forms, and all that. Later on I sort of independently applied this to manner of invention to analysis in other fields that caught my attention, such as architecture (ohmygoddon'tgetthemgoingontheirhousewiththekoiandmarblefloorsagainstuff,) literature, science, and people.

Then the chess thing. I got so involved in learning opening theories that I don't need an actual board to play the game. I can move the pieces in my head. My housemate G. used to call me at work and tell me moves over the phone and we'd play on-and-off the whole day that way. She'd have a board set up in the living room of our shabby-chic little second-story apartment we shared with a third college woman. I still occasionally drift off into Grunfeld Defenses or whatev.

Then there was the running thing. Not content to take up jogging, I had to enter races. This culminated in six consecutive Boston Marathons and an Empire State Games gold medal for 10,000 meters. I met my spouse in a running club.

Because of my history of childhood abuse (not generally violent; I wasn't hit much but... ) I was in my first three-way when I was 11. Then they got my brother into it and it really got weird. I kid not. Only with EMDR have I even been able to openly admit this without collapsing into bails of clorox tears. Then I was ignored. Then I got hungry. That's probably why I've lost 40 pounds since my peak, most of it over the past four months, neatly coinciding with my recent assholishness and consequent assumption of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, I may be wired a little bit differently from your average bear.

I'm not proud.

I'm not even grammatically identifiable.

Just sayin'.

It's like this life-thing I have has taken me way out of Beavis-and-Butthead Land. The air is different here. The sky is the other Lucy's sky. It was playing on the radio in the camp during the time Johanson found the renowned fossil. Yep. That story.

I had to hear Cecilia Bartoli at The Met. My spouse took me years ago. Awesome. Like when I got to hear Horowitz play. And Siouxsie and the Banshees came to my town! I adore her. Who wouldn't? That was the same day Ice-T broke out Body Count and "Cop-Killer" after a set of hardcore gangsta-West-Coast rap. I got to hear "Cop-Killer" again a year later played by SoundGarden. That was after Ice-T officially withdrew it.

FK Binding Protein 5 single-nucleotide polymorphisms might just be a partial contributor to it, but at this moment I do not know that at all. I sure as all ever act like it, though.

Some people just dance and good on them for it. They are fortunate. Once King Sunny Ade came to Burlington and we had front-row seats. The band members, starting with a very tall man playing a very small hand-drum, came out riffing one by one on that ju-JU signature rhythmic dig until about fifteen drummers, guitarists, dancers, and other variously Dashiki-sporting extremely cool guys were all ON IT.

Then they stopped. It was confusing. Ade came to his microphone, paused, surveyed us (remember this occurred in Vermont,) and gently asked us to, (he smiled,) "Please... Danser!" and the band kicked it back in just as if a switch had been turned suddenly on, the house rose to its feet, the roof opened up, the June stars doubled over Lake Champlain, and then we danced.

A year later we were driving around Montreal looking for something to do when I heard a voice, a voice I loved very much, and a guitarist who outsparkled all the Ponies in FairyLand, with a drumkit and bass, frolicking some real live SouKous. It was freaking Nyboma and Dally Kimoko. Spousie and I were actually arguing at the time, really bad, and my spouse was basically kicking my non-French-speaking ass out of the car onto like Rue St-Catherine and when I opened the door I heard the HighLife music and yelled-


They found a spot right away and we ran down to the street stage-front where the band was playing. It was Festival FrancoPhone, et le voila! Nyboma! This music known to me from long-playing vinyls put out by Rounder Records back in the day. I had a beloved copy of Double Double that I made everybody listen to. My god how some days I wished I had been born into a family of Zairean electric guitarists of the Soukous variety, wooden spoon in my mouth but silver Stratocaster in my hand.

That was dancing, too.

Everything is such a big deal to me. I have to go wild with everything. (If you want me to go there I gladly will, but I dare not go voluntarily. For that I will require provocation. And much, much else.)

James Joyce ended it right about there once. So the fuck can I. Because that's the way I am. Over the cliff and yet my foot is slamming the gas pedal against the floor, revving the engine into madness. Over and over again. My spouse asks me to stop it, but I keep crashing the car again and again, like I'm on an intense carnival ride.

It's a bit like bumper cars. But for me it's my life.

I push other people. Other wise they will not show me the devil inside them, and that is what I most need to know about them at the soonest possible time. It makes a lot of sense to me and quite frankly I do not understand how people can abide one another without dispensing with this formality right off from the start. My spouse sort of gets this. That's why I married them.

Two-thirds a rope-length up an anorthosite vertical face on a rainy late April day in the Adirondacks, thunder rolling, clouds rounding up black as bootsoles, lightening over the peak, belayed by my spouse. We scrambled and got to the burger place before the downpour hit. This helped me to get by.

I have looked back and shared things with you that seem to have been essential to my survival, if indeed that word even applies in my special case.

I got called into Some Yahoo's Office at work a few weeks ago because my intensity sometimes applies to my boss and this is not typically accommodated in the workplace. That was uncomfortable. Three against one. In other circumstances another like-person such as myself but less committed to non-violence might have decapitated one of them at the beginning of the meeting, just to set the proper tone. Just to be fair to all parties involved. But people don't see that. They see the fire, not the many firefighters controlling the seething temperament contained in the tall flames.

Later during a kiss-and-make-up session which I initiated myself one of my torturers told me she thought that I was "all over the map and very focused" as if I were supposed to know what the fuck that means because it doesn't make sense really, but I was in "Charm Mode" not my usual "Opposition Mode," so I let it go and smiled. She smiled back, I tilted my head down and a bit away to my left, and said, "yes, I can be like that when I'm a little stressed."

As if.

"Good morning, I'm shrimplate and I'll be your nurse for the next interminably long twelve hours of your life as you're ever likely to face. Five chest tubes? This one is labelled "inferior." That doesn't seem right. It looks just as good as all the other chest tubes..."

And so it goes, as Mr. Vonnuget wrote.

No comments: