Tuesday, November 27, 2012
It was a chill and rainy Election Night, lo these three weeks ago, and yours truly was in a damned fine hurry to get back to her (then) boyfriend's house to watch the voting returns. Through the twin effects of overestimating my own importance and a general pattern of running to every appointment as though my hair were on fire, I was convinced that President Obama could not possibly secure a second term without my physical support. Try and tell me a watched pot never boils, will you?
I approached the six-corner intersection of Belmont, Lincoln and Ashland in the city's Lakeview neighborhood and as the once green light began to turn yellow, slick and dark road underneath, I made the poor decision (I can actually recall my final thought before the sickening thud: "This might not be a good idea.") to gun it, as much as one can gun a single speed road bike.
The aftermath was fairly predictable. L'il Red and I crashed into the side of a westbound SUV in the far right lane of the street we almost made it across. I slammed my right leg into the driver side door before being thrown from the bike and bouncing off the street directly on my tailbone. The ensuing white hot, all-consuming pain was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I could not talk or speak for what seemed like an hour, but may have actually amounted to less than a minute. The confused driver asked me repeatedly if I was ok, but in the end I couldn't manage more than the silent "thumbs up" signal an injured football players relays to stadium fans before they are carried off the field.
Kind, regular readers of this blog and those acquainted with me personally are also attuned to my strong aversion to medical treatment. Eventually I adjusted L'il Red's twisted handlebars, hopped back on the bike and made the remainder of a four-mile trip back to JC's apartment that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I cried the entire way. But lest you think that hellacious ride, the ensuing two days of work missed and the near-constant discomfort I felt led to a timely visit with my primary physician, not so. I waited a full two weeks before seeking x-ray services at a local urgent care clinic I was in the process of passing while, wait for it....riding my bike.
I never said I was smart. Turns out that I not only dislocated said tailbone inward, but I had also broken my sacrum, which is defined by Wikipedia as "a large, triangular bone at the base of the spine and at the upper and back part of the pelvic cavity, where it is inserted like a wedge between the two hip bones." I didn't even know it was possible to break that shit. I think you have to really want it. So I am looking at a minimum two to six month recovery, with the dangling of a possible surgery in front of me by a concerned doctor who (rightfully) suspects I may not hew closely enough to the treatment plan, which basically consists of rest and a lot of pain medication. I have no problem with the latter. It's the former I don't do very well and quite seriously, strenuous exercise has been my raison d'etre, an substitute antidepressant for the last decade. In order to learn something constructive from this highly destructive experience, I repeatedly query myself in a dry, sarcastic tone: "Was it worth it? What is the worst thing that could have happened if you'd waited through the red light?"
Certainly not the humiliation of trading standard bicycle and backpack accessories for a cane and an inflatable doughnut pillow upon which to rest my broken butt. Definitely not the indignity of senior citizens more than twice my age offering to help me board the commuter train, nor the shame experienced when young people graciously offer their CTA seat to the poor, unfortunate cripple. Ah! I do not warrant these kindnesses as the result of my own stupidity. But how to share this with the well-meaning without offending their altruistic sensibilities. The worst punishment of all is having to endure undeserved benevolence.
There is a lot more to say about all of this: the humorous outtakes of last weekend's two-day Tramadol fog, the collapse of my relationship in the aftermath of the accident and the ongoing suspense regarding the prospect of non-surgical healing. Feel free to take the journey with me. I promise to proceed with caution. I have no other choice.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Jack Weinberg issued these words of caution during the heady, tumultuous and revolutionary 1960s, a period of American history that witnessed the explosion of the Civil Rights movement, popular rebellion against the Vietnam War and post-World War II economic growth that provided members of the middle class with enough material comfort to consider issues larger than their own immediate survival.
Weinberg, a student at UC Berkeley at the time of the famous quote, uttered the ubiquitous line to a columnist working for the San Francisco Chronicle. In an era when the phrase "going viral" had yet to be invented, Weinberg's legendary soundbite quickly became the unofficial motto of 1960s youth culture, a warning against placing faith in those with a vested interest in the status quo and the reproduction of dominant ideology.
As a child growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, a would-be agent of change in my own right, I often found this phrase catchy but terribly ageist and limiting. The passage of time couldn't fundamentally change my worldview. Wherever dishonesty and injustice lurked, there would I be. I had been arrested once by cracky! What's more anarchistic than that? Then it dawned on me that as a 34 year-old woman, my formal education long complete and somewhat established in my career, there's nothing I fight harder to achieve than a solid night's sleep.
I make this observation with tongue-somewhat-in-cheek, but dammit the realization that I have become "the man" to a certain extent is horrifying. I am not wealthy, yield no political power and have borne no children that will be raised as Mini-Me ideologues, but nonetheless it's hard to remember an act of protest more strenuous than saying "no" to the overpriced, tasteless sushi at Whole Foods.
Perhaps even more agitating: I am beginning to identify with the paradox of the now-sedentary Baby Boomers, the ones who stood up for change only to mature into the mutual fund managing, SUV driving helicopter parents that a portion of American society now blames for decades of entitlement and irresponsible spending, the upending of the fiscally conservative, cautious habits of the Great Depression. That's not to say I'm ready to cash in my rebellious chips for good, but I can see where age and years of routine blunt the edges of urgency.
By speaking my fears aloud, is is possible to forestall the inevitable? The only thing that scares me more than risk is obsoletion. Must I go the way of Ray Bradbury, Milton Friedman, Dennis Miller and Laura Schlessinger, all former stars of the liberal movement, or is self-awareness the ultimate weapon in the battle to stay forever, idealistically young?
Monday, November 5, 2012
T’was the night before the election, and all through Ohio
Margaritas were flowing like Cinco De Mayo.
Because Buckeye State residents were confident no matter who won,
Their days in the swing state spotlight were temporarily done.
Camp Romney retired its campaign of fluff,
Hopeful that the Etch-a-Sketch shaking had been enough.
To overcome the ire of chicks,
Who believed in their reproductive freedom, even without dicks.
Team Obama was bolstered by last minute polling,
That saw the incumbent ahead, and his opponent’s effort stalling.
Healthier job creation, increases in home sales, residential,
Images of a post-Hurricane Barry looking Presidential
Gave Obama a boost in the waning days
That claims about Jeep production in China just couldn't sway.
Jon Stewart and Colbert toasted a winning season of lampoon,
Almost (but not quite) wishing Romney a boon.
Because jokes and puns write with ease
When your campaign platform has more holes than Swiss cheese.
From "extreme conservative" to moderate and back
While crying foul over ads that attack
One's revolving positions, so hard to cement
Except for that business about the 47 percent.
"Borrow money from your parents" just doesn't seem to be
A responsible education policy.
The Tea Party zealots, clutching copies of Ayn Rand,
Hoped that they'd filibustered enough to render Obama an also-ran,
When out of the blue from the sound bite penalty box
Came Joe Biden with Paul Ryan's socks.
That was the only thing left of the GOP candidate, you see,
After Biden leveled him in debate, cheerful as could be.
"Medicare won't change" promised Ryan, as long as you're a Boomer,
But the rest of you will be screwed much sooner.
Romney/Ryan failed to learn the lessons of Bush
That entitlements turned vouchers have the appeal of stale tush.
Romney ran away fast from his running mate's "serious" clunker
And all but banished him to the Cheney bunker.
But hide and seek is no game to play
With middle class voters still clawing their way
Back from the failed policies of Bush Number 2
That left the economy of '08 a rancid stew.
"He's had four years and his policies haven't worked,"
Claimed Cantor and Gingrich and Boehner the Jerk.
Hoping upon hope if they said it was so
The voting public would forget the party of "no"
So off to the polls went John and Jane Public
In between looking for jobs and food for the stomach.
Because things are not fine but they're definitely improving,
With much more to do to get the economy moving.
Believing in change, if slower than desired
Is a certainly preferable to being stuck in the mire
Of endless wars and tax cuts for the rich,
Watching the American Dream stuck in a ditch.
So "yes we can" re-elect Obama and forge ahead
With hope for the country that's far from dead.
So to all you suffragists on the left and right,
"Happy Election Eve to all, and to all a goodnight!"