The Santa man.

Being sick sucks.  Going to the doctor sucks.  Being sick and then having to go to the doctor really sucks.  You know it’s especially bad when 4 or 5 people in your office ask you if you’re dying in a single day.  But there are compensations.  Today, in my hours-long doctor experience, there were a few shining moments of rare goodness.

The first one would have to be the jolly old guy who I first saw in urgent care.  He introduced himself and he seemed to be one of those nurses who actually still enjoys his job.  He was, after all, jolly.  He sat me down and started asking all the usual questions: symptoms, allergies, medications, that kind of thing.  It’s a rare man who can ask you kindly if you’ve been having diarrhea.  Of course, he also had the requisite fluffy white beard and grandfatherly expression.

The second was the actual practitioner I saw.  For the five minutes I was there, I don’t think I got a word in edgewise, which is pretty amazing considering treatment is usually based on symptoms described by the patient.  I guess I managed to convey most stuff with a few dazed nods in answer to her questions.  But she did love to talk – about kids, dogs, neighbors, a co-worker of hers who also has wild allergies (of COURSE we discussed my steroid intake and her love of certain new asthma meds).  All in all, it was a little overwhelming, but for just five minutes, it was like a breath of force.  Bam!  Ego in the Freud sense.  And then afterwards you stumble out and hopefully discover you liked the whole experience after a little recovery time.

Of course, then I was waiting at the pharmacy for 45 minutes and lost all patience with the world, but who’s counting?  What would a doctor’s visit be without a heaping helping of frustration?

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Cook Yer Tomatoes.

As Americans, most of us live distant from our foods.  I’m not talking about prepackaged, processed foods or even raw meat, but even fresh produce.  We don’t live close to it, or see the steps it goes through to get to our stores, and yet we expect it to be fresh and ripe when we buy it.  We expect our Sunkist oranges to look fresh, our Dole lettuces to be bug- and wilt-free.  I was aware of this most clearly in China, where veggies come fresh with both creepy-crawlies and nightsoil fertilizer.  In China, you really wash your foods good, and you don’t often eat anything raw.

Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh  veggies, but there are certain unavoidable health risks with very fresh, unprocessed produce.  Take the recent spread of salmonella from tomatoes.  People are becoming sick not because they weren’t taking precautions and washing their food, but simply because they were eating something raw that they thought was safe.  Ultimately there is going to be a ‘culprit’, some poor individual who didn’t wash his hands or is otherwise responsible for not taking safety precautions.  But sometimes I wonder if we’re not asking for too much.  Should we be guaranteed the safety of fresh, raw produce?  Or is the cost too high?  Should we all go back to keeping our own gardens?  Or should we be more careful about eating raw products that we cannot guarantee the safety of?  Should we all be buying from local small farmers anyway?

All I know is that every tomato I’ve got is going into tomato and egg soup (think egg drop, except better and with actual flavor), rather than for fresh eating.

The Sedge returns.

Only to find her normal means of transportation swamped with unruly people.  What is it about bad-weather Mondays that convince people to flock to public transportation?  I mean, I understand the use of the subway.  The subway is probably safer than the road, because it’s mostly covered, which means no snow or ice on your way to work.  But the bus?  Why was my bus ten times more crowded today?  Do more people come to work on a Monday?  Or are they just less likely to be freakishly late at the beginning of the week?  Or does the world just hate me and want to make me late wherever possible?  I got to the train station 20 minutes late due to bus overcrowding.  Which, of course, meant I had to wait for three trains before I could get on.  Coupled with the two ginormous bags I was hauling with me, I was an annoyance not only to myself, but to everyone for a wide radius around me.

Some of you may be asking why I am hauling around these bags.  It’s because I’m going snowboarding tomorrow.   One bag is not filled with snowboard – I will be renting and learning from the professionals at Sunday River.  No, one bag is filled with the extreme cold weather, waterproof clothing I will need for my downhill adventure.  One bag is half-filled with kleenex (more than usual since I have a cold) and the other half filled with snack foods, in case we get stranded on the road and have to survive in the wilderness for two weeks and don’t want to go cannibal.  Or in case we get snack hungry.

Now, some people would say that with my co-ordination, I should stay away from snowboarding.  Others would say that since I’m already sick, now would not be the time to challenge Mother Nature.  As my dad would say, pooh-bah.  What could be easier than falling down a mountain?

Black Cloud, White Feather

I hope that at least one or two of my previous posts has proved me to be a quasi-intelligent person, because this one certainly won’t.  But they say the first step in overcoming your problems is to admit you have them.  Well here goes:  I have a unicorn addiction.  And it’s not a small one.

At first it started out small – little figurines, a music box or two that my parents would buy for me.  But then it got bigger – unicorn busts, unicorn clothing, even unicorn shelves to put more unicorns on.  I just couldn’t stop.

A part of my craving was the classy movies of the time, the Last Unicorn in particular.  And while I no longer have the same admiration for the author of the book, Peter Beagle, that I once did (I’m still waiting for my copy of ‘Two Hearts’, you putz), the movie does have a certain self-empowerment message and additional charm that I approve of.  However, other standards of the day, particularly ‘Legend’, left something to be desired.  Has anyone seen legend as an adult?  Or at least listened to the musics?  If not, don’t.  And the dirty horses they used to play unicorns were just sad, really.

The other two unicorn movies I can recall from my childhood were both Unico movies:  The Adventures of Unico, and Unico and the Fantasic Island.  Both were pretty classy.  In the first a devil learns about making friends  and a little girl (Ok, cat first, girl later) learns about being content with what she has.  Pretty classy lessons.  I think I’m going to try and say classy in this post as many times as possible.  Anyway, in the second one a fat cat learns not to be a bully, and a snotty older brother learns to be less snotty.  Kinda.  So that’s classy.

The point is not many of these movies have much to do with today, or at least where I am today.  Sure, Last Unicorn is a good little lesson for a younger girl just learning to stand on her own to feet, finding her own way.  And the Unico movies do give some kiddie friendship and respect lessons.  But really, I think as an adult I’ve already learned most of these lessons.  With the possible exception of the being snotty one – maybe I should watch that second Unico again.

But it brings me to the very first Unico movie, the one I’ve never seen, that may have a lesson I haven’t learned yet.  Unico: Black Cloud, White Feather was never translated into English.  Thus far I have been unable to secure a version with English subtitles – but as I’m writing this I realize I have a friend who is a Japanese translator.  Duh.  Leo, I need your superpowers.  Anyway, the supposed plotline is that Unico is running away from the jealous gods again, who don’t think he should have the right to make people happy.  This time he ends up at a highly polluted city where he makes friends with a girl who is suffering and very ill due to the pollution of a nearby factory.  Obviously, as it is his nature to make people happy, he’s going to shut down the nasty, evil factory that makes technological devices at a cheap, cheap price.  And it came out decades before “An Inconvenient Truth”.

I’ve been mildly sick since Thanksgiving, as has Mike.  Maybe this whole living together thing means we’re just passing it back and forth alot.  But really, I just think it’s the factory.  I’ve got to find that evil factory that’s polluting my personal airspace.  Say, where’s my unicorn?