Antares is a really big star

My blog feels like some high-maintenance friend I've been neglecting, a phone call I should have answered a long time ago. I want to reconnect, but the more time that elapses, the more awkward I feel about it. The idea of facing that initial stilted conversation, giving an explanation for time lapsed that even I don't believe, where every simple question about "What have you been up to?" feels like pulling teeth-- it's daunting. I think it takes minutiae sometimes to allow me to write again, at least publicly. Something has to pull me out of worrying about infinity. (As an aside, one night in New Hampshire last week my dad and I spoke about how we have both always, from the age of 5 or earlier, tried repeatedly to grasp the size of the universe and found it so physically uncomfortable to do so. Do other people experience this? It bothers me -- worries me (what doesn't) -- but he says it does not worry him, just that it's something he can't put to rest. Like, how is the Big Bang an explanation for the universe? That might explains its constant expansion, but not what happened pre-bang (nothing). Also, was all the space just there waiting to be filled? I wonder if it bothers him like a math problem he can't figure out, which, in a way it is. After that conversation I kind of made a deal with myself not to worry about it anymore. It has never gotten me anywhere, and, when I stop to think about it, it's not really my problem. If I had the brains to contribute in some great way to the understanding of time and space and Einstein's field equations, then that'd be different. Don't you think, though, that all the hypotheticals for the fate of the universe sound rather informal? Big Crunch, Big Bounce, Big Freeze, Big Rip. Okay for ads in a weekly circular but it seems like the subject calls for a little more gravitas.) 

Anyway, back to speaking of pulling teeth, here's what the minutiae was today that pulled me away from worrying about how tiny the sun is compared to even the next biggest star. I'd been away for about 10 days, in New Hampshire then Massachusetts at the house where my parents moved two years ago. I'd had two wisdom teeth extracted before I left and didn't think it would cause any discomfort because when the  two on the other side were yanked out  in the spring (they really do seem to physically yank them out -- get some leverage and pull as hard as possible) it didn't hurt even that night. Anyway, my mouth and even jaw and neck started to hurt more and more during the time I was away, to the point where this past weekend I went and got the Percocet prescription filled at the one drugstore open past 8 that's anywhere near my parents' house. 

As soon as I got back to New York yesterday I called the oral surgeon and they gave me an appointment for noon today. Then this morning I found out I had an appointment I couldn't miss at 1:45 and called back the oral surgeon's office to see if I could meet later in the afternoon. The woman said, "3:30?" I said...I think I could make it, I'm not sure but I think I can get over there by then." (Annoying, I know.) She laughed what sounded like an eye-roll laugh to me, and asked if I could definitely make it by 4. I said yes and that was settled. 

Except it wasn't. That laugh bothered me. And mostly because I understood the irritation. Here was an oral surgeon's office squeezing me in in the first place and then changing the time and I couldn't budge one inch. (In this case, really I couldn't and even still I had to have Wally with me there at the appointment because Alex dropped him there after his work at school and before his work at the studio.)

Or maybe she laughed at something someone showed her on a computer that had nothing to do with me. Or maybe she laughed at how indecisive I sounded. Any number of things. Why did it matter? I got the time that I needed. I just didn't like that feeling that I'd twisted her arm to get it. Which in a way isn't fair. That can almost get into the territory of people saying "You choose," about restaurants or movies. No, you freakin' choose. I think I have often made the mistake of choosing, but then needing to know that Lotus Blossom or Papa Razzi is definitely okay with the other person.     

The whole thing felt like a bit of a relapse for me. Slipping back into too much worrying about what someone thinks about something that doesn't matter. Maybe it was just the Percocet or the absurdly long train ride yesterday from Boston or Wally's night wakings or the spilling-over plans and therapies this week built up from having been away. Which is just something to keep in mind--when defenses are down because of fatigue or stress, those bad habits have a way of creeping back up again. 

When I got to the oral surgeon's office in Park Slope, I joked around with A---, a receptionist there. I really like her and the doc himself is fantastic and so much fun, especially when he loads me up with nitrous oxide.  A--- said people sometimes walk in a half hour late and demand to know how long they'll have to wait before they even take their coat off. I said I was glad to know I'm not the most obnoxious patient they have. She didn't confirm that I wasn't. But the great thing was (and this is a total rip-off from an essay my dad wrote about running) it didn't matter. I know I'm not the most obnoxious patient, and it doesn't seem to matter if someone thinks I am. My blog came up in conversation. A--- said maybe she'll start one: Patient of the Day. I'll see if I show up there.


  1. Fatigue or stress sends us right back to old ways, psychologically every bit as much as physically. We know how hard, near impossible it is to keep that new form you've been learning, and not slip back into your old habits --at running, tennis, ballet or whatever-- when fatigue sets in. It's pretty much the same psychologically.

  2. It's so comforting to remember this, not to panic and think--Oh no! I'm back to square 1 again. I wonder how many (minor) problems would be solved if everybody slept more. Oh I have to add that I got a great note from A-- at the Oral Surgeon's office telling me I was not the most obnoxious patient there!


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