my physical well-being

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NOTE: This post is from Christmas, the anniversary of the car accident.  The weather is warming up around here, and I look forward to getting back on the bike.

It’s Christmas morning…

Instead of gathering around a sparkling tree and tearing away at presents, I’m on my bike riding the North Central Rail Trail. While I’ll be headed to see family soon, I need this time in the morning for me. The universe was stingy with its gifts this year, so it’s important to observe this one: time on the trail with the bike. A gift from my youth rediscovered, what a lifeline it would become this year.

The trail is cold and–past the first mile of the trailhead–mostly empty. A few hardy types like myself and few locals walking their dogs. The green and gold have given way to gray and brown. It would be easy to call it ugly, but as the trees stand naked, one can seen the hills beyond them. Crags of schist and gneiss stone, breaking through skyward, as the Gunpowder River winds bayward below. The occasional quartzite boulder face stands strong, indifferent to the oncoming winter.

This trail, where a century ago industry lurched from Baltimore to Sunbury and back, has become a refuge. A year ago on this day I was lying in an emergency room, having just survived a head on car collision. And this on the heals (days after) of one of the bigger relationships in my life ending. The breakup at the time had seemed a relief, but I had yet to dive into the well of misgivings lurking behind me… and the mental health problems that would follow the closed head injury would only make all of that worse. I tried to do a lot of forgetting, but what I did instead was a lot of letting go. The accident took me close to the brink, and the major change in life would have me gazing deep over the edge… into life, into myself. It was a journey. I wish I could say it was fun, but the most transformative seldom are.

I’m at the point where I’m mostly recovered and am finally starting to talk about it. “Hey do you remember how I suddenly ran out on your birthday that night? Panic attack.” “Hey do you remember that concert I inexplicably bailed on? Depression’s a bitch.” “Hey do you remember that crazy letter I sent you? I was on the verge of a breakdown. Still not sure who I was even trying to help.”

I’d been talking to some close friends about it the whole while, but not many. I learned a LOT about my support network–a process that involved some painful trial and error at times. I saw a whole bunch of doctors and professionals for therapy both physical and mental. It’s interesting: the one who was with me and remains with me after the whole ordeal? My acupuncturist. Big advocate. If you’re thinking about going, go.

It’s hard to talk about these things, though. It’s hard to write this. But a lot of recovery is talking about things. Hell, a lot of just being better and a little more alive every day is talking about things. And the truth is that I started seeing a therapist and working on improving myself a year or two beforehand. But you learn a lot in the crash and rebuild. If people were like computers, every day crashing and rebuilding, we’d each be amazing in our own lifetimes. As such, we build and rebuild simply what we can.

In either case, it is Christmas morning, and here I ride: on trails resurrected from the bones of industry, bicyclists and dog walkers trekking the hills of the Piedmont Plateau as it leans towards the great Blue Ridge. After each ride, I feel a little more alive than when I started it. I’m glad I started doing this. For me, this motion, this vitality is both the build and the rebuild.

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NOTE:  This is a post from last year, a draft dated 07/31/16.  In it I talk about mental health problems following my car accident, moving on from a major breakup, which was still very much on my mind at the time… eggs.  The eggs were all good last year.  Other things not so much.  At the time that I wrote this, I was feeling rested, somewhat recovered, but about a month later I would fall into one of the worst depressions that followed the car accident, one of the worst that I’ve had as a grown adult honestly.  It’s strange to look back on moments that felt like clarity with something much more accurately resembling clarity.

Sunday Morning

Just before Ten. I’ve slept in. The dim hopes of waking early and going on a hike dashed already. But I needed the sleep. It’s okay. Awoken by the phone, buzz buzz, a text message from (and I know it before I even look…) Mom. I’m still not texting her back. I should call today, though. Things have been good lately. The family visit last week much better than expected.

Breakfast: eggs, potatoes, sausages.

Light and healthy chicken sausages. I’ve done a good job of losing weight and getting back into shape this year. Need to keep at it. The tater tots: my weekend luxury. Besides, I bake em.

Scrambled Eggs a la Jon

1x free range brown eggs
1/2 pat of butter
1-2 tsp cream, whole milk, or half and half
Dash salt and pepper

Pictured: some other morning’s breakfast

Fifteen minutes prior to cooking, scramble the eggs in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Adding the salt and letting it sit loosens up the proteins and makes the eggs fluffier (credit: J Kenji Lopez-Alt on the tip). In a non-stick pan melt the butter. Add eggs. Stir while they cook. Just as the eggs are setting, add the dairy. Do not add the dairy earlier than this. The timing is the point here. (credit: Michel Roux on the tip.) The proper ratio of milk to eggs, in most recipes, I’ve found to be a quarter cup of dairy per dozen eggs. So bear that in mind. You don’t need much. Just a bit. Continue to cook the eggs until just about fully set. Turn off the heat and let the eggs rest. Like pasta or fish. The timing can be tricky. I’ve really only just gotten any good at it myself. Had to crack a lot of eggs, as they say….

No solid plans for the day. Need to practice Pilates. Should do weights too, maybe the treadmill. Would like to play some pinball. I’m still no good at it, but I’ve taken an interest in it lately. I haven’t been gaming much lately, but I’ve been working pinball in about once a week.

Might make pickles. Been wanting to try some fermentation, but feel pretty intimidated by it. Perhaps more to post on that later. In either case, it would involve a trip to Target, which I may or may not be willing to make this afternoon. Perhaps of there is a Target close to some pinball….

Been doing a lot of redecorating and reorganizing around the house. I reclaimed my spare bedroom this week. It has sat vacant since my ex moved out, and it has lent a certain hollowed quality to the home. After she moved out, I did a pretty big purge, getting rid of things that reminded me too much of her. Tossing some, boxing others. Memories can be difficult to un-entwine when you’ve lived with someone. I imagine, it was easier for her. That’s just how she is. For me, not so easy. In fact one of the hardest things about the breakup was that I was stuck in this house that we had tried to make into a home together. She got to just leave. Make something new. A process of potential and excitement. I had to rebuild. Again.

The car accident complicated everything. Months of physical therapy kept me from doing much of anything around the house. I had not understood it at the time, but as painful as the PT process felt, there was a sweet structure there. A regimen to my days. When that regimen ended, things really went off the rails for me mental health wise. I believe the concussion had much to do with this, but the timing right after such a major breakup could not have been worse. I leaned into my support network and found mixed results. In the end, really, I found myself very much on my own.

It’s been a long summer, but I’m doing much better. I started leaning pretty heavily on behavioral techniques with the help of my therapist. Setting boundaries, removing triggers, avoiding things that I simply cannot handle right now. It’s been hard. I’ve had to let go of some things dear to me for the time being.
And so, here I find myself reclaiming my home. It’s not just my ex moving out, but that I’m living here alone altogether now. No roommates. No one. Just me. At times it’s felt like I’m the one haunting the place. It used to be filled with such life, so many people. And now I roam about, talking to my sweet cat.
I now type from my reading and writing room. This bedroom was home to several others, but now it is me who sits at this window looking out at the shady trees, the ivy creeping up the chimney, the patches of lawns visible in the distance. This is the shady side of the house after all. It’s very peaceful. I feel like a stranger here. A stranger I am trying much harder to like again. Sometimes it’s tough. Like I said, it’s been a difficult summer.

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I ran into a friend at work yesterday, and he asked me how I’d been lately.  It had been awhile, I realized.  We used to see each other often, but I couldn’t actually tell you the last time we had spoken. I like him.  We haven’t known each other long, nor were necessarily besties or anything, but he is one of the few coworkers who I actually feel like I can talk to.

My answer, “Well…”

He’s not on my social media, and as I began to casually comment on bouncing back from things, his eyes began to grow wider.  The last six months were something of a Greek tragedy, a Southern gothic.  I told him about the family stuff (which I won’t mention here), but I had a lot more to say about the car accident and the breakup that happened right before it.  And there was more… so much more.  But why get into the minor stuff.

It was a strange moment for him I think because I was smiling and looking great as I recalled a litany of drama.  I’ve been on the upswing.  I was speaking to my acupuncturist (a treatment I highly recommend if you’ve recently experienced trauma), and I observed to her that my life of late has been in strange sync with the seasons.  Winter was awful.  A winter among winters.  But spring… ah spring.

“Most people wouldn’t think of it that way,” she said. She meant that in a good way.  So far I really like her.

So: spring.

Having weathered a saga of things that I won’t get into much here, I’ve turned with the weather to greener things, newer things.  As rough as the past six months have been, there’s a great relief that comes from passing through hell:  freedom. I find myself very unencumbered as of late.  Perhaps I set the stage for much of this last year when I was busting ass and paying off my student loans, maybe I would have gotten here sooner had not life intervened, but in either case I’ve entered a phase where I’ve put down or been released from a number of burdens. Work, family, debt, relationships. Unencumbered.

I’ve been doing things on my own lately.  Going to shows.  Exploring new places.  Pushing hobbies to new places.

This weekend I dropped by a Maryland trail that I can’t wait to get back to: The North Central Rail Trail.  It runs from Hunt Valley up to PA, close to York they tell me.  It used to be a railroad but became one of the many Rails-to-Trails projects that have swept across the country (an awesome parks project that everyone should support!).

On a chilly Sunday in March, the winter still holding spring back for one more week, it is a very peaceful place. The last of the season’s white was trickling through the trees, while the first of the season’s green was pushing up along the path.  Once past the first mile marker, I had the place to myself.

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I plan on buying a new bike soon, and this is the first place I intend to ride it.  The crushed gravel is easy, and there is plenty of shade.  It’s one of those strange places where one can feel very removed from society and yet in fact be still quite close to it.  The peace of a country garden without losing any cell signal.

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I’ve taken up trail running.  That’s what I was up to this weekend.  I do a few 10k’s every year, but I want to add some trail runs in this year.  They just sound fun.  I might have to join a runner’s group or something, as I can’t seem to generate any interest in it among my friends who run.

Or I could just keep going it alone.

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More to come.  Tonight I start another new thing: Pilates.  Since my car accident, I’ve become committed to developing more and better-balanced core strength (I might even start observing leg day at the gym!). I’m looking forward to tonight. It will be fun.

 

 

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It’s a cool 62 degrees outside here in LA, although the outlook is anything but the typical sunny vista Los Angelinos are accustomed to. It’s raining like a mofo right now. There have been evacuations in some counties, as torrential mud slides are expected before the weekend is over. Coming from Baltimore, following blizzards, thunder snow, ice storms, tornado warnings and–yes–a few perfectly sunny days, I suppose mud slides are just another thing. If a wrinkled old mystic had warned me in recent days to avoid mountains, then I would have done well to listen.

Rainy downtown LA.

Rainy downtown LA.

 

Christine is off at a conference, some small gathering of academics trading discussions on the indigenous peoples of the Pacific. That’s how we ended up here, but we’re extending our stay to explore and visit with friends. It is for both of us a much needed break.

I’m in my pj’s in the hotel, trying to figure out how I can work in two lunches today, so that I can cross multiple food explorations off my list. Local institution Philippe’s is a few blocks away, and Roy Choi’s Chego a few blocks from that. Dinner is already planned at new local darling Alma. We made the reservations a month ago, and I expect to be impressed. I am quite disappointed that we were not able to fit in a trip to animal. Next time, LA, next time.

This excessive meal planning is par for the course for a food nerd like myself, and as you might imagine Christine is no different. Before I said a word, she already had a list of LA restaurants not dissimilar from my own. I really have no idea what to think about LA yet (I’m trying to reserve judgment), but at least when I come to town here I know there’s food of every kind to be explored.

I did get my first real sense of LA’s sheer scale yesterday. It was during a long $75(!!!) cab ride from the airport. I had understood LAX to be in LA, and I guess it is, but if you set the needle of your compass at downtown and extend the arm to the airport and it’s a sheer hour away… are we really in the same town? Or at some point did someone just say fuck it and decide the whole county was itself the city?

It seems to me almost immediately that when so many Americans say they don’t like LA, what they really mean is that they’re exhausted by LA. The town exacts a toll of mental fortitude, and payment is expected immediately upon receipt. No skipping out on this check. I haven’t had much time to socialize here, but the social aspect seems little different from what I know of it. Rigid pretentions and expectations about carved out personal identities. We’re a little less interested in that on the East Coast. Or maybe we just pursue it differently. A number of our personal rivalries are fought by proxy of our sports teams, for example, not by the make of our clothes or who we might know.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written in here, and there’s been a lot going on. I’ve actually had some health issues going on lately, though I’m not sure that’s anything I need to get into here. But my doctor has advised me to make some adjustments, and I think that journaling might prove an appropriate outlet yet again.

More posts this weekend, maybe. But they’ll need to be short. Typing at length on this tablet without my keyboard (that I left at home) is akin to squeezing the toothpaste back into the tube. Not exactly fun.

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I don’t have many poems committed to memory… okay let’s be honest, I have almost no poems committed to memory. However this little ditty has always stuck in my mind, and of late I find it to be particularly apropos.

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes and, oh, my friends
It gives a lovely light!

– Edna St. Vincent Millay

Life has been busy. Crazy silly busy.  Here’s a short to-do list to give you an idea:

  • Buy new headphones
  • Fix up that bike a friend gave you
  • Floor hockey night
  • Bocce night
  • Text your aunt back
  • Start getting ready for your big summer party
  • Book Asheville trip
  • Book Denver trip (well, decide if you’re going first)
  • Book Portland (figure out when first, though)
  • Celebrate your birthday
  • Kayaking safety training
  • Pick up tickets, so many shows coming up…
  • Build shelves, lots of shelves
  • Paint the mud room (do this before the shelves)
  • Paint your bedroom
  • Text that girl you went out with the other night (can’t tell how interested she is though…)
  • Start getting ready for another juice (or semi-juice)
  • Figure out which 5k’s your doing this summer
  • Finish The New York Trilogy (good luck finding time for that!)
  • Practice your French

I’ll be happy if I get to half of these… though at least half are not optional.  To top it all off I volunteered for a special detail at work, which has been leaving me exhausted every day. Time is at a premium, sleep is at a premium, and the list just grows.  Sigh. Things are, despite my frustrated tone, quite good though. 

But enough of that.

What interests me most at looking at the above list is what isn’t on it. I’ve been doing a pretty poor impression of the video game and tv loving homebody I used to be. I’ve been doing and watching more sports than ever… it’s strange. Floor hockey, running, biking, kayaking… what happened to that nerd who used to stay up all night playing Xbox games? I miss him. Those Xbox games were fun.

It’s confusing really… my social circles of late have evolved along with my sporting activities…. Sometimes while sitting at happy hour I wonder if folks I’m with realize what a bonafide nerd is sitting at the table. I may be wearing an O’s cap and cooling off after a close game of hockey, but man I have a book case full of RPG books (mostly D&D) in my den downstairs… books I have no intention of ever getting rid of.

I don’t know, I suppose I’ve been feeling some dissonance about it lately. Perhaps I should journal more of it later.

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So I have a new hobby. It’s called annoying the living hell out of everyone by going on nonstop, seemingly uncontrollably, certainly–to say the least–with an egregiously unchecked sense of enthusiasm, about my shiny new juicer. Yes I am that guy: the dude who bought a juicer and won’t shut up about it.

It’s only been a week, and it’s been amazing. I’m still in the early stages, experimenting with recipes, but I’m in love with this new appliance. Just the hum of it as the engine spools up, it sounds like a mini aircraft engine. It hums. And then with frightening ease and efficiency the little bad boy shreds up anything I can put into it. Carrot-apple-ginger, my morning green juice, my homemade V8 (still a work in progress…) Juice man, it’s the best!

I’d already been incorporating V8 into my diet as a snack anyway, but this has felt like a gateway being thrust open. Just a whole world out there of juices to make. And all of them (well most of them), delicious, fresh, healthy snacks. This all ties into my healthier diet of late, which I’m not even sure if I’ve journaled about here.

It’s funny, for a guy whose pride and joy was once his secret chili recipes, I’m subsisting these days mostly on things like chick peas, juice, granola, greek yogurt. And cheese. Of course, delicious life-giving cheese. It has been good, and I have been feeling great (and not to mention looking better…).

But the juicer has kicked it up a notch. I feel as if a new plateau has been reached. In fact, our house has quickly become such a juicing hotbed that my roommate showed up the other day with a Fronana. This is a type of juicer that makes deserts with yogurt and frozen bananas. I promptly dubbed it the Bronana maker and declared it as a victory for our house.

So perhaps in the coming days I’ll post some juice recipes. At the least it would be nice to figure out my own homemade V8. My first attempt did *not* go as planned… but some experimentation is to be expected, even desired.

Anyway, spring is starting and here are the things I am currently looking forward to most:

Sunshine
Kayaking
Floor hockey
Bocce
Game of Thrones Season 3
NOLA
Swimming
BBQs
Gardening
Fitting into all of my old t-shirts again (woohoo!)

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I’ve been thinking a bit lately about motivation.  In part, I suppose, because that is part of my job these days.  I should be keeping my techs motivated to do good, accurate work.  It’s tough, though.  I suppose I try to just be fair and lead by example, and maybe I haven’t gotten much further than that with it right now.  And that’s institutional motivation anyway.  Everything is different when working within an organizational framework.  One needs to consider corporate culture.  Ethics.  The law.  It’s complicated.

Shouldn’t personal motivation be simpler?  Sometimes it doesn’t seem so, but I’ve been keeping at it.

I really got my ass kicked in broomball Thursday.  It was a good night, let me be clear.  I got my first assist, and I had some shots on goal–even if they weren’t great ones.  But man did I push myself.  I was aggressive and kept pushing.  In the second half, I started to go too far and felt it immediately.  I was playing wing, and I could feel their defense getting tired.  I scrambled like mad on a few back to back plays, sprinting harder than I had since basketball in high school.  I rotated back to the bench a minute later, out of breath and panting like I’d just gotten run over.  My breaths came so deep and hard, for a second I thought I would hyperventilate.  Right there, mortified in front of these teammates who are still very new acquaintances to me.

Things cooled down. I caught my breath, and in the end we chalked it up as a somewhat successful loss, as for the first time this season we were playing with some real teamwork and putting pressure on goal.  I spent the next day completely laid up.  I’m getting old, man, I can’t keep doing this.

And yet I do.

I’ve been striving for discomfort lately, and from it I’ve been finding a new reserve of self motivation.  It’s tough when you’re in your thirties, and so many things in life seem to be on…. I want to use the phrase “cruise control” here, but instead I think I’ll say schedule.

You live by the schedule, you die by the schedule.  You have a career–an organization and a set of peers that have daily expectations and challenges for you.  You have a home–a never ending set of responsibilities and projects.  You have a family–where do I even begin with that one?

You live by the schedule, you die by the schedule.

It’s easy to lose your motivation when locked into a circle. A routine that can seem as meaningless as it can directionless.  I’ve taken to the inconveniences to break it up and keep me moving.  The problems, the challenges.  Too many people let go and let the schedule make all the decisions for them.  I mean, it’s easy.  I can’t even call someone lazy for simply checking in every day and meeting those tasks of career, home, family.  After all, there are many who fail to even do that.  Those destined to wipe the schedule clean and start over.  Once, twice, maybe again and again. We all know a few of those folks.

It’s tough, but I’ve been at it in little ways.  Playing in a more competitive broomball league is just an example.  It’s hard, it’s kicking my ass, I have no idea how successful I’ll be, and yet I’m keeping at it.

I woke up today sore as fuck and yet as refreshed as ever.  Decided to hell with stopping by the office on a weekend (I had planned to go in).  Today I’ll set my own schedule.

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The older I get the more I seem to fall back on simple truths. The kinds of truths that we choose to believe and hold close. And for me one of the most important is this: be a lover, not a hater. In fact, let those damn haters hate.

It’s lovey dovey Valentine’s Day, and the world–especially the internet–is showering us (itself?) with a hearty salt and pepper mix of affection and cynicism. The lovers gushing, the cynics growling. Me? I’ve got a hot date with an ice rink tonight, so you won’t catch me doing much of either. While at this time last year I was getting smashed on Leviathan with my then girlfriend, the lack of either this year has not dampened my spirits in the slightest. In fact, I may have actually been asked out once or twice this week and politely ignored or misinterpreted such invitations. There hasn’t been anyone on the radar lately who has caught my attention. Well, not who’s single anyway.

But enough of that.

I’m pumped for tonight. This winter my love affair has definitely been with winter sports. I’m playing in a full ice broomball league this year, and the competition level is higher by a manifold set of notches. You might not think there’d be much difference between half ice and full ice, but it almost feels like a different game. Like the difference between put put and real golf. It’s a long, fast horizontal game. Lots of sprinting. A lot more contact. And real, actual strategy.

Fear not, I’m accustomed to dating the cold ones.

The first couple games I wasn’t sure what to make of the competitiveness. At first of course I liked it. No dumbed down casual league rules. Folks on the ice are actually trying to pass and make real plays. But as we lost two games, the flip side quickly began to show. My teammates freaking out over missed plays, goals, and losses. A mad, wide-eyed, “C’mon guys! We gotta get back in this!” I play sports in my free time to have fun first and win second, so we seem to have different ways of looking at it.

But I think they’re starting to get through to me. In a good way. And fuckin A good, this is what I wanted. All week, I’ve been obsessing over my Thursday night game. Thinking about how much sleep I get. How many minutes of practice I can sneak in before the game. What my sticking is going to be like. Hell, even what I’m going to eat today so that I don’t cramp up. I want that win.

The drive feels good. Something that I’ve been missing lately for sure. Feels like once I got my promotion last year, I settled in and started to get comfortable. Once I get comfortable, I get lazy. This seems to be a theme for me. But self improvement is also a theme, and I’ve got a very determined opinion about which of these I want to win out.

So let’s see a win tonight in broomball. And if not a win, then at least some good aggressive play and perhaps even a goal.

I was going to write about skiing here, but perhaps I’ll save that for another post. Here’s a picture from Seven Springs, where I just went this weekend with a bunch of folks. Loads of fun, and I’m definitely getting better. Can’t wait to hit the slopes again this week.

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So it’s a little interesting, I guess, being thrust back out into the dating pool unexpectedly.  I’ve definitely taken my time with things.  Hell, I was full on heartbreak boy there for a month or two.  But life goes on, and so do I…

I guess coming back around to dating right now, I can see sort of clearly why so many ladies date up in age:  those young guys just don’t have it together.  And when I say that, I’m definitely thinking of the younger version of myself.  Always oscillating between extremes, an emotional pinball, and so obsessed with defining life and discerning ultimate self identity.  I don’t miss those parts of being young, and I don’t miss how they messed up my dating life at the time.  I revisit some of the relationships in my mind sometimes, and man I just want to smack myself and shout “relax!”  But such is life.  (I have always been determined to learn things the hard way.)

Perhaps being a thirty-something (especially one who’s mistaken for a twenty-something) with some confidence and calm is a bit of an asset when it comes to dating.  I’m exploring that, and so far I like it.  It’s just funny I guess because when I was younger I would really obsess over age differences and age related things, and I’m finding that these days I’m just not worried about it.

I think the thing that experience has taught me the most when it comes to dating these days is simply not to overthink things.  Dating makes us so stupid.  Otherwise amazingly intelligent people are rendered complete fools when it comes to opening ourselves up to others.  The tendency to define who we should be dating, what we want from relationships, what kind of relationship we ultimately know we need to be in… There’s plenty there to obsess over, and it’s easy to overdo.

The other thing I’ve come to see so clearly about dating is the importance of first impressions.  And I don’t mean that in the sense that one should treat it as an imperative and obsess over one’s appearance so as to guarantee perfect first impressions always.  In fact, I think that quite impossible.

But no, I’m talking about just that moment: the first moment.  I read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink a few years back, and he talked about our subconscious minds and how quickly and efficiently our subconscious minds analyze and make determinations.  In that first moment, so much information is exchanged, so much learned, right then, right there.  It’s profound when you stop and think about it. We meet, and we immediately know so much.

And it can be amazing. Have you ever had that moment?  You meet someone, and just click, snap, something just happens.  It doesn’t have to feel like magic, but somehow you just like someone right off the bat.  In fact, a number of my friends are in the process of getting married these days, and a lot of their first dates are described like that (followed, generally, but some form of all night conversation).

I’ve definitely had that moment.  Though definitely not on the dates I went on this week.  Very fine, attractive young ladies, and what academic pedigrees! (I guess I was running a theme this week)  But there were no sparks to be had, alas.  Oh well.

Maybe next week there will be some bang, pow moments… or maybe not.  In either case, I won’t be overthinking it.  Enjoy your days and toast your dates, that’s all that really matters.

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So I had a little accident. Forgive me for not posting sooner, but it’s a little hard to type. You see, I was getting ready for a dinner party last week, and as I was chopping away at some veggies with a very sharp mandolin slicer, I had a slip of the hand and SCHNICK. I nicked off the tip of my finger. (And before you ask: yes I was using it right, my hand just slipped. Kinda thing that could happen to anyone.)

I don’t really know where even to begin talking about it. I mean, there was the scene of the accident. I’m actually amazing in these sorts of situations. As much as you might catch me fussing about minor concerns, when it comes to serious situations I take charge and become utterly focused and determined.

In the span of a few minutes I had called a friend to come pick me up, called 911, found the–ahem, there’s no easy way to say it–tip that I had cut off, put it on ice, turned off everything that was cooking, called my early arrivers and told them the evening was cancelled, gotten myself ready to leave, and even cleaned up some of the mess in the kitchen.

As soon as there was blood, I was in action. I just have that instinct in me.

And so I spent the night in the ER getting patched up. They loved me. My sense of humor shines in these situations. I don’t know why. It must be some sort of coping mechanism that I try to make everyone laugh and keep everyone calm. Although the only one who really needed calming was me.

Also, my apologies to the Twitter crowd if I was posting a little much. While it might seem counterintuitive that someone would post on Twitter more while in the ER, like seriously when in the ER there’s nothing to do but wait. And you’re desperate to distract yourself. At least I hope it was an interesting break from the usual stream of sarcastic social commentary.

Johnny Nine Fingers
So I now have a new nickname. Johnny Nine Fingers. I’ve had plenty of nicknames, some I liked, some I didn’t. I like this one. My favorite is still White Chocolate. I got that one back when I was one of the token white guys in my neighborhood. Those kids who gave me that nickname, they weren’t being nice. But you know what? I’m White Chocolate.

Anyway. So the injury isn’t anywhere near as bad as it could’ve been. I nicked the fleshy part of a pad off. It looks gruesome as shit right now, but I came nowhere near the bone, didn’t touch the fingernail. I spent some time Googling finger injuries and I realized that I really got lucky as shit.

The only question now is how well is it going to heal. Which is nothing but a waiting game. Welcome to having a finger bandaged up for the next two months. Who knows, maybe longer. I’m hoping, praying, that I get a lot of skin back. But it might end up being all scar tissue. There’s really no telling right now. All I can do is take good care of it.

Women Dig Scars, Right?
As calm as I might sound, I really have been freaking out a little. It was surprising for me to realize that this is my first real major physical injury. Never broken a bone, never had a major burn, hell, I’ve never even had stitches. So this is it. My first (potential) big ugly scar.

My anxiety right now is sorta focused on the worry of it getting infected, but I’m on antibiotics and cleaning it daily. It looks okay. But it’s hard not to worry. Like the sense of touch up there feels really weird. But probably that’s normal. I just lost a cluster of sensitive nerves. The nerves around that area must be confused.

And then there’s the worry of it looking all ugly. I mean, I now have an asymmetry. An asymmetry. I was once a symmetrical person, but no longer! This is a blow that my ego has not taken lightly. And even after it’s all healed and I’m fine, I see me being self conscious about it for years to come.

But, hey, chicks dig scars right?

My ladyfriends kept mollifying me with the adage. Is it true? I hope it’s true.

So much for dating though. At least in the immediate I mean. Jesus. One of the cancellations at the party was a coworker on whom I’ve had a bit of a crush growing. That night coulda been the night. Although her immature response to the situation has rather knocked her out of consideration. Though I must say she is rather attractive. Probably I should forget about though.

Anyway, yeah. Forgetting about hot coworkers….. now. Done.

The Pound of Flesh
Of course my English degree wouldn’t be worth a dime if I didn’t consider The Merchant of Venice. The pound of flesh. Demanded. Owed. Now repaid?

Bottom line is I’ve been asking too much of myself lately. I need to slow down and enjoy my life. I’ve been working too hard on the house, coping with the whole family drama, trying to keep up with things at work, trying to meet my financial goals. That last one is the big one. I had a master plan laid out earlier this year, and because of close personal family member drama, it set me back big time. I need to just accept it. I’m not going on that European vacation as soon as I’d hoped.

There are some things that I can help right now, and there are some things that I can’t. And the bottom line is I really am doing great. I just need to relax a little. Be me. Get out a little more. And stop worrying about fixing the house up and money issues because, you know what? Those things are going to work themselves out.

So that’s that.

If you see me out and about in the weeks to come, try not to high five me too hard. And wish me well on recovery. Hopefully this thing will heal up nice and neat. And if not well…. I really do hope that part about chicks digging scars is true. Very true, heh.

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