Measured Extravagance

2001-04-26 - 9:19 p.m.

I could offer you a long, morose musing about the ongoing hunger strike in Turkey by some of its political prisoners. There was a feature on the strike on NPR today, which left me with two lingering thoughts, the first one being "I really have got to learn more about the European Union" - this being the second time this year I've noticed the EU weighing in on the side of the angels.

My other lingering thought was on how hunger-strikes aren't front-page news anymore. Or were they ever? I remember there being tons of coverage when Bobby Sands starved himself to death back in 1981 - or was there? Was I just more impressionable back then? Or is it because I avidly read and watched the news nightly back then (and not just because I had a crush on Peter Jennings, though these days I'm more in awe of Kati Marton)? How would we react if IRA sympathizers held a hunger strike today? I remember a sense of grim fascination back in 1981 as each death was announced; the Turkish death toll is now as high; where are the headlines?

I could drive myself mad with such questions, and that's why I tell you about other things instead.

* * *

I could whimper to you about the thirty-three puncture-hives on my right forearm, and the ice-filled latex glove that the allergist's assistant handed to me to use as an ice pack. I could describe to you how both the PA and the lab tech prodded the crooks of my elbows hunting for a suitable vein, and how the techie finally inserted the needle in the side of my wrist, and she still had to wiggle it around for several long seconds before the needle found its source and the blood started flowing into the vial. This happens every time I go to donate blood, too. There are so many ways every day that I fail to be brave, so I'm quick to give myself points for managing at least this: it needs to be done, so I do it. Tomorrow I get a CT scan; next week the test will be repeated on my other forearm; there's several tests after that, and then we'll see.

As with so much else in my life, things could be so much worse: I know the situation can be improved, but I can endure what I've got. Plus, it did give me the opportunity to stagger around work with a frozen rubber hand clutched between my arm and my chest (yes, I've been told my sense of drama is slightly peculiar).

* * *

I could rage at you about the defeated-looking pit bull next door, but I'd rather talk about Abby. The puppy is a pain in the arse, and the puppy is adorable. I would have taken a longer nap on the couch last Saturday had I realized it would be the last one for which Abby would be willing to nap alongside. She now insists on trying to jump onto the couch whenever I flop down on it, and she isn't always racing back to me when I start back up the stairs to the house, so we're going to have to start training her to behave on lead this weekend - both because she needs to learn that "Come!" means "Come here now!" and because it's really a drag having to chase down a galloping tribble through wet grass at 6 a.m.

* * *

I could grouse to you about how tired I am, but I'd rather tell you about the salad I made for myself when I got home: green leaf lettuce, minced red onion, dollops of ricotta cheese mixed with pesto, chopped pecans, and slices of just-ripened avocado.

* * *

I could moan to you about the rejection slips that appeared in my mailbox yesterday and today, but I'm going to go prepare some fresh SASEs instead.

10:02 p.m.

I just realized why my mind was insisting on the phrase "I could tell you..." - though on days like this I sometimes prefer Auden's later title ("But I Can't").

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