Relatively speaking

It has been a particularly bad week here at the Blurbodoocery, starting last Saturday afternoon when someone cut across two lanes of traffic on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles, colliding with the passenger side of our rental car. The damage to the car was pretty much superficial, and thanks to a lovely bilingual couple who saw the whole thing happen, we were able to communicate with the man who hit us, as he did not speak a word of English. But later that night my neck started to burn with pain, and since then I have been unable to move my head without moving my entire torso with it. I guess this is whiplash? But I don’t want to go to the doctor because all he’s going to do is send me home with instructions to take a lethal amount of ibuprofen, and then charge me a ridiculous amount of money for having had to open his mouth.

We pay almost as much as a mortgage payment each month for an insurance policy that won’t cover any medical expenses, not until we reach a $3,000 deductible, PER PERSON, so the family policy is that the only reason any of us gets to go to the doctor is IF YOU ARE DEAD. That way we’re at least paying for an effective diagnosis.

Should the guy who hit us have to cover my injury? Theoretically, yes. But you should have seen this guy, I cannot bring myself to wreck his insurance coverage over my temporary discomfort. He’s just trying to make his way in life, and he had a round of bad luck on Saturday. I will not be another litigious American. There are too many of those already.

Oooh, I am grumbly!

So the first two days home from our trip I was useless, a moaning heap of flesh on the couch, a heating pad wrapped around my head. And then Tuesday a thunderstorm swept across Salt Lake City and knocked out our power. I am always amused at the reaction of Utahns to a thunderstorm, it is much like their reaction to seeing an African American, like, I had heard about these, but who knew they actually existed!

The storm that came through this week was not much of anything, the wind blew, some trees fell over, but unless you’ve lived through a tornado in the South or Midwest, you cannot call what happened this week a threatening act of nature. But in Utah, it’s like, the moment the sky gets black with ominous rain clouds, WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE. BEHOLD, IT IS THE APOCALYPSE. And then all of a sudden, 50,000 people are without power in the city. Are you serious? Because of a little rain? In Tennessee everyone would have gone outside during this storm, gathered around their neighbor’s mailbox and toasted with a beer, because hell! The trailer didn’t flip over! Today was a good day!

And then the power didn’t ever come back on, ever, and after suffering through the heat that night and on into the next morning and afternoon, we decided to pack up and head down to my mother’s house, knowing that the $110 we had just spent on groceries was going to spoil in the refrigerator. I don’t know why that specifically made me so angry, maybe because part of that grocery run was two brand new gallons of ice cream. Including extra-chunky Cookies n Cream. Can you even believe that? When we emptied it out into the sink and tossed out the hollow cardboard box, having not eaten a single scoop, it felt distinctly like slapping God across the face.

My mother was out of town for the week and kindly let us crash at her place until our power was restored, and because she usually keeps the temperature in that building at or above FREEZING DEGREES, we packed our winter clothes for our stay. And I probably wouldn’t have noticed that she had drastically changed her thermostat habits, would have blissfully slept through the sweat, if it weren’t for the sprawling congregation of chiming clocks in her house, one in particular that DING DONG’ed every 15 minutes, and then signaled every hour with a corresponding number of BONGS. That clock woke me up at three o’clock, BONG! BONG! BONG! and then because I was so hot and irritable, I was awake for the 3:15 DING DONG, the 3:30 DING DONG, the 3:45 DING DONG, and on and on until the 7:45 DING DONG when we had to get up for the day. What is that, 5 rounds of BONGS and 15 rounds of DING DONGS? You know what that is? GROUNDS FOR KILLING MY MOTHER.

But it wasn’t just that clock. My step-father had three or four stop watches on his dresser at the side of the bed that all beeped on the hour, except none of them were synchronized, so they all beeped at different times, BEEP! And then a minute later BEEP! And then four minutes later BEEP! And then thirty seconds later I’m throwing myself out of her second story window because I suddenly realize that dying from head trauma would feel good.

Yesterday the fatigue and neck pain were so severe I was delirious, and by the end of the day when Leta was grouchy and resisting her bath I just sat down on the bathroom floor next to the tub and started bawling. The week had kicked my ass, and I couldn’t physically deal with the pitch of her whining, so I just cried and cried. And am I ever an ugly crier. My face contorts into a ghastly troll-like shape, and the snot just pours out of my nose, so I end up looking like a slimy, disfigured boar that has been run over by a tractor. Leta immediately stopped her whining, got a wry smile on her face and said, “You look funny, Mama.”

If Jon had said that to me right then I would have clocked him right into his grave, but because she was the one who made that observation, because it was so honest and not at all an attempt to break the tension, I started to laugh/cry, and the bawling turned into hysterical, tear-infused giggling. Yes, I looked funny. In fact, I looked like a complete idiot. After that reality check I was able to get up off the floor.

And today has been so much better.