Thursday, April 5, 2007

regarding vulnerability and dissolution

After a few days of having steroids pumped into my body, reeling under its own attack, one more pernicious than any I could consciously ordain, a stream of hot water was soaking me when a nurse came to perform her duty. Meaning to stare at me like some kind of medical experiment she didn't understand. I didn't like this one; I never learned her name. Masculinely unattractive, frizzy underpaid hair, prone to guffawing at her colleagues in a proletarian spirit. "If you needed help, why didn't you come out to get someone?" I was wearing flimsy hospital gown bottoms and my shorts, and I was drenched. I glared at her. "It's a matter of modesty." She had not apparently heard this word before, because she kept staring as if snakes would erupt from my forehead. Never mind that I would have fallen in a second.
After some time, Andrea arrived. She had her act together. "You took a shower with your clothes on? All right, get up then, easy now." I grabbed the handrail and before I could so much as squeak, she had soaped and rinsed my lower portions. A dry set of substandard garments awaited me in the corner.
During the moments that had passed while the alert with the string tied to it summoned Andrea's competence (In ignorance, I credit some of this to her race.. I wonder if black nurses have to work harder to achieve and maintain their positions, and so take their jobs more seriously.. Probably not necessarily though; I wonder what scathing words my aunt (white) and my godmother (black) would have for me now, in defense of nurses in general), I sat happily on my plastic chair, blissfully solitary, as the warm water soaked me. Ahhh, I thought, that is better for a while.
The irrelevance of identity is astonishing at first. The biological aspects of your existence that bear no names, that enjoy no predilections, that do not recognize charm and arrogance: these will become dominant. Until now, you have never been conscious of your brain. It simply does what you tell it with predictability tedious enough to provoke a lifetime of intoxication. On this quotidian platform, any decent structure may be erected. Toward a love of philosophy and language, for example.
But give the substrate only a slight shake, and everything is brought into question. It's been about two weeks since I used my right hand. Grasp? I cannot point. Writing is way off in the distance, if anywhere. I use my left (I am not left-handed), my legs, and my teeth for most things. I open jars by securing them between my feet.
This is still very new to me.

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