A Land of Both Shadow and Substance, Not Only of Sight and Sound but of Mind


Sometimes I expect to see a man dressed in a black suit and white shirt step out from behind a large ficus bush on Columbus Avenue and start detailing my life in a slightly nasal voice to an unseen audience.

It started on Friday.

I knew the week was going to be discombobulated from the start, as we had Tuesday and Wednesday off for Rosh Hashanah. But that was ok, as my Monday afternoon class was canceled. At least it was until I get to school, open my computer, and check the day’s schedule to find that Monday afternoon’s class, was, in fact, not only not canceled, but it had never been canceled. It’s a bit like one of those nightmares you have about school where you show up and then you’re forced to go to classes that you never signed up for.

Tuesday was a relatively normal day. I went to the gym, got not enough work done—SOP for a day off in the middle of the week.

I woke up Wednesday a bit stiff from my exertions at the gym the day before and a sharp pain in my left foot. It hurt enough to curtail any plans I had for the day—either take advantage of the sole remaining day of the Indian Summer and head out on my bike, or perhaps head to a museum—but not enough to prevent me from finally getting a round tuit and schlepping all 15 of my dress shirts to the cleaners (aside from the fact that this literary technique is called foreshadowing, getting my shirts laundered is one of the few not really necessary luxuries I allow myself; I hate ironing shirts) to be delivered on Thursday.

Inexplicably, my foot hurt even more on Thursday morning. And when I say it hurt more, I was beginning to wonder if I’d broken something in there. Downed three Advil to prepare myself for the day, strapped the balky foot into my shoe, and, after hobbling out to the street corner (this, after missing a noon-time interview seminar), decided that there was no way in hell I’d be able to walk to the subway and back and took a cab to school. Survived my sole class, scheduled a doctor’s appointment to look at my foot for the next morning, did the reading for the next day, redosed myself with Advil, and then contemplated my options for getting down to New York Law School for the opening night of State of Play.

You know, trying to catch a cab during rush hour in the rain with a bad foot really isn’t as much fun as you might think.

Got to the conference, ate dinner, watched a great panel discussion and got very interested in attending the rest of the conference, had some drinks with some friends from the Berkman Center, and then took a cab home.

Sudden loss of mobility is a very strange thing. For one thing, you very quickly learn just how much in your life depends on having two good wheels. And I’ve never been the most graceful of humans, but because one leg is doing the work of two, I was even more clumsy and oafish than usual (plus I was worried about hurting my good leg by overcompensating… but that’s another story).

I was having trouble getting to sleep because my foot was throbbing, but I eventually drifted off… to be woken up 90 minutes later by the throbbing pain in my foot. Three more Advil, plus an adhoc ice pack, plus another hour of lying there in the dark waiting for the ibuprofen to do its blessed work.

Friday morning—after not nearly enough sleep—I somewhat improbably found a cab to take me up to the doctor’s office during rush hour. The doctor was puzzled—it didn’t seem like a break, because I would have felt it when it broke, but, on the other hand, tissue injuries tend to get better with time, not worse. So he sent me down to get x-rayed (and all the while the previous night’s Advil is wearing off).

Apparently they have a system in this office building where the doctors can log directly into the radiology office’s servers and view the scans right their on their computer. The system wasn’t working. So they burned a CD for the doctor and sent it back up to his office. His computer couldn’t read the CD. And so on. Why they didn’t actually send the x-rays up, I’ll never know…

Cutting this particular part of the saga short, the x-ray didn’t show a break—so it was just a nasty case of tendonitis. He gave me a prescription for a very powerful anti-inflammatory, an ace bandage, and said that if it still hurt the next week after icing it, to call him to schedule an MRI (sorry, it’s an anti-inflammatory, not an opiate).

I go home on the bus (not a good idea, in retrospect) and collapse. My father very kindly takes the time out from his day to get the prescription filled. At this point in the day, there’s absolutely no chance that I’ll either go to school or get to the rest of the conference, and anyway, rest is indicated since it seems that what little stomping around I managed the day before is somewhat responsible for the situation getting worse. Ice is applied to the malfunctioning foot, and I settle in for a long nap.

Late that night, foot still in pain and elevated, the phone rings. It’s the owner of the dry cleaners. As best I can figure out, my shirts are gone. Because the van was stolen. With the laundry inside. At gunpoint.

In other words, my shirts were carjacked.

I’m not sure how else I could end this, so I’ll just elide over missing the rest of the conference because I didn’t leave the apartment for 48 hours, the suddenly possessed cable box that refuses to show broadcast television (channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13) but shows every other channel perfectly (when it’s not crashing and rebooting itself) and the very short, but rather curious, IM conversation I had with someone who was apparently sleepwalking at the time…

Oh, and my foot’s a lot better now. Thanks for asking! Who knew that rest, ice, elevation, and really powerful drugs could be so effective?

Update: Whybark suggests that I avoid playing the numbers 4 8 15 16 23 42 in the lottery this week.


Wow. What a shitty week!

wow. :( poor you.

glad to hear the foot's feeling better now.

What a week. I'm glad you've gotten powerful medication and rest!

What shall you do for shirts? I hate ironing too. Somebody makes decent dress shirts out there that do not require ironing.

A down week, to be sure, but well and evocatively told. I live in fear of my shirts disappearing at the cleaners...

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