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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

That was the only phrase the “man” in the red shirt could utter in English that crucial, balmy Venice evening (er, morning) back in the summer of ’02. I still don’t know if those words rang true or if he was just a behind the times Fine Young Cannibals fan. For whatever reason I decided to leave my virginity with that… Angel.

I wanted the journal entry I wrote the next morning while riding the train to Venice to accompany this photo — but I just read through it once more and it’s still that brand of dry heave inducing, coming-of-age mortification. I’m talking the feeling took me back to that moment in 3rd grade when I spilled chili directly into my crotch on my birthday and couldn’t get ahold of my parents for a change of clothes embarrassment.

His name is Luca and that’s all I know.  Admittedly, as tragic as that t-shirt is… I’d totally scoop it up for a crisp Lincoln if the Salvation Army ever gave me the chance. An insignificant extension of me would wear it while taking someone else’s virginity, but I think that’s the wrong kind of paying it forward.

I’m glad he carried condoms in his tiny, baby blue backpack and that he wore reflective sneakers.  Dual levels of safety first.

I think this quote from a friend sums it all up quite nicely:  “blake:  you lost your virginity to a gay dude?”

Because I’m pretty sure I did.

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You should know that everything and nothing has happened since I spilled my jumping beans about retarded werewolves five months ago.

I fell in and out of like with a few people on my accidental quest for a new teammate in life.  The good news is that I’m pretty sure that only One Third of that bunch is still harboring adverse feelings toward me.  I regret leaving a grubby little snail trail of feelings behind me.  Don’t think I haven’t slid around on them myself.

You could trace them all the way back to Six Flags Over Texas circa 1995.  That was the time my internet boyfriend from AOL Teen Chat: The Half Pipe was going to meet me, Daisy1356, in the flesh for the first time.  I can’t believe there was actually a time in which we had to rely solely on strangers’ descriptions of themselves, and man were they idealistic.  I’m pretty sure mine was wholly inaccurate, too.  And by “pretty sure” I mean I was at least four years older with a tan just a smidge lighter than Idi Amin’s.  Anyway, Adrian was unsurprisingly nothing close to what he’d described.  Instead of respectfully explaining myself face to face, I tucked tail, ran the opposite direction toward all things Mommy and Daddy, and changed my screen name upon returning home.

That was a very long path to something I wanted to address:  the fact that explaining undesirable feelings in person doesn’t seem to have a more positive effect.  But I’m an adult and I can’t go on letting just everyone assume I’ve been disemboweled in a freakish amusement park accident (or can I) never to be seen or heard from again.

However painful and embarrassing, I want to remember the moment in which the aforementioned One Third said, “Normally I’d say that’s a beautiful sky, but right now it just looks like a shitty watercolor” while gazing upward. That was obviously immediately after I spewed some unpleasant feelings aloud.  There is no smooth way to tell someone that you’re not the right fit for them, but that was definitely the smoothest way anyone has ever called me an asshole.

A couple days later I met with the manager of a local Italian market where I was hoping to score some weekend catering work (this was all part of my grand scheme to gather extra funds for traveling and so far it’s granted me one ticket to Chicago come September where I’ll visit with an extraordinary friend and wangle my very first tattoo).

I was instantly distracted by a handsome vision behind the deli counter.  He was back lit bright, nestled between cheeses, and stood tall beneath a dangling halo of authentic Italian meats that swung slightly in the recycled air.

I was hired on the spot and it took a dreadfully (probably karmically deserved) long time for Meat Halo to even notice me, let alone ask me out.

After one of our first dates to a Thai restaurant he left his pineapple fried rice with extra cashews in my fridge.  Realizing this the following day, he sweetly offered the remnants to me.  I accepted the offer and sent them directly to what I’d originally thought to be a quaint home, the inside of my growling tummy.

Oops.

I hadn’t eaten a cashew in a couple decades.  In fact, the last time I’d eaten cashews was quite memorable for everyone involved.  My parents had taken me to some boring wedding where I’d taken the liberty of emptying an entire bowl of these complimentary, oily, tropical treats into my seven year old gob.  I brought that reception back to life by tossing them right back up on the pool deck about a half hour later.  At least I was able to shout, “I THINK I’M GONNA…” beforehand.

A similar feeling washed over me this time, Hulk-like in its particular shade of green coupled with abnormally high body temperatures.  Just imagine that instead of raging super human strength, Bruce produced raging super human puke and there you have me.  I snuggled my water conserving toilet all night long.  Go green!  Awesome, I did.

I visited a local allergist after this episode, apparently through a super secret worm hole to the year 1987.  Could it be that I’d died and gone to mauve heaven?  The examination table was newborn baby bulb syringe blue and while the nurse dutifully demonstrated how to use an epipen I noticed the top supply drawer had a label on it that read:  FACIAL TISSUE.  Frightening!  Phew.  The drama I’d longed for in her performance was found there instead.

On my way out, clutching epinephrine prescription and pamphlet advertising medic alert bracelets with MOOD CHANGING BEADS, I noticed a lunatic, framed photo above the hand washing station.  It captured a mystery person from the waist down, top portion of their body covered by the full branches of a tree they stood behind.  As I stepped closer to inspect what I’d originally thought to be a foggy spot on the glass caused by moisture damage, I realized that the tree in this photograph was on FIRE and the foggy spot was actually a cloud of smoke billowing forth.

At the time it didn’t make a lick of sense, but I realize that the joke was on me and this mystery man is what one might warmly refer to as a Tree Nut.

 

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I’ve put off writing here because I’m finding it entirely preposterous to put into words the experiences I’ve had here in Austin so far.  It would sound something like, “I feel like my head is a stationary buoy with a thin wire cable running through all of my insides down to my toes and if I don’t keep my feet on the ground my legs will be sucked inside of me and sprout directly from both ears.”

This post-it on my desk has several notes referencing gut-busting moments I’ve had at the YMCA, but it’s been so long since I’ve written them that I have no idea what I meant by “stuck to rear”.

A lot of people are worried about the last unflattering photo they’ve had ending up in the obits.  I’m worried about someone finding these awkward notes to self.

Although I do think it’s important for all members of my family to know that I fell in love for exactly one hour and a half with a black man named Devorak at the gym.  It was a cross between the fact that his name sounds like it might belong to a one-eyed, scary, orange monster with overactive salivary glands and warts with teeth, or because I wanted to take a nap on his graying, rain cloud-like afro rather than exercise.  If he googles himself he’ll know that our future together flashed right before my eyes and ended with him being reasonably upset with me for owning a Harriet Tubman action figure.  Needless to say, I didn’t retain a shred of information about their fitness equipment.

In fact, I didn’t even use the equipment for about a month after my “orientation”.  The thought of it weirdly overwhelmed me.  One afternoon I felt motivated and attempted to tackle one with a slightly welcoming, candy apple red seat.  I wrapped my legs around it and stared at the instructional diagram for entirely too long.  Ikea furniture instructions long.  And I’m almost certain that a descendent of Robert Wadlow had used it seconds before me because I couldn’t reach a damn thing.  Instead of asking for a bit of guidance from the obvious gym veteran across from me, I blushed and practically ran to the locker room (CARDIO).

Who was I kidding because if you’ve ever been to the YMCA you too know that the locker room is definitely not a safe place to take refuge.  It is a place where I’ve witnessed several instances of what I can only refer to as unnecessary bare-assedness.  I’m talking completely nude women bent over drying their hair.  Volume, people, it’s important.  I’ll tell you what else is important, me not knowing what my vagina is going to look like in thirty years.

On another note, I’ve also fallen in love with Austin’s moonlight towers which leaves me feeling a bit like the lady who married the Golden Gate Bridge.

Everything I’ve read about them sounds suspiciously romantic, so maybe I’m not the only one.  The department that handles their ongoing maintenance is called the Illumination Division for chrissakes.  Please let me have a job there.

“The towers were also guaranteed by the designers to be bright enough that a person could read his or her pocket watch within 3,000 feet of a tower on the “darkest of nights.”  Sigh.

I see 2 of the 17 remaining in the city regularly, but one clearly doesn’t know about the other.

In the 30’s farmers thought the artificial moonlight would cause severe overgrowth of gardens and lawns and that home owners would have to battle their yards with an axe.  At first I had a good chuckle and thought to myself, “how bonkers is that?!”

I then retracted that thought immediately when the slight fear of accidental lunar fertility, or worse retarded werewolves crossed my mind.

Now I can’t decide which is a new all time low – the fact that I just linked to http://www.menstruation.com, or that I just typed and italicized retarded werewolves (twice).

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I got my braces off this afternoon and the moment I opened wide in the mirror I saw that guy on the left staring back at me (minus a flaxen miss on my arm).  My teeth look and feel super-colossal to me right now.  Don’t worry, I’m chalking it up to a first world problem.

Soon I’ll be used to seeing all that white when my lips part, but for now I feel like I’m forcing those around me to survey ghastly, exposed bone.  If I made you laugh and you lifted up your shirt to show me your naked rib I might black out or wail, “PUT THAT AWAY!”  Thankfully, no one has had that reaction.

It felt amazing to strut into their office knowing I’d soon prance out a woman who can finally brush and floss in under half an hour.  The removal was a snap, literally, but the impressions that followed were not.  That was more like a crackle and a pop.  Ouch. 

I guess you could say I have a bit of a freakishly runty mouth, and the impression tray is seriously just the heel end of a men’s shoe size 18 insole.  I’m convinced.  Oh, with a giant wad of wet, grape flavored plaster smeared on top of it.  Mmm, open sesame! 

The first technician’s technique was questionable.  She put me in a headlock, shoved it into my mouth, and held my head against her boob until the plaster hardened.  It didn’t take the first or second time, and by the third I was losing focus.  That focus being:  DO NOT LAUGH, APRIL!  I’m sorry, but by the third time she had me in that breast-y sleeper hold I could not hold it in any longer.  I spit plaster and gave myself a pretty sensational, violet beard.

She called for backup and it just so happened to be my favorite orthodontic technician of all time, Deb.  We bonded before my surgery over a love of pizza and fear of skin grafts.  She even sent me a post card once to make sure I was recovering well.  I read it to myself in her pack a day Selma/Patty Bouvier voice and cried the day I received it.

It took Deb two tries, but we finally nailed it.  I was out the door with a “CONGRATS!” balloon trailing behind me and a smiley face bag loaded with candy from the FORBIDDEN FOOD list they gave me two years ago.

I brought an apple with my lunch in hopes that I’d have the guts to bite into it, but I chickened out and sliced it up instead.  Snore. 

It reminded me of the time I had a cast removed from my healed, formerly broken wrist.  I refused to use that arm for days because I harbored irrational fears about it breaking again.  My mom forced me to open and close the sliding side door of our family mini-van with it while I grimaced and whined.

If she were here now I imagine she’d make me open my own car door with my teeth.

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The same bashful young man has been delivering mail to my office for a few years now.  He bobbles through the door, kicks the box on the floor, and takes zero notice of my little hello’s from behind my giant, cube-y pigeon hole.

I feel like a colossal idiot for never wondering why aloud until this very morning. 

“I feel silly for saying hello to that guy every day even though I know he’ll never say it back.” 

“April, that guy is deaf.” 

I’m admitting to you now that I was romanticizing the situation (surprised, I’m sure) all this time.  I went over several scenarios including the possibility that I might resemble some awful, older cousin of his who used to trap his head in an empty pillow case full of her post Taco Cabana breakfast burrito flatus.

I came across an extremely unhelpful website while googling “basic sign language” that included a list of the absolute worst basic sentence samples of all time. 

Here are the greatest hits:
MY DAD LIKES COLD PIZZA.

THOSE BOY AND GIRL FUTURE WILL MARRIAGE.

MY BROTHER LIKE HOT WASH.

MY GRANDMA HAVE GREEN COAT.

MY AUNT SLEEP HER UNDERWEAR.

PAST LAST WEEK I SLEEP IN MY CAR.

Doesn’t it sound like someone’s recounting a series of events that might have actually taken place in that exact order? 

Listen, I don’t need to tell you this, but you’re probably sleeping in your car because you told someone your aunt sleeps in her underwear.

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She’s lump.

I imagine that my brain got stuck inside of my body like a splinter 26 years ago and ever since the tissue and skin has been growing over it, trapping it, and now I’m making do.  

Today I thought we could delight in a nice annual physical together and take our pee in (or around and all over) the cup and place it in the teeny window and get on with our lives. 

There are many instructions and required reading involved when you’re going to pee in a cup.  And a pen dangling from a chain that you’re supposed to use to write your name on the cup and so on.  It’s a shame that they specify, “NO NICKNAMES” because I was going to write April “Showers” Swartz on my sample.  A sample!  A sample of what I have to offer you… in urine. 

I struggle with a bit of performance anxiety when I have to take a piss at a specific time in an appointed place.  They should have a 3-ring binder full of plastic sheet protected photos displaying dripping faucets, streams, and waterfalls next to the toilet.  Sort of like what they offer men for their spank banks. 

Could we not meet in the middle with some nudie mermaids?

Sometimes when I’m in there I think I’ll just never pee.  I’ll finally stumble out into the hallway at two in the morning dehydrated, lips cracked, throat closing, vision distorted, and knees creaking loudly like the Tin Man’s to find all the lights off.  Then I’ll collapse in the arms of a lonely night cleaner who gives me the disapproving mother face as I drift to sleep in his pine sol-y embrace while loosening my grip on one sad, empty cup.

Don’t worry, we eventually gave it up.   

Later on my doctor gave me a dummy boob to play with while he left the room.  I was instructed to “find the lumps”.  A game best played by one’s self, like Solitaire. 

Well, I cheated because there were 3 dirty and weathered spots on this hobo boob.  I mashed on them and felt snow caps

It felt pretty awesome to tell my doctor to “wash that boob” before I left the office.

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I hover between delighting in conversation with other women at the gym and being completely, mentally chafed by it. 

A couple weeks ago a real looker of a blonde-y asked me what I was reading as I was hard at work huffing and puffing and blowing my way through a cardio session on the elliptical.  While I took a few hours to catch my breath (I was a Texan, teenage, Marlboro red smoker)  she offered, “I’m always looking for a new book!”   

Something about the way she was beaming up at me from the treadmill really caught me off guard.  She never broke her stride and I can hardly turn a page without belly flopping off of the machine.

Here’s my winning reply:  “It’s good!!!”  I should capitalize that because I did sort of shout it as I flashed her the title quickly, but it’s almost too embarrassing (even for me) to share that part.  She smirked and looked away. 

Instead of turning the next page with a moistened fingertip I wiped my forehead and pruned the following pages with a handful of nervous sweat.  

It’s too bad Amazon doesn’t carry my next read  in anything other than paperback.  I was going to request it on toddler vinyl with more pictures.  Wait, maybe less in this case. 

Product Description
It’s difficult to love a woman whose vagina is a gateway to the world of the dead.
 
Yeah, tell my boyfriend about it. 

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