Saturday, March 8, 2008

A week to forget

After the near car accident Thursday evening, I've been forced to conclude that, in its way, this really has been a bad week. And all too well do I know that the worst may be yet to come.

First, my PMS symptoms seem to be worsening again. For the past 10 days:

* My muscles have ached constantly, more than usual.

* I have been so exhausted that I've fallen asleep over lunch, missed my bus stop on the way home, and fallen asleep at 8:00 with the light on.

* I've woken up as early as 4:00 a.m.

* My nether regions feel bloated and weighted down by a cannonball. Walking is difficult.

* My lower back feels like it might have starred as a punching bag in Rocky.

* I've been hungry. which makes me eat too much.

* I've been depressed enough to cry not only before and after sleep, but even while asleep.

The bright spot? The symptoms are receding, giving way to pain that is at least predictable.

On Sunday, there was a brief power outage. Normally, power is restored, and everything returns to normal. This time, however, I lost my DSL connection, and, after several days, chats, and phone calls, I am doubtful that it can be fixed (optimism is not one of my strengths). I'm back to dial-up for now. As a friend says, with his dry English wit, "You want to get cable or DSL or something. It's faster.:)"

That cheered me up a bit. It really did. I insist.

Unfortunately, the headache, sneezing, coughing, and other precursors to a cold that began in earnest on Tuesday did not. With the cold and the approaching onset of my cycle, I can be miserable from top to bottom—and am.

Monday I came home to a new mini-blind—an elegant cream, unlike the rest, which are cold white.

I can live with it. Just don't look too closely should you visit.

On Wednesday, I found myself reading something I shouldn't have been, not at a time when even the slightest thing will set me off, and echoed Deanna Troi's alien son, Ian: "My face is wet." Sometimes it happens. Suddenly.

Thursday began harmlessly enough. J. who had driven to work, called to ask if I wanted him to take me grocery shopping. I rarely turn down an opportunity to pick up heirloom tomatoes (hit and miss at Whole Foods), so I said, "Sure," little knowing . . .

At about 6:40 p.m. we were traveling southbound in the middle lane on Clinton or Canal or one of those streets on the west side of the river when a van in the right-hand lane made an abrupt turn left in front of us. Right in front. At speed. J. reacted amazingly quickly, slamming on the brakes, while the image of the broad side of the van, no more than an inch or two from J.'s front bumper—with the point of potential impact on my side—seared itself into my brain. There wasn't even time to use the horn in warning. How could anyone drive so recklessly?

The driver of the van, oblivious to the close call, continued eastbound on his merry way while J. pulled over, ostensibly to see if there had been any impact or damage. I suspect he needed a few minutes to calm down. A pair of pedestrians hurried over to make sure he was okay; they couldn't believe what they'd seen. They hadn't been able to get the license number, they said indignantly.

Strangely, I didn't feel anything. I didn't feel a surge of adrenaline when I saw the van turn so abruptly or when I felt the car stop suddenly. I wasn't panting like I sometimes do when I'm startled or have had a fright. Although it had been a very close call and I saw it coming, I felt nothing. I've had moments of calm like that even in tough situations, but it seemed abnormal even to me.

Shaken, but recovered, J. drove off—only to have a UPS truck barrel up behind him fast enough to make him cry out and switch lanes for fear of being run down.

By the time we got to Whole Foods (after missing the turn), we ready to take an hour off from the road.

Later, on I-94, a vintage roadster roared up behind us, too close for comfort. J. said he was reminded of an airplane pilot suddenly spotting a missile bearing down on his craft from behind.

On Friday, he missed the 8:05 train again but decided to wait for the next one rather than to drive.

Given my fortunes, and his, it was a wise move.

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