Comment of the day: “are you going to blow up at any minute?”
Yes, I’m going to blow up at any minute.
I’m wearing a horizontal-striped shirt, which accentuates my baby bump (mountain), blue scrubs that keep sliding down my hips, and a pink scarf on my head. I look like I don’t give a damn and I really don’t. My reflection in windows is round as a blowfish. We get in the elevator and the lady- a wheelchair patient in a polka-dot hospital gown- starts to say something about baby wards when the doors open and I walk out mid-sentence.
When I was in college I remember working with a pregnant woman who was very gentle and kind. I thought maybe all pregnant women were that way but I think now maybe half the time they’re just exhausted and pissed off. I know I am. Just in time for the presidential debates.
Except my tv stops working. I call for maintenance and a nurse comes in to fiddle with the cables.
“No I did all that. It’s not going to work. Please call maintenance.”
Are they trying to ruin my life, a voice croaks in the back of my head. You are being a whiny bitch, says another voice that sounds like Lisa Bonet in The Cosby Show.
I start power eating grapes. When the maintenance guy arrives he starts putting the cables in the same places the nurse and I did. Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing! But he finally figures it out and we have a conversation about our childhoods, and the debates begin. Just watching them explain the rules makes my anxiety multiply. I feel like I’m going to throw up.
I know this isn’t a beauty pageant, but Donald has more makeup on than Hillary. Trump is practicing the Blue Steel to distract us from his 3rd grade vocabulary. He says his temperament is better than Hillary’s and hundreds of thousands of people love him. He dismisses NATO and the New York Times and Rosie O’Donnell and Obama. He sounds like a schizophrenic ranting about Jesus on Times Square.
Trump says Clinton doesn’t have the look or the stamina to be president. Clinton responds: “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.” Conservative news sources like FOX ignore this and say Trump “scorched” her.
Hillary reminds people that Trump has called women “pigs, slobs and dogs.” And adds, “And someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.” He kind of shrugs and sniffles and groans and grunts more and more as the debate progresses. He interrupts Clinton only to boast of his achievements and call the moderator a liar. He says illegal immigrants cause the police brutality in inner cities. He says not paying taxes makes him “smart”. He waves his tiny jazz hands around like a tap dancer in Vegas. He looks like he forgot everything his advisors told him to do. He looks like a confused old man on the wrong porch.
I don’t know if it’s the debate or my blood pressure, which is up again, or the BP medicine, but I feel feverish and sweaty, and my ear hurts. Charley’s mom writes from Facebook to ask for my dad’s number because he “is a recovered alcoholic I need to connect with him”. When I ask her if everything’s okay and if she’s heard from Charley she doesn’t answer.
My head throbs. Two hours before I can have more Tylenol.
There is a thumping noise every night around ten that I can’t figure out. It’s been happening for the last few weeks and it’s always late in the evening. It sounds like it’s coming from either next door or the floor above me or even the bathroom. I’ve started to suspect the old pipes. Tonight I tell my nurse Jeanine again and she asks the patient next door about it. Turns out that every time she turns on the hand-activated sink it turns off with a loud thump. Mine does the same thing except I use mine about once a day- maybe twice- and she seems to use hers about fifty times in a row for an hour. But at least now I know what it is. Jeanine leaves. Thump my neighbor says. Thump thump.
Thump my head responds.
I text the temporary roommate, Adam. “Have you heard from Charley? Is he with you?”
He says “I’m sorry I’m sleepin but he’s ok.I’ll have him call u when i get up.” Everything seems off. My head is imagining the worst. Is he cheating on me? Is he on another bender? What is going on that I don’t know about? What am I missing? I’m depressed.
Maybe I’m manifesting what I fear most?
Osho called the whole idea of manifesting your love or joy or money and success pure rubbish bullshit, and that was years before the bestseller “The Secret” came out on bookshelves worldwide marketing daydreams for the perfect life. Osho said that positive thinking would not change anything because it’s a way of avoiding looking at the unconscious mind, which is usually full of negativity.
He said, “…By your not seeing it, do you think it disappears? You are just befooling yourself. You cannot change reality. The night will still be there; you can think that it is daytime for twenty-four hours, but by your thinking it, it is not going to be light twenty-four hours a day.”
Fuck if I know. Osho may have been a questionable Indian guru, with 90 “commune owned” Rolls Royces and multiple affairs with west coast women, but his writing always made more sense to me than pop-psychology, self-help books like “The Secret”. Those books- like “Wealth Beyond Reason” and “As a Man Thinketh”- made spirituality a Casino game. They made the world believe they could win the lottery simply by thinking positive thoughts about it, and stressed the importance of being happy about everything like a “Pleasantville” mom. To me, that’s the psychological commencement of a Stephen King novel.
September 27th, Tuesday: It’s 7:30 am. My fetus Dakota is 35 weeks and 4 days. I feel good and well rested for about five minutes. Then I start to remember the debates and feel the same way about my own online debate coverage via tweets as I did in college drunk texting boys in the middle of the night.
About five minutes into being awake I worry again about Charley. Was everyone hiding something? Had he taken his measly paycheck, visited a liquor store and hit the road? Was I going to be left with unpaid rent on a new house with six starving animals? Oh god.
Osho also said, “Be realistic: Plan for a miracle.” And that’s what I would have to do.
Even if manifesting a million dollars or a perfect marriage wasn’t realistic, the concept of “brain-to-brain communication thousands of miles away” has been proven by Harvard researchers. Could I somehow stifle my ignorance and my negativity and just send Charley positive thoughts for our future? Was it too late? Had I sent too much mental doubt and ennui?
This brain-to-brain communication study conducted with Harvard Medical School discovered that extrasensory mind-to-mind interaction is possible over great distances by “leveraging different pathways in the mind”. When literal messages were sent, study subjects experienced brain stimulation as phosphenes, (flashes of light, which occur in peripheral vision as a sort of morse code), as a sequence.
The study, coauthored by Alvaro Pascual-Leone, a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, found that information can be transmitted between two healthy human brains from distances of over 5000 miles. Taos, New Mexico, is only 588 miles from St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. If I wanted to inject brain activity into Charley, I suppose I could do it, consciously or not.
My only comfort during a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and oatmeal, is ripping into Trump on Twitter again:
“hey @realDonaldTrump a person running for president doesn’t criticize women’s looks, especially if he himself looks like a bucket of chicken”
Finally Tracy sends me a short message. She’s with Charley in Espanola getting breakfast burritos. My dogs Lady and Duke are both getting their private parts removed, (we spared Freyja for now because she’s so damn cute and perfect). Tracy says “I will help Charley clean up a bit. Truth is, he needs help. Rehab. I knew this all along. He knows this.”
I know this. I’ve know this since I met him and he got terrifically mad for no reason other than we ran out of vodka during a camping trip. Maybe this time he has wrecked the new house. Maybe he’s gone on a bender again. At least he was home. At least he was with Tracy. Hopefully she could reach my dad: the ungoogleable mountain guy with no computer or email, who never answers the phone (and if he does it’s with a growl). My dad’s a recovering alcoholic. He was a substance abuse counsellor. He worked with politicians and children of abuse and death row inmates. Maybe he would have an answer.