Lent

4 March 2015 § 1 Comment

4 March

A few weeks ago, there was a snow day and I listened to the entire Smithsonian collection of jazz.  I also realised that I left my palms from Palm Sunday last year at home.  This prevented me from the satisfying sense of cyclical religious closure.  Lent needs no egregious dourness, however, so I redirect my energy to Christina Rossetti’s lenten thoughts and a remarkable speech from a black Mississippian judge to a few fools.  (NB The epithet of “fool” is a grave insult.)

Last Thursday, there was another snow day, which was much less fun.  I had just returned from Tennessee, my trip sandwiched between snows, and lounging around my apartment without power (read: tea), friends, or any work to do turned me into a catatonic ice cube.  I cannot remember what I did all day except for halfheartedly reading ten pages of Hannah Arendt and making tea once the power returned.  A few days later, I spent the better part of an hour shovelling my car out of the gravel/ice/snow layer cake that was my apartment’s parking area with an ice scraper.  I was in great distress, as I was trying to report to the hospital in answer to a page, but the patient never even appeared.  Is there such a thing as sunk distress theory?

A few days ago, I began reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, which, like most medical writing, has the power to kill, at least temporarily, my tenuous interest in surgery with tales of listening to rather than cutting people.  Also, if you have not heard, Oliver Sacks is dying and he wrote his thoughts about it.  Knowing how to die well means knowing how to live well (see also: Ivan Ilych).  Yes, I cried when I read the article, yes, I am probably going to start crying again since I feel sick and therefore more emotional (maybe I will learn about this pathway in neurology block next year).

I awoke with a cold this morning but straggled to work out of a sense of guilt regarding my chronic absenteeism.  I successfully registered for a conference as a “full-time trainee in a pre- or post-doctoral course of study” and now I have to ghost write a letter lying about my pretend student status, which will be signed by the investigator who can somehow never understand that I am not a PhD student with extensive training in immunology but just a regular clueless premed who hardly understands how an ion pump really works and is more interested in the metaphysical than actual-physical ramifications of memory B cell behaviour.  Anyway, I left before noon without even drawing someone’s blood, which was the only productive task I could actually have done today.

As I am terrible at lying in bed during the day, I am making a list of tasks for today while listening to Ben Rector, which may also make me cry, since it makes me think of sophomore year: loneliness, confusion, anguished prayers, finding one of my dearest friends during long training runs (and missing her now, halfway around the world), running the actual race in predawn frozen Floridian wasteland of garishness, injuring myself from so much dance class, sleepless nights, driving to Roanoke to run a race with my mother, the surprise telephone call from Kristen on deployment the night before said race, walking barefoot everywhere for an entire week after said race since my feet were too swollen for shoes, straggling through a Russian class too difficult for me while tenting (otherwise known as Siberia simulation), discovering I was going to the real Russia (fulfillment of a five-year dream . . . or was it a five-year plan?), my accidental Easter vigil during which I spent all insomniacal night writing a paper and then went barefoot to the sunrise service in the gardens and nearly fell off my chair from shivering so forcefully, and other events that you can probably find in Hard Times.  The year passed, though.

As a consolation prize for anyone who managed to read this far, I made a twenty-four hour visit to Winston-Salem yesterday, where Heidi cooked delicious salmon for me and we drank lots of wine, which I considered an early celebration for the finale of interview season.

Eventually, I will have to put on my Mozart record or else I will probably just read for the rest of the day while trying to ward off feverish chills.

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