02 April 2006

lots at once

I have managed to not blog for so long that today I had to write it into the schedule. It is in the schedule, and now it is happening. So, the pressure is on.

First of all, this week I bought bandaids that were not fake white people skin color. It's a big moment. Okay, so the "medium" that I bought doesn't actually match my skin, my skin being far closer to the fake white people skin color (although, I'm pretty white, and it's still NOT my skin color), but I bought the medium on principle, because I'm tired of things coming in fake white people skin color and nothing else. Do you realize that people in Africa are stuck with fake white people skin color bandaids? So I have medium bandaids and they are too dark for my skin and that makes me happy every time I put on on the rubbed raw piece of my foot where I made the mistake of wearing bad flipflops on the first warm (yay!) day here in New York.

On Thursday I went to get MRIs on my arms to ascertain why they are so gimpy. I was looking forward to being slid into a big machine, but it turns out that they have little MRIs for arms and legs and the tube was only big enough for one arm at a time, stuffed in like sausage with foam pieces to keep it from moving. And I sat in a reclining chair covered with a blanket (because it was 63.4 degrees F in the room - brr) and tried to take a nap despite the fact that the machine made bizarre machine noises that changed every few minutes. I missed my class because it took so long to do both arms (there was a computer error, apparently) and as I walked back in the sunshine while missing class I thought to myself, "Why do I EVER go to class? This is so much nicer."

I stopped in a little park and sat on a bench to eat some Smart Puffs (the second best knublechjes - can't spell that word because it's Dutch and I don't know much Dutch - ever, after or in competition with Honey Wheat Pretzels) and read a book that I had with me. I had only been sitting for a few minutes when a huge group of high school kids from the nearby somewhat-scary police-filled high school gathered in front of me, forming a circle around two boys who were posturing at each other with their fists up. I worked respite, right, so I assume that teenagers are teenagers and they generally don't scare me that much because I have broken up about 100 teenage fights and neither did these kids scare me, until the two boys started actually beating one another. Not just wrestling and trying to knock each other down, but actually hurting each other. Within two minutes, both had swollen eyes and were bleeding from their noses or mouths. A couple of burly tough-looking men came by and tried to pull them apart, but the group of kids said something to them and the men stood back and watched. I wasn't going to break in if those men wouldn't, but I refused to just watch and the concept of guns or knives being added made me a bit cautious, so I packed up my stuff to go. As I was packing, one kid was on the ground and stayed there and the other guy backed away with his hands in the air in victory and then the rest of the guys in the crowd rushed him and beat him a bit, with girls hanging on their arms trying to hold them back. I walked away without looking back, hearing people on the way saying, "There's a big fight in the park" as they rushed over to watch, while sirens began to whine in the distance. But after a few blocks, I saw an ambulance going the other direction so I'm not sure if the police were actually on their way to the fight.

It turns out, according to my hand specialist, who has not yet read the MRIs but has looked at the x-rays, that I don't actually have carpel tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow or even golf elbow. Those things all involve nerves and apparently my problem is ligaments in my wrist, as revealed by the little bones in the wrist, which look like marbles on an x-ray and are too far apart when I make a fist. I no longer have to wear the medieval cast-looking braces from hand to shoulder at night. I just wear wrist braces. I also have a better perspective on what to avoid to avoid pain - anything with a clenched fist, anything involving pressure on my bent wrist. I'm in a lot less pain as a result. I also have more time, because I ice only my wrists. It's a beautiful thing.

Just as one final note, let me say that the weather in New York right now makes the being in New York almost worthwhile. I'm not sure that I appreciate the weather more because it comes after such a long period of weather misery, because I did appreciate the perfect weather in Rwanda every single day, but I keep thinking, "I could almost stay in New York if the weather was always like this." The sky is clear blue, the trees are beginning to show green, and there is a tree outside my constitutional law class window that is covered in snowy flowers. I can wear flipflops and skirts and on Friday the boys and I got Sponge Bob popsicles at the park and when we got to the playgound the littler one refused to a. finish the popsicle, b. throw it away, or c. go play and leave me to deal with the dripping rainbow mess that it had become. I held it for him, letting it drip all over my hand and onto the ground, which took some self-discipline because of the sticky feeling, while he took little bites, and then he said, "Put in da na-kin." and I said, "Popsicles melt outside. We can't put it in the napkin. It will melt." and he said, "In da na-kin. In da na-kin." so finally I wrapped the sticky half-eaten, mostly melted mess in a napkin, cleaned him off as well as I could with three remaining napkins and a little bottle of water, and sent him off to play. Then I heartlessly dumped Sponge Bob in the trash.

And when he called from the top of the jungle gym, "Swide, May-nie, swide!" I climbed up, in my long jean skirt, and picked him up and put him in my lap and we slid down the spiral slide and he ran off laughing after his brother.

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