tobermory's Diaryland Diary

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Of beds and bathrooms...

I have not been able to slay the phlegm troll. My defenses have been breeched. I am a walking poster for the symptoms described on the side of a box of cold medicine. I forgot my Dayquil. I am doomed to a day of Kleenexes, sneezing, watery eyes, schnorking noises, and a slightly foggy perception of the world. On the up side, I have just been given the opportunity to buy Madonna tickets. I’ve seen her twice before and she does put on quite the show with all the dancers and the set and costume changes and the strange alien looking wireless microphones, but she’s soooooo irritating now with her phony British accent and her odd children’s books that I don’t think I can stomach the experience. Heh. I almost typed children’s ‘nooks’. That would be the OTHER 80’s superstar, Michael Jackson.

I think I can no longer eat greasy food. I had my gallbladder removed about a year and a half ago and although they tell you that you have no dietary restrictions what they actually must mean is that while yes, you may eat whatever you like without dying, you might wind up with intestinal distress of the magnitude that you WISH you were dying. Apparently the gallbladder is a holdover from the times of great binging when you might go for days and days before picking off a wooly mammoth and then at the resulting prehistoric BBQ, where due to a lack of refrigeration technology, you would be forced to stuff your Neanderthal self to the gills or else see the leftovers rapidly become a maggoty pile of rotting flesh. At these Flintstones-era shindigs our friend the gallbladder would act like the overflow digestive aid helping to pass the copious amounts of brontosaurus burgers and T-Rex ribs safely through the intestines. Since we live in a time of relatively regular meals and wonder drugs like Mylanta, the gallbladder became passé, sticking around only to become an irritant much like its cohort the appendix. Anyway after a series of painful attacks that caused me to think that my death was imminent I bid my gallbladder adieu. Since that time I have had much digestive distress. I thought I was lactose intolerant – nope. I thought I had IBS – nope. I thought I was a freak – nope. Just turns out that anytime after I have a particularly greasy meal I will later have a moment of deep, deep regret. If I’m lucky this moment will occur in the confines of my own personal bathroom. Sadly, it has often occurred at random McDonalds in the greater Chicagoland area. Hey, I’m a stockholder – I’m allowed. Last night in a moment of weakness I had the #1 Bic Mac meal for dinner instead of tasty, healthy almond tofu at Mama Thai. Today I will pay the price. Consider that a warning.

Here’s a related funny poop story. This past fall I traveled to Prague with Steve and my parents. I was eating all manner of tasty greasy things, things that were breaded, fried, and smothered with gravy. My digestive system was on good behaviour though and I had my incidents relatively well timed out so that I wouldn’t have a public incident. Until the day we had a tour of the Loreto and the Prague Castle. We boarded the bus after breakfast and I felt fine until we started the climb up the hill to the castle district. I had a few distinct rumblings from below the belt and I began to get worried. I looked at Steve and mentioned that perhaps it would have been wise for me to make one last trip to the bathroom. As he is a man familiar with my ‘issues’ his eyes grew wide with concern. I said I thought I could hold it until we got to the Loreto and I would use the bathroom there. We disembarked the bus and I was in between waves of, uh, distress so I thought I would be OK. As we walked along the picturesque narrow streets with our guide I barely listened to her. All I could notice was that every shop, restaurant, café , anyplace that might have a bathroom was closed. There was a set of men’s and women’s that opened up in a courtyard off the street, but they looked like I would catch some sort of new exciting eastern European STD to bring home with me so I passed on them. Clearly I would have to wait until we got to the Loreto. We stopped at some scenic overlook that I cannot remember because I thought I was going to majorly embarrass myself. But, relief was in sight – we were approaching the Loreto. I scurried up to our guide and mentioned that once we got into the Loreto, a pilgrimage site and Prague’s house of jewels and treasures, that I would be needing to find the restroom. She told me the Loreto does not have a public restroom. I was fucked. Then I remembered it – the public pay toilet that was on the street corner near where the bus let us off. I told our guide and Steve that I’d join them in a few minutes, took a selection of coins and ran as fast as a person can run while squeezing their knees together. On the way in a wave of desperation I tried the scummy looking door for the women’s room – locked – I continued up the street to the odd cylindrical freestanding public pay toilet. I reached into my pocket for the coins; the charge was 5 crowns. I didn’t have 5 crowns, I had 10 crowns. I was less interested in wasting the extra 5 crowns than I was in having a very embarrassing shit explosion in the middle of an intersection so I put the whole 10 crown coin in. It rolled into the coin return. I tried again. It rolled through again. Apparently Czechoslovakia is too honest a country to take my extra 5 crowns. I looked around for someone to ask for change – no one. I spotted a bank and sprinted in. There was one teller waiting on someone and one person sitting at a table filling out some forms. Another wave was hitting and I was sure that I was going to explode. The person filling out the forms finished and cut in front of me – apparently if you’re in the bank, you’re in line. I was screwed, there was no way I was going to make it. Some guy came in and got in line behind me. I wavered, but then I figured what the Hell, I’m never going to see any of these people again. I turned to him in desperation and prayed that he spoke enough English to understand what it was I wanted. “Do you have 2 5 crowns for a 10 crown piece?” He smirked (I’m sure he put two and two together about my look of desperation, the proximity of the pay toilet, and the request for change, but I don’t really care), but said yes and fished out the change and I sprinted out. For those of you unfamiliar, as I was, with the strange freestanding European pay toilets I can now heartily recommend them. Apparently they are self-cleaning – when you shut the door after leaving water and cleanser spray down the entire inside cleaning away whatever bodily fluids you might have left – so they are very clean and pleasant smelling (at least until I got done with it). It was a bit disconcerting pooping in what is basically a hut on a streetcorner, but you do what you have to do. And after I did what I so very badly had to do, I felt like collapsing. All the frantic effort of finding and getting into the pay toilet had completely sapped me. Yeah, I rejoined my tour group and saw all the wonders that are the Loreto jewels and told Steve about my harrowing near explosion, but I can’t say I really remember much about the rest of the day.

On a completely different note, I would like to point out in a public forum that I hate my bed. I have owned this particular bed for about twelve years, and I was not the first owner. I bought it secondhand from a guy who rented a room in the Big House – a dwelling in Evanston where I had my first post-collegiate apartment. Tommy was vacating his rented room and moving to a new-construction condo and he sold a few pieces of furniture to my roommate Rob and I. Rob got the Couch of Lead, the world’s heaviest piece of furniture, and I bought the bed. At the time I had a crappy twin bed that just wasn’t cutting it and the secondhand double bed provided me a way to move up in size without a large outlay of cash. It was relatively new, didn’t have any funky ‘stains’ so I figured I was safe and indeed the bed has served me well through four more moves. But now I hate it. Steve came to the marriage with a futon, a piece of furniture that to me screams TRANSIENT FLAKE WHO EATS LOTS OF RAMEN. Futons are the dubious accoutrement of college students, hippies and people not mature enough to own real furniture. I suppose there are comfortable, expensive, upscale futons, but Steve’s was a cheap one to begin with and it was old and lumpy by the time I made its acquaintance. We gamely tried it out for a while, but finally even Steve had to admit that my bed would be a better choice, so that’s what we’ve been using since moving into Chez Hovel. It irks me though because I know that as part of my fabulous wedding loot there are two complete sets of super fantastic, high thread count sheets made for a queen sized bed. The queen-sized bed that I cannot buy even though I have enough money to buy it because it will not fit in the bedroom of punyness. I cannot have my queen bed until we get all of the house crapola sorted out and then there’s an additional nine months while the upstairs is remodeled. Until then I have to sleep on an aging, sagging, funkified, double mattress with sheets that have seen better days. One day, when I have my dream bed, my queen sized Tempurpedic Swedish miracle bed, I will take my lousy little double bed out into the alley and set it on fire and dance around while it burns. I’ll be sure to invite you to the spectacle.

3:22 p.m. - 2004-03-24

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