I don't have a ton to say right now. It's been a weird week. But last night, as I lay on my boxspringless mattress trying to fall asleep despite the drunken din below my window and the missing ceiling fan up above, I thought about the last time my dad was sick. And I remembered writing about it in a now-abandoned LiveJournal. I went and found it this morning, and it didn't take me long to be reminded that life is cyclical, and age doesn't always bring wisdom. In some ways I wish that I could channel the me of three years ago when dealing with the world's complexities.
November 14, 2004
I'm 22 now. Last year I gained the right to drink in bars and on the street from bottles nestled in worn paper bags. This year I've gained a palindrome and the sneaking fear that from now on the years will personify themselves as small, numeric bullet trains, hurtling past me faster than I can find responsibility...somewhere...
In this pile of ankle socks and cats.
Friday night we saw Sideways. It's a movie I probably would've seen anyway, but living in Omaha brings a certain obligation to put food on Alexander Payne's depressing table. I liked it - I know more about banjo making than I do about wine, and there was many an uncomfortable moment - but I enjoyed it all the same. There's something strangely soothing about Thomas Hayden Church's voice.
Saturday we ate at the Dell for my birthday dinner. I dragged Mary Clare along in an effort to bridge the ever-closing gap between MC the sibling and MC the slightly younger, shorter and cuter college friend. Annie and Shelley had spent the afternoon planning what I would later find out to be a Barbie-themed party afterwards. Mary Clare chose to return to the dorms, which was probably better. The alternative was to stick around and watch me pass out halfway up the stairs later on that night. Because I am excited by technology, I've posted some pictures of the evening. So now I'm 22. The tiny trains are picking up the pace. I'm not ready, and they don't care.
I'd originally defined the intensity of this semester with fairly tangible tasks and obligations. A full load of credits, an internship at an ad agency that will remain unnamed because I don't want to end up like that Capitol Hill intern who's blog was discovered (resulting in a a job loss and a great deal of public shame), and a position as editor of Creighton's literary mag. And while all of this has left me with small, bloody bald spots at times, nothing has gotten out of control.
I keep eating.
I keep sleeping.
I keep showering, sometimes with soap.
But the last few weeks have caused that intensity to morph from a "Full House"-type drama to a more "Party of Five" inspired stress. Two weeks ago, my dad fell off a stepladder and passed out in my neighbor's driveway. A passerby found him, and they got him to the hospital in good time. Turns out he had some bleeding under his skull (a Heeeeematoma), and they kept him for a few days just to make sure he'd be okay. So he missed a week of class, but was back on his feet pretty soon after.
Cut to three days after that, when, while driving to Web Design at 8am in a cold Omaha drizzle, a Maroon Coup Deville ran the light at 24th and Farnum and gave my '91 Sentra the spanking of its life. In the process of spinning, braking and most likely making animal-like vocalizations, I hurt my knee - developing a Heeeematoma where I'd had ACL surgery a few years back. The Sentra was a lost cause, so Matthias and I jacked my stereo, and I'm currently driving a rented Ford Focus for what could also feed a small country, or at least me, for a good month. I have to get a new car when I go home for Thanksgiving - my mom's been hinting at doing the deed before I get home, which could entail a whore-red '87 Tercel waiting for me in the driveway.
Cut back to this morning, when I awoke at noon to find out that my dad, who they thought was fine, had been ambulanced to St. Mary's after waking up vomiting in the middle of the night with a severe headeach. He had emergency surgery this morning to stop the bleeding in his head. He's still in ICU, but my mom says he's awake now and making the occasional poorly received joke.
So I'd like to believe that everything's fine, but this is hard for a number of reasons. It's hard because right now I just want to be home with my family - with my brothers, watching Law & Order reruns with them, making fun of Paul's tiny mustache, telling them things are going to be okay. It's hard admitting that my dad's at the age where something small like falling off a stepladder could mean something big like internal bleeding and surgery. I don't want to believe that he's getting to the place that I've spent my life dreading he'd reach.
And all of those fears, some unfounded and some completely logical, spiral into worrying about my family's welfare if my dad can't work anymore, etc. I get selfish and worry about work I'd have to make up if I had to go home on short notice. I should probably look at the small picture and hope that he'll be able to eat sugar-free pie with us at Thanksgiving. I haven't had a decently coherent conversation with him in a few weeks, and I miss him.
So this is what being 22 is like and this is what approaching the end of the first half of the last year of college feels like. I don't want to wish away time, but I'm ready for this segment to be over. I can't even remember the last time I allowed myself to completely relax. But there's a cat on my bed and he looks lonely, so for now tension is eased in short spurts of cat-sleeping, and watching Britney Spears lick Snoop Dog's goatee. Then I can go home.