Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Body Betrays Me

Sorry for the gap but I was sick as a dog all last week. I brought chocolate cherry trifle to my brother’s house and left with his in-law’s flu from D.C. - I got gypped on the deal. I thought that considering I wasn’t in retail this winter I would be spared the run of the cold & flu season where I am usually the first or last to contract it.

After little sleep, I got up at 5:30 a.m. to hit the stores on “Black Friday” something I have never done before. Usually I was working and passing snide remarks on those that did get up far to early to shop. Being on the other side of the counter for this was quite the experience. I drove to Wal-Mart armed with an annotated shopping list and some HOT black tea, and saw the parking lots for the nearby Kohl’s (opened at 4 a.m.), Target (opening at 6 a.m.) and Wal-Mart (opened at 5 a.m.) were all full to capacity.

Inside, Wal-Mart was just a few gunshots shy of a riot. I had gone for one specific unmentionable item, for certain readers of this blog, but there was a huge line to get that item and my arms were already full with extra bargains I discovered along my way. Most of the lines were for the HD TVs and Wii and Xbox stuff (or so it seemed, I know nothing about electronic games and wasn’t buying any) but since I wasn’t buying that stuff I was in and out pretty fast. I then stopped at Target where I ran into a very tired Nonnie. By then it was 7:30 a.m. and I realized quite happily that my Christmas shopping was about 95% done! I got some great stuff for the kiddies and spent about 1/3rd the money I would normally have spent so all in all it was worth the little sleep.

Later that day I picked up Ryan and took him to the other brother’s “after Thanksgiving brunch” with said trifle and said D.C. flu. The food was very good and the affair was loud and fun. There were about 13 kids, all 5 years old and under and all in various states of running, toddling, crawling around. The trifle was a hit, of course, although everyone kept calling it "Death by Chocolate".

It took a few days for the cold to waylay me and left me alternately drowning in my own fluids or too zoned out to do almost anything but crawl from couch to bed to medicine cabinet and back again. I reread one of my favorite books, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby and finished watching the excellent film adaptation by painter Julian Schnabel. At age 42, Bauby who was the editor of French Elle, suffered a massive stroke that left him speechless and paralyzed, except for his left eye. He literally blinked his dictation for this memoir letter by letter, relating being locked in his body (the diving bell) but having his mind unaffected and free to take “flight like a butterfly”. With its upbeat and life affirming elegant tone, and the fact that it is fairly short, I used to recommend this great book to people looking for a book club read or high school students who needed a quick biography subject for a report.

The film is also an amazing achievement. Aside from being a visually beautiful, poetic film, Schnabel was able to capture the first person viewpoint of a prisoner in a dead body whose mind was free to roam the world of his imagination and memory. Both highly recommended.

Lastly, I started adding little snippets of videos to my Youtube account. Take a gander and let me know what you think.