Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Employment Opportunities for the Gravity Challenged.

As of late I have been trying to apply my reduced intellect to the task of ameliorating my financial and career woes. As most of you will know, it has been two years since I had to finish work thanks to Bob. Now whilst many of you would no doubt be ecstatic at the thought of not working for two years, I am well and truly over it. There is this pesky problem of money, which is apparently required for things like mortgages, electricity, food and doctors' golfing fees.

There are difficulties here, which to those not familiar with Bob or his like-minded mates, may seem a tad weird. What job fits my skill set? Or more importantly what job fits my current ability levels? How do you find appropriate employment when your health is about as stable as Brittany Spears? At this point I can't even competently run my own bath (yep ran it right over the side, where was that sound of running water coming from?) and even making a coffee is akin to understanding String Theory.

I have no desire to apply for a job that is beyond me. I still remember the Peter Principle from my organisational psych class. For those unfamiliar with this, it's when someone is promoted to their highest level of incompetence. At this point in time a career as a crash test dummy may constitute my own personal Peter Principle.

If I am to be honest with myself, which is rather difficult as I live in a constant state of denial, I have some rather specific requirements.

I would prefer a job where I can remain horizontal. Gravity is no longer my friend, and may in effect qualify as one of those bitchy girls at school that makes a nerd's (me being the nerd in question) life hell. Is there a job out there that would allow me to lie down or at least have my feet up for the day? Preferably is there a job out there that I can do in bed or on the couch?*

I would prefer a job where vague and looking like death warmed up are considered highly desirable. I have a post-doc in vague, with a specialisation in confused. I can make even the simplest of conversations and tasks equivalent to solving The Riemann Hypothesis, and about as successful. I have a trademark vacant look which would be admired by the most catatonic of patients in a mental health facility. Combine that with corpse chic and I'm sure that I am the ideal employee for any organisation.

After extensive cogitations (mostly at about 3 am) I've come up with a few possible occupations:

Dead body on CSI: Now this I think matches perfectly. I could play a dead body with ease. I already have a range of dramatic floor lying poses in my repertoire. They would also save a bundle in the make-up department as my blood pools almost immediately when I sit or lie, no need to spend hours with a little brush to get the right purple effect, I always bring my own. I am also happy to travel to Las Vegas or New York. Miami is out though as David Caruso gives me the creeps. On second thoughts CSI dead bodies tend to have the before 'action' shots which reveal their grizzly deaths. Unfortunately action and I don't exactly get along. Maybe I could just be a Law and Order dead body. They just have a token death shot and then the gurney with the sheet. I can definitely do that. Morgues are also supposed to be cold so that's a bonus with my heat intolerance.

Zombie: Given my level of brain fog, my poor motor skills and lovely shades of pasty to purple skin, zombie pretty much is a no brainer (no pun intended). I frequently look and act like an extra from Dawn of the Dead. I do have a preference for the classic 80's horror movie Zombie over the more recent incarnations. I'm all about the classics. My talent for incoherent mumblings could not be improved by a year at NIDA or The Royal Shakespeare Company. I can moan and mumble with the best of them. This career choice also means I wouldn't have to do my hair or shower, both arduous tasks with Bob.

Speed Bump: All I have to do is lie there. I can do that. In fact I could do that damn well. Thanks to SNAFU I wont even feel it if you run over my foot. (My delightfully witty and caring husband thinks I should add FUBAR into my posts as well, as it really in the most appropriate acronym for my current state of being. Love you honey). Hot bitumen and sunshine may pose a problem though, so I'd probably have to stick with those dank underground car parks. Luckily there is always a dripping pipe in an underground car park so water is also no problem. Brilliant.

Town Idiot/Drunk: don't you love those quaint little towns set up to recreate the days of yore. Every one of these towns has a town idiot or town drunk. Yet again I think I have the requisite skills to fulfil this role with aplomb. I slur and frequently have the vacant look. I can throw up on cue, and randomly if required, and shake and stumble better than the most seasoned of winos. I'm cheap too, as I don't even require alcohol to get into the spirit.

Passed out girl at party: every party has a passed out girl at some point (okay maybe not every party, maybe that's just the parties I used to attend). At the end of a day at the races, the morning of New Years Day, music festivals or any public holiday there is the token passed out girl. It's tradition really. You just know it's been a good event when there is a dishevelled girl passed out elegantly in a gutter or out the front of the venue. I may have to insist on a comfortable place to lie, I do have some standards, but other than that I'm there.

Gurney Girl: Every medical show has dozens of gurney extras. They never walk down a clear corridor, as that's not dramatic enough. They are always surrounded by gurneys of the dead and dying, longing for their selfless ministrations. I think I could manage to lie on a gurney. Hell I'd even be happy to be under a sheet with a toe tag on. I'm not fussy. I'd also be happy to be 'wheelchair girl' especially if I can have the fake leg casts and have those leg props up. I'm happy to perve discreetly at the hot TV doctors that don't exist in real life. In fact I'm wiling to take a pay cut if I can play one of those nutty patients who grabs the doctors butt Or better yet, give my character one of the cool frontal lobe tumours that removes your inhibition. I'm willing to snog a hot doc for the sake of the story line.

Vomit Artist: A few years ago I saw a story about a guy who received a $20,000 government grant to drink and then vomit up milk on a canvas. Ah, your taxes at work. If that's art, I am an undiscovered genius. Nausea and vomiting come naturally courtesy of Bob. I am even willing to supply my own canvases. I'm kinda concerned about who may buy such art, but hey if you are dumb enough to buy vomit art I'm happy to take your money. Now if I can only find the brain dead guy from the Arts Council who approved this grant I'd be set.

So that's the options generated by my highly functioning last brain cell. As you can tell I am willing to think outside the box. Any other suggestions will be considered. Especially if they are real, pay loads and allow me to live in my pjs and work from the Batcave (aka my bedroom).

The unemployed Michelle :)

* Now I'm sure many of you dear readers will have thought of the obvious career path for the girl who prefers to be horizontal and is strapped for cash, but that will never be an option. Although, $50 for three minutes work is somewhat attractive, this is outweighed by the dry heaving and the little bit of throw up in the back of my mouth that has just occurred at the thought of the work requirements. Just thinking about the effort involved, ugh. I have exercise intolerance so that's really not on. There is also that weird symptom of Bob: increased olfactory acuity. If there is a dead animal or mutating potato within 100 paces I can smell it. Bloodhounds have nothing on me. This means that all the malodorous 'clients' would be off the list and really when you see the men who frequent those establishments you just know they all have hygiene issues.

Oh wow, I just thought of another job. I'm happy to work for Chanel smelling their perfumes. I'm sure you don't need to be upright for that one. I'm willing to move to France. To eat croissants and cheese. I will even force myself to drink wine. I would even fit in with that high fashion pasty death look they are so fond of on the Paris cat walks. Plus I have been faithful to Chanel No.5 for years. That has to count for something. Call me Mr Chanel recruiting man. Call me. Please. Pretty please. Super pretty please....

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Always Something There To Remind Me.

I found my last work diary today. Why I still keep it I don't know, though I do have some hoarding tendencies. In truth I've always been a bit of a masochist. Nothing like a little self-flagellation with a 365-page reminder of a life that no longer exists to pass the day. Might as well put up a side-by-side picture of myself and Heidi Klum on the fridge, to wipe out my clone fantasy. This diary, like my work bag that sits at the end of my bed gathering dust* and desk piled high with research articles, only serve to remind me that life hasn't exactly turned out how I'd planned. This of course doesn't sit right with a girl who took anal to the extreme. Okay that sounds wrong, lets go with control freak extraordinaire. I think I would have made a good despot. Plan. Control. If I want something done right I'll do it myself and you'll all do it my way. I call it Type-A. David calls it the martyr gene. Something that is autosomal dominant in the females of our family, along with big butts and no boobs.

Open up to any page and it's reveals the typical Type-A personality in all it's glory. Every minute scheduled and accounted for. Meeting A, 45 mins (why did I never feel comfortable saying 1hr to incorporate the the post-meeting chat and recovery coffee required to maintain sanity). Phone call to family of patient B, 5 mins. Phone call to Patient C's GP 15 mins, Review Patient D' MRI, 10 mins......... Lordy I was a loser. I'm surprised anything could get out of my sphincter it was shut so tight. I was the freak that would stay an extra 2 hours of unpaid overtime if a patient or their family required. I took the extra 5 referrals that I really couldn't fit in my paltry official work hours to make sure patients who needed an assessment were seen. I took on what should have been other people's jobs to make sure they would be not only completed, but completed to my anal specifications. I wish I could have been one of those staff members who arrived right on the dot, then got a coffee, checked emails and started work 30 mins later. That did the minimal work required to meet their KPIs. Had every last second of their designated lunch break each day and were out the door as soon as the hand on the clock ticked over. Stupid Michelle, Stupid.

When I look back at January that year the entries begin to jar. GP appointment 9:30am. Blood Tests 11.45am. ECG 3:30pm. EEG 4.45pm. Day after day after day. This I realise is when Bob first made his presence known. So right about now is our official three year anniversary. Happy anniversary Bob. Though if I'm honest he'd probably been lurking around the fringes of my life for a while before.

So what do you get the guy that changed your life? Leather, according to Wikipedia. That's actually probably not a bad one as it's been a three year bondage fest and I've obviously forgotten the safe word.

When I think about the last three years it's all been a bit of a blur. Varying degrees of sick punctuated by my single-handed funding of the entire medical system in Australia. It's amazing what you get used to. My health 'normal' is very different to that of the rest of my family. For those lucky enough not to have experienced the pleasantness of day-to-day living with Bob, I will try to clarify it in terms you can understand. The 'normal' or good days are akin to having the flu. The bad days are akin to having the flu, a migraine, food poisoning, conjunctivitis, haemorrhoids like bowling balls, athlete's foot, passing a kidney stone, a hangover, boy cooties, and a swim too-soon-after-eating side cramp, all at once.

Looking at those pages does bring home how sick I was. Not just sick, as in not feeling well. But sick complete with capital letters, bold font, underlining, italics and multiple exclamation marks. I thought I'd been sick before, naive fool. I had no idea what sick was.

One of my pre-Bob illness highlights occurred during a return trip from Singapore. Dodgy last meal in a little restaurant down a dark alleyway was not the smartest of moves an hour before an 11 hour flight back to Melbourne. Severe food poisoning on a cramped QANTAS flight was definitely not how I had envisioned my trip home. I had visions of me circa-1950s glamour, glass of champagne in hand, movie on screen, passing the time in witty conversation with my fellow passengers. But no, instead it was me with my own loo, rapidly ridding my body of its internal organs down the blue waters of hell.

A personal highlight was achieved during a stop over in Adelaide. The aircraft came to a halt. Passengers stood up to gather their luggage from the overhead lockers and then an announcement came over the intercom. "Excuse me passengers. This is Captain So and So. We are awaiting Quarantine's arrival to check an ill passenger. I'm afraid you will all have to take your seats until we have clearance by Quarantine services". Oh who could that be? I could feel the hatred from my fellow passengers boring through the seats behind which I was hiding with my puke bag. Despite my best attempts to crawl into a corner and die quietly, it was obvious that I was the hideous individual keeping them on the sardine can that was the plane. They looked at me like I was that little monkey from "Outbreak". Truth be told that monkey was a whole lot prettier than me by that stage. I'm pretty sure I looked about as attractive as a old piece of chewing gum that's been stuck to your shoe for a week. Quarantine finally arrived after an eternity.

Burly Quarantine man: "Have you been to a farm? Have you been exposed to poultry?"
Me: "Well just at the markets."
Burly Quarantine man: "No. Okay everyone can get off".

Sleep safe Australia, Quarantine services at their finest. I wont bore you with the details of the hour I had to drive myself home from the airport. Let's just say I made it, but I may have come close to overdosing on Imodium. I realise now this adventure was just a cake walk compared to what was to come.

That black A4 diary is a log of my voyage with Bob over that first fateful year. For some reason it makes me think of Gilligan's Island and their "3 hour tour". Initially I though I had a virus that would pass. Then I realised it wasn't passing, and was in fact, getting worse. Then it dawned on me it may actually be something serious. Not in the the usual overly dramatic hypochondriac moments where you tell everyone you are dying because you have a cold. But I actually began to realise this wasn't just a bit of a bug and started to panic about the real possibilities. I don't advise getting really sick when you have worked in neurology, not only do you think it's the end, but you know all the possible ends it can be, and how to research them.

The page where I met the doctor from hell who told me I was a just a nutter, is empty except for a single note about an 11:30 appointment. I feel like I should have written it in red pen, highlighted it and surrounded it with big arrows and line after line of, "Warning. Warning. Danger Will Robinson. Danger". Maybe the emptiness of the page reflects the total emptiness I was left with that day after I had cried myself dry.

A month in there is another innocuous entry indicating a cardiologist appointment. Again I was left with the same emptiness after being told that I could try one drug, more water and salt, and if that didn't help there was no hope. Emptiness with a side of numbness.

In between these entries are increasingly more frequent entries of one word, 'sick', simply scrawled across the page. One word to describe not being able to drive or lift my head without nearly passing out. One word to describe my body slowly descending into a cascade failure. One word to describe fear and anxiety. One word to feel hopeless. One word to scribe those soul destroying words into stone, "it's all in your head".

Flipping through the pages I see yet another one line entry. "Cardio. 2:30. Hawthorne". Three simple words that jump off the page. These three words should be scribed in gold and surrounded by stars and fireworks. Three little words that restored a little of my sanity and hope. Three little words that lead me to a gem of a doctor and a diagnosis of Bob. It probably sounds odd but I feel like I should take out that page and stick it in a frame. Not because it formally gave me a diagnosis of a weird disorder that no one had heard of or understands, or can really treat, but because uncertainty is the worst diagnosis you can have and it was finally cured.

October 31st that year was the last day I officially worked. It has the traditional anal list of what needs to be done before my plan of 4 months unpaid sick leave. All checked off of course. Anal girl would have it no other way. I was still hopeful back then that I would have a triumphant return to work on the 1st of March. I had visions of myself St George style, slaying the dragon. I'd ride back in through those sliding glass doors on my magnificent stallion, the Bob beast slain, his bloody head hanging from my clenched fist. But that was not to be.

I have tried to maintain a normal life and deal with Bob but it can become a tad tiresome. I lived by those lines by Dylan Thomas:

"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light"
(1951)

I raged and I raged until I was hoarse. Bob raged louder and longer and won the day. First it was work. Then it was my doctorate. Independence went by the way-side and social life, well I know I had one at one point but I can't quite remember what it looked like. When I look back at those halcyon days, I like to think I was a mix of Pearl S. Buck and Elizabeth Blackwell, with a good dose of Carrie Bradshaw (for the shoes of course), Holly Golightly (ahhh the little black dress) and Elizabeth Bennett. (Hey it's my blog and I'll be as delusional as I want).

Now it's three years later and I am still battling the Bob beast. I have had small triumphs. I rarely pass out now, always a bonus. I am no longer dating my porcelain lover due to medication side effects. Now we just get together for the occasional coffee when Bob's feeling frisky. Unfortunately, other than that it's the same old, same old.

The hardest thing for me to deal with is the brain fog. That's not to say the continual nausea, sudden bp drops, lack of blood and oxygen to the old brain, dizziness, heat-intolerance, purple feet, and the rest, are a joy to live with but the brain fog hits home for me. Brain fog reminds me like a slap across the face, that I am sick and that I am now officially disabled. Once upon a time I had a brain. I know I did. I have the certificates to prove it. I duxed my Honours year in my Psychology course. I was accepted by all the doctoral programs to which I applied. Won an international neuropsychology award for my research. Wrote treatment and medico-legal guidelines for the biggest health service in the state, whilst managing a complex case load and developing my department. Now I have trouble recalling the name of the thingy that makes the bread turn brown, and have days where I can't construct a sentence to save myself. If my body has to be broken I think it's only fair that I get to keep my brain. Regardless of the physical restraints, you can live a thousand different lives in a thousand different worlds if you have your mind. Freedom and independence reside in that rather ugly, floating blob of grey. I miss it. I don't know if I'll ever come to terms with the peat bog that now resides between my ears.

Three years down the track and I have yet to have any epiphanies like Oprah's guests. I am not flying the flag for Dysautonomia, organising dinners or fun runs. I haven't found my true path, or God, or Allah, or Buddha or any other spiritual awakening. I am not one of those sick people that other sickies should admire and aspire to be like. I am grumpy. I am shitty. I pout like a two-year-old. I refuse to accept that I am sick. I say "screw you Bob". I live in denial or avoidance, whatever takes my fancy on the day. If you offer me pity I am likely to tell you to stick it where the sun don't shine. I tell inappropriate jokes and have taken sarcasm to a fine art. If you tell me to sit down, put on a jumper, or have a lie down I will beat you to a bloody pulp with my pathetically weak arms even if takes me a year and a half. Maybe next year I'll find that bloody epiphany. Though I'm starting to think I'm doing a Moses, 40 years in the desert and all. Then again I don't know if I could live with myself if I was to become perpetually perky. Maybe I could just take some of our dogs happy pills, and live in a blissful fantasy land, stop peeing in the downstairs rumpus room and stop eating the couch cushions.

So happy anniversary to Bob. Three years of wedded anti-bliss. I think I'll buy myself a leather riding crop and saddle to celebrate our anniversary. That's gotta at least give me a fighting chance of taming him. No chaps though. I have enough on my plate without chaffing and my butt definitely needs to be covered.

The raging leather clad Michelle :)

* Finally found some of that intestinal fortitude you always hear about and cleaned out my work bag. It is now safely hidden from view, ensconced behind a wall of clothing. Now there will be no accidentally views to make me sad. Tip for the day don't leave your work bag at the end of your bed for two years because you are too emotionally enfeebled to deal with it. Muesli bars do not keep well for two years in your humid work bag. Nor do the mints that somehow managed to escape their tin and start their own little hairy mutant colony in the bottom left hand corner. Cup of Soups on the other hand will survive the nuclear apocalypse.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Why Yes. My House Does Smell Like Cat Pee.

48G9H8NFAXKN I'm listening to Norah Jones (or "Boring Jones" as David delights in calling her) in an attempt to lull my brain into stupefying dullness that will allow me to ignore the school holiday mess growing throughout the house. Yes, I know. My music choice is more than a bit naff, but I gave up any hopes of being hip or cool a long time ago. Does it count that she is accompanied by PJ Harvey, Nina Simone, Garbage and AC/DC, on shuffle in the five stacker? Or does this simply mean that I have the attention span of a gnat, or that my multiple personalities programed the player? Lets go with eclectic, that sounds vaguely intelligent.

I pretty much listen to all styles of music except for perhaps 98% of the trash that falls under the labels electronica and gangster rap. I have a deep and abiding love for all things mullet rock. There's something about soap-challenged men with mullets and spray on jeans that is simply irresistible. The image of Bon Scott in super tight denim, an obvious attempt to squish his frank and beans up into his diaphragm, as he thrust his crutch at the TV screen will be forever burned in my memory. I often think this image was the true reason why my mum would pretty much break out the rosary and holy water when my brother cranked up the record player. This would be closely followed by me being angrily bustled away from my listening post outside his door. My 7-year-old appreciation of "devil music", like many other things were considered highly offensive to a woman who once thought the use of the word "bloody" was worthy of a wooden spoon. I still feel a sense of childhood rebellion when I listen to Jailbreak, much like the "power to the people" moment I feel when I make a conscious choice to ignore the dust blanket on top of the TV cabinet. Dusting is the domain of grown ups and I refuse to believe I'm a grown up just yet.

My new mantra for 2010 is taken from a four dollar fridge magnet. I am not ashamed. I whole heartedly agree with the magnet that declares "Dull women have immaculate houses". Who knew such Confucian wisdom could be found on a piece of playing card-sized plastic purchased on a whim at the $2 Dollar store. (Side bar question. Why do they call them $2 dollar stores when only a hand full of the products are available for $2? I know it's not exactly right up there with the deep philosophical conundrums of "Why are we here?", and "Does God exist?", but this is the kind of question that keep me up at night. Well that, and will I succeed in my campaign to get Nestle to overturn their decision to cease production of the turd-shaped, cultural icon, know as the the Polly Woffle*?) A quick inventory of my surrounds and I am reassured that I am definitely not dull. In fact I may be the world's most exciting woman.

Recently, due to my previously described encounters with walls named Bob, my mother (also known and the High Priestess of Clean) came to exorcise the dust and debris from my home. She did well hiding her motherly disappointment in my lack of attention to domestic duties. Clearly I was not meeting my cleaning KPIs but she took the softly softly manager approach and got stuck in. My oven looked like the inside of one of those industrial power plant chimneys yet she took it as a challenge. My bathrooms became an episode of survivor and damn it she was not having her flame snuffed out. She did battle with dinosaur sized window spiders in the outside cobwebs and washed a ute load of dog mud off the glass doors at the back of the house. By the end I think she was quite proud of how exciting her daughter's life had obviously become. Well at least I think that's what she meant when she said "Oh, Michelle".

One thing that she was unable to banish, despite the prodigious use of elbow grease, caustic chemical cleaners and holy water, was the underlying smell of cat pee which appears to have infiltrated our house at the atomic level. Our cat is old. Old, demented, toothless and rampantly incontinent. She is perpetually confused, or so she likes us to think. I however, believe she has created her own pussy bucket list, and top of that list is her mission to pee on every square corner of the house before she heads to the big cattery in the sky. She has met the other missions on her list including freak out the girly great danes by sitting one millimetre from their fearful faces (the cat version of "I'm not touching you"). Lull her captors (no one ever really owns a cat) into thinking she wants a pat and then ripping the limbs from their bodies. As she likes to mess with us, she follows her bloody rampage, with sedate rubbing against our legs, in a poorly veiled attempt to entice us to touch her yet again (only the foolish make that mistake twice). And of course, as far as she is concerned she rules the universe.

She pees on bags (school, sporting and shopping), pillows, clothing, towels, couches, cricket gear, football gear, dog beds and in doorways. The cat version of old lady pee is powerful stuff, reminiscent of the Lion enclosure at the zoo on a really really hot day. I'm beginning to think short of a flame thrower or nuclear blast we may be unable to rid the house completely of her rancid offerings. Months of eucalyptus oil, baking soda and expensive pet odour cleaners have not even come close to meeting the challenge. Maybe I should just resign myself to the under-note of wee that permeates the house despite oil burners, open windows and incense. Look out for a bowl of filigree Renaissance pomanders and cold war gas masks by the front door if ever you chance to visit.

Cheers

The pomander carrying, Bon Scott loving, Michelle :)

* Nothing symbolises the early 80s for me like the Polly Waffle. As a child my parents ran a corner store and I would sit out back after school each day with a Polly Waffle, Bubble Gum Paddle Pop, and a copy of Whizzer and Chips, trying to work out what the hell a "conker" was. Interestingly not one of these products still exist. I fear my apathy may impair my campaign as I am yet to write a petition, send in a letter of complaint or join the Facebook site. I did have grand plans of a nude sit-in on the steps of Parliament surrounded by a sea of Polly Waffles. However, a quick reality check and I realised that I would look like a pasty and saggy, mad woman surrounded by a sea of turds, and the plan was quickly abandoned). 48G9H8NFAXKN


Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Dust

The girl stands silently in front of the door. She shifts her feet, clenching and unclenching the pale hands by her sides. The sun shines through the window too her right. The colour is drained from all it touches. The girl moves in a world grey and colourless. She raises her hand and reaches slowly for the doorknob. She pauses. Her hand hovers over the battered brass globe. It teeters, suspended by an invisible string of fear. She is overcome by weakness and her hand drops back to her side. She knows what lies behind the dark wooden door before her. Another life. Another time. Another girl. Dust.

The door before her hides its secrets well. Bland, brown, unpainted laminate of a time long past. Immovable, impenetrable, silent. It stands as sentinel to a treasure long lost to the world of men. Yet its tongue longs to loosen under it's burden. Clues to its guardianship strive to seep through tiny cracks and flaking board. Only the girl knows the truth of what lies within. Potential. Hope. Dreams. Dust.

She closes her eyes. The handle before her sings. Its siren song calls her and she places her trembling hand upon its icy surface. She shudders. Echoes of another time race up her slender arm, chilling her. It stops her breath. She struggles to recover her equilibrium whilst the world around her spins and heaves. The violence of the storm threatens to overwhelm her. Then. Silence. Short ragged breathes break from her throat. Her heart beats raggedly, then slows to a semblance of normalcy. The world behind the door pulses. Pride. Effort. Excellence. Dust.

She is in union with the world behind the door. All is revealed to her minds eye. She sees into a world occupied by another. Dust motes float listlessly through the small shaft of sunlight, broken through a fallen corner of curtain. A world suspended in an impenetrable drop of golden amber. Preserved for all eternity. A museum piece behind a red rope. Untouchable. To be viewed and loved and mourned. Joy. Peace. Love. Dust.

She runs her eyes over the contents of the room. Each piece preserved in a vacuumed second of time when the world ceased to be. Each piece reveals something of the nature of the girl who once lived there. The long desk near the wall holds the cipher to the life of the girl now lost. The textbooks placed in perilous piles on the edge of the desk. A jar of broken pencils and empty pens. Papers in haphazard piles that only the creator can understand. A tattered copy of Anna Karenina peeks out from between the reams. A green chipped incense holder. A pile of magnetic marbles. A paper bag from Raffles. An old tobacco tin of paper clips. Each a representation of the one long gone. Life. Work. Passion. Dust.

The girl at the door awakens from the dream. She senses the wisps of caramel, gold and sepia that strive to reach her. She is too far away. They fall back defeated, to wait for she who will never come. A tear rolls down her cheek. She knows she will never open the door. She knows she will never reach the world on the other side. It is forever denied her. The girl who lived in the world behind the door no longer exists. Only the girl in the world without colour breathes now. Sadness, Longing. Emptiness. Dust.

The girl takes her hand from the door and feels the wrench within her soul. She can bear no more. Something is broken. Her shoulders slump. She turns from the door. She lives within the pale, bleached world of grey. Memories of the golden world and the girl who lived there, begin to fade once more. The girl by the door is covered in ash and dust.

Ash and Dust.
Sadness. Longing. Emptiness. Dust.
Life. Work. Passion. Dust.
Joy. Peace. Love. Dust.
Pride. Effort. Excellence. Dust.
Potential. Hope. Dreams. Dust.
Another life. Another time. Another girl. Dust.

Michelle

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Years Eve (And An End To Onychocryptosis).

Today is a special day. Not because it is New Years Eve. Not because it is both the end of the year and the end of a decade. (Two for the price of one, I do like that). Not because of all the magical possibilities that are contained in the as yet unwritten year ahead. No. These events pale into insignificance to the true meaning of Dec 31st. What? You don't know? Of course you do. We have waited 365 long days, but it is finally here. Today is the big day. Today is the day of the release of the New Years Eve, Year in Review Lists (NYEYRL). YAY!

NYEYRL is the day we all wait for (you know you do). From the time the clock ticks over to 12.01am on January 1st, we long to know what will make the many and varied Top 10 lists in the year ahead. A day when we celebrate the magnificence of list making in all its glory, by creating our own listy offerings in the form of our New Years Resolutions. The day when we sit down with the newspaper to read page after page of vital lists, accessorised with a mix of pictures of various celebrities and nefarious characters who rose to prominence over the past 12 months. What will be the Top 10 Best Films of the Year? (Please, please, let it not be Twilight. I'm sorry but people over the age of 17 who class themselves as either Team Edward or Team Jacob, should not be allowed to breed. Under that I can understand. I watched The Lost Boys a bazillion times as a teenager). What were the Top 10 Celebrity Scandals of the Year? Will the reality and underwear challenged Brittany Spears take the top spot? Or will anti-soap campaigner Lindsay Lohan take the crown? Who will win the coveted number one spot on the highly influential, Top 10 Pan Pipe Solos of the Year list? Will it be Plegma Nork of Norway or Ptorkie "Pete" Petrovski of the Ukraine? List after glorious list. Where would we be without these magical lists of knowledge. Thank you anonymous list maker of wisdom, for clarifying what I should think about the year soon to pass.

Who creates these tomes of enlightenment, without which we would be left adrift in the sea of best-less ignorance. What would the job advertisement look like?

End of Year List Maker Required.

Applicant must believe that they and they alone are the most qualified person to judge best in show for every category known to man. Applicants must display tertiary qualifications in E!, (experience with E! online also accepted). Demonstrated knowledge of Entertainment Tonight and a love of all things Kardashian and Lamas a must. Ability to count from 1 to 10 desirable, but demonstrated abilities in the use of Word bullet point list maker also accepted. Applicants afflicted with mind numbing stupidity as demonstrated by the ability to quote The Simple Life seasons 1-5, welcomed.


I can think of a few potential applicants.

At this time of year no section of society can resist the temptation to celebrate NYEYRL by creating their own listy vision. This week I was emailed Top Medical News of 2009, courtesy of Medscape CME (yes I subscribe, don't judge my lack of a life). These doyens of the medical world put together an impressive list of medical advancements that have occurred over the last year.

It begins impressively with, New Test May Detect Early Alzheimer's Disease. Understandably an important advancement. Now we can find out if our future selves are going to permanently scar our teenage nephew by mistaking him for our childhood boyfriend and going the grope with our arthritic, Bengay covered hands, all whilst we can still appreciate the ickiness of the situation.

This was followed by, Single Screening Question May Accurately Identify Unhealthy Alcohol Use. What could that be? Miss X, "Have you ever woken up to discover the Kelvin Klein underwear model you took home last night has transformed into a troll man who keeps calling you Lt. Uhura and has questionable body odour?" Mr B, Have you ever thought that the tepid kebab served to you at 4am by some sweaty, swarthy, soap-challenged gentleman, was the best thing you have ever eaten? A yes to either question would suggest a need for at least an AA pamphlet.

Further along we are suitably impressed by, CDC Issues Guidelines for Early Empiric Antiviral Treatment in Persons With Suspected Influenza. Always a good thing in this time of porcine bio-warfare. I always knew pigs were evil (have you read Animal Farm?). First it was ham causing cancer and bacon blocking our arteries, now it is swine flu. Obviously the pigs of the world have had it with us making fun of their curly little tails and are bent on world domination. Revenge is a dish best served with a side of bacon.

And then a headline caught my eye:

Ingrown Toenail Management Reviewed.

Yes that's right. The management of the humble ingrown toenail was a top 10 medical news story for 2009. No story about cancer vaccines. No news about the development of a bionic eye. No no. It is the humble ingrown toenail that is up there as a shining beacon of man's ability to take on and master the plagues of humanity. Apparently, we should all rejoice in these exciting developments in halluxial health. I did find out that the official name for an ingrown toenail is onychocryptosis, so that's something. But I continue to wonder how this made it to a top 10 list? Maybe Medscape's list-maker, Barry, had a bad case of onychocryptosis and was really impressed with the new anti-fungal cream prescribed by his doctor? Maybe Barry has a toe fetish, Sarah Ferguson style? We will never know and it will remain a mystery for the ages.

Who needs to spend hours creating their own tribute to NYEYRL, when such well researched and throughout examples of list excellence already exist. My resolution for this year is to not write any New Years Eve Year in Review Lists, or lists of any sort, except for my shopping list which I shall endeavour to lose or leave at home not realising until I am standing in the middle of the supermarket with my rickety trolley, swearing like a mad woman under my breath.

Happy New Year dear readers. Wishing you all a year free of onychocryptosis.



The List-less Michelle :)