11 May 2001
I have plenty of stuff to put in this journal entry -- and if our internet connectivity doesn't come back, I may feel better soon enough to do some of it. But I woke up at 4:00 this morning because my back hurt too much to sleep in any possible position I could achieve on the bed with pillows. So I got up and took some pillows and blankets out to the couch and slept there for awhile. Actually, I'm not sure I'm completely done. But I'm a notoriously bad napper, so I probably am.
You know that your back knots are bad when they spread around into your waist and then down into your butt. That may be too personal for some of you, but come on, think about it: butt muscles are usually pretty steady. You shouldn't have knots in your butt. Well, that was yesterday. As of last night, the knots had spread from my shoulders down into the upper part of my chest.
In case you're wondering, chest pain at 4:00 a.m. is pretty scary even for a really healthy person, until you realize that it's really shallow and has nothing much to do with your breathing or heartbeat. (Last time I was at the doctor for a full physical, she said, "Oh my God!" Not something you want to hear, so I said, "What? What is it?" She showed me the textbook heart rate and then mine. Same graph.)
So Advil is our friend this morning. Definitely our friend. Hot showers may be an even better friend. And Dr. Bill may end up being the best friend of all in this circumstance. We'll have to see how I feel and whether I can get to Pleasant Hill, and....
This is, I guess, why I got a normal doctor down here: so that I wouldn't have to run up to Concord every time I felt yucky. But I don't think Dr. Bill is as easily replaceable.
Okay, it's later now, and I feel better. Hot showers and Advil....
Tornadoes hit Northfield night before last. When my mom e-mailed me about it, my heart went right into my throat. It was too familiar. For those of you who don't know, Northfield is a college town in southeastern Minnesota. It forms a triangle with St. Pete (where I went to college) and the Cities. And my first thought was that I knew what they might be feeling, the students there, and then my second thought was, "At least they're there. At least they know."
We were all gone on spring break when the tornado hit Gustavus. They wouldn't let news crews near the campus for ages, and students were banned. We couldn't find out what had happened to our rooms, our classrooms, the places we lived and worked and hung out and played. Our homes. The administration was concerned about losing incoming freshmen, so they didn't want the devastation to show up too much in the media. So we waited, scattered to our parents' houses, and waited, and worried. We knew nobody had been killed, nobody from the college had been seriously hurt, but there's a big difference between knowing that and putting your hands on your friends and hugging them and really feeling that they are okay, that you are okay, and that everything else is going to be okay eventually.
I have all kinds of tornado stories that come out at random moments. Stuff about how one of my profs and his family came very close to being killed. About how we had classes in trailers, on Saturday mornings, and couldn't walk barefoot for all the shattered glass. About how one of my friends lost his dorm room and his parents' house, too. About how the tornado became an excuse to shut us out just as the administration was talking about how everyone came together. And all of that came flooding back in one big rush when I heard Northfield had been hit.
They had no real damage. Downed tree branches. Oh, whatever.
See, I knew I was right going to Gustavus. Carleton and Olaf can't even do a decent natural disaster.
The year before the tornado, the Minnesota River flooded in St. Pete. Lots of us went down to the river to fill and place sandbags. We were standing in people's front yards, building walls in front of their houses. It was satisfying work, but I will now never understand why taking too many easy classes in high school was known as "sandbagging." Bags of sand are heavy.
On a much lighter note than the rest of this, I took BART up to David's yesterday and had a good time hanging out with him and Jasmine. Jasmine is small, very cute, and (yay!) not very allergen-producing. Also feline, in case that wasn't clear. So yesterday was nice. Good morning at home, good afternoon at David's, good Delany on the train (Driftglass! We must buy this book somewhere!), and a good evening at home again. All for the best.
And the train conductor was so nice! I was standing in the South Hayward station looking at the BART map, and the Colma train conductor leaned out and called over to me, "Sweetie, are you lost? Do you need some help?" Which was not something he had to do, and so it felt really good. And I thought, you know, it'll really be okay to live out here a little while longer.
Even if it is getting to be about time for me to go to the shore again, so that I can get some wide open spaces.
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