Friday, August 29, 2014

Pants on Fire

Sean and I were in the car for no more than 6 or 7 minutes - long enough for me to have fiddled with my hair and my sunglasss, checked my phone, found the right song. And then the itch. I fought it. Fought it. Resisted. Nonononono. But who am I kidding? It's a miracle I've lasted this long, and most of my "triumph" is due to poor memory. So I blurt out to Sean - has he noticed any weird clanking noises coming from my car? Is it driving weird? Because I accidentally backed over a pilon a couple of days ago and dragged it a bit of a distance.

I hadn't really meant or wanted to confess this. In fact, at the time of the little incident, I told myself quite firmly that this would stay between me and Ruby (my car). But secrets have always chafed. As soon as it was out in the open, Sean assured me that my car was fine and that it would take so much more than a little nob of orange plastic to upset Ruby, and that I needn't have confessed. But he knows better. He knows that it wasn't about the car. I'm just pathologically incapable of holding things back, which is weird considering I have no problem whatsoever abiding my vows of confidentiality at work. But in my own life? I'm not a secret keeper. I tell Sean EVERYTHING. Everything. Poor kid. He knows my worst thoughts and doubts, he knows the things I dislike most about myself, he's well-acquainted with my demons. And I wish it was just that, but I can't keep anything from this kid. I might take weeks to find the perfect gift, wrap it lovingly, hide it expertly, but about 10 seconds later, even if it's still days or weeks or months before the occasion, I'll send him to retrieve and open the present just to ease the tension. Because for those 10 seconds, the secret was KILLING ME. And it's not even a bad secret! Even things that aren't lies or secrets get spilled. I don't omit, either. It might be harmless and witness-less, but if it happened, then I'm owning it. All the clumsy, stupid shit that I wish no one knew or even guessed - but then, if I truly wished that, then couldn't I find a way to keep it to myself? Or is Sean such an extension of my own self that I don't even distinguish the boundary between he and I?

I know not everyone has this problem of oversharing, but what I really want to know is, am I the only one? And the great thing about asking is knowing that if you're like me at all, you'll have to speak up. To hide it would be impossible.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Medical Tourism

We "wasted" our summer vacation on a painful surgical procedure in Cleveland, but we're not bitter :)

Destination: Cleveland, Ohio.  The kind of city that makes border agents raise their little eyebrows and ask "Why?" and then red flag you anyway for your return trip. Because they know what we now know: there is no good reason for going to Cleveland. It's a gritty city, mostly forgotten by time and progress, abandoned in places that should be built up, untended by its elderly population who still fly tattered flags and display sun-bleached, cat-scratched lawn gnomes, but where youth have fled, no grasses are mown, no cracks repaired, no cars purchased this century. It's the kind of place where, if you deign to use a public restroom, you make sure your travel companion stays firmly within "screaming distance" and then you don't sit, you hover, and hope you're up to date on your shots. It's the kind of place where hotel staff don't feel pressured to conform to normal hygiene standards, or use the proper contraction for "is not."

Ohio is a drunk-uncle state. Not particularly wanted or respected or remotely useful, but for reasons no one can now remember, part of the family, and kind of hard to eject. Everyone else is rightfully embarrassed that Ohio keeps showing up to Christmas dinner, as it were, and asking for handouts while they're there. You see, Ohio has no shame. Its major exports are begging and pleading, with imports of all the pity it can muster. "Please let us build the Pro Football Hall of Fame," it will whine, "no one visits us unless they're forced to!" And so America the great occasionally throws Ohio a bone - the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a booming Olive Garden franchise, and a couple of world-class medical facilities just to round out the experience. They've crunched the numbers, and it turns out people who are suicidal with back pain are more likely than healthy people to be willing to come to Cleveland, and now they've built an industry to support it. There are private clinics springing up between boarded up pawn shops, and dirty "extended stay" motels and neighbourhood Applebees to go along with them, because patients usually bring a caretaker, and so a beautiful thing called "medical tourism" is born, and Ohio is all over it like a tramp on chips.