Monday, January 27, 2003

At home now, in my tropically-radiated box in Brownland.
With my room pushing 75 degrees,
my freshly-shorn and quite naked head is happy, the light brillo shielded from bold smack-down Providence wind.
My hair, a lazy little animal, squats in a balled-up pony-tail in a ziplock on my desk.
I hope I have time to mail it out tomorrow. It kind of freaks me out, staring at me from behind my computer monitor.
With laptop in permanent hibernation, I find myself racing lightfooted (without weight of hair and computer) but disorganized and slightly frantic, from class to class to class to class to class to class to class to class (yes right now there are 8, by Tuesday only 4 will survive. It's the inspiration for a new reality TV series on the WB).
The disorganization has not lessened my excitement. 8 great courses. How lucky I am spend my time on choices between good and better.
Last night I saw my first snowy beach. As an odd sort of impromptu birthday present, I kidnapped Lucas at superbowl halftime and drove him to horseneck beach in massachussettes. The purple glow of Providence, reflecting off the sky reflecting off the water, provided pollution-illumination for our path.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Only the numbness really bothered me. Hours after my wisdom teeth were removed, some of the most sensitive parts of my skin--particularly my lips and my tongue had effectively disappeared. Although there was almost no swelling or bruising, and pain was negligable, I couldn't eat. Mechanically, there was no real reason why I couldn't shove any apple sauce down my
throat in the first five hours after surgery.
It was almost as if could not believe in the existence of my lips and mouth--so powerful is skin sensation to that area, the highest concentrations of skin sensor neurons in the body. My tongue, navigating the slick ridges of my mouth-cavern, seems to have a kind of map, without which my mouth basically shuts down; like a driver that KNOWS the highway does not turn for miles, but, when blindfolded, will not be able to stay on the road.

Johns Stuart Mill once wrote that modern civilization is dangerous because it removes people from pain--exises one of the most important forces that forge great heros, that makes the character of an individual.

Numbness probably disturbs me for similar reasons. Like Mill and others after him, I fear civilization's table of ether, which tames all the most intense passions in life. I find it so hard to find a kabbalat shabbat service outside of Jerusalem where I can cry and scream and sing and dance with people.

Anaesthesia, for me, is more dangerous than pain because it brings me closer to the edge of the great abyss of sensory deprivation, closer to death. I find it so difficult to engage all my senses to their fullest when they are unimpeded; I feel intensely scared when confronted with the mutability of any of my senses, because then I must stare into my own mutability.

So I combat the novacane, Carlebach-style.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

i believe in holidays. but a "secular holiday" is internally inconsistent. an oxymoron. holy days are important. to cut out a slice of time and raise it up, and savor it. i can't usually savor secular holidays. the surrogates of holiness are generally dissapointing, and often nauseating: poultry, shopping, and televised football form the Thanksgiving triumvirate. i turn to geoffrey ravilious as the ball drops:
Me: 'what if there was a ball dropping on the temple mount to mark rosh hashana? and a count-down?'
Geoff: "the ball would have to be an apple, and it would drop into a bowl of honey."