Sitting in my new apartment amid the disorder of packages and boxes and plastic bags spilling shoes all over the carpet. The enormous windows are open and cool air is rushing in & the awful construction noises have stopped. I am typing even though the polish on my fingernails is not really dry.
Everything's in disorder maybe because I've been so fucking ill every fucking day since I came here. First of all, I've had ridiculous cold symptoms since mid-August, when I came back from a week at the beach with the I.R. & some other friends: a prickling high up in my nose, a sore throat, fatigue. When these symptoms first appeared I steeled myself for a full-blown cold: spent whole mornings in bed, drowned myself in fluids, literally injected myself with vitamin solutions brought over by the I.R. and other insane self-medicators I know. Nothing happened. I got neither worse nor better. I walked the sunsoaked streets of hip neighborhoods for hours on end with no ill effects; I stayed up all night with an itchy throat and managed to spend the next day very pleasantly waiting for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park (but it was really Brecht.) I moved, and all that happened was that this itchiness in my nose increased, and that I had a near-irresistable urge to pick my nose at all times.
Everyone said it was allergies, and even though I've never had allergies before I was willing to accept this as a solution. But what a horrible sentence! You have to feel crummy when you go outside! and feel crummy when autumn comes, which is the best season! and also you have to go about your normal life feeling crummy, which is the worst. When I'm not at peak health I like to completely wrap myself up in a comforter and put various kinds of hot scented compresses on my face and refuse all visitors and telephone calls. Instead, I'm going to have to trudge around and have meetings and teach classes and do work and not get any sympathy from anyone! Quel private hell.
And on top of that, I spent last weekend vomiting everywhere. I went out on Thursday night with some new friends who served me gumbo and different kinds of wine, and then we went to this bar that used to be a funeral parlor and I drank two margaritas, one because I wanted one and one because someone offered to buy me a drink, and also because these two other girls I know were completely wasted and falling over themselves and giggling and I--for some reason--thought it was important for all the ladies to prevent this united inebriated front. So then I got pretty drunk and borrowed a cigarette from this kind of pompous untrustworthy pale fellow and told everyone my complete sexual history, with almost no impetus. And then I was drinking out of one of the other girl's rum and coke and her what-have-you--maybe a screwdriver. And then I was in a cab going home at 4 and I was thinking that I had to get up the next morning and that it was going to be difficult but no! it was fine, I felt fine, very clear-headed and clear-skinned, and I put on a dark conservative outfit and walked through the early-morning drizzle to this meeting I had convinced everyone else not to go to. And everyone at the meeting was like, "You look pretty good for having been out drinking until 4!" and I was like, "Yes, and I will have another munchkin please." And then I went home and slept for a while and did some work on my syllabus, and ate all this cereal and all this macaroni and cheese! and then suddenly just as I was finishing the syllabus I felt very ill.
And then for the rest of the afternoon and night it was puke, puke, puke. I would get into bed and read for five minutes or pretend to sleep or just lie there staring at the ceiling and rubbing my stomach, or staring at the top floors of a hideous adjacent apartment building and the colorless night sky, or staring at a page of notes I had taken during teacher training that said, "- as long as you teach the same proportion of poetry and fiction; - as long as you give the same assignments" and just loathing my longhand writing and the shape of the composition book. And then I would know I had to get up and I would get up and go into the bathroom and wait for the waves of pain and nausea to result in something, and sometimes I would sit in there reading this historical novel about Mary, Queen of Scots, and sometimes I would rock back and forth and ask God to make it stop, and sometimes I would just kind of moan and cry like I was maybe being murdered, and sometimes I would lean over the toilet and eject quarts and quarts of everything I had eaten, and wonder if it was over, and it wouldn't be over. And then sometimes it would be over, and I could go back in the bed and get like five minutes of sleep until it was time to get up again. And the light is horrible and harsh in the new bathroom, and this mirrored panel of the sliding showered door had fallen out and was sort of wedged in next to the toilet and made it hard to get around the bathroom, and the tiles are these horrible different colors of pink and blue and green and white. And the Mary book was open to two pages about how she was faking cramps and pain due to pregnancy so that she could formulate an escape plan from Darnley and Lord James Stuart. And that was interesting!
Also I took a bath and that helped but I kind of fell asleep in the bath and what if I had died? Because you can die that way.
And eventually I slept for a few hours and then the next day I was better but with a fever and then the day after that I was well enough to walk around and eat soup! And then as soon as I didn't have the stomach flu anymore the allergy symptoms were back. So now I was grateful not to be puking but still tired and feeling incapable of doing anything productive. And then I had this sore throat and a swollen gland! And what if it were mono? That would ruin everything! So I went to the doctor and she can't really explain the swollen gland, but apparently when you have allergies your nostrils are blue inside and mine are blue. Pale blue. How poetical.
So now I and my allergies must go to Polly's wedding this weekend and I have to wear a kind of unflattering brown dress that I picked out myself so it is my own fault. And I'm flying there and they don't let you bring makeup! But it will be nice to go to a nice wedding in a vineyard and eat something nice and sleep in a hotel which I hope is luxe as it is very expensive.