Monday, January 26, 2004

Rosa gives me the hives... nothing else...

This is one of those usual week-beginning emails where I try to encapsulate an entire weekend into just a few thoughts. (Insert caustically ironic statement here.) I know you've seen 'em before. Get used to it.

Well, as you know, Friday I saw the apparition of heaven on earth, God's own eyes, the archetype of beauty... you know... Rosa. I saw here through two windows and several feet of impenetrable air.

I went to work that day, insisting that I wouldn't let it get to me. Mostly, I was insisting to myself. And insist all I want, it didn't make a bit of difference. The minute I pushed her image out of my head, a new one popped in. First, it was Rosa's face looking surprised at the sight of my own in the car beside her, then it was her smile as we walked through San Francisco together, then it was her sleeping form sitting beside me on the train to Seattle to get married, then it was Rosa studying for school in bed with her glasses on. Over and over. And it didn't matter how busy I made myself and it didn't matter what method I used to shake it. Be it Internet comics or news or one of my favorite time-passing sites, Everything2, nothing helped and by the end of the day, all I wanted to do was go home.

So, I didn't work out that night. I drove straight home. I knew I had dinner plans but it was nice to be at home where I had plenty of distractions to take my mind off of things - oh, who was I kidding? Distractions? One definition of distraction is a "confusion of affairs". How more confused are my affairs then when I'm thinking of Rosa? (And how ironic to use the word "affair" in relation to Rosa?...) Nothing could distract me. I had to wait out the time, much as I've waited out the past four years.

At 7:00, I went to Rutabagora's to meet Annie for dinner/coffee. I had a few cigs and water and coffee and then ordered a bowl of chicken tortilla soup (the biggest meal I'd had in days). Rutabagora's is a health-foodish type of restaurant in Tustin but don't let that stop you. They have good grub. Soup done, more cups of water and coffee, another cigarette. At 7:45, Annie arrived and we talked as she had a bowl of soup and I drank coffee. She was kind of a lifesaver, giving me the opportunity to talk about what seeing Rosa had done to me. I was a wreck. At around 9:30, we realized the place was starting to close and got out of there.

I headed down to San Diego. I didn't want to spend the night alone and my only real option in Orange County is to hang out with Keith, which would be an evening of listening to Keith's "my life is shit and this is why and no matter what you're going through it can't be as bad as what I'm going through and you deserve it anyway because you make more money and it could be worse - you could be me" attitude. While I'll be there to provide support for my brother, I'd had too much of him lately. I needed to get away.

Actually, I needed to see Rosa again... but there was no way that was going to happen.

As I entered San Diego, I realized that the soup and the water and the coffee were starting to back up on my bladder, which had reached critical mass! In the face of that, traffic laws hold very little meaning. I parked in the first spot I could find at Tim's place and ran through his yard and into his home without saying more than, "Hi! Gotta pee!!"

When I returned a few minutes later, Tim offered me a drink.

As we sat around and drank, I noticed that I'd been rubbing my back and chest a lot. Excusing myself, I went into the bathroom and saw that I was covered in red bumps... like a lot it little, itchy pimples.

I ignored them and kept drinking. By 2am, Tim went to bed and I passed out on his spare.

Tim wanted me to spend Saturday night there, too, but I had the feeling these little red things were more than just an extreme case of goose bumps. I stopped at Costco on the way home, bought a bunch of junk I probably didn't need (do you need 18 rolls of paper towels?), and then went to get gas. When I tried to pre-pay with my ATM card, though, it was denied. Why? Because I'd run out of cash! A week before payday and I was out of cash! This kind of thing never happened to me when I was married and hadn't happened in about a year. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of watching my money after blowing everything after the divorce. But, here I was again: broke a week after payday.

I went home, my torso and arms and legs itching. Even as I brought up all my new garbage (a four-pack of deodorant - that's like a year of sweat!), I knew I'd have to dash out to the store again. Dash, I did, and I returned with a bottle of pink lotion that had calamine and other stuff that was supposed to help... It turned out, I had hives. Hives? I'd never had hives before. But that's what my few minutes of research, along with the feedback from the girl at Sav-on who looked at my arms, told me. Hives were how allergic people reacted. But I'm not allergic... to anything! What could have caused hives?! The girl started listing things. "Peanut butter?" No. "Strawberries?" No. "Have you recently changed soaps or detergents?" No.

"Well," she said, looking like she'd rather do anything else but talk to an old, lumpy guy about his bumps, "some people get them from stress. Have you experienced any stress lately?"

Any stress lately? Have I experienced any stress lately? I just saw the woman I love the only way she'll let me see her - very much by accident. Have I experienced any stress lately? I just saw the love of my life - the woman who told me to go find someone else. Have I experienced any stress lately? I just saw the most beautiful woman in the world and knew immediately that she would probably not drive on that street again for a very long time to come. Have I experienced any stress lately?

... A little.

Back at home, I spread the lotion wherever I could. Not on the back, though. The only people who have lotion applied to their backs are people who still have someone - not people who live alone because they lost the love of their life. I looked ever so slightly pink.

I figured that walking around the apartment half-naked, looking ever so slightly pink called for drastic measures. I broke out my spare ashtray, opened my windows, poured myself a drink (Scotch, Perrier, and lime), lit up, and turned on MASH.

And so my weekend passed. With very little sleep, it was smear lotion, pour drink, light up - repeat. I spent Saturday and Sunday in a drunken haze that couldn't wipe out just a couple seconds of Rosa.

When I went to bed last night - first time all weekend - I dropped quickly to sleep.

I shouldn't have woken up this morning. I knew something was wrong almost from the moment I sat up in bed.

Things were moved.

A lot of things.

Someone had been up in the middle of the night and he'd been very busy.

Was it any wonder I was so sleepy?

Now, once again, I have to figure out where everything is. This time, more than ever before, the results of my sleepwalking are like a scavenger hunt - hopefully, I didn't move anything outside.

And so, I'm back here again... with the addition of hives.

All from seeing Rosa for just a couple of seconds.

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