In Which Apocalypse Neck Arrives

7 May 2003

So, yesterday worked out mostly pretty well: did laundry, made chili, read some Jo Walton. (I get exceedingly weary of Sulien's rants about how the Christians -- oh, excuse me, followers of the White God -- are so stupid and wrong. Right now I'm not done with King's Peace, so I'm still able to ascribe the content of the rants to Sulien rather than to Walton. We'll see if the context of the book leaves me able to do that. But their length has passed from character development into tedium for me.) I did a couple thousand words on the Not The Moose Book -- non-sequential work again, some of it in Part 2 and some at the end of Part 1, and it was good. And I dashed off a couple pages of a new short story, in the same series with "Glass Wind," for those of you keeping up with my publications. Those stories just seem to come out easily.

In the course of the day, I had to find out the name of the Finnish parliament, whether ground black or red pepper floats or sinks in water, and what roadside rest stops are available within a few hours of this general metro area. You learn a lot, being a writer. It's just never the stuff you thought might be useful.

I also had the apocalyptic neck pain.

This explains the wretched afternoon Monday, actually. The neck pain is the sneaky kind. It's the kind that doesn't actually express itself as stabbing pain in the neck region. That, it seems, would be too fair. No, it expresses itself as a general sense that the entire world has gone very wrong somewhere. Also as a very, very warm neck, and big ol' knots, and muscle tension, and dizziness and nausea whenever anybody touches the apocalyptic neck. Including me. I can make myself dizzy by touching my own neck. Wheee.

I know I've said this before, but it just seems unfair to have physical problems behave as though they were emotional and vice versa. Before Mark left for work, I was the kind of clingy where I'm trying not to be clingy, wherein I repeat sensible statements aloud in a calm voice ("In all likelihood, nothing horrible will happen to you today, and you'll return home safely for dinner") and Mark agrees with them. This is far preferable to grabbing his knees and moaning, "Nooooooo!" -- which, according to my neck-influenced subconscious, was the right thing to do. Stupid neck. The brain knows better. (Although the brain had a tricky time of it before I figured out that all of this horrible feeling was neck-related. It was starting to think that the "entire world has gone very wrong somewhere" feeling was directly related to the "I live in California" thing.)

I tend to balk at unsolicited physical advice, but I have to say if any of you have any recommendations for dealing with the neck of death, please do share. I'm asking for it. Yoga, or at least the particular yoga I am accustomed to doing, intensifies the "dizzy and nauseated" feeling, which I'm thinking is my body's way of telling me to cut it out. Dr. Bill almost never alleviates much in the way of neck problems -- he's good for my back injury, but that's most of his focus -- so I'm not thinking that's the answer. (Although if it continues for too long, I may call him up and see if he thinks there's anything he can do.) I don't know. This followed fairly closely on the heels of a sore throat that never did much, and I've heard of people getting colds in their backs before, so that might be it. In which case what I might need to do about it is get lots of water and vitamin C and let it go away. But any other thoughts are welcome this time.

So I did the new short story stuff in my journal while sitting in one of our newish Ikea chairs, which is, by the way, tilting. Don't know if it's poor design, low quality, bad luck, or all three, but something is bent so that it's tilting back and to the right. It's still usable. Just not great, and it's a little disturbing to look at it that way. On the other hand, I doubt that it'll break any time soon. Back on the first hand, though, we haven't had it for that long, and we haven't abused it very seriously -- no instances of two people attempting to sit in it simultaneously, for example, and no diving at it. And while Timprov is a big person and has sat in it, he's not so big that him sitting in it should cause tilting, especially at this point. So. At some point I may get out a hammer and try to fix it. Or I may get one of the relatives to attempt that while they're out next month. They're handy like that.

Right, so: Advil first, then work on the book or perhaps the short story, depending on how the neck is doing. I have dinner started in the crockpot. One more meal like this and I'm going to write an ode to the crockpot, akin to Kev's "Ode to Toast." The crockpot, the device that allows morning people to do their cooking in the morning. Ahhh. I have a crockpot cookbook I've never used -- perhaps because it contains words like "hamballs." Hmm. Maybe I should get that out again and go through it, to see if there's any reason for us to move it home with us when we go.

I have this game going with myself now, quite accidentally. It started with the envelopes. I prepared a story to go out on Monday, and I looked at the box of big envelopes speculatively. They definitely, definitely will not hold me until we move. But will the next box I buy? I don't know. With some things, it's obvious: this box of Grape Nuts will not be accompanying us on the cross-country trip. It will be gone. But with other things, well...what about nutmeg? Will I move this nutmeg, or will I have to buy more nutmeg? How much nutmeg do I use in five months or so? I have no idea. How about the Windex? Is this all the Windex we need for California, or will California require more Windex of us? Will we be through the stack of scratch paper? Will we be into a new stack of scratch paper? Will I manage to run out of baking soda at just the right time, or will we take a nearly full box of it back? I'm not close enough that I know for sure. I'm not close enough that it makes sense to frantically use nutmeg and conserve baking soda or vice versa. But I'm close enough to speculate, and for me, close enough to speculate counts for a lot.

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