I spent much of New Year's Eve eve driving back-and-forth between the vet in the sticks and yoga classes the city. On Tuesday the cat woke up with a tooth sticking out of his mouth (the lower canine). It was quite loose and the gum around it was red... but it wasn't loose enough for me to use my new Christmas vise-grips and pull it out. So I called Bo-the-cat-whisperer, who told me about a vet in the sticks who does extractions for far less than the usual exorbitant fee. Hence the day in the car. It took coffee to get through all the driving, and when I finally got the cat home that night, he acted drunk and his hind legs wouldn't work. He kept falling over. I thought I'd left him in the carrier too long and his legs hadn't gotten enough blood. I thought I'd broken him. But Bo and the vet told me it was just the drugs.
That night, the heel-striker couple upstairs moved out. Late into the night.
The next day, New Year's Eve, Kirby was still woozy and I had to teach a couple of classes - including a final one at the suburban studio, which was sad. Then I headed to the city to give blood. The last time I gave blood was, like, 2006. The trips to India render you ineligible for a year. So did December's trip to see Dharma in the Mexican jungle. December 31 was the first day I was eligible. I thought it would be a positive way to end a difficult year.
As usual, I was concerned that I'd fail the hemoglobin test for iron. But after a second try I finally passed. More sobering was when they asked me if I'd been out of the country in the past year, and I had to answer "No."
I felt fine after giving blood.... until I went to Best Buy and tried to exchange a Sirius satellite card for an XM card. (I learned after a long, long time on hold with the two companies on Monday that even though Sirius and XM merged in July of 2008, their billing cycles are still separate. And because the car has an XM tuner, I cannot use the Sirius gift card that Dreyfus gave me for Christmas. Neither company would budge, telling me to exchange it at the retailer.... even though I kept arguing that they were the same company and there shouldn't be a problem, and that this was a surefire way to lose customers to the internet [which will kill them off in a few years anyway, once it's installed in cars]).
Not only was Best Buy out of XM cards, but they wouldn't take back the Sirius card. I learned this as I started to become lightheaded and irritable. "It says on the back of the receipt that we don't accept return on prepaid cards," the supervisor told me, as I became faint and dizzy from losing that pint of blood. I held onto the counter and swayed and sweated and fought not to faint as I tried to make my case: "But both Sirius and XM told me to exchange it here," and "No one even gets the receipt until after they pay for the thing! The customer can't be liable for information they don't have!" And "No one warned us ahead of time that it couldn't be returned." At some point it seemed better to leave than to faint and be forced to pay for an ambulance, emergency room, etc. So I left.
But I did think a bit about satellite radio and how much I love listening to Rosie O'Donnell - she has finally found her perfect venue, not to mention her ideal listener - and to the Bollywood station, which also plays ghazals, bhajans and Qawwali . And I thought about how upset I got that the card wouldn't work, and how attachment can creep up on us when we least expect it (like in the Cancun airport last year, when they made me throw out my cute shampoo bottles). Everything is a lesson, it seems. The same lessons, over and over.
At that point I knew I could no longer deal with people. So I went home and closed the shades and drew a bath and ate some of Mrs. Dreyfus's home-made bean soup and had a nap and woke up and ate again and watched a few episodes of Dexter. By then, Kirby was starting to act normal and I was starting to feel human again.
That night I had my first good night's sleep in eons, without the usual stomping, scraping and dropping of heavy objects at 11pm, 1:45am and 4am. I did wake up at 12:18 to the sound of fireworks, but went right back to sleep.
On New Year's morning, Kirby was back to normal, chasing and biting me. And I was refreshed and ready to teach three-in-a-row.
And I thought, "My blood has replenished itself."
I could almost feel the fresh stuff coursing through me, and felt healed.
"New year, new blood."
Photo snapped today, when the sun made another rare appearance (on a -5 degree day of course). It came out during a rather strong if distracted second series practice. This time, the belly did not hit the floor.