May 15, 2007

Count To Ten

My toe hurts.

It's the one just next to the little pinky toe. The ring finger toe, I suppose is what you'd call it. On my right foot. Right now it's taped to the middle toe because that's what you're supposed to do. I know because I saw it on ER once. George Clooney taught me.

I came back from St. Anthony's two weeks ago carrying with me the latest sickness that's been going 'round. Fever, sinuses, runny nose, sore throat - I got the whole shebang. I was tired and frustrated when I dragged my suitcase into my bedroom and pretty much fed-up with travel when I started unpacking. I just wanted to swallow some DayQuil, lay on the couch and watch stupid movies but, alas, I'm one of those people who has to unpack immediately or never at all.

I got all of the clothes out of the bag and into the laundry bin. Just had to bring my toiletries into the bathroom and I was done. With a hefty sigh of relief, I grabbed my toiletry bag and sludged into the hallway and towards the bathroom.

I'm not sure if it was the fact that I was overly tired, or that the fever had me feeling a little delirious. Though maybe it was just my stupidity and eagerness to be doing nothing. Whatever the reason, it didn't make much sense why I took the turn into the bathroom an inch short of actually reaching the door and ended up walking right into the wall. My foot slammed into the molding as the toiletries flew out of my arm and onto the bathroom floor.

There's one thing about guys that you have to understand, when we kick a wall by mistake or slam our finger with a manly construction tool, we don't scream right away. To the contrary, we're pretty quiet as we bottle up the energy. We draw in an immense inhale, and then we hold our breath. We may start counting - 1....2....3....4.... - because that's what our fathers once told us to do. We rarely get to ten though. Somewhere around 8 is when the pressure of the increasing pain starts bursting from our mouths in a barrage of expletives.

SHIIIIIIITTTTTT!!!! I screamed in agony as the electric razor whirred away on the bathroom floor. SHHHHIIIIIIITTTT!!

I hopped on my good foot and muttered a few other extended four-letter words. I picked the razor up from the floor, shut it off and slammed it down on the sink counter. That's another thing we do, us men... we take our aggression out on inanimate objects. It's always their fault, never ours.

I hopped into the living room and lay down on the couch, still muttering obscenities, though admittedly with a little less brashness. Clearly, my toe was broken. There was no question about that. Definitely broken.

So when Catherine came over she did what had to be done: she taped my toe to the other toe because, as we've discussed, that's what Dr. Ross said you're supposed to do.

And now it's nearly two weeks later. I'm laying in bed in some hotel room and my toe hurts.

What with my sickness and the broken appendage, I hadn't exercised at all in two weeks. But I was feeling quite a bit better yesterday so I decided to go for a 30 minute run. It was tiring, as runs usually are when you've barely gotten your tush off the couch in two weeks, but it was exhilarating at the same time. As a matter of fact, it was so exhilarating I decided to go for another 30 minute run this morning.

The first 25 minutes of the run felt really good. I was so happy to be out there moving again, I couldn't help but smile. Then as I neared the end of my jaunt, it hit me. My toe started hurting again.

Five minutes later, when I finally finished the run, I was in fairly serious pain. It hurt to walk so I stood still. It hurt to stand still so I took off my shoe to give my toe some breathing boom. But that hurt too so I drew in a big inhale and held my breath. I started counting. 1....2....3....4..

Somewhere between 7 and 10, the pain subsided a little and I didn't embarrass myself by uttering a barrage of potty-mouth in the middle of the hotel lobby. I started hobbling to the elevator, silently cursing my stupidity. I must've re-broke the toe somewhere on the run.

By the time I got into my room I was able to relax a little. I taped my toe up again and got myself ready for the day. Fortunately, I was able to put my shoes on and manage through the day without too much discomfort.

But now, as I lay here in this hotel bed, I can feel the pain.

I glance around the room and, for the first time on this trip, notice how truly ugly the room is. This is not a shabby hotel by any means, but hotel decor is rarely my favorite style. The wallpaper pattern must've been in the close-out bin at Home Depot and the carpet is straight out of the Office Depot catalog, circa 1996.

There is one painting on the wall and you probably know what it looks like because it seems to be the standard painting you see in mid-level hotels. From the looks of the characters clothing, the scene in the painting takes place somewhere within the 17th or 18th century. The man in the painting is wearing formal, rather antediluvian clothing that includes a pair of knickers and a grey wig pulled into a ponytail. He's got a rifle under his arms as we walks through the forest, this fine gentleman. He is clearly out for a morning hunt, that much I know. After all, he's got his trustworthy dog scampering by his side and there's a fox darting off into the distance.

As I said, it's a standard ugly painting that you can look at a million times over and still not notice.

You just don't see this type of scenery anymore. There's not a lot of fox hunting going on and even less knicker-wearing. It's a shame, really. Back then in those knicker-sporting, grey wig wearing days, being a man seemed so different. So much more, shall we say, manly in a funny sort of ironic way.

You can only suppose that this fox hunting chap didn't mistakenly stub his toes on any walls. Or if he did, there wasn't any yelling or screaming about it. He probably just wrapped it up, powdered his face, pulled up his bloomers, put on his wig and went out to blow the face off a rabbit or something.

I stared at the artwork in a daze of the mystery of history.

Then I realized how pathetic the painting is. Butt ugly may be the nicest thing to say about it. It's just a few strokes short of a $5.99 paint-by-numbers. What makes somebody paint this? What kind of lonely life do you have to lead to paint a picture like this and expect it will sell? I can only imagine it was done by some geeky historian who can't get his teaching license so spends his days dreaming of being a statesman in the days of yore as he lives the life of a third-rate painter.

Then, of course, I think of that one fate-filled day when this sad-excuse-for-an-artist got a telephone call from this hotel as they placed an order for a few thousand copies of his Hunting Expedition masterpiece, and how this so-called artist is probably now living in a mansion on the hills of Kuai'i right now.

For a brief second I felt happy for the pathetic little Hunting Expedition painter fellow. Then my toe began to hurt again.

I inhaled and counted to ten.


No Wetsuit Girl... overseas! said...

Any time I read one of your blogs that is written so brilliantly (as in, "I wish I could write like that") I feel the need to comment. Even if I have nothing worthwhile to add. SO, have you ever heard that song that goes, "Till the sun set sweetly like it does in those paintings, /the ones that they hang in hotel rooms, /the ones that they bolt to the wall, /as if someone would steal them..."

Anyway, hope that toe feels better by, oh, right about NOW

j. said...

gosh golly nwg..o, thank you. i appreciate the nice comments. i have never heard those lyrics but it seems oh so true.

btw, the toe is feeling a lot better. don't ask about the right calf...