22 May 2006

34. Alcohol

Dear alcohol,

I think I love you. Not just because you come in many forms which are delicious, but that doesn't hurt. No, I love you because I have learned to coexist delightfully with your effects as a drug, by which I mean your mood-amplifying qualities. I wish I could call them mood-enhancing qualities, but the phrase "mood-enhancing" has come to describe substances whose effects are generally positive, which in your case isn't necessarily true. You see, I've managed to figure out that you take whatever mood I'm in and make it more so. Which means I don't get to use you when I'm in a crappy mood, or even when I'm in a so-so mood, but you're fine when I'm happy, or even (like today) when I'm tired but otherwise okay, because you make me even better. And that's just groovy, baby.

I like that being aware of your effects makes me feel like a super-genius, because I can avoid being a total asshole simply by avoiding you when I'm in a lousy mood. Now if only I could spread my genius to the entire world and furthermore instill everybody with the wisdom needed to prevent themselves from using you as an excuse to be the assholes they secretly are all the time... but I digress. I like how you lower my inhibitions, although to be fair I was already in a silly talkative saying whatever's on my mind kind of mood today, so perhaps your effects were even more entertaining than usual. Or maybe I'm only funny to me. Whatever.

I also like how you make me feel good about riding my bike everywhere. Tonight, for instance, I would not have been safe to drive a motor vehicle home after a long shift at work and delicious grilled tempeh sandwich and a quart of beer over the course of dinner at the pub (and note how it sounds much scarier to say "a quart of beer" instead of "two pints" — what's up with that? I digress. Again.) However, because I was riding my bike, I felt fine. Who was I going to hurt, really? No one, that's who, except maybe myself, and the latter probably not so severely as to adversely affect the lives of the people I love, which is of course the point at which self-injury becomes unacceptable, and yet again I digress. Back to my recent bike ride — as an added bonus, you made it feel like I was going really, really fast at a piddling 13 miles an hour according to my nifty bike computer/odometer toy. That was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

I thought I had more to say to you, alcohol, but I seem to have forgotten them in my glee at riding home safely tonight. That's cool. I'm going to sit around drinking lots of water to stop you from giving me a hangover, and perhaps meditate on how incredibly easy you are to consume in the form of Anderson Valley's summer solstice ale. It's like cream soda with a beer aftertaste, I tell you what — but I'm sure you already knew.

Much love,

Published 22 May 2006, title abridged 1 December 2011, last updated 6 June 2014.

21 May 2006

33. Hail

Dear hail,

Please for to not have just completely destroyed my garden, okay? As always, you came and went quickly, but I'm not used to hailstones being much bigger than peas, and many of these were as big as grapes, so it was actually a little scary for a few minutes there. Also, I definitely wasn't into the part of the storm where it would have hurt to go outside and so I had to just stand and look helplessly out the window while my poor little sunflowers got bent in half. Finally, you were loud enough to make at least one of the cats go hide under the bed, so I hope you're happy with yourself. Me, I'll only be happy with you if my plants recover. Dang. Maybe I should build those cold frames after all.


Title abridged 1 December 2011.

13 May 2006

32. Mad Cow Disease

Dear mad cow disease,

I love you. Not just for your name, although it is fabulous, and not just for the beautiful poetic irony of your very existence. Seriously, thank you for pointing out the almost mind-numbingly obvious fact that maybe forced cannibalism is a bad thing, especially for herbivores, and even more so when those herbivores are livestock that's intended to be slaughtered for eating... seriously. It's pretty much impossible to write to you without snickering a little.

Speaking of snickering, I love you despite the fact that people's fear of you leads me into stupid conversations like the one I had at work today with a woman who won't buy our macaroni and cheese because it's made with cheddar that comes from England, home of the original cases of mad cow disease in humans if you don't count all the cannibals who've gotten it throughout history. I mean, good lord. You're awesome and all, mad cow, but the prions thought to cause you are still found mostly in brain and nerve tissue and only very occasionally in muscles and so the odds of them turning up in milk are pretty miniscule, right? I'm going to do more research just to make sure I'm not being some kind of crazy Pollyanna optimist, but really. Like I told the well-meaning lady at the hippie grocery store today, if prions are getting into milk, we have bigger problems than you, mad cow disease. (And it's not like you're only happening in England, but it's probably a good thing I didn't remember to mention that this afternoon, because there was enough to worry about in that conversation as it was.) Anyway. I can understand prions getting into ground beef, because slaughterhouses are basically sweatshops and mistakes are hard to prevent even under humane working conditions, but I don't want to imagine what the hell kind of dairy could slaughter a cow while milking it, and in such a splattery way as to get brains in the milk. There's a whole new book of kosher rules to be written about that problem, I tell you what.

But back to my love for you, which is also not just because prions are awesome in the good old-fashioned fear- and awe-inspiring kind of way. I mean, proteins gone wild! That's terrifying and beautiful and pretty much completely beyond my comprehension to the point where I give up and revert to making sand castles — oh wait, that's the ocean, but it's similarly huge and amazing and I mean the analogy as a sincere compliment to you both. I love you for a combination of these reasons and more, mad cow disease, like how I could have you and not even know it, so I'd better hurry up and write these and all my other letters because my brain could sprout holes and turn even spongier than usual any day now if you've been incubating in there for years. Sometimes I worry that humanity is going to destroy itself by something as crass and boring as war or pollution, and then something like you happens, and I realize that I haven't even begun to think of all the ways the universe could easily help us along to our demise by using our own incredible stupidity against us. And that's a grim thing to laugh at, sure, but I don't know how else to respond. So thanks again for being one of my very favorite dark jokes, mad cow disease.


Started 8 March 2006, published 13 May 2006. Title abridged 1 December 2011, last updated 6 June 2014.

11 May 2006

31. Uterus

My dear uterus,

Thank you for more or less making peace with the new foreign object inside you. I know you've been wondering about it, or at least I've felt you cramping, and I choose to interpret the resultant discomfort as bewilderment and confusion on your part, which is about as good as our communication ever gets. You seem calmer now, and that's great. Please don't go back into uncomfortable spasms just to spite me for writing that; I've left this letter unfinished for over a month because I didn't want to jinx anything by getting too optimistic. Maybe I should have gotten up the courage to write sooner, but I was worried, and also I didn't want to interrupt what seemed like some pretty productive discussions with our mutual friend ibuprofen. Now that it's been a few weeks and a menstrual period since we got what I've been calling our radical new piercing, and as of yesterday the awesome nurse lady at Planned Parenthood says everything looks and feels perfect, I'm finally feeling confident of everything I have to say in this letter.

I'll start with the basics: helpful information. The copper and plastic contraption you feel is called a Paraguard IUD, and it's supposed to keep us from getting pregnant, even if nobody's exactly sure how. I know, that's a little freaky, but so are all the side effects we've experienced with hormonal birth control, and I'd rather talk to you and ibuprofen about cramping than to my head and even more ibuprofen about migraines. Also I'd prefer to make my own mood swings instead of going crazy from drugs for awhile, and as an extra bonus, the Paraguard could be good for as long as ten years, which is pretty freaking sweet. If you hate it too much, I guess we could switch to an IUD with hormones in it, but really if I'm going to go back to messing with my biochemistry I think I'd prefer to use drugs that I can quit myself, without the help of a nice nurse lady.

Speaking of which, wasn't it great to see the nice nurse lady again yesterday? Remember how much it hurt when she gave us the Paraguard piercing last month? Since I sort of doubt you were listening to her at the time, much less understanding, I'll just tell you that she said that cramping then was a bit like a labor contraction, and joked that if I'd thought I didn't want to have a baby before, that pain probably made me more certain. She was ever so right, and I hope that you're coming to agree with me. Meanwhile, I'm still here to help however I can. I don't have a heating pad, but I can always fill my belly with nice warm tea, and sometimes I can persuade one of the cats to sit on my belly and purr. I'm sorry if it was wrong of me to go on a big bike ride when you were still in the first throes of shock, but maybe you'd been freaking out all along and the ibuprofen wore off at an inconvenient time? I owe exercise a thank-you note at the very least, but I could probably turn it into a whole letter without too much trouble. But I digress.

Back to you, uterus. Are we cool? I don't want to jump to conclusions or take you for granted or anything that might send us back into a world of not severe but persistent and annoying pain. Like I said before, I'm here to help. But meanwhile, in a spirit of cautious optimism, I hope you don't mind if I thank you once again for being awesome, as always, in this exciting time.


Started 5 April 2006, published and last updated 11 May 2006. Formatting edited 8 April 2014.