venerdì, marzo 30, 2012

Ask not for whom the wax depilitates, it depilitates for thee

Flying back to Australia tomorrow. About time I guess, as I miss my old man, but it hurts to leave here, a little more each time, especially now with a bun in the oven and that awful wake-up call about the mortality of the people I love.

And I'll miss Toronto. I'll miss its stories. Yesterday I had my face, pits and legs waxed by a Vietnamese woman who'd been born when her mother was 50. Her parents had been rich and her father had colluded with the Americans during the war, so they lost everything and got sent to the countryside to farm after the withdrawal. All her brothers and sisters were barred from university and had to learn trades. But by the time she was born, far later than anyone expected, the laws had been changed, so she became the apple of her father's eye, pushed to excel in highschool and university, and his assistant in his new, rapidly thriving business. But once her father realized that his business would never get past a certain point due to the absence of loans or government support, he decided to send her abroad for work and study, either to Australia or Canada. She chose Canada, because she'd watched Little House on the Prairie and wanted to see snow.

(The charm lasted as long as it always lasts for those of us who don't ski when the winter comes - three days.)

He's since died, and his business ran into the ground by her brothers, who inherited everything from the family - her fortune, her mother expected, to be made when she meets her husband, which she fears she never will, since her weeks are spent waxing people and her weekends going to business administration classes at Ryerson University, and her nights worrying about how she'll ever get a job in her field when she can't even get a call-back for an internship.

Sweet mother of fuck. Does it ever occur to you just how much of the good shit in your life is 100% down to luck? I've never been of the school that the fortunate shouldn't whine about their bad shit. Obviously, if you read this blog for more than 30 seconds, that isn't the way I feel. But I do feel it's wrong to ascribe our good shit mostly to our own cleverness, aptitude, or moral uprightness, when a five-minute glance at the rest of the world shows that so much of the good shit we have is just pure dumb fucking luck.

The next time you hear some self-righteous jerk-off comment that street addicts need to clean the fuck up and get a fucking job - well - I don't know what you can tell them, or at least what you can tell them that they'll actually hear. The truth is it's very hard for fortunate people to accept that good fortune is almost as random as bad fortune, and the only thing that's intrinsically better about a fortunate person over an unfortunate person is that fortunate people generally weren't born to drug-addled homes in some shithole like Saskatoon where the only coping strategy for difficult situations that they learnt, sometimes whilst still in utero, was to get monumentally fucked up. I know that there are plenty of people from drug-addled homes in shitholes like Saskatoon who only get taught chemical coping strategies who still manage to 'make it' and the human spirit is capable of amazing things . . . but if you're not one of those people, the next time you're feeling self-righteous, imagine how fucking great you'd be if you had what amounts to a life-long hangover because your mum couldn't stop pounding them back while you were a fetus.

Anyways. Have you noticed how the goblin characters in Labyrinth are just the right height to make you stare at David Bowie's crotch? Next time I'll blog about Labyrinth, just to make sure this doesn't turn into another pregnancy blog.

Give me the drugs

You know what's remarkable about pregnancy in modern media? Nobody ever tells you how miserable and rotten the first trimester is. From all accounts so far it seems nothing blows like the first three months and the last two weeks, when the baby is too big for the tummy and kicking the shit out of you, and otherwise it seems reasonably pleasant. But nobody likes the first trimester, I get told now that I'm smack in the middle of it myself.

First and worst is the constant worry because the odds at this point are really only a B (75%) that this embryo inside you is going to go to term. I've never been satisfied with Bs and I'd like a surer bet. But there's nothing for it. If the egg was badly flawed or the winning sperm was badly flawed it's just not going to happen, which is perfectly natural and perfectly right, but goddamn, is it ever a headfuck. Especially these days in which I find myself are worrisome. My midwife sister-in-law tells me the odds of not carrying to term go right down if you make it past weeks six to ten. Yeah, okay, great, I'm in week six, so I get to spend the next month shitting myself if I get a tummyache.

Anyways, considering the body spontaneously aborts something like 30% of the fertilised eggs it gets going just for not being good enough, I'm wondering how long it'll take for pro-lifers to start arresting healthy uteruses, the most ruthless aborters of all. But that's a rant for another day.

Then there's the puking of course, and the worries attendant on that. In a situation where you'll eat anything that you think is likely to stay down, it's hard to think about actual nutrition in a useful way for either mother or child. I have a good appetite for:

1. Bacon
2. Tornado rolls from Spring Rolls
3. Sriracha hot sauce
4. More bacon

You know what the nutritional value of that is? The F-word and I actually usually eat almost obsessively well. I mean, no ingredients we don't recognize, as much as possible from scratch, etc. etc. But at this point I'd eat MSG-flavoured android cock if I thought I wouldn't puke it back up. There is something distressing in that, to the purist part of my Jessica-brain that's nervous about over-processed food. But put a plate of crispy store-bought bacon in front of me and it is gone in three minutes, nitrates and all, fuckin' gone, Purist Jessica being reduced to an annoying little background tweet as Pukey Jessica and Hungry Jessica wade into it, mouth-open. In a way it's reassuring; I'm still planning to spend the first month of the second trimester in Shanghai, and anything that doesn't have pig in it there is either Uighur food or not food.

So I got a prescription for a sort of anti-puking pill called Diclectin, whose mechanism doesn't seem too frightening - it's more or less an antihistamine combined with a B vitamin - and started it last night. Today it seems to be working, and I have high hopes of being able to choke down some sort of vegetable product that isn't part of a B-heavy BLT. But of course I'm nervous about that, too. So many historical horror stories about anti-puking medication turning out babies with dreadful problems. Nevertheless I'm taking it. It turns out I have more or less zero patience with severe discomfort. Any bets on how fast it'll take me to demand an epidural, given I'm presently absolutely opposed to getting one, but apparently seem to be one of the biggest sucky babies in the universe?

domenica, marzo 25, 2012

Poor old Charlotte Bronte

Had one of the last meals being served, apparently, at the first five star I ever ate at, as the Four Seasons begins its migration to its new home, shutting down the hotel-owned restaurant in favour of renting space out in the monstrosity currently being constructed a few blocks away. It was good. Gnocchi with wild mushrooms in a sort of creamy sauce. Delicious.

Oh, fuck all this not talking about it in the first trimester. I'm pregnant. Everything I eat's delicious. Or else I can't eat it, because I'm ralphing. I know, I know, it's early days, one shouldn't announce it until the second trimester, which is still a good half trimester off, blah blah blah. But frankly, dear Internet, if this pregnancy goes wrong, we'll need to talk about it. And if it goes right, we'll need to talk about it. You might as well prepare yourself now. Because this is very much a wanted pregnancy, probably only one of two pregnancies in my extended family that was actually planned to some degree, and I'm happy, excited, and scared that something will go wrong, and scared that I won't be a good mother. (Not, interestingly, scared that the F-word won't be a good father, which I had half-expected to be. I think he'll be a winner.)

On top of that, that's pretty much all that's going on in my head now. With Mum firmly on the road to recovery, and me feeling like I'm at not-quite-the-tail-end of alcohol poisoning yet 24/7, I either don't blog or I blog about this. Or I don't talk, or I talk about this. How do women who don't announce until the second trimester do it, I wonder? I'm an exhausted, pukey, yet glowing mess at the moment, not to mention looking like I just got a boob job (and they hurt). Do I just pretend to the world I have a case of the Beauty Flu and they don't have to worry because it's not catching, and oh, yeah, I'm not drinking at the moment because it's Lent and I'm such a great fucking Catholic?

I mean, how do other women avoid making it obvious that they're constantly planning the easiest escape route to the bathroom for a bout of hurling or incredibly frequent urination when they're out and about? How do they write off falling asleep mid-conversation? How do they write off cancelling dinner engagements because the only time they feel decent enough to face the world is lunch? I suppose if I was in Australia at the moment I could go without telling people in Canada, and indeed we haven't told people in Australia yet, except for a few friends who are helping us out with doctors and midwives and things, but how can you avoid letting people you spend time with know about it?

I guess some women don't get morning sickness, which would help. My mother, who had four of us, assured me that she had never had it, and since this was before mine struck, I had some hope I wouldn't either . . . oh well . . . I'm taking it as a sign everything is going alright. And what's happening to me isn't nearly as bad, so far at least, as what I've heard of happening to other women. Like poor old Charlotte Bronte.