January 16, 2009

Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?

Wow, I'm touched. I'm fine everyone, yesterday was just really busy. I had my annual skin exam (I spent my formative years in Scottsdale so taking no chances with skin cancer), it was Ralf's first day back from his California trip, we had English playgroup after school and book club in the evening. . . and of course, plenty of work.
My skin exam and my book club interacted in an unusual way. I had a tiny pink patch on the tip of my nose called a solar keratosis. About 10% of these can turn into skin cancer over time so the doctor froze it off with this enormous liquid nitrogen flame throwing device that scared me to death. Gone are the days of putting liquid nitrogen in a pee cup and dabbing it on with a Q tip, this was high tech, baby. The down side is that a few more millimeters of skin get frozen than you strictly need. But it takes a few hours to get really red so I still looked pretty normal when I set out for book club.
It was my first time with this book club and the book was Go Ask Alice, which many of us read in school. It's a cringingly painful book about an amazingly naive girl with incredibly low self-esteem making extremely stupid choices over and over again while her family fails to recognize the danger signs. Although it was later discovered to be a hoax rather than the actual diary of this girl, as a parent I found it very thought-provoking, especially the scene where she wants to tell her parents everything but they're too in lecture mode to shut up and listen to what she has to say.
Anyway, it was a good book club until we voted on the next book and almost everyone wanted to read The Hour I First Believed by the author who wrote She's Come Undone, a ghastly book with almost the same storyline as 'Go Ask Alice', i.e., traumatic incident in a young teen's life leads to a serious of idiotic and destructive choices that are incredibly painful to read about. Hopefully the new book is better but I really hated She's Come Undone so I don't hold out much hope. On the other hand, left to my own devices I probably wouldn't read anything except comedies and science fiction so it's probably good for me to expand my horizons a bit. At least Oprah didn't recommend it so it might not be totally horrible.
Now back to my story. Book club was good but the drive home was a nightmare. It was so foggy I couldn't see more than 3 feet in front of my car and the non-reflective paint on the road was practially invisible. And no sign of that amazingly useful invention they have in some developed countries where people recognize the need to see when driving at night: LIGHTS on the road signs and next to the road. Nada. It was awful and several times I contemplated just pulling over and sleeping in my car. Seriously, the only thing that stopped me was that the visibility was so poor that I couldn't tell if I was driving next to a cliff.
I think I'll skip over the frantic call to Ralf, his almost suicidal comments about how it's not that hard to drive and the the unfair telephonic bitch slapping I gave him for being German and therefore related to the people who built those lame excuses for roads. Let's cut to the moment after midnight when I was - thanks to Ralf's calm navigation via Google maps - finally home safe, warm, a shot of Schnapps down the hatch to stop the shakes and Ralf watching me the way you might watch one of those poisonous jumping spiders from Australia if you found it sitting on your pillow.
Actually, I'll just skip over that bit, too, and cut to the moment when we were upstairs brushing our teeth. Looking in the mirror I saw to my horror that the tip of my noise was completely red and swollen, like a big blister or boil. I studied it from every possible angle but nothing made it look one iota better. 'Ohmigod, I'm Rudolph! I'm Rudolph! I look like f#%*ing Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer!!!'
I don't usually swear like a sailor but after all that had taken place earlier Ralf didn't even blink. He just glanced over and observed laconically, 'Don't worry, honey, you aren't at all like Rudolph.'
I felt marginally better until he continued: 'If you were really Rudolph you could have guided yourself home through the fog tonight.'
My husband is a very brave man.
And just as I was about to fall asleep he whispered, 'G'night, Rudi.'


  1. He is indeed a very brave man! I didn't get into the bookclub I joined as their choices were so depressing!!! Hope you are feeling a little less 'Rudi' soon!

  2. Ralf sounds scarily like my husband: good in a crisis, but with a scalding sense of humour. I have to admit, it's one of the main reasons I married him, but the sense of humour does BURN occasionally.

    Very funny story, though ...

  3. Glad you didn't drive off a cliff.

    I have read "Shes Come Undone" and yes, it's awful. You only ever need to read one of these per lifetime. My book club chose "Nights in
    Rodanthe". I think I'm gonna be sick that night.

    Your husband said EXACTLY what I was thinking.

  4. My husband's and EMT, so he doesn't even blink at this!

    And those both sound like interesting book club reads.

  5. That's just so funny.
    But I am a thinner skinned person than you and I think a more fearful driver here in Germany. Not only did I refuse to drive until we got the GPS, I discovered last week that (10 years and 9 months after my lasik:() I actually need driving glasses to be on the autobahn or out in the evening. I'll be getting those next week.
    And because of that, I didn't go to my book club last week when the German got home too late for me to get there by public transport: just wasn't comfortable driving in the dark, with poor vision, in a foreign country.
    You might want either a different book club or a stronger hand on book choices, though. I love the way my two make me broaden my reading, but the books you are reading seem tedious and depressing (as opposed to,say, 1000 Splendid Suns, which was depressing but deeply moving).
    On that note, we just read The White Tiger (this year's Booker), which was also a bit depressing but great and well written.

  6. and you didn't smack him. you are a good woman.


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