I’ve been home from the hospital for three days, and it seems there is a finite amount of TV you can watch and books you can read. I’m not much of a movie-watcher. I’ve always had problems committing to two hours. I blame MTV, even though I didn’t have cable until college. I do love to read to the point where I can be motionless all day with a good book, but I feel the need to interact with people. Yet I can’t, at least on a grand scale, while my immunity is compromised. Hence the blogging, when I barely have anything to say.
The catch with this free time and time off is that you can’t actually do a lot of the things you say you’d do with your free time. I can’t do any heavy lifting or drinking (or even normal eating, come to think of it) or be around people. It’s limiting. Not that I’d be drunk during all of my free time. (Or would I?)
During my recovery, here are a few ways I’ve been spending my time.
The Internet. Obviously. Here I am. As someone who works online, though, I feel as if I’ve seen everything there is to see on the Internet. It’s cluttered and junky these days. I have a pretty good grasp and an informed opinion of what happened between Jay-Z, Solange and Beyoncé after the Met Gala. What’s left, really?
Everything is peppered with ads and false promises. If I see one more Upworthy-type headline, I’m going to implode. I never click on them, just to be contrary.
Women’s content also tends to be somewhat inane. I feel smug knowing that I don’t need any of the tips to tame my hair or get shampoo-girl hair or do anything at all with my hair, since I have none. I also don’t have to worry about my bikini body for awhile. (Phew!) No wonder I have so much extra time on my hands.
Since I’m not working and reading online, I find myself inadvertently proofreading things I come across and mourning the loss of copy editors. With skeleton crews of publications these days, it’s been a long time since I could walk into an office and have an impassioned discussion about the serial comma with someone. Alas.
Working. Speaking of which, I just started working a little bit yesterday, just because an old company I worked with was in a jam and needed some last-minute, easy help. So at least I got paid for some proofreading.
My fellow editorial friends will know how much this pained me, but it was the first time I’d proofed copy since AP overturned the over/more than rule. (For those not in the know, “over” referred to space and so saying something like, “over three years” has been incorrect, as it should be. But the Associated Press recently caved to popular usage.) Yesterday, for the first time ever, I read phrases like “over two years”—and just let them be. (We’re talking about five instances.) Between Antarctica melting, the bees dying and this AP ruling, I think we’ve totally blown it as a civilization.
I know, I know. I’m not supposed to be working, even if I am doing my part in saving the world from errant apostrophes and grammatical errors. But it’s not like my work involves heavy lifting. I still haven’t gone back to my near full-time gigs, because I don’t trust my brain yet, slowed by morphine and poison for the past month. For now, I trust myself only with my own musings here and the garden blog updates.
When I see the doctor later, I’m going to ask him about working. I don’t think it’s dangerous, like I’ll blow a mind fuse. I think the not-working-for-two-months rule is for people who have to interact with others and don’t work in their pajamas.
Also, I realize there may be mistakes in this post, but I’m off the clock.
Crocheting. Warning: If you receive a soft, bulky package from me in the mail, it probably contains a poorly made scarf.
I recently rediscovered crocheting. People often get crocheting and knitting mixed up, but the main difference is that crocheting is way easier. I don’t understand people who knit to relax. To me, it’s the craft equivalent of doing a spreadsheet. If you make a mistake in knitting, all is lost, but crocheting allows for you to be messier if need be. I don’t like a lot of thinking when I’m doing something crafty—that’s why I prefer crocheting over knitting and embroidery over counted cross-stitch.
I’d heard that I wouldn’t be able to read or even watch TV much in the hospital, but I didn’t crochet as much as I thought I would. One day, however, I put on a mix CD a friend sent and crocheted and felt somewhat human again.
In Like Water for Chocolate, the main character knits every time she has man trouble, and she ends up with a giant blanket. I pictured some sort of cancer afghan for myself. But I had only a few balls of yarn, so I decided to finish it up to make a scarf or two. The problem was, I didn’t have enough yarn, so I had to buy more yarn. But that didn’t quite match, and I ended up with even more yarn. Pardon the pun, but it really spun out of control. Once I started buying yarn, I couldn’t stop. I was wondering what to do to support my habit. I thought about raising sheep.
I come from a family of crafters, so I should have known getting into the yarn thing was a dangerous business. The yarn that I’d bought at the garden tag sale was a gateway.
My mom and grandma had tons of to-dos and projects to make, from embroidery to knitting to rug-making to weaving to tatting. My mom and I both worked at craft stores as well, feeding the habit.
So far, I’ve made six scarves, and I think I have about five more to go before I exhaust the yarn supply and call it a day. And yes, it’s always scarves, because they’re easy. It would be cool to be able to know how to crochet Star Wars mini figurines, but that just seems like so much work. I’m a lazy crafter.
Now, however, I can comfortably foist my handmade goods on my friends with a side of guilt. Here, I made this for you while I had cancer. People must accept my gifts for this limited time.
Luckily, it’s just warm enough that they won’t have to wear them until the fall.