What I did on my Christmas Vacation:
- Nearly broke my neck
- Nearly amputated my nipple
- Nearly lost an arm
- And more!
Christmas came early this year. I had foolishly waited till November to request time off for the holidays, by which point everyone else had already requested vacation leave. That meant that the only time I could visit Mom and Dad was this past weekend, which had a very unfortunate consequence: I missed the Reference Christmas party. Not only did my coworkers miss out on my holiday tuba playing, they enjoyed a glorious opportunity to talk about me while I wasn’t there. God only knows what they said.
It’s no fun driving 430 miles to Weaverville, and 430 miles back, especially since my iPod dies after 380 miles. The last hour each way posed a dreadful choice: Listen to the radio and risk Christmas music, or listen to nothing. I opted for silence. Safer that way.
After the long car ride home, I was eager to move about. I unpacked the Christmas presents. I unloaded the two hampersand one trashbag of laundry. (Yes. I am 26 years old and I still drive my laundry home. Someday I will have a washer and dryer. Someday.) And then I decided to show Mom and Dad my new yoga moves.
“Look, this is my handstand!” I said. I hopped onto my hands and put my feet up against the door to their bedroom…
…which promptly opened inward. I’d forgotten that their door doesn’t latch shut. I managed to hold my balance for, oh, maybe a quarter of a second, and then I stumbled all the way through, landing in a stunning body slam flat against my back.
That’s how I almost broke my neck.
After nearly paralyzing myself, I thought it best to spend the rest of the evening doing quiet things. I ate Mom’s barley casserole. I drank wine. I played with the cats.
That’s how I nearly lost my arm.
Mom and Dad have two cats, Pixie and Dixie. Pixie is a tiny gray fuzzball with no tail and no courage. He’s scared of everything. I mean this is a cat who gets scared by dust. He’s adorable.
Dixie, now… Dixie is 22-pounds of mountain lion masquerading as a domestic housecat. Mom and Dad call him Big Dix. (Teehee!) I made the mistake of wrestling with him. The blood loss didn’t quite warrant a trip to the emergency room, but it was a close thing.
Then I went to bed. That’s when I nearly amputated my nipple.
Normally I sleep on the couch. I don’t mind sleeping on couches. Once I slept on my couch for two weeks because I didn’t feel like putting away the laundry that was laid out on the bed. (That was back when I had an apartment with a washer and dryer. Oh, those glorious times of days gone by.)
Couches are never too short for me. There are advantages to being five foot one. But the problem with the couch is that it’s in the living room. It’s hard to sleep undisturbed while others are getting ready for work.
So Mom and Dad got a cot for my old bedroom. With my savaged arm and near escape from paralysis, I gratefully slipped onto it…
…and woke up several hours later, pinned to the mattress by my nipple. Somehow my weight had shifted the coils in such a way that they had trapped my nipple ring.
I am not making this up.
I couldn’t really move to extricate myself. It is difficult to reposition oneself when one’s nipple is clamped in place. A few cautious attempts proved to me that further movement caused the coils to clamp tighter on a nipple that was already feeling sore. Releasing my weight from the cot would have loosened the coils, but how was I supposed to manage that? Yoga Instructor Jennifer hasn’t taught us how to levitate yet.
Bear in mind, I was barely awake. I could hardly move and my nipple was in danger. I couldn’t call for help—Mom and Dad were asleep at the other end of the house. (Besides, what if Dad came into the room?!)
I did finally manage to escape the death trap. With several minutes of intricate, cautious finessing, I worked the nipple ring out of the vise.
“Huh,” said Mom the next day. “The pamphlet that came with the cot didn’t mention that at all.”
But the boob stories don’t stop here! The bra I had been wearing had been my favorite, but over the weekend the underwire developed a tendency to poke into my flesh.
“I’ll just switch to my pink bra,” I said. “Have you seen it in the laundry yet?”
“No,” said Mom. “Not yet.”
So then I hunted through the dirty laundry and found shirts, undies, blankets, towels, bedsheets, pants, skirts, dresses, a scarf, socks, and some mittens, but…
“I know I put it in here,” I said.
I know I did. I remember. That bra left my apartment, but it never made it to Weaverville. I’ll miss you, pink bra.
So we went bra shopping. Understand that this is not a task accomplished lightly. I’m sure other women enjoy wearing sexy fun bras that cost less than fifty dollars, but not me. I wear ugly expensive monstrosities.
First we tried Victoria’s Secret. The largest cup size they sell is a double D. I thought I was a double D, but apparently not.
“Dang,” I called from the dressing room. “I must be a triple D.”
Then we tried Lane Bryant. There wasn’t much in the way of 38DDD bras, but I tried them. All of them.
“You’re not going to believe this,” I said through the dressing room door. “I must be a… a… what comes after triple D?”
“That’d be F,” said the sales clerk.
We hunted down the 38F bras in the store, all two of them. At this point I didn’t care about color, style, or price. I just wanted a bra that fit.
“Um,” I said from the dressing room. “Um. What, um, comes after F?”
G. That’s what comes after F, 38G. There were none in the store. That’s when I started to sob.
The sales clerk took pity on me and went to hunt in the back. She managed to dig up two 38G bras.
I tried them on. They seemed to fit. I stopped crying.
It was on the drive back home, when I glanced in a mirror at a rest stop, that I noticed something wrong. My boobs were spilling out of the cup.
"Can’t trust mirrors in rest areas," I thought. “This is some kind of optical illusion.” I clung to that belief until I started unpacking the car, when both boobs hopped right on out of that damn bra.
Guess I’ll be exchanging my bras for… for what? 38Q?
But not all of my adventures in Weaverville were characterized by bodily danger or trauma. Mom and I went to the library. I always visit libraries when I vacation. Don’t you?
A great deal of my childhood was spent at the Weaverville library, but it’s been completely remodeled. Absolutely nothing looks the same except for the librarian. She has the same hair, the same clothes, the same exact appearance as she did when I was eight. I am beginning to suspect that she is a member of the undead. I mean she has not changed, not one iota. According to popular literature and cinema, only vampires can maintain an unchanging appearance. Probably soon she will have to leave the area, before the other townsfolk become suspicious.
Within the hallowed halls of the library, I helped Mom find something to read. Having a librarian in the family is perhaps not as advantageous as having, say, a doctor or a lawyer, but it’s the next best thing to free medical and legal advice. I helped her pick out a book.
“A Prayer for Owen Meany!”
said the vampire. “That’s a fantastic book!”
She’s right. It IS fantastic. The vampire and I had a marvelous discussion about John Irving and his wonderful novel, in which religion, politics, and faith come together in one extraordinary story. Perhaps the best part is that the book raises a host of questions but answers none of them. Or maybe the best part of the book is the evocative sense of setting in mid-twentieth century New England. Or maybe the best part of the book is the characters. I don’t know. I can’t make up my mind. But it’s great and I’m going to nudge everyone I know into reading it.
So: You there. You. Go read A Prayer for Owen Meany. Report back to me when you’re done. It’ll be easy to find me. I’ll be the one with no bra.