Pus Eye

April 14, 2010

For the past few days, my boss Laura has been calling me “Pus Eye”.

Before you go calling the authorities for Employee Mistreatment, let me note that one conversation we had today went something like this:

Laura: I wish I didn’t look like I was 14 today. I’m wearing flats, and I look like I’m 4-foot-nothing.
Ann: Well, if it makes you feel any better, I haven’t showered for 3 days.
Cristina (chimes in): Really? Three days?
Ann: Yes. I’m conserving water. [Pauses]. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m really lazy.

That story was to illustrate that we have good, honest comraderie in my office. We don’t call one another Pus Eye and expect each other to cry about it.

But I did cry about it. Involuntarily.

Because my Pus Eye is also watering.

I think I have an infected tear duct, and the pus has filled the tear duct to the point that it will not drain my tears. Someone ought to create a product to fix this and call it Drano: For Eyes. Only that might not sell very well, so… forget that. Heh.

While my eye has been feeling (and looking) better today, the last few days have been rather tedious. Monday night was the worst. I won’t go into detail, but every-so-often, I’d have to wipe my eye of a substance similar to mucous. It was itchy and hurt a little and all red.

Before you ask if I have pink eye, the answer is no, I do not have pink eye, and that’s disgusting. I most certainly would not be sharing on my blog if I had pink eye, and if you know what pink eye really is, you know why.

It happened a lot to farm kids in rural Minnesota where I grew up.

After they had fertilized the fields, if you know what I mean.

No, I believe Pus Eye is the result of a dangerous liaison. Instead of combining prescription drugs and alcohol, I combined mascara and sleep. For this problem, there ought to be preventative commercials featuring breakfast food.

This is your eye. This is your eye on old mascara.

Anyway, that’s not the point. I do have a point. But first, here is something else that is not the point:

Pus Eye has actually been kind of fun because I get to simulate crying at random moments. For example:

“Do you know Jessie?”
Eye fills up and tear rolls down cheek: “You don’t know how much I wish I could.”

“What are you doing?”
Eye fills up and tear rolls down cheek: “I am eating Cheerios. Grandpa used to eat Cheerios.”

“How is work going?”
Eye fills up and tear rolls down cheek: “They are calling me Pus Eye.”

The point is that the whole thing is making me think about that passage in the Bible where Jesus tells people not to try to pick the spec out of someone else’s eye without first removing the plank from our own.

There is a lot of gross stuff coming out of my eye. People see it and call tell there’s something wrong. It’s pretty easy for this intuitive brain to make a connection between my current physical ailments and my spiritual ailments. What would someone think if I walked up to her and told her that her eyeshadow is a terrible color while my eye is covered with pus?

Gross.

D’s car has been sitting in an impound lot at a towing company in Brentwood for two months.

We thought it stolen, and along with it, several of his journals, one very important photograph of his dad, and his schoolbooks and notebooks. Included in the once-assumed-stolen paraphernalia were one pair of his sister’s shoes and a yellow polo shirt. Last night D and I had the honor of going to said impound lot and cleaning out his stuff from the car, after his dad called saying a letter had come to their house stating that the car had been impounded for over two months. If y’all are not familiar with the situation, D’s car was stolen from outside my apartment the day after his birthday. Or so we thought.

Apparently the LAPD towed it for expired license tabs. And when D and I went up to the police department to file a report, the LAPD couldn’t find the car in the system. Therefore, they declared it stolen. Yesterday while we were driving away after collecting D’s stuff from the car, I said, “You know, your car really did get stolen. By the police.”

D is really happy to get his stuff back and jazzed for a fight. By law the LAPD is required to notify owners of cars that their cars have been impounded within 72 hours of impoundment. D’s car has been sitting in that lot since 1 p.m. on April 4. We filed the police report around 4 p.m. on April 4. No one received word of the car’s whereabouts until the afternoon of June 20. There is also the little problem of the insurance company issuing money to pay off the car loan. These are a few things he needs to figure out.

This whole week has been a little rough, and I’ve been battling some pretty intense streaks of anxiety. But when D called me late Friday afternoon with a classic, “Get this…” and he told me the news, his words filled me with the overwhelming sense that everything in my life is going to be all right. Even if the car hadn’t been found, D would have been all right. And even if I can never get my car A.C. fixed or make more money or go to Minnesota in August or write the great American novel, I’m going to be all right.

After re-claiming the stuff we went on this terrific spontaneous date in which we walked on the Santa Monica beach and pier. D played on some of the gymnast equipment on the beach and impressed me with his Mad Rope Climbin’ Skillz. The sand soothed my warm, work-stressed feet. We walked through the crowds of people on the pier, and I felt a part of something young and sweeping.

There were crowds of people and smells of pop corn, funnel cake, churros, and the ocean. Seals were barking out somewhere, probably floating on a buoy we couldn’t see. Young girls were dressed like they were in their twenties — I commented to D that the fourteen-year-olds looked older than I do, cramming their feet into stilletos to deny their mid-’90s birthdays as much as possible. Young dads chased after their kids, and older dads played air hockey with their daughters, feeding quarters into the machine at the arcade. D had coffee, but I was too hot and drank a cup of ice water. We walked and watched until the Friday work day caught up with me. I took him home to his bungalow in the Hollywood Hills, where the hills block the breezes so the night swelters. We had to walk up the steep hill to the bungalow because my car engine grew warm from the heat of the day and driving up hill, stop and go. We hauled his once-stolen stuff up to the bungalow, and I sat outside for a while before I left to let what little hot breeze there was wash over me.

This was the house I came to over a year ago when I visited him from Arkansas, the trip which pushed us to make the decision that it might work out if I moved to California. Before that we had been too nervous, too unsure, but that visit felt so right. And when he came down the stairs to where I sat waiting, it felt right to see his face above mine, as it had felt so right to help him clean the stuff out of his car earlier that day, and so right to experience his excitement that what was once lost is now found.

Some people back home think I moved here to get engaged. They ask my friends and family, “Is she engaged yet?” and the answer is no, I am not, and that will probably not happen for a long time. They say things like, “Didn’t she move there for a guy?” and the answer is no, I did not.

A while back I realized for the first time that being anxious all the time is not normal. I realized that I have a problem I need to address, and one way to address that problem is to constantly do the things that scare me. I had lost a sense of peace, and I thought it was gone forever. I thought that anxiety would always be part of my life and that God had put it there to make me push myself, to make me stronger, to let it lift away whatever chaff I possess. Now I realize that I really didn’t lose that peace at all — a lot of other things just got in the way. And lately, there have been a few days where I have felt completely at peace, completely free, and I realize that victory is mine even though I don’t always feel it. In a lot of ways D brings that peace to me because of his constant hope, and his confidence and assurance that everything is going to be fine. It’s as if we’ve both helped each other scoop up the stuff we once thought was taken from us into plastic grocery bags to take home.

I didn’t move to meet up with D. I moved to meet up with a piece of me I thought was gone. Moving to L.A. scared me more than anything I’ve ever experienced, and yet I am here, I am in an apartment, I have a job, I’m making enough money to cover my expenses, I’m making friends, and every day is a new adventure. I’ve had to roll with a lot of changes lately, a lot of situations that aren’t ideal, but at this point in my life, I need to relax. I’m tired of merely coping with the things that disappoint or scare me. I want to face them with the confidence of someone who has conquered many fears.