Semester, que me veux-tu

I am on my computer at an establishment that is in between a grad student bar and a semi-nice restaurant and I don’t know if it is weird that I am on my computer. No one else is in here. Oh the etiquette perils of modern life. I just consumed a full order of nachos by myself and I would do it again. For lo, I have just given my last lecture until January. January! I still have a couple seminars but no more lectures. Fare-thee-well, handheld microphone with plosive sibilants. Goodbye, passionately describing Yoko Ono’s “Cut Piece” while looking out at a bunch of kids staring slack-jawed down at their phones. Sayonara, hoping none of my students can smell my crazy stress-B.O. when they come up afterward to ask me about make-up quizzes. Huzzah to all and to all a good night. As I left the lecture hall there were a bunch of barefoot boys outside doing just straight-up backflips for no reason. Just standing in the grass and doing backflips. Just lounging! Ah youth

Tonight I lectured about why I care about art and why learning to think about art makes you a better person. I, as usual, told my students at length about how they are all going to die someday and no one on earth will remember that they ever existed. I made them watch four minutes of Einstein on the Beach. I told an anecdote about Jeff Koons that made it sound like I had once wet my pants at a Michael Jackson concert. So, pretty par for the course, all things considered.

Anyway now I can take a MOTHER FUCKING BREAK from teaching this huge class every single semester! I really love this class and believe in it and have had amazing experiences with students in it but I am feeling burnt. out. by the repetition of doing it every semester. It’s too much and I need a nice break to just write a book and turn 40.

Actually I won’t turn 40 until I’m back in the saddle, teaching this class again. Lord, I feel young, as young as a spring lamb about to be murdered.

I got my teeth cleaned today. My dentist is of a pedagogical bent, and enjoys parlaying significantly more information about teeth and gums than you want to know, given that it is disgusting and upsetting. She is very good at her job. She is so genuinely stoked at my excellent hygiene practices. She’ll get out a gigantic oversized novelty human jaw and demonstrate proper use of different kinds of electric toothbrush head. She is the first dentist to NOT point out that my teeth are crooked (like I don’t know! what on earth) and the first dentist to ever notice that I apparently gnaw on the insides of my cheeks at night while I sleep. Every dentist notices that I grind my teeth–that’s pretty much Dentist 101 if you ask me–but this lady sees the bigger picture and I respect that about her. “Somebody’s been chewing on your cheeks girl!” she admonished, somewhat confusingly. I said it happens while I’m unconscious and I have no control over it but that I do wake up with blood in my mouth sometimes and also that my husband describes the sounds I make at night with my mouth as “gross.” She told me about how scar tissue forms and said I’m really “shredding” it back there. I said I bought a $30 mouthguard from CVS and I think it’s working. She said for only $400 they will make me a fancy one that probably will feel a lot better. I said “I can’t think about this right now.” She said “I hear you.”

But honestly, what is going on in there (my mouth)?? It’s like I have Lesch-Nyhan disorder, that horrible brain disease where you compulsively eat yourself. And my teeth always feel like they are growing of their own accord, like every day it is a different set-up in there. It’s because I swallow incorrectly and am always pushing at them with my poor untrained tongue, but I feel like it’s deeper than that as well. They have notches and sharp serrated edges I like to worry with my tongue; sometimes I wake up and my tongue is bleeding. I regularly dream my mouth is full of tasteless gum that I have to dig out with my hands and there is always more of it. However, I never dream that my teeth fall out, which is one of those classic Freudian dreams that’s supposed to mean you want to have sex with your mom, so thank god for his blessings

Recurring Dreams I Have:
– mouth filled with tasteless gum I have to claw out with my hands
– can’t see, even though I can see (impossible to describe but very, very upsetting)
– forget I am married; spend whole dream crying and asking people what I’m forgetting; marry someone else I don’t like and only at that moment do I remember my old man; dream ends with me sobbing and pawing at a cell phone and not knowing how to use it but hoping he will answer and forgive me for marrying someone else. I have this dream all the time; I had it last night
– very upsetting dream in which I can’t find my classroom OR I can’t get the projector to work in my classroom, and the weeks go by and I never figure it out

Why are recurring dreams always upsetting? Why don’t any of the good ones recur? ALAS THIS HUMAN CONDITION

Anyway my dentist visit got me thinking about all my weird #PushinForty afflictions. As afflictions go they are really not that bad and I mostly feel affectionate frustration with them. But they definitely do add up to one positively #PushinForty human body, to where you are having that Louis C.K. experience where the doctor is like “just take an advil! Jesus Christ” and you’re like “will that fix it” and the doctor is like “what? no of course not.”

Night Sweats: What even is this??? No one can diagnose it. I’ve now been to FIVE DOCTORS and been tested for everything from hormone imbalance to vitamin d deficiency to, most recently, parasites. I’ve been put on hormone-balance-specific Prozac, the birth control pill, vitamin d supplements, black cohosh, and calcium (?). After all these doctor visits, these pills, all this googling, all these dreadful nights “sleeping” wrapped up in big beach towels I bought expressly for this purpose half price at the very surreal department store in my town, my latest doctor suggested I “try sleeping with a lighter blanket on the bed” and just even remembering this right now I feel like I will shriek with rage. As though I am so stupid I’m just lying there in the night being like “I feel way too hot, but I don’t know what to do about it!!! Guess I’ll just lie here and pour sweat from every inch of my body until there is a person-shaped yellow stain burned into this mattress!” He told me lots of times people THINK they are sweating a lot at night but really they aren’t. I said I soak through two full beach towels every night and have ruined two pillows and can’t sleep in any clothes whatsoever anymore. He didn’t believe me. So that’s where that’s at! On the plus side, he was very handsome, and gave me a parasite test even though I could tell he thought I was crazy.

Gnawing the inside of my mouth to shreds: is this something 20 year olds do?? There’s so much scar tissue in there there are visible ridges along the inside of each cheek; I rest my jaws on them when I am thinking hard

Tongue thrust: swallowing incorrectly. To be fair, this is something I have done since infancy but it sure feels stupid now, and I don’t think I will ever learn how to swallow right, certainly I have no interest whatsoever in trying to figure it out

Hip dysplasia: also a birth defect, and not technically a product of #PushinForty, but the SYMPTOMS didn’t set in until I was becoming middle aged, so it feels like an old lady thing. It makes me sad because of obvious reasons but also this morning we were horsing around in the kitchen and my old man went to bend me over like in a fancy dance and I could tell that he stopped himself from bending me as far as he normally would have, out of concern for my frail and failing body. But honestly that’s also just part of life, we’re all gonna end up there one way or another, so it’s really okay. Gone are the days of him wearing me like a backpack and compacting my vertebrae, and I suppose that’s not entirely a bad thing (does anyone remember what this is a reference to? Boy I sure will not forget it)

Legally blind: have been legally blind for most of my life! Amazing to think about. What a miracle it is to live in these shitty times, when I can have glasses and not be stoned for a witch.

There will be more before this life is over, mark my words sonny. This seems like a funny list of afflictions to me. What is wrong with me? Everyone else in my family is healthy as a horse; my mother’s never even had a menstrual cramp. All that happens to them is they constantly shatter their bones doing extreme sports.

My recent scary hip flare-up went away again, but I still have an ortho appointment in May so we will see what he says. I feel very fatalistic about it. I’m going to do yoga again, I don’t give a shit.

I just ate so many nachos. More than one person is supposed to eat, I think. I feel great. I got a big stack of books about apocalypse theory from the library, I’ve got two weeks left in the semester, Monday is a holiday, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses


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5 Responses to Semester, que me veux-tu

  1. ericka says:

    How in the world can someone NOT LISTEN to a passionate description — ANY passionate description — of “Cut Piece”?????

    Wait I still don’t get it
    ?!??? ?????????,?

  2. Alex says:

    what is cut piece

    I’ll look on Spotify

  3. Allie says:

    Oh man, I miss Patriots’ Day, aka We Need to Shut Boston Down Because the Marathon Makes It Even More of A Shitshow and The T Can’t Run Day!

  4. dv says:

    “I regularly dream my mouth is full of tasteless gum that I have to dig out with my hands and there is always more of it.”

    Yes, I have this dream. I also chew my cheeks and it seems unlikely to ever stop… but I did stop biting my nails somehow years ago.

    I think my night sweats are related to alcohol, and not all types of alcohol

    I also swallow incorrectly, which I am convinced only started happening after some psychedelic drug experiences in my college years. It’s worst with peanut butter, which ends up stuck in the back of my throat, heading towards my sinuses. I have to drink water in a weird, gulping way to flush it out.

    What the hell is wrong with us?

  5. ANF says:

    I have a friend whose teeth get sharper and sharper all the time because of the way he chews things (and maybe because he’s a vampire?). His solution is to chew lots of gum, especially when the teeth are getting pointy, to keep them in line. Maybe that would help?

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