Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mid-week misery

Occasionally, I forget that being vegetarian does not make me immune to food-related catastrophes of the medical sort, even though I feel I am largely protected from things like salmonella.

Alas, what I am not protected from, it seems, are brie-and-tomato sandwiches from a certain sandwich shop with multiple locations in my town.

I had just left the hairdressers, where my request to "clean it up while maintaining the new length" resulted in a cut resembling either a much-abused cotton swab or a furry light bulb. This produced many stares from construction workers perched on scaffolding around the colleges, along with a few comments -- one of which, I'm certain, was "What happened to her head?" Short hair is not terribly common here, and short, wiry, spiky hair attempting to grow out a few inchees is downright exotic. Or frightening, apparently, given the remarks.

I was crankily shoving bits of hair out of my eyes which were the byproduct of her efforts to "style" it in the manner of someone possessing about three times more hair than me, as hairdressers tend to do. Earlier in the day, I'd been to three bookshops which had each greeted my query about selling used books with a raised eyebrow and a, "Phwhat?" They asked me which books I wanted to sell, but I did not have them with me, as I saw no point to carrying 15 books into town (including an 800-page monster about the history of California's water development) if I simply had to turn around and lug them back again. Naturally, when I explained that I could bring them if they thought I'd have a chance at selling them, they shook their heads. I cannot fathom where they procure the used books for their voluminous secondhand collections, unless they are robbing them from Oxfam and reselling to impoverished students like me who do not realize we will have to carry said books with us on every relocation for the rest of our lives.

I'd also stopped at the department to return my keys and give the building a suitable send-off involving furtive gesturing and ancient Italian curses.

At this point, I was hungry. My hair was rapidly approaching the limp tea-towel phase. I still had 15 bloody books gathering dust in my flat. A brie baguette seemed the perfect solution, so I purchased one and sat on the low wall outside the colleges, munching away and watching a group of shirtless young men leaping from the tops of dustbins and pole-valuting over marble pillars until one of them misjudged the distance required to skip over the iron spikes of a church fence and promptly broke a limb or two smacking into one of the pillars.

The sandwich, it was a bit dodgey. Maybe they'd put too much pepper in it. By dinner, I wasn't hungry, but I assumed this had something to do with stress and my utter disinterest in doing anything creative with the lonely eggplant languishing in my veggie drawer.

Then, I woke up at 5am this morning feeling like I'd had my insides scoured with a wire brush. As it only became possible to stand up without becoming ill two hours ago, I've spent the entire day trying to find comfortable positions that would still enable me to crawl to the bathroom if needed. I ended up crouched at the foot of my bed with my arms wrapped around my shoulders while the Roommate from Hell blasted "Going to the Chapel" over and over again above my head for approximately two hours.

Since I haven't eaten in 30-some hours, I am simultaneously ravenous and put off by the mere whiff of food. The packing I was supposed to do remains unaccomplished. My hair is clearly staging a coup along the top of my scalp.

As GIS noted tonight, "You have the luck, don't you? I think Evil Uni Town is trying to spit you out."

Believe me, I'd gladly be gone.