Buzzing Blood and Kicks in the Head

I am jittery, today, over-caffeinated and impatient. The impatience makes my skin hot and my blood jump. Or maybe that is the caffeine.

I was up too late last night, cooking, baking, and washing up. The kitchen still looks a bit like the apocalypse occurred in there, but at least the majority of the dishes are clean. Unfortunately the flat (and my wool coat) smell of burning bacon.

But on 5 hours of sleep, I still managed to pack lunch for Alicia, Dhruv, Kate, and I, plus gluten-wheat-dairy free mango “cheese”cake for Janey, before catching a bus to the pool.

Unfortunately, I was running behind schedule and chugged my tea (2 tea bags, 1 lemon, 2 tsp. sugar) on an empty stomach while the bus pulled in to my stop. I spent the entire bus ride hoping desperately not to spew frothy tea and bile all over the bus. I tried meditating, counting the Fibonacci sequence with deep breaths. Inhale, 1, 2, 3,5, 8. Exhale, 5, 3, 2, 1, 1.

It reminded me of the time in sixth grade when I took a multivitamin after only eating applesauce and crisps (that’s chips for you Americans) and subsequently puked on the bus. Shanna, my older sister and guide in all things secondary school, had always instructed me that should I need to throw up on the bus, I should do so out the window. I presume this recommendation was intended to spare the other kids from sharing the bus with a pool of vomit, which could potentially set off a catastrophic chain reaction of sympathy hurlers.

Strangely, my bus driver was not down with the whole “puke out the window” plan. (Had we asked the other drivers around the bus, I’m sure they would have raised similar objections.) I dimly recall my bus driver freaking out about it–but I was pretty upset myself. (It’s only been in the last five years or so that I have learned how to puke without being so upset by it that I dissolve into tears. I hate it that much.) They dropped me off at the next stop, which was the house of my sister’s friend Megan. I have no idea how they got permission to do that; nowadays I can’t imagine it ever flying. (If the same thing occurred today, I probably would have had to go all the way to school on the bus, and then have a guardian pick me up.) I missed Mr. Chaffin’s English class, that day in sixth grade. But today, counting, I avoided disaster. (Which is good, because I have no well-honed backup plan for such an occurrence, and I bet it would ruffle British feathers. Or maybe not; the streets in Dundee do seem to flow with vomit.)

Currently, we are watching medical visualizations in class. It makes me dizzy and queasy (good thing I didn’t go into medicine). The blood is vibrating too loudly in my veins to want to look at endless videos of blocked arteries and borked kidneys. It makes my shins feel creepy-crawly and my shoulders tight.

My swim this morning was not as splendid as some I’ve had recently, but I think I am not the only one for whom the swim was sub-par. I was crawling along, trying not to run over the man in front of me, when I suddenly realized that the woman who had been between the man and I was treading water next to the man in front of me, kicking awkwardly alongside him. I thought she might be trying to pass him–then I realized they were talking. They were both barely moving, and I had no clue what was going on. (That is a hazard of swimming with headphones in.)

The man behind me quickly caught up and exchanged a few short words with the woman and suddenly it became more clear what had happened. The man in front of me had gotten kicked, and had taken in a good deep breath of water. The man behind me grabbed the man in front o fme and supported him to the side while we called for help. I whistled for the life guards, who took an eternity to arrive. They obviously weren’t bothered. Finally they helped lift him out of the lane and he crouched on the tile, on hands and knees, coughing.

This is a peril of lane sharing.

Buzzing Blood and Kicks in the Head

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