My difficulties started several days ago, when I thought I was getting a cold or the flu. I made the mistake of drinking several cups of tea with a lot of freshly squeezed juice from lemons that grow on trees scattered all over this vineyard. The hot and highly acidic mixture seared my tongue and upper throat. My doctor in Forio—who by the way also serves as the village’s mayor—said it’s not uncommon for patients with pharyngeal inflamation to experience ear pain, even though there’s nothing wrong with the ear. At the same time, he said, I may be having an allergic reaction to pollen, which is very common this time of year.
The doctor/mayor prescribed antibiotics, ear drops, and an elixir to ease my tongue and mouth inflamation. “So I’m not dying?” I said. Dottore Francesco Regine laughed. “No,” he said. “You’ll live.”
He charged me 40 Euros for the examination, and I paid the farmacia 30 Euros for the drugs. In American dollars, that totals $83.00. Not too bad.
I spent a restless night with weird dreams. I contantly shifted position, trying to get comfortable, unable to sleep soundly because when I swallowed I felt burning discomfort.
In one extended dream each position I assumed represented a different Live Journal personal info page, and since there were so many I couldn’t sort them out. So I decided to put the pages into two categories: those that were based on nouns, and those that were centered on verbs. In other words, I separated the folks who define themselves as “being” from those who cite behavior, or “doing,” as their defining characteristic.
But then I saw a problem: most of the LJers had aspects of both. They might list literary publications or photographic images on their resumes, but at the same time they report they work at such and such a profession.
Then I thought, what difference does it make how I classify them? They all are making it impossible for me to sleep.
Well, that wasn’t why I couldn’t sleep. It was instead the argument I had with Vittoria shortly after I returned from the doctor’s office. She surprised me by coming on line to ask how my appointment went. She’d told me in the morning that she would do so, but I didn’t think she would.
In her disscociative/amnesiac state she remembers virtually nothing of her past, but at the same time we’ve been exchanging intimate, sexually charged IMs and telephone calls just like lovers. Which says to me that on a deep level she knows exactly who I am and what she means to me.
“Is that you in the picture?” she asked. She was looking at my Live Journal entry that described an encounter with the daughter I never knew I had.
“Yes, that’s me.”
“It doesn’t register in my mind,” she said.
“Maybe you should focus more on the things you remember, rather than on what you don’t,” I said.
It went downhill from there.
In this difficult situation I’m supposed to be supportive. She’s been through hell the past two years. But at that moment I got fed up with her lack of progress. She should, I thought, be remembering more and more by now. And she ought to quit reminding me that she doesn’t connect my photographic images with the sound of my voice. She says this scares her. I say, “Why? I’ve told you it’s ME, the guy you’ve been talking to the past two years.”
“Oh, I guess that I shouldn’t tell you what I feel. I should lie.”
It felt like she was being thoughtless, not caring at all how her words might hurt me. I found myself quoting Corinthians. “Love is patient, love is kind. It’s not rude, not easily angered…”
Only later in the evening did I realize I was the one—and not her—who had been easily angered. Rude. Impatient. Unkind.
You’d think by now I would have learned how to behave.