Last night* did not begin well . . . when I shut Wolfgang’s front passenger-side door on my thumb.
I was very good. It was urble-mumble o’clock in the morning** so I did not scream to make the welkin ring, although there was some fairly dramatic hissing, and the thirty seconds or so it took to hustle the frelling hellhounds into the car—they dork around and dork around looking for THAT ILLUSORY PERFECT PLACE TO PEE—may have been the longest thirty seconds of my life*** before I could pelt back indoors and fish out the arnica bottle—with, you know, my other wounded hand, the one with the slightly cracked finger. Meanwhile I don’t suppose my thumb had really blown up like a balloon on an electric bicycle pump but . . . close.† So last night I took the other half of the bottle of arnica I’d started the night before when I semi-broke my finger. And last night’s insomnia was made more interesting by my thumb going BANG every hour or so necessitating me to sit up, groggily feel around for the arnica bottle, and take another tiny pill.†† Plus a certain amount of hypericum.†††
And today my thumbnail is turquoise. I think it’s slowly turning black, the way squashed fingernails do, but it was a positively brilliant turquoise this morning. New experiences. I could have done without this one. This is also the first time since my discovery of the wonders of arnica that I’m going to have a black fingernail anyway. Sigh. I hate black nails; it takes a good six months for one to grow out—on me, anyway. And it makes you look so hopeless. No one ever got a black nail saving the universe. It’s always because you’re a dolt and you shut your finger in a door. I need more sleep. I’m not usually quite this self-destructive.
Meanwhile . . . at the moment neither hand works very well. And except for the fact that it’s my left thumb which is superfluous to requirements on a keyboard, it’s a lot more inconvenient than the middle finger on my other hand. No opposable thumb. No grasping. Also I can’t hit the brake on Chaos’ lead—now that’s dangerous—and Pav is usually on that side too, but I can at least make a wild poke with my right thumb. But it’s REALLY GREAT TIMING that I have two sub-functioning hands when I’m trying to yank us toward readiness to move house. Which in this case chiefly means BOOKS. Lots and lots and lots and lots of books.‡
* * *
* And by night we mean that time at the end of a long evening which reaches well past both the big and the little hand on the tick-tock^ device sticking straight up, and begins with that fell and doom-laden moment I face the necessity of loading sixteen hellcritters and enough kit for an assault on Everest in January into Wolfgang to make our slow bleary way back to the cottage. Well, that’s how it feels.
^ I’m sorry, but all the best clocks still go tick-tock. And have hands.
** Which is late even for me. Well, I’d been having a long semi-unplanned conversation with an across-the-pond friend earlier, not for lack of trying to create something like an advance strategy. NONE OF MY TECHNOLOGY WORKS. NONE. Am I only suffering from aggravated nostalgia, or am I right in thinking that back in the days when street mail and telephones were your only options, they mostly worked pretty well? TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES wouldn’t make you crazy if misdelivered letters were a commonplace.^
^ ANGEL CLARE IS A MOULDY DOG TURD. Just sayin’.
*** Although the rather fewer seconds between bouncing off the side of a caroming car and watching the ground rushing up toward my motorcycle and me also took a surprisingly long time. I’ve told you this story, right? Well, I haven’t told you in at least six months and it’s one of my favourites. I was lying there in the road and someone who’d pulled over and stopped his car came running up to me yelling, Son, son, are you all right? And I said, Well, you could get this motorcycle off my leg, and he said, Oh my God it’s a girl—and ran away and was never seen again. Although he was probably responsible for the deluge of fire trucks and ambulances that began to arrive shortly thereafter. This was—gleep—over forty years ago. No one, including William Gibson, was entertaining any fantastic notion of mobile phones yet. You had to go find a phone booth or one of those EMERGENCY PULL/PRESS HERE boxes.
† I want to know—well, I think I want to know, graphic gore is not my thing—what happens if someone who’s shut a toe or a fingertip in a car door^ doesn’t have a source of cold water or arnica to stop the swelling? Fingernails don’t stretch.
^ All those jokes about silly-putty steel in modern vehicles are suddenly not funny. But then one of the reasons some of us like VWs and Volvos and various not-I-think-exclusively-German four-wheeled bombs is the higher percentage of real steel in their composition. A headlong juggernaut will still take you out but a careening lorry might not. I think there could be some research done into rubber door mounts however.
†† Plus the two phone calls and two no-you-don’t-have-to-sign-for-it-but-we’re-still-going-to-knock-on-your-door-and-wake-you-up-again deliveries. In their defense, both deliveries were after nine a.m. And I sleep in clothing I can answer the door in.^
^ Kes is telling herself that sleeping in chainmail would be really uncomfortable.
††† Hypericum is another really basic homeopathic first aid remedy. For injury you always start with arnica, but if it needs some help, hypericum is particularly good for nerve-rich bits like fingers and toes and your coccyx. Also for injuries that stab you repeatedly. This one echoed very unpleasantly not just through the rest of my hand but up my arm to my shoulder. BANG.
‡ The Oxfam bookshop is going to ban me. No! Not more classics of English literature that no one reads any more!^
^ I’m keeping Dickens and Faulkner. And Anthony Trollope. And Hardy. And George Eliot. And Elizabeth Bowen. Some Conrad. Some Henry James. And a ridiculous amount of poetry. Willa Cather is out. F Scott Fitzgerald—out. Madame Bovary—out. Most of the Russians—out.
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