Self-aware. Self conscious. Self induced.

Pain Redux

I almost made a big mistake today. I put some water on for tea this afternoon (having arisen unreasonably early for reasons having to do with airports and driving), and promptly forgot about it. The pretty stupid reason for this is that I was playing Starcraft, and roundly being beaten by the computer. The “arghs” of my exploding Terran Marines mostly drowned out the sound of the whistling kettle.

But I remembered in time, saving myself from the Big Mistake. There was still enough water in the pot for a full pot of vanilla black.

A long time ago, I was making tea and forgot about the kettle. When Lisa came home, I offered to add some water so that there’d be enough for her. I didn’t notice that the kettle was dry, the water having boiled off, and I held the handle of the kettle in my right hand as I turned the tap on with my left. The steam that was the instantly vaporized water essentially cooked most of the skin off of my right hand. I hurt so much I thought I would throw up. It hurt more than the time I punched a hole in the windshield of my car with my face. Plus it looked gross. To be fair, so did my face after the windshield incident (WI), but I couldn’t look at my face, the eyes being where they are, the way I could look at my hand.

That didn’t happen today, I’m happy to report.

Physically manifested pain is, in a way, satisfying. Because you can see the cause. “Just tell’em you got that cut through your eyebrow in a knife fight in Tijuana,” suggested one of my co-workers after the WI. The doctors congratulated themselves on how well they’d lined my eyebrow back up.

Trace the line

You mean they might not have lined it up?

I’m driving up to see Anthony tomorrow, whose brain tumor has slowed his affect in addition to his speech. It’s hard to tell what he’s thinking, what kind of pain he might be in. Yesterday I dropped a care package off for a friend with breast cancer. Lucy’s dodging us. Her mom says it’s because she doesn’t want us to see her, as thin and pale as she’s become. “It takes her ten minutes to climb the stairs,” her mother told me. “I can’t cry in front of her because I have to be strong.” So she cried in front of me. Lucy – who’s Czech – and her mom, and Lucy’s daughter Ana, were supposed to be back in Prague by now so that Lucy could get treatment there, but her conditioned worsened faster than anyone expected.

I can’t tell how much they hurt inside, and sometimes not even outside. Slow doesn’t always mean painful.

My Starcraft Terran Marines let me know they’re dying, then there’s a little bloodspot on the screen that disappears after a moment. But there’s no pain in the little light on the screen.


Lucy’s kept her sense of humor, more than my Terran Marines. They’re all tough and gruff and über-manly, and couldn’t make a joke to save their digital lives. Lucy, though, Lucy told her mom that when she dies, she wants to be cremated and put in a Ziploc bag, because when she goes back to Prague she wants to be able to see it, and a box or an urn will block her view.


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