Dr. Feelgood

Source: Wikimedia Commons

There are two different types of drivers in the world: those who speed, God bless ’em, and those who drive like they’re on their way to the proctologist. Like they really don’t want to get where they’re going.

Not me though. I love going to the proctologist! Any specialist will do: dentist, dermatologist, gynecologist. For the duration of that 15-minute appointment the doctor is obligated — under oath — to care about me and my well-being. The fact that this is a paid transaction makes it no less special.

Sign me up for a colonoscopy. Get on up in there, Doc! As long as their attention is on me, and only me, I love it. Can’t get enough of that sweet, sweet attention. Even if the spotlight is pointed at my rear end, at least I’m in the spotlight. No matter how painful or inconvenient a procedure may be, I am speeding to that appointment. Because I can’t wait to get me some of that good one-on-one attention.

The pandemic was really hard for me.

What do you mean, I can’t leave the house?! I’ll get COVID?! Oh, COVID won’t do at all. Then you have to quarantine, in your bedroom, alone. I can’t be socially isolated…from doctors.

I had a miscarriage three weeks into an unplanned pregnancy and couldn’t go to the doctor. It was in the spring of 2020, and unless you’d been shot, nobody was going to the emergency room. I had a perfectly valid reason to see a doctor, and I missed out on the opportunity.

I underwent a hysterectomy last year. Best six weeks of my life! I was in the surgery center for most of the day, then home on short term disability. I was constantly receiving flowers and family members were waiting on me hand and foot. Then, I got to go back for an in-person checkup, plus a telehealth checkup after that. Best six weeks of my life. I highly recommend it!

Though, I don’t recommend what preceded it. I had a condition known as “pelvic organ prolapse” where my reproductive organs were falling out of the birth canal. It was like a Tetris game gone wrong. All the blocks had been put in the wrong places, and with nowhere else to stack anything, it was Game Over!

That’s what you get after pushing out a 9-lb baby that has nooo interest in being born. My daughter ripped the ceiling down with her, left claw marks along the sides of my uterus. She was like a cat when you bring it to the clinic in a carrier. It’s all claws and big black eyes in there.

When you’re preparing to give birth, people take joy in saying: “Ooh, you’re gonna poop on the table!” Yeah? And guess what — somebody is gonna get paid to wipe my ass! And not grimace or complain while doing it! That’s some top-notch service right there.

I’ve heard many people complain that they don’t like “the smell” of a hospital. That’s the smell of success, man! If I’m in the hospital, that means I’ve hit the big time. There will be teams of doctors and nurses attending to me. (I have to be conscious though — that’s the only way I can enjoy it.)

But eventually, you run out of reasons to see the doctor. It’s such a shame.

I’m listed as an organ donor on my driver’s license. I’d like to donate a kidney now, just for the weight loss. Sadly, when they harvest my usable parts I won’t be alive to enjoy the attention.

People take joy in saying, “Ooh, you’re gonna soil yourself when you die!” Yes. But unfortunately, I won’t be there to enjoy it.

And my funeral — oh, I’m so disappointed I won’t be there to enjoy my funeral. Death won’t do at all. Then you’re six feet underground, alone, socially isolated for all eternity.

For now, I’ll just keep avoiding apples, because I don’t want to keep the doctor away.


The dating app for settling

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“You’ve searched for the best! Now try the rest!”

When you’re ready to settle down, you have to settle. Because all the best ones are already taken already.

It’s finally time to accept a date with that guy who is shirtless in his profile photo, standing by the weight set at a gym, smoking a cigar, pointing at his bros, and holding a fish he caught.

Don’t be discouraged by the algorithm’s estimate of there being only a 5% relevant match between you and New Beau — the bare minimum based on the fact that you’re both human. Over time you’ll learn to accept each other’s flaws. 

His profile may say things like, “I don’t date no fat chicks,” or “what’s your bank account number?” You may get the impression that he cares more about hanging out at a sports bar with his bros than spending quality time with a significant other. You may find his casual wardrobe lacking. You may feel like smacking that smug, carefree half grin off his face. 

But look at the bright side — you’ll have a date to your cousin’s wedding. Someone to open jars for you and smash house spiders into oblivion. New Beau can hold your hair back while you vomit into the toilet after binge drinking. (Oh, who are we kidding — you’ll be holding his hair back while he’s vomiting.)

We stand behind our guarantee that someone is better than no one. So, give us a try! You may be pleasantly surprised. At the very least, it’ll give your fingers something to do as you swipe left when you don’t have anything better going on.

The Lowdown on NYC

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I am the type of New Yorker real New Yorkers love to hate: I was a transplant to begin with, and as soon as the pandemic got too hot, I bounced. Then I did the worst thing imaginable: bought a house in NJ. Living across the river is sacrilege to the most devoted New Yorkers.

But while I may live in the suburbs now, it’s not like I’m driving around in a minivan with soccer balls in the trunk and heroine hidden in the glove compartment.

A few months after relocating to Hell’s Kitchen from Seattle back in 2016, I was approached by a monk in a saffron robe as I walked the High Line. He headed straight for me and my big, goofy smile. He took my hand in his. I felt honored that a monk wanted to interact with me.

Then he deftly slipped a beaded bracelet onto my wrist and asked for a “donation.” I had only a single dollar on me, which I forked over. It was humiliating having so little cash on me and to have been hornswoggled by a monk. The ploy certainly hadn’t been worth his efforts that time around.

I watched as the monk moved on, pulled a smart phone from a pocket in his robe, and started checking his updates. Unless he had the Dalai Lama on speed dial, I’m pretty sure a monk shouldn’t have that kind of technology.

Over the next few months, I became aware that Manhattan is crawling with monks handing out bracelets…to tourists. I couldn’t believe I’d been taken in, when I was supposed to at least be pretending to have street smarts.

My husband always tells me, “Be cool, Angie; be cool.”

But “not playing it cool” is my middle name!

I refused to take the subway by myself for the first twelve months for fear of getting lost (despite knowing the city is on a grid).

Whenever I’m in the city I like to play a game: guess the source of that water trickling along the curb. Guess that odor. Guess whether that excrement on the sidewalk was left by a human or a dog. What was the nature of that mystery water that just dripped onto my head? Did it qualify as sexual harassment when that homeless man called me a ‘natural beauty’ or was it just the nicest compliment I’ve ever received? Why does this street wreak of marijuana when there’s no one around?

A New Yorker will happily give you directions. They’ll also call you an asshole for slowing them down on the subway staircase because you chose to carry your massive suitcase instead of taking the urine-permeated elevator that’s probably out of order anyway. They’re also willing to scold you for any other action that may be inconveniencing them.

New York is a weird place to be pregnant.

In the first trimester of pregnancy, women become sensitive to odors. Not a good time to be living in a city renowned for its stench and filth.

My husband would come to bed after a shower, and I would recoil from the smell of his hair.

“What? It’s unscented shampoo,” he’d say.

“I beg to differ!” I’d say, as I smushed my face into my pillow to block out all smells.

If the odor of unscented shampoo didn’t sit well with me, how was I going to make it through my day in a city of 8 million people that has all the smells?

I recall riding in a Lyft — which itself wreaked of air freshener — and opening the window to stick my head out so that I didn’t get too carsick. We passed piles of garbage on the sidewalk — hot garbage — cigarette smoking pedestrians, dogs whizzing on every surface, you name it. I probably turned 10 shades of green before reaching my destination. When you get out of a car or off a bus, you have to watch where you put your feet because there’s often a trickle of garbage water rushing by at the edge of the curb. You never know where it came from, and you don’t want to. The worst is when shops blast the sidewalk out front with bleach water, so your nose is assaulted with the pungent odor of bleach and urine at the same time.

It felt like the whole city was out to prank me.

By the end of the pregnancy, after gaining twenty-five pounds, I could barely get myself out of an underground train station any longer. There are always 50 stairs to climb, and each time I was like, “This is it; this is the staircase that does me in.” I felt ready to have a heart attack by the time I reached the last step. If my husband was with me, he’d plaster both his hands on my rearend to push me up the stairs, which was both necessary and humiliating.

After my daughter arrived, I suffered post-partum depression for a year. I was in crisis for several months. I used to walk down the streets of NYC with tears streaming down my face. Even when I was on the way to my favorite coffee shop! Nobody looked twice. New Yorkers have seen twenty weirder things on their commute to work than a crying pedestrian, and another twenty on their way home.

But no trial was harder than trying to breathe in a city that’s got carts selling nuts on one corner and hot dogs on another, human and/or dog excrement on the sidewalk, and piles of both bagged and loose garbage as far as the eye can see. Anyone who has ever been to NYC knows that Marilyn Monroe would never have danced over a grate with hot, stinky subway station air blasting up through it — they used a fan to create that effect.

You need a fan there. Better yet, a gas mask.

Hello depression, my old friend

Photo courtesy of the author

Have you ever met someone who has never been depressed? They tell you they don’t know what that feels like.

That doesn’t make sense to me.

Didn’t you have a childhood? Didn’t you go to school? Don’t you have a family?!

You’re telling me you’ve never been depressed? I don’t even know how to work with that. That’s just bragging, in my opinion.

Depression is my dearest friend. We go way back. S/he’s always there for me, in good times and bad; always got my back. I can count on s/him to be there when times are tough. Even now that I’m on anti-depressants, s/he’s still standing over in the corner waving.

Nowadays, it seems like everybody is on anti-depressants. If the majority of humanity is depressed, maybe that’s just our natural state? Maybe cavemen and women were depressed. (In fact, I’d bet on it!) Perhaps we’re all meant to be drifting around sluggishly, not feeling motivated to invade other parts of the world. We should just all be in it together instead of trying to fight it, you know? Embrace that dear, loyal friend.

If you don’t have depression, what have you got?

P.S. – Is it weird that I’m writing this from Hawaii?