Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Unpacking My Baggage

In between moves it is so easy to forget exactly how long it really does take you to "move in" to a new place. I feel like I'm at it from 8 till 1 every day and I end up with perhaps another 5 square feet of cleared floor space to show for my efforts. Today I was so over the whole process that I actually sat down and watched The View. Yeah, that's how desperate I was to not open another box; I sat through Tyra Banks spoon-hugging Sherry Whatsername just to avoid unpacking.

As I was unpacking all of our glassware and china yesterday I was thinking back to when I had packed it. At the time it was one of the things I had told myself I'd do, mostly because it's a hassle to pack each glass, but also because I knew our friends would be packing us up and I didn't want them to have to sit there for three hours with newspaper and bubble wrap like they were on Christmas help at Crate & Barrel.

The reason I recall so vividly packing the china is because my one overwhelming memory of doing it is of pure physical fatigue. I remember willing myself to just finish another 5 plates and then I could rest, which became my routine: wrap 5 plates, rest. Wrap 5 plates, rest. To my not-altogether-happy surprise today, I had forgotten what it felt like to be running on empty. Which is not to say I'd like to revisit it. But what I do hope is that I never forget it in the context of being grateful for what I now do have. As I'm bitching and moaning about unpacking, I want to have that moment of grace where I remind myself how deeply lucky I am to be alive and healthy enough to be unpacking boxes in 2008.

At the same time I'm reminding myself that it's not over till it's over, and May isn't really when it's over as much as I have been telling myself it is. All things going well, it'll really be closer to Labor Day when I can start really venturing out normally rather than tentatively. I won't have all my initial vaccinations till July, with the follow ups in September, so while June will be a nice re-entry into life, I'm not really going to start going to the movies or restaurants until I'm immunized. So while I'm grateful for my vastly improved life circumstances, I also have to remind myself not to set up false timelines that I cannot meet.

I also am working myself through the psychological aspects of being out and about again. The unfortunate byproduct of this year of living dangerously is my belief that people are gross physical creatures. I don't want to turn into Donald Trump who won't shake people's hands, but I really don't see myself going back to my old kissy-kissy huggy-huggy self either. I definitely joke about eating sushi and flying to Vegas right out of the gate, but the truth is (besides the fact my doctor told me to really really not do that), I just kind of look at other people and think, "I wonder what is on his hands right now.." and so through no fault of their own, people just seem like mobile vectors for disease. Honestly, the thought of being in a crowded restaurant with someone perhaps sneezing or coughing completely nauseates me. I think I'd spend the entire rest of the dinner wondering if I'm now--or how about now--or now?--breathing in those sneeze particles from table five. So it's clearly going to take me some time to not be afraid of fellow humans breathing in my space, especially until I'm adequately immunized. Which is in September.

Until then, I'm just trying to find a happy medium where I'm excited for the future but not to the extent that I feel pressured to re-engage on May 29, 2008 at midnight EST. Where I'm glad I'm here and healthy, but also cognizant of the fact that my CD4 count is a sad and paltry 109, that 200 is the bare minimum for not being house arrested, and that it really needs to be nearer to 1,000 for me to be "back to normal" again. A number that won't be reached, probably, until 2009. So if I don't come to your barbeque in June and I don't smooch you all over in July, don't be offended. I mean, yes, I will be thinking you are germy. But it's really, truly nothing personal. Like I said, it takes a while to unpack your baggage. :)

1 comment:

nm in mn said...

Sounds like you might becoming a little 'Monkish'
Glad to hear that unpacking is going well.