passing Greek elements
Saturday, January 7 2006
The intestinal problems mentioned yesterday continued today, though by now it seemed all intestinal functionality had ceased and the stuff emerging from my ass hadn't changed visibly since I'd swallowed it. Shitting out perfectly recognizable food causes a kind of cognitive dissonance that ultimately results in a devaluing of the repulsiveness of the entire procedure. Additionally, when you have to run urgently to the toilet every half hour or so (as I did throughout the morning), the defecatory process swells to become a much bigger part of your life and on some level you actually come to accept it as wide slice of your human condition.
Of course, not that my condition was all that pleasant. My intestines rumbled nearly continuously (and occasionally painfully) with the familiar sound of disheartened wookies. And then there was my poor tender bunghole, which had been repeatedly burned by untempered stomach acid. When your shit is odorless and looks like chewed up food and your asshole is covered with acid burns, the best personal hygiene you can muster is a few light dabs with a piece of toilet paper.
Later in the day our friends Penny and David came over briefly to bring us a little cheer. They brought pulpy orange juice for Gretchen and a box containing 42 lotion-covered clean wipes for me. (Much to their amusement, Gretchen had apprised them of the situation described in the first two paragraphs.)
By now, though, my diarrhea problem seemed to have vanished and I'd moved on to the passing of a different Greek element, wind, lots of it, most of it odor-free. It seemed as if some sort of unfamiliar fauna had co-opted my intestines in the absence of their normal functioning and were breaking down the things I'd eaten in all sorts of interesting and unexpected ways.
At some point this evening Gretchen and I watched a movie called Central Station, a Brazilian movie in Portuguese with subtitles. We begin in bustling Rio de Janeiro, a grimy colorful city that seems post-apocalyptic with its crumbling streetscapes, its casual violence, and the dogged will to survive of its people. Josue, our ten year old boy hero ends up in the custody of a woman who works as a street letter writer. She's also something of a scoundrel, but one far more complicated than you're likely to meet in a Hollywood picture. Their road trip together is at times incredibly sad, uplifting, inspiring, and bizarre. And much of it takes place in a gorgeously lumpy treeless landcape of ancient volcanic plugs and arbitrary skylines.
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