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November 20th, 2008

"You got any metal in your eyes?"

"Pardon, me?" I asked, realizing I was still half asleep at 7:30 in the morning.

"Do you have any metal in your eyes?" the nurse repeated.

We had left the MRI waiting room and were standing in the hallway, right in front of a glass door leading outside. Why we were heading outside, I had no idea. 

"No," I replied.

"Any arthritis?"

"Just this one spot, localized to my little finger," I said pointing to it while she wrote down, "Left hand. Baby finger. Osteo."

"Excuse me," I said. "I know you've said it twice now, but did you ask me if I had any metal in my eye? I'm still half asleep, and I just want to make sure I heard you correctly."

"Yes. You'd be surprised how many people have metal in their eyes—from working on their cars, and working on doors," she said rubbing her hand in the air slightly above and along the metal door frame in front of us—not unlike Carol Merrill displaying the next coveted item for trade on Let's Make a Deal. She continued, "And just doing regular fix-up things around the house."

I stopped short of saying, "Oh. I always hire Lesbians to do my handy work," and just uttered, "Oh."

"You can go blind under this thing for 20 minutes if you have metal in your eyes," she offered.

Next, we did indeed go outside—to this structure next to the building that looked like a tall, all-white, mobile home with no windows. She unlocked a gate into an oblong metal (don't get any in your eyes!) deck-like area, and she said, "Please stand in the yellow circle."

"My god," I thought, "Is this going to happen outside?"

Asking me, "So, how'd you hurt your knee?" she hit a button that started the metal platform we were standing on moving up into the air.

"Dancing," I replied, then added, "Two-stepping."

"Oh, at the Long Branch?" she retorted.

"Uh, no. The Long Branch went out of business about six months ago."

"It did?" she asked incredulously. "It did?"

I went on, "I was dancing and my partner twirled me suddenly, and in the opposite direction of what I was expecting." 

I looked at her singularly raised eyebrow and said, "Well, when two men are partner dancing together, somebody has to be the girl."

Just as she started howling at that, the platform stopped and a huge door into the trailer opened and we stepped in to meet the MRI tech. She made me repeat what I had said to the tech, who seemed nice, but didn't think it was quite as funny as Florence Nightingale obviously had. Florence said, indicating the tech, "She only moved here recently—from Arizona, and Massachusetts before that."

"Oh, I'm originally from Massachusetts, myself," I said to the tech. "Fall River. Where Lizzie Borden took an ax..."

"I lived in Boston," she said, nodding in recognition of the story made famous by the movie starring Elizabeth Montgomery.



I emptied my pockets, and Florence took me into the only other room in, arguably, one of the most expensive "trailers" on the planet by the look of the machine I was about to be strapped into. I was actually able to keep the shorts on that I was wearing (thanks, Dorothy!), and she made sure my left knee was in the contraption that was there to hold it in the correct position and still.

While she was doing that she was talking about her years of volunteering at the Raleigh Little Theater, and all the fun she had working there with the many gay guys who acted in plays there over the years.

"It's going to get a little cold during this," she said, handing me this rubber squeezing device. "Would you like a blanket or something?"

"No, I'm comfortable," I replied, and she started to walk away as I looked up and read the warning sign, "Do not stare into the beam," immediately darting away my eyes.

"And what's this for," I asked indicating the squeeze device as she walked away.

"Oh, that's for an emergency. If you need anything just let us know. Like if you get too cold or anything. It'll be 20 minutes."

Once the door closed, she came on some kind of intercom from the other room, and asked, "Everything okay?" I could hear her okay in spite of the earplugs in my ears. "It's going to get loud," she had warned when she gave them to me.

And it did get loud.

And it got colder as the part of the machine on which I was lying moved into the tunnel until my knee was where it needed to be, and then these loud, short bursts of noise took place that reminded me of some warning you'd hear on the Starship Enterprise indicating that aliens had compromised the transport system.

This loudness, and coldness, did indeed go on for twenty minutes. At about 10 or 15 minutes into it, I thought, "It is getting pretty cold. I could ask for a blanket." But I was concerned that I might inadvertently move my knee or something and who wanted to risk messing anything up when I was so far into the procedure. "I can handle it for another five or so minutes," I told myself crossing my arms across my chest.

I was glad when it finally came to an end, and I was up and out of there in about five minutes. We rode the platform down, and the next person coming in replaced me on it.

Thinking back over the experience during the day, I remembered what I thought was my last MRI, moving all the way through the tunnel, and back, I think. I did a search on my Palm Pilot calendar, where I learned that that was a CT scan, and not an MRI.

I got home in time to catch the 8:55 city bus to work, and was glad to be in the office at just a few minutes after 9:00.



I had some good feedback from Jude, my manager, today about the piece of work I did last week on accommodating a technical communication for a non-technical audience. In effect, she said, "After I read it, I thought, 'Oh yeah. I knew I was doing the right thing when I hired him.'"

We also had a little chat about how I was feeling about how things were going—in terms of how I was getting my work, was it too much, have I been able to find my way around to get the things done that I've been given, and so on. "I keep forgetting, you've only been here such a short amount of time, as I keep giving you things to do," she said, which I took as yet another affirmation.

I told her that it was all good, and that people are even coming directly to me now for things, which is good.

"Yes, that is," she agreed, and added that she's had nothing but good feedback about me personally, and my work.

On her way out for the day, she stopped by my desk and said, "I really enjoy talking with you." Cool.

So, all in all, a good, affirming workday.

I cleaned up the notes that I took at Jason and Jen's Impromptu Web Services Delivery BOF session at UNC CAUSE 2008, and sent them to the team.



I caught the 8:15 city bus home, during which I listened to a gem of a podcast, to which I continued to listen once home. It's an NPR podcast and it's called Selected Shorts, whose description is:

It's story time for adults with NPR's award-winning series of short fiction read by the stars of stage and screen. Recorded live at Peter Norton Symphony Space in NYC and on tour. A co-production of Symphony Space and WNYC, New York Public Radio.

I listened to these episodes:

Women in the News

Mon, Nov 03, 2008

What would you say if you placed a personal ad in the paper? Here's the fantasy of one SWF, written by Elizabeth Crane and read by five-time Emmy Nominee (LA Law), Jill Eikenberry.

In the program's second story Eudora Welty's "A Piece of News," a woman spreading newspapers on the floor spots an astonishing article—about herself. The reader is Kathryn Markey.

Fiction into Film

Mon, Oct 27, 2008

A program showcasing two engrossing stories that were also turned into short films. Ivan E. Coyote's charming "No Bikini" is about a little girl who is mistaken for a boy in her swimming class, and the sudden freedom this allows her. The story is read by Sesame Street star Sonia Manzano.

Our second story, Larry Brown's "Kubuku Rides (This is It)" chronicles the alcoholic odyssey of a loving wife and mother and is powerfully read by Myra Lucretia Taylor. Short audio clips from the films, and interviews with the directors, are featured.

Interestingly, Robert and I saw the short film called No Bikini at this year's North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Cool!

I haven't finished that second story yet, but I totally agree with the "is powerfully read" part of the description. Lovin' it.

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