Friday, May 11, 2007

619 days, 20 hours, 3 minutes, 41 seconds

April 3, 2007: A woman suffering from a debilitating migraine headache who was mistakenly arrested for drunken driving has agreed to accept $1,500 to drop her lawsuit against the Portland police. She was driving home from Thanksgiving dinner with friends in 2004 when she suffered a migraine so severe it forced her to pull over and vomit.

619 days, 20 hours, 28 minutes, 49 seconds

He's getting too old for this, she recalls him saying. Every six months or so she'd get in the car and head for New York on a book-buying trip. She'd been high on Ritalin, some tranquillizers from the night before still in her system. And three times out of four she'd have an accident driving home, and her father would have to drive out late at night to rescue her. Too old for this. And indeed he seemed old. He turned 52 a week after she moved to the city.

619 days, 20 hours, 30 minutes, 25 seconds

Last Sunday, over dinner, her father talked about how awful it was leaving her in that hotel in New York. And then how he had to drive back up the next day to move her to a different hotel because the first was full of prostitutes. She tells him he's got it wrong. He took her to one hotel. And it was three or four months later when the prostitute was murdered in the room next door to hers. She'd been in Atlantic City for the weekend, and they'd driven her back. The little old woman on the other side of the hall, the one she shared a bath with, came out to give her the news. And she stayed in that hotel another month before finding an apartment.

619 days, 20 hours, 45 minutes, 32 seconds

Peru, Indiana: April 23, 2007: An 11-year-old girl stopped a van that went out of control when her diabetic mother became ill, police said. Besides stopping the van, Abigail kept her mother and 8-year-old brother calm and informed paramedics about her mother's condition. Deborah Parker, 36, of Muncie, who had been driving, was unaware of her surroundings. She was treated for low blood sugar. Abigail told police her mother had started driving erratically at about 80 mph. The girl said she climbed from the rear seat of the van onto the woman's lap and managed to stop the vehicle before calling 911.

619 days, 21 hours, 11 minutes, 21.4 seconds

It was 11 nights ago, driving home from Brooklyn. She'd had a bad headache all day. Her husband was beside her in the car. Up 6th St., left on Flatbush, over the Manhattan Bridge, somehow up to Houston St., then Bedford, then what she thought was Hudson, what she thought was 8th, the meat market, some torn up street (her husband ask where she's going ), what she thought was 8th, over on 14th St., east which she thought was west, the cops' lights behind her. One cop approaching each side of the car. Did she do something wrong? No, they pulled her over because she was weaving in and out of lanes. Is she okay? She's fine, she says. It was just that blinding headache, she didn't say, pulling out more slowly, heading up 6th Ave., trying to concentrate. She thought it was nothing more than a simple, if constant, headache. Later she'd admit she was in denial. Or weaving in and out.

619 days, 23 hours, 33 minutes, 54 seconds

Her husband imagines there will be another day-to-day photo sequence, much like the one she shot when the second cancer was diagnosed, when she realized all her writing would be maudlin. Day after day, from the diagnosis until she opted against blowing all the radiation on one minuscule area, she walked the streets every day, taking sometimes as many as 200 pictures. From which she selected only one a day. To get outside herself. Seeing more of her neighborhood than she'd ever imagined. But no, she says. No photo sequence this time. Her head's splitting. Even seeing some photo she needs as she walks along, it's all she can do to squint through that little hole. Whole.

619 days, 23 hours, 55 minutes, 21,7 seconds

Another picture, this from today's news. It's a hair dress that model's' wearing. A Croatian company has made it from 165 feet of blonde human hair. She modeled the dress at a fashion show in Zagreb, stunning crowds when she appeared on the catwalk.

But she's a long way from Croatia.

It reminds her of those medieval Catholic penitents going about in their hair shirts. For God's glory, Praised-be-His-Name. Blessed be He who created me according to His will.

She's thinking of getting in touch with a Buddhist shrink. Someone a balding friend knows.