“My jaw line hurts,” I say to my husband this morning.
“There’s nothing wrong,” he said, as he’s programmed to do at the mere suggestion of physical malady.
It’s a simple line of code in his operating system software: if wife lodges physical complaint, then respond with pre-fabbed, reassuring remark. (Having completed the second week of my Information Technology class, I feel confident tossing out computer metaphors.)
No one has taken my tumors, coughs or structural anomalies seriously since I was stricken with a rare woods-borne illness following a nature walk in first grade. Ever since my husband found out I scored a 54 on the Whiteley self-test for hypochondria, I could tell him my cranium detached in the shower and he’d give a distracted nod and output “You’re doing just fine, Girl.”
Nevertheless, my jaw line DOES hurt, and the Google results are pretty clear that “this is not a condition that is likely to improve on its own.” Dialogue box indicating the need for immediate medical attention notwithstanding, here I am blogging away merrily even though my internal-CPU is pulling up data from an article I read as a child in one of my grandmother’s inspirational magazines.
A woman was walking through the woods (so much lurking out there) and she discovered swelling along her neck and jaw line. Much of the data from the article is corrupted, but I seem to remember some surgeries were involved and things were touch-and-go for awhile.
Just last month, the preschool teacher from the school where I work was felled over lunch hour by swelling that rendered her appearance as that of a chipmunk sucking on a tennis ball. Surgeries and tumors were hinted at there as well—but as it turned out, she ended up sucking on lemon drops for three days and was fine.
Now I thought I had this hypochondria thing licked a time or two, but it always crops back up, which was what I was thinking later in the day as I washed my vintage sari skirt that I wore on the train ride last week.
I bought the skirt at a San Diego street market. Triangles of sheer, swishy cloth—salvaged from vintage Indian saris in fabulous colors—with layers that can be arranged to create multiple looks—charming! Exotic! From my mental archives, I recalled an National Geographic-style article I’d read—non-medical in nature—extolling the benefits of the sari.
As the article may or may not have read—a search of the Geographic archives reveals records of no such article—saris not only pack a punch with their mystique, they also have a practical side. They dry tears; they mop up soiled children. Nurturing-type stuff. Come to think of it, just this morning my skirt absorbed a stray slosh from my coffee cup.
The street corner vendor assured me that a thorough washing had been included in the recycling process, just in case I read the article and might be tempted to feel like I was purchasing a hankie from the 70’s, rather than a quality vintage garment.
Which was all well and good until I took it home and actually washed it myself. Let’s just say there seemed to more soil than you’d expect from the street market (three sinkfuls more)—not to mention a bit of vintage aroma.
Google sources remain united in the opinion that slight vintage aroma is par for the course. I decided to be OK with this and hung it out to dry in the summer breeze.
That licked it. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh, clean smell when the sari had to be deployed as an air mask during a portion of last week’s trip that was marred by odor from a stagnant river.
Which was why I was so surprised when I washed my skirt this afternoon and more soil billowed from it than you'd expect from an Amtrak excursion(three sinkfulls more)-- followed by that vintage aroma!
Which goes to show—you never know when some stray text from an old storyline is going to resurrect and insert itself into your open document.