Notes From A Walkman Junkie: Please Remain (Slightly Less) Calm
It is always a bit difficult to know exactly how to react in various situations, particularly if injury, sickness, mild to moderate maiming, or possible death are involved. Usually, we tend to take our reactive cues from others present at the time and respond accordingly. For instance, the time that my brother came crawling into the basement-level “entertainment” room on one elbow and one knee, looking like he had been attacked by many large mammals (hard to pinpoint which specific mammals, but I can safely deduce very angry ones.) My brother looked up at me and calmly (after a brief pause to spit out some blood) stated, “Anne, I have broken my leg and possibly my arm too — also one of my knees and pretty much the entire left side of my body are completely fucked.” He then placidly instructed me to “Go upstairs and get something to make a splint with and tell mom I need to go to the hospital, please.” I followed his mellow lead and was able to navigate the situation in a clear and relatively serene manner.
Perhaps my brother had recalled a previous incident years ago in which he had fallen off a trampoline, severely (bones protruding) breaking his arm. He was, needless to say, quite distraught, and my reaction to his frightened demeanor was to stand there, pointing at his arm, and scream for several minutes. This was not helpful. It seems that one does not even need to overtly express alarm to an exaggerated degree for others (particularly animals and children) to detect your uneasy energy and become concerned. One day, I was pushing one of my kindergarten students on a swing during recess and noticed a peculiar squirrel wandering around a bit close. All I said was, “That squirrel is acting weird” in a flat tone and the child started to hysterically yell and flail about for what seemed like a solid ten minutes. I can only presume it was my anxious vibes that set him off rather than my matter-of-fact commentary on the squirrel’s personality.
I did, however, once discover that behaving too casually can also be a tad detrimental in dealing with troublesome (nearly fatal and very bloody) predicaments. Without going into too much unpleasant detail; a few years ago I had gone through a mild surgery and was later struck by a resulting surgical complication while at work. I was working in the office of an apartment complex for semi-independent mentally ill people when I started to spontaneously bleed profusely. I was all alone at the time and therefore had zero outside input and helpful suggestions (like call a fucking ambulance) for my little dilemma and breezily attempted to stifle the bleeding myself — after all, it was medication time and I was expecting all of the residents to come down and start filing in at any moment. At one point, I realized that this massive blood spillage was not coming to an end and I most likely would not have time to dole out the meds to everyone before promptly bleeding to death (especially because one resident in particular was extremely OCD about the printing of his name and took an inordinately long time to sign in each day.) I decided it was time to go to the emergency room so I left a note (and a blood trail) and proceeded to drive my very light-headed self to the hospital.
After parking, I began my long, blood soaked journey to the emergency center doors thinking ridiculous thoughts along the way like, “Goddammit, this is my favorite corduroy dress, and I sure do like cheese.” When I finally made it up to the information/check-in desk I was handed a stack of paperwork to fill out to be admitted. I took the forms in a blood-loss daze and then nonchalantly gestured back in the direction of my vast crimson trail and softly mumbled, “I think maybe I am going to die. Can I fill these out later?” The basic point to this tale is that while remaining rational and composed in situations of crisis can be very beneficial, sometimes it is also wise to freak the fuck out a little. I still miss that corduroy dress and cheese is really good.
I am attaching “Take Care” by Beach House because it is very pretty and has absolutely nothing to do with blood.