March 22, 1998

Broken Shells and Sunlit Adventure

Sometimes the shell of control is so fragile. Breaking with a single mis-step.

The rest of the afternoon was marvelous. I actually used the NaturallySpeaking utility in conjunction with a rather buggy set of scanner software to completely recreate a past survey and then setup the new survey from the questions. I did it neutrally and completely and far more quickly than I thought possible. Though I did have to fight with the software, which said that it could do multiple pages at a time, but did the blue screen of death each time I tried to add a page to the one that was already scanned in.

So I just did 'em one page at a time, but I finished in plenty of time for dinner with Rick, Carla and Jaime. Rick Floyd is a Usenet friend of mine since about 1985. Long, long time friend, whom I enjoy quite a lot, still. John and I went to the Redmond Town Centre and found out about my optimism about the new South Western cuisine Cafe being less crowded early was entirely unfounded. It was crowded and people were waiting outside, and with a group of five... it was going to be a 30-40 minute wait. But they weren't there, yet, so I just got the beeping, flashing coaster that was supposed to signal when we were to go in and John and I went outside to wait.

It was one of those typical Seattle Spring days, variegated gray skies with everything from a slot of sunshine to downpouring rain. Not especially cold, but not exactly warm, either. I was happy in a heavy flannel shirt, a t-shirt and leggings. And the very nicest thing was that with my green hair I could be spotted from just about forever.

And I was. That was cool. They came and we stood outside and talked for a while, did experiments as to how far you could get with the coaster before being beeped, and generally caught up, exchanged pleasantries and enjoyed the weather. *laughter* Then got called into the restaurant, which was entirely full. We did okay with the service, and my halibut with jalepeno cream sauce and corn meal crust was excellent, with crisp-firm vegetables and a nice rice. It's always fun to just sit and eat and talk with Rick and Carl and Jamie, humorous, fun, and an adventure each time. They also gave me a lovely color printout that had an image of myself and the Fuzzy Black Hole named Fezzik. His image was mostly just... well... black.

Afterwards, we wandered about the mall a little, as they wanted to see the tea shop and the chocolate shop, with a side-trip to a pepper/chili/hot stuff shop on the upper floor; but, unluckily, the chocolate shop had just closed. We did get the teas Carla wanted, and I got a tin. We parted ways then, as dinner was mostly just a break for Carla and she had to get back to stuff.

John and I trekked up some stairs to see if Mr. Nice Guy was playing at a time that we could see it, and it wasn't, so we took an elevator down. Then walked towards the car, talking about things, so my attention was on him rather than quite on where I was walking.

Next thing I knew was that I impacted my right leg badly. Felt the knee twist the wrong way, felt something pull hard, and then it was just a wash of pain from my knee. It was an unpainted grey curb against unpainted grey concrete parking floor, and I'd simply stepped off the curb without knowing it was there, but landed on the right leg.

I knew then, that my leg had gone a long way, but was still structurally *wrong*. That when I landed, instead of just a jolt the whole joint just buckled.

I had to just sit on the curb, holding that damned knee, pushing at the pain to keep it down, while John went to get the car. I kept all the shopping stuff with me, and when John pulled up, I realized with a simple sinking feeling that I truly believed that I just wasn't going to be able to get up. Not by myself. Not from all the way down, sitting on the curb with my feet nearly under me. I almost laughed with John pushed open my door from the inside. Then, finally, he got out on his side, came over to me and held out an arm.

I took the arm. I got up. It was sore. It was tender. It was still really unhappy with me. But the knee wasn't that bad. I could have stood up if I'd believed I could, but I realized that I hadn't been able, at all, to believe it. When he got me up, I just cried. Great big, racking sobs, and a lot of it was just all the frustration and fear and anger at this whole thing. I think that the emotions hurt more than the knee did. I was broken. I was going to get fixed, but, for now, I was broken and a single mis-step could wreck what progress I'd made.

The MCL was slightly swollen by the time I got home. So I iced it, lay on the couch and watched hockey while John took care of a lot of different things. Finally, I could just let go of the rest of life, for just a bit, to just rest and heal. Relax and feel. Just be.

Sunday was a very busy day. Church was good. Got to see folks and got to hear Diane and think and then meet a few folks that I hadn't seen in a while. Got home, found a Raven in the house, had lunch, and then we went westwards. As Raven later said, the day could be summerized as, "Well, we drove around a lot."

Though it doesn't nearly do it justice. We drove north and east to the ferry dock in Edmunds, where the sky had broken open and about a third of it was pale blue, a third was everything from white to charcoal grey, and the last third was just black streaked with rain. All mixed up. It was a lovely chaotic Seattle Spring day, with lots of sun breaks and lots of sprinkles, and here and there a rainbow. We took the ferry out west. Wandered the decks of the ferry, stood in front, letting the wind whip over us as the ferry splashed out to the peninsula. Then back down to the car decks, and we stood on the car deck and listened to the mad drumming of the ferry engine with the swell of the waves providing body to the rhythm and the beat.

We arrived at the dock on the peninsula side and joined in the general chaos of unloading the ferry, and became part of the stream of cars that flowed onto the land. We were looking for phone booths, and saw one go by on the right. So we turned to the right, went through the parking lot, and ended up right next to the phone. John hopped out, and tried to call the guy who had a Land Rover to sell, but the phone was broken. So we went onto a gas station, and used the phone outside it, and reached the guy. It turned out that the truck was in for brake repairs at a local Midas. So he was going to come to the gas station, show us some pictures, tell us where the truck was, and we'd probably have to come back later in order to drive it.

So we went into the mini-mart, bought various things to drink and munch on, the waited for him to appear. He showed up fairly quickly, and showed us a number of pictures of the Carmichael conversion. It's a really unique truck, one that was made before there were any forward-controls, so was built from hand-made parts. So it was going to be a problem to find parts for the sections that had been custom-made.

John also knew that he couldn't by the truck without actually driving it, and also want to get under the truck to see how it was doing there. Since the chassis of a Land Rover is all steel, it is the first thing to rust out, or even has a chance of rusting out, as the rest of the car's body is made of aluminum. After looking at the pictures, and finding out exactly where the truck was parked, we drove to the Midas shop. It turned out that the truck was still up on the lift, and John got the rare opportunity to examine truck without crawling all under it. That was really fun to see. Raven, I think, had a good time just watching us.

He also noted that John and I speak very much like two people who have been together for a long time. That even when our conversations start at two very divergent points, they often converge.

The truck itself was very very keen, unique, in very good shape, and John got to talk to the mechanics that were working on it at that point. So he got a full account of what was being worked dawn, what needed working on, and the general quality of what the mechanics saw in the truck. A lot of that he was able to confirm, just by looking at the truck, but some of the inner mechanics were much harder to see.

We don't really need another Land Rover. But there something about the unique personalities that are possible with an old, old truck, especially one that has been so completely customize, that just aren't possible with a brand-new truck. This puppy had seen so many things. There was however the main problem of the fact that John hadn't been able to drive it yet. So we couldn't really offer anything for it, but it was good to look.

After that we just headed south for the Tacoma Narrows bridge, and drove around the south end of the Puget Sound. The scenery was just gorgeous, and the sky was always changing. We got all the way around, and ended up at I Love Sushi, where we had a very good sushi feed, with miso, and the very large variety of fish. The salmon oshizushi was very different than normal, with an interior filling of ginger rather than a light layer of green onions and it was missing the paper-thin slices of lemon on top. The salmon itself, however, was excellent.

After dinner, we went home and watched Il Porco Rosso. It is a gorgeous Miyazaki film, with all kinds of the usual anime detail of fighter planes fighting, and the Mediterranean Sea. Raven really enjoyed it, and John and I enjoyed it again. Hutch and Penny were the ones that gave it to us, and I probably should thank them again for all the times that I've enjoyed it.

Raven then I talked for longtime after John went to bed. He helped we workout a number of priorities for my life, at this moment there are just too many things demanding my attention, my knee, John's trouble at church, work, and all of my writing that I wanted to do. We both came to the agreement that I probably should concentrate on my knee first, and my own healing. The rest could follow has my own energies allowed. That made a lot of sense to me. Sleep was far easier after that conversation

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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