Caught Between a Rock and a Short Bus

The problem with losing every hair on your body, or very nearly (because my big toes are always the last to shed), is that you have to find a way to define your facial features but still blend in with the rest of civilization. My eyebrow tattoos were last touched up almost two years ago and were fading and turning a pinkish hue of tan, prompting me to color over them with a combination of pencil and powder. This is not a durable solution, though. I still have really oily skin like a teenager and usually within an hour, if I go to push my wig bangs out of my eyes, I end up schmearing my eyebrows in the process, so I look like a crazed devil.

It took me a while to find a permanent makeup artist in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area – first because there don’t seem to be many at all, which I blame on everyone being a tree hugger and shouting from the rooftops how “natural” they are; second, because I don’t want to get just anyone to ink my face. I finally found someone who seemed to use the methods that I was familiar with to give me the most natural-looking brows possible, who also has a decade of experience under her belt.

The ride out there via Metro Mobility ( if you’re curious) was pretty uneventful despite the dispatch center’s computers being down – everyone just made do. My driver was on time and there was only one other lady on the bus. The ride back, however, was a little more interesting.

The woman who was our driver for the trip back was very, very nice and good-natured. Unfortunately, I realized that she was used to a certain clientele because she was talking to me as if I was deaf instead of mostly blind. She was shouting, actually, and using small words. I was only the second rider on and she had to pick up four more people before she could start dropping us off. For most of the ride I was the only female on the bus. My trip lasted almost two hours.

By the time it was my turn to get dropped off, I was mostly blind. The last passenger we picked up was an elderly lady who seemed pleasant enough when she boarded, but when the driver went to escort her to her seat and strap her in, the woman refused to sit down. I could immediately feel the tension ripple through all of us. We had been on for quite a while, someone in the group wasn’t really big on bathing and we were in that odd space of being too hot or too cold on a winter day trapped in our layers of clothes and dependent upon the driver to run the bus’s heater. We were all individually and collectively ready to pounce on the woman if she didn’t cooperate. Luckily we didn’t have to, the driver distracted her by saying she was carrying a lovely bag; the woman was still confused by the seat belt the driver was hooking up for her (“What in the world are you doing??”). So when the driver was required to escort me to my front door, she just kinda did an “Okayareyougood?Ineedtogoincaseshedecidestoescape.”

I discovered that while I was out getting my eyebrows put back on my face that the financial coordinator from Johns Hopkins had called to tell me that medical assistance didn’t have any record of my request to be seen at JH. Since I had had four separate conversations with the company in charge of my Medicaid and they had actually called the PCP who was supposed to submit the request, I knew that was not correct. I spent another hour on the phone trying to find out who had ignored the notes and faxes on my file that I had sent in myself; I had to leave another message for the financial coordinator to ask her to try again. I really don’t want to piss her off because she is the first person I’ll deal with at Johns Hopkins, so what she does or doesn’t do is going to greatly influence my time there.

The eyebrows, the special request for medical assistance, the stuff that fills my days now instead of a job and trying to plan my next social event, is not anything that normal people can relate to. How can I explain it? I can’t even summarize it all in a sentence or two.

I also had messages waiting for me from two men – one from OKCupid, and one from Match. They are actually both ten years younger than me and seem to be very physically active. I’ve traded messages with them before so I have a somewhat superficial handle on their personalities. I instantly developed anxiety when I saw their messages. One made it very clear to me that he is a fair weather friend; I told him that I thought he would be a fun person to know, but he would become bored with me because I can’t go out and do things like he does. He responded by saying that I should contact him when I’m “better.” Well, there were only about two weeks between his last message and today’s, so this just proves to me that he thinks I’ve got the equivalent of a cold. The other one suggested meeting up in our last exchange. I told him that it had to be in my neighborhood and within walking distance for me, and then he didn’t respond for a little over a week. Today he indicated I should call/text so we can meet up. Does that mean he’s okay with my circumstances, or that he’s hoping that it’s not as bad as I am saying? I’m trying not to let my self-doubt rule, but now I’m fighting the urge to crawl under my blankets and overdose on emo music.

How do I explain having to use the short bus? And dammit, now I have to wait another week to even try to go on a fly-by date with the second guy because my tattoos need time to heal. Right now they look like two greasy, dark, flat caterpillars have been smashed on my forehead because I have to keep them moist with ointment. If I keep throwing these obstacles at him, am I driving away a good date?

Tonight’s music selection reminds me of Heath Ledger every time I hear it (a la 10 “Things I Hate About You”). It makes me sad because I remember thinking that when I saw him in it, I was convinced he was very quickly going to become a star and would be easily recognized – and he did.


5 thoughts on “Caught Between a Rock and a Short Bus

  1. Damn eyebrow tattoos. I dont know how i feel about mine. They are perched slightly un-naturally high. I was in a kind of gothic phase when i first had them tattooed…what the fuck can ya do though…hopefully theyll just fade off my face some day.
    Boys boys boys. Im not too excited about the other guy. Taking a week to make contact isnt very nice, you deserve someone who makes a fucking effort.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, ultimately the brows are just like any other tattoo – we gotta live with them for a long time. Are we too old to go back to goth so it wouldn’t matter if we had these imperfections and clothes with holes in them? Probably – nothing sadder than someone Iggy Pop’s age still trying to be punk.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have been catching up on some posts…dang girl, you have some crap going on.
    Why do so many doctors have their head up their asses? It seems if they can help, they are nice, if they are lost, they are snarky, and good golly, don’t dare act as if we know anything.

    I see you are applying to go to John Hopkins. I’m leaving tomorrow for my appointment at the vestibular/otolaryngology clinic on Friday. They are supposed to have a superior vestibular clinic. I’m hoping they can help find a cause for my vertigo. And maybe reduce it a bit. (Crossing fingers)

    I didn’t have a referral. My doctor agreed that I should look elsewhere for help, John Hopkins or Mayo, I chose JH because of the vestibular clinic’s reputation.

    I was originally being seen at Duke. Not every well renowned hospital are well versed in all areas. I am nervous that I’m going to get to this appt and have them tell me the same thing my Dr at Duke did. “I know it’s more than Menierie’s, I don’t know what it is. There’s nothing else I can do.”
    He was a great Dr for a long time, great bed side manner, but as soon as things went south, and he couldn’t do anything…he gave up. He got very cold toward me. I still need him for medication, but I don’t like going there. I used to like seeing him, even when I was having a very bad day. Now, I hate going. Luckily, I think he fills the same and will call in my prescriptions.

    When you are out of town and go to JH, they will then work with your doctors at home for further tests and stuff. I will have a new ear doc at home.

    If the guy who wants to meet you, is worth your time, he will be around after your eyebrows heal. Remember it took him a while to get back in touch…he can wait now.
    The other guy…he’s a duffus.
    Like do many people we know….When you get better we can……No…I’m not getting better.
    My sister tells me to think positive. I am. I’m also realistic. Being positive doesn’t change being who I am.


    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sorry that your doc has let you down. I really resent being resented for getting sick!!! I remembered that your JH appointment was coming up, so I hope it’s a good experience for you and I’ll be thinking of you. I had to go through a bunch of testing because of my vertigo, but we have ruled out all of the known ear stuff, so as far as I know, I don’t have to try to find any more otopharyngolaryngologists. I’m curious to hear your impressions on JH after you go through the process – my only connection to it is that a classmate graduated from there with her BS in nursing, and now works with infectious diseases in South Africa.
      Lastly, I’m so sick of being told I have to be positive. Those are the first people I want to spend a day in my life when technology finally allows us to switch bodies. That ought to shut them up. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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