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 (http://www.metrotransit.org/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.

 

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