In the Air

A moment ago I had to stick my hand down the garbage disposal. Does that make you anxious, just reading that? It would make me anxious. I will just go ahead and tell you right now that it was fine and nothing bad happened. I did not accidentally bump the on switch while my hand was down there; the cat did not choose that exact moment to jump up on the counter and bump the switch as retribution for my feeding her diet cat food for the last ten years; the disposal did not spontaneously come to life of its own accord; there were no short circuits; no poltergeists were involved. Everything was fine. Mostly.

The reason my hand was down there in the first place: I had dropped a plastic toothpick in the sink and it slid directly down the disposal drain without wasting any time — unlike any food I have ever put in there, which always takes several nervous nudges of encouragement to get past the black plastic guard. Because of course it does. Anyway, I stood there thinking, what would happen if I just left it? Would the disposal be able to handle a plastic toothpick? Or would it wreck everything and I’d have to call maintenance and wind up getting charged for a new garbage disposal four months before I move out? Probably that.

So I braced myself and inserted my hand and it was the most horrible feeling ever in all of human existence. Even assuming nothing terrible happens, sticking your hand down the disposal is just plain awful. Slimy. Dark. Mysterious. Dangerous. Sharp-ish. Deeply disturbing. Feel free to psychoanalyze me for my fear of penetrating a slimy dark hole with one of my appendages. I don’t like it and I’m not ashamed.

But at least I removed the toothpick, right? False. I did not. I could not find the toothpick and after a few moments of feeling around in the slimy, dark, mysterious, dangerous, sharp-ish, deeply disturbing HOLE, I gave up. The toothpick is still at large.

While I’m on the subject of unpleasant physical sensations, do you know what I really despise lately? Wind. Not only big, gale-force winds that are rough or dangerous, but also just your average breeze. Gentle breezes, even. I will not ride in a car with the windows down or use a ceiling fan. I even despise the feeling of air blowing on me from an air conditioner. I hate drafts. I know; I think I might be nuts, too.

Wind in particular has just been infuriating the last couple of months. Every run, I feel like I am running directly into the wind, and it is buffeting me and pushing me around on the sidewalk and whipping my ponytail around so that it tangles and tugs against my head. Worst of all, it seems to blow directly into my nose and mouth, making it feel impossible to breathe. There’s too MUCH air! Then when I come to a corner and turn 90 degrees, I get a moment’s relief. The contrast between running into the wind and running at an angle to it is so startling, I begin to feel alive again and everything is wonderful, until the wind follows me around the corner (I think sometimes it is STALKING me) and makes me miserable all over again.

The wind stalks and harasses me on campus, too. A full, lightweight, knee-length skirt on a breezy spring day? I may as well flash the entire university community. If I want the color of my drawers to remain private information, I have to walk with my hands held down at my sides, pinning my skirt to my legs. The wind blinds me by blowing my bangs over my eyes, tugs my headphones out of my ears, and blows my umbrella inside out. I would need seven hands to walk through the wind while managing my skirt, my hair, my ear buds, and my umbrella. Walking across campus in the wind is like being constantly poked by a small child or barked at by a dog.

This afternoon I was sitting in someone else’s campus office having a chat. The window and the door were both open, creating an avenue for air to blow in from outside, through the door, and into the hallway. I was right in the wind’s path of destruction yet again. As I sat there, I could barely concentrate on our conversation. My clothes were blowing against my skin and tickling me; my hair was blowing into my eyes and mouth, just one hair at a time, just enough to have me swatting at my own face every four seconds. Each little individual arm hair was gently blowing across its neighboring arm hairs and tweaking them as it went, leaving me with the feeling of hundreds of tiny ants crawling all over my forearms.

Even as I write this, wind is making me miserable. We’ve got a raging thunderstorm blowing across the state, complete with a tornado watch for my county. The internet has been out all afternoon and evening. Obviously, my primary hope is that no tornadoes materialize and no one is hurt, but, you know, I also want my internet back.

While I wait for the good folks at Ch@rt3r to get us all reconnected, I’m thinking back to that moment when the plastic toothpick slid into the garbage disposal drain, prompting my disturbing hand-in-hole ordeal. How did that happen, exactly? Was that a slight breeze I recall?

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