Probably, anyway, because I made this in advance and scheduled it to appear at just the right time. But I’m sure I would have had a free minute with an internet connection to delete it if anything untoward occurred and messed everything up, so if you can see this, it’s safe to assume that I am now married, half-way through my third drink and up to my elbows in cake.
I will busy
taking the hobbits to Isengard-gard-gar-gar-gar exploring New Zealand for a few weeks, but have scheduled some things so that you won’t miss me too much and …
… hang on.
My partner loved what I wrote about his injury. He was delighted to find himself in a starring role in a blog-story and to have his ant-war cartoonised. But he quickly began to regret turning down my offer or re-writing the injury part with dragons. He didn’t make a big deal about it, but I could tell he felt he had missed his opportunity to be immortalised in a daring action-filled escapade.
I understood. Ants are just not as cool as dragons.
So I drew it for him as a surprise gift.
This is what true love looks like.
Last week I got a call from my partner while he was at work.
“I’m okay, but I’ve had an accident!” he said.
My mind went straight to:
The reality, I established after a few minutes of agitated conversation, was more like:
He had dislocated his knee. He was waiting for the ambulance to arrive, and he stayed on the phone with me until the pain got so bad that he was having trouble not screaming. I told him not to worry, the paramedics would be there soon and I would find him at the hospital, and then he hung up.
I had no idea how I would get to the hospital.
It’s a good forty minute drive, and I am not well. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) not only keeps me physically and cognitively exhausted, but also smacks me down ten times as hard if I try to push past my (very pitiful) limits. It lets me build up a crippling energy debt, and then it comes to collect. As you can imagine, it makes it (at best) difficult or even (at worst) dangerous for me to drive. I had sold my car a few months earlier. Now I was stranded.
I was used to CFS making me feel helpless, but this time I only felt rage.
My partner was injured, and I wanted to be there. After the surgery I had a couple of years ago, he had been with me every moment he was allowed. For a week he paid exorbitant hospital parking fees, ate cheap food from nearby take-away places, napped in a chair in my room and only went home when I had gone to sleep. Now I couldn’t even pick him up from hospital.
I was vaguely aware that there must be a rational way to sort this all out without making myself sick. Perhaps one of his work colleagues who had stayed with him would take him home. I didn’t have to personally go in. But I did have to, because that’s what you do when the person you love is hurt.
I decided that CFS wasn’t having this one.
I pulled out my Zombie Apocalypse List of friends. You know the friends I’m talking about. These are the friends who, when you really need something, just say ‘okay’ and help you. Everyone needs at least one of these people to call when the zombie apocalypse starts.
So I called one of my Zombie Apocalypse List friends and explained that I needed him to drop everything and drive me to the other side of the city and back because my partner had a non-life-threatening injury. I said that I really needed this.
He said, ‘Okay.’
Twenty minutes later we were on our way. I spent the whole trip monologing about the insanity of the cheap romance novel I am in the process of disemboweling to make paper roses for my upcoming wedding.
Just to clarify, I do not intend that as a generalisation of the entire romance genre. But this specific book was arrest-level crazy. Someone needed to sit those characters (and probably the author) down and have a serious talk with them about a) making life decisions, b) contraceptives and c) consent. There wasn’t actual rape, but there was rapey kissing, where one character forcibly kissed another who was saying ‘NO’ loudly and fighting to get away. The author seemed to think this was romantic, but it made me throw up a little bit in my mouth. Needless to say this scene is not making it to my wedding, even reincarnated as a paper rose.
My Zombie Apocalypse List friend listened calmly, understanding both the ick-factor involved in rapey kissing and that being tangential is just how I dispel nervous energy. I was very impressed and upgraded him to my Help, I Need to Bury a Body List. When I later told him this, he said that he could not in good conscience help me bury a body when a bathtub full of lye would do a much better job of removing physical evidence.
We got to the hospital and promptly got lost. This was unfortunate because at this point I was definitely down to borrowed energy. We wandered around while I, using my health as collateral, built up a bigger and bigger energy debt. This meant that at the time I could push through, but the next afternoon I couldn’t move from the couch. I was so exhausted that standing up made me want to cry. Usually my loving, caring partner would do what he could to help me, but this time he was stuck on the same couch recovering from a dislocated knee. It’s a miracle we didn’t starve to death.
Maybe my CFS had a bit of a chuckle about all this. Maybe it even thinks it won this round. But you know what, CFS?
In the end we found the emergency department (it was the big, red part of the building with lots of ambulances parked in front of it that we had already walked past several times) just as my partner, mellow from pain-killers, was given the all-clear and turfed out of his wheelie-bed.
We finally heard his story in full.
Apparently he was lying on the ground to examine some cables.
He rolled over to get up, but his foot got caught on something.
The rolling action popped his knee out.
He waited half an hour for an ambulance (dislocated knees are not a high priority). He quickly realised that all this had occurred on top of an ant nest.
But he couldn’t relocate because it hurt too much to move, so he engaged in a vicious war with the ants in which his only weapon was his bum.
…which he used to crush the ants. Not gas them or mesmerise them with a sexy dance or whatever else popped into your mind.
See? Crushing them.
If you judge a war by its casualties, then he won. Hundreds of dead ants were later shaken from his pants. But if you judge it by any other means—such as who ends up with the land or dignity (or both) that was in dispute—then he lost.
It’s a truly terrible injury story. I offered to improve it with a car chase and some dragons, but he seems happy with his ants.
“Where have you been these last few months? We’ve been suffering without regular posts filled with your sparkling wit and hilarious cartoons!”
I know. I know, guys. I’m so sorry for abandoning you to several dull, me-less months. But I’ve had stuff on.
“What important stuff could someone who has chronic fatigue syndrome, who barely leaves the house, who doesn’t have a job and who continually tells us she’s terrified of her social life possibly have on?” I hear you say. “I mean, you’re actually inventing a conversation with imaginary fans you don’t really have. Surely, that’s rock bottom.”
… All true, but too harsh, guys.
“Oh … We’re sorry.”
Don’t worry about it. Let’s just say we’ve found the line and we’ll try not to cross it again.
What stuff have I had on? Well, a couple of weeks ago I proposed to my partner.
I wrote a Choose Your Own Adventure story about my partner arriving home to find me gone. The first page was clipped to the front door for him to find, and then he had to make choices which would lead him to other pages. I organised a number of perils for him to face, including dinosaurs, the Loch Ness Monster, a severed arm, a Furby* and a ballerina zombie. All pathways of the story converged on finding me and the last page, which had the final decision of the story: “Will you marry me?”
I know. SO ROMANTIC. Who wouldn’t want to marry me after having their hand imaginarily bitten off by the spinosaurus that was hiding in the fridge? I should write romance novels. He said yes. Everything was downright magical for about a day until people started asking what our wedding plans were, and then I came to an awful realisation.
I don’t like weddings.
Oh, marriage I’m ok with. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but I think it can nice if you and your partner have an equal, supportive relationship. (In fact, I like the idea so much that I think more people should be able to get married; can I get a hell yeah for achieving marriage equality in Australia by the end of 2015?)
There’s so much stuff in weddings that people think they need because that’s just how weddings are, but all you actually need to achieve with a wedding is a) get married, and optionally, b) celebrate with family and friends. Everything else is frosting. Which is fine if you like frosting (and are rich enough to pay for it), but we don’t (and aren’t).
We want cake and celebration. We don’t want fuss and glitz, and under no circumstances will I be put on speaker-phone. But ultimately as long we’re married by the end of it I think we’ll call it a win.
* If you don’t know what a Furby is, then you can read what Wikipedia has to say about them, but I find their account unsatisfactory as it completely ignores the saccharine, demonic horror of the toys. Think Funzo from the Simpsons.