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This is one of my greatest poems of all time. It’s called “Humility.”

January 5, 2013

I guess there’s probably never been a time in my life when I couldn’t have truthfully said this, but: it’s been a weird few weeks.

In early December I went to my staff Christmas party. A big part of me had wanted to stay home and read, but I gave myself a speech about how when I’m lying on my death bed I’m going to really regret having been so fucking introverted and it would be a shame not to take advantage of the much-hyped open bar at this event and I should spend more time with my coworkers blah blah. Plus I was looking super fine, like a 7.5 or even 8 out of 10. I was all zipped into my groomsman dress from my brother’s wedding in August and had done some unusually successful curling ironing and eye shadowing and I thought it would be a waste not to get out there and sexually frustrate all the middle-aged big shots who are making money off my skills and effort, while also stuffing my face with a meal that they paid for.

Immediately upon hanging up my red wool coat, a wardrobe staple that unbeknownst to me I’d just worn for the second-last time, I had the following conversation with the guy behind the bar:

ME: I’ll have a rum and Coke please.
SERVER: Just to let you know, highballs are actually seven dollars. But beer and wine are free.
ME: I’ll have a red wine please.

Come on, seven dollars? If it had been two or three bucks I would have gone for it, but it is MORALLY WRONG to pay $7 for a rum and Coke.

That exchange was the first of many hindsight foreshadowings that something horrible was in store. A few minutes later I was chatting happily with some coworkers. For some reason we got on to the topic of sick days and someone pointed out to me that I hadn’t taken one all year. After dinner I won an iTunes gift card during the door prize draw. Then a coworker gave me the Christmas wine glass she had gotten as a Secret Santa gift. Everything was going so great! Good and crapulent by now, I congratulated myself on convincing myself to come to this wonderful party. (Cue ominous music.)

I woke up the next morning feeling better than expected, although unsure how I’d gotten home. The mild relief and confusion turned to panic as I realized that my pillow was covered in blood. Then I looked down and saw that I was still in my dress from the night before. Instinctively, I reached for my phone, which I always keep on the shelf by my bed, to check the time: I found that its back cover had come off and the battery was missing. I assumed I’d find it in my purse, but it wasn’t there–nor was my iPod, which I’d just bought two months earlier. (The now cruelly ironic iTunes gift card was safe and sound, however, of course, goddamn it.) In the bathroom mirror I discovered that the left side of my face was covered in little scrapes and there was a deep gash on my chin. Freaked out, I went into the walk-in closet to hug Sappho; she shrunk against the wall and hissed at me. My coat and white leather heels were covered in what appeared to be blood (“That’s puke,” my sister assured me with the confidence of a CSI expert as she inspected my apartment a few hours later) and I became irrationally certain that I’d hurt someone or caused an accident on my way home. I decided to message my coworkers to see if they had any idea what had happened to me, and as I lifted the lid of my laptop I realized something was pretty wrong with my right arm.

Two hours and 2000 Facebook e-mails later I was at the hospital being drug-tested and tetanus-shot and stitched and x-rayed and splinted. That Monday I missed work to spend the morning back in the ER having a cast put on my broken but fortunately undislocated wrist.

Four weeks later, I’m still typing iambically. My left arm has had to learn to do many things. Many…things. What happened that night? Who the hell knows. Evidently I decided to walk home, despite having brought a bus ticket and my debit card to the party. Either I was mugged or, more likely, I tripped in my heels, took a spill, neglected to pick up everything that fell out of my purse as it hit the ground, and somehow got myself the rest of the way home and into my bed, stepping on Sappho in the process (?).

It won’t feel like a new year until the cast comes off (25 days), but, irregardless, I have some swearing to do. Five New Year’s resolutions:

First and foremost: I swear that I will never fucking drink wine again, even if it is cheap or free. We have never been a good team. Wine is what I buy like once a year when I feel like crying for a few hours but can’t bring it about naturally. Bought, I mean. Wanted. Couldn’t. Past tense. (Present progressive, future perfect.)

Second: I solemnly swear to fucking write twenty times or more more than I did last year. Didn’t I move to this beautiful if fairly superficial and flakey city two years and 363–no, 364; last year was a leap year–days ago to write? What did I write in 2012? Probably not even 2012 words. All year I worked and when I wasn’t working I was worrying about work or planning what work I was going to do at a future time. I specifically told myself not to get all wrapped up in my job and then I did anyway because, friends and lovers, I am a perfectionist idiot. This year I’ve outsmarted myself by signing up for a (for me) costly editing program that starts soon and goes until May. This way I’ll feel guilty if I don’t back up off of work and open Word when I get home. The bell tolls for thee, neglected nonfiction manuscript.

Third: I swear to do more fucking readings, also. I’m pretty damn decent at them, and the people in the chairs at the places like them, even the rude people who couldn’t care less about readings and just unwittingly wandered into the venue to have dinner and got hemmed in, like when you go to the wrong classroom on your first day of university and when you get the course outline you realize this is Biology 477, not English 200, but you sit there for 75 minutes as the professor talks about vertebrate dissection and lab kits simply because you chose a desk in the middle of the room and wouldn’t be able to escape without being noticed. (<– True story from 1997.) “You saved ten minutes of an otherwise excruciating evening for me,” one such guy told me earlier this week. That was kind of a horrible thing to say, but on the other hand, it felt pretty good that someone I’d never met who would never see me again and hadn’t even wanted to be there in the first place sought me out to give me an honest and clearly shameless compliment before escaping the scene forever.

Fourth: I swear as much as motherfucking possible to get my permanent teaching certificate and earn more money than last year.

Fifth: I swear to God I’m going to take a goddamned trip to Ontario and New York. This is the second most important one after writing more. All my east side gangstas better stock up on Lemon Hart.

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