Wednesday, February 11, 2009

one year since surgery

Karaoke – ‘cantobar’ – on Friday was an absolute bust. Not only didn’t they have ‘everything’ as I had been promised, they didn’t have anything except for... you guessed it, Richard Marx. By the time I had convinced Spoon to duet with me, they had already moved on to trashy teenage ‘gasolina’ disco. We soaked our sorrows at the Red Door and then night-capped at Bar Británico:

On Saturday, we popped by the neighborhood carnaval for all of forty seconds for fear of getting foamed fore dinner:

and a few drinks at a Moroccan restaurant in Palermo:

and then sat the night away at a really cool milonga in Almagro:

We got up early on Sunday for the first time that week to go to the street fair:

before grudgingly leaving for the airport and our respective ways. I nearly froze to death in the exit row (they actually leave the door partially ajar), but managed to get some sleep on the way back. I got into Kennedy around 4AM and had to walk thirty taxi lengths to get to the front of thirty sleeping cab drivers. #1 was also drunk. He drove on the shoulder, weaved in and out of lanes and was furiously honked upat. I made him promise to sleep it off.

Sherman came down for Ethiopian food and some great live soul music on Tuesday. I got a bit of a head cold and am taking it easy. Today is the anniversary of my brain surgery and I dug up this bit I’d written just shortly after the operation:

So they came for me around 7 - I still have my hair at this point. I hadn’t slept much the night before (about two hours), but was pretty used to that after a month of very little sleep. I had already lost my mind at this point from it.

They put me on a stretcher and whipped me down to the second floor. The ceiling lights were flashing by just like on TV. I felt OK, strangely - confident, but not exactly relaxed by any stretcher of the imagination.

“Every Where You Go, You Always Take the Weather” or whatever that song is called was playing – c’mon you know the one. The orderly parked me over some complicated-looking device and started plugging things in.

Someone asked if I spoke Czech and someone said “trošku” (a little). I barked out, “Mluvím dost!!” (I speak enough!!) Turned out to be my neurosurgeon who was just making sure that people spoke to me clearly and slowly throughout the procedure. Yet another example of me making an ass of myself in front of my neurosurgeon.

I woke up to the sound of high-pitch drilling to the left side of my head... and to pointless Czech-chick giggle hoohoo elsewhere in the room. After what seemed to be an eternity, I got up the courage to make some noise through shallow breath and clenched teeth, so as not to lose an ear to the laser.

Prosím? Prosím! Prosím?!” I ventriloquized louder and louder, until the catty chit-chat came to an abrupt end and a nurse put her head in my face. “Vý jste po operaci, Pane Gisondi! Po operaci!” she beamed. I fell back into dreamland only vaguely understanding that the operation was over.

The next thing I saw was my Mother, Mary and Irina in full-on OR scrubs and masks, eyes asmile, mouths liplessly shouting muffled questions and commands in French and Russian for some strange reason. I responded in kind to their seeming satisfaction. I had some numbness in my left foot, but everything else seemed fine.

I saw my neurosurgeon in the hall and thanked him profusely. He looked very upset. I thought it was because of the numbness in my left foot. I told him, “Well, you had to cut something, don’t worry about it.” He looked at me aghast and then just whispered, “Metastaze.” “Whatever, thanks again!” I said. I only found out what he meant several days later...
And I wasn’t thinking about where I was going to be a year from then, I was thinking how grateful I was to be alive (and not a vegetable) that day. A lot's happened since, but it’s great to be in Brooklyn after a year, suffering from a little head cold and eating homemade chicken soup at Tim’s.

Friday, February 6, 2009

missing deltas

We all went over to the neighborhood Danish church to see the “Princeton Glee Club” last Tuesday. There’s almost nothing I enjoy more than a bunch of rich white kids singing negro spirituals:

Ann missed her connection in Atlanta (due to Delta’s typical, but still incredible incompetence and complete lack of accountability), so she came a day late into her already tight schedule. I took her to the “Modern Art Museum” just around the corner for starters:

which looked like it hadn’t been open in at least a decade. So we wandered down to Puerto Madero and then to one of my favorite restaurants, Café San Juan, back in San Telmo with my neighbors, Keith and Michael for a great dinner before the Red Door for chili bombs:

On Wednesday we went to MALBA, the actual functional modern art museum, and then across town to La Boca to catch the sunset and have dinner at my new favorite restaurant: Don Carlos “Carlitos” next to the Boca Juniors stadium in La Boca, of all places. And although I don’t usually trust anyone with two first names (let alone three), we put ourselves entirely in the hands of Carlitos himself and let him stuff us with a fifteen course meal, completely of his choosing.

“The lady may have a little room left for a very small dessert,” I said after he had brought us a plate of cheese sorrentinos (delicious fat raviolis) to chase down our steaks. Instead of a single, “very small dessert”, he brought three rather large desserts, which we inhaled shamelessly. The bill, like the menu, was completely arbitrary. We were so drunk on food, literally euphoric, that we would have paid anything. It was an amazing experience and surprisingly reasonable. We unfortunately ate too quickly to take any pictures.

After we aborted trips to both Uruguay and the Paraná Delta (not having much luck with deltas), due to a late start and drizzle yesterday, we settled for a tour of Recoleta Cemetery from a resident guide:

and went to Bellas Artes for some more culture. Our walk to the massive Retiro train / bus station for bargain bags and sneakers and the half hour wait at a cash machine was more than enough of a side trip experience. We’re going to spend the day (what’s left of it) in Palermo and then go to ‘real’ karaoke tonight back in the hood.

Here’s a funny and popular local flea treatment product to round out this post: