Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Conversion Reaction

Who uses it: Psychiatrists and psychologists
What it means: The physical manifestation of a deep, unresolved emotional problem, such as hysterical blindness or the sudden inability to speak after a trauma. One school of thought ascribes most chronic back pain to conversion reaction.
How you can use it: To describe unexpected, inappropriate behavior or attributes after someone's been through something terrible.

Almost 20 years after I left school, the day after Labor Day still feels like the beginning of a new year. I set the alarm this morning, because I have so much to do before Dizzy and I hit the road again tomorrow, and woke up in the dark. The CD in the machine was The Jayhawks' Smile, deliberately chosen for the first track:

Wake up
Put your shoes on
Take a breath of the northern air
And rub those eyes
Genuflect beneath the starry skies...

Except that it wasn't starry when we went out, it was overcast and foggy, and steam was rising off the Cobbosseecontee. We stepped high and light all the same.

Running errands all over Gardiner and Augusta yesterday, I was pleased to see how many of the stores were collecting for Katrina relief. You might not think that leaving an extra dollar at the grocery store makes much difference, but it does, if everyone does it. My five dollars is nothing, but if 100 people leave five dollars apiece, that's real money. That's a month's rent in Mississippi, or a month's groceries for a family of four.

I'm a little overwhelmed by everything I need to do today, particularly because the most important thing -- laundry -- requires US Airways to get my luggage back to me sometime today. I know they're busy, I know there are many, many more pressing needs to be served... but I need my sneakers.

A big welcome to this new world to John Patrick Gorman, who made his first appearance yesterday morning. Congratulations to Buz and Kathy, but it's J.P. who won the parent lottery jackpot.

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