Monday, August 25, 2008

Course of the Day, Part 1

Instead of the typical throughout-the-week litany of "I'm tired," I thought that I might try to apply some Gawande and give you my days. So I started in the morning, moving through...

I awake at 5 a.m. I take two pills (thyroid and birth control) and turn off the fan that has been on all night for white noise and fresh air, and turn on the bedside lamp. I take towel and hairbands into the bathroom and wash up.

Back in the bedroom, I boot up the laptop and make the bed while I wait for the computer to cycle through all of the opening programs. I close the windows of all said programs and open iTunes and refresh the podcasts. While the programs load I moisturize and start to put on the pieces of my work uniform. Once the programs are done I hook up the iPod to the laptop, after restarting the iPod. Hold down on the middle blank button, then hold down on the menu button. Do this until the iPod screen goes out and a silver Apple icon appears in the middle of the screen. Attach USB and while I wait for the transfer I add jewelry (most of it under my clothing due to the fact that I could get caught in the machinery) and eye makeup, and then disconnect the refreshed iPod, strap it to me and shut down my computer. While I add some curl to my hair (we all know that I am not really capable of styling) I listen to "The Writer's Almanac" and "Selected Shorts" (not about high class underwear but actors reading excellent short stories to an audience) if it's Monday; I listen to "The Writer's Almanac" and "Fresh Air" for the other weekdays.

Then breakfast and lunch are prepared. My lunchbag is a small, black, insulated tote--understated and stylish. Lunch usually consists of carrots, string cheese, a frozen entree, and a cup of low-fat yogurt. Breakfast is a low-fat yogurt smoothie and two miniature wheat bagels with either chunky or smooth peanut butter in honey-roasted flavors. Everything is packed in the bag, with the exception of the bagels, which are loosely wrapped in paper towels and carried--they won't last long enough to pack.

Then it's shoes and jacket on, shoulder my attache bag and throw the lunch bag over my arm, and lights off/out the door I go.

The bus actually boards very close to me, but this is a rare opportunity for exercise--munching the bagels, I head downhill a little distance and then start the ascent up Parnassus. I pick Parnassus because it houses the 6, and because the hospital and grounds are unprepossessingly beautiful. As I trudge up, trying not to drag and trying to keep a heart-healthy pace, I peek between the buildings on my left and spot the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, crimson and wearing a full head of fog.

When I reach the plateau at the top I pull out the yogurt smoothie as a reward and drink that as I walk level ground. The wind tries to get my hair in my face, but I am not deterred.

I walk down the hill to Stanyan, and my first transit stop.

Not bad. Roddy Doyle was talking about writing a really good Irish story to Dave Eggers once on "City Arts and Lectures," and I would have never have made it through that litmus test, but this was more fulfilling for me than "Monday night and I am already exhausted." Tomorrow night is Shut Up and Write! dear reader, and God knows where I'll end up next in here.

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