Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

On the Road, on crutches

I started rereading On the Road. It’s been a while, and even though I’ve read it a dozen times, I always find myself on vacation or living in a different spot mentioned in the book, and the reread mixes with the firsthand to create something new. I have this old orange-cover paperback edition, the 25th anniversary one, that I bought for $2.49 at that old used bookstore at Third and Jordan, the one with too many books in too small a space and a crazy lady running the place. Anyway, I always swear I bought a new, not-falling-apart edition and then realize I was thinking about Orwell’s 1984. (Although even with the new version, I still read my falling-apart paperback I got at TIS in the summer of 92 for a polysci class that was somewhat mentioned (fictionally, of course) in Summer Rain.

Kerouac was in Denver, of course – that’s how the book starts. And everyone around here is “Kerouac-Kerouac-Kerouac” and/or “Larimer Square-Larimer Square-etc”. Kerouac didn’t live in Larimer Square though, although Neal Cassidy did as a kid, when the place was a wall-to-wall beggar-filled shithole. Now it’s a hip and trendy shopping mall type thing after they bulldozed all of the historic buildings and built martini bars and expensive clothing stores. Still, it’s interesting to hear Kerouac’s descriptions of an old-timey Denver with the same crossroads as the current one. It’s kindof like when I read parts of John Sheppard’s up-and-coming book and dug the stuff about the old Lowry AFB, although it’s all strip malls and condos now.

Speaking of Lowry, I’ve gotta go out there tomorrow to an arthritis clinic. Yes, the foot is still fucked up. On maybe Monday, after my last shot wore away, it was at about the same point as when this all started. So yesterday was the internist and more prednisone for the next 12 days. Today was a podiatrist at the same hospital, and a deeper shot of cortisone into the ankle. Tomorrow is a surprise, because I booked for like mid-July, and they called today and asked if I could come in. So mostly paperwork, prodding, the same stupid questions, but maybe the rheumatologists there have a better idea on a long-term plan for this shit.

Until then, I am so fucking sick of telling this story that I just tell people I’m on crutches because I’m an attention whore. Or because of the dotcom crash. Or global warming. Or George Bush personally came to my apartment and hit me in the ankle with a tire iron. The only problem with that is the person might start talking about dubya and not shut the fuck up. The worst part of this is talking to doctor after doctor after nurse after intern after billing representative about what happened and when I was diagnosed and if I can move it this way and if my great-great-grandparents ate shellfish. Imagine every stupid question you’ve been asked in the last ten years, and then imagine being asked all of them a dozen times a week, and that’s just the forms you have to fill out to see the doctor. I don’t know which one of you got all EFF privacy-fucking-apeshit about health care places implanting an RFID chip in your ass to store all of this, but fuck you very much for stopping that technology. If I had back all of the time I’ve ever spent filling out the same stupid form in doctor’s offices, I’d seriously have another five years of my life back.

Today’s worst moment (other than the giant tentspike needle they put in my ankle joint) was this total bitch of a receptionist who INSISTED I was on an HMO and needed to walk downstairs and get a referral form and then walk backup. I did not have the heart to tell her a) I was in a waiting room full of gimps, all of us with walkers, canes, crutches, wheelchairs, and Rascals. None of us could walk downstairs if a gunman was spraying lead with an AK down the hall. And b) I AM NOT ON AN HMO. THE CARD DID NOT SAY HMO. THE FILE DID NOT SAY HMO. THE PEOPLE AT THE INSURANCE COMPANY DID NOT SAY HMO. LADY, YOU WORK IN A HOSPITAL – GET SOME FUCKING HALDOL IMMEDIATELY.

The good news is that I can mostly walk now. Oh, I couldn’t get any more Vicodin, but maybe that’s a good thing.

Sarah’s uncle was here all week, staying with us. He was taking a class at DU – it’s mostly online, but he came in for this crash course where you’re in lectures from 7am-9pm each day. So we didn’t see a whole lot of him, but he’s a cool guy and we got in a good roadtrip to Colorado Springs for an excellent dinner at the Blue Star, and a day trip out to Idaho Springs, plus a quick spin around the DU campus, which is damn nice. Sarah’s sister Liz and brother-in-law Matthew were also in town yesterday and today, and we’re going to a picnic at Matthew’s. They’re on an Ohio-to-LA car trip for some professorly conference stuff at UCLA, but it’s good to see them for a bit. The only thing that I suddenly realized is that I just about have her family tree down, and I will have to re-memorize various titles, like “Sarah’s sister’s husband” will become “my brother-in-law”. Of course, when I told Sarah last week that she has already become Aunt Sarah because she’s been buying my nephews and niece crap, and she sort of freaked the fuck out over that.

As an aside, I am still not used to the girlfriend => fiancee thing. I mean, I have no problems with being engaged, it’s just when a car dealership or realtor or secretary asks, the first thing that pops out of my mouth is still “girlfriend”. If they ask “married?”, an “almost” sometimes works. Sometimes it’s easier to say wife, and that bothers me less. It’s shorter, doesn’t have the accent, easy to pronounce. Sometimes to fuck with healthcare people, I say partner, and let them wonder if I’m some huge biker dude’s shackjob. We were somewhere, I forget where, and some clerk either said “Mrs. Konrath” or “Sarah Konrath” and we both sort of freaked out. I’m not into the name change thing or the hyphenation. You’re born with a name, you keep it until you die, unless you become a musician or something. It took me long enough to ferret out all of the shit online with my old address, I couldn’t imagine doing it for my name too. Anyway.

Lots of baseball coming up. Sarah got free club seats from work for tomorrow’s game. It’s against the Devil Rays, and provided none of their players shoot their wives or knock up any 17-year-olds in the next 24 hours (which is probably like even money in Vegas sports books) it will be interesting. We also have tickets for the Yankees-Rockies game on Tuesday, although Sarah can’t go because of work. I am reluctant to go dump the spare ticket on StubHub because then I might end up sitting next to some total joker for nine innings. (And no, this one won’t go extra. I’m guessing 24-3.) If you have a good pal that is not a total social leper and needs a seat, I would be willing to work a deal. (Like a hefty discount if they’re willing to not be an annoying fuck and/or take the bat to the head if that happens again.)