Thursday, June 19, 2008

Whatever You Do, Don't Stick It In Your Mouth

by Jessica Anya Blau

In my last blog I told you about The Blue Ribbon for the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to me (passing out naked, in public, in a pool of my own vomit). The Gold Ribbon goes to an event that I describe in the PS section of my book, The Summer of Naked Swim Parties (I won't repeat myself here). Here is the White Ribbon of embarrassing events that have happened to me:

I had just returned home with my new baby after having spent a week in the hospital recuperating from a c-section while she had been in Intensive Care. I'd barely slept, there was banana-shaped oozing gash at my pubic bone, my breasts were bigger than Dolly Parton's (in fact, when I hobbled to the bathroom from my hospital bed one day, a tiny Philippina nurse looked at me and said, "Dolly Parton look out!") and they were pulsating out milk so that I always had wet bulls-eyes on my shirts. In short, I was a wreck.

There was a knock at the door, so I carried the tiny baby on my shoulder (one hand on her bottom, one hand free) and went to answer. A uniformed man stood on my porch. He had a clipboard in his hand.

"I'm here to read the meter," he said.

I looked at him a bit stunned. I knew I'd had the meter read before, but I couldn't quite remember what it entailed--him going into the basement perhaps?

"Okay," I said.

"Here's my I.D." He handed me a laminated, drivers' license-sized I.D. card. I took the I.D. from him, didn't even look at it, and then put it in my mouth.


I have no idea why I put his I.D. in my mouth. I was delirious. I had been sniffing the baby's hands and feet while she nursed. I think I put them in my mouth at times, too. But to have put this, the identification card of the meter-reader, in my mouth was baffling.

I didn't realize what I had done until the man reached out and gently removed the I.D. from my mouth.

"I'll take that now," he said, and it was like I had suddenly awoken. My heart started beating, which in turn started the pumping machine on my breasts. There was milk dribbling down to my feet. I wanted to cry but I knew that to have stuck his I.D. in my mouth and then burst out crying would only make the matter worse. I sucked back the tears, stepped aside and let him in to read the meter.

When he left, he didn't say goodbye.

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