Seasonal Affective Disorder season and The Vow.

Hello friends, foes, and everyone in-between.

It’s been a week punctuated by doctor visits, rain showers, and aggressive baking. Last week, I had two doctor appointments. Real appointments… with inconclusive results!

Last Monday’s appointment was for the unsolved mystery that is my big toe. After more than a month of slowly growing my toenail, I clipped off a sample for the lab technician to nibble on. Post-nibble, the lab technician determined that there were no mushroomy notes.

Monday’s doctor (who was not the Dr. Mark Greene look-alike) inspected it and wasn’t satisfied when I told him that it’d tested negative for fungal growth. He made me take off my other shoe so that he could compare it to my healthy toe. He then wanted to send another sample to the lab. I pointed out that it’d taken me about six weeks to grow out just enough to clip off.

“Nah, there’s enough. I can do it.”

I had a video interpreter for this appointment. While the doctor was out of the room to gather supplies, the interpreter wished me good luck. “Hope it doesn’t hurt!” She added.

It did.

Doctor, while jamming the clippers under my toenail: “You were right: there isn’t much to work with.”

It’s been a week and I guess the lab is still trying to find the specks of keratin that the doctor had taken from my toe.

Appointment number two was for a much older malady: my janky knees. I’d waited about six months to get this specialist appointment and the office finally contacted me a week prior to say, “So, you have an appointment on this day at this time. You have 48 hours to confirm the appointment.” Well, I’m sure my employer will love receiving ample notice, I thought.

I soon learned that nearly everybody in the bike shop has knee problems, so my employer obliged and bumped my shift to later in the day.

All for nothing. I was expected to describe in detail the location and severity of the pain I experienced months ago: the injury that prompted the back of my right knee to sprout a bursa. The doctor said that some people are more prone to developing cysts than others. He explained that the crinkling/popping of my knee joints was also “normal” for some people. This *is* my life now.

The good news is that he strongly recommended that I continue cycling. The bad news is that he hated the shoes I wore to my appointment, which were my Rod Laver tennis shoes. Maybe he was a Stan Smith fan? So, I am on my way to starting a collection of those beige shoes, aka the #1 footwear choice of cotton-headed coffin dodgers.

Other notable moments of the week were:

I wore pants (ugh).

The return of Ponyboy’s fenders (which look sweet with the silver bar tape).

I turned on the heat in my place (then woke up in the middle of the night sweating because I’d gotten too enthusiastic with the dial.)

I got hit by a car…ish. The driver pulled out of his street parking spot without looking. This happened slowly enough for me to react. I swerved and then leaned to the right, putting my hand on the car’s hood to steady myself. For a further five seconds, I wobbled before finally coming to a stop, all without tipping over. When I looked over my shoulder at the driver, he shook his head as to say, “Cyclists don’t belong on the road.”

I got a backstock shift that involved two hours of security tagging clothing. “This is an excellent use of my skills,” I sarcastically pondered.

So, with not-so-stellar events sprinkled throughout the last week, the inspiration to write wasn’t there. I spent most of my time at home doing some of what Zoée referred to as “light watching” with The Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror (Netflix) and The Vow (Crave/HBO Max). The latter is about the NXIVM cult, spearheaded by this swoon-worthy gentleman:

This is what I want?

There is much, much more to The Vow and the NXIVM cult than volleyball. Yet, neither Zoée nor I could wrap our heads around the idea of people voluntarily attending regular midnight volleyball matches with their guru! I’d sooner get branded than let this guy repeatedly spike a volleyball at my face in the middle of the night.

Zoée, still reeling from the volleyball element of NXIVM.

There were nine hour-long episodes of former cult members explaining how they got seduced by a volleyball-playing guru. “It could happen to anyone!” claimed Mark Vicente. Anyone with $2,700 to drop on five-day personal growth classes at a Holiday Inn, maybe. So, not me.

How do I trust a guy who can’t draw dignity?

Wow. Maybe stick to volleyball, hmm?

He was shitty at drawing diagrams in general.

0/10. Would not worship.

Also, there’s 0% chance I’d do something like this:

I’d almost rather play volleyball.

Yeah, I’d be the wet blanket of V-Week (Which stands for Vanguard Week, not Volleyball Week.)

“Someone forgot to bring the volleyball. Let’s pretend anyway.”

And… THE MOUTH KISSING? Having to endure four years of La Bise in Québec was enough for me. Hugging is as far as I’ll go, and even then, I only like them if the other person commits. Pre-Covid, I could deal with hand-shaking. Unless…

I bet this moment is the last thing Keith thinks about before he goes to sleep: just lying on his prison cell mattress cringing in the dark. Every night.

Mark wasn’t wrong when he said anyone could accidentally join a cult. I mean, I was in the Brownies when I was six. We had to memorize the Brownie Pledge before flying up to Girl Guides. Much like cults, there were subdivisions. Mine was “Little People”.

The Rajneesh Movement would’ve been more up my alley: after all, they were about substantiality, and the kids lived off-site, out of sight. I’d sooner transform my entire wardrobe into shades of red than start wearing dorky 3/4 zip fleece pullovers embroidered with the corporate logo.

Frank? I meant to type drank. Maybe I had Frank Parlato on my mind?

Zoée and I must’ve spent a week discussing this docuseries on WhatsApp. Once my HBO Max add-on expires, I’ll get the Starz add-on so that I can watch Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult. Maybe then I’ll get the holy grail of screenshots: Keith guzzling Guru energy drink in his volleyball duds.

For now… I have this:

If Red Bull gives you wings, Guru gives you delusions of grandeur.

2 thoughts on “Seasonal Affective Disorder season and The Vow.

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