Sunday, April 03, 2005

Cold feet, literally

I had a great night at J.'s place. She didn't have to work, so she had a few of the girls over. There was lots of wine drinking, lots of talking, lots of laughs, a little Belgian chocolate, and some teeny strawberry and brie tarts of G.'s that were really awesome.

But I had the worst drive home. First I stopped at the grocery store (where I bought the last $10 goose in Athens, thankyouverymuch) and while I was in the produce section picking out portobello mushrooms, I started to have an unusually bad Raynaud's attack. I watched as the first two fingers of my right hand turned white and dead-looking. It hurt. I swore, flapped my arms like a moron, and breathed hot air on my fingers to no avail.

The fingers stayed fishy and numb the whole way through the grocery store. I didn't figure they'd improve. If there's one thing I've learned in five years of dealing with this condition, it's that I lose my ability to regulate my body heat when I'm overtired. And guess what? It was super late and I was exhausted. I just needed to get home and go to bed.

By the time I made it through the excruciating, pointless self-checkout (is it really a self-checkout if the clerk has to override the machine twelve times?), four toes were numb as well. Two of them were the toes that have been frostbitten again and again because of the Raynaud Syndrome. Not good.

I got in the car, started the engine, cranked up the heat in the footwell, then sped away. A few miles later, near the edge of town, I noticed that the gas gauge was dangerously low--like, way below "E." It has a habit of dropping off like that; first you think you're fine and you have a quarter-tank, and next thing you know you're running on fumes. I started looking for a gas station, and lo and behold, none were open because it was 3:30 in the morning...or was it 4:30 in the morning because of Daylight Savings? I kept thinking that the next station would be open, but again and again I was dismayed to find them closed.

Here's where it gets scary: The last 18 minutes of my drive home is through really, really rural territory with absolutely no gas stations. And I don't carry a cell phone, because they don't work out in the country. Still, at this point I had no choice but to forge onward.

It was a windy, chilly night. I envisioned having to walk for miles to find a telephone, alone and scared, with my extremities beginning to blister.

It was the longest 18 miles I have ever driven.

But obviously, since I'm here writing this, I made it. I guess that's kind of anticlimactic, but it doesn't feel that way. I'm still so wired that I haven't gone to bed, even though it's almost 6 am. On the bright side, I got all the dishes washed. The dishwater was nice and warm, and I have feeling in my hands again.

I'll be sleeping in my wool socks tonight.