How much do I love lying on my stomach? You can have the chair or the couch. I'll take the floor. If you're looking to find me at my happiest -- and I have to admit that some might find the idea of me at my happiest quite elusive -- then take a look when I'm lying on the living room floor, big (yet oddly flat) green or tan pillow under my chest, reading material spread out in front of me. If you look back a few minutes later, you may find me asleep, my head halfway covering this month's Vanity Fair or a book about the Mafia.
I do my crossword puzzles while lying on my stomach on the living room floor. Since I am lately addicted to them, I also do them in coffee shops, sitting in the car while waiting for the Jawa to finish his school day, and occasionally, though not often, at the kitchen table.
At night, when I go to bed, I lie on my stomach. Not counting a short period following my reading of "The Amityville Horror," where it was revealed that each family member shot by Ronald DeFeo was found lying on their stomach, which creeped me out enough to try lying on my back, I have slept on my stomach since I was a little kid.
I love sleeping on my stomach, but as I get older, I find it less comfortable for the long run. I start out there every night, having rationalized many years ago that it feels safer, because if anything fell from the ceiling it would hit my back, not my front. But eventually, my right arm falls asleep, or I just get antsy, so I roll over to my side. But during that time I am on my stomach, until I get antsy, I revel in the knowledge that my whole body is stretched out.
It is my kind of nirvana.
Now that I am in my 40s, my time on the floor is becoming limited. If I stay there too long, my back starts to hurt. I get up and make a noise befitting of a 75-year-old man. Aaarrrhhh! It's worth it, though. I will continue to lie on my stomach until they have to lift me up by a crane.
How much does my blood suck? I mean this not in a vampirical way, though my grandfather, who is 100% Romanian, always claimed to be a vampire. No, I mean it in a "got my latest blood test results back" sort of way.
No shock, there. We knew my blood sucked. We just didn't know how much. We knew that I had high cholesterol. Nothing massive doses of round, beige pills can't handle, though. It's "down" to 209. My "bad" cholesterol, however, continues to soar, proudly waving its flag well over the accepted norm.
And why can't blood pressure be like oil pressure: the higher the better? If my blood is running through my veins at a high pressure, does this mean that every time I cut myself it will come spurting out like a very small, red geyser? Is the pressure high because of all the cholesterol floating around in there, sharing a very small space with it? I wonder, if my pressure got high enough, if my blood would actually boil? No, that's temperature, not pressure.
Nothing that a few small, white, round pills can't take care of. And they're relatively inexpensive.
And now, this: without the benefit of my doctor, who usually scolds me, adding to my perception that all of these health problems are somehow my own fault, karma, whatever, I scanned my latest results to see this one staring back at me under the category "abnormal:" BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVEL: 110.
Apparently, and I really should ask my father about this, because this is one of his pet ailments, your BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVEL is supposed to be between 70 and 100. Anything over that is considered "prediabetic."
I am almost 42 years old. I weigh about 15 pounds more than I should, but not enough so that when I say, "I need to lose weight," at least one person doesn't say, "What are you talking about? You're not fat." I am a vegetarian. Sure, I am weak in the face of chocolate, perhaps far too weak. I stopped drinking one Coke a day, and now have two or three a week. I drink alcohol moderately. At least in my world it's moderate. I have never smoked cigarettes and I go to the gym, to complete an inefficient workout, at least three times a week. AND MY FREAKING CHOLESTEROL, BLOOD PRESSURE AND BLOOD GLUCOSE IS ABNORMALLY HIGH!
Sorry. I lost it there for a moment. I'm back now.
Sandra Bullock is having none of this. Almost 42 herself and built from the sturdiest of white girl genes, her cholesterol is something like 135. The last time she tried to give blood, they wouldn't let her because her blood pressure was too low. And I know she sneaks out to the vending machine at work several times a week for chocolate. Her first response: "Wow, you've got everything."
Then, being S. Bullock, she swung into action. Within minutes, she had emailed me several articles about "Type 2 Diabetes," which, I have learned, results entirely from poor eating habits and being overweight.
So what is left for me? I have to cut out yogurt? I already switched to organic peanut butter, though I would much rather have skippy. After several years of counting fat content, cholesterol and salt, I now add carbohydrates and sugars? What's left for me to eat besides grapes? I can't even eat cottage cheese, and who in their right mind wants to eat cottage cheese?
This morning, I asked Shack where the Jawa keeps his pencils. The dog seems to have a craving for products made of wood -- pencils, window sills, chair legs. He seems to be in pretty good shape. It is noon now. Maybe Shack and I will sit down and gnaw on the table leg together. At least then I will be lying on my stomach, which will take some of the sting -- though not the splinters -- from the exercise.
The cruelest irony is that now I am forced to model my diet after that of my favorite subculture -- hippies. I will join them in eating whole grain pita bread and hummus, washed down with some freaking carrot juice and a dessert of cashews. Sounds awesome.
My friend Kathaleen was explaining the concept of "offsetting,", wherein someone with the available resources, like, say Al Gore, makes up for a bad move, like, say, having a power bill of $30,000 a month, but giving the same amount of money to something good, like, say, some kind of organization devoted to reducing greenhouse gases. For Al, it helped "offset his carbon footprint."
So I'd like to offset my anticipated hippie footprint, the one I will incur by eating whole grains, cutting out Twix bars and Cokes, and any resulting "mellowness" that comes from my new diet. Since I do not have the financial resources of Al Gore, instead I will "offset" by selling my Volvo and buying a 1968 Pontiac GTO, in which I will roar through the streets of San Francisco, honking my horn obnoxiously at anyone in my way. Especially if they are driving a Prius.
I will take my GTO to pick up the Jawa at school, sitting in the parking lot, loudly revving my engine, wearing sunglasses and a sleeveless t-shirt, listening to Metallica on the stereo. How they will abhor my Hurst shifter and glasspak exhaust. That I will be inside, eating bean sprouts from a reusable canvas bag will not matter then.
And I will go home and lie on my stomach, because they can't take that away from me. Yet.