Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Putting the "pity" in pityriasis.

It was the fall of 2002. Newly graduated and away from home for the first time, I drew myself a hot bath on a rare night at home. Sinking into the depths of the murky water, (I was living with my brother after all, it’s not like the bathtub was actually clean), I leaned back and started daydreaming.

My boyfriend of a month was coming down to visit me that weekend. Boyfriend. Hmmm. Was that entirely accurate? We weren’t officially a couple, but it felt like something more. We hadn’t even had sex yet, which was somewhat atypical behaviour on my part. ( I had always thought it was ridiculous when characters on TV talked about “taking it slow” and “waiting.” To me, “taking it slow” should refer to foreplay, not needless mental and physical torment.) But I hadn’t seen him in three weeks, and we’d finally have the chance to spend the night together.

I mused these thoughts over, carefully shaving my legs. The countdown had begun. It was Monday. I sighed contentedly, a smile on my face.

And then I saw it. It was red. It was scabby. It was huge. It looked like ringworm. And it was located suspiciously close to my genitals.

I jumped out the bath, trying to calm my fears. Eczema, perhaps? (I’ve had eczema since I was born, and I’m one of the lucky 10% of the population who hasn’t outgrown it, as the doctors always assured my parents I would.) But that just didn’t seem right. I never get eczema anywhere except on my hands and face, and this wasn’t itchy. More than anything, it burned. Maybe it was just ringworm. Hell, considering how close this new affliction was to my nether regions, I would be happy to discover that it was just ringworm.

Worried, I went to bed. "It will be gone in the morning," I told myself.

I woke up the next day, forgetting about my new red scabby friend. It wasn’t until I jumped in the shower after work that night, that I discovered that my new red scabby had multiplied and populated my entire pubic bone with his offspring.

The boyfriend called that night. “I’ll see you on Friday night? I’m looking forward to seeing you,” he said, “And Danny’s gone for the weekend. If you want, we can stay at his place, since his bed is bigger,” he added suggestively.

It was dire times. And dire times call for dire measures.

I called my mom.

I told her I had a rash, carefully omitting its centre of origin. “It’s probably just your laundry detergent, and stress from moving,” she assured me. “Wash your clothes with a different kind of detergent and I’m sure it will go away.”

By Wednesday, the scabs had spread up above the waist of my jeans. Each of the scabs was about the size of the quarter, except for Scabby, who was about the size of a piece of salami. Apparently he was the commander in charge of the army of red blotches taking over my body.

I officially started to freak out. I convinced myself that I was going to die of some weird sexually transmitted disease and avowed to myself that I would never be promiscuous again. The next time I had sex, I would be married! Or dead! (Not that you can have sex while dead, but this the rash prevented me from rationalizing and realizing that the corpses don’t choose to be involved in necrophiliac activity.)

“Andrew, I need your help,” I pleaded my brother. “I don’t have a doctor in the city, and I don’t know what to do.” I pulled up my shirt to show him the Christmas tree shape the spots had begun to form across my ribs and back.

“Uhhhh,” Andrew said, worried, “I’ll take you the Medi-centre.”

When we got to the Medi-centre, we were told the wait was 4 to 5 hours. “You might as well go home, unless it’s an emergency,” the nurse at the desk told us. The line-up was winding out the door and onto Jasper Avenue.

On Thursday morning, I woke up to discover that my nipples had been the latest victim of the red rashy terror. What was next, my face?! And Scabby was still alive and well, terrifyingly close to my genital region, changing shades and starting to turn white at the edges. Here I was, just moved away from home, eighteen, falling in love, about to see my new boyfriend for the first time in three weeks (not to mention potentially be nude in front of him for the first time ever) and I was covered with a rash that could only be generously described as marginally more attractive than genital herpes.

Andrew took one look at my stomach and the look on my terrified face, and got on the phone with his doctor. My brother is usually of the quiet persuasion compared to me, but I heard him raise his voice. “She needs to get in to see someone today,” I could hear him saying aggressively, “this is her only day off work and it can’t wait. . .I know, I know. I know you aren’t taking any new patients, but this is an emergency. . .” I began to sob. The rash had officially become an “emergency.”

That afternoon, thanks to my brother, I went to my doctor’s appointment. “This doctor is actually retired,” the receptionist told me, “but came in since we are really busy today.”

When the doctor walked in, I suddenly understood by what the receptionist meant by retired. The guy had to be at minimum 80 years-old. His hair was white and barely there, his hands and face were wrinkled, his voice wavered when he talked, and his couldn’t hold himself steady.

“Where did the rash start?” he asked me after examining the tree mosaic on my ribs.

“Ummm, here,” I said shyly, pointing to my hip bone.

“Can I see it?” He looked equally nervous and afraid. (Yes, I’m sure that in 40 years of practicing medicine the guy had seen plenty of weird shit, but that really doesn’t make anticipating and seeing a possible STD on a young girl any more appealing.)

I pulled down my skirt and panties. He glanced quickly.

“Okay, you can pull them back up. I’ll be right back.”

He left the room. I watched the clock. 2 minutes passed. Maybe he had to pee? 5 minutes passed. Hmmm, maybe this is so horrible they have to get a specialist to handle it? 10 minutes passed. Maybe the sight of my malformed skin killed the old guy? 20 minutes passed. I’m dying of AIDS! Oh mother!

God and I were starting to make a solid deal when the doctor finally re-entered the room, holding a lofty textbook in his arms. With shaking hands, he sat down silently and turned the pages. He pointed at a picture. (Shit, he had to give me a photo illustration? I’d see myself in the mirror before. Really, this was unnecessary. I wish he’d just tell me that I’m dying and that I’ll never have sex ever again and get on with it!)

“It’s pityriasis rosea,” he told me. “It’s a virus. It starts with a large area of skin called the Herald patch, and works its way up the body forming a Christmas tree shape. It's not contagious. It’s pretty rare, but I’ve seen it a couple of times before. But your case is particularly severe.”

“So, how did I get it?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Nobody really knows what causes it.”

Great. “So, how do I get rid of it?

“It will go away with time,” he told me. (I was relieved. Maybe it would be better by tomorrow? The boyfriend would never have to know!) “It should be gone in about six weeks,” he continued, before finishing with the best part, “eventually, the rash spots will turn scaly and white, and then fall off.”

So, I didn’t have an STD. That was a bonus. But my entire body, including my genital region, had been infiltrated by some mystery rash with no known cure only a week before my long-distance boyfriend, who I was going to have sex with for the first time, was coming to visit? How was I going to explain this? Better yet, how was I possibly going to pass this off as sexy?


Monday, February 27, 2006

Lists for Monday

Things You May Not Know About Me:

1. I check craig’s list at least once a day to see if I’m a “missed connection.”

Actually, that was a lie. I stare intensely at strangers on the streetcar, then check craig’s list at least three times a day to see if I’m a MC. I never am.

2. I own 11 dresses and 15 skirts, but only 4 pairs of jeans.

3. I tell people I’m allergic to strawberries. But really, I just don’t like them.

4. I have stayed overnight at the largest squat in Europe. I slept in a graffitied loft with only three walls and 11 Finnish boys from punk hardcore bands for warmth, and awoke in the morning to a vegan breakfast.

5. I took highland dance lessons for 8 years. It is a completely useless skill. Except, of course, when you are drunk and happen to be passing by a bagpiper during the Fringe who is packing up for the night, and he looks disheartened, so you bombard him with requests to play a strathspey and reel, until he looks at your with the light of recognition in his eyes, and happily busts his chanter and pipes back out and you begin to dance for him and the intoxicated crowd, and earn the nickname Ingrid, which isn't a Scottish name at all.

But other than that, it’s a completely useless skill.

6. My middle name is Wynne. (Pronouced “win”). It means “pale or fair-skinned.” It also means that my parents have a sense of humour.

7. On two separate occasions I have dislocated one of my ribs. On both occasions, I was merely at the driving range with my dad.

8. I work as a resume advisor at my university. Students come in to see me, and I’m expected to criticize their resumes using a ‘sandwich technique.’ That is, I’m expected to say something positive about their resumes combined with a constructive critique.
For example:

“Well, you put your name on your resume, that’s awesome! Unfortunately, there is no way in hell you are going to get a job with this piece of shit.”


“Good job on using 12 point font! However, there is no way in hell you are going to get a job with this piece of shit.” (Just joking. I’m actually really nice at work and my clients like me. I even edit the resumes with a pink pen, because I think it makes me seem a notch nicer than I really am.)

9. I hate carbonated beverages. When I buy pop, I open it up and let it go flat before I drink it.

10. I have a birthmark shaped like a heart on my stomach.

Things You Know About Me:

1. I'm a narcissist.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Caught. Red-hearted.

under helicopters of desire. . . says:
I don't feel like i could write my way out of a paper bag these days. Hell, I can't even come up with a non-cliched suitable metaphor for my recent inability to turn phrases into anything readable.

canice // if you find yourself caught in love. says:
you mean even for blogs?

under helicopters of desire. . . says:
when was the last time I wrote anything decent on my blog?

canice // if you find yourself caught in love. says:
you are generally a pretty good storyteller

canice // if you find yourself caught in love. says:
your need for a boyfriend is becoming evident though

under helicopters of desire. . . says:
my need for a boyfriend? What?!

canice // if you find yourself caught in love. says:
hahha hold on

canice // if you find yourself caught in love. says:
"If we were in love, we'd find random city gardens in the middle of winter. I'd crawl into the flower beds, not caring about the mud on my freshly washed jeans, and we'd take uninspired pictures and call them art." aiya

Actually, I owe you more than a beer. . .

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Happy Endings

Disclaimer: I posted every single one of my pictures from New York. There are a lot. I also wrote half-ass captions. But, if you want, here they are to enjoy in their entirety.

When I left for New York, it had been a long week at school. I really needed the vacation.


After a night out on the town (after a 16-hour train ride), Chloe and I awoke in the morning to see David Berry waiting for us at the front desk. We went out for a long walk in Central Park.

West Side! (West Side Central Park).

Dave and Sean John in Times Square.

Adam (from Tennessee) telling Chloe, "You are the most beautiful girl in the world." However, when we made Adam play Scrabble with us, and Chloe played GOOP, he insisted it wasn't a word, and told her she couldn't make up words, even if she is "so darn cute." Adam also told me I was the second most prettiest girl in the whole world.

David was the third.

Tony was an employee at the hostel, originally from Egypt.

Adam, Chloe and I, on the subway on the way to Brooklyn.

Chloe and I.

Luca and I. (Luca is from Italy and doing an internship in New York right now).

Luca, myself and Tyler. (Tyler is from Massachussetts, and started working at the hostel while we were staying there. He shared a room with us, and wore his shoes to bed. Chloe offered him consolation cookies in the morning.)

We Are Wolves.

Lorenzo (also from Italy, he is a student in New York and plans on living with Luca) and Chloe.

A new friend Chloe and I made on the subway.

This was our favourite subway station.


Chloe conned me out of bed early Sunday morning with promises of coffee and Scrabble.

She won.

Later in the day, we went for a long walk through Central Park.

Then we hopped on the subway and went down to the Pier.

Dave was waiting for us at the hostel when we got back. Even though we were exhausted, we decided to go out for President's Day. (Edit: Chloe wants me to clarify that President's Day was on Monday. Regardless, we went on Sunday night because the next day was a holiday). Mainly because the pub up the street was named "Ding Dong."

And we weren't going to pass up the opportunity to say we went to a place called Ding Dong.

Tony came out with us too.

The thing about peeing is that it can get really boring. (I'm trying to justify taking pictures of myself while urinating.)


We decided to start the week with cupcakes at the famous Magnolia Bakery. (As featured in the SNL "Narnia Rap" skit).

Waiting in line was worth it.

Dave prepares to take the first bite.

They were delicious.

Wall Street.

Waiting for the Staten Island Ferry. Chloe couldn't handle any more cupcakes.

We spent the night hanging out at the hostel.


In the afternoon, we stood in line to get Broadway tickets.

Then we went for Italian food, bummed around Greenwich, and went out for coffee.

Times Square at night.

The Producers was hysterical.

These signs are all over New York. Apparently they have a choking problem there.

Even though Luca had to worked the next morning, we convinced him to come out with us.

John (who is from Vancouver, but currently lives in Toronto) and Chloe.


The United Nations.

We're tourists. Can you tell?
Emily (from Toronto, another Ryerson student, who I stood in line for at a bar once and randomly recognized...check out my January entries and see if you can spot Emily), Chloe and Zach (from Australia, who stopped in New York on his way to South America).

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

That night we practiced the fine art of subway surfing.

After dinner, we went to CBGBs.

Dave, Emily, Chloe, Meagan (another Australian who was headed to Ohio for an internship), and Zach.

The Teeth!

It was definitely one of those nights.

We ended up at this bar that used to a strip club. It was called Happy Endings.

Dave and Emily.

Chloe and I high-fiving one another after we successfully busted into the basement and started doing shots of tequila. It was one of those nights.


On my last night in New York, I decided to stay up all night, instead of getting up at 5 am to catch my train. Meagan, Zach and Chloe kept me company and we went back down to Greenwich. Chloe and I have an affinity for gnomes these days.

The Aussies insisted that we go to New York's token Aussie pub.

Meagan, Chloe and I.

I slept the whole way home.