Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Aimless Reading: The F's, Part 25.9 (Sigmund Freud)

Gay, Peter
Freud: A LIfe For Our Time

It's been a while since I posted on a biography, so I'll remind you of a couple of facts regarding my relationship to the genre:

1. I file biographies under the last name of the subject, not the author.
2. I often purchase biographies, but rarely finish reading them.
3. I generally dislike the form.

All of which is true of this one, which I purchased online a few years back, intending to supplement my reading of Freud. I bought it for $3.50 plus shipping. I think I got about as far as the founding of psychoanalysis and then stopped, not, mind you, because of anything the author did, but rather because I get bored very quickly reading biographies.

I am kind of sad to finish the Freud section of the blog -- I feel like a found a little of my blogging mojo again since embarking on the Freud section of the project (thanks for the supportive comments PSJ, BF and RD!). I was definitely getting bored with myself and with the project for a little while there, having forgot how to get to that part of my memory that serves up the most interesting fodder, sort of like when, a few years back, I forgot how to properly open an avocado.

I was eating avocados almost every day one summer when, suddenly, I forgot the proper way to remove the pit. Instead of chopping in with the blade and then twisting the pit out of the fruit, I began stabbing it with the point and twisting it out that way.

This worked very well until one day Lori and I decided to go for a hike in the woods at Allegheny park. We packed a lunch that included avocados and nuts and various other healthy things. I also packed a paring knife. Lori said she had her swiss army knife, but for some reason I insisted on brining the one I normally used. Lori thought this was ridiculous, but packed it any way. Thankfully, she also packed a first aid kit.

We drove the ninety minutes down to the park, then decided to hike on what was called the "fire watch" trail or something like that. There was supposed to be an old fire watch at the top that you could climb to get a nice view of the park and have a picnic. After several hours of looking for said structure along trails that seemed to keep disappearing beneath debris that hadn't been cleared away after winter, we gave up looking for the fire watch and decided to sit down for lunch.

I unpacked all of the goodies and took out the paring knife and the avocado. When I opened avocados at home, I was protected from my own stupidity by the fact that the point went down toward a cutting board -- not so in the forest, where I held the fruit in the palm of my hand. I pushed the knife through the pit and almost all the way through my palm, just between the pointer and middle fingers. I also hit an artery. A quick fountain of blood spurted from my hand as I dropped the avocado with the knife sticking through it onto the ground.

I yelled and Lori asked what happened and all I could say was, It's really bad.

I thought I would throw up or faint or both. The sight of my own blood made me sick. Lori tried to get through to the ranger station on my cellphone. She got about two-thirds of the message out before losing the connection. Meanwhile, I was getting woozy and lay my head against a log. Lori took out the first aid kit and found a small butterfly bandage to hold the wound shut.

Given how deep the cut was, I was amazed that this actually stanched the bleeding. I looked at Lori and she at me. We were both covered in blood. Blood stains on our shirts, shorts, faces, hands, arms, legs, everything. It looked like we had just murdered someone. I think at some point we started laughing.

I suddenly felt ravenous. I picked the avocado off the ground and handed it to Lori to finish the cutting, then began stuffing handfuls of cashews in my mouth to stall my hunger. Our phone remained dead and after fifteen minutes or so we decided to start back. We were completely lost, we discovered, and so left the trail and headed straight for the sound of the road.

We came out of the forest, covered in blood, right in front of a ranger station. Everyone stared at us with a mixture of curiosity and terror. We went directly into the station and asked for a first aid kit. The very rude attendant basically threw it at us, saying only, Here.

While I cleaned and bandaged my hand, he came over and asked if we had called in before. Yes, we told him. Shit, you know the ATV's are out looking for you? I'll have to call them back.

A kinder, gentler, ranger finally showed up, asked a few questions, then drove us to our car and gave us directions to the nearest hospital, just outside the park on the PA side. I got two stitches and they sent me on my way. During the two hour ride back to Buffalo, I received two or three calls from the state police, asking me to repeat my story. I guess they wanted to make sure I hadn't murdered someone.

Anyhow, I don't eat avocados with quite the verve I used to. Neither do I forget the proper way to cut them when I do.

Even as I write this, I find myself squeezing my hand, as if I were still in pain.


Barbara said...

Such an apropos Freudian recall of trauma -- !! Sorry, as well, to see the Freud section come to an end.

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

Alas and alack. A lass, and a lack.