Monday, August 15, 2011

La Frigidaire: L’Estomac vs. La Utérus

Dear Uterus,
You may have kept me in bed today until 2 p.m., you may have given me terrible cramps, you may have made me miss my coffee, you may be an unpleasant little bitch, but you can't stop me from having a blast! So why don't you just go screw yourself and stop being such a dick. I'm starting a petition against you. 

The Brain

C.E.O. The Body
Manager of Emotions

It is amazing how two factors can totally determine how positive or negative my day will be: My Stomach and my Uterus. My day must always begin with a cup of good coffee and often times, something small but good to eat. When I say coffee, I’m not talking about pre-ground coffee that you can get at the grocery store. I’m talking about that whole bean goodness that I freshly grind with spices and happiness and blend with cream to create a beautiful concoction of well-being and wakefulness. If I don’t have that, or at least a good generic copy, my entire days are messed up because it’s my stomach that at least needs to be satisfied with a cup of coffee. I realize my addiction and I own it.
The uterus will often try to undo all of the well-being that I created with my morning java. If my day begins with an ornery reproductive vessel, then the rest of the day has potential to be miserable to say the least. The day can be especially miserable if the uterus is toying with the desires of an irritable tummy.
You see, the stomach apparently shares the power to run or ruin my life with the uterus. The stomach is not as strong, at least in my case, as the uterus and its control over the body.  The uterus, however, can sometimes be overruled by the opinion of its opponent. Hunger pangs are comparable to menstrual cramps. They debilitate you; my hunger has a way of steering my opinions, moods and actions. Unlike the uterus, the stomach can be satiated easily by putting something into it (save your dirty minds…now the vagina and the stomach, on the other hand, have that in common too, but this isn’t about that right now). Because of that tiny factor, my stomach wins periodically in the struggle for control over my life. There was one instance, during my Uterine Enlightenment, when I was made painfully aware of the power struggle between my stomach and my uterus. Here is the back story:
One of my friends in Toulouse, Jess, got into a situation where she had to move. She is American as well, from the same southern town as I am, a very Baptist county in Georgia. Jess had, for some reason, moved into a building that was devoutly Catholic, and one which was also devoutly ripping her off for a one room living space in a place called Foyer Saint Michel. This holy heist was costing over four hundred Euros a month, a price that is well above the budget of a teaching assistant in France. Being that she was neither Catholic nor super religious, she found herself constantly annoyed (and broke) at the hands of the nuns. Jess and I had to figure out a scheme to move her from that Catholic dormitory in which she had been living for about four months, into a real apartment across town that cost a little over half of what she was paying the nuns. Afterwards, we were going to buy cheap wine and whiskey to celebrate that night, committing various sins out on the town. It was a scheme that was sure to work.
Jess explained that aside from the price of the place, she just couldn’t take living there anymore with the strict, tight-lipped sneaker-wearing nuns. They rode bicycles in straight lines, talked about cheese, preached the Catholic faith and dictated every move that the girls made. I was secretly amused by the nuns and their collective dictatorship that they had over the girls who lived there. They interpreted most moves as a sign of severe naught, and looked down on girls who did so.  To add to my excuses for attempting to get one over on the spouses of God, they also tried to get an additional four hundred Euro charge out of girls who moved earlier than their contract stated.
I digress. On a Saturday morning, I was supposed to get up early to sneak Jess and all of her things out of the foyer. We had talked about it the night before, schemed if you will, and it all seemed to make sense. I would get up, send her a text message when I got to her place, tip-toe her belongings into the car of one of our French accomplices and speed away on the narrow streets as the nuns slept in their chambers. Unfortunately, my Uterus decided to side with the nuns that day. 
I rolled around in bed, trying to get up, almost like usual. Only there was one difference: I was caught in a purgatory between my uterus and my stomach. I hadn’t eaten a big dinner the night before and I was starving! My stomach growled and when I tried to leave the bed, my uterus ground into my abdomen, and I sank back into the blankets, defeated. I stared, glassy eyed, at the ibuprofen sitting just out of arms reach on the far end of my night stand. What was worse was that I had just gone to the super marché the day before, and I had a refrigerator full of desirable food. I had found bacon at the Lidel, which was the cheapest grocery store in town. I had been hard pressed to find bacon, and I was incredibly excited when I found it among the other poitrines and cubed off-meats. Along with the bacon, I bought some fromage blanc. Let me go off on a tangent and tell you about fromage blanc. It is essentially a yogurt-like white cheese that I enjoy with strawberry or apricot jam. When I ate some, it was like an explosion of soft, cheesy, creamy goodness that I am hard pressed to find in the States. Anyways, I had just bought my favorite café Arab as well, which was a strong and smooth coffee with no bitter after taste. To top it all off, I had a jar of chocolaty Nutella and a fresh, crispy baguette-there is nothing like a fresh French baguette. All of that was in my kitchen, and I was in bed struggling to get to my beloved bacon, coffee and cheese. I had an internal dialogue and this is what happened: 
(Anisa lies in bed, twisting and turning in pain. The Uterus enters from stage left, creeping low, bent towards the ground, fallopian tubes bared like a cougar’s claws)
Stay in bed or I'll hurt you, and you know how that is.
(Anisa balls herself up in bed and groans. Enter the Brain, stage right. The Brain gives the Uterus a dirty once over, fallopian tubes to cervix, then speaks in a commanding voice).
Get up, you have to help Jess move in two hours and 45 minutes.
(Anisa attempts to sit up, begrudgingly. Enter the Stomach, stage right. It grumbles and holds its sides, speaking in a pleading voice).
There's bacon and coffee and fromage blanc with apricot jam in the kitchen...why the hell are you still in bed!?
(Anisa shows some interest by dangling her legs off of the side of the bed. The Uterus taps its foot and utters ominously).
 I'm warning you. Be know what I can do to you...
(Anisa cautiously pulls her knees to her chest. The Brain rolls its eyes and puts its stem on its hip dramatically).
You can't break your promise to Jess...
(The Stomach nods in agreement and takes two steps closer to Anisa)
Bacon. Coffee. Creamy fresh white cheese with jam...only a few feet away.
(The Uterus looks from Anisa to the Stomach to the Brain, panicked)
(The Brain and the Stomach dance in circles around Anisa’s bed)
Bacon…Coffee…White Cheese…
(The Uterus is at a loss for words)
(Anisa struggles and fights her way out of the bed sheets)
 I'M UP!
(The Brain and the Stomach give each other a high five)
(The Uterus skulks away, defeated, stage right)
My stomach won that battle, with a little help of my common sense. I sloughed to the kitchen, victorious, and had my fare, happily and weary: crispy bacon, creamy grits that my mother sent for me in a care package, café Arab, fromag blanc with apricot jam, and a baguette spread with Nutella. Victory! After breakfast at 6:30am, I made my way down to Foyer Saint Michel to get to work.
  I ended up not helping Jess that morning anyways, because the nuns were still skulking about in the building. Of course nuns of all people would be up at the ass-crack of dawn to worship at the chapel or terrorize the girls or whatever nuns do at seven o’clock in the morning. Jess ended up sneaking out of the foyer Catholique later on that day, Mission Impossible style, and moving her way across town to the nice nun-free apartment. 
That night, I ignored my need to stop functioning. There was no reason why we shouldn’t have celebrated the liberation of Jess, and I was not going to let a little thing like my uterus or my stomach stop me. After having drinks at the new place, we went with our accomplices to Place Saint Pierre, the popular district to hang out for students in Toulouse. In this district, on the Garonne River, there are bars, clubs, lounges, cafés and restaurants that everyone hops to from Thursday to Sunday every weekend. We ended up at The Gate that night, an international club that has cheap drinks and cute boys. My Uterus lost that day, and instead of staying in bed with my covers up to my nose, I danced until 3:00am. We stopped at a Moroccan kebab stand at 3:30am at the request of my stomach, who was certainly victorious. The nuns would have prayed for the redemption of our souls that night, had they cycled passed us in their Nikes, I thought, as we ate mystery meat kebabs, pomme frites and sipped thé du menthe.
(Exit Anisa, stage left)

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