Sunday, March 11, 2007

an author interview plus lesbian bikini lines and my attempts at "wheelchair slut"

I found out recently that Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona really like my book Zed. It looks like such a cool bookshop (over 100,000 titles) that I wish it was near me; for example they have a “Graphic Novel Bookgroup” – now you are talking! They just did an interview of me for their website Page 23, a site to encourage people in their 20’s and 30’s to read more books. The interview is here and honestly, has a lot of information about my life view that I’d rather people didn’t know, so please don’t read the following extract:

How long, I wondered, did people want to spend in one building? Not that long. So I trimmed the book into a sort of "book cocaine" (278 pages) so that people could read it in one sitting. Then hopefully go into the bathroom, look at their face in the mirror and smash their head forward, shattering the glass: a possessive reading experience (leaving claw marks around their eyes is good, too-- whichever!)
Changing topics somewhat (but still about me, me me!), Yesterday Linda and I went for the first time to integrated swimming, which is a time set apart for people with disabilities. From my questions and the stares from the staff, I seemed to be the first person in a wheelchair that had ever shown up (in my brand new wheelchair loaner, which I call “Tank-lite”). As in all things in my life, there was the practical side, and the erotic side. The erotic side was all that time before we went to go swimming when we shaved body hair like mad, with special attention given to each other’s bikini lines. Then came the post shave lesbian bikini line pubic hair check on each other under the scented candles. Tenderness and tweezers were key and and it was pretty much identical (but with less people watching) to this one minute extract from the anime High School Girls (I’m the one with glasses who does the moaning).

Of course, the first practical side is that if you spend a long time using up your energy on getting ready to look femme fatal before going swimming, and you have a heart condition, you may be pretty exhausted by the time you actually GO swimming. But I guess lying like a beached dolphin gave people more time to admire my amazingly smooth body (damn, I've just been notified by email that my feminist creds are suspended...again!). Too bad I was too tired to try and come up with some excuse to do the splits (Hey, I do all that work down there, someone better appreciate it)

The good news is that I sink like a stone. Buns of steel – I got em, let me tell you; with all this nausea and superfast heartrates means I have less fat than before. Even with two floatation devices while doing laps, I was challenged to say above the water line (which most people who like breathing say is important). The second thing I learned was that I can experience syncope in the water too (syncope is fainting or losing body control). It was pretty much the classic hypotension stuff; I swim two laps, I stop to rest, wait 30-60 seconds and “gee, why did it get dark?”

I had assumed that the Life Guards at a swim for people with disabilities would be a little more aware. Like when a swimmer who has TOLD them she has a heart condition which causes her to pass out (and told them her oxygen location) is floating face down on float board in the water.....maybe, maybe, you should ask her partner who is trying to hold her head out of the water if she needs some help. Just a tip. The irony was that the other half of the pool was full of staff training OTHER lifeguards how to help someone out of the water and into the recovery position.

Anyway, while the staff are okay to have me back anytime, Linda’s Law says that Beth is forbidden from swimming during the week until she finds a (female) swimming buddy. She is persecuting me just because I have a fabulous body that sinks FASTER than a rock, and also I lack the good sense to call for help before floating to the bottom. Honestly, I’m just really polite and don’t want to be a bother, is that so bad?

In the changing room afterward, I was overcome by a 'sexual attraction anxiety attack' that had been building all week and was somehow set off by the women streaming past in bikini’s (or less). So, in front of the mirrors, I was trying to get the top tighter, the cleavage displayed lower, the hair bigger – basically I was going for a “wheelchair slut” look which tried to say, “Come on you (insert gender and legal age or above here), can’t you see I’m hot and have a full canister of oxygen....I don’t care if you look at my breasts. I WANT you to look at my breasts, just stop looking at my damn wheels.” It did not work on any level I could detect. What our cabby on the ride home did want from me, him being a Santa Anita racehorse betting junkie was that I give him some idea of who was going to win in the 6th (seriously!). Besides his erratic driving habits of writing and pulling out folders with racing percentages on them while the car was in motion, he also said things like, “See, that’s what makes me different from other gamblers, I really limit myself to only $5000.” So, wasn’t looking at my boosted boobs or skimpy top but did tell me that racing horse, Angel Cup’s trainer had a 13% winning percentage on maiden horse races, “which is not so bad, right?”

The day ended by being smitten by God. By the time I went to bed, I was having uncontrollable spasms under both shoulders as well as extreme fatigue. Maybe those last four laps doing the butterfly were too much? Three hours after going to bed, Linda woke me from a nightmare which continued after I have regained some consciousness (meaning I see both Linda but also the nightmare replaying), and we find out....I can’t move. I can raise my head a few inches, and have a little strength in the elbow of one arm down, but that is it. I’ve been exhausted before, but to not be able to move? Linda has to haul me back into bed, then lift me up, so I could drink and then she puts me on oxygen until I could feel tingles in my legs and move my toes again. But even then, it would be about an hour until I had enough strength/movement to roll over. Scary to have to lie there, thinking about complete and total dependence on someone else, even to have a drink. I am sure I had deep and profound thoughts about the nature of mortality instead of “damn, my nose itches” and “damn, Linda’s already fallen back to sleep.”

Luckily by morning, I was a weak and shaky but a fairly mobile version of myself, so I put the rethinking of the argument on the power wheelchair back in the “that’s not me” box. And everything else about that experience went in the huge box I keep in the mental basement called, “total denial” (It is big, black, metal and makes weird groaning and moaning noises....too much jammed in there I think). On the plus side, all that exhaustion has made me even slimmer, so I am bikini line smooth, with a taut, toned and Barbie-like body (in that, she is unable to move without assistance). I’m going to figure out how to make that work for me.


Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

Oh, look what I found. I'm still working on the androgynous boy pics for you.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Wow - you are fantastic, the ultimate gay/lesbian picture researcher. Still trying to figure out that site - I mean, aristotle and Newton and science on top and erotic Victorian lesbians attacking each other with gigantic sissors below? Wow.

And come-on, I don't get anything for finally making a Barbie joke?

kathz said...

I'm glad you managed a swim. Now I reckon the women in the swimming pool are only looking at your wheels to control their reaction to your breasts, smooth thighs, perfect body etc - they're either excited or envious - right? (Having been swimming yesterday - mentioned in my latest blog which I started at Christmas and in which I write too often and edit too little - I found I tended to look away from the most attractive semi-naked women. I hope the cheerful blog means things are feeling a bit better. Do try not to sink next time you're swimming. Would backstroke - my favourite - be safer? You could wave at the the lifeguards as you pass, reminding them the take notice ...

On an entirely different note, my mum learnt to swim at the age of 70 which I still find impressive. She's now in her early 80s and still swimming.

Elizabeth McClung said...

I don't know, I do not favor the backstroke - with such long arms, it just seems like too much work - breast stoke is better I think - I tried to comment on your blog and it said "you cannot comment, you are not a member of blah, blah" - how disappointing - and when did doing 32 lengths count as swimming "a little" (unless you have a very short pool?).

Hmmmmm...I find the idea of the other women in thong bikini's as shy and demure to my fit form being someone tenious - now if they came over and offered to help me shower in the wheelchair, this could be believable - but the closest I got to that was a woman taking her shampoo off the wheelchair shower seat area - am I missing these signals?

As for the lifeguards - actually the one group I want to NOT notice me so much when moving, and notice more when NOT moving - just one of those details about feeling safe, I guess - you know, the theory they will protect me from drowning...

kathz said...

The lengths are 25 metres - I like to do 40 (very slow) lengths if I can, but not when I haven't been swimming for ages. I'm still not good at getting the breathing right for breast stroke or front crawl; my lengths alternate breast stroke and back stroke - exhausting for the first ten or so and then I get into it.

I've set my blog to allow comments from "public (everyone)" and I've certainly had comments from at least one person who isn't a member - I get e-mails asking if I really want the public to comment on my blog and urging me to change to a more restrictive setting so I don't know what went wrong there. Do visit whenever you feel inclined, as I'm getting quite fond of that blog and the discipline of daily writing, though it can be a bit of a burble.

I'd like to think the women in thong bikinis are shy - I can't imagine wearing a thong bikini (though my daughter wears some more glamorous and daring clothes and still gets embarrassed about her body - it's that teenage thing, I think). Impolite is not good. Anyway, after all that work on the bikini line all the women in the swimming pool should be admiring you.

What time is it there? It's 25 past 8 in the morning here. (oh, and did clocks change in Canada? - as usual, the reports I see focus on the United States. grrr)

Elizabeth McClung said...

Hmmmm....well, I will try again tomorrow to post a comment - as I have a yahoo account already. Honestly can't say I would feel comfortable wearing a thong bikini either - but never seem like those that do seem that bashful - I tend to be either the naked or the naughty variety (clothed yes, but trying to mentally torture) - when you get to that level, I say, go naked - but I suspect pool officials feel otherwise.

Oops, 1:25 - I am :25 minutes behind in my sleep schedule (trying to sleep consistantly in order to eliminate it as an exhaustion factor). See ya tomorrow - or when I wake up if you want to be pedantic.

kathz said...

goodnight - sweet dreams ... (a little bit of envy as I'd like to go back to bed)

Jawsie said...

It sounds like the swimming was quite an adventure. The getting ready and then being almost to knackered to do anything I can identify with.

I just hope there weren't any sharks in the pool lol.


GayProf said...

So, the pool's idea of an "integrated" swim day is to name a special time for people with disabilities? I think they need a dictionary. I am just sayin'.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Hey, at least they let us use the same pool as the "normals" - not at the same time mind you but they don't change the water afterward or anything.

Sfrajett said...

You know, if you have to have a heart condition, let it be that you look good. You go girl--keep the gay tradition of beautiful diva-in-pain alive! And wheelchair slut--wow! That's actually quite sexy. Diva slut in a wheelchair? Unbeatable.

Elizabeth McClung said...

yeah - I'm going to be a wheelchair slut and proud of