Warning: This post contains some graphic grossness. It’s not gratuitous, I promise, just…well…it’s bloody.
Tonight I am sitting in Tess’ basement. Shopping today was remarkably successful. I found the pencil skirt I’ve been seeking for months (it was at the Gap! Who knew?) and made an impulse buy out of a bright orange sundress at Forever 21. My usual shopping habit is to try things on, marvel at how well they fit, obsess over the price, and leave them at the store. This is followed by several months of regret before I try to re-find the item, only to discover it’s been lost to the vortex of fashion turnover. So today it was a nice change to find good, affordable items and buy them. It’s the buying that feels truly revolutionary.
But today I’m not talking about dresses. By the end of this, you’ll wish I had been, but no, I have a more sinister topic in mind.
About a year ago, I discovered my first wart.
I hate warts. I hate the word wart. I hate the connotation, I hate how they look, I hate everything that there is to hate about them. I. Hate. Warts. So the discovery of my first wart on the end of my left elbow was like discovering I had a birthmark on my forehead that spelled a rude word. For weeks I denied it. It was a zit. An awkwardly placed non-popping zit. I poked it and worried it in the hopes that this was true. It wasn’t.
I continued to live with this abomination for the remainder of the semester, over the summer, and through another semester. Every time I caught sight of that vicious red lump on my elbow I felt a bubbling rush of rage in my chest, but held off getting it frozen or whatever because honestly, as much as I hate warts, I hate even temporary pain more.
Finally, during our winetasting session on Wednesday, as we sat in the sunshine glorifying in the spinning sensation of too many samples, Tess glanced over and said, “I don’t want to make you self conscious or anything…but is that like…is that a mole? Or a…”
“It’s a wart,” I said bitterly, running my fingers over my elbow. Tess nodded.
“I thought it might be,” she said.
At that moment I decided to get rid of it. I consulted Laura Who Knows Everything about what I should do, and she had the solution.
“Duct tape,” she told me, “is poisonous. Put a little square of duct tape over it, and leave it. Change it every twenty four hours. After a week, take a scalpel or something and scrape off the dead skin. It won’t hurt. Keep doing that until you get down to where the black seeds are, and just scoop ’em out.”
“And that’s it?”
Sounded like a good solution.
So on Thursday night, I stuck a square of duct tape on my elbow and left it. I calmly resisted the urge to rip it off every three minutes and inspect the wart. Possibly mine was some sort of negawart that would heal extra quickly. Maybe it would bulge into some sort uberwart that ate up my arm like a tumor, and would leave me a warty exile for the rest of my life. Something was going to happen, and it would happen quickly, I was convinced.
Tonight, after Tess and I had chatted with her (very nice) parents and they had gone to bed, I decided to change out the duct tape. Tess found me the necessary supplies, and I pulled off the piece of duct tape and examined the wart.
It looked about the same.
A little redder. A little shinier, maybe. Like it had swelled a bit. Great. More uberwart than negawart. I detected a teeny tiny bubble-like protrusion on one side, and thought huh, worth poking. So I poked it.
The effect was not unlike a star going supernova.
The wart exploded on my hand with a mess of pus and blood. Tess’ eyes opened wide as my brain did a backflip.
“Uh,” I said. “My elbow exploded.”
I couldn’t decide whether to continue poking it to get out the rest of the pus and blood or whether this is one of those situations where I needed to just stop and leave it be. Tess ran to the kitchen and seized paper towels and my arm and quickly began working on the thing herself. There was a great deal of pus in it. A lot. I began to wonder if my wart was not in fact a wart but some kind of dormant volcano zit, and when the tectonic plates of my skin had shifted just enough it blew. Or maybe the poison from the duct tape had given me an infection. What I thought was pus and blood was possibly just bone marrow. I decided to put new duct tape on it and check it again in the morning. Before I sat down to blog, I texted Laura the following, who is fifteen minutes away at her own house:
“DUDE. THE THING ON MY ELBOW? JUST EXPLODED. THAT IS NOT EVEN HYPERBOLE. IT WAS JUST GROSS.”
Within seconds the phone rang. I picked it up.
“The what did what.”
After a brief explanation, Laura theorized that the poison had caused a blister, and that was what had caused such a catastrophic…eruption. I have little experience with blisters. I figured this was probably true. I told her I would see her in the morning, and that I would update her then with all the necessary details. “Hooraaaaay,” she said flatly.
So that’s my adventure of the evening. My elbow is retaped and bandaged, and will be checked in the morning. I am resisting the violent, bubbling urge to tear it all off and poke that wart some more.
As I’ve been talking, two of Tess’ cats have been circling the room out of mild curiousity. Mickey, the braver of the two, decided eventually that I was no real threat and hey he can be under the bed in here! We have been having the following conversation:
Me: “Oh, hello, cat!”
Mickey: “I AM THE JUNGLE.”
Me: “Do you want to come sit by me?”
Mickey: “THE JUNGLE DOES NOT SIT. THE JUNGLE EVER PACES, EVER STALKS. I AM THE JUNGLE.”
Me: “Come ooooon. C’mere. Cat. Kitty. Kitty kitty.”
Mickey: “SLOWLY, THE JUNGLE UNFOLDS ITSELF AROUND ITS PREY. NOTHING SURVIVES THE JUNGLE.”
Me: “Aw. Are you stalking the loose thread on that blanket?”
Mickey: “NO. IT IS PREY. I AM THE JUNGLE.”
Me: “Get it! Go on, cat! Get the thread.”
Mickey: “IT IS NOT A THREAD. LISTEN TO THE JUNGLE. IT IS PREY. TAKE ME SERIOUSLY.”
Me: “I take you very seriously. Look. This is my serious face.”
Mickey: “TRY TO SLEEP TONIGHT HUMAN. THE JUNGLE WAITS. IN YOUR NIGHTMARES.
Funny how for a travelogue, this post has had so little to do with traveling. Laura and I have been going all the same places, and she’s really got most of our spring break covered over on her blog.
Tomorrow! A girly salon.
Edit: Within minutes of finishing this post, Mickey leapt up on the bed and mumbled to himself while he walked around, inspecting it. Staring me straight in the eye, he popped a squat and peed on the blanket. I stared at him, dumbfounded, for several seconds.
Me: “Did you…?”
Mickey: “Baby, you know I did.”