Thursday, May 26, 2011


I never gave much thought to sitting.  I didn't even need a chair.  If I got tired I hit the floor, or the couch, or the overstuffed tiger, and made myself at ease.  I didn't much like backless benches, but not much else made me uncomfortable.

My body knew just how to get down there. The right parts bent at the right times and there I was, snug as a bug in a rug.  There wasn't anything conscious about it.  It just happened.

Kind of like getting shot.  It just happened.

Well, not really the same except for the piece about it not being something I thought about.  I walked.  I stood.  I sat.  Those things happened and didn't require space in my brain.  I felt safe and unworried on January 8th and I didn't need to spend a moment wondering if mayhem was in my future.  There was no reason to devote an iota of brain space to the notion of bullets and my body occupying the same place at the same time.  

I saw a chair and sat down.  I held Christina's hand and I got shot.  They both just happened.

And now they are both items occupying almost all of my brain space.  Holding CTG's hand and getting shot... that's obviously going to be there for a long time in a variety of ways and that's okay.  As he told me in February, Juan and I will make new memories to sit beside those old ones in my heart.  It won't fill the hole, but it will help to ease the pain.

Now, if Juan could only manage to figure out a way to make my soaz understand that it must release its hold on itself and allow my hip to flex the way it needs to in order for my butt to reach a seat.   Marcus the Master Manipulator pulls and pushes and prods and pokes and may well have lengthened my leg by 1/8" yesterday afternoon but he isn't having any more success than I am in getting through to the tension that is the sitting mechanism on my right side.

It's a very simple matter, really.  Approach the venue, place the feet, bend the knees, keep the back straight, do a squat and try not to scream as the glute and the groin vie for first place in the "who can stab her harder" contest.
It's a sharp, hot, burning sensation that is not dangerous.  I have been assured of that. I am not injuring my repaired acetabulum, the socket that holds my thigh (the head of my femur, to be precise) onto my body. Although it may feel as if the thing is floating there unconnected to the rest of me in any way, Dr. Boaz and Marcus have told me that they "would be quite surprised" if that were to happen.

Notice that they did not say that it couldn't happen or wouldn't happen.  Just that it wasn't something that was occupying any brain space.  I'm doing my best to emulate their lack of concern.  Some days that is easier than others.

Why all this emphasis on sitting today?  TBG and I sat in the Federal Courthouse in Tucson again today, watching the lawyer for the Washington Post and the Arizona Republic quote Joseph Heller in an attempt to wrest documents from the Pima County Sheriff's Department. If you're interested in the First Amendment issues I'm sure there are places on the interweb that will support that conversation.  For us, it was just 45 minutes of sitting on a hard bench with a thin cushion.  The AUSA from Phoenix was a young man who reminded me of Big Cuter and I watched him with a mother's pride, sitting there on the Group W bench..... oops, I slipped into Alice's Restaurant right there didn't I but honestly that's where my mind wandered as the attorneys and the judge made their legal souffle.  

We sat through the shooter's competency hearing and watched him opt to sit in another room and watch the proceedings on television and watched the defense counsel and prosecutor stand each time they addressed the judge and we sat there, spectators at an event in which we were alternately at the epicenter or immaterial, depending on the circumstances.  

Everyone wanted a piece of us, a comment, a photograph.  The marshals kept them at bay and we stopped sitting and stood up and I took my achy breaky self down the hallways and elevators and I came home.

And sat down.

Everything hurts.  My heart.  My head.  My hip.  My glute.

Just from sitting.


  1. I'm sorry. Hearing that news made my head hurt too.

  2. AB, the thought of him getting to be in a separate room makes me ill. The fact that you had to sit there while he got to get what he wanted really makes me angry. You had to be uncomfortable on that bench, why didn't he have to be uncomfortable too. And I'm sorry to say this, but I have no doubt that he's competent to stand trial. That's a load of BS, IMPO.

    Elizabeth Smart's tormenter was finally sentenced yesterday after years of wrangling and him faking competency. No one can tell me that HWSBS doesn't know the difference between right and wrong. He needs to be punished and the people he hurt need to not keep being hurt.

    Sending healing thoughts and hugs your way.

    Megan xxx

  3. Actually, this hearing wasn't to determine whether he knows right from wrong, Megan. It was to determine whether he knew what was going on in the court (what a judge does, eg) and if he could help his defense team. Two well-regarded professionals determined that he was not malingering and that he was, in fact, not really tethered to this world. The prosecution and the defense both agreed. The judge addressed the issue and pronounced himself satisfied. Who am I to disagree? The process is populated with talented people and is so well regulated, so thoughtful, so considerate of everyone's well-being that I am confident enough to relax and let things take their course.

    He was certainly not comfortable after he was thrown to the ground by the marshals. He chose the tv over the courtroom because he had to sit quietly in the courtroom and that was, apparently, beyond his ability.

    The whole thing is just very very sad. I am fine letting it play itself out. I just wish I could get comfortable on the damn bench.

  4. Thank you so much for this post. When the news of the ruling popped up, it felt both hard in every sense and, simultaneously, true to my understanding of the signs of psychosis.

    My butt, which knows that sitting issue intimately, offers you its most aching sympathy.

    I still, after some years (of what is likely a different anatomical problem, but the same painful result), cannot seem to get in the habit of carrying the necessary cushionage around with me.

    I need fabulously decorated, overstuffed hippie cushions. With a little "lunatic fringe" and with handles or straps so they look like purses. And a natural linen with no decoration. And a black micro-suede with classy leather braid in outside seams. Some people get kickass shoes; I want kickass cushions.

  5. AB, I just read more about the hearing on CNN. I think I'm letting my anger show through too. I admit I saw a headline yesterday and thought I knew what it meant. After reading up on it more, I realized that if two psychiatrists have deemed him incompetent and the judge made the ruling, we do need to let justice take its course.

    And I didn't know about the marshall, but did read that he was talking incoherently and was removed from the courtroom. I feel really sorry for his parents too because they must keep thinking why didn't we see the signs or was there something we could have done to prevent the tragedy in the first place. :(

    The whole thing is sad on so many levels.

    Megan xxx

  6. I thought he probably was mentally ill but that doesn't excuse him or anybody like him. Of those who have schizophrenia, most are not violent. Of those who potentially are, and they commit a crime, then I think they should stay in prison or a mental hospital the rest of their lives. They usually chose to not take meds and with that choice, they will always be a danger to others. Whether he'll ever show up to be sane enough for a trial, either way, he should never be set free as he'll never be safe for society as who can force people to take meds once they are out of prison.

  7. I'm with you, Rain. I am so grateful that those involved with the legal process are smart, thoughtful and careful.

  8. I'm thinking you need to find somewhere else to sit... like in front of an Ocean! It sucks for you but I know it is moments of suckiness... with so much more wonderful things surrounding your space. Miss you! Wish I could make things better for you.

  9. I'm glad they kept the reporters away from you! I'm sorry you have to go through this. I don't know how you managed to be in the same room with him, whether he is mentally incompetent or not; you are much stronger than I could ever be.

  10. Calm down, all. As AB says, this hearing and decision had NOTHING to do with the issue of the insanity defense; i.e., whether he was insane in the eyes of the law at the time he committed the offense, which is a very, very hard test to satisfy these days. They had only to do with whether he is competent to understand the legal proceedings and assist his attorneys at the present time. If his competency to stand trial is restored, then the insanity defense issue will be tackled. If he is never competent to stand trial, he will be civilly committed. HE IS NEVER GOING TO BE RELEASED. Neither this judge nor the mental health professionals at Springfield can be duped, nor will his defense attorneys participate in any such effort. We can safely trust the system and the professionals working in it in this case.

  11. Believe what Laura says. The judge told the courtroom that one of the few tests that could be properly administered was the one that evaluates malingering. There was no doubt in the evaluator's opinion that he was not making this up. Truly, it was there in his eyes.

    I will have to testify at the trial, Nerthus, so I have to become comfortable sharing the same room with him. Ugh, but necessary. I don't like it, but it's not my job to like it.

    Thank you all for the love. It really really helps.


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