Saturday, March 17, 2007

Squinting the Night Away

Saturday night, and I’m blogging. Back from unusually warm California, where both San Francisco and Los Angeles treated me well. The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed me, and plugged the party on the cover of its weekend guide!

It’s cold here at home, and, amazingly, I’m awake. With the exceptions of a 3-hour nap earlier today and a few nods chasing snow squalls from Ohio to New York, I’ve been up since 7:00 a.m. Pacific time, Friday, March 16; right now, night has just stepped into Sunday morning. Why was I in Ohio? Because Ohio is on the way home from Chicago, likewise for Indiana, Pennsylvania and Jersey.

Rather than spend three nights holed up in a hotel in a city where I know no one, I befriended two commendably adventurous spring break college students – one male, one female – and together, the three of us rented a car and drove all night. My eyes played plenty of tricks, what with the rooster tails of slush flayed across the windshield by big rigs, the precipitation and how the clouds and moon textured the land through which we pushed. I was looking for faces, wanted them to flicker through the barren trees: John Coltrane playing a soprano sax cut by oncoming headlights. No such luck. I wanted it too badly. I was looking for something because it was what I wanted to see. But it’s more about what happens when least we expect it, like when you all of the sudden drive 14 hours, talking with two complete strangers about Marshall McLuhan, Pink Floyd and why people from Hawaii love Spam.

Recently, Amanda McLean, from Glasgow, Scotland, got this ultrasound of her child, also spotting the face of Jesus. Squint, or stay up for a couple of days, and you can see a wide-open left eye and a moustache tapering into a beard.

One of the over 80 million women worldwide living with endometriosis, McLean was told that she had less than a one-in-ten chance of giving birth to a healthy child. The doctors and parents had been treating the pregnancy with caution, until this particular ultrasound, after which the baby has been kicking away. For McLean, it is a total reassurance, found in a place where she wasn’t looking to find anything, except for the baby she was never supposed to have.

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