07 July 2004


Ya know how sometimes you stand up and your head is all spinny and then your knees buckle and you're pretty sure the next move is flat on the floor? (And you haven't been drinking?) OK probably not flat on the floor, probably more likely crumpled in an awkward, chalk-outline-type position, through which you probably received an ugly gash on your forehead or a broken wrist or something.

And it starts happenning more regularly, and maybe soon it will happen while you're driving. And also, your brakes seem to be on the verge of failure these days anyway.

(Let me be clear that this hardly ever happens to me, and I'm clearly not a paranoid hypochondriac. When I told my doctor about this recently, she gave me one of those soft pitying looks, and said it was nothing to be alarmed about. The next week, she sent me a card, reminding me that it was nothing to be alarmed about. I'm not kidding, and yes, this behavior on her part alarms me.)

Around the time I turned thirty (not long ago, shut your jeer-hole) I started experiencing the spinny head thing, but it was a different spinny head thing. It usually happened when I was lying down, and would suddenly raise my head. And the worst part was, the room really did spin. Not like "I feel lightheaded," but like "objects seem to be moving rapidly around my head in a clockwise manner."

Yes, I had the presence of mind to notice it was clockwise. What?

I went on worrying about this for a few months, until it came time to get my hair cut. My supremely awesome haircutter (let's be real, my hair is in no way "styled") Tommy noticed my head swimming (did I suddenly look all wavy to him, to reflect how I felt?) as I tried to lift my head out of the hair-washing sink.

He was all nonchalant about it, saying that a lot of his customers get vertigo (aha! a diagnosis!), especially women around the age of thirty. Seems to be some sort of earwax build-up thing. He recommended I get some hippy to rectify the situation (by which he meant draw the wax out by "coning", but god I didn't want to type that. sorry).

So I did. And it went away. But maybe it just went away because I stopped being thirty and started being thirty-one. Maybe this is a heretofore unmentioned rite of passage that we should be celebrating, or writing crappy self-help books about, or at least marking with drunken festivities.

Because let's face it, the thirties are woefully bereft of celebratory milestones, especially after the highs of the late teens to early twenties (voting, college, drinking age, sexual adventures of particular note).

We could "reclaim the power" of the dizzyness as a natural life phase, like calling hot flashes "power surges." Find some color that hasn't already been used and design a ribbon pin for it. (plaid? paisley? houndstooth?)

Or maybe I should just find me another hippy with a beeswax cone and be done with it.

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