I woke up this morning with a piece of my nose-skin missing.
It isn’t a huge chunk or anything, it’s the equivalent of a mildly skinned knee, but on my nose. It’s true that I spent a good half an hour in front of my bathroom mirror last night, squeezing out blackheads from my nose (“eww” all you want, but you’ve done it, and deep down you agree that there’s nothing quite as satisfying), but I don’t think that’s the reason why my nose-skin is missing. I think–I feel–that I have suffer from undiagnosed R.E.M. Behavior Disorder.
Here is a random definition for RBD I found online:
RBD occurs when you act out vivid dreams as you sleep. These dreams are often filled with action. They may even be violent. Episodes tend to get worse over time. Early episodes may involve mild activity. Later episodes can be more violent. RBD is often ignored for years. At some point it is likely to result in an injury. Either the person dreaming or the bed partner may be hurt.
Since I live by myself, of course no one’s noticed! And my parents are both very deep sleepers, so I’m sure that when I had that recurring dream about The Battle of Helm’s Deep in junior high, they didn’t hear me scream, “Look, it’s Éomer! Do me, Éomer!”
If that excerpt, my skinned nose, and my LotR sex dream are not proof enough, then here is the clincher: when I woke up this morning and saw my nose, I thought, “Wow, it looks like I lost a boxing fight!” Verbatim. When I googled “R.E.M. Behavior Disorder” just now, this was the first image result:
Now, I have a band-aid on my nose. This excites me, because the last time I had a band-aid on my nose, was the one week when the women who work at the nearby grocery store were nice to me.
The grocery store staff are all female, all notoriously grumpy, and all of that facial and bodily softness that makes their age impossible to place. There is one shorter member of the staff (somewhere between the ages of eighteen and forty-five) who is occasionally pregnant.
The last time I had a band-aid on my nose, it was because a scene partner had accidentally (and truly, it was an accident) thrown me into the stage wall, face-first, during a sketch comedy show at The PIT and busted my nose open. I openly bled, but it got a huge laugh.
It looked like I had gotten the shit kicked out of me for a week, and if the rest of the world is anything like me, the rest of the world saw me on the subway and assumed my significant other had socked me. For those seven days, people on the street looked at me with pity, with accusation, either understanding or condemning that I was too weak to leave him.
But the women at the grocery store tilted their heads and smiled at me warmly as they scanned my vegetables (that sat in my fridge for weeks before rotting) and value-sized pack of marshmallows (which was empty in less than 36 hours). The first time it happened, I thought it might be because they had all finally lost it; gone crazy from the boredom. But after the second time, I realized that they felt sorry for me.
I made it a priority to go to the grocery every day so that I could get as much attention as possible. Once, at the check-out, one of the grumpier shapes touched my hand. I think it was on purpose, too!
Of course, the minute the band-aid was off and I had clearly healed, they went back to being grumpy and oblong, no longer the friendly and oblong creatures they had been.
I toyed with the idea of wearing the band-aid whenever I’d grocery shop, but I didn’t want to be wasteful. For the sake of the Earth, I wear this instead:
But the same nameless force that masks their age has also given them the power to sense genuine injuries. They know that I’m faking it–or maybe they’re just really confused by what I’m wearing on my face. Whatever the reason, they scoot on by me, muttering and leaving trails of slime in their wake.