I’m at the CVS pharmacy where I’ve just placed my prescription refill order. While I wait I start browsing the magazines in the news stand. I lightly touch the magazines with the grand food recipes that are beyond my capability at this point: simple spring salads, easter ham, easy spring slow cooker suppers. Yes, these are easy recipes, recipes for the masses. All I can do is look at them longingly and dream of a day when I will be able to do something simple like throw a few ingredients into a slow cooker for dinner. Before you even get to the point of putting ingredients into a slow cooker you have to have the wherewithal to plan for that, make a list, get yourself to a grocery store, shop, and then come home and put all of those ingredients away.
That same morning I woke up with a splitting headache, and the floaty feeling that glues me to my bed. I roll out to go to the bathroom, and nearly trip over my own legs because I am so wobbly from the floatiness. I tell myself, “It’s Sunday. Don’t lose the day. Get dressed now. Go to the diner. Now. Do it now.” But no, the floatiness takes over, the world fades out, and I fall back into bed again. Somehow I find my phone on the nightstand with one hand by just feeling around for it. I call Doc, get his voicemail and leave a message. After some period of time I can’t quantify, I go in the closet to get some clothes. I find some clothes, and then fall into bed again from the exhaustion and floatiness. I now have clothes. I just have to get out of my pajamas and put them on. The phone rings. It’s Doc. We do the Emotional Freedom Technique together on the phone. I tap the appropriate points on my head, face, hands, and torso while I repeat after him, “Even though, even though I am scared and I don’t know why, I deeply, and completely love and accept myself.” We go through this again and again and again. Finally, I am able to stand without feeling wobbly. I am able to get out of my pajamas, put my clothes on, and gather my things to go to the diner for breakfast. I woke up at 9:05 a.m. It is now 11:15 a.m.
I head to the Okayish, Yet Preferred Diner. There was another diner I used to patronize on Sunday, the High Quality, Yet Gruff Diner. At High Quality they do things like make a Spinach Chicken Kabob Salad with dried cranberries, walnuts, blue cheese, grape tomatoes, and homemade greek dressing. Then there’s the crazily awesome homemade macaroni and cheese where they make their own superb cheese sauce, and it shows. However, at High Quality they do not treat you well if you are a solo diner. Even with empty booths in the diner they will insist you eat at the counter. But at the counter, people line up to pay their bill or pick up their takeout. Inevitably, I have people leaning over me as they wait for their takeout orders. I start to feel floaty when this happens. Having people in my personal space makes me shaky.
At Okayish you have to know what NOT to order. Here’s an easy rule. Never order soup there. I think they come prefab from some company. I once ordered Manhattan Clam Chowder that just seemed off. I ate so little of it they took it off my bill. One other time I thought I would try soup again, and I ordered Matzo Ball Soup. It was a vessel of liquid salt with a tint of yellow and a mediocre Matzo ball in the middle. So, yes, no soup. While we are on the Never Evers, never order any pastries here. I think they keep them in the pastry case to the point that they may be ready for shellacking for permanent keep. And don’t dream of the Buffalo Chicken sandwich. It’s just two frozen chicken fingers fried with some buffalo sauce inside a hamburger bun with a sprinkle of blue cheese. They do better with things they actually cook and prepare themselves, such as omelets, pancakes or waffles. They even know how to make excellent home fries, potatoes perfectly cooked, nicely seasoned with salt and pepper and crispiness here and there throughout.
But, the people who work at Okayish are some of the nicest around. Every time I eat someplace with better food I miss these guys. Just a few weeks ago, I was reading McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland while dining at Okayish when I started laughing right out loud as I was reading the book. The waitstaff wanted to know what I was reading. One waitress said to me, “I want to laugh too! What book is that?” On a recent Sunday the only available table was a small table wedged between two large tables. It was not an ideal place to be seated. The owner said, “I’m sorry, honey. It’s all I have.” I said that I was just glad to be seated. Then a booth cleared up after I placed my order, and they immediately moved me into the booth. I didn’t even ask to be moved. My favorite waiter, Chris, will tease me if I miss a Sunday, and he’ll say, “Cheating on us with another diner, are you?” One of these days I might be bold enough to say, “I got crazy and actually wanted some great diner food, but I always miss you guys.”
But, that was the morning. The diner outing is past, and now I loiter in the pharmacy wanting a reason to stay longer. I wander the aisles, but I have no need for anything else no matter how hard I look. I’ve already opened every greeting card that plays sound just to have something to do, and for the faint chance that Hoops & Yoyo would cheer me up. There is no need for anything else in this store. The prescription is ready. It’s time to go home.