Sunday

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.

Remembering Bugles

bugles

Today I ate too many Bugles, the corn chip snack, not the instrument. Yesterday I was flitting through the grocery store on a quest for eggs when a sighting of Bugles stopped me in my tracks. Bugles have that effect on me. The last time they stopped me in my tracks was this past Christmas season. I was visiting my sister in Texas when we both spotted the tasty, nutritionally empty specimens at the same time. We looked at each other, and she spoke first, “Remember these? Bugles were the only snack that didn’t make me sick when we were kids.” In adulthood she would learn that she has celiac disease.

Her simple question, “Remember these?” caused my heart to jump because there are many times I cannot answer such a simple question. I have large memory gaps from childhood, and anytime I can actually answer a memory question from childhood I am pleasantly surprised much the same way that Buffalo Bills fans are surprised when the Bills are faring well. The moment I saw those Bugles on the shelf at the HEB grocery store I saw a snack size package of those buggers flying out of a vending machine at the community swimming pool where we took swimming lessons as kids. She would get Bugles, and I would get Boston Baked Beans, the brown candy-coated peanuts. I’ve always been a sucker for snacks with nuts. But that is all I remember about Bugles, that they were part of our post swimming lesson repast as kids.

When I find something I remember as a child I tend to overdo it in my quest to find answers. It’s like the Bugles could be a possible missing key that will unlock more memories that are unavailable to me. And there I was this afternoon with the bag of Bugles unopened on my counter. I thought to myself that I could use a small snack. I should have known better, these were Bugles after all. With every crunch I would close my eyes, and see if anything would come to me in the form of memories. Nothing. I would crunch them cone end first, then cone end down, to no avail. Nothing except an overconsumption of salt.

hope, no hope …

Somehow, you can live. You can thrive. It doesn’t have to be this.

It will never change it will always be THIS … this existence. 

It doesn’t have to be. Talk to people. Get outside. Find the people that care.

When do you ever learn? People only care for a finite period of time. It ALWAYS ends in some form. You … we scare people away. Stop trying to make friends. Get the message. If you’re going to stay in this life accept that it will be a lonely and solitary existence. 

No, I won’t accept that. I can’t. It’s not in me to accept that as fate. There must be people out there that care. The world cannot be this dark. It simply cannot be devoid of hope. I see it at work. There are people that actually like me. It’s not in my head.

Take a look around. The proof is in the solitary existence. 

Tomorrow I’m not staying in this apartment. I’ll go to the diner, maybe even an AA meeting later in the day. Things will look better in the sunlight.

Go ahead and believe what you want or need to believe. The truth will be staring you in the face in the end.